Harley-Davidson May Not Be Telling the Whole Story

Iconic US motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson, made a splash this week, blaming Trump’s incoherent tariff policy for their plan to shift some production to Europe. Their announcement highlighted the pointlessness of Trump’s tariffs, but Harley may not be telling the whole story.

Like most modern manufacturers, Harley is depends on free trade to support both their US manufacturing supply chain and their sales. Publicly attaching their plans to Trump’s tariff policy fits a favorable narrative. What they aren’t talking about is tax treatment.

Though manufacturers generally loathe tariffs, they love Republicans’ recent tax cuts, especially the new territorial tax framework. Tax reform changed our treatment of income American companies earn overseas. Under the new system companies pay far lower US taxes on money earned from overseas production. To put it another way, we just created a multi-billion dollar public giveaway for companies that move production out of the US. By manufacturing in the EU Harley not only avoids the costs generated by Trump’s stupid tariff plans, they slash their tax bill.

Harley took the money from the Republican tax cut and closed down a Kansas City factory with its 800 jobs. Then they spent almost $700m on a buyback program and raised their corporate dividend. If you look at a chart of the Dow, you can see the “Ponzi Bulge” of the corporate buyback briefly driving up values in January of this year. The market dove in February and has yet to regain its footing. Despite a booming economy, the US is now expected to borrow at least $200bn more than last year just to cover the money given away in tax cuts. In short, neither the tariffs nor the tax cuts were smart, but Harley is only complaining about one them.

Stupidity has consequences.

43 Comments

  1. EJ

    In case you missed it:

    Far-Right Twitter is currently buzzing about something they call the “Night of Rope.” Numerous influential people in the neo-fascist ranks, as well as a sea of anonymous accounts, are urging their followers to carry out a wave of self-motivated attacks on ethnic minorities, Leftists and (especially) journalists.

    Naturally, if they say such things to an audience of vulnerable, isolated young men with access to firearms, then some of them will take it seriously. This is how terrorism is done in the 21st century.

    If you’re a journalist or an ethnic minority member in America, please stay safe.

    1. EJ

      …and then I read the news and saw that I was a prophet, apparently.

      To the proud, grieving citizens of Maryland, I apologise if my previous message sounded entirely too theoretical. Your pain and loss are real and will be remembered.

  2. Continuing the discussion from the previous thread. JonCr said:

    I don’t think culture is completely arbitrary.”

    I never said it was. I said it’s amorphous (shifting, formless) and chimeric (hybrid/mixed). Culture is outcome of values and beliefs by all participants of the culture, and those values and beliefs are informed by their history and the decisions they face as a group. Trying to ‘defend our culture’, however, rests on a misinformed belief that culture is a static notion with clear lines. Culture has no such boundaries. I find both the left and the right have dubious claims to ‘culture’ that are nothing more than projecting their personal opinions to The Way Everyone Obviously Thinks, and that their concerns with what culture should be rarely covers what culture actually is.

    “Letting in throngs of desperate young men, from a culture that gives little value to women, was stupid. Young, single men are the most likely perpetrators of crime to begin with, and then add that to having almost nothing to lose. The results were predictable… the key about the examples of the Rotherham grooming gangs and the Cologne New Year’s assaults is the scale; these aren’t isolated, single incidents in which the perpetrators happened to be foreign nationals. There were, iirc, dozens in one, and hundreds in the latter.”

    So the human rights of millions of people should be repressed due to the actions of a few hundred.

    Those gangs should be policed and persecuted the same way domestic ones are. Or I could also say, those participants should be policed and persecuted the same way domestic criminal groups should be.

    Besides, as stated by Chris and pure statistical fact, immigrants commit less crimes than citizens. They will have the incentive to commit less crimes as well if the pay-off for good behavior is a clear and understandable pathway to citizenship.

    “The Muslims I have met in America are not much different from mainline Protestants. I consider them American in their culture. But Islam internationally is different. I can’t remember all of the terrifying opinion polls off the top of my head, but it’s something like over 60% of Muslims in Britain that want the death penalty for those who caricature Mohammed. So, yeah, I don’t think that their culture permits them to enter the West in large numbers.”

    This is the reason why the rule of law is set in place and both ‘cultural’ and ‘religious’ values should not be the source legal governance. If a man beats a woman and claims his religion declares the beating to be necessary, the man should be thrown in jail for domestic abuse: he cannot, however, be thrown in jail for practicing his religion. His religion doesn’t give him a pass to the domestic abuse, and nor is he being jailed for practicing his religion.

    And American fundamentalists may not have attacked Matt and Trey, but they’ve targeted and killed incalculable numbers of people, predominantly black, within the United States over the course of its history (and that’s before we get into the genocide of indigenous natives). They still continue to do so today, with attacks against black churches, Planned Parenthood, and civil rights protestors.

