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Donald Trump’s trade war is hurting the people he promised to help

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PLYMOUTH, Wis. — There’s no question that dairy is Wisconsin’s most famous industry.

In the town of Plymouth, a giant statue of a Holstein stands in the middle of the “cheese capital of the world.” An astonishing 15 per cent of all the cheese in America passes through this part of Wisconsin’s Dairyland.

But Plymouth has a problem: the product at the centre of the economy is under assault as a result of President Trump’s trade wars.

The uncertainty starts on dairy farms, like the one belonging to Josh Goeser.

He says farmers were initially encouraged when Trump promised to stand up for them and win access to Canada’s protected dairy industry as part of a renegotiated NAFTA, but then reality set in.


READ MORE:
Trump tariff backlash grows in U.S. as major companies take financial hit

“It was good that he wanted fair deals and it was bad about how he approached it,” Goeser said.

That’s because Trump didn’t just pick one trade fight, he picked several at the same time.

When the U.S. added tariffs to imported steel and aluminum, Canada, Mexico, China and the European Union fought back with their own reciprocal tariffs.

Suddenly Wisconsin found itself at the centre of an international trade war.


Those foreign tariffs were targeted to send a message; Wisconsin is home to Republican speaker of the house Paul Ryan, and the state helped propel Trump to the White House.

The tariffs took direct aim at Wisconsin-made goods from cheese to milk products to Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Farmers like Goeser saw the price of milk plummet almost overnight.

“We had to cut people,” he said. “And we had to watch out and make sure we’re not over-budgeting or spending money on stuff we didn’t need.”

Dairy farmers say the price of their milk plummet almost overnight as other countries responded to Donald Trump’s tariffs with tariffs of their own. Jackson Prokow/Global News

Jackson Proskow/Global News

All of the milk from Goeser Dairy is bought by another Plymouth company: Sartori Cheese.

Sartori has been hit hard by Mexico’s tariffs on imported cheese.

“Until those tariffs are alleviated we’re in a much harder position,” Blair Wilson, Sartori’s vice-president of marketing and global markets, said.


READ MORE:
Facing Quebec dairy farmers, Trudeau says ‘they’re right’ about being pressed to give more

The problem is that in the cheese business, there are no quick turnarounds.

Aged cheese has to be produced months in advance. So Sartori has been trying to sell cheese to Mexico that it made long before the tariffs kicked in. In the process, they’ve had to eat a 25 per cent cost increase themselves, wary of turning off consumers if they were to pass along a price hike.

They’ve also kept buying the same amount of milk and for now, they’re still producing just as much cheese.

“We really just need to understand what the landscape is going to look like,” Wilson explained. “Uncertainty is very difficult in a business like this.”


READ MORE:
Canada has made almost $300M from retaliatory tariffs on U.S.

Asked what happens if the tariffs aren’t lifted soon, Wilson responded: “We’ll need to make more dramatic decisions.”

It seems ironic that the very people and industries Trump promised to help have been hurt by his policies, but the pain isn’t limited to the dairy sector.

In a suburb of Madison, there’s trouble brewing for Wisconsin’s second-most-famous export.

A worker at Octopi Brewing in Waunakee, Wis. Jackson Proskow/Global News

Jackson Proskow/Global News

Octopi Brewing is a rapidly growing craft brewery.

As a canning line whirred away, owner Isaac Showaki explained that the cost of every can has gone up by nearly 25 per cent.

“We’ve had four price increases this year,” he said. “We used to get a two to three per cent annual increase.”

The reason, according to his suppliers, is Trump’s tariffs on imported aluminum.


READ MORE:
Steel tariffs ‘staying’ despite new trade deal: Trump

The impact has been twofold. Consumers have seen the cost of a six-pack of beer rise by as much as $2, while Showaki estimates his business has lost nearly $300,000 to higher costs.

“We could have easily hired six more people, given raises, we had a big plan to start a big 401K, so all that stuff had to be pushed another year because of price increases,” he explained.

The struggles of Wisconsin’s prominent industries are in stark contrast to the health of the overall economy.


The unemployment rate in the state hovers below three per cent, and many businesses face a labour shortage.

That means that trade may not be top of mind for most voters or politicians during the midterm elections, even as tales of economic woe become more commonplace.

“It is complicated both for candidates and voters to wade through,” Barry Burden, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, said. “It’s finding a middle ground that says I understand the concerns of people in those industries who export but also saying I see the value in playing hardball with other countries.”

It’s complicated for the industries at the centre of Trump’s trade war, too.

Farmer Josh Goeser says it’s tough to talk politics with his friends, given the current climate.

Standing among his 1,100 head of dairy cattle, he admits “we try not to talk politics because we don’t want to frustrate each other.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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