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 on: June 29, 2018, 10:34:23 pm 
Started by chevy - Last post by chevy
good golly gosh this group still going hard. wheres all the old members. Geejackson Arohanui Kursk Swimming Team WGTGRL Emmes AnFOUL Adjustor Bella sweetpea LooneyTunes KiwithrottlingHisJockeys lol. [

 on: June 29, 2018, 12:09:45 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post…

Don't blame Harley-Davidson for making a smart business decision

The president's pledge to negotiate strong trade agreements is smart,
but imposing tariffs against U.S. allies caused a self-inflicted wound.

By REID RIBBLE | 5:18PM EDT — Thursday, June 28, 2018

The logo for Harley-Davidson on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. — Photograph: Richard Drew/Associated Press.
The logo for Harley-Davidson on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. — Photograph: Richard Drew/Associated Press.

I RIDE MOTORCYCLES. I'm partial to Harley-Davidson motorcycles because I'm from Wisconsin, home of the company's headquarters, but also because I have fond memories of riding my Harley with many friends, when I was a member of Congress, during the annual Rolling Thunder event in Washington to honor military veterans.

I understand Harley-Davidson's recent decision to move production of its motorcycles for sale in the European Union to plants outside the United States. It wasn't a surprise — that's what just about any company would do when faced with a 25 percent tariff imposed by the E.U. in response to President Trump's trade agenda. Companies must be nimble or they lose market share, and Europe is Harley-Davidson's second-largest market after the United States. The tariff would have added an average of more than $2,000 to the cost of a Harley in Europe, no doubt damaging the company's market share, which is difficult and expensive to regain. Critics, including the president, nonetheless attacked Harley-Davidson for its decision.

Who is right in this debate? A president who says he wants to negotiate better trade deals for everyone, or a company with a business to run but no say in those negotiations? Both sides have a point.

Trump needs to understand that businesses seek the most efficient and cost-effective manner to deliver goods and services. If they sell their products in other countries, they will try to minimize additional taxes to keep prices competitive. That is a basic element of trade.

The United States does not have a formal trade agreement with the E.U. Nor does it have one with China. Absent formalized trade agreements, trade deficits are significantly likelier to occur in countries with more-open markets, as in the United States. Reaching a trade agreement with the E.U., instead of getting into a tariff war, would address Trump's overriding concern about trade deficits — and would be good for companies such as Harley-Davidson. But it should be noted that, broadly speaking, there really is nothing wrong with trade deficits. They send a signal that consumers like both products and pricing. They're also evidence of superior purchasing power — testimony to America's affluence and size. Yet some smaller, less affluent countries, including Canada, purchase more goods and services from us than we do from them. (Contrary to the president's deficit complaints, the U.S. Trade Representative reported a trade surplus of $8.4 billion with Canada in 2017.)

Yes, trade agreements produce a mix of winners and some losers. In the aggregate, each side wants more wins than losses. That's how it works. The fact that some industries in the United States have had losses in past trade agreements has made many people, including the president, skeptical about the quality of those agreements.

But the United States overall has mostly been a big winner. As Bloomberg News noted in May, U.S. manufacturing output, in inflation-adjusted terms, "is more than twice what it was back in 1979, when manufacturing employment peaked." Sure, there are fewer manufacturing jobs today, but that's mostly caused by automation and American ingenuity, not losses to foreign competition. In today's hot U.S. economy, a shortage of workers, not unemployment, is the problem.

Trump campaigned on fixing bad trade agreements. He focused especially on the trade deficit with China. In the past and continuing to this day, China has cheated in the marketplace by dumping products such as paper, steel and solar panels on the U.S. market to drive down prices and put competitors out of business. The president's efforts to persuade China to change its practices are justifiable.

The Harley-Davidson matter is altogether different. It's a self-inflicted wound. Tariffs prompt retaliatory tariffs, and they serve only to tax consumers. The company has been manufacturing motorcycles in the United States for more than a century, and riders around the world understandably want to ride these enjoyable machines. Should Harley-Davidson have waited to see what would result from trade negotiations, hoping tariffs would be abandoned? Not many businesses would. The one thing I know for sure is businesspeople want two things: certainty and low taxes. No one, including Trump, should demonize a company for taking steps to secure its own future.


Reid Ribble, a former U.S. congressman from Wisconsin (2011-2017), is the chief executive officer of the National Roofing Contractors Association.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Trump to Harley-Davidson: ‘Don't get cute’

 • ‘Don't get cute’: Trump is really sore about Harley-Davidson's perceived lack of loyalty to him

 • Fact Checker: President Trump announces a major U.S. Steel expansion that isn't happening


 on: June 28, 2018, 09:14:31 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

 on: June 28, 2018, 09:13:34 pm 
Started by Im2Sexy4MyPants - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

Yep.....this just about sums up Trump's America today...

 on: June 28, 2018, 04:41:35 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post…

Harley Davidson: What Trump-supporting owners say
about the president's fight with the company

Harley-Davidson owners are caught in fight between the brand they love
and the president they support in the wake of a brewing global trade war.

