Democrats Abroad Greece is rolling out the red carpet for the Regional Conference of Democrats Abroad on the weekend of October 11th to 13th. Members of country committees from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, also known as EMEA, will gather in the birthplace of modern democracy.
There will be meetings, training sessions, presentations and social gatherings as the purpose of the conference is to bring together like- minded Democrats. Presentations and discussions will focus on issues that affect us, specifically as expats living outside the continental borders of the US, as well as taking back the White House and the Senate in 2020.
The program includes a Welcome Reception, set in the heart of Athens antiquity, surrounded by a modern metropolis, plus a full day and a half of meeting sessions to get all the news and brainstorm strategies. In between, there will be breaks for Greek cuisine and cocktails, to socialize and talk seriously in casual settings. A GALA Dinner is on the program for Saturday night with rooftop views of the Athens skyline and the opportunity to grab some great art and unique items up for auction that will help support Democrats Abroad coffers.
WebEx participation is available for those who cannot attend in person, allowing you to listen and contribute to most aspects of the meeting from your home. Please contribute the requested donation amount for WebEx participation to help DA defray the costs associated with our high-quality integration of remote participants.
You will need to register through the links below to attend any parts of the conference. The conference is only open to registered members of Democrats Abroad, so please have your friends that have been on the fence, register now. Have them follow the links below to register to vote and join Democrats Abroad.
The EMEA Conference Program
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11
Webster University Cultural Center, Plaka
8 to 10 pm
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12
Hotel Electra Metropolis
9 am to 5 pm
Lunching at Metropolis area restaurants
12:30 – 2 pm
Hotel Electra, Ermou St
6:30 pm to 8 pm
Hotel Electra, Ermou St
8 to 11 pm
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13
Hotel Electra Metropolis
9 am to 1 pm
Women’s Caucus Luncheon
Hermione Restaurant, Plaka
1:30 to 4 pm
To register for the meetings:
RSVP and registration links can be found here.
To register for the food and drink go here.
We also will need volunteers to assist with the smooth administration of the conference. Join the fun and lend a helping hand by following the link for signing up below.
To register as a volunteer sign up here
DAGR members are looking forward to welcoming Expats from the region and offering them a taste of Greek hospitality as we work together to ensure major wins at home in 2020!
For more information about the conference go here.
Charity Moschopoulos published Thessaloniki Chapter Celebrates Labor Day in News 2019-09-11 06:47:18 -0400
A spirited amalgam of U.S. citizens with their families and friends celebrated Labor Day in the welcoming garden of Thessaloniki Chapter Chair Peter Baiter’s suburban Pylaia home overlooking the port and city center. The end-of-summer social gathering going late and noisily into the night drew top administrators, teachers and alumni from the city’s pivotal U.S. educational institutions: Pinewood American International School, Anatolia College’s American College of Thessaloniki, and the American Farm School’s Perrotis College, as well as faculty and students from Aristotle University, and others from the cultural and business sectors. Christine Willis, founding member in 2010 of DAGR Thessaloniki commented, “There is so much diversity, people of such quality here tonight!”
Former Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad Australia and Pinewood alumna, Ersie Burke, urged the gathering to “get out there and battle for the Democratic win in 2020.” Thessaloniki targets are strengthening the push to register local and Study Abroad voters and reaching out to secure the Thessaloniki volunteers and other resources essential to running a Global Presidential Primary in March 2020.
“I’m delighted so many people with such a variety of backgrounds are enjoying each other’s company and the food and famous sweets of Thessaloniki, while hearing from my fellow host, Thessaloniki Chapter Representative Randall Warner about the nitty-gritty of what we all need to do to vote from abroad in the 2020 elections,” Baiter remarked. He also thanked Demetri Chriss, CEO of Tuvunu, for supporting this Democrats Abroad event with Vergina Beer and Tuvunu mountain tea and soda.
Charity Moschopoulos published DAGR Welcomes Congresswoman Dina Titus to Athens in News 2019-06-30 07:52:32 -0400
Congresswoman Dina Titus (D) Nevada met informally with members of Democrats Abroad Greece on Saturday at a central Athens location. Titus is in Greece on a family vacation and gave DAGR an evening to discuss issues-particularly tax, which she has championed, for American citizens living overseas.
Serving the First Congressional District of Nevada, Congresswoman Dina Titus has built a strong record of achievement as both an educator and a public servant. Titus is one of the strongest supporters on issues facing Americans abroad in Congress. She is a great friend of DA by going on record with the Ways & Means Committee to ease the financial burdens placed upon Americans abroad by the U.S. citizenship-based taxation system.