    It would be absurd to try to kick those people out of the country entirely for being criminals when they’ve never been anywhere but here. Thus it would be absurd to claim that the same crime should be met with deportation. Put ’em in jail.

    “Something I noticed but forgot to ask: what is the idea behind having a right to a nationality?”

    Good question and the likely answer unfortunately serves against many of my points, but it’s an answer I’d like to change. As regards the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these were written in 1948 with World War II and the Holocaust firmly in mind. More or less by saying “everybody has the right to a nation” they were saying “Israel has the right to exist.”

    In other words, Jewish people have the right to found a nation based on their shared history and identity. This could serve, then, as a justification for white American national identity on one side, or Palestinian national identity on the other. I prefer a broader historical outlook by referring to much of what Hannah Arendt writes about nationalism in The Origins of Totalitarianism.

    First, ‘nations’ are relatively new governmental phenomenons following the decay of territorial claims of kingdoms. Feudal hierarchies headed by monarchs and staffed by aristocrats were replaced by representative bureaucracies headed by prime ministers and staffed by political parties. These new nation-states were not defined around the sort of singular culture-belonging that kingdoms were, so that’s why many groups, especially those who were not receiving the majority of the wealth and opportunity afforded within a nation, were desirous of giving their ‘nation’ a more meaningful definition than mere statehood.

    This period of time had a high number of what Arendt calls ‘nationless men’, which includes not only people traveling through or settling in various nation-states that had been newly formed while they resided there or shortly before, but also the Jewish diaspora who had previously sustained an outsider/insider balance with the aristocracies and often were the underwriters of new debts incurred by nations’ formation.

    That paragraph sums up literally hundreds of pages of Arendt very broadly so forgive my interpretation of it; I’d strongly recommend reading her yourself. But the point is that kingdoms allowed rich Jews into their lands as bankers and lenders, but never counted them as part of their kingdom. When kingdoms became nations, Jews were not considered a part of them but their finances were. Jews benefited from cross-national trade and lending while nations developed monetary systems and economies where cross-national trade and lending were personally costly to them.

    So when political parties suffered a period of crisis and nationalists concerned with defining nationhood around belonging started taking over (sound familiar?) all across Europe, all extranational groups were targetted — Romanies, migrants, etc — but Jews were singled out for a variety of reasons having to do with their complex relationship to nations and the fact that they claimed no citizenship to any of them.

    Again it’s better to read the book. The point I’m trying to make here was: nations were founded as distinct states covering territory with political parties to represent citizens, but because citizenship was not defined by ethnic distinctions the lower class citizens who failed to attain the benefits of citizenship lashed out against the residents of the nation that were not part of their ethnic or historical background. That backlash became part of the government once political parties were too weakened to hold it at bay.

    Because much of the UN Universal Declaration is in response to the carnage that sort of belief of ‘national identity’ created, I like to think that the ‘right to a nation’ is the right of extranational migrants and residents to seek citizenship in any nation of their choosing, rather than the right of ethnic nationalists to form their own government and lay claim to territory entitled to them by virtue of their shared identity. But here’s other, non-WWII ways I interpret it:

    When Yugoslavia broke into six countries, it’s not like their populations were perfectly sorted with a hard line between “These are the Croats” and “These are the Serbs”, to name two of them. So the right to having a nation is that the Croats that remained in Serbia should still retain Serbian citizenship despite being a Croat; OR that the Croat should be able to move to Croatia and claim citizenship without being considered a Serb just because they were on that side of the dividing line when Croatia and Serbia were founded.

    OR, that nations are allowed to annex territory (assuming the territory desires to be annexed). So Puerto Rico should have a right to claim United States nationhood, if they choose to do so, or claim nationhood by themselves if they choose to do so. This isn’t without its complexities: if Eastern Ukrainians truly believe themselves to be Russian, maybe it stands to reason they should be allowed to peacefully secede from Ukraine and be annexed by Russia. And this would also mean that technically Britain absolutely has the right to Brexit; even if I think that’s a disastrous and economically stupid decision.

    OR there is the increasingly common issue of naturalized citizenship through a marriage being challenged after a divorce, in both the United States and across Europe. Mothers are being asked to leave their teenage or adult children to go back to a country they no longer have a network in. This isn’t just for brown people, but for instance Swedish women who’ve married British men, etc. There was an article about this in The Economist sometime in around the end of 2016.

    ‘Nationhood’ has always been a controversial concept. Much of what we call ‘nations’ today are interchangeable with countries, but you have groups like Jews or Muslims (or black nationalists) who believe in a ‘nationhood’ that is defined by shared history of people completely regardless of territory or any specific country declared in a constitution, and a lot of messy and variegated personal beliefs within nations about a shared ‘national identity’ based on both country and community.

