Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 12/21/20 | WAMC

Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 12/21/20

Dec 21, 2020

The US began the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine with healthcare workers, which seems to me to be the right place to start. The sacrifices that healthcare workers have made over the last several months should insure they are vaccinated as soon as possible and we should be paying attention to what they are recommending, as they see the outcome of our failures.

It appears our friends, the Russians, hacked at least two federal agencies which was acknowledged by the White House without identifying which of our friends, or should I say Mr. Trump’s friends did the hacking. Mr. Pompeo (Russia) and Mr. Trump (China) contradicted one another at weeks end, I’m taking Mr. Pompeo on this one. This is just another example of Mr. Trump’s misplaced analysis of the damage that his friends have inflicted on the United States and will continue to inflict on the United States without a substantive response from the current Administration. Mr. Trump creates enormous risk seemly blindly.

One of the issues we will need to deal with as the vaccine rolls out are the vaccine’s skeptics. There have always been vaccine skeptics from the beginning of the distribution of vaccinations, and they continue today, we now have people who were amongst the mask objectors who are also saying that they won’t get the vaccine. It is certainly understandable that people are concerned with the speed of the rollout of COVID vaccines. Nonetheless, given the fact that we now see at least Great Britain in the process of administering the vaccine without, at least so far, any significant number of adverse reactions. It was interesting to note this past weekend there was at least one story reported the reason for the quick roll out was because of recent vaccine developments that left the tools in place to begin the process of developing a vaccine, and was the baseline for quick action. Are there risks? Obviously, but there were risks either way we go here, and this maybe the opportunity to safely reopen and safely travel.

Scientists have discovered the precursor of the well-known Pterosaurs (flying reptiles). They lived from 166,000,0000 to 150,000,000 years ago during the Cretaceous period, and went extinct during the Paleogene mass extinction. One thing that has eluded scientists is how they came to fly, and it appears that they descended from an agametic group of small reptiles that lived during the Triassic period. They are a great example of evolution as they emerge from significantly smaller animals into large flying creatures, and are one of the best known in terms of being depicted in many dinosaur scenes. Always fascinating what scientists are discovering and what clues they provided on how the earth evolved.

The virus scourges and many refuse to act rationally by taking safety precautions. I’m fascinated by the blindness.

Mr. Trump continues to stir the pot about the elections. Mitch jumps off that train, but many are hanging on.

Mr. Trump’s legacy on the economic front is a bit of a mixed bag. An economy that did very well for three years, then fell off the cliff due to COVID-19 which he helped to get out of control. The result is over 10 million unemployed, millions losing health insurance, over 300,000 have died, the National Debt grew by 7 Trillion, the trade deficit by 600,000 Billion. Clearly a mixed bag. The 7 Billion increase in the debt has finally gotten the attention of Republican Senators who are now concerned. Why a Democratic Administration is coming so it’s time to get back on the debt/deficit bandwagon, total hypocrisy.

A COVID relief package appears to be ready as of Saturday night with Senator’s Toomey’s arcane Federal proposal reaching a compromise. Another bit of hypocrisy as he had no concern about the Trump Administration’s actions, but better handcuff the next “Democratic” Administration.

This past week new unemployment claims jumped to 900,000, retail instore sales slumped more than originally predicted, there are new threats of closures which will be very difficult for restaurants and other small businesses. Hopefully, we’re all doing our part to support them.

Canada is settling in for a renewed relationship with the US as it too struggles with COVID. At the same time Canada and the US have agreed to send a Canadian astronaut into space with the US in 2023. Maybe we’re back to being friendly neighbors – let’s hope.

Saturday night we watched a Celtic Christmas Sojourn from WGBH in Boston. It was a joyous evening of good music, song, dance, poetry and memories. It was in a word uplifting and fun. May your holidays be comforted by the knowledge a vaccine is on the way.

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.