Currently in her fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dina is the dean of Nevada’s Congressional delegation. She is a proud member of the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Foreign Affairs, and Homeland Security. In 2018, Dina was elected to become the Chair of a key Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, where she works to help Nevada’s communities better respond to natural disasters, address the devastating impacts of climate change, and fight for infrastructure projects that will benefit the most vulnerable.
Alice Costandina Titus, better known to her Nevada constituents as Dina, grew up in Georgia, has lived in Nevada for over 35 years, and proudly represents Nevada’s First District in the United States Congress.
Dina’s Greek heritage has always been close to her heart. As a proud granddaughter of Greek immigrant Arthur Costandinos Cathones, Dina considers her Greek background to be an important part of her life even though she did not have the privilege of living in a large Greek community. Growing up in a small town in Georgia where her grandfather operated a restaurant, the family would have to drive to the nearest city – over a hundred miles away in Florida – to find feta cheese and Kalamata olives.
Dina’s grandfather emigrated from Greece in 1911, landing at Ellis Island. Growing up, Dina had a close relationship with him, spending much of her free time helping him around his restaurant. Since there was no church or Greek school nearby, her grandfather taught her to count and write the alphabet in Greek and introduced her to wonderful Greek food. When they took family trips, the first thing Dina looked for at any restaurant was a calendar with a picture of the Parthenon on the walls to see if it was run by Greeks. Later Dina honored the life and memory of her grandfather by purchasing a brick with his name on it at the restored Ellis Island. Additionally, when she took the oath of office at the beginning of her tenure in Congress, she did so with her hand on her grandfather’s Greek Bible.
As an adult, Dina has fully embraced her Hellenic heritage. She first traveled to Greece in 1980, visiting relatives in Athens and Trikala, and has since returned a number of times. She loves traveling throughout the country with books on Greece’s rich history in hand in order to get a deeper understanding the country’s regions, ruins, culture, and cuisine. In Las Vegas, Dina attends the St. John the Baptist Church and participates in activities of the Philoptochos Society and Daughters of Penelope. And, of course, she keeps in close touch with her fellow members of the Greek community in Las Vegas and around the country.
As a proud Greek woman, Dina’s heritage has greatly influenced her outlook and perspective on life and the world. She has spoken out in favor of Hellenism in the classroom throughout her thirty-four-year tenure as a political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as well as in the Nevada legislature where she sponsored resolutions honoring the consecration of the new Greek church in Las Vegas and recognizing that Macedonia is Greek. The Pan-Macedonian Association of America distinguished her for this effort. She also received the Pericles award for civic leadership from the American Hellenic Council in Los Angeles in 2009 and was recognized by PSEKA at the 26th Annual Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. More recently, Dina was honored at the 2012 Salute to Women event hosted by the Daughters of Penelope.
In Congress, Dina is a member of the Hellenic Caucus and has stood in strong support of efforts to protect the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, reunify Cyprus, and maintain the Greek sanctity of the name and symbols of Macedonia.
Dina has also been a leader in the effort to pass resolutions in the House recognizing the independence of Greece and the Daughters of Penelope. She is also a founding member of the Greek-Israeli Caucus started in 2013 and is currently the only Greek woman in the U.S. Congress. Throughout her tenure in Washington, she has sought the wise counsel of members of the Greek community on these important issues and considers Rep. John Sarbanes (D) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R) close friends and mentors.
In June of 2009, Dina was honored to represent President Obama at the opening of the new Acropolis Museum in Athens, where she met with Greek leaders to discuss the important relationship between the United States and Greece. Later that year, she was privileged to meet His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew when he came to Washington in November. Dina’s work in building strong relationships with the embassies of Greece and Cyprus has further increased cooperation between Athens, Nicosia, and Washington.
As a professor, Dr. Titus taught American and Nevada government classes from 1979 through June 2011 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she has professor emeritus status. A noted non-fiction writer, she is internationally known for her expertise in the history and policies related to nuclear power, weaponry, and waste as well as for her knowledge of the popular lore of "Atomic Culture."
In 1988, Dina was elected to represent the people of District Seven in the Nevada State Senate, serving as the Democratic Minority Leader from 1993 to 2008. During her service in the Legislature, Dina was a champion for quality education and renewable energy development, and a strong advocate on behalf of Nevada’s children, seniors, and persons with disabilities.
Dina has received numerous awards from various state and local organizations, but one of her proudest moments came in 2006 with the dedication of the Dina Titus Estates, an innovative affordable housing complex for disabled Nevadans, named in recognition of Dina's tireless advocacy.
