Al-Zeidi and Madoff: Liberty and Capitalism at Work

Morning Whiskey: The First Shot’s on Me

Greeting Shooters,

Your submissions are rolling in, but I figured I’d pour the first shot.

Welcome to Morning Whiskey. We’re going to use this little corner of our site to feature your thoughts on the matters dear to all the hearts at this bar.

First up: Muntadhar al-Zeidi has been punished for striking a symbolic blow for liberty; he insulted the head of an invading state and he did so with no regard to personal cost. How utterly American! You’d think that Bush and Co. would be proud.

The law of his land demands at least three years jail time for assaulting a visiting head of state. Ironically, Bush II hadn’t been officially invited that day…just as his forces hadn’t been invited back in the spring of 2003. The man just can’t seem to figure out when he’s not wanted.

My sympathies lie with Mr. Al-Zeidi. That won’t score me any points with the sort of Republicans who often pay lip service to the ideas of republicanism (little “r”) and liberty, but who still love an aggressive king. But there it is.

I have a hard enough time living under the yoke of my own government. I can’t imagine how incensed I would be if another bunch of armed thugs from across the globe swooped in with the usual bushel of state lies and tore my country apart.

And before the “Yes We Can” crowd starts to cheer too loudly at my Republican-bashing, allow me to express my sympathies to Bernie Madoff. Surely the man’s a swindler…and just maybe he deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison…maybe…

But he was just fulfilling a necessary ecological role. In the blow off stage of the era of central banks, easy money and easier credit, someone had to separate a bunch of fools from their money. Amway is allowed to do it with impunity. And the Fed actually encourages this sort of thing by creating the credit and cash that inflates these bubbles in the first place. But Bernie is the one who’s going to the big house.

Says Bernie "When I began the Ponzi scheme I believed it would end shortly and I would be able to extricate myself and my clients from the scheme, however, this proved difficult, and ultimately impossible, and as the years went by I realized that my arrest and this day would inevitably come."

How tragic. The poor man probably never really got to enjoy the wealth he amassed. He went to sleep every night with full knowledge that at any time the jig would be up. All the fine food he surely ate must have been like ashes in his mouth…or maybe he did savor every bit of his well-heeled life since he knew it would all vanish one day.

Now in service to his family—who probably were in on the scam—he is making no deals with prosecutors and giving up no names, and plans to live out his remaining years as a guest of the federal government…the same enabler who runs a much bigger Ponzi scheme of fiat money and social security. Bernie must feel a like a low-level drug dealer who just got beat up and jailed by the same crooked cop who was supplying him with dope.

But as mentioned, Bernie belongs in jail. Still, I can’t help but see him as a noble patsy, a martyr for the mob’s expectation of something for nothing. I’m less ambiguous about Muntadhar; I don’t wish Bush II any lasting physical harm, but occasionally the smug bastards who ruin millions of lives need to be embarrassed a little.

I just wish Muntadhar had had a little better aim.

Happy Friday the 13th.

Gary Gibson
Managing Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder