So Much Winning


The regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission require the filing of form 8-K when an event occurs outside the ordinary course of business that materially affects a publicly traded company. Today, Harley-Davidson, Inc., filed a form 8-K stating in relevant part as follows:

The European Union has enacted tariffs on various U.S.-manufactured products, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles. These tariffs, which became effective June 22, 2018, were imposed in response to the tariffs the U.S. imposed on steel and aluminum exported from the EU to the U.S.

Consequently, EU tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles exported from the U.S. have increased from 6% to 31%. Harley-Davidson expects these tariffs will result in an incremental cost of approximately $2,200 per average motorcycle exported from the U.S. to the EU.

Harley-Davidson believes the tremendous cost increase, if passed onto its dealers and retail customers, would have an immediate and lasting detrimental impact to its business in the region, reducing customer access to Harley-Davidson products and negatively impacting the sustainability of its dealers’ businesses. Therefore, Harley-Davidson will not raise its manufacturer’s suggested retail prices or wholesale prices to its dealers to cover the costs of the retaliatory tariffs. In the near-term, the company will bear the significant impact resulting from these tariffs, and the company estimates the incremental cost for the remainder of 2018 to be approximately $30 to $45 million. On a full-year basis, the company estimates the aggregate annual impact due to the EU tariffs to be approximately $90 to $100 million.

To address the substantial cost of this tariff burden long-term, Harley-Davidson will be implementing a plan to shift production of motorcycles for EU destinations from the U.S. to its international facilities to avoid the tariff burden. Harley-Davidson expects ramping-up production in international plants will require incremental investment and could take at least 9 to 18 months to be fully complete.

Harley-Davidson maintains a strong commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing which is valued by riders globally. Increasing international production to alleviate the EU tariff burden is not the company’s preference, but represents the only sustainable option to make its motorcycles accessible to customers in the EU and maintain a viable business in Europe. Europe is a critical market for Harley-Davidson. In 2017, nearly 40,000 riders bought new Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Europe, and the revenue generated from the EU countries is second only to the U.S.

To Bigotry No Sanction, To Persecution No Assistance

To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, R.I., 18 August 1790


While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, from all classes of Citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and a happy people.

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

George Washington

Shouting at People in Restaurants

fire and ice

This seems to be the day when we debate whether it is a good idea or a bad idea to shout at Trump officials and supporters while they eat in restaurants. Answer: not a good idea.

But the question is wrong. The question should be whether we should continue to recognize Trump officials and supporters as members of polite society. The question is, should we pretend we can have a normal conversation with them, when we cannot in fact have a normal conversation with them because they manfully refuse to recognize reality—or to admit that empathy is a valid human emotion?

The answer is no, we can’t, and no, we shouldn’t pretend.

IMHO, the right response is not fire. The right response is cold, hard ice.

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

– Robert Frost

No One Left

4 February 2017, West Point Cadets tour the Permanent Exhibition.

Trump Calls for Depriving Immigrants Who Illegally Cross Border of Due Process Rights

First they came for the legal rights of the undocumented immigrants.

And I did not speak out, because I was not an undocumented immigrant.

Then they came for the legal rights of the legal immigrants.

And I did not speak out, because I was not a legal immigrant.

Then they came for the legal rights of the journalists.

And I did not speak out, because I was not a journalist.

Then they came for the legal rights of the white working class.

And there was no one left to speak for them.

Let’s Just Shoot the Messenger


Someone named David Atkins, in a post titled The Loyal Trump Supporter Isn’t The Same As The Persuadable Trump Voter, heavily criticizes the New York Times piece that was the main subject of my immediately preceding post.

We can stipulate that a majority of folks who self identify as Republicans and who regularly vote the Republican ticket have proved to be cult followers, lovers of authoritarianism, consumed by racial and cultural resentment, at war with science, reason, and decency. That sounds harsh, but if the foo shits, wear it.

We can stipulate further that the number of folks who self identify as Republicans is decreasing. That point is made in the New York Times piece, and elsewhere.

And, lastly, we can stipulate that some self identified Republicans do not embrace authoritarianism, etc., etc.

The questions that remain are

  1. How many people are there in each of the two categories of self-identified Republicans?
  2. What will the hard core cultists tolerate, and what further actions by Trump might cause them—or at least a lot of them—to break ranks?

For example, let’s say Trump herds a couple dozen lions into the Houston Astrodome, and then whips a couple thousand immigrant kids into the arena? That’d be a hell of a deterrent, wouldn’t it?

And, what happens when the trade war gets really hot, the stock market falls, and small businesses can’t sell their products? Will the country club set stay with him?

  1. Percentages of “support” are important, but so are relative differences in enthusiasm. How will that play out?

And lastly,

  1. Is it a good idea or not, all things considered, to yell at Sarah Huckabee, if we happen to find ourselves at the same restaurant?

Question 4 is a legitimate subject of debate.

But progressives need to worry less about the answers to questions 1, 2, and 3. Whatever the answers are, we progressives have no choice. We have to resist.

But while we resist, let us make sure we are as effective as we can be. That means, among other things, keeping our eyes wide open, and not shooting the messenger when he brings bad news.

I grieve for the lost humanity of so many of my fellow Americans, but I have to confront it.

A Cure for Optimism, an Antidote to Pessimism

sunny day

A Cure for Optimism

If you got up this morning in a bright, sunny mood, you may not want to read the New York Times story As Critics Assail Trump, His Supporters Dig in Deeper. The headline tells it all. I can’t bring myself to quote or summarize it.

An Antidote to Pessimism

Meanwhile, there are indications that the Child Separation Crisis is causing Trump supporters to be read out of polite society. George Will and Steve Schmidt are telling us to vote Democratic in 2018. Young Trump Administration aides in D.C. can’t get dates. Cabinet secretaries can’t have a peaceful meal in D.C. Trump sock puppet spokespeople can’t eat in suburban Virginia restaurants.

I make it a general rule not to give adults advice on etiquette, and I’ll follow that rule here. That said, I think Jennifer Rubin has a pretty good observation this morning on the restaurant issue:

It depends on how you view the child-separation policy. If you think the decision to separate children from parents as a means of deterring other asylum seekers is simply one more policy choice, like tax cuts or negotiations with North Korea, then, yes, screaming at political opponents is inappropriate. Such conduct is contrary to the democratic notion that we do not personally destroy our political opponents but, rather, respect differences and learn to fight and perhaps compromise on another day. If, however, you think the child-separation policy is in a different class — a human rights crime, an inhumane policy for which the public was primed by efforts to dehumanize a group of people (“animals,” “infest,” etc.) — then it is both natural and appropriate for decent human beings to shame and shun the practitioners of such a policy.

This exception to the rule of polite social action should be used sparingly …

Nevertheless, it is not altogether a bad thing to show those who think they’re exempt from personal responsibility that their actions bring scorn, exclusion and rejection. If you don’t want to provoke wrath, don’t continue to work for someone whose cruel and inhumane treatment of others rivals the internment of U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent during World War II.

Good points. And here’s a good question: Would it be a constitutionally protected act of religious expression for a Christian baker to refuse to sell Sarah Sanders a birthday cake?

It Evidently Has to Get Worse Before it Gets Better—and it Probably Will Get Worse

In the difficult-to-read New York Times article mentioned at the beginning of the post, some of the remaining, doubling-down Trump supporters mentioned the booming economy, the tax cuts, and the regulatory retreat. But there is a big trade war a-comin’. And these folks are about to get what they and their stock portfolios deserve for their devil’s bargain.