Irony And Trade Wars

I am a motorcyclist, also known as a biker.

I ride a Harley (for non-bikers this means I currently own and ride a Harley-Davidson).

I have ridden bikes from five different makers, manufactured in the US, Japan and the UK. Because this is a passion of mine I follow the industry closely and have for some time although I have been more focused on other things in the last few years.

So, when the subject of motorcycles (and tariffs) comes up I know a little about what’s going on; smoke, mirrors, politics and BS.

Harley-Davidson has been in trouble economically for quite sometime. They rode the wave of a certain demographic and milked it for all it was worth without seeing that this wave would crest and break one day like it did about ten years ago. Their target market started to dry up and they have been scrambling ever since. Somehow, the powers that be in Milwaukee have decided that marketing American Steel (irony) to developing nations in Asia would be their next big wave.

They might be right but I think they might have downed a bit too much of their own Koolaid. Not only is there not much of a culture of leather clad, Easy Rider wannabes in India and other Asian nations but there is a very real problem in that most of those nations have fairly high tariffs to protect local industry and jobs (more irony). So, H-D needs an excuse to close at least one US plant (since US demand is and will continue to be down) and open one or more overseas. They need to do this without alienating their primary customer base, most of whom are probably firmly in the Make America Great Again camp. Suddenly they have the perfect cover;  Trumpet and his efforts to “level the playing field for the American steel industry” and Harley gets the excuse they need and they can blame it on trade wars. The left can jump on this and blame it on Trumpet.

Harley runs the risk of backlash from their core demographic but that demographic is shrinking after all. The few bikes that H-D makes that appeal to younger demographics (who are less likely to be Trumpeters) have been manufactured in Brazil for a decade or two (although they were previously assembled in the US).

Now, that last little bit (OK, huge dose) of irony in this little mess?

Harley Davidson has prospered for the last forty years because of US tariffs against big bore (large displacement) foreign (especially Japanese) motorcycles. Yup, a tariff of up to 50% (49.5% actually) and limits on the number of motorcycles that could be imported into the US has ensured the profitability of H-D since the early 1980’s…

Now that the US is no longer their primary growth market, tariffs are their excuse to move production overseas.

Of course, no one looking for yet another reason to hate Trumpet will bother to get the those pesky things known as facts. In fairness, no one looking for yet another reason to adore him with either.

Take care and God bless.

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It’s Not Paranoia If…

Here is a quote from a July 4th column published in a fairly mainstream (and supposedly Christian) newspaper:

Normally, when I get into a debate with a conservative friend and we are at an impasse, with no hope for resolution, I try to ease the tension with levity, and say, “Well, when the revolution comes, I will put in a good word for you and your family.” To my friends in the Republican political and legal establishment who have not stood up to Trump: When the revolution comes, you are on your own, and I will be clamoring not for mercy but for a seat next to the guillotine, where I can do my knitting.

This was not in the comments section. It was the last paragraph in an editorial from a regular columnist with the publication…

I don’t like Trumpette. I don’t agree with all of his policies but there are a number of them that I do agree with including efforts to slow illegal immigration, protect our borders and curb terrorism. Will that be enough to get my head and the heads of my family onto this “man’s” chopping block? Or, will that qualify for the leniency of a “reeducation camp” somewhere? Once the flames of civil war are fanned will it even matter?

I was asked why I would need a passport before the next administration takes office. This is it in a nutshell.

Those of us in this country who support the rule of law, especially the Constitution, and who believe in the principles on which this nation was founded find ourselves increasingly under attack. At some point in the near future those who hold the same views as this columnist will once again hold the Presidency of the USA. At that point all bets will be off.

At that point those without a passport and the means to escape may find themselves (and their families) on the platform for a date with Madame Guillotine or fighting for their lives. There was a very good reason the founding fathers wanted to ensure that the citizenry was armed against tyranny, even if the tyrants are fellow citizens.

Of course, those pushing for the harassment of conservatives and Trump supporters, violent counter-protests to stifle free-speech, the internment camps, and the guillotine only have the best of intentions. They are doing it for our own good, but as C. S. Lewis once observed:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Our nation is growing ever more polarized. I had hoped for a Presidential candidate who would bridge the divide. That didn’t happen. Both parties put forward candidates that were even more polarizing, candidates that widened the gap between us, rather than bridging it. As a result we are staring into an abyss. If we can’t find a way to back away from it…

Well…

…my great, great grandparents knew the horrors of civil war first hand. We may just have to (re)learn them first hand. I pray we do not.

Take care and God bless.

