Archive for  April 5th 2018

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Carol Miller of Ankeny has lived through a farm crisis, and knows what it takes to survive.

“That’s why you get a little concerned when you see something like this, because we`ve gone through this,” said Miller. What Miller sees taking place right now between the U.S. and China gives her flashbacks. “When President Carter put an embargo on grain going to the Soviet Union, we lost markets and we`ve never regained all those markets back,” said Miller. “Because the Soviet Union went to other sources.”

Miller is worried that something similar could also happen this time around. “China can go to Argentina and Brazil,” said Miller. “There’s other sources for soybeans and other crops and livestock for them. And, over in Argentina and Brazil, they can double crop. For us here, we are limited to one crop.”

The impact of China’s proposed 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybean imports is already being felt. “30 percent of the entire U.S. soybean crop ends up in China,” said Dr. Chad Hart, Associate Professor of Economics at Iowa State University. “And, that’s why this was such a big deal to the soybean market today.”

Dr. Hart says farmers have good reason to be worried.

“They saw an immediate impact on their prices,” said Dr. Hart. “As soon as this was announced the soybean futures went down by over five percent this morning. Now, we saw some recovery throughout the rest of the day, but they`ve already felt an economic impact due to these announcements.”

Dr. Hart sees the rapid escalation of trade tensions between the U.S. and China as a full-blown trade war.

“For the 53 billion dollars in products that the U.S. is putting a tariff on that come from China, that represents about ten percent of all the trade we do with China,” said Dr. Hart. “When you look at the 53 billion dollars` worth of trade that China`s putting tariffs on, that represents almost 40 percent of what we ship to them. I think when you’re talking about double-digit numbers there, yeah you`re in the realm of a trade war.”

JEFFERSON, IOWA — The Jefferson, Iowa farmhouse may be a far cry from Memphis, Tennessee but fifty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr at the Lorraine Motel, pieces of that day live on vividly. “Dr. King’s blood on that landing. They got down and they scooped that blood into a jar and they took that with them,” recalled, former Des Moines Register columnist Chuck Offenburger who was just a college student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.  Offenburger was working for the school newspaper when shots rang out.  He said, “My friend came running into the news office April 4, 1968 and said Dr. King had been shot and I said we have to go to Memphis.”

Offenburger and his friend Mark McCrackin hopped on a plane arriving in Memphis shortly after the assassination.  “We went to a cab and asked them to take us to the Lorraine Motel and he said he couldn’t.  It was too dangerous there were riots starting.  There were fires,” said Offenburger.  After changing the driver’s mind with extra cab fare, Chuck and Mark arrived at the hotel.  They gained access because of Chuck’s older brother.  “My brother was Tom Offenburger, now deceased.  He was Dr. King’s press secretary for the last three years of Dr. King’s life,” said Offenburger.

Two college students spending some of the darkest hours in the civil rights movement with key figures like Ralph Abernathy, James Bevel, Jesse Jackson, Hosea Williams and Andrew Young.  “Most of these staff members had lost not only their leader but their mentor.  Dr. King had really brought them along,” said Offenburger.

Decisions were made on how to handle the assassination.  Offenburger said, “The scene from mid-evening to the next morning was calmer than you might think except busy because of the phone calls and continued to go on all night long.  I don’t think anybody slept at all.  Then Senator Bobby Kennedy from New York called and he was sending an airplane from the Kennedy family to pick up the staff and Dr. King’s body.”
Vanderbilt classes were cancelled for days Offenburger said, “It was shock and grief.”  Sadness turned to anger.  “Kind of a time of rage against hatred. If hatred killed Dr. King then this was a reaction from all kinds of people,” he said.

Offenberger noticed so much social change going to Vanderbilt in the 1960’s and senses a resurgence.  He noticed a similar feeling at a recent March For Our Lives rally in Des Moines.”  I’m seeing that youth movement crank up like it has in the last couple weeks and I think it is great,” said Offenburger. He added, “Young people can make changes in this country. That has been our history.”  King’s voice echoes through such groups today.  Offenburger said, “Dr. King was thirty-nine when he was killed.  They had already changed the world and what might have been if he would have lived on.”