Why does Donald Trump constantly preface his outlandish lies with such phrases as: "To be honest with you," "To tell the truth" and "Believe me"?
Because even he knows that as a lifelong con-man, his voice takes on the tone of a snake-oil salesman when he starts exaggerating and prevaricating, so he reflexively tries to puff up his credibility with an extra dose of bluster: "No really, trust me, I never lie..." In fact, just in the past year, Trump's documented whoppers rank him as the lyingest president in U.S. history. And that included Nixon!
It's not the volume of his fabrications that is so gross, but their enormity. Most damnable of all has been his masquerading as a golden-haired billionaire "populist" who's standing up for America's hard-hit middle class against Wall Street, corporate lobbyists and moneyed elites -- a carefully crafted PR pose that has duped many working stiffs into thinking he is their champion.
Even before he was sworn in last year, President Trump stripped off the populist garments he wore during his campaign and publicly bared his naked plutocratic essence by naming bankster Gary Cohn to be his top economic advisor.
Wait... didn't candidate Trump promise working-class voters that he'd be Wall Street's worst nightmare, cracking down hard on greedy financial thieves whose scams and schemes are wrecking the middle class? Yes, but that was then. Now, President Trump has become Wall Street's wet dream.
Cohn is one of five top economic officials our fake populist president brought into his government from just one of Wall Street's most abusive banks, Goldman Sachs. How many officials did he add to bring such legitimate voices as consumers, workers, and poor people to his policy making table? Zero.
So, since if we don't have a seat at the table, we're on the menu! Sure enough, Trump and his crew of voracious corporate plutocrats are gorging themselves on new rules that further enrich America's already-rich elites at our expense. For example, they're reducing penalties for Wall Street fraud and gouging; eliminating the requirement that firms advising us on where to invest our savings have to act in our best interests, rather than their own; loosening the few protections we have against predatory lenders; raising the number of temporary, low-wage foreign workers that corporations can bring in to take our jobs; scrapping a rule requiring corporate giants to report their unequal pay to women; opening up Social Security to cuts and privatization; limiting fines on nursing home negligence that harm or even kill residents; eliminating funds for low-income heating and programs to protect kids from lead paint; repealing fracking rules that protect water and air quality; allowing for-profit, private colleges to gouge students; ending funding that provides legal services for poor people; and raising entrance fees at our national parks.
These are just a few of Trump & Company's ongoing rush-rush and hush-hush assaults on our rights, protections and basic needs -- all orchestrated to free a tiny minority of moneyed powers to run roughshod over the great majority of Americans.
That's why a new, straight-talking pamphlet by the watchdog group, Public Citizen, is so important. It starts with Trump's declaration in his inaugural address last year that, "The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer." Then it shows that he immediately abandoned any pretense of populist principles, proceeding from day one to further enrich and empower the same multinational corporations and mega-rich elites he had denounced as a candidate. While there have been multiple news reports throughout the past year about this action or that by Trump Incorporated, Public Citizen's brief connects the dots, documenting with concise, easy-to-grasp specifics how Trump the faux populist has systematically sold out the working families whose votes he cynically swiped, handing our government to a kakistocracy of corporate plutocrats. It's not merely that he's an irredeemable liar, but that Trump himself is a lie.
The Public Citizen expose, titled "Forgetting the Forgotten: 101 Ways Donald Trump Has Betrayed His Populist Agenda," drives the stake of truth through the heart of his populist lie. It should not just be read, but used like a Thomas Paine pamphlet to spread the truth. To download a free copy, go to CorporatePresidency.org/forgotten.
Populist author, public speaker, and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.