Category Archives: Politics

Another Half-Truth News Story

The latest headlines are talking about Harley-Davidson is moving manufacturing overseas. Specifically, it’s being tied to tax and tariff policies that President Donald Trump has announced. What it largely fails to do is place the current Harley-Davidson story in perspective of it’s past announcements, as well as the changing markets.

For background, I’m posting a few past announcements made by Harley-Davidson, which I will also refer to by another name, the “Motor Company”.

Let’s take a little more spin-off the current news cycle. They’re not doing a good job of truly informing you…

In 2014, an article came out about the changing fortunes of the Motor Company.

Sales were significantly down in 2014. They still had profits.

Forbes Announced in 2015
Harley-Davidson Pre-Earnings: U.S. Retail Sales Could Return To Strong Growth In Q1

In 2017 — “While we expected the U.S. industry to be challenged, we were disappointed by the unexpected magnitude of the industry softening in the quarter,” Harley CEO Matt Levatich told analysts.

But investors are concerned that Millennials aren’t interested in the “hog” lifestyle that energized previous generations.
Levatich said Millennials were buying used bikes in encouraging numbers, but the company must persuade them to buy their new motorcycles.

harley-davidson-sales-2014-to-2017

HD Sales Continue Downward Trend

“It’s up to us to inspire even more of them to ride and to engage with Harley-Davidson’s products and experiences ..” he said.

Here’s what happened… dwindling-domestic-sales
“It’s unlikely the news will lose Harley-Davidson any fans it hasn’t already lost to cheaper, smaller and more reliable brands that are often foreign-owned. The “Made in the U.S.A.” crowd has merged with the “Make America Great Again” masses, and neither really seem to care that red baseball caps are sewn in China. And in recent years, Harley-Davidson has been courting a younger, more culturally diverse audience anyway.”Ad Age June 2018

That’s because the “Baby Boomers” are retiring or dying, Ad Age, and the millennials aren’t the target market. Asia and Europe are, and that ship has sailed before this latest June 25, 2018 news cycle started generating stories about Trump trade policy an it’s effects.

“The core customer base for Harley comprising baby boomers is aging, and millennial customers have looked to hold off on extravagant purchases, a term which can be associated with heavyweight luxury motorcycles, especially after a prolonged period of slow economic activity. However, 2015 could be different.” – Forbes April 2015

motorcycle-sales-statistics-01

In 2013, Americans purchased nearly 466,000 motorcycles, with the iconic Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) laying claim to a good chunk of those domestic sales. But riders — and investors — might not realize that there’s a world full of cycle enthusiasts outside our borders that dwarfs the U.S. market.”

With the understanding that foreign markets, especially the Asia-Pacific region, are the key to generating millions of motorcycle sales on annual basis, I offer this challenge: Can you guess which motorcycle brand is the world’s top seller?

.. if you said Honda (NYSE:HMC) then you should have real bragging rights as you correctly guessed the world’s top-selling motorcycle brand.” – Motley Fool Investor August 2014
Motorcycle_Business_graphics_2014


The adoption of electric and hybrid motorcycles to emerge as a prominent trend in the global market

A recent trend observed in the motorcycle market is the increase in the adoption of electric motorcycles in some regions such as Europe and South Africa. With the governments focusing on electro mobility and reducing pollution, zero emission vehicles are being increasingly promoted through attractive incentives and schemes.

Chasing younger riders, Harley Davidson announces plans for a production electric motorcycle

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but it still does to anyone who’s grown up with a very fixed image of what Harley-Davidsons are all about: outlaws, choppers, carefree big-bore dinosaur burners that never moved with the times because they never had to.

Matt Levatich, H-D President and CEO, summed up his company’s view thus: “The EV motorcycle market is in its infancy today, but we believe premium Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles will help drive excitement and participation in the sport globally. As we expand our EV capabilities and commitment, we get even more excited about the role electric motorcycles will play in growing our business.” – New Atlas 2014

Royal Enfield – An Indian company – Now Largest Big Bike Manufacturer in the World

Royal_Enfield_Indian_motorcycle_2

Indian Motorcycle took over British product > 50 years ago

Royal Enfield set to buy Ducati as new 210 hp 1100c V4 Stradale engine. They have plans for their own super bike.

Royal_Enfield_motorcycle_production_world

Royal Enfield an India based company now largest manufacturer of motorized bikes

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If you’re “ShocKed” by the news of Harley-Davidson, recognize there are larger forces at play on the world stage than Presidents and political alliances. Changing demographics are driving this and other changes. The best HD can do, or for that matter any company, is adapt to survive.

