Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 3/9/20 | WAMC

Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 3/9/20

Mar 9, 2020

The Fed reduced interest rates on March the 4th by half of a percentage point, in the hopes of avoiding any adverse economic impact from the Corona virus outbreak, putting rates between 1% and 1.25%.  Reports are coming in from literally all over the country about the negative economic impact of the Corona virus, and with CDC predicting a peak sometime in mid to late March, it is likely we have only begun to see the negative economic outcome.  By the way, the market ignored the rate cut. 

It is an interesting exercise in situations like this to go through the process of analyzing how you would service your customers in circumstances such as these.  Assuming that many in the public would not want to visit public places, those of us in the service industry, of course, have the ability to communicate by telephone, by E-mail, Skype and FaceTime.  I am looking forward to seeing you on Skype.

Britain is kicking off ambitious US and EU trade talks with Mr. Johnson again asserting his desire for a Canada type deal with the EU.  The British Government’s own treasury analysis says that could shrink Britain’s annual GDP by 4.9% by 2035.  Mr. Johnson appears to do analysis much like Mr. Trump, mostly based on what he believes and wants versus what analysis actually shows. 

My guess, at least in Senator Klobuchar’s case, this is a play for the Vice-Presidential nomination.  I think she would be an excellent choice being a mid-westerner, a moderate, a woman and, most importantly, a sensible sounding human being. 

The results from Super Tuesday were a real surprise.  Network news looked like election night 2016.  It may well be that the noise from the Progressive wing does not represent as many democrats as the media assumed.  There is a lot more pragmatism in those democrats which must send shivers down Republican’s spines.

It has been reported that Iran’s missile strike on US troops after the assassination of General Soleimani resulted in more than 100 troops with traumatic brain injuries.  If you recall, POTUS stated immediately after the attack that no American troops were injured.  Neither the Pentagon nor the Whitehouse had corrected this error which now takes on the look of yet another coverup by the Trump Administration.  It is striking to me that troops in the military would readily accept this kind of misdirection, as well as their political support of Mr. Trump.  One also has to take into account his actions in Syria when he left American troops largely undefended and the fact that he has virtually no established policy that he follows on a regular basis. 

The Canadian Institute of Steel Construction (CISC), has expressed disappointment with the announcement by the US Department of Commerce to place anti-dumping duties on Canadian fabricated structural steel.  Specifically, they believe that duty calculations against Canada are unlawful, and will take all steps at their disposal to attempt to correct these findings.  This comes as the International Trade Commission heard a challenge by Canada and Mexico four days after the announcement by the Department of Commerce on previous steel actions taken by the Trump administration.  This is another example of the Trump administration’s inability to use diplomacy to negotiate the resolution of issues with our most important trading partner and one of our most supportive military allies.  The combination of Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary Mike Pompeo, and POTUS represents a dangerous and uneducated trio who continues to do harm at so many levels internationally. 

Scientists have discovered caterpillars that can chop through plastic, essentially destroying that product as it overwhelms our landfills, the ocean, etc. These creatures known as wax worms have the ability to eat plastic as the result of a unique set of gut bacteria. This is important on two fronts; first these animals can provide some level of help in the process of removing plastic, although given the enormity of it, the number of wax worms that would need to be at work would create other kinds of pollution problems, and secondarily, studying these animals may well provide scientists with the ability to develop products that can biodegrade plastic.

We now have Senator Schumer making inappropriate comments about Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch while the President stated that he wants Justices Bader Ginsberg and Sotomayor to recuse themselves from any case involving his administration.  In both instances, the response of the right and the left was totally predictable with each condemning the others acts, largely supporting their sides.  It is clear to me both sets of comments are utterly irresponsible and should be condemned.  If your response to this commentary is that you think your side is right and thus should be supported, I would urge you to reflect carefully.

The Corona Virus seems to grow in intensity, while the President says “no big deal, it will all be over quickly”, his scientists say, at the very least, we need to watch how this develops and be prepared to take additional steps to contain and control it.  Mr. Trump’s emphasis throughout this process has been on the economy and not on the damage the virus could do to individuals like killing them.  This is all part of the odd makeup of a narcissist, seeing everything through his own lens and being unable to see how others are affected. 

POTUS picks Congressman Meadows to replace Mick Mulvaney.  Since General Kelly exited, POTUS intensifies the acquisition of limited intellect idealogs.

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.

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