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Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 2/1/21

More damaging information continues to flow out of Washington with regard to Mr. Trump’s activities concerning his attempts to overthrow the 2020 election. There are allegations that he conspired with a member of Congress, as well as the Chief of the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, which follows on the disclosure he spoke to the Secretary of Defense and advised that the military would need 10,000 troops in order to control the mobs on January the 6th. It becomes clearer and clearer that Mr. Trump was well aware of what was happening, and may have had more information than he has disclosed thus far. The FBI continues to investigate, and my sense is that there will be more disclosures that will be damaging to him, and I wonder if that is the reason that Chuck Schumer agreed to delay the trial until February the 9th.

The Senate Republicans appear to have determined that the issues are moot because Mr. Trump is no longer in office. It is not an illogical conclusion.

The vaccine distribution has continued to be bogged down in missteps with misinformation, as some states are running out of vaccine, while in other states and locations vaccine is sitting undistributed. Hopefully, Mr. Biden will be able to get his arms around this process, and move forward in a coordinated way that the Trump administration refused to undertake. The level of disinformation, I suspect the Biden administration is discovering, must be incredibly frustrating and is a danger to all of us.

Unemployment claims fell slightly to about 850,000 new filings.

Secretary of State Blinken calls key allies as some of his first actions including Mexico, Canada, Japan and South Korea. Having a pro in charge will certainly bring back our standing in the world, particularly following pompous Pompeo.

Ms. Stefanik and Representative Higgins (co-chairs of the Northern border caucus) penned a letter to President Biden asking for a solid plan to allow travel to Canada. On the day that story was published in the Press Republican further on the in the paper was a story about Canada imposing tighter restrictions to the new strains that are evolving. Only a bit of irony here. A few days later CTV News had a story indicating 74% of travelers to Canada were exempt from quarantine. Truck drivers represented about 50% of the 74% leaving about 24% the vast majority of whom were essential workers of some type. The net positive effect for regular travelers was negligible.

On the economic front, the economy is worsening for those with high school or less education. We need to be careful when devising a solution such as 4 year or even 2 year degrees as they may not be the right answer unless it is targeted to employer needs and where the economy is trending locally and nationally.

The impending impeachment trial, even if I have doubts about proceeding, offers an opportunity for Democrats to call some of the constitutional rioters, in other words the “perps” themselves, to testify and confront them with their own words from social media. This testimony, even if they take the 5th, could be very damaging to Mr. Trump.

The trending GameStop creates a real test for the markets. The rise of Robinhood—aptly named—is also an issue. The underlying goal of damaging hedge funds who have shorted various stocks is an unusual strategy and likely be investigated by the SEC. Late last week Johnson & Johnson announced tis vaccine was 66% effective in protecting people from moderate to severe disease. These results could allow this 1 shot vaccine to be deployed within weeks.

Governor Cuomo is taking heat on the number of deaths in NY nursing homes from COVID. This will be tricky for him to navigate and keep control over. I haven’t seen any scientific analysis, only political so far. He should appoint a medical panel to investigate.

Nothing from the world of science this week.

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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