By DAN SIMMONS | 11:38AM EDT — Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Bob Franz, 76, of Milwaukee, Stacey Sklidum, 49, of Dousman, Wisconsin, and Marc Skildum, 48 of Dousman, Wisconsin. — Photograph: Dan Simmons/for The Washington Post.
Bob Franz, 76, of Milwaukee, Stacey Sklidum, 49, of Dousman, Wisconsin, and Marc Skildum, 48 of Dousman, Wisconsin.
 — Photograph: Dan Simmons/for The Washington Post.

MILWAUKEE — Marc Skildum is an avid supporter of President Trump who raises alpacas in nearby Dousman, Wisconsin, and rides Electra Glide Ultra Classics with his wife, Stacey. But he doesn't share the president's outrage that Harley-Davidson, headquartered here for 115 years, is moving work overseas to get around Trump's brewing global trade war.

“It's business,” said Skildum, 48, visiting the company's museum near downtown Milwaukee. “If they can expand overseas and save money, you do it. Trump himself would do it, I feel.”

After Harley announced on Monday it would shift work overseas to avoid the fallout from Trump's aluminum and steel tariffs and Europe's retaliatory tariffs, the president repeatedly criticized the company, threatening it with severe taxes and predicting the decision could represent the “beginning of the end” for the brand.

“Harley-Davidson should stay 100% in America, with the people that got you your success,” Trump said in his latest tweet on the subject on Wednesday. “I've done so much for you, and then this. Other companies are coming back where they belong! We won't forget, and neither will your customers or your now very HAPPY competitors!”

Yet a visit to a motorcycle repair shop and the museum here on Wednesday revealed that Harley customers might not be willing to choose between the president they support and the motorcycle company they love. The company said the retaliatory tariffs by the European Union would increase the cost of its motorcycles by an average of $2,200 in European markets if they were made in the United States.

Supporters of the president, who made up the majority of riders surveyed, continue to back him, though with caveats.

“He gets himself into all these squabbles that he shouldn't,” such as this one with Harley, said Jeff Polak, a 54-year-old from Milwaukee who rides a 2013 Harley FLTRU Road Glide. “I don't support that.”

But he doesn't blame the president's tariffs for Harley's decision to set up more manufacturing operations abroad.

“I think Harley has been planning this for years,” he said. The tariffs presented the company with an easy way to explain the move, he reasoned.

Harley has built both an enduring brand and a near-peerless reputation for high-quality American craftsmanship, a reputation that Trump himself once celebrated. In February 2017, shortly after his inauguration, Trump joined company executives on the front lawn of the White House, holding it up as an example of a U.S. company that would benefit and expand thanks to Republican policies on tax and trade.

The company's relationship with its home town has been largely unblemished, and a massive party will be held in Milwaukee over Labor Day weekend to celebrate its 115th anniversary. Groups from San Diego; Seattle; Portland, Maine; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; will ride in on the company's motorcycles, converging in what the company calls “the motherland” of Milwaukee.

But some here have soured a bit and fought back against the company's mystique. Jim Mead, a retired Milwaukee man, quit high school for a job on the Harley-Davidson assembly line in 1968 but stopped riding the company's motorcycles a few years ago in favor of an Indian-brand bike. He doesn't buy the company's stated rationale for the overseas move.

“Using the tariffs as an excuse to move offshore is weak at best,” he said. “Anyone who knows anything about Harley-Davidson knows that they have been using non-American products in their bikes for years. They have had plans for this move long before Donald Trump started taking a hard line on the trade imbalance.”

An unwavering Trump supporter, Mead said his moves on trade make sense.

“The president is, in my opinion, doing exactly what he should do to correct the imbalance and bad deals on trade that haven't been addressed ever,” he said.

Bob Franz, 76, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin says Harley-Davidson doesn't have a choice about moving some of their production overseas. — Photograph: Dan Simmons/for The Washington Post.
Bob Franz, 76, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin says Harley-Davidson doesn't
have a choice about moving some of their production overseas.
 — Photograph: Dan Simmons/for The Washington Post.

Bob Franz didn't vote for Trump, sitting out the election entirely, and doesn't support his tariffs. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more avid Harley supporter. In his younger days, he rarely met weather not suitable for riding a Harley. One day, it was 40 degrees below zero. He drove to work in his native Milwaukee on his three-wheeled motorcycle, wearing insulated layers beneath and above his black leather riding jacket. The bike's engine kept his legs toasty. It was comfortable, he said. Now 76, he still puts about 100 miles a week on his 2002 Road King, but takes winters off.

