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Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 11/11/19

POTUS was booed at a UFC event over the past weekend (Ultimate Fighting Champion) and one political scientist making the comparison that Trump being booed at a UFC event was comparable to Bernie being booed at a vegan deli in Brooklyn. This follows on Mr. Trump being booed at game 5 of the World Series games. It should be noted that at the World Series game and the UFC event there were both boos and cheers. One would expect a more mixed crowd at the World Series game, than one might expect at the UFC event.

Mr. Netanyahu, has gone on record indicating that Mr. Trump’s actions, in the middle east-Syria and Iran, may well have further destabilized the Middle East, and in particular, empowered the Iranians and the Russians who are not friendly to Israel.  This was a clear attempt by Mr. Netanyahu to send a message to POTUS without being as forceful as he has been in the past on these issues.  He is treading very carefully as he wants to try and preserve his relationship with Mr. Trump, in the event he can form a government.

The results in Mississippi and Kentucky, which were states that had gubernatorial races, and in Virginia’s State House were watched carefully by political scientists.  Democrats took full control of both houses in Virginia and we can anticipate a reversal of Republican actions eliminating the extreme, then settling into the middle ground- hopefully.  In Kentucky a close race went to the Democratic candidate, but the Republican is refusing to concede.

In the world of science, it was announced this week that Voyager 2 reached interstellar space.  This voyage took 42 years to reach the outer reaches of our system and pass through a bubble of plasma created by the sun, thus entering interstellar space.  This is a WOW moment for science.  I wonder what we’ll find. 

There were a host of controversial calls in the World Series, most notably on balls and strikes; and then, of course, the interference call in game 6 which went against the Nationals, which fortunately, it did not adversely affect the outcome as the Nationals won that game.  There has been an outpouring of complaints about officiating in the NFL, and some in the NBA with little note being taken of the officiating in the NHL.  It appears to me that in many sports the officiating is being outpaced by the size and speed of the athletes and the complexity of the game which has been introduced by more sophisticated and innovative coaches.  Baseball umpiring has always been hotly contested, although somewhat diminished over recent years by the use of the instant replay.  It is always interesting to me to watch interaction between the officials and the coaches in all sports.  There is clearly a much more reasoned response coming from football officials and from what I have observed, hockey officials as they will at least enter into a discussion with a coach and attempt to deliver an explanation.  Unfortunately, baseball umpires appear to lack the emotional capacity for that level of interaction.  Nonetheless, d little or nothing is being done about poor officiating by major league sports in particular the MLB.

Labor unions spoke out this week indicating that they would not back the US/Mexico/Canada trade agreement.  I have repeatedly postulated that two conditions would likely have to be met before the speaker would bring the USMCA to the floor.  The first would be the resolution, in her mind, of the enforcement provisions of the USMCA, which according to reports, she was moving closer to accepting, and the second being the agreement of the labor unions.  The labor unions are important backers of the Democratic Party, and the Speaker will have to heed their concerns very carefully.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook has been the recipient of numerous attacks by politicians because of Facebook’s policies.  He announced this week that Facebook would not attempt to monitor political ads as it was “impossible” to determine the truth of those ads.  In many cases that is an accurate statement, but in others it is clearly inaccurate, and Facebook should have the capacity to at least question and require the party posting an advertisement to provide the facts they are relying on, and if they can’t, then the ad should be taken down.  It is obvious that what Mr. Zuckerberg is doing is hiding behind the 1st Amendment in order to reap revenue rather than assist society in reaching the truth.  Mr. Zuckerberg is clearly not the icon that he has been portrayed to be, but rather is simply another in a long line of executives seeking solely to protect their revenue.

The impeachment saga drifts on with probably the most damning testimony to date coming from the “revised” comments of Ambassador Sondland.  We now have multiple parties transmitting 1st hand knowledge of the message that POTUS was attempting to deliver to the Ukrainian President.  There is no doubt that this was not a broad call for anti-corruption measures, but one specifically designed to target the Biden’s.  A rational person could only conclude that this constituted a Quid Pro Quo/ bribery.  It should also be noted that sources offering damning testimony are Republicans. POTUS and Republicans are shifting their argument to essentially say, even if this occurred it is not an impeachable offense, and I am now hearing arguments that there was no criminal intent.  There is nothing in the Constitution which requires intent be proven. Most shocking was POTUS’ pivot on November 8, 2019 to railing against open hearings.  Wow that’s confounding and confusing. 

Jeff Sessions intends to run for his old Senate seat from Alabama. POTUS has been silent so far.  Unfortunately, Mr. Sessions is unqualified to be a US Senator intellectually and emotionally- he is living in the 1850’s South.  

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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