After helping the Las Vegas community recover from the deadliest shooting in modern American history, Dina has emerged as one of the leading voices in Congress for substantive action to reduce gun violence. She is a strong advocate for the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform. An expert on matters of nuclear energy and waste, Dina leads the effort in Congress to oppose the revitalization of Yucca Mountain.
Dina grew up in the small town of Tifton, Georgia, with her parents, Joe and Betty Titus, and her younger sister, Dr. Rho Hudson, who is a professor of special education and founding faculty member of Nevada State College. Dina is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, holds a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, and earned her Doctorate at Florida State University.
Dina has been married to Professor Thomas C. Wright for over 35 years. Tom, a Latin American historian, received the prestigious UNLV Distinguished Professor award in 2008 and is the author of a number of award-winning books, most notably on political exile and human rights. John Wright Hall on campus is named after his father, pioneer professor at UNLV.
DAGR Selected to host 2019 DA EMEA Regional Meeting in Athens, Oct. 11-13, 2019
Last week, DAGR was named host of the 2019 Democrats Abroad EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Regional Meeting in Athens, which will take place October 11-13. Athens’ bid won out over strong bids from Vienna and Amsterdam, and the response from our fellow Democrats throughout the region has been heartening. Folks are excited to come to Athens and partake in all that our great city has to offer! The focus of the meeting will be on preparing for next spring’s DA Global Presidential Primary and for 2020 Get Out the Vote initiatives.
To have been selected is an honor for DAGR, and provides us with a strong platform from which to raise our profile in Greece and internationally, expand our membership, and to engage and mobilize our membership to work to ensure that we elect a Democratic President, House, and Senate (and to state offices across the country) in 2020. You’ll be hearing lots more about this event in the weeks and months to come as plans are firmed up and the itinerary is developed. The Regional Meeting offers DAGR members a great opportunity to interact with DA members from throughout the EMEA region. As you can imagine, hosting the event will require that we have a strong team of volunteers in place, so I am inviting you to volunteer to become part of our organizational team. There is lots of work to do!
So, volunteer now to be part of our team. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Charity Moschopoulos published 2019 Pride The Streets Tell Our Story in News 2019-06-13 11:30:58 -0400
Equality, Freedom, Inclusion
These were the resounding themes as PRIDE was celebrated in Athens Greece on Saturday June 8th.
In the city’s central square of Syntagma, with a foreground of the parliament building and a background of the Parthenon, residents came out filling the space in full color resonating the rights of equality and freedom.
Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) was there from 11 am until 8 pm with a booth, promoting equality, inclusion and freedom as well as voter registration, of which there were several inquiries. The kiosk had some funky buttons to send loud and clear messages in the heart of democracy’s place of birth.
DAGR Chair, Steve Medeiros, said, “What has been especially heartening and exciting during the five years that DAGR has participated in Athens Pride events has been to watch the steady growth in participation each year and the way in which our city has come to embrace the celebration. Amazing to watch out and proud Athenians come together with their fellow citizens to celebrate Pride and support and promote the rights of LGBTQ citizens in Greece. DAGR is proud to have once again been a part of this clarion call for dignity, freedom and equality for all. Though much has been accomplished, this is no time for complacency. Under the Trump administration, LGBTQ rights are again under attack across America. We must remain vigilant and keep up the fight. ”
Volunteers gathered from early on greeting visitors to the booth and marching in the parade that took place at 6:30pm.
This year’s event was dedicated to a well-known drag queen - “Zackie O” /Zack Kostopoulos who was brutally murdered last September in what has been labelled a hate crime.
Athens Pride 2019 highlighted the role of “the road as a democratic area of revolution, and triumph in the face of injustice and brutality. This year’s poster, celebrating Athens Pride in its 15th year, presents emblematic moments from the history of LGBTQI.
“On June 8, 2019, people marched across the historic streets of Athens to claim their PRIDE-freedom, equality, inclusion. But that is not enough. On every road we walk, we claim our freedom and our security from any form of abuse and violence. The street belongs to all of us equally.”, Athens Pride 2019 posted.
For 3 minutes of Athens Pride 2019 on You Tube by Yiannis Papastathopoulos
For the fifth year in a row, Democrats Abroad Greece will be supporting the LGBTQ community at Athens Pride 2019, which will take place on June 8, 2019, in Athens' Syntagma Square. Support for LGBTQ rights is a cornerstone of the Democratic Party platform.
DAGR will sponsor an information and GOTV (Voter Information for US citizens abroad) booth with DA LGBTQ Caucus as co-sponsor, from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. on that day. DAGR members will also march behind the DAGR banner in the Pride parade in the evening.
