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New York Gov. Hochul announces "parameters of conceptual" budget deal, two weeks after deadline

Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 10/28/19

In a recent press conference Speaker Pelosi talked directly to Mr. Trump and allegedly posed to him the following: “You are a casino man, correct.  Then you should know not to bet against the house.” I thought this was an incredibly clever statement that plays well on so many levels.

Mr. Netanyahu was unable to form a government, and President Rivlin has given Mr. Gantz, the opposition leader the opportunity to now form a government. The fractious environment in Israel, probably does not bode well for Mr. Gantz and his ability to form a government.  We can only hope that one of these gentlemen is successful, as uncertainty does not play well in this tenuous geopolitical environment. 

Facebook CEO, Zuckerberg indicates that Russia and Iran are already attempting to interfere in the US 2020 election.  He recognizes the sophistication of these organizations and their desire to be disruptive.  On whose side will they deploy their efforts, or will they attack maliciously all of the potential candidates?  This is something we should all watch closely as irrespective of POTUS’ denials of Russian interference, our entire national security apparatus confirms that this occurred, and this it is likely to occur again. 

The Canadian election held on Monday, the 21st resulted in the Liberals receiving a plurality, but not a majority, while the NDP gained seats, while the Green Party has stayed relatively stable.  A coalition government with the NDP being a major player in that process is the way forward.  The NDP has clearly stated that they have no intention of helping conservatives form a government.  The turmoil in the United States, Great Britain and Israel, we hope will be avoided by our compatriots to the North.  I see no change in our regions relationship with Quebec and Canada. 

This week, ProPublica secured, through a clever use of the Freedom of Information Law, a portion of Mr. Trump’s income tax returns which were used to support a petition to lower his real property taxes.  There is a discrepancy of some substantial amount between income reported on his tax returns and income reported for purposes of real property taxes.  The obvious conclusion one might draw, is that he used his tax returns to support applications to his banks, and thus, higher income would be helpful.  You also have to remember that he made very clear that “depreciation” reduced or eliminated his actual income tax bill which would have no impact on his application to reduce his real property taxes.  This is the first crack in the amour, and the fact that these returns or portions of them were voluntarily given up by Mr. Trump, may create issues for him as he tries to withhold his returns from the House.

On Wednesday of this past week, Great Britain and EU announced a tentative deal.  The EU is expected to approve the deal later this week, on Friday, Boris Johnson proposed a vote in Parliament on Saturday which resulted in another defeat.  This latest “deal” is either very closely with previous deals that Mr. Johnson has brought to the Parliament, all of which have been rejected.  The Northern Ireland members of the British Parliament have indicated they will not support this latest proposal which effectively leaves Northern Ireland in the EU in deference to the border with the Republic of Ireland.  Mr. Johnson has simultaneously sought an extension from the EU, a process he steadfastly opposes.  An extension is the most likely short-term outcome- we will know next Thursday.    

In a recent article that I read, the author asserted that Mexico may, in fact, be building the wall for POTUS.  The analysis focused on the fact that Mexico has devoted substantial sums, as well as troops to its southern border in an effort to keep out migrants from Central America, thus, effectively creating a wall.  It appears that POTUS is adopting this concept without expressly stating that Mexico is, in fact, building his wall.  This is an interesting juxtaposition and an hypothesis that I think is worth contemplating.  If, in fact, a different mechanism has been put in place to stop illegal immigration, then maybe POTUS has achieved his goal.

There are reports that the troops being pulled out of Syria are being moved to Afghanistan, which as far as I know, is still a very dangerous place.  This, again, raises questions about Mr. Trump’s motivation, and of course, his veracity when it comes to the reason why he is pulling the troops out.  If these reports are, in fact, accurate, this is very troubling, and raises questions about what kind of a deal he made with Turkey’s President, and who else he has put at risk beyond the Kurds.

The Republican’s crashing the impeachment hearings put them on par with Chairman Schiff’s Parody.  Everyone needs to begin acting like adults and not children.  As a former Member, I am embarrassed. Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez did an impressive job questioning Mr. Zuckerberg.  She cleverly demonstrated that much political chancery will get by Facebook.  Mr. Zuckerberg looked foolish and ill prepared.  I’m leading a ground o see the will in Colorado along the Mexican border per POTUS’ announcement.  If we find either a wall or Mexico bordering Colorado, we’ll send pictures.

Bill Owens is a former member of Congress representing the New York 21st, a partner in Stafford Owens in Plattsburgh, NY and a Senior Advisor to 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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