Kennedy: Thoughts on robo-calls, healthcare and tariffs

With the election cycle now upon us, it’s time to gripe about one of the most irritating things that a candidate can do. This action, if there is another candidate running, will most assuredly result in my vote for the perpetrator’s opponent. The action of which I speak is the infernal robo-call.

I’ve stopped answering my phone because of the glut of this type of call from people trying to sell me something, or trying to scam me, even though I’m registered on the Do Not Call list. My friends and relatives know to leave a message and I’ll get right back to them. All others I ignore and delete immediately. If a candidate really wants my vote, he/she should send a brochure, write a letter to the editor, or insert a paid advertisement.


No. More. Robo-calls!

As much as I dislike commenting on such matters, the present administration in Washington keeps doing things that I find to not be in the best interest of the U.S. in general and certain portions of the citizenry in particular.

Recently, the Attorney General and the Justice Department, with the approval of the President, has announced that they will no longer enforce the portion of the Affordable Care Act which pertains to assuring affordable medical coverage to those with “pre-existing conditions.” This means that an insurer can charge exorbitant premiums for those with cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and myriad other health problems.

Folks with pre-existing conditions may be forced into poverty one way or another: either by paying higher premiums or being responsible for the entire bill if they go to a hospital to receive treatment without insurance.

This is in stark contrast to Trump’s campaign proclamations, and post-election statements that pre-existing conditions would be included in any health plan put forth by the administration. Which is it?

On another front, it seems that Mr. Trump is trying to curry favor with our traditional adversaries while showing our long-term, staunch allies contempt. At the recent G-7 conference in Canada, he proposed re-admitting Russia to the group of economic powers. They had been expelled from the group for their invasion and annexation of the Crimean peninsula several years ago.

While shilling for Vladimir Putin, Mr. Trump denigrated rest of the G-7 group by saying that his new tariffs on goods from those nations was done as a “security” measure. Canada is a security threat to the U.S.? We share the longest unguarded border on the planet, and the Canadian government has backed every military action that the U.S. has taken at least since World War I. Economically, in dairy products alone, we export almost $800 million worth each year to Canada while importing just about $150 million worth. In most other areas of manufactured goods and such, the exchange is almost a wash, except for lumber, where we do import more than export.

The U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Japan are to be included in the tariffs also. Their goods will cost U.S. consumers more. Their steel and aluminum, either rolled or as finished parts, will make cars, machinery and the like more expensive to produce, therefore costing American companies more. The tariffs will force up those prices or cost American jobs because companies can’t afford to simply eat the increased costs of production. Militarily, these countries have been our close allies since World War II and have supported our incursions in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Trump has made overtures of economic cooperation with China, our largest trade “partner,” who has almost single-handedly created the largest trade deficit in our history and has used stolen American technological secrets to do so. Increases in the tariffs on goods from China will certainly be matched by the Chinese government, with the possible cost of American jobs and higher retail prices in the U.S.

At the recently concluded summit in Singapore with North Korean Kim Jung Un, the supposed leader of the free world unilaterally cancelled the annual military exercises in South Korea, surprising that government’s leaders. This was in exchange for some vague promise of the possibility that the North might, maybe, at some point in the future, denuclearize. Of course this would be done without neutral verification. This continues to be open for negotiation. The self-proclaimed wheeler dealer got played for the sucker, just as previous presidents had been.

As I have previously said, hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Early, or on June 26, vote!