Customer Service As It Should Be

I have a Primary Arms red dot (MD-06) that I use quite a bit. I have had it for several years and it has served on my self-defense rifle, a hunting rifle and for all sorts of testing and trial (not to mention error). Unfortunately, the torx head screw that is used to tighten it down to the rail (or mount) is an odd size that I don’t seem to have a match for lying around handy whenever I need it. As a result the screw head finally stripped.

It is not a flaw in the manufacturing. I buggered it up (that doesn’t mean the same thing here in the South as it does in the UK, by the way) through my own laziness and hardheadedness. Overall it has been a great little optic and there was no reason to toss it for want of a screw so I called PA to order a replacement. They couldn’t be THAT expensive, right?

I called the number on the web site and explained what I needed. Apparently, the model number was not enough to determine which part would be needed to the young man who was unfortunate enough to pick of the phone looked through my order history (I buy a lot more from them than I realized) until he found the match. Then he apologized because this model was no longer in the system and he would have to check with someone else to see if they were in stock. He said he would give me a call back shortly.

A little later in the day my phone did ring but I was on another call and didn’t pick up. A few minutes later I receive an email that my order has shipped.

What order?

Well, when I finally got around to checking my voice mail I found out. Yes, that part was in stock and they were shipping it out free of charge!

The box showed up a couple of days later containing the screw and even a PA sticker.

Now that is customer service. The optic was no longer under warranty and I freely admitted to being the source of the damage. This is why they are on my short list of vendors to do business with.

Kudos and thanks Primary Arms!

Take care and God bless.

Christians and Self Defense

Amen…

The Stuart Fant Blog

I read an article the other day about how chaplains working at Federal Prisons no longer were required to carry pepper spray because some felt that it was against there religion to use any kind of violence against another person.  I spent several years as a correctional officer and knowing what I know about prisons find this to be absolutely crazy.  Sadly, this idea has become a common belief  among many Christians and it is doing nothing but making them a soft target for criminals and the evil people of this world.

I am not advocating for Christians to love violence, but I am advocating for them to be willing to protect themselves and their loved ones.  I don’t want to live with regret and neither do any of you.  Imagine how angry you would be if you honestly believe God doesn’t want us to use violence and you watch…

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Complacency is Your Greatest Enemy

Complacency is Your Greatest Enemy

Have you become complacent?

Prepper 365

Maybe you’re ready and prepared for anything at anytime; trained, stocked up, secured and your to do list is empty – excellent! If that’s the case then feel free to move on, nothing to see here. But, if you’re like most people, you find yourself lacking in some ways simply because you’ve become complacent.

Complacency really is our biggest threat; as individuals and as a society. This can be related to security, preparedness, self-reliance, saving for retirement, religion or even politics. Sitting back or ‘going with the flow’ can ultimately lead to disaster.

Let’s take security for instance; have you ever left your car unlocked, left a loaded hand gun in the truck or forgot to lock the back door? Have you neglected to take your firearm with you because ‘I’ll only be gone a couple of minutes?’ Have you analyzed your home’s vulnerability to break-ins, or maybe still haven’t…

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Things Don’t Always Go As Planned

Things don’t always go according to plan. Not the small things and not the big things. As a young man I had plans to be a writer, to own a bar in the tropics and to live above the bar or on a boat (or both). Fiction, poetry and a little drunken debauchery on the side would fill an expectedly short time on planet Earth, after all, the brightest stars burn out the fastest, right?

That was the plan baby…

What actually happened was falling in love with a Wonderful Woman whose family situation was…complicated…and not at all conducive to the life of an island bar bum and writer. What’s more is the three little ones she was solely responsible for broke my heart too. There was no way I could look into those trusting and hopeful little faces and not fall in love with them as well. Faces that needed help before they became hard and uncaring; before they became statistics on the news.

Dreams change.

Savings, formerly earmarked to buy the bar, went instead to a decent place for them to live. A writing career (paid for by tending bar) was traded for something that paid the bills a little more reliably and work that didn’t involve vampire hours. The typewriter grew a covering of dust and eventually a place in the back of a closet. A planned free and easy life replaced with worries of where to get money for school clothes and Christmas gifts, braces, college…

Fast forward thirty plus years.

I am still madly in love with Wonderful Wife. I watch her sometimes when she is sleeping or watching TV or cleaning the house or whatever amazed that I could have been that blessed to have a woman like that put up with me for this long. I see my little ones, now grown, with little ones of their own, and I can’t help but thank God for them. They, along with Wonderful Wife, have been the color on the canvass of my life. My heart breaks (in the good way) looking into the little faces of my grand kids. Faces just as filled with hope and wonder, hope and trust as their parents’ faces so long ago. Seeing those little faces…I smile…my soul and my heart smile.

My plans changed…

My dreams changed…

..and I am a richer man for it. I am truly blessed.

Thank you Lord.