DAGR members are encouraged to volunteer to staff the booth in 2-3 hour shifts throughout the day (11-2; 2-5; 5-8), and to join us in the parade. About 20 DAGR me
mbers joined us for last year's parade. We'd like to double that number this year.
Interested in volunteering?: contact Steve Medeiros, DAGR Chair and DA LGBTQ Caucus member -
Via email at: email@example.com or via SMS at 694-811-9121
Charity Moschopoulos published DA Thess Chapter Promotes 'Get Out the Vote' at the Farm Fest in Thessaloniki in News 2019-05-15 10:08:44 -0400
DAGR Chapter Promotes VoteFromAbroad at the FARM FEST in Thessaloniki
Volunteers from DAGR’s Thessaloniki Chapter were front and center among public service booths at the annual Farm Fest on May 12. On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, the Fest engaged toddlers with treasure hunts, provided wine tasting for adults, performed demonstrations on satellite parachutes, seismology, robotics, climate change and mounted a farmer’s market.
Chapter Chair Peter Baiter and Chapter Representative Randall Warner spoke with over 40 individuals and shared information on how Americans living outside the country can register to vote in US elections. The VoteFromAbroad.org website allows users to declare party affiliation or not and so can be used by any eligible American voter.
“Out of everyone we spoke with, eight were Americans, four of whom are resident in Thessaloniki,” said Baiter. “However, mainly we talked with Greeks concerned about the 2020 US elections. While they won’t be voting in the US, we hope they’ll pass the message to American citizens they know among friends and family.”
“Of course, the information we shared was non-partisan, focused on every US citizen’s right to vote,” added Warner. “We do this as a public service, especially in non-partisan settings such as schools. And we inform anyone of any party so they can register and vote. AFS appreciated the effort.”
Thessaloniki's renowned American Farm School was founded in 1904 by US educators. The Fest is organized each year to give the public a closer look at the AFS educational programs and Perrotis College while enjoying a range of entertainment and cultural events. This year’s event attracted some 2,500 visitors.
Charity Moschopoulos published First Young Democrats Abroad Event in Athens is coming up! in News 2019-05-06 13:37:08 -0400
We would like to invite you to an evening social event on the 23rd of May, 7-10pm at the Hard Rock Café, (52, Adrianou St, Monastiraki) to:
- Briefly update you on the way forward to the elections of the 3rd of November 2020 and the events and activities planned along the way;
- Discuss the priorities Young Dems think we should focus on for the remainder of 2019 and 2020;
- Have some fun! - get to know each other better in a relaxed environment and put friendly faces to our names.
We look forward to meeting you all in person!
To confirm your participation, please RSVP by clicking on this link by May 17th, 2019.
Entrance is free of charge. Drinks and food can be ordered and purchased individually from the Hard Rock menu.
Let’s get our Party rolling!
The Equal Rights Amendment resolution passed unanimously in Tokyo where we committed to do whatever we can to help get the ERA ratified. See the resolution here.
Watch the video "Legalize Equality." This 30-minute video gives an excellent overview of the Equal Rights Amendment and why it is critical to be ratified.
You can watch the video until 31 December 2019.
To receive the streaming link and password, click RSVP and you will receive an email with the information in it.
Feel free to share the link and password to DA members that want to view it. However, please do NOT post the link and password on the internet in any way. Only Democrats Abroad has access for this private screening and we need to honor this special access given by Equal Means Equal and Heroica Films.
Additional References to learn more about ERA:WHENJanuary 31, 2019 at 6pm - December 30, 2019 at 6pmWHEREOnline
Charity Moschopoulos published Women's March Athens 2019 in the Guardian! in News 2019-01-19 15:11:06 -0500
Charity Moschopoulos published Join our ERA Photo and Video Campaign! in News 2019-01-03 11:21:02 -0500
The Equal Right Amendment is sooooo close to being ratified!
The Virginia general assembly starts their session on Wednesday, January 9th and the Virginia Ratify ERA team needs support right now!The Equal Right Amendment is sooooo close to being ratified!
The Virginia general assembly starts their session on Wednesday, January 9th and the Virginia Ratify ERA team needs support right now!
They need photos and videos of Americans living abroad who support ERA to use to win over some votes. Can you take a photo holding a sign and/or make a 30-45 second video? That would be appreciated.
- Consider wearing something or standing/seating by something that shows you are living abroad – for example a foreign newspaper, translation dictionary, map, typical item from country, or outside at a recognizable place in your country. However, don’t worry about it – just a blank wall is fine.
