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International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 in the Bay Area will use its monthly stop-work meeting on Friday to idle the ports of Oakland and San Francisco to protest recent police killings of African Americans.

The executive board and membership of Local 10 aligned its “Union Action to Stop Police Killings of Black and Brown People” with International Workers’ Day, which is celebrated on May 1 in many countries.

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I really wanted to write about it because I saw that there were a lot of people that didn't understand some of the finer points of free trade agreements and they wanted to understand those before making a judgement.

It's become quite clear that no matter how I address the subject it simply won't be good enough. Thus ends the first and last time I've ever tried to educate kossacks on something that they might not be familiar with. To the people who do this day in and day out, my hat is off to you.

I've learned a few things from this little endeavor. Notably, no matter what one person writes about any given topic it will never be good enough. I'm okay with that, I'm just not going to continue to spend so much time on a topic that most people here don't give a fuck about and that is going to be turned into a political debate when there needn't be one.

For those of you who took the series in the spirit it was intended, please feel free contact me with any questions.

Free Trade is probably an important topic. I hope that someday someone meets your threshold for perfection before speaking of it.

Please note: the purpose of this diary series is not  an argument for or against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

There have been a great number of diaries written on this topic, and my only goal here is to provide more information regarding what TPP does, and what it doesn't do.

Part one: Understanding free trade agreements can be found here.

Part Two: Manipulating Free Trade can be found here.

In Part One, we discussed how FTAs don't create a free for all between trade partners; there are provisions that each partner must work within, and many times trade between, for example, Canada, the United States, and Mexico will fall outside of the parameters of NAFTA.

But in Part Two we learned how that can sometimes (or even often) be manipulated, so that exporters obtain preferential treatment even when products don't (or shouldn't) fall within those parameters.

We learned in both part one and part two how some countries are able to negotiate much stronger standing than other partners in a FTA. (Mexico flooding the sugar market of North America to the detriment of Canada, for example.)

Before we do the jump, let's go over a few of the necessary notes and such:

First, I appreciate all of the positive feedback I've received, and I really appreciate the questions that I get in the comments section. That helps me understand my audience a bit more and attempt to address specific questions and concerns that some readers have.

That being said, I don't think I fully appreciated what a monster this project would be until I started writing it. In fact, this started as a single diary in December. Due to the many disruptions in my life around that time I had to temporarily abandon it. When I came back to revisit it, I realized that it would have to be a series or the longest blog post ever written. (I think I've passed the "TL;DR" threshold in each diary already, so I truly do appreciate those of you have stuck with me on this.)

So there are a lot of other points about FTAs that I wanted to address before we moved on to the TPP, but we're getting to the point where we don't have a lot of time left on this subject and I'm going to have to let those things be side-notes in subsequent diaries. (Whenever this happens, I'll still make myself available in the comment sections to further elaborate on any point that seems unclear.)

 And, finally, please keep in mind that as we venture on to the meat of the TPP that things might take a different tone. This is for a few reasons:

A) Where I don't have a strong opinion on FTAs in general, I do have one on the TPP. From this point on, we're going to be analyzing the TPP and I hope to keep my personal feelings out of it, but I can't promise that it will happen. Analyzing this for me means wearing a few different hats, so I apologize in advance if we veer from a "just the facts" series to a more opinionated piece.

B) Analyzing the TPP is going to be difficult given that I don't have a document to compare and contrast with previous trade agreements. Leaked documents and other reports are not the same as a final deal, so we'll all be fumbling in the dark on this point.

C) The main reason that I wanted to address the TPP is because it is not a traditional free trade agreement. That is also why I wanted all of you to have a better understanding of what a traditional free trade agreement consists of. We'll get into the hows and whys of how TPP differs from NAFTA, but the short version is: TPP goes well beyond simple trade and into much murkier waters.

This means that I can address in detail the trade part of the deal, but there are provisions that involve trade only tangentially and I am simply not qualified to analyze that with the rigor that I'd have with a compare and contrast to NAFTA and CAFTA. TPP is simply above and beyond that.

Alright, let's do the jump and understand the basics of TPP.

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Please note: the purpose of this diary series is not  an argument for or against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

There have been a great number of diaries written on this topic, and my only goal here is to provide more information regarding what TPP does, and what it doesn't do.

Part one: Understanding free trade agreements can be found here.

In Part One we learned about how free trade agreements work, or don't work, as the case may be. Today we're going to talk about how FTAs are manipulated, and delve a bit deeper into trade statistics.

I'll also attempt to address in more detail some of the questions I was asked yesterday.

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Please note: the purpose of this diary series is not  an argument for or against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

There have been a great number of diaries written on this topic, and my only goal here is to provide more information regarding what TPP does, and what it doesn't do.

