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Confounding and confusing events 8/15/22

A race in Wisconsin involving Mandela Barnes who is running against Senator Ron Johnson is one to take note of. Mr. Barnes is a millennial who has suffered through any number of millennial mistakes (I suspect mistakes that most generations have made over the years, although not necessarily readily admitted to). Most importantly, he has the opportunity to get out the vote of his fellow millennials, and he needs a relatively small percentage of them to swing the race in his direction. If one assumes that the standard Democrat and Republican voter base is entrenched in how they will vote, then bringing new voters to the polls is a critical step. The concept of bringing new voters will be further explored, particularly given the Kansas results, as the breakdown of that vote is deconstructed and we learn who the source of the votes were that sustained abortion rights in Kansas. The Barnes race is one that we should be watching as it will be a telltale for where the midterms may be going, and ultimately, the 2024 Presidential race.

The search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home raises any number of interesting questions. That said, the events at Mar-a-Lago this past week can be reduced to a simple syllogism. Mr. Trump and the Federal Government negotiated a return of documents. One of Mr. Trump’s lawyers writes a letter saying all documents were returned. And inside sources refutes it. A Federal magistrate issues a warrant, and the result of the search demonstrated that the insider was right. There were, in fact, documents being retained at Mar-a-Lago that were designated as “top secret” and had other important classifications.

The Canadian dollar is strengthening as oil prices rebound with futures climbing higher. The US cut tariffs in half for softwood lumber coming from Canada, which will have an impact on housing costs and inflation.

China given other recent economic news saw its July exports rise and had a create a record high trade surplus. Its exports grew 18% to $333 billion, compared to the same period last year, and were up 17.9% from June. This is important data for the US as well, because it means that goods are again flowing which will help to break the supply log jam, and hopefully, will have some impact on reducing inflation. Contemporaneously, China’s imports remain soft, growing only 2.3% in July compared to a year ago.

Stonehenge continues to reveal more information. It appears that Stonehenge was created during a period of substantial migration into the British Isles about 4,500 years ago, bringing with it a wave of new inhabitants. It also appears that Stonehenge was not the only location in the British Isles that saw significant building and development, with many other locations seeing growth and being impacted by the creativity of the new inhabitants. There is some indication that materials used in the creation of Stonehenge and other sites was moved hundreds of miles without any evidence of the methods of transportation being used or any written history of how or why this happened. We are learning more about the how, but not much more about the why.

Unemployment claims rose slightly in recent weeks, but not enough to signal a trend in the job market.

Mr. Trump took the 5th Amendment in the New York Attorney General litigation hundreds of times. Remember, Mr. Trump said only the guilty do that. My simple conclusion – he’s guilty.

A picture circulated purportedly showing torn up paper in a Trump toilet bowl with Congresswoman Stefanik’s name on it. Let your imagination run wild, mine certainly has. By the way, I have not seen a denial from the Congresswoman nor an explanation.

United Airlines put a down payment of $10 million on 200 flying taxis for transporting passengers to and from airports. It appears before the Jetsons can come to life, FAA needs to approve these taxi’s operations.

China’s housing bubble is busting and their economy is weakening. Contemporaneously China is saber-rattling over Taiwan. Has wagging the dog emerged yet again?

Scientists have finally achieved nuclear fusion ignition. This was a peer reviewed and sets the stage toward economically clean energy with almost unlimited capacity. Again, science gives us hope and a pathway forward. Hopefully we’ll hear applause from both sides if the aisle.

Bill Owens is a former member of Congress representing the New York 21st, a partner in Stafford, Owens, Piller, Murnane, Kelleher and Trombley in Plattsburgh, NY and a Strategic Advisor at Dentons to Washington, DC.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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