- Do NOT wear or say anything partisan. Almost all Dems support ERA so trying to win the Rep vote.
- Please show some passion but avoid/limit profanity.
- Start with “I’m an American living in GREECE”.
- If you live in a country that has equal rights for women in the constitution, especially if in some non-European country, mention that.
- If you are from one of the 13 states (AR, AL, AZ, GA, NC, SC, UT, FL, MS, MO, OK, UT, LA) that have not ratified the ERA, you may want to mention that. Note that Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona are the top 3 targets right now.
- For Virginia, you may want to call out Speaker Cox since he is the current ‘gatekeeper’ that could cause it to stall and never get to the Virginia House floor.
- Ask for ERA support.
- Keep video to less than 60 seconds, ideally 45 seconds.
If you post the video on Facebook or Instagram, please add hashtags #DAforERA and #VAratifyERA
Send a link to the video to firstname.lastname@example.org
- I’m an American living in GREECE. I have more rights as a woman here than I do back home. Please support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Women around the world care about what happens in the United States. Please vote for the ERA.
- I’m an American living in GREECE. 85% of the countries in the world have equal rights for women in their constitution. GREECE is one of them. I want to see my home country be one as well. Please vote for the equal rights amendment.
- I’m an American living in GREECE. In 2018, I was happy when I learned Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the ERA. My hope for 2019 is that Virginia becomes number 38. Please support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
- I’m an American living in GREECE. As a man, I care about women’s rights. I hope you do as well. Please pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
- I’m an American living in GREECE. When I recently learned that the US still does not have equal rights for women in our Constitution, I was shocked. How can that be? Surely one of the 13 states that have not ratified it will all do so this year. It is 2019! It’s past time. Please vote for the Equal Rights Amendment.
ERA Photo Guidelines
- Make sign on A4 or 8.5x11 paper
- Please include on the sign “American living in GREECE” along with some support for ERA.
- Take photo with sign with your face showing
- Photos of your kids holding the sign is also good – if you are ok with the photo on the internet
- If you are from one of the 13 states (AR, AL, AZ, GA, NC, SC, UT, FL, MS, MO, OK, UT, LA) that have not ratified the ERA, if you could do a second sign and photo replacing “American” with your state, like Oklahoman, that would be great.
- Please send photo to ERA@democratsabroad.org
- Please vote for the ERA
- Please ratify the ERA
- I support Women
- I support Women’s rights
- Equal rights for All
- Women need equal rights
- Women deserve equal rights
- ERA NOW
Create and get these posted (and forwarded) by Saturday so they can put something together for a big event in Richmond on Jan 8th. Arizona and North Carolina will be working toward the same outcome so if you miss the January 8th opportunity you can do the same for them as you can!
So – show your support of women and equal rights by creating a photo and/or video. Send the photo and video links to email@example.com
Saga of the Missing Ballot
As the saga rolls on, we’re a bit late letting you, ‘dear reader,’ in on the day-by-day, blow-by-blow. When this surfaced, the Secretary was ‘off computer’ for several days. We’d love to put it all on her, but, truth be told, we forgot to move the saga from personal Facebook to the main DA/GR news page. And yet, it’s becoming most ‘instructional.’ So, for your catch-up and edification...
Looking Back to Day 1
The final GetOutTheVote (aka GOTV) surge has been full-on for over 2 months now. While phone-banking was understaffed here in Greece, volunteers from other countries called our members. And we made up our deficit with a fulsome Study Abroad outreach, a test of SMS reminders, 3 events where we also registered the late ones, and emails exhorting members to get registered and request ballots. There was also the nightly ‘widget’ duty, changing the Countdown “Days to Election” banner on the Facebook pages.
Jai Salvador and I are widgets. Habitual widgets.
From mid-October, we exhorted DAGRs to ‘track your ballot.’ After helping several members sort out how to do that, I realized I hadn’t tracked mine. That was Friday, Oct 26. Make note of the date.
My Ohio ballot was sent to me on 21 September. We had an Athens film night to organize for Oct 4. Once that was past, I finally printed the ballot, voted it, and played Kindergarten Cop, cutting, pasting, and taping the odd sized envelope parts into place on real envelopes. (Not an easy job with those little plastic scissors!)
As every year, I murmured a pseudo-prayer that the Franklin County BOE staff would be able to slice it open without industrial shears and blow-torches. (With equal fervor, I pray someday they’ll come up with a sizing/printing system that does not require trim-paste-stuff-tape-initial ad nauseum. But then, why would the Ohio GOP trifecta want to make absentee voting easy?)