    I prefer that a nation is just a country, declared by a constitution and with a distinct territorial boundary, recognized as a unit of representation by other countries. I’d rather not define nationality around shared historical or ethnic background because that would either mean that everyone is African or nobody is, depending on where you draw your historical reference point; and I’d definitely rather not define nationalism based on a shared religious or value systems because it means a person can lose their human rights if choose to believe differently or raise objections to any of those ‘shared values’.

    Besides, the belief in distinct boundary lines between cultures and identities is simpleminded anyway. Ain’t nobody as pure as a True Believer would believe. This is why the ‘nation of Islam’ is fractured into thousands of voices arguing over what Islam means, why Christianity has a thousand some-odd denominations; why white supremacists find themselves freaking out over 2% African gene in their pool, etc.

    If we define a nation based on shared cultural background, all mixed-ethnic children are born without the right to citizenship in either of their parents’ nations regardless of whichever one they were born in. I prefer those children should be allowed to choose to live wherever they want.

    1. Tl;dr:

      Nationalism and the belief in culturally defined nations is, fundamentally, a person’s belief that their ethnicity and genetic heritage grants them a claim to citizenship within geographic borders, and all the rights and entitlements of that citizenship that people ‘outside the system’ (whether genetic, identitarian, cultural, or historical) should neither be allowed legal rights to nor access within the physical borders.

      But since there’s no definitive lines between genetic, cultural, or historical backgrounds anywhere in humanity at all, ESPECIALLY that magically cohere with geographic boundaries, a system of nationhood designed around territories with constitutions defining a rule of law is vastly preferable. The ability of individuals to seek citizenship in any of those territories and / or systems of governance should be considered a human right, and the nations that best enable a frictionless onboarding of migrants to that system are the best adapted to an increasingly globalized and heterogenous future.

      All appeals to ‘but my culture!’ are fundamentally identitarian and unenforceable in any meaningful way that doesn’t institute bigotry. “They don’t belong because they harbor these genes” is racism and “they don’t belong because they harbor these beliefs” is thought-policing. Invisible lines can only be drawn in sand; not between bodies and brains.

      1. First off, a digression @EJ:
        I read the book you recommended, Slavoj Zizek’s Against the Double Blackmail: Refugees, Terror and Other Troubles with the Neighbors. I’m surprised that somebody who quickly dismissed me as a bigot would have suggested it; despite the title much of it agrees with my sensibilities. A large portion of the text deals with attacking taboos, hypocrisies, and double standards of the politically correct left. I would guess that a fifth of it is devoted solely to variations on a theme which amount to breaking down the idea that there is some inherent nobility in being disadvantaged. Zizek argues that minorities and/or the poor are much more capable of racism, misogyny, violence without cause, and other undesirable characteristics than we give them credit for. He, like everyone else, mentions Rotherham and Cologne as examples to tear away at the left’s perceptions of refugees. He also makes another point I recognize from Murray: that Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states are rich, and are both geographically and culturally closer to the refugees, and yet the global community has allowed these countries to not take in any refugees.
        I have a few major complaints with the book however. The biggest is that he essentially sidesteps what he’s supposed to be writing about. His primary thesis is that refugees represent an ill of global capitalism (neoliberalism), and that the West deserves to be subjected to them because it created this horrendous world order. Tying into this is an idea (this one I agree with) that the Culture Wars in fact arise from a class struggle between the winners and losers of the global economy.
        The writing is a bit convoluted, and at any rate it strikes me as rather naive to say that the solution to the refugee crisis is to restructure the world economy so that nobody wants to migrate (although in the last chapter he writes that demographic volatility and mass migrations are the inevitable future – it’s almost as though the last chapter was written by some other author, who hadn’t read the rest of the book).
        My other big complaint is simply that Zizek, unlike Murray, does not include much actual data or numbers. In an overly broad sense, Zizek isn’t writing about the refugee crisis – he’s writing about attitudes surrounding it. Murray talks about attitudes as well, but also takes care to talk about reality.

      2. @Aaron Dow:
        I don’t think you’re appreciating the difference between the situation faced by America, and that faced by the Schengen countries. Perhaps because I started this conversation with a German, I assumed a level of knowledge that I am now going to un-assume. Here is Zizek writing Rotherham (quoting anyone else would amount to the same argument): “…between 1997 and 2013, at least 1400 children were subjected to brutal sexual exploitation. … Before a comprehensive inquiry in 2014, there had been three inquiries in the early to mid-2000s which had led to nothing: the inquiry team noted fears among council staff of being labelled ‘racist’ if they pursued the matter. The perpetrators were almost exclusively members of Pakistani gands, and their victims (referred to by the perpetrators as ‘white trash’) white schoolgirls.”
        “Reactions were predictable. Exhibiting Political Correctness at its worst, many on the Left resorted to all possible strategies of blurring the contours, mostly through generalizations. Perpetrators were designated vaguely as ‘Asians’, while claims that the abuse was not about ethnicity and religion but about domination of man over woman; and anyway, who are we, with our church paedophilia and sexual abuse scandals … to adopt the moral high ground over a victimized minority? Can one imagine a response that would more effectively open up the field to UKIP and other anti-immigrant populists who exploit the worries of ordinary people? Such apparent anti-racism is a barely covert racism, condescendingly treating Pakistanis as morally inferior beings who should not be held to our standards.”

