Commentary

Frary: Goodbye to 2015

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There’s no way we can know at this point, but it’s quite possible that 2015 will look like a pretty good year when January 1, 2017 comes around. The year just beginning will bring more terrorist plots and attacks. That much is certain, but we have yet to see whether they are more numerous and bloodier. Politicians will be arrested, indicted, exposed, sentenced and ejected from office, but will there be more or fewer? The stock market moved briskly upward last year, boosting my own annuity quite nicely, but 2016 may remind us that the stock market always jumps before it crashes. All that happy market news may turn out to look like a flock of dire omens. The year 2016 will tell the tale in time.

Although bad news is usually more interesting than good news, we should mention some good news from the year just past. Let us all rejoice to acknowledge that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, working in close partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, with support from the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service has approved the recommendations of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s update of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for the 2015 edition. I propose three cheers for the whole gang.

For those interested (anyone?) details are available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/. George Will has provided some of the report’s highlights for readers who lack the time and interest needed to work their way through the report’s 571 pages. It turns out that some things which are good to eat, e.g., red meat, sodium, eggs, are not necessarily fatal, as the 2010 report seemed to suggest. On the downside, the report has evidence that salt shakers are being smuggled into school cafeterias and cabals of juvenile mafioso have organized a black market in potato chips.

Footnote 6b on page 334 will interest Franklin County readers. The nutritionist inspector sent to survey the food booths at the Franklin County Agricultural Fair is now in an institution without immediate prospect of recovery. It is thought that his discovery of the Intravenous Cholesterol Stall provided the shock that sent him around the corner and off the cliff.

Speaking ‘Schocks,’ Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill) resigned in March when details of his use of taxpayer and campaign funds to charter jets, purchase concert tickets and to reimburse himself for driving more miles in his official capacity than showed up on his car’s odometer.

And then there’s Denny Hastert, the former wrestling coach who became the longest-serving Republican House speaker in history. He was indicted for attempting to hide the three million dollars he paid to keep a student he molested quiet. The revelation that the GOP House membership regularly chose a corrupt pervert to lead them can only depress loyal partisan Republicans. Those of us who are conservative first, Republicans second (if at all), will see confirmation of the bedrock principle that government must always be viewed with distrust since those who run it are never completely trustworthy.

On the other side of the partisan divide there’s Oregon’s Gov. John Kitzhaber, who capped his 38-year political career by re-election to a fourth term as governor in November 2014, enjoyed an inauguration on January 12, 2015 and resigned on February 18, 2015. State and federal investigations into criminal allegations against him and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, precipitated his abrupt and premature departure from office.

In Pennsylvania the state supreme court suspended Kathleen Kane’s law license. This is especially embarrassing since Kane is the State Attorney General and, unlike her fellow Democrat, John Kitzhaber, she refuses to leave office. She is charged with perjury and leaking information from a 2009 grand jury investigation. The Philadelphia Enquirer published a story indicating Kane had shut down an investigation that had successfully caught several Democratic politicians accepting kickbacks on tape. Kane has hired Lanny Davis, who worked for Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial.

In Chicago Reverend Al Sharpton, President Obama’s choice as spiritual and racism guide to replace the even more reverend Jeremiah Wright, has called for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama’s first choice as presidential chief of staff. This crowns the many such demands following allegations that his city government concealed an incriminating videotape during his reelection campaign. Incidentally, Reverend Wright now tell us that President Obama is “controlled by government…a government based on militarism, racism and capitalism.”

In March the Internal Revenue Service report revealed more than 113,805 federal employees had evaded all or part of their taxes in 2014, apparently resulting in a ten-year high in lost revenue. None of these tax-evaders lost their jobs. House Republicans put forward a bill that would have given federal officials the power to fire government employees who are delinquent on their taxes. Democrats blocked the bill. In political circles this is called “protecting your base”

This, of course, is a mere sampling of 2015 memories worth forgetting, but it may help to place the disasters that lay ahead in a balanced perspective.

About John Frary

Professor John Frary of Farmington, Maine is a former US Congress candidate and retired history professor, a Board Member of Maine Taxpayers United and publisher of www.fraryhomecompanion.com and can be reached at: jfrary8070@aol.com

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