Ugly American

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Trump on alternate energy, environment, creating jobs, the economy—in Scotland

“A liar begins with making falsehood appear like truth, and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood.” --William Shenstone (English poet,1714-1763). Make of that what you will. It’s just a little quote I ran across while my mind was occupied with the words and actions of Donald Trump and the grumblings of some of his supporters attempting to cleanse his character and justify their support.

It takes a lot of nerve in my opinion for the lot of them to rant about his having been—and continuing to be--unduly sullied by “lying” and “biased” mainstream media. Sounds to me a lot like attempted transferring of culpability from the guilty to the innocent. 

I was continuing to write on here about who really lies, the nature of bias and a free press, when I paused to read Saturday’s Seattle Times, which included details of Trump’s most-recent golf course project in Scotland. During this interlude of post-election vacillation by Trump, the story gives added proof to the misleading exaggeration, petty, peevish and spiteful arrogance that is the underlying character our president-elect displayed during his campaign. The story was recently published in The New York Times, Trump’s favorite target as he attempts to silence a free press that insists on telling the public what he’s up to—what he’s doing and saying. What he’s tweeting. Whom he’s attacking.

“If Americans want to know what is coming, it should study what happened here,” said a government official of Balmedie, Scotland  (a village in the Aberdeen area, on the northeast coast), where Trump has constructed a new golf course. “I have just seen him do in America . . . precisely what he did here. He suckered the people and he suckered the politicians until he got what he wanted, and then he went back on pretty much everything he promised.” Trump wooed the public with his depiction of huge financial benefits from tourism, jobs, etc. When reality struck, it included instead his ravaging the environment and ignoring the rights of adjoining property owners—among other things.

As the history goes, Trump began 10 years ago promising a $1.25 billion investment in constructing the “world’s greatest golf course” that opponents say has involved an outlay of at most more like $50 million. An envisioned 6,000 jobs across the country (and some 1,400 continuing one in the local area) have dwindled to 95, two promised golf courses have instead become one. A 450-room luxury hotel and 950 time-share apartments have become instead just a manor house converted into a 16-room boutique hotel.

All of this is on an environmentally protected site featuring 4,000-year-old sand dunes. The promises that have gained him public support have been broken one by one. And as the project progressed, Trump fought a two-year-long court battle to prevent a wind-energy farm (11 large wind turbines) from being built in the vicinity of his golf course because it would detract from the ocean view. His golf course came back into the news strongly when he finally lost his case in the Scottish Supreme Court. 

A Trump spokesperson countered that Trump had spent $1.25 million and that the golf course employs 150 people. But even that left Balmedie getting only 10% of promised investment and 90% fraudulent lip service.

In the process of this development . . . how did the great unwashed multitude, the riffraff, the “losers” who are the common people make out. Let me tell you. Starting with ocean views.  On the border of this grand tribute to his wealth, this exclusive golf course, Trump has built a wall, blocking the sea view of residents refusing to sell their homes to him. Then he sent them a bill for the wall. As reported verbatim In "The New York Times, long America’s leading newspaper: “David and Moire Milne already had been threatened with legal action by Trump’s lawyers, who claimed a corner of their garage belonged to him, when they came home one day to find his staff building a fence around their garden. Two rows of grown trees went up next, blocking the view. Their water and electricity lines were temporarily cut. And then a bill for about $3,500 arrived . . .” The Milnes now fly a Mexican flag from their hilltop house. So do Susan and Dan Munro, who also refused to sell and now face an almost 15-foot high earthen wall Trump built on two sides of their house. 

On the other side of the Trump property lives quarry-worker Michael Forbes. Trump publicly accused him of “living like a pig” and called him a “disgrace’ for not selling his “disgusting” and “slumlike” home. He had attempted, unsuccessfully, to have such homes condemned by local government’s use of “eminent domain” (expropriating private property for public use, with proper compensation to the owner).

With Donald set to take office as our President, it’s fortunate that Scotland is not a major player in world affairs—as he already is persona non grata there.

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