        So there you go – the problem is that they were not held to the standards of domestic criminals, and for well over a decade.
        As much as I prefer stats to anecdotal evidence, no pollster has asked “Do you make excuses for serial rapists and traffickers when they happen to be racial minorities?” or “Are you not willing to recognize racism, even when the stated motivation was race, because the perp was Pakistani rather than white?”, so we have to go with the anecdotal evidence: reactions from politicians and major media that refuse to discuss what is happening honestly. In fact, this (“discuss what is happening honestly”) is a complaint that somebody of my persuasion might want to level at the PC Left a lot and over many issues: It’s not that we’re sympathetic with Trump supporters, not exactly, but given your actions it makes sense that the Deplorable bloc has arisen, and if you write us off as bigots rather than discuss and reform what you are doing, then that bloc is going to crash in and tear down your systems altogether, and it won’t be wholly undeserved.
        That wasn’t really aimed at anything you’ve said: mostly I’m just justifying that I’ve seen enough in my time at college, reading the news, and to a lesser but more pertinent extent reading quotes in Murray’s book, to believe that progressives have a double standard involving these things. Though if you want a data point, I did once read of psychology study in which conservatives were equally inclined to sacrifice someone with a black name or someone with a white name to save a group (30 or 100) of people, whereas progressives were reluctant to sacrifice someone with a black name but readily sacrificed the white name.
        And to not take the gang members at their word that selecting white schoolgirls as their victims was racially motivated is a rather grotesque double standard because it suggests a deep unwillingness to honestly evaluate the world and its peoples. You don’t have to attribute that motivation to all Pakistanis, any more than the KKK is attributed to all white people, but the liberal media jumps on anything and everything that might be white supremacy, so the blind spot surrounding Rotherham is incredible.
        And Rotherham is not even the worst of it. The number of victims of female genital mutilation in Britain is in the low six digits. I and others will again charge that political correctness and “respect for their culture” has made the rule of law impotent there.
        Then there are these numbers: in 2006, 68% of British Muslims believed that anyone who insults Islam should be prosecuted. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, 24% of this group said that violence is justified against those publish pictures of Mohammed. Or there is this anecdote, about someone who appeared in an NYT article entitled “Blaming policy, not Islam, for Belgium’s radicalised youth”: “Then in passing Mr Goldstein let slip the thing of interest. Friends of who taught high-school students in the predominantly Muslim areas of Molenbeek and Schaerbeek told him that when it came to their students’ views of terrorists who had bombed their city, ’90 per cent of their students, 17, 18 years old, called them heroes.’ Elsewhere… the Belgian Security Minister, Jan Jambon, said that ‘a significant portion of the Muslim community danced when the attacks took place’.”
        Even if it was a case of a few hundred bad apples among 10,000 I would be concerned, not least because for every actual violent criminal there are 10 more people who were not fundamentally different but just didn’t take it that far. But it’s worse than that. The concern here is that many of these immigrants, while they may not be traffickers or terrorists themselves, feel more solidarity with those who are than with the country they are in.
        I know a bit about the Bible and the Quran, and I don’t think that either book is more fundamentally evil. But it doesn’t matter. What’s great about Christianity is its relative impotence and decline as anything more than identity. I don’t care about the cause and effect of it insofar as it lets us pass judgments, because I dislike fundamentalists in both groups. The only reason cause and effect matters is that it would tell us how to reform Islam. American evangelicals have not resembled what European Muslims are today for nearly 50 years. And I’m not giving evangelicals any moral credit for that – much of it I attribute to the dominance of liberalism and liberalism’s disrespect for evangelical culture, and some of it I attribute to “mainstream” or moderate Christianity in America being much larger than any corresponding Muslim group in West Europe – but the truth is that they don’t do anything comparable to FGM.
        That’s not the full extent of my counter argument though. It also comes down to this. Say A and B commit the same crime. If we are unable to catch/punish B, it does not mean we shouldn’t punish A. Applied in the sense of what you said this would yield a statement like “Just because bad people are already here does not mean more bad people deserve to come in.” (And deportation is probably cheaper than prison, wouldn’t you think?)