Like many in the city where Harley-Davidson got its start, Franz not only rides the company's motorcycles but also worked there, as a mechanic for a decade in the 1960s. The pending move to overseas manufacturing can't be avoided because of the tariffs, he said.

“I don't think they have any other choice,” Franz said. But it won't work in the long term, he said. He pointed to the company's sale in 1969 to American Machine and Foundry (AMF). AMF moved some manufacturing overseas, he said, which only created problems because factory hands weren't used to making Harleys. Quality suffered, the company's finances went south and a group of 12 investors that included Willie G. Davidson, grandson of company co-founder William A. Davidson, bought the company back in 1981.

“You start sending stuff overseas, and nothing works,” Franz said. “History repeats itself. I've seen it happen. In a couple of years it will all be back in Milwaukee.”

On that point, Stacey Skildum, a strong Trump supporter, agrees.

“Made in America,” she said, raising her hands in a celebratory pose. “Buy American. Support your country. Support your neighbor who needs a job.”

Trump's tariffs make that possible.

“They aren't designed to punish,” she said. “It's if you want the privilege [to bring goods to U.S. markets], you have to pay for it.”


• Dan Simmons is a former senior editor with Milwaukee Magazine. He is now a Milwaukee-based freelancer and a frequent contributor to The Washington Post.


 on: June 28, 2018, 04:40:43 pm 
Started by Im2Sexy4MyPants - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

Haw Haw Haw … “Played like a Fiddle!”

 on: June 28, 2018, 04:29:57 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

 on: June 28, 2018, 04:27:16 pm 
Started by Im2Sexy4MyPants - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

 on: June 28, 2018, 03:47:50 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post…

Harley-Davidson: The oddity of the ‘America First’ president
bashing a classic American brand

Trump aims his ire at an American staple that has weathered the Model T, the Depression and trade wars.

By KYLE SWENSON | 5:17AM PDT — Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A biker rides his Harley-Davidson motorcycle at a parade in June 2018. — Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters.
A biker rides his Harley-Davidson motorcycle at a parade in June 2018. — Photograph: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters.

GO HUNTING for the Harley-Davidson origin story, and you'll end up in the black smoke and workshop tinkering of the early 1900s. But the true jumping-off point for understanding the modern American motorcycle manufacturer is May 6, 1987 — the day the Gipper blessed the brand.

Wearing a light-colored suit as he bounced up a platform at the company's plant in York, Pennsylvania, President Ronald Reagan stood before a factory floor jammed with assembly-line workers, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time. He was there to deliver a limited-government victory speech.

Five years earlier, Harley-Davidson was in a corporate tailspin because of intense competition from Japanese manufacturers dominating the U.S. market. In 1983, the Reagan administration imposed five years of limited tariffs on Japanese bikes. The assist helped Harley-Davidson's management re-tool the company. In 1987, the company was ready to again take on the Japanese competition alone. The company was the only U.S. motorcycle brand left standing.

“American workers don't need to hide from anyone,” Reagan told the crowd, the L.A. Times reported. But the president, a free-trade hawk, walked an interesting line in his speech. While praising the “breathing room” the tariffs allowed the company to get back on its feet, he argued against further protections.

“Our trade laws should work to foster growth and trade, not shut it off,” Reagan said. “And that is what is at the heart of our fair-trade policy: opening foreign markets, not closing ours. The idea of going to mandatory retaliation and shutting down on presidential discretion in enforcing our trade laws is moving toward a policy that invites, even encourages, trade wars.”

The workers — many still fearing what international competition would do to their jobs later — were silent, according to the L.A. Times.

Now the famous U.S. brand is again the target of presidential focus — this time with a much different intensity. On Tuesday, President Trump criticized Harley-Davidson after the company's decision to shift some production overseas because of the administration's aggressive trade policy. As The Washington Post has reported, Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs will cost Harley-Davidson $20 million, the company says. Retaliatory tariffs could cost an additional $45 million.

In tweets, the president lashed out at Harley-Davidson, saying the company — a brand he has embraced in the past — was using the tariffs as an excuse to take away U.S. jobs. The bikes, Trump stated, should “never be built in another country-never!”

“If they move, watch, it will be the beginning of the end — they surrendered, they quit!” Trump wrote. “The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!”

Trump's ire at a quintessentially American brand is noteworthy. So much of the history of Harley-Davidson — a company started by the sons of immigrants in what we now call the Rust Belt — is wrapped up in the same concerns dominating the White House, including trade wars, broad-stroke nationalism, celebrity and image maintenance.

In the late 1800s, motorcycles were a gag.

