Skip to main content our union picnic. We talked for about 15 minutes about a variety of subjects: Civil rights, Gitmo, health care, the drug war. He had some very interesting things to say I've not heard elsewhere. The most interesting was about Gitmo. And some good news for working people who need help and don't qualify for Medicaid. Follow below.

The day he finally nailed down the Senate race, he came into the Lucky Wishbone to eat lunch and rub knees with the hoi-poloi. He and I had briefly met several times before when he was Mayor. I walked to him as I was leaving the 'Bone and congratulated him. I asked if he would do me a favor in Washington. He waited for the request and asked him, "I want you to restore Habeus Corpus." He said, "I'll try. There's a lot of work to be done." I thanked him for his time and left.

Cut to Sunday and our union picnic. He came to thank us for our COLPCE contributions and our feet-on-the-ground-door-to-door efforts in getting him elected. It was the absentee ballots which put him over the top. We gave him a big turnout of foot soldiers and explained the facts (about the Repub's and Fox)  and encouraged folks to vote absentee. He credited us for electing him. He might have been blowing smoke up our skirts or might have meant it. Politicians are by nature... politicians. He stood around with his aide talking to whomever approached him. I waited until most everyone had shaken hands and give well wishes. I shook his hand and asked him if he remembered me. He said he did but who knows.... When I asked him if he remembered our encounter at the Wishbone the day he was declared the winner, the easy smile kind of crept away. I think he remembered what I had asked of him. Now, both he and I know that one Senator cannot acomplish this. But I said, "What happened to Habeus Corpus? Why is there still a Gitmo?" Believe it or not, he engaged me. I would have thought his aide would have cringed and taken him off to his next event. Nope. He was encouraging about the future rights of most of the detainees. He said there will be bi-partisan support to give at least some of the detainees access to civilian courts. He mentioned McCain and Graham, which surprised the hell out of me. I then asked him about the children that we swept up ten years ago and who are now thoroughly radicalized. He gave me an honest answer. He said, "I don't know" and looked away when he said it.  

The conversation moved rapidly to other subjects, such as health care. He told me that part of the Affordable Care Act which is coming on-line, he said "in the next few months" would allow working families who make too much to qualify for aid but can't afford the insurance out there, especially those with special problems, will now be able to qualify for Medicaid on a sliding scale. My daughter cannot afford any insurance and her S.O. makes too much money for her to qualify for Medicaid. Now she will be able to afford it based on this sliding-scale. Hopefully.

I asked him about the $40 billion dollars a year we're throwing away on the Drug War, and he starting saying something about the rumblings of power considering "it" (in essence anyway) and decriminalizing marijuana. I pointed out why marijuana will never be legal because the taxes on it might be billions, the industry of Prohibition is hundreds of billions. He had no answer for that. We chatted some more about this and that, he's frustrated at the Washington impasse with the republicans and the clown show in the House. Aren't we all.

Meanwhile, behind me the entire time, my "friends" were making motions to the good Senator to indicate I was crazy or dangerous or both. I'm told he was getting a big kick out of it.


Mark, if you read this. It was fun talking to you again. Be careful of the oil companies; they're pernicious to one's career.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 11:22:35 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for engaging him (6+ / 0-)

    He is an interesting man, and needs to keep hearing from people like us/you.

  •  I don't expect our officials to be all-knowing (4+ / 0-)

    or always on point. I expect them to be honest and open. Diaries like this give me some hope, at least for Alaska.

    I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

    by Nulwee on Sun Jun 26, 2011 at 11:57:12 PM PDT

  •  umm -- why didnt you talk to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    him about his cozy relationship with the oil industry??? Yes -- I know he is from a producing state but we don't stand a chance at tackling our problems until our elected reps start caring more about our collective well being than such parochial interests.

    •  Well, I'm afraid they just didn't come up. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And yes, this state produces oil and exports to Asian markets. BP is a Big Deal up here. Despite their record number of violations, they employ a lot of people who keep their dollars here.  Besides we DFH's have been telling you people about the environment since the sixties. No one did a thing, and I personally believe it's too late. We are already over the tipping point. I've watch the climate in Alaska change over 31 years. It going to change no matter what we do.

      "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

      by CanisMaximus on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 12:29:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've given up on him (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Endangered Alaskan Dem, Xapulin

    Mark was all for single payer while campaigning, along with many other progressive issues.  As soon as he hit DC he became yet another f***ing Blue Dog, which guarantees he won't get re-elected because he won't make it past a decent primary opponent (Scott McAdams, are you listening?).

