Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 5/3/21 | WAMC

Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 5/3/21

May 3, 2021

The US has decided to send millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses overseas in light of the crisis which has developed in India, in addition to oxygen shipments are also being readied and the US is planning to do more for developing countries to confront the pandemic.  This is certainly a new development from the US perspective, in part, I suspect because we are beginning to see resistance to 2nd shots, but also, general resistance to the vaccine.  Certainly, it is not uncommon in the US to have vaccine resistance, this is just the latest forum in that ongoing battle.

There is good as new durable goods orders rose a ½% in March, as the US recovery fueled manufacturing demand as reported by the Wall Street Journal on April 26th.  These new orders for durable goods which are products designed to last at least three years, for things such as computers and machinery. Chad Moutray, the Chief Economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, noted that overall goods orders have jumped 4.1% over the last 13 months, 10.8% with transportation equipment included. This is all good news.

National Geographic reported rare chunks of earth’s mantel found exposed in Maryland. These are hundreds of millions of years old and rare finds coming from the movement of tectonic plates. I saw some of these rocks on a trip to the west coast of Scotland while watching a man build a rock wall. He claimed the rocks came from the time when Scotland and Britain were joined by a tectonic shift and he was none too happy about the result.

Senator Gillibrand’s legislation to change how sex assaults are handled by the Military got support from Senator Ernst, Secretary Austin, as well as a military panel.  The thrust of this legislation is to remove the commanders from the process, and have cases independently evaluated by the JAG Office, much in the same way that it would in the civilian world where, for instance, in New York City, the mayor would not be in charge of criminal investigations, but rather, it would fall to the police and district attorney.  Having been a JAG officer for six years (active and reserve), this, I think is an intelligent change in an arena that the military simply has not been able to deal with.  I hope it moves forward. 

President Biden’s proposals include significant spending, so I thought I’d take a look back at President Trump’s spending. He had deficits from 2017-2020 of approximately $3.4 trillion. There seems little difference other than what its spent on. The takeaway is Republicans like to spend, just not on ways to help average Americans. Ask your Congresswoman and I bet she won’t be able to explain the difference logically.

President Biden’s speech on Wednesday night was an excellent road map of where he would like to go.  It seems that much of this agenda is going to be difficult to get through Congress as it is currently constituted.  One can only hope that his strategy in announcing this agenda was to demonstrate to the progressive wing of the party that these were programs with which he agreed, and it then creates an environment in which he may well be able to have serious conversations with Republicans, develop a compromise, and deliver that compromise to the Democratic House and have some hope of passage.  If he is serious about being by-partisan, understanding that there are many pieces to this puzzle, and how you move them around the board may be as important as the substance they represent.  It was also interesting to note that when the camera focused on Ted Cruz, he appeared to be falling asleep.  His falling asleep, of course, simply is a metaphor for his legislative capacity. 

The Canadian border in my view will remain closed until Canada improves its’ overall COVID performance. Maybe those who are fully vaccinated may be able to travel late this summer or early fall. This will require something like a COVID Passport. Late this week it was announced that Canada was going to begin importing Pfizer vaccines from the US – good news for both sides of the border.

Inc. magazine published a piece about the 3-question rule before speaking: 1) Does this need to be said; 2) does it need to be said by me; #) does this need to be said by me, now. F we all asked these questions, we’d cut meeting times substantially and receive much greater clarity from speakers.

A funeral was held this week for Clark Glacier as it shrinks to a shriveled remanent. This is real evidence of climate change.

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.