As Darwin Holmstrom writes in his book Harley-Davidson: The Complete History, gasoline-powered bicycles were unwieldy at the century's start because of the size of the engines — more a “carnival freak” than an actual mode of transportation, according to Holmstrom. In 1895, an entrepreneur named Edward Joel Pennington showed off his curious “Motor Cycle” on a street in Milwaukee. Neighbors rushed to watch. Two 14-year-olds who lived nearby may have been in the crowd, Holmstrom speculates: William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson.

By the early 1900s, lighter-weight engines made motorcycles a more feasible product. Harley and Davidson worked on designs and built bikes, eventually selling their first models in 1903. According to the company, the two tinkered on their early designs in a 10-by-15-foot wooden shed behind the Davidson house. “Harley-Davidson Motor Company” was scrawled on the workshop's door.

Demand was high enough in 1906 for the friends to build a small factory in their Milwaukee neighborhood, Holmstrom writes. A year later, they officially incorporated the company bearing their names.

Harley-Davidson showed early on that the company could easily slip from one identity to another.

As Yahoo reported in March, the motorcycles were originally designed as a primary mode of transportation for riders. Starting in 1908, however, Henry Ford's affordable Model T began dominating that market. Harley-Davidson pivoted, pitching its products not as your ride to work or for daily errands but as a leisure craft. According to Yahoo, the company worked to start riding clubs for owners. In the cash-heavy 1920s, motorcycles were another activity of the rich.

A second market helped Harley-Davidson outlive the Depression: the military. The company's cycles had been used early on by various armies. According to Yahoo, Harley-Davidson survived the bottomed-out 1930s in part because of military shipments to Japan. When World War II ripped the world apart, the company was busy producing bikes for the Allies.

The postwar years were when Harley-Davidson stepped fully into the identity that's now welded completely to the brand: the outlaw.

Motorcycle clubs — favored by World War II veterans eager for a jolt of adrenaline after combat — started up in the 1950s. Thanks to screen time in movies such as 1953's The Wild One and 1969's Easy Rider, as well as reports of the leather-clad mayhem tied to groups such as the Hell's Angels, the myth of the Harley-mounted, anti-social misfit stuck in the social consciousness. Whether feared or revered, Harley-Davidson riders — bulling down the street with the V-twin engine's unmistakable roar — became American fixtures.

And yet the outlaw image would also set Harley-Davidson on a path to economic disaster. Honda's own motorcycles were portrayed in ads as a clean, nice alternative to the Harley-Davidson's social menace. In 1959, the Japanese manufacturer sold 1,700 bikes in the United States. By 1970, after Harley-Davidson had become the highway's bad boy, Honda was selling 500,000.

Other overseas competitors began piling into the stateside market. Harley-Davidson's then-president, John Davidson, a descendant of one of the company's founders, would eventually accuse companies such as Honda of “dumping” products in the United States.

“The Japanese established production schedules that were much higher than mid-Seventies demand for their products,” Davidson once said. “They chose the U.S. to unload their excess production.”

The company's own mismanagement did not help its business at the time.

“‘We were being wiped out by the Japanese because they were better managers,” executive Vaughn Beals explained to Fortune in 1989. “It wasn't robotics, or culture, or morning calisthenics and company songs — it was professional managers who understood their business and paid attention to detail.”

But the company executed another skillful identity change in the 1970s that would eventually help refurbish its image in bold red, white and blue strokes.

Feeding off the patriotic energy soaking the country for the Bicentennial, the company released a “Liberty Edition” bike in 1976 featuring patriotic coloring, the Statue of Liberty, and “Born Free” inscribed on the frame, Yahoo reported.

The new line suggested that the brand's toughness and edginess were not anti-social values but inherent to American identity. That association had fully stuck by the time Reagan cheered the company's resurgence in 1987 after the tariffs were dismantled.

“As you've shown again, America is someplace special,” Reagan told the crowd of workers. “We're on the road to unprecedented prosperity in this country — and we'll get there on a Harley!”

Harley-Davidson's recent years have been difficult, leaving the company vulnerable to the global chaos Trump's trade policy may spark. As BikeBandit.com has reported, the motorcycle riders are getting grayer: In 2016, the median age for U.S. motorcyclists was 47. In 1990, it was 32. In January, the company's postings showed worldwide retail had fallen 6.7 percent in 2016, with U.S. sales dropping 8.5 percent.

Yet the brand's iconography has been resilient to bad sales before. It's one of the few U.S. companies hooked so firmly to the national identity.


Kyle Swenson is a reporter with The Washington Post's Morning Mix team. Prior to joining The Post in 2017, he covered South Florida for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach. His reporting on the criminal justice system and features have won several national awards, including the Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2015 he was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. His first book, Good Kids, Bad City: A Story of Race and Wrongful Conviction in America's Rust Belt will be published by Picador USA in September 2018.


 on: June 28, 2018, 03:15:18 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Im2Sexy4MyPants


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