      3. Wanted to take a break before I responded more.
        I forgot something important. You mentioned immigrants and crime. But the article Chris linked to that claim is, in my opinion, weak. There was a drop in crime everywhere in the 90s – making the claim that crime drops had anything to do with immigrants dubious – (about a generation after Roe v Wade), and the chart that Upshot does not appear to have a high r^2 on its line of best fit, though admittedly I am eyeballing that. I also consider it possible that there is some sort of confounding factor, for instance, large cities have higher crime rates and so had more room to improve and at the same time attracted disproportionately many immigrants. Or they had more economic potential to attract entrepreneurial immigrants, etc. The point is, they are examining gaps of three decades and too much changed in that time to make the conclusion viable.
        Keep in mind as well that “immigrants” is a terrible generalization. What holds true for an entire category might not hold for every subset. This is related to something I’ve mentioned prior – that high-skill individuals are more attractive to a host country than individuals with limited prospects. In fact, recognizing that some groups of immigrants are very different from one another throws a wrench in all claims that the open-borders crowd makes. Rather than averaging or trying to average every immigrant who has come here and then coming up with summary statistics that describe nobody, we should evaluate prospective incomers based upon their skills and the current needs of the national economy, and upon their criminal records, etc.
        There really aren’t any major immigrant groups to the United States of which I’m skeptical. But my lack of skepticism is based on it just not being in my intuition – it’s not that the pro-immigrant voices made a rigorous or convincing case.

        On nations: the discussion of Israel is an interesting one, because Israel is one of the most right-wing countries in the world. I read once that one of the domestic arguments for a two-state solution was that it would allow them to protect the ethnic integrity of the Jewish state.
        I just … don’t have a problem with not wanting to live near some people because of what they think. And because the parts of what they think that I’m concerned with involve what you would call the rule of law or human rights, I don’t see much of a distinction between controlling their thought, and refusing to allow honor-killings or the maltreatment of gays. To be clear, I’m not suggesting we arrest anybody for merely claiming that homosexuals should be thrown off of roofs, though I would up my surveillance of such a person, and consider them disposed towards hate crimes.
        Robert Mugabe provided to the UN one articulation of an argument that in consider our (Western) values to be natural, self-evident, and universal in fact represents a kind of cultural imperialism, enforcing our ways upon the rest of the world. There are certain strands in progressive thought that appear to agree with this. And I suppose that some of my language comes from an acknowledgement that even if they’re right, I wouldn’t change how I want to act.

      4. Hi Jon,

        I’m gonna wrap up this conversation mostly, unless you’re interested in asking me a few more questions. I just want to state a few broad things without really going into the nitty-gritty:

        regarding the idea that poorer people, including migrants, are more susceptible to crime and extremism, I’m fully aware of that. But just because the poor and uneducated are more socially dysfunctional doesn’t preclude their human rights. I also think that prison reform should be performed to turn prisons more into rehab, re-educate, and re-training clinics — and that prison reform should precede open borders, largely because if immigration makes us broke it’ll be because of the costs of incarceration.

        And also that I haven’t read Zizek so I’ve been trying pretty hard not to be judgmental about him, but 90% of what people have said and posted about him makes me feel he’s totally full of shit. Maybe he circles some valid points, but and Jordan Peterson seem to have taken from the Bush Era popularity of Noam Chomsky that they can get a lot of screentime and pop culture street cred if they say provocative things with a higher wordiness than trolls like Coulter and Milo.

        I might be wrong and Zizek is highly misinterpreted by the sort of Facebook “Late Capitalist Memes for Marxist Extremes” style pages and so-forth, but I tend to find that philosophy read by non-philosophy readers is like poetry read by non-poetry readers: trite.

    1. I think change is needed at the top of the Democratic Party as it does not seem capable of competently managing both moderate and progressive wings of the party. We are at a pivotal, dangerous point in our country’s political future and that of our two-party system. I understand “who” replaces current leadership is important, but it must happen in order to grow the Democratic Party into a viable competitor in the political process and to regain balance in our nation’s governance.

      From WaPo, Jeff. ” … a new generation (needs) to take the reins of the opposition — leaders who appeal to the emerging electoral majority that already dominates the party and will soon dominate the country: progressive, young, female and nonwhite. It is no accident that Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Latina, is all four.
      A majority of House Democrats are either women, people of color or gay. A disproportionate number of their strongest candidates in November’s election are women, and many are young. ”

      What is it about this powerful political quartet that escapes the DNC? What is it about lackluster national DNC fundraising that escapes party leadership? What is it about special election wins by political novices totally outside the DNC power center that is not resonating with Democratic leadership? The signs are everywhere. These are people without fame or money (T) and they are reaching grassroots members in impressive wins. There is room for both progressives and moderates in the Democratic Party. In fact, this has always been the strength of the Democratic Party – its big, wide tent. Right now, it is struggling to remain upright and that likely has more to do with leadership, management and message coherence than money or power, which are important but will never replace the other elements of organization.

