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The Seattle and Puget Sound Kossacks had their second meeting on Saturday, again at the Pyramid Alehouse in the heart of Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood, and directly across from the Mariners Baseball Stadium.  A dozen souls showed on a spritzy spring Saturday afternoon to share stories, ideas and passions, as well as a few delicious beers, burgers and coffee.

Left to right:
mlharges, bleeding blue, Ojibwa, Ms. bleeding blue, ReasonableGunsPlz, John Crapper's Girl, EagleOfFreedom, John Crapper, RickEagle, Momomia, N in Seattle
The Affordable Care Act was a prime point of discussion throughout the afternoon.  There were definitely folks critical of the ACA for keeping the insurance companies so integral to the health care system. If you boil it down, we all basically agree the ACA was not health care reform, but rather health insurance reform.  

But the counter-arguments about the ACA’s expanded Medicaid coverage, minimum plan requirements, no pre-existing condition denials, and profit caps were quite persuasive. But not as persuasive as Momomia’s personal story about the last 3 years she has spent caring for sick relatives and having to scrape and struggle to keep paying the $300+ month premium just to keep coverage.  She finally got her ACA subsidized health care last October and was on the verge of tears when she explained she had a $0 monthly premium, dental, vision and quality prescription coverage.  Yes, Obamacare’s all about helping the lazy and the illegals, as someone said when I challenged his “both parties are evil” false equivalence on Facebook recently. Or maybe, just maybe, Obamacare puts value on families rather than fetishizing the culture of work crap that the GOP has been peddling lately.  But I digress.

Momomia, ReasonableGunsPlz, N in Seattle
Also a hot topic of conversation early in the day was of course the 2014 elections, turnout strategies, messaging and how important having 50+ 1 votes in the US Senate will be after 2014 if any of the Supreme Court Justices should retire.  If the GOP takes over the Senate Majority, we may be forced to settle for another Justice Kennedy type nominee to the court.  Much gnashing of teeth was heard regarding the Supreme’s recent McBarfy decision to gut our election finance laws even further.  A great analogy was made about the cumulative effect of this and Citizens United: it’s like having a debate where one of the participants gets to buy more speaking time than her opponents.  That’s no longer a fair debate or exchange of ideas.
Momomia, ReasonableGunsPlz, N in Seattle
Ojibwa got the gold for the furthest distance traveled, coming in all the way from Montana to meet up with us!!!  He even brought some books to share with the group, which were greatly appreciated and quickly snatched up.  His journey was not as torturous as we all imagined when he first told us where he came in from, as he has a motor home and relatives in the area, with plans to go to the Oregon Coast next.  Nice!
EagleOfFreedom, Ojibwa
Rick with the Northwest Progressive Institute and Vote Vets plugged the organization’s upcoming Spring GALA, Friday April 25th at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center, featuring State Rep Chris Reykdal.  Sadly, our dear Rick has the great misfortune of being misrepresented by turncoat Senator Rodney Tom (R)(D) (?) in Washington’s 48th State Senate District.  Boos and hisses were heard immediately when he mentioned this, and much ire and even more gnashing of teeth occurred.  And a hearty endorsement was given for the progressive credentials of former Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride, who is challenging him in the primary this August.
Ms. bleeding blue, Bleeding Blue, John Crapper's S.O.
As previously reported, the group’s admin, yours truly, is flying off to the San Francisco Bay Area later this year so I must abdicate my responsibilities for organizing the meetups.  John Crapper and his fabulous S.O. Cathy have graciously stepped up to keep the group rolling and growing.  Much discussion covered my partner’s new residency program in SF, what neighborhoods are great, people to meet, things to do, timing and so forth.  Fortunately, there is a lot of love for the Bay Area from their West Coast Komrades up here in the People’s Republic of Seattle, so they were very supportive of my relocation… well, except for the 49’ers thing.  My blood is Seahawks blue, and that’s not gonna change.

John led discussion on a couple items of business.  First he got general agreement to try to stick with the first Saturdays of the month for meetings and to stick with Pyramid Alehouse due to it’s convenient location and parking on non-game days.  We even got our own room this time, and the parking, proximity to transit and central location make it ideal.  John is checking the schedule for the next meetup, and will communicate that out.

John Crapper's S.O., John Crapper, EagleOfFreedom
Secondly, John wanted consensus that our efforts should be more than just social, that we should use this valuable opportunity to make connections and support each other on issues in a way that will make a difference with the microphone we have here on DKos. Mention was made of the recent Kossack action against fracking in California, connecting with other progressive organizations here in Washington, supporting candidates, cross-pollinating with the Liberals Drinking Liberally group (who just started meeting again at the Roanoke on 10th/North end of Broadway near Seattle Prep and Interlaken Park on Tuesday eves). Letter writing, voter registration, door belling, there’s no lack of things that we can get involved in.  Now with this decided, the next step is to start coming up with ideas and plans to make it happen.

Everything happens for a reason. I firmly believe that.  People come into your life for the blink of an eye in comparision to the rest of your life, yet they change you and things around you in a profound and lasting way. And sometimes you meet people and you feel immediately like they are a fellow traveler on the same journey as you, even though you may be light years apart in life experiences, age, background and many other factors.  That’s how it’s felt getting the Seattle and Puget Sound Kossacks off the ground for the last several months.  Like this was the role I was supposed to play, and these are people whose passion and compassion are so kindred, that they feel like old friends or family quickly.  

The crew
If you’ve been on the fence about coming out to a Seattle & Puget Sound Kossacks meetup, or probably any Kossacks meetup around the country, I encourage you to set aside your apprehension and go to the meet up closest to you.  And if there isn’t one, send a Kosmail to Navajo and ask her if she knows of one.  That was what I did, and look where it got me?  It got me something I’ll be happy I was part of making happen and people I was happy to meet forever.  And in a world that has a lot of bad things in it that we are all fighting to change, sometimes just having your Kossack Komrades to commiserate with is just the thing you need to recharge and reenergize for the next fight.
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