Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 1/11/21 | WAMC

Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 1/11/21

Jan 11, 2021

The reaction of the stock market on Wednesday the 6th and Thursday the 7th, following the certification circus that occurred in both houses, was startling. The market is essentially keeping, an upward trajectory.  Mr. Trump predicted that the stock market would fall apart if Mr. Biden was elected. That appears not to be the case.

We have seen business calling for more stability in virtually every area of government, but particularly in trade since that was sorely lacking in the Trump years. Business was swift to react to the events at the Capitol and have been critical of Mr. Trump.  Let’s hope that COVID does not interfere over the next couple of months, but certainly, Mr. Trump’s predictions, as usual, fell flat.   

Mr. Biden still has to wait until Jan. 20th to officially take over the government.  Those first 100 days will create a unique experience, of course, greatly impacted by the Georgia races and when those Senators are seated. 

Ms. Stefanik announced that she would vote with her colleagues to challenge the Electoral College votes of six states.  The invasion of the Capitol altered the calculus for many but not Ms. Stefanik. .  This, entire episode is terribly embarrassing for the district, as all one needs to do is look at the over 50 court cases that were dismissed with the lack of a finding of fraud in any of those cases, Attorney General Barr’s determination that there was no material election fraud, and of course the calls to the Georgia Secretary of State by POTUS, during which the secretary repeatedly shot down allegations of fraud.  This call boarded on or was criminal as POTUS asked him to “find votes”, not recount, but find.  The events of Wednesday brought to a close a sad chapter in American politics, and in our democracy.  Unfortunately, Ms. Stefanik truly lived up to the moniker she was given by the New York Times of “most disappointing”.  One can only assume she has another agenda, is that running for Governor or some other statewide office, or does she leave New York entirely and move to another state, and reestablish her campaign for other positions in a more friendly statewide environment depending on how redistricting goes. 

Ms. Stefanik has been criticized by scathing editorials by virtually all the major papers on her district and by Chris Churchill in the Times Union on January 10th – all of these are worth the read. Ms. Stefanik spent much of her time touting her support of the Blue during her election campaign. Lots of calls for law and order. If she mentioned need for law on order on Wednesday, it was very muted as I didn’t read it anywhere. The Capitol policemen who lost their lives and were injured will be happy to know if it’s the Mob of insurgents who are Trump supporters versus the Blue, Ms. Stefanik like POTUS picks the Mob not the Blue.

COVID continues to surge as hospitalizations increase and ICU beds decline.  The number of active cases nationwide is astronomical.  New strains are appearing which appear similarly lethal, but more infectious.  The message still hasn’t gotten across to those who favor freedom over sensible healthcare precautions.  It is simply mindboggling. 

President elect Biden has nominated Merrick Garland as the Attorney General.   Mr. Biden waited until the results of the Georgia election were in before announcing that nomination.  Obviously, it will be much easier to get the nomination approved under the current circumstances in the Senate since the Democrats will effectively control it through the Vice President.  One might also hypothesize that because Mr. McConnell squelched Judge Garland for a seat on the Supreme Court, that had the Democrats not taken the two Georgia seats, that Mr. Biden may well have moved onto another candidate so as not to force Judge Garland to go through a process that may have well led to his not being confirmed as Attorney General by a Republican Senate.  Mr. Biden is showing he knows how to play ball.

The events at the capital on Tuesday the 5th, clearly were in the nature of an insurrection and should be punished appropriately.  These were acts of treason and likely violated the Sedition Act.   It appears that the appropriate prosecutors are moving swiftly to identify, arrest and prosecute as many of those who invaded the capital as humanly possible.  It was interesting to note that Mr. Trump used the term “law and order” only once in discussing the insurrection, and virtually no other Republicans, in particular, our Congresswoman, Ms. Stefanik made at best only a passing reference to the need for law and order, I suspect because this was a group of people who she believes supports her as well as the President.   Selective justice, not a good path to walk down.

New unemployment claims went down slightly last week, but not in a material fashion, which means that still many, many Americans are applying for first time benefits, and thus, have been recently laid off. Most pundits are saying the recovery is stalled by COVID.               

A troubling commentary has arisen about the fact that these rioters were treated more gently than the Black Lives Matter protesters.  If that turns out to be true, that is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with.  I responded to someone on Facebook who posted pictures of the Black Lives Matter riots, and posited to him that the destruction of property is an offense that should be prosecuted, the attack on the Capital goes to the core of our democracy and is a far more serious issue.  He was trying to equate them. 

As a longtime grieving Dodger fan, the death of Tommy Lasorda topped off a really depressing week. But for Georgia.

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.

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