Full disclosure before we start: My career is in international trade. The global economy isn't a mystery or source of anxiety for me; it's my livelihood and I love it. It's a complicated and constantly changing industry so it keeps me on my toes. It's challenging, requires a lot of critical thinking, reading, research, and, yes, creativity. In short, it suits me.

That being said, I don't have a strong opinion about free trade agreements in general. They don't make my job any easier- in fact, in order to get any benefit from a FTA, I have to do more work, not less. (We'll get to that shortly.) So, as I stated at the top, this will not be an argument for or against the TPP or FTAs. It's not an opinion piece.

The purpose of this series is purely educational. Many people are misinformed or completely uneducated about the topic and I hope to bring something to the table that will help others form an educated and informed opinion.

Okay, now that all of that's out of the way, let's do the jump and geek out on international trade.

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Sat Apr 18, 2015 at 02:12 PM PDT

An open letter to my niece

by BoiseBlue

I was about your age that night, in the third or fourth grade.

The house we lived in as awful. I don't believe in haunted houses but I'm telling you now that there was something wrong with that house, something evil. And while I don't believe in it now, I remember vividly what it was like to feel haunted in every room. We all saw things, things that the natural world can't explain. I'll probably never tell you about those things. I only bring it up because it's somewhat germane to what I'm about to tell you now.

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So, I've been a bit busy the last few days and had little computer access. I've been browsing DK from my phone; mostly just the front page and not very often. Yesterday I saw the diary titled "Whoa. SAE fraternity files lawsuit, denies they are racist, say they're being 'tarred and feathered'" and thought "Whoa, holy shit, these guys are idiots!"

Except it's not true. There is no lawsuit.

Last night I read the whole diary, including the link provided for the basis of the story:

NORMAN, Okla. — The local chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon hired an attorney and could be planning to pursue legal action against the University of Oklahoma, and possibly OU President David Boren.
So, they could be planning to pursue legal action, but they have not filed a lawsuit.

This was pointed out several times in the comment section, yet as of this morning when I logged back on, the diary was STILL on the rec list without a correction and had been shared and tweeted widely.

I haven't been able to confirm that "tarred and feathered" was a quote from the attorney representing them or a phrase used by the reporter of the story. I'm trying to clarify that now and will update when/if I can confirm the original source of that term. In other reports the same news station characterizes it as "branding." If this was a quote from Jones, it is horrific; if it was a paraphrase by the news station, it's probably the most tone-deaf way to report on a story. I've sent an email to the station for clarification. UPDATE (At the press conference on Friday, Jones said the members of the frat were painted “with a tar brush” so I believe the "tarred and feathered" quip was a direct quote. Ugh.)

This is embarrassing for DailyKos and seems to have become a pattern for the diarist in question. Every tweet and facebook share that went out on this (over 7,000 shares and 800 tweets) is a blow to this sites credibility. It's one thing to make a mistake and post a correction, but when completely inaccurate diary titles become a habit there's something wrong.

Since posting this diary, the diary in question has been shared 600 more times and was placed on the front page with the false title and all. It's embarrassing enough that it was on the rec list for a full day, now it'll be on the front page for how long?

It is completely false and being shared as a dailykos item. Kos, perhaps it's time to fact-check your own writers?

UPDATE II: The diary title in question has been changed to "SAE fraternity threatens lawsuit, denies they're racist, say they're being 'tarred and feathered."


Wed Mar 04, 2015 at 03:02 PM PST

Truck: 2, BoiseBlue: 0

by BoiseBlue

There aren't a lot of things that my wife and I disagree on, but the few things that we do are kind of big. To name just one, she loves gas-guzzling, behemoth vehicles and I think people who drive those are pathetic (unless there is a legit reason to do so).

To put it simply, she's the woman who will drive a big ass Hummer that gets 2 MPG and I'm the woman walking or biking past the gas station with the shirt that says "Nice truck, sorry about your dick."

Not that she has a Hummer, and not that I walk or bike past many gas stations these days, but you get the point.

Still, even on this one point, we agree on one thing: old trucks are pretty awesome. For me, it's nostalgia. For her, it's everything else and the nostalgia.

The first several months of our relationship was a long distance one, me in Boise and she in Ketchum/Sun Valley. A few months in, we were driving back to Boise and saw an old truck for sale. It was awesome: a black 1978 Jeep J-10. We stopped to admire the old beast, then left.

A few weeks later, my then-girlfriend and her stepdad were talking to the guy who was selling it, and she ended up buying it for less than a thousand dollars.

