Laugh and know, or cry and get fooled...
WE WERE taken aback by some dear readers' anger last week, writes Bill Bonner in his Diary of a Rogue Economist.
Conservative...liberal...Republican...Democrat...readers were almost unanimous.
They didn't appreciate the mocking tone in which we described our president and his role in the US government.
To the left, this is no joking matter. To the right, making fun of the president is practically an act of treason.
But making fun of the high and mighty is what we do here at the Diary.
"Laugh and know," said the Roman poet Martial. You can understand the pretensions...the foolish contradictions...and the absurd fantasies...only if you're able to laugh at them.
Specifically, we were laughing at the way The Donald has bamboozled his own base. He talks their talk. But he walks the walk of the Deep State. Mr.Trump is a showman.
And as a helpful Dear Reader reminded us, quoting Frank Zappa, "politics is basically the entertainment arm of the military/industrial complex."
We would add that it serves the social welfare/Wall Street complex, too. Trump – veteran reality TV star and professional wraslin' fan – distracts the voters while the insiders pick their pockets.
And yet, not only do readers disagree; they think there must be something wrong with us for saying so.
Here's one piece of feedback from last week's Diary mailbag:
"Mr.Bill Bonner, you are quite smug, and disrespectful to our president. Maybe you're just so jealous of his success – in spite of detractors like you, pretending to be hidden away in some remote area – that you, too, are part of the misinformation media trying to extract money from the ignorant. Go hate yourself. You deserve it."
"You've tried again and again to put Donald Trump down, and you have lost all the time. Maybe he is not an intellectual like you, but he is doing what he can with morons like you and others (Dems, media, GOP insiders, etc.) and still, he is getting better results that your pal Barack.
"You are a nobody who believes you are successful, but forgets that success is not to have money, but to have real friends, a good family, and also decency and honesty, not abuse the system. Because a lot of people are like you (losers). It is easy to throw rocks at everybody and believe that you are over and above everybody.
"Have a good life. But do not send me another of your boring tales about your ranch, your stupid family, or yourself."
And here's another that we received on Thursday:
"What prompted the switch from blaming Nixon and fake money creation to robbing the working class for all the ills you see in the world? And why does it all seem to culminate with the election of the 'oaf'?
"Aren't you a bit blinded by envy, perhaps? After all, anybody could become president, right? And you and Donald have lots in common, except he has a much bigger bank account. Some kind of incompetent oaf he must be."
Not content with the punch in the face on Thursday...this Dear Reader delivered a left hook on Friday!
"Once again, Bill, I enjoy your writing and wit. But lately, you often go a bit over the top. I am glad you love and thank our president for the good he's done you. For some reason, however, you still feel the need to diminish him and his accomplishments for the county – and, yes, for the forgotten men and women in 'flyover country'.
"Now that you are saving 22% on your tax bill, that you think is undeserved, I expect you to give it back to subscribers or to the workers from whom you claim it was robbed. I bet you are just as much a phony as you make Trump out to be – one who pretends to be for the little guy, but has a deal with the devil or Deep State.
"What do you have to say to that?"
Oh, Dear Reader, ask us something harder!
Here at the Diary, we've never claimed to be for the little guy.
Little? Big? Republican? Democrat? Zoroastrian? What do we care?
It's claptrap and quackery we take aim at...no matter where they come from. And since they almost always come gushing from the mouths of public figures, we are prone to making fun of them all – no matter their political persuasion or sports team affiliation.
As for giving our tax savings to others...we can assure you that every penny will go to others. That is just the way of the world. Nobody keeps his money forever; after all, they don't hitch U-Hauls to hearses.
But if President Trump and the US Congress went to all the trouble to put this money in our hands, they must have had a good reason, right?
They claim it will be for the good of the nation. Wouldn't it be ungrateful...or even unpatriotic...to part with it too soon?
Of course, our critics may be right. We always reserve the right to be wrong. And maybe sometime in the future, we will see that we were wrong about "The Donald" all along.
Perhaps he will commit some redemptory act of grace and courage...maybe even intelligence.
Or maybe, Melania's memoir will reveal the genuine charm and sweetness of the man's soul...behind the role he plays on TV. Then we will doff our cap...sing his praises...and apologize.
But we've been laughing at public figures for many years; never have we seen one who had risen to a high level of power who was not, at least in some way, a scoundrel or a fraud. Our only regret about most of them is that we didn't laugh more.
In the meantime, we take strong issue with the idea expressed by more than one correspondent that we are just "jealous" or "envious" of the Blond Bombshell.
Why should we be?
Yes, he has much more money than we do; we'll give him that. And yes, he has had far more success; after all, he's POTUS.
Oh...and he has fame as well as money. He was a reality TV star and a lifelong celebrity before becoming president of the United States.
And he has more responsibility for the state of the world. He meets with the world's leaders. He plays golf. And gives good speeches. And his sons are making big deals with foreign governments.
And he's fatter than we are. And has more hair.
But other than that, we're about even.
Okay, so we're jealous of his hair, we admit it.
But seriously, wouldn't it be more likely that "The Donald" is envious of us?
We don't have as much money (much less of a burden)...we're not a TV star (we can get a hamburger at McDonald's without security guards)...we don't have to worry about North Korea, ISIS, or al-Qaeda (or whatever the president is supposed to be worried about).
We don't have to play golf...get into spats with reporters...pretend to be fighting for the common man...send out those goofy tweets...or make a public spectacle of ourselves 24/7.
Huh? What do you say to that?