    He's wimped out on almost everything.  He's just pandering to the corporate crowd now, and don't count on him helping working folks here in Alaska if he can help big corporate donors, like his recent support of the big banks on debit card fees.  As a small business person, I was getting screwed by the big card processor banks and Visa and Mastercard every time I accepted payment by debit card, but Mark could have cared less.

    I supported his father, who was our best Congressman ever, and I'd gladly vote for his brother Tom, who seems to have monopolized all the integrity and brain power that Nick left his kids, but I'm sure not going to support Mark again, since he's just another toady in the Senate for Wall Street and Big Oil (who will do everything they can to ensure his defeat next time he comes up for re-election).

    He can fool me once, but he ain't going to fool me again.

    "Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die" --- Albert King

    by HarpboyAK on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 12:16:01 AM PDT

    •  Ok, I understand. You don't like some or... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      edrie, Xapulin, Lujane

      ...even most of what he stands for and how he represents his interests. Neither do I.

      My mother was always a Democrat and my dad was more independent and conservative, but a registered Democrat all his life. They both used to say, "He may be a crook, but he's OUR crook!"

      I actually worked for Scott McAdams as a volunteer. But got behind the Democrat who won. As I recall the whole original purpose of Daily Kos was (and little else) about electing more and better democrats to office where ever they ran.

      How times have changed. Even if Begich falls into the "more" category than the "better" category, 70% of what we want is better than 100% of nothing, which is what the 'pubs want.

      "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

      by CanisMaximus on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:19:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the SCOTUS (7+ / 0-)

    actually restored Habeas already with the Hamdan and Boumediene decisions.

    Petitioners have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus. They are not barred from seeking the writ or invoking the Suspension Clause’s protections because they have been designated as enemy combatants or because of their presence at Guantanamo. Pp. 8–41.

    The larger problem right now is the Bybee-sized hole that the Military Commissions Act blew through the War Crimes and Torture Acts.

    Gitmo is still there because a set of bi-partisan congress people blocked and defunded it's replacement.

    Besides the expansion of access to Medicaid starting next month HHS has cut the cost of Health Plans for those with Pre-Existing Conditions by as much as 40% in nearly half the states in the Nation.

    •  Thanks, sir.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      edrie, StPeteDave, Lujane

      I'm not really a policy wonk, and your skills as to following the more subtle aspects of same leave me, a humble blue-collar guy, in awe and somewhat jealous of your energy in writing interesting diaries.

      I appreciate the erudition. Sorry about the absurd run-on sentence... couldn't help myself.

      "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

      by CanisMaximus on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:03:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i love hearing first hand accounts of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, Lujane

    conversations with OUR representatives and senators!

    i'm so glad you are persistent and can engage in intelligent conversation with those WE hire to do the job in d.c.

    and, btw, THANK you for not pulling any "gotcha" stunts (like recently was done at nn11!) - THIS is how we move the ball down the field: one on one and respectful dialogue!

    kudos! CanisMaximus!!

    MOVE'EM UP! ROLL'EM OUT... MOVE'EM UP RAWHIDE!!! meeeoooow! mrraaarrr!! meeeOOOOOW!

    by edrie on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 01:41:09 AM PDT

  •  I hope you talk to him again the next time you get (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Xapulin, Lujane

    the chance. I would love the opportunity.

    We're a military family that votes in Alaska and if I could see him, I would ask if he supports cuts to military benefits as a way to trim the defense budget. I've already asked him via letter. I will probably just have to wait and see but I promised both him and Murkowski that I not only wouldn't vote for them if they supported these kinds of cuts, but that I would actively campaign against them.

    Begich seems to be holding his own for the most part. He's not as progressive as I would like but he's a hell of a lot better than some other politicians we've had in Alaska.

  •  Bah! (0+ / 0-)

    When he was running, I said he was a weasel.
    When he won, I said he was a weasel.
    Face it, he's a weasel.

    Go ahead, HR to your hearts' content.  He's a weasel.

    I'd rather stand with the down-trodden than lie with the wealthy.

    by Endangered Alaskan Dem on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 04:20:49 AM PDT

  •  I've spoken to Begich a couple of times (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and I've been reasonably impressed with him and his knowledge and interest in relatively arcane issues. He spoke on the rural broadband panel at Netroots Nation this year, and you can tell this is an issue that he knows well and cares about both for Alaskans and for other rural Americans.

    He seems sensible and I'm happy to have him in the Senate... especially when you consider he replaced Ted Stevens.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Mon Jun 27, 2011 at 11:24:28 AM PDT

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