To make this truck just a little more bad ass, it used to be owned by a famous musician (again, this is the Sun Valley area) who used it to plow his property when it snowed. The plowing equipment (minus the actual plow) is all still intact. It's just.... well, I love this damn truck.

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Not even past experience can prepare us for grief. I've been learning this the hard way as I struggle with the loss of my aunt. Having lost many influential loved ones before this, I thought I had it more or less figured out. It was going to hurt, but I'd get through it.

Or, maybe, not so much....

I had several epiphanies while I sat next to my aunt as she died, and I could (and probably will) write something about each one of those. The first one was that self-destruction isn't really a thing. It doesn't exist. Destruction is a very real thing that does exist, but it does not stop at the body of a person. I don't get to hide under the blanket of "self-destruction" just because I am only harming myself physically . Self-destruction is destruction. If I destroy me, I destroy others along the way.

Further, who the fuck am I to say that I am not special or loved when everyone tells me that I am? I trust the people who tell me that I am, yet I distrust what they say when they say that.

One of the people who had been my fiercest champions was now dying before me. One of her last acts of rebellion was to try to shield me from seeing her face. She didn't want me to be there, but guess what? She had no say in the matter. So I told her to STFU, wrapped her in my arms, and held her close to me so that I could stroke her hair. "I wouldn't have driven all night to get to Aunt Sharon," I told her. "So just knock it off, because I'm here and I'm not leaving."

She took as deep a breath as she could and then fell asleep in my arms. My right arm fell asleep as it cradled her head and neck, and my back ached from leaning over the bed to hold her like that. But she was peaceful, so I stayed like that for, well, I don't know how long.

That was Saturday morning. I got the call on Friday night and within twenty minutes I was in my car on the way to Tacoma. I arrived at 6 am local time, but due to getting lost several times I didn't make it to the hospital until 8. My aunt passed at about 3:30am Monday morning. Everything is a blur, really. And the details, I suppose, don't matter much.

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Fri Jan 16, 2015 at 09:04 AM PST

The unbearable burden of being poor

by BoiseBlue

It happens in every diary about SNAP or any other type of welfare: casual observations about a so-an-so someone saw in the store the other day, using their EBT card to buy [insert item that someone believes is inappropriate], so clearly, there are a lot of people out there sucking from the government teat!

While you pay taxes, they are buying beer with government benefits!

Or they left the store and hopped into an expensive car.

Or they're way too young to be needing government assistance.

Oh! The horror! The absolute horror that someone might be getting government assistance when they're not suffering sufficiently enough to earn your compassion.

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I have a confession to make: I have very deep criticisms about this site, its writers and readers. Some days I log on, browse the front page and the recommended list, gauge the general tone of the site, and then log off because I think you're all a bunch of idiots.

Does that offend you? It certainly should. Because I'm painting an entire community with a broad brush and ignoring all the amazing things about it. And even more offensive is that it is highly likely that when I say "you're all idiots," I'm not actually talking about you, dear reader, but rather just a few people amongst the thousands here.

So the problem may not be all of you, right? It's more likely that I am the problem, but it doesn't stop me from offensively calling ALL of you idiots.

But what if I actually DID call all of you, each and every person here, an idiot? Well, first I'd be banned. Then, depending on how I wrote the diary, I might become a dkos legend, like ErinF or RealityBias.

You know what wouldn't happen?

I wouldn't be killed. Mocked, ridiculed, maligned? Yes.


Also yes.

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Wed Jan 07, 2015 at 01:57 PM PST

I need help

by BoiseBlue

This is humiliating for me to do since I've already had to ask, but I need help again.

Apologies for any upcoming typos and lack of details; I'm writing this from my phone because I don't have Internet access at home now.

As some of you may recall, shortly after my last plea for help my aunt was hospitalized and then passed on. I was able to pay rent and a couple past due bills before taking the emergency trip to Tacoma. Being out of town, unplanned, for a week quickly drained the remainder of the money you all had generously donated.

I feel awful for using the money in a way that it was not intended for, but I hope you all understand: there is nothing I wouldn't have done in order to be there.

So, I kind of blew it and I am humiliated by all of this.

But that snowball I feared has started barreling towards me now that I'm two months behind in some bills. My power will be shut off soon and I've lost both my health and car insurance. Also, there was a hiccup with my job offer and I can't start until next month.

On top of that, I still have to get back to Tacoma soon for my aunts service.

I really, really hate do this, but I need help. This will be the last time I ask, I promise.

I apologize that my participation here will be limited- it's taken me way too long to write this and I find it nearly impossible to comment from my phone.

My email for PayPal is krissy54 (at) clearwire (dot) net

Please also use that email address for anything you want/need to contact me for, since I am limited by my current technology.

Thanks, everyone.

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