      In Cortez’ ad, she is measured in content and tempo. She is speaking to and for everyman. In case anyone has forgotten, DJT won with his everyman pitch and his base has (amazingly) stood by him despite his erratic behavior and failure to keep his word to them. Whether Cortez (and the other novice candidates who won primary seats) defeat their GOP opponents or not, they have thrown open a window into the soul and future of the Democratic Party. It’s time for leadership to find a way to include this new thinking and energy into the party’s structure or get the heck out of the way. Both moderate and progressive wings are needed in the Democratic Party and to take our country forward. Republicans are succeeding with a different strategy – more singular, exclusive, and idiomatic which was highly successful but is not healthy for our country. We know that concensus and bi-partisanship of thought and policy decisions make our nation stronger. The danger for Democrats is that we are getting so far behind that we will not be able to participate in the process. Let’s expand our base, our leadership, and our message.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ocasio-cortez-just-did-democrats-a-big-favor/2018/06/27/dafdc498-7a4c-11e8-aeee-4d04c8ac6158_story.html?

      1. I basically concur with you Mary. The real energy in the Democratic Party is with the women and minorities. However, they are not running a rebellion – they are just saying we need new blood and have better ideas. The DNC really needs to recognize this and start supporting the new blood. If the D’s take the House, there will be an effort to replace Pelosi. I don’t think that is necessarily the best thing to do, immediately. But definitely Pelosi’s time is past and she needs to step down, fairly soon. The DNC needs to start leading in a more progressive direction.

        Personally, I’m watching the WA Congressional and legislative races carefully. I believe that there is a better than even chance that the D’s will take the 8th CD. In the 5th CD, the D’s have a really strong candidate, and with a good blue wave, McMorris-Rodgers could be sent packing. Even though the district has a Cook PVI of R+8, there is considerable local dissatisfaction with McMorris-Rodgers. Unfortunately, in WA-03 (SW WA) the D’s do not have any strong candidates, otherwise that district would also be up for grabs. There is strong dissatisfaction with Trump throughout WA, even in the agricultural heartland, because of his immigration policies.

      2. Hi Mary
        This is one of the parts of US politics that surprises me the most – the age of your leaders

        Obama was about the right age and Cortez is also a good age for getting there

        But the majority of the “top brass” are well beyond pension age

        I’m only 62 – but I simply don’t have the energy I had when I was 40

        With 300 million people you should have nearly a hundred Jacinda’s to choose from!

      1. Thanks, Mary for the post above as well as the linked articles. Personally the Atlantic article is a bit problematic for me in the sense that it is largely centered in the left-right paradigm as expressed by the two-party system. Granted, it’s a system that Cortez chose to run in, but that does not mean she needs to respond in any specific way to existing conversations.

        In other words, her agenda might be to participate in existing conversations by offering a new framework for thinking about the topic. A good example might well be when she refused to offer an automatic endorsement to Crowley in a debate, stating instead that she represented a movement, and it was up to that movement.

        This week’s Intercepted podcast with Sy Hersch and Miriame Kaba sort of gets at this – particularly when thinking about the immigration issue and specifically the family separation policy. Kaba’s framework is particularly pointed – and may or may not speak to Ms. Cortez’ thoughts.

        I agree with you that the national Democratic leadership has been exposed as fully incapable of dealing with the direct threat posed by Trump. More-and-more people seem to be picking up on that these days, but in terms of timing, that may not be such a good thing. At least in the short-term.

        Anyway, appreciate the back-and-forth and hope that you and yours have a happy & safe Fourth!

      1. There are a lot of potential angles to this that we’ll have to see play out first to know how November might be affected – though if I were Trump, I’d put a nominee forward pretty quickly, maybe drag out the fight for a few months while I beat red-state Dems mercilessly over the head (regardless as to how reasonable they were actually being, of course), and secured a nomination vote right before November to tout as an EPIC WIN and hope that it energizes Republicans enough to at least keep the Senate in GOP hands.

        Then again, this *is* Trump after all, so who can say what will or won’t happen to completely flip the proverbial chessboard all over again?

        Eyes on November, everyone.

      2. The reality is this appointment will be a huge stimulus to Republican turnout as well. I look for midterms to break all the record in voter turnout. Honestly, this is the worst situation we could have gotten in the lead up to the election. Dems will insist that McConnell observe the same dictate he followed by waiting until after the election, but this will fall on deaf ears. There will be no quid pro quo, no concession for the same situation. McConnell and the GOP will ignore any appeals based upon consistency and laugh all the way to the S.Court. As Chris has noted many times, this is hardball and Republicans play it better than Dems do. With so much at stake, the only recourse for Democrats and those who are not Trump and Gop fans will be to vote. Will it be enough? I don’t know. Pretty bummed right now. Democrats are going to have to get down in the mud every day from here on out. None of this “when they go low bullpucky”. This is war.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/yes-lets-be-uncivil-but-how/2018/06/26/73c0f82c-797f-11e8-93cc-6d3beccdd7a3_story.html?

      3. Honestly, I’m not so sure about this lighting a fire under Republicans’ ass to get them to the polls. Single-issue GOP voters on things like abortion, guns, and the like were already going to turn out anyways, so are there really *that* many that’ll show up just because of SCOTUS?

