One Man’s Terrorist….

March 3, 2010

Ronald Reagan may have had one thing right.  “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”  Or something to that effect.  The brouhaha over Joe Stack’s suicide attack on the IRS building in Austin, Texas, last month might be dismissed with that old saw.  But the debate has deeper significance.  While left and right bicker over whether Stack was a “terrorist” or just another angry American, progressives show that, once again, they just don’t get it.

Stack has become a hero manque to large swaths of the American public because he took on the tax system and the federal government in the most direct way possible.  Liberals and progressives, leaping to the defense of big government, insist we recognize that Stack’s act was classic terrorism.  In doing so they line up as implicit defenders of the “war on terror” and the Patriot Act — so long as the playing field is level:  not just Muslims and foreigners but red-blooded Americans, too.  That would be bad enough but not unprecedented:  it was a liberal president Clinton and his liberal attorney general, Janet Reno, after all, who backed the Anti-Terrorist and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, the pre-cursor to the Patriot Act, in the face of another act of domestic terrorism.

Maybe more troubling is the evidence that progressives want to ignore what Stack was all about and why he has won his momentary notoriety.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Private Insurance vs. Public Life

January 8, 2010

by Michael Foley

The Grange Hall in my little community is one of two venues where community groups can rent a room or a ballroom for their activities.  There’s a commercial-grade kitchen under construction, with high hopes that it will serve as an incubator for locally based small food businesses.  But the insurance industry has its claws even into these eminently civic purposes.  Non-profits, small businesses, wedding parties, even little groups of friends have to prove they have a million dollars in liability insurance just to walk in the door.  Why?  Because a single serious accident could cost the Grange its building.  And it’s insurer wants to see, every year, the insurance certificates of every entity that rented Grange facilities.

We tolerate this situation because it is the way we pay for medical care.  Yes, it is primarily a matter of how we cover the inevitable expenses of an accident or serious case of food poisoning or, God forbid, another outbreak of Legionnaires Disease.  Liability insurance, of course, also covers loss of livelihood resulting from such injuries, the pain and suffering experienced by the victim and his or her family, and penalties for gross negligence.  It represents, in short, the complete privatization of public welfare and even basic police functions. Read the rest of this entry »