Then I let it ‘age’ until I was next due to go out of the house and near a post office. At a month shy of my 74th birthday and 3 years past finally hanging up the old motorbike, I plan my itineraries and the likely taxi fare to complete them so that I’m only ‘forced to put on make-up’ half of each week’s computer-working days. I hope that makes sense. It does to me.
Consequently, it was a week after film night that I had to meet Vice Chair Steve Medeiros and Treasurer Nick Loisos for a planning and coffee session within walking distance of a post office. That was October 11. Bye bye, ballot, and fair thee well!
I sent it, as I always have, by registered mail, in case I ever had to track it. Registered mail sometimes takes a bit longer than surface mail, but the Hellenic Post clerk assured me that 7 working days was about normal.
When I got home, I’d have done well to have looked at the post-it note on my fridge door since January 2017: “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!”
So now, as I noted earlier, after answering members’ queries about voting matters, I cut bait and got to my own. The Ohio Secretary of State’s ballot tracker asks for your county. Select from the drop-down menu and you get the county, and they ask for your PIN (which they sent by email the day before the ballot). I duly typed in the particulars 15 days after sending it and was shocked to see it hadn’t arrived in Columbus yet!
Next stop was the ELTA (acronym for Hellenic Postal Service) website’s track/trace facility. There, you type in the registration number from your receipt and it gives you a chart of each step of the journey. Let me share it here, because it was simply gob-stopping.
Contrary to the contrarians who delight in blaming the Greeks, it appears the Hellenic Post was totally efficient. By evening, the envelope had gone from Athens to the airport. And by the next day, it had arrived in the US. At the ‘Inward exchange’ station, whatever that is.
The curious part is why, after arriving there, was it sent back to a similar ‘inward exchange’ site. In Hungary. Hungary?? You’ll forgive the exclamation: WTF?!
by Karen Lee, DAGR Chair, 2015-7, 2017-9 more or less
Saga of the Missing Ballot CONT....
Looking Less Back, Day 2 and 3
Once you find out something’s gone awry, you naturally want to fix it and then go fix dinner. So, the news that my ballot was on extended leave, in Hungary, set the plan for Saturday. A work-around would be found!
Sometimes the laws of man and nature get in the way. This time, nature was cooperating. But, Saturday and Sunday bogged down. The ELTA customer service phone operates by man’s laws and man will have the weekend off.
Frustrated, I sent a synopsis to our global GOTV co-chair, Heidi Birch. She added mine to the handful of reports HelpDesk had received. Apart from a few ‘returns to sender’ from NY state, nothing massive had emerged. Still, people don’t always report problems; they either solve them or give up trying.
There’s always Facebook. An ‘I voted’ graphic download had just come in email from GOTV, so on Sunday I put it up on my personal timeline. It drew a ‘whooHOO!’ from our global chair, Julia Bryan, the perfect segue for my tale of woe: ‘But it didn’t ar-RI-ive!’
My Fb posts are fairly bland. Consequently, I’m used to drawing a scant few likes, the odd thumbs up, and a pithy comment from my ex-sister-in-law in Florida.
[sidebar] The only time I’ve drawn a long thread of exchanges was when a flaming Dem-baiter spewed out snowflakes and libtards. It may have been a bot assuming a stolen identity. The name was known as a real person here in Greece. Butter-wouldn’t-melt restraint and polite questions rewarded with the actual long list of what ‘they’ keep saying Trump has accomplished. Most have been averted by court injunctions. Talking points for 2020, a keepie! [/sidebar]
Imagine my surprise when the ‘didn’t arrive’ post drew out a number of comments. A few had advice on what to do next. Most were from hopeful voter friends who’d sent their ballot. Now they were motivated to see if it had arrived.
Best advice, of course, is when the regular ballot has not arrived OR has not been received back by the LEO, we should vote the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, the FWAB. The main pitfall here is getting distracted by whether to pronounce it FWAYAB, FWAWB, F-WAB, or F-W-A-B. But that’s another story.
Actually voting FWAB is fairly easy. I went to https://www.fvap.gov/fwab-privacy-notice and filled in my voter ID info, one more time. And saved it to pdf to be printed after I’d bought ink cartridges. Why is the printer always out of ink when you need it most?