I still stick with what I own… A 750cc Honda. Honda_Motorcycle_750_ACE

 

 

 

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Do We Have a Gun Problem?

The reaction by the public varies after another school or public place shooting. Whenever such a horrific crime occurs, there’s a huge outpouring of emotions, which is understandable.  There are all types of opinions expressed on what should be done, but before we decide on a solution, shouldn’t we first understand the problem?

The U.S. population increased from 133 million in 1945 to 313 million in 2012. A 235% increase in population.

In 1945 there was an estimate of 47 million guns. At the end of 2012, it is estimated there were 347 million. That’s a 738% increase.

The number of firearms confiscated and destroyed or sold to buybacks, wear, abuse, neglect and are lost, are not figured in, so the total number may be lower than 347 million.

The term homicide is used when a human being is killed by another human being. Criminal homicide takes several forms, for example murder; but homicide is not always a crime, it also includes affirmative defense, insanity, self-defense or the execution of convicted criminals. Gun deaths are only a portion of the total number of homicides.

Taking into account all homicides in 1950 compared to 2012, we see a slight increase. This number as defined above, doesn’t just isolate homicides by firearm, it includes everything, criminal as well as non-criminal. The number of homicides in the US per 100,000 in 1950 were 5.1 • The number for 2012 ▪▪ 5.4

Even though we had a large increase in population, and an even larger number of known available guns, there doesn’t seem to be a significant statistical increase in homicides.

In the decade following the banning of handguns in the UK in 1997, the number of recorded violent attacks increasd by 77% to 1.2 million in 2007- or more than 2 attacks every minute!

The war on drugs in the United States has taken on a civil, enforcement, criminal, judicial struggle apart from all others. The results to the ban of illegal drugs, as well as theft and reselling of legal drugs has gone on unabated. Deaths from drug overdoses in the United States significantly increased from 17,000 in 1999 to 41,000 in 2012.

If the claim is, we have a gun problem, where’s the evidence? We have had an increase in population of over 235%, and an increase in known available firearms of over 700%, yet the overall homicide rate has barely increased.

Moreover, shouldn’t we be looking toward solutions to prevent murders in our schools that seem to be working at airports, government buildings, and sports venues? It seems reasonable to suggest that preventing someone from entering a school with a weapon is more effective than a sign which claims the area to be a gun free zone.

 

 

Russia – Trump – Clinton – Saga

US flag WhitehouseThe Russia Investigation will eventually run its course, but despite the motivations of it, we should be willing to understand these 2016 election facts.

Hillary, in spite of her ‘fait accompli’, experience, or the many allegations, lost an important national campaign for president against a historically unpopular, politically inexperienced, misogynistic, boastful, inconsiderate, rude, willfully ignorant, and compulsive liar.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Speaks At The University Of Miami

Hillary Clinton – explains it’s everyone’s fault but hers

It’s not the fault of the FBI, or the Russians, that made a difference, she still could have won. What she failed to do was visit Wisconsin, hardly paid attention to Michigan, and Pennsylvania. She lost by very narrow margins in those states.Whatever your perception of the embassy attack in Libya, the fact was the attack at Benghazi went on for hours, without any outside support. As a matter of fact, the support ready and willing to go was ordered to stand down. Even if Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State didn’t issue such orders, her response when asked about her lack of being in the loop, “What difference does it make”, coupled with earlier false assertions by her and others, it was motivated by a video critical of Muslims.

Then we saw her response to using private email servers in her home, for classified government communications, maintained by a private “uncertified” tech support company, as if that’s perfectly OK. It was another demonstration of, she will do what she wants, public interests be damned.

Even if you didn’t know or care these things mattered, to many voters it did. She even lost some support within her own party after it was revealed how her campaign undermined the Bernie Sanders primary campaign. It was seen by many as, she would do whatever she thought necessary, to win. That was another blow to her credibility / integrity.

It was a campaign on the slow drip of morphine, oblivious to the impact of the activities of the Clinton Foundation, which curried favor to individuals or organizations making large donations. It was another set of denials to make in the face of mounting evidence.

Donald Trump - running for President in 2016So, here we are, left with someone who knew how to self promote and is now routinely attacked in the media. It’s as if the national humiliation of the woman they all thought would be the next president, could be erased, or at least the person responsible for her defeat could be shown to be as big of a scoundrel as a large number of voters thought Hillary Clinton was, and even more incompetent.

 Official Government Report on the Benghazi Embassy 

The report says there were no undue delays in responding to the attacks, and they pointedly rejected unfounded allegations that the U.S. response was deliberately thwarted by a “stand down” order.

