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Commentary & Opinion

Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 8/3/20

The week before last POTUS announced it was patriotic to wear a mask, last week his administration sought to defund the CDC, contact tracing and testing.  This is a remarkable journey that we are on as we see the inconsistent and illogical activities from Mr. Trump and his administration.  This may be just a political ploy to get some other item into the new relief bill, but how Secretary Mnuchin can deliver these messages with a straight face, truly indicates to me that he is in the wrong profession.  He should be a clown.

Jobless claims increased last week for the first time since March, with layoffs occurring presumably in advance of the anticipated changes which are going to occur as a result of the COVID-19 resurgent’s in the miracle states of Florida, Texas and Arizona.  I wonder how many more miracle states will be added this week.  It is important to note that these are initial jobless claims, not renewals from those laid-off earlier, although overall claims for benefits did decline which does mean that some receiving benefits either dropped out or have gained other employment.  US Treasuries are returning incredibly low rates which means people are fleeing to treasuries for security and federal borrowing is very cheap.  Unfortunately, it also means that those with cash who might invest in treasuries will receive little return. 

   The trade war escalates as the US requires the Chinese to close their consulate in Huston and China retaliates requiring the closure of our consulate in Chengdu. The Hauwei case continues to wind its way through the Canadian courts, much to the dissatisfaction of the Chinese government.  It is very clear that the relationship between the United States and China is going in the wrong direction, and that Mr. Trump’s gambits largely failed as they did in North Korea, Syria, etc.

President Trump has been praising Dr. Stella Immanuel who is well-known for her interesting theories, including the fact that alien DNA is being used in medical treatments that scientist are developing an anti-religion vaccine, that she blames witches and demons for various medical conditions and she supports the use of hydro xychloroquine, as well a few other conspiracy theories. This is problematic only because the President is trumpeting her as someone who is an outstanding physician and scientist while he trashes Dr. Fauci. 

A Major in the D.C. National Guard testified before Congress, that the crowds in Lafayette Square where he was on the ground with his troops were not violent and that the descriptions offered by the White House, Mr. Barr, etc., were completely inaccurate and exaggerated.  This paints a completely different picture of what happened there from someone who has no apparent ax to grind and is in a position where he has nothing to gain.  It will be interesting to see, what if anything comes of this which I am relatively sure other than he may lose his position with the National Guard.  I am sure Mr. Barr and Mr. Trump will find a way to brand him as some type of anarchist.

Scientists have selected a crater on Mars known as Jezero in which to land a Mars rover.  This is significant because the basis of this decision is that the crater appears to be in place where water may well have existed and could help to establish whether or not life ever existed on Mars.  We know Mars is cold and dry, but also that it was not always that way.  Here’s to science. 

The dollar is continuing to fall.  Since March of this year it has dropped 9%.  This means it is weakening against other currencies and that places the US in a position where one of our great strengths is dissipating as other countries have held US dollars as part of their reserve which was an important world stabilizing factor.  It has, of course, other potential ramifications since as the dollar weakens, our exports become less expensive, but imports become more expensive thus altering our trade patterns and our balance of trade.

Congressman Gohmert of Texas tested positive for the COVID-19 hoax.  I wonder which treatment regimen he will undertake, those recommended by POTUS and Dr. Immanuel or by a real physician.  Wonder if he will wear a mask now.

The stock market took a stumble late last week although was up for the week.  The cause of the stumble increasing COVID-19 cases, higher unemployment and the failure of Congress to act on a new relief package – let me rephrase, the failure of Republicans to act.

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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