        And let’s not forget the special election in AZ-6. Registered Republicans turned out there, but they just abandoned ship to vote for the Democrat – so you can’t dismiss Dems’ overperformance as the other side just staying home or Democratic voters’ enthusiasm.

        With all that in mind – and with special consideration towards all the rampant whining I’ve seen on social media – let’s not get depressed just yet. Republicans would like nothing more than for us to fall into despair when we’ve still the advantage after all.

      4. Good God please somebody find a silver lining concerning the high court. Is there really nothing we can do to undo this? Nothing else the Republicans do stirs up quite as much hate and resentment in me as their thieving of SCOTUS. Even John McCain bought into their double standard.
        For turnout, remember the Rs have less room to improve as well as fewer voters.

      5. Unfortunately, Jon, this is pretty much a done deal. Elections have consequences, and this is the result of Democrats staying home in 2014. Whatever talk you might hear about trying to appeal to Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, or whoever else, rest assured that McConnell’s going to bring the full weight of his power and influence into getting this appointment through before November, no matter what it takes.

        That’s not to say we should just bend over and accept it, but we shouldn’t have any illusions about the outcome. If there’s *any* silver lining in all this, it’s feelings like yours that millions of Democratic voters across the country are feeling in this moment too. Harness that passion and anger to juice up turnout even more and bring a truly epic wave crashing down on the Republican Party in November and take back the House and Senate, and put a stop to Trump and all his radical nominations.

        Taking back the Senate, difficult as it is, is something we *have* to do. Morbid as it is, there’s no guarantee that RBG or Breyer will hold out until we can kick Trump or Pence out of office. I worry more than I’ll admit that I’m going to wake up one morning and see a shattering headline that one of them’s passed away and that Trump, of all people, would name their replacement.

        We’ve got one shot at this. Let’s make damn sure we bring every last drop of our power and energy into it.

      6. When George W. Bush was elected by the Supreme Court in 2000 and he then started 2 unplanned and unpaidfor wars, gave a huge tax cut to the wealthy, and turned a surplus into years of deficits, none of that got Dems fired up in 2004! Kerry lost!
        Just saying!!

      7. Ryan – I disagree about the importance and stimulus the Supreme Court appointment will have upon conservative voter turn out in the November 6th election. Abortion is an extremely high mobilizer for both parties, exceedingly so for conservatives, but control of the US Supreme Court transcends any one issue – even one this volatile. It is truly about generational control of case law and precedent and control of the power heirarchy through the courts. We have seen how effective Operation Red Map has been in controlling election districts through gerrymandering. The courts have thwarted Trump and the GOP in the first 18 months of his tenure, but that will change when new hard right, young appointees fill judicial vacancies.

        In a Politico forum yesterday, McConnell openly laid out the importance of this S.Ct judicial appointment and that of judicial control generally to the Repub agenda. His willingness to subvert the traditional judicial process is history. Why would anyone expect he will not do so again, that he would now allow Democrats the same twisted logic about delaying this S. Ct appointment that he used to advantage Republicans? The Republican party has discarded any semblance of honor. They will do whatever is required to secure control of the country for generations through control of the courts since they know they will not be able to control demographic change.

        McConnell: “My view was, the American people had given us an opportunity to move the country right of center. We wanted to take every opportunity to do that that we could, even with a narrow margin. And I think the longest impact we could have on the future of the country would be through the court system.”

        “ON THE JUDGES … “I think it’s the single most important thing we’re doing…Only about 20 years in the last hundred have Republicans had the White House, the House and the Senate at the same time.The 21 circuit judges that we’ve confirmed — it’s not only a record, but it’s one eighth of the circuit courts in America confirmed in a year and a half. The 12 we did last year was the most since the modern circuit court system was established in 1891.”

        https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook-power-briefing/2018/06/27/dems-crowley-primary-new-york-281880

        Republicans achieved their largest contribution haul ever in May of this year. That should tell you something about energization of their base – and I am not referring to their big donors, but rank and file donors….Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg is supposed to drop $80M into the DNC piggy bank which will help their anemic fundraising and pay off debt. Grassroots donations are going straight to individual candidates in a constituent payback for all the ineptitude of the 2016 election. This has major consequences for national competitiveness. Even though the Cortez/Crowley race proves (as Chris often reminds us) that money alone is not the major predictor, when you’re fighting to retain blue seats and flip enough red seats to generate a wave election, everything matters, including a big campaign war chest. Plus, there is that flakey Dem mid term turnout history that has to miraculously change course.

        Republicans have a chance to run the table for 20-30 years through the court appointment process. The GOP wise men know that America is changing and demographics are not trending in their favor. That is why this judicial appointment is so important – and this goes far far beyond one issue – it’s about case law that will shape policy and law in our nation for decades. That is what is at stake.