Quite the contrary: the safe evacuation of all U.S. government personnel from Benghazi twelve hours after the initial attack and subsequently to Ramstein Air Force Base was the result of exceptional U.S. government coordination and military response, the independent Accountability Review Board concluded in its Dec. 18, 2012, report.

Note by author: Like most government cover ups, those who continued to work for it, compromised their stories to preserve their jobs and reputations. The accusation of a stand down order wasn’t about the local CIA operatives, they responded quickly. Army Lt. Col. S.E. Gibson located in Tripoli said; “I was not ordered to stand down. I was ordered to remain in place,” Gibson told the House Armed Services Committee. ” The Tripoli team arrived in Benghazi in about an hour, but it was delayed at the airport “for at least three hours,” according to the Senate homeland security committee report. They later concluded the delay was caused by operation confusion, “miscalculation”, not a deliberate effort to thwart the rescue. It wasn’t necessary to have additional boots on the ground immediately. The GRS force in defense of the compound was standing by to laser guide any support aircraft which could have been there in approximately 1 hour.

“General Ham was head of AFRICOM and Commander of the 2011 US-NATO operation to depose Gadhafi in Libya. Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette was in command of the Carrier Strike Group Three (CSG-3), then deployed in Middle Eastern waters during the attack on Benghazi.” 

“Both Ham and Rear Admiral Gaouette reported receiving the same desperate cables for additional security and backup that Obama administration officials received and ignored from Benghazi.”

“General Ham and Gaouette attempted to launch ready response teams in the region capable of provided the much needed assistance during the seven hour long assault on Benghazi. Both were then relieved of command for their actions, described by the US Military as “allegations of inappropriate leadership judgment.”

“General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready to deploy to Benghazi. Then, General Ham received the order to stand down. His response was “screw it,” – he was going to help anyway.”

“Within minutes after issuing an order to deploy his ready response team, Ham’s second in command apprehended the General and told him that he was now relieved of his command. Ham knows who issued the order to STAND DOWN as well as the order to relieve him of his command at AFRICOM.”

“Gaouette readied vital intelligence and communications operations for an extraction effort to be launched by Ham.”

“Stars and Stripes reported October 18, 2012 that General Ham is being replaced by Gen. David Rodriguez. They also reported on October 27, 2012 that Adm. Gaouette is being replaced by Rear Adm. Troy M. Shoemaker. The Navy stated that it was “replacing the admiral in command of an aircraft carrier strike group in the Middle East, pending the outcome of an internal investigation into undisclosed allegations of inappropriate judgment.”

Notes from the Pentagon Investigation:

Q: But do you think, you know, if an F-15, if the military had allowed a jet to go fly over, that it might have prevented [the second attack]?
A: Yeah, and if we had gotten clearance from the Libyan military for an American plane to fly over Libyan airspace. The Libyans that I talked to and the Libyans and other Americans who were involved in the war have told me also that Libyan revolutionaries were very cognizant of the impact that American and NATO airpower had with respect to their victory. They are under no illusions that American and NATO airpower won that war for them. And so, in my personal opinion, a fast-mover flying over Benghazi at some point, you know, as soon as possible might very well have prevented some of the bad things that happened that night.

Benghazi_embassy_interior

Response to Hillary Clinton’s use of Personal Servers for State Department Email

Note by author: The use of private, personal servers for official government communications at a State Department level was one of the most glaring bad judgement calls made by Hillary Clinton. No matter what her motivations were, the fact that she wasn’t concerned about the ramifications, and to use language which attempted to portray this as something innocent, assumes great naivete of the electorate on how classified material is supposed to be handled. Many of us have served in a capacity, either in the military or for contractors which are required to handle communications in the strictest and most secure methods as required by government. The NSA has for many years posted guidelines for private companies on how to maintain security. With Clinton working as head of the State Department, she was required to uphold these regulations.

I’ve heard many excuses, or the explanation as described in the above link, “the State Department’s track record for its own email security isn’t exactly spotless”, “there’s no evidence these servers were hacked.” Perhaps that’s true, but the same couldn’t be said for the DNC, and many of it’s users were the same people communicating on the Clinton email servers.

At the Department of State, there is accountability for the security of email systems. If we learned that State’s email servers had been hacked or left needlessly vulnerable, there would be investigations and consequences. With Clinton’s off-the-books scheme, there are only questions.

“… there have been five separate security vulnerabilities identified with Outlook Web Access since ClintonEmail.com was registered in 2009. These security bugs include doozies like “a flaw that may lead to an unauthorized information disclosure” (2010) and “a remote attacker can gain access to arbitrary files.” (2014).

heartbleed security bug

Heartbleed was unknown but active during her tenure as Secretary of State

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