Trump on Turnberry: Every Campaign Ad From Here On Out

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump poses with a bagpiper as he arrives at his revamped Trump Turnberry golf course in Turnberry Scotland, June 24, 2016. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA/AP)

Dude wheezing into a sheep’s bladder is a billion times more dignified. Image from MSNBC

“If the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly,” he said, referring to the location of his resort. “For traveling and for other things, I think it very well could turn out to be positive.”
-Trump, today, as the world burns.
Issac Chotiner, who is just doing invaluable work at Slate, has a terrific column about Trump’s “absurd, solipsistic” response to Brexit, but he published it too early, before the above statement came out. (He also perfectly describes Boris Johnson as “a slightly sinister and slightly absurd Trump-lite figure”) There is nothing more Trumpian than celebrating chaos simply because it benefits him. This has to lead off every single Hillary ad for the next six months.
Of course, that might not even be the low point of his presser, as MSNBC said:
Trump proceeded to hold a press conference in Scotland, against the backdrop of one of the most important political moments in the modern history of the United Kingdom, where he spoke at great length, and in great detail, about his new golf resort. The Republican candidate boasted about refurbished holes on his course, plumbing, putting greens, and zoning considerations.
This is the least, and therefore most serious candidacy in the history of the Republic. The Leave idea might be transatlantic, and even global (or Western), but I don’t think that will be enough. Hopefully, just Trump being Trump will convince even more people that he is singularly unfit to be on the library board of a bookless town, much less the President. We can only hope.

Chicago freight, the new Panama Canal, and The Dominance of Trade


Ships passing through the Panama Canal. We needed a bigger canal, for bigger ships. Hell, dig up the whole country!

After years of delays, mismanagement, disaster, and an economic downturn, the expanded Panama Canal (which saw much worse during its initial construction) is set to open on Sunday. This is a deeper and wider lane for the enormous freighters that have accompanied Asia’s economic rise: the massive sun-blotting  container ships, quarter-mile long, and capable of carrying tens of thousands of tons.

This is extremely important for trade, in a value-neutral sense, because it means that the giant ships, which couldn’t fit in the narrower and shallower original canal, will be able to bypass the West Coast and go directly to New York and other East Coast ports. The ramifications of this quickly trickle down.

Crain’s, the business paper out of Chicago which is not exactly a Sanders-ite rag, talked about the potential impact on this railroad hub. Ships that couldn’t fit the canal would be loaded on trains heading to Chicago, and thence to the east, following the same path that allowed Chicago to be the focal point of empire. Now, though, these ships can get through, which will have a potentially huge impact on Chicago’s economy. About 5% of the Chicago economy is based on railroad freight (Great Lakes shipping is another matter). If Chicago can be bypassed, that’s a lot of jobs that will disappear, thanks to a canal built half a world away.

Of course, no one seems really certain, and anyway, the impact might not be felt for years. Certainly, as the Journal reported, New York isn’t ready for these monster ships: the Bayonne Bridge isn’t tall enough, and it won’t be ready for at least another year.

That’s not to mention that the Canal itself has the hallmarks of a disaster, as epically reported by the Times. The locks are barely wide enough to handle the largest ships, and are almost exactly as long as the ships plus the two tugboats needed to maneuver them. There won’t be any room for error, which given the swirling currents when fresh water meets the ocean, could be a disaster. The tugboat union certainly thinks so. Panama awarded the contract to a rock-bottom bidder, who came in billions below the next-lowest, and it has shown. (The article almost makes you sympathetic with Bechtel, which is a hell of a thing to be.) The concrete has been leaky, and there might not be enough water.


Image from NYTimes. The new locks are 1400 feet. The Neo-Panamax ships are 1200. Tugboats are about 100 each. Snug!

And oh yeah, about that water: it mostly comes from a vast, manmade lake which provides most of Panama their drinking water. The Panamanian canal administrator has literally scolded the nation for drinking too much water, and lowering the levels, making it harder for the ships to pass through.

That seems to me to be the perfect image of the subservience to trade, of its dominance in our lives. A suspiciously rich and powerful bureaucrat, who awarded life-and-death jobs to a shoddy but connected international conglomerate, complaining about its citizens drinking too much water, and not allowing these enormous, inhumanly-scaled ships to pass through a gash cut through a continent, while two great cities thousands of miles away scramble to reconfigure an economy and raise bridges to let them pass, as workers in the cities the goods pass through lose their livelihood, and workers where the goods are made are beaten and starved and robbed.

We make these enormous ships. We dig through continents and connect oceans. We raise bridges. To say that we can’t do anything about the inequity and iniquity of global trade is to give in the free market superstition, the only truly global religion.


“Make America White Again” Landmarks On The Road To Hell



The story of Rick Tyler, running for Congress in Tennessee’s 3rd, is a few days old already, which I know is eternity in internet time. But we’d be remiss not to mention it. It seems like most of the commentary, understandably, is of the “christ, what an asshole” variety. And he is! He’s one of those hateful flakes who keeps running and losing (unlike hateful Jeff Flake, who keeps winning), and amping up his message every time to make himself more known. No such thing as bad press, right?

But Jesus…

“For these reasons we are confident that a widespread and creative billboard advertising game plan could go a long way toward making the Rick Tyler For Congress candidacy both viable and a force to be reckoned with. Clearly we are in uncharted waters, in that there has never been a candidacy like this in modern political history. Of great significance, as well, is the reality of the Trump phenomenon and the manner in which he has loosened up the overall spectrum of political discourse.”

“The Make America White Again billboard advertisement will cut to the very core and marrow of what plagues us as a nation. As Anne Coulter so effectively elucidates in her book, Adios America, the overhaul of America’s immigration law in the 1960’s has placed us on an inevitable course of demise and destruction. Yes the cunning globalist/Marxist social engineers have succeeded in destroying that great bulwark against statist tyranny the white American super majority. Without its expedited restoration little hope remains for the nation as a whole.”

Now, stipulating that:

  1. It’s northeastern Tennessee, and not totally representative of America
  2. He doesn’t have a chance of winning
  3. The second paragraph is winger word salad, seemingly engineered from the snatches of talk radio that he picks from the gaping ether of his mountainous home

This is still scary stuff. Even in that 2nd paragraph, he gives ultimate lie to the conservative movement, not injecting racism into its normal language, but making plain that’s what has always been its animating force. It was a comforting story Trump laid bare as myth. And that’s the point of this.

He’s encouraged to lay out a nakedly racist billboard by the Trump campaign, and its success. That he won’t be successful doing so isn’t a contradiction of the awesome forces Trump, and Trumpism, have unleashed in our uncertain world.  (Don’t think this wasn’t essentially the Brexit slogan.)  If he tried to pull this shit in the 50s or 60s, there’d be a lot of people telling him it was pretty tacky, and no one would have tried it after at least the early 70s. Even naked racists like Helms and Thurmond knew they had to pretend there were other motivations to their salivating hate.

He won’t win. He won’t come close. And he has been condemned, in all quarters (though if Trump has been asked about it I haven’t seen). He’s a sideshow, after all, right? It’s just a slight stone rolling down a hill. But they all are, until it’s an avalanche. It’s always a sideshow, until the carnival has taken over the town, barkers running madly in the streets and the clanging sirens and blinking lights of the decaying midway blare through your window every night, exposing you to the nightmares of your soul.