  3. This is not surprising information for those who watched the 2018 Omnibus Tax Bill take shape and read smart economists opinions of who would benefit and how. What’s really tragic is that ordinary working people who should care, apparently are fine with the outcome. Or, dare I suggest – ignorant or lazy about digging into the details. I am not surprised at Harley Davidson’s actions. It might be helpful to read this study and learn more about the two parties “real” make up and views.

    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/democrats-are-wrong-about-republicans-republicans-are-wrong-about-democrats/?ex_cid=SigDig

  4. I don’t like Harleys. They’re loud, overweight, unreliable, and technologically unsophisticated. I ride Triumphs. Not only do they lack the utterly bellicose exhaust note of Milwaukee iron, they are decibels quieter than the teenage son of Tex’s neighbor and his Scion with fart cans. (Sometimes it’s best to begin with a digression.)

    Motorcycle sales in the US are very weak. Growth in India and the asean region is strong. Europe is pretty good, too. Harley has been building motorcycles abroad for these markets for years. Harley’s new plant in Thailand wasn’t planned last week. In fact, it was begun long before changes to the tax code.

    Having the highest tax rate in the industrialized world was not good unless you were a fan of offshoring to serve the global market. (The Moron in Chief’s assertion that “all Harley’s should be built in America”, notwithstanding.) Trade wars are bad for business, too. (But wait! I thought this was supposed to bring jobs *back* to ‘Murca!)

    If the intent here is to somehow fault HD for reacting: to the global market, according to the law, and its fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders, let’s just say I’d look elsewhere for strategic business advice. And sell the crap out of any company that failed to do these things.

    1. Hey Fifty – I do not think anyone is faulting HD for making decisions that are legal and make economic sense. It is simply a matter of HD being very vocal in their opposition to the tariffs but as Chris points out they seem to be very quiet on the fact that they could benefit greatly with the changes to the tax code.

      1. Hey Turtles! Great to hear from you!

        Sure, HD stands to benefit from the tax changes. So do thousands of other companies. They also stand to lose due to this stupid trade war. I don’t see how these are related. Our fearless leader gets the reaction from the EU that they promised months ago wrt American motorcycles, and he foams at the mouth over the consequences. I don’t think it’s much more complicated than that.

  5. I know I said I was not going to post for awhile, but this issue is as big, actually bigger, than the immigration crisis in the states.

    The odds are at least 50/50 that Merkel’s coalition falls this weekend, and Germany will be faced with a hard right, anti-immigrant government, which will be yet another domino, a massive one, signalling the end of democracy on the planet. For anyone that thinks that is hyperbole, if Germany goes hard right, France and Canada will be the last bastions of freedom. The U.K. already signaled with Brexit which way they are going. And Canada’s largest province just voted in a drug-dealing thug cut from the very same cloth as the puppet tyrant.

    The day is coming, likely measured in months versus years, when refugees WILL be machine-gunned as they try to cross into southern Europe and the U.S.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/27/angela-merkels-government-fresh-doubt-german-coalition-crisis/

    1. EJ

      Germany is suddenly looking very bad right now.

      The joke is that this is happening after the AfD seems to have peaked: if anything their high water mark was a year ago and they’re either steady or in decline, depending upon which poll you prefer. What we’re seeing here isn’t the ascendancy of the new neo-fascist far-Right, but the weakness of the traditional religious-conservative Right, and its leaders’ fear of irrelevancy.

      Horst Seehofer has been a coward since he entered politics, and his current act of holding himself hostage is probably the most cowardly thing he’s ever done.

  6. “Like most modern manufacturers, Harley is depends on free trade to support both their US manufacturing supply chain and their sales”

    I think a slight correction is in order Chris, “Harley is”.

    Harley sucks, take a look at the South Park “The F word ” episode, that is how I fell about bike riders in general or anyone else with load pipes on their truck, car, or whatever.

  7. Neato! The tax cut:
    1. Increased unearned corporate earnings for the stockholders via buybacks.
    2. Reduced American manufacturing jobs, so production can be transferred overseas.
    3. Increased deficit spending to what may be unsustainable levels.
    4. Essentially eliminates federal spending on infrastructure because the deficit is so high.
    5. Similarly eliminates investment in the American people through education, health care , etc. because that investment is unaffordable.
    6. Increases inflationary pressure significantly, to the point the Fed may have to significantly boost interest rates.
    7. Increases the inflation rate of the economic bubble.
    8. Now we start tariff wars with China, Canada, and Europe, which will further decrease trade.

    Unfortunately bubbles always burst, and the earned income classes always suffer the most from the collateral damage caused by a bursting bubble.

    Sounds like Trump is really MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN for the wealthy. Unfortu

  8. I can only hope the stupidity hits the Trumpkins early and more often than those voters who knew better. I think Presidents usually get too much blame or credit for matters economic, but one thing they can do is screw everything up with stupid policy.

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