As Day 3 and the hamstrung weekend faded into midnight, I updated our Fb Countdown banners (aka cover pix) and made lists for a productive Monday when shops reopened.
by Karen Lee, DAGR Chair, 2015-7, 2017-9 more or less
Charity Moschopoulos published Political Prisoner in the US? Yes - Come and see the true story in News 2018-10-10 06:33:57 -0400
Atticus vs The Architect:
The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman
Thursday, Oct 18 - 7:00 pm
Exile Room, Athinas 12, 3rd floor, Athens
DAGR members and guests
Wine and chat afterwards
Political witch-hunt Prosecutorial misconduct - Appeals denied - A decade in prison
It really happened, IN AMERICA, in the 21st century!
And it could happen again!
Don Siegelman is the former Governor of Alabama, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State - an extremely popular Democrat in a deep red state. Since certain rogue Republicans could not beat him fairly through the election process, a cadre of corrupt national and local GOP operatives put on a show trial and in 2006, convicted him of "bribery." The acts for which they convicted him are commonly performed by politicians - including President Obama and President Trump - everyday.
However, Don Siegelman served as "America's # One Political Prisoner" in the Federal Bureau of Prisons until February 8, 2017 when he was released to home confinement through the Early Release program. He will be on probation until 8.9.2020.
The Siegelman experience shows what can happen when the courts are stacked and collude with political interests to further their goals. A particularly timely film, after the recent SCOTUS confirmation sideshow!
The documentary is available for link rental, download or DVD from Amazon or, to directly benefit the Siegelman defense efforts incurred over 12 years of appeals.
Come and watch this important film with us!
A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government. —Twentieth Century Fox
Join DAGR members and guests for this award-winning tribute to a high point in US journalism. This struggle set the tone and determination WaPo would show once again when they broke Watergate.
DAGR encourages women everywhere who, like WaPo’s chief, are finding their own strength in the struggle. It seems fitting that we also take this occasion to celebrate her 95th with our Honorary Women’s Caucus Chair, Margarita Papandreou. Happy Birthday!
Thursday, Oct 04, 2018
The Exile Room, 12 Athinas, Monastiraki, Athens
€5 donation at the door
Refreshments – door prize
I have done what I am supposed to do.
I don’t need to do any more.
Don’t bug me; I am busy.
So, you followed all the links, got yourself registered to vote in your local precinct, received a confirmation e-mail, have been checking your status and awaiting your ballot -- be it an e-ballot, an emailed ballot to be printed and mailed, scanned or an actual paper ballot received through snail-mail. The only thing left to do really now is VOTE and send in the ballot on time. Right?
Yes and no. You may have done everything right for your vote. Have you assisted others in getting registered, getting fired up, getting friends and acquaintances who have the right to vote in the game? Maybe you’re shy and you don’t like to push people on their politics, but this isn’t pushing an agenda of right, left or center. It is encouraging everyone who has the right to vote to do so -- you can’t get more American, patriotic or non-partisan than that.
You have a couple of expat friends who speak incessantly of US Politics and at this point you are fed up, because you have done what you were supposed to do and when the ballot arrives, you will do so then as well. You have convinced your adult children to register, your second cousin and Kyria Katina, who lives next door to the mini-market, who lived in the States for 20 years, before she and her husband retired in Greece.
It is easy to get complacent because you did what you were supposed to do. It is also easy to get cocky today as we have watched Manafort flip and it looks like the man who was elected by the Electoral College may soon find himself out of the Oval Office. When all the allegations directed toward him are being proven via sworn testimony or tape recordings, it seems that “Game Over” will soon be flashing on screens across the world and Pence will be sworn in as the 46th. (Not that this is a victory, but at least 45 will be out, no longer able to steer the entire globe on crash course.)
We can’t be complacent now, especially now. This is the time when we show our might -- we must keep talking about what is happening at home because if we don’t, the worst of it is bound to wash up -- literally or figuratively -- on Greek shores. We still have a full month to make sure anybody that can be registered, is registered to vote. We have to remind them to track their ballots. We have to keep talking to our uncommitted as well as our Republican friends. We have to keep pushing if the blue wave is to wash over the 2018 midterms. By nature, a wave is powerful and forceful and pushes aside what gets in the way. And that is who we have to be as Dems -- the embodiment of that wave.
We felt that power after Parkland -- those beautiful teenagers had more guts and gumption than a hundred senior senators - they lit fires under us, made us take to the streets and say -- this must end. These midterms can make the difference between a legislative body that is willing to stand against the deep pockets of the NRA and say -- No More. Gun regulation is going to happen so that every citizen feels safe. No more mass shootings with automatic weapons, no more deaths dealt from demons with delusions of grandeur and access to firearms.
Yes, it is easy to slip into cocky complacency -- but don’t. A democratic future for the globe is dependent on all of us being hands on and not sitting back and letting somebody else do it.
-- by Stacey Harris-Papaioannou
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” -- Plato
DNC Summer Meeting
Which type of Democrat are you?
- Pretty busy with ‘life’ but usually vote and try to support the Party when I can.
- Read the daily news and tweets! Frustrated! But I do what I can to change things!
- Really fascinated by the Party’s inside workings.
Most of our members probably fall in the first group. However, the Trump reign has moved a lot of folks to join the activists in the 2nd group.
And then there’s that handful of ‘political addicts’ who also involve themselves in the inner workings of the Party. That includes the DAGR Chair and Vice Chair, our voting members of DA, who have to attend the meetings.
And then there are the pundits, the TV analysts, the talk-news hosts. Their bread and butter is controversy. The inner workings of all parties are grist for the daily headline mill, but they’ve had particular fun predicting the fracturing and demise of the Democratic Party since November 2016.
The social media echo chamber picks up the theme. McDonalized blog louts (soft trolls) love the negative news, picking up a sleek phrase from their latest twitter feed: Dem duplicity, Dems depleted, Dems at loggerheads, Dems doomed! They think it makes them look sophisticated. No ‘my party right or wrong’ for them!
Sorry, guys! But the Democrats do self-correct. We’ve been working hard on this one ever since the fiasco of 2016. And here’s a major result. Predictions to the contrary, the DNC Summer Meeting this past weekend in Chicago:
- Reduced the number of automatic/unpledged aka super delegates by 60%
- Limited their votes for the presidential nominee to the second ballot at the Convention (unless those votes match the popular vote of their constituency).
While this will not change the 2016 outcome nor the anger in some quarters over how that was achieved, it will affect the 2020 selection process. OUR votes in the primaries will not be offset by deals made ahead of time by party leaders.
The Saturday plenary meeting was extended by 2 hours to accommodate more debate. And some of that debate was heated. At the end of the day, realizing the Unity Reform Commission (URC) recommendations were going to pass, the opposition conceded and the package of reforms was passed by acclamation. (unanimously)
In the ‘big tent’ that is the Democratic Party, unity is seen as the underlying need. Our message is clear. It’s called The Platform. And our way to passing that message into law is winning elections with renewed emphasis on transparency, inclusion and grassroots organizing.
If you want to know more detail about how it works, what it was in the past, how it’s changed, try these 4 short articles from DemList Daily that cover the process as it moved forward.
Dec. 11, 2017 – Recommendations of the Unity Reform Commission
March 13, 2018 – The Old Way and the New (Maybe) Way (Superdelegate details)
Aug. 24, 2018 – The Plenary’s Decision
- Pretty busy with ‘life’ but usually vote and try to support the Party when I can.
Of what use is a photo of yourself holding a sign? Well, it IS a message! And it’s a fast way to send that message. You send friends pictures from the beach, with your family, of your latest grandkid. Why not send one to your elected official?
It’s just a mini billboard and a lot cheaper than those big ones along the Interstate! You don’t even have to send $3 to help us put it up!DAGR tried something new at the 4th of July celebration in Athens … the Selfie Helper. As noted below, sending a selfie is a piece of cake for some phone owners and alien turf for others. So, we asked a volunteer to stand by to help the selfie challenged. The goal was to carry on from a virtual presence on June 30 “Families Belong Together” action. And to learn.
The ubiquitous mobile phone ... a recorder of history, a news camera, to amplify official versions or add substance to claims of mistreatment. From traffic stops to paragliding, the camera tells it all.
When phone designers added a second camera pointed back at the user, the selfie took off! Selfies started out as a lark, one more way to say ‘Kilroy is here, and I’m Kilroy!’. Then the afficianodos began to find more serious uses of this instant sharing facility.
Selfies as a Dems Abroad tool
DA’s tech-savvy leadership has encouraged selfies and virtual messaging. On a social media page, they’re a visual ‘list’ of supporters. Put together in a montage, hundreds of them together form a virtual march from all around the world. The virtual amplifies the live protests and official statements sent to the party lawmakers.
Some country committees have been represented better than others, depending on savvy, connectivity, and knowledge of which link to send their selfies to. But, before each major event, there seems to be a welter of hashtags and addresses that might or not land the photo where someone else can pick it up and include in a montage..
This is especially so if the protest is launched by another group, or coalition in which DA takes part. Everybody’s got a hashtag in the game. Where do I see myself after the event? The fog of addresses is clearing slowly, but for those accustomed to more traditional letters, calls and now emails and petition clicking, the key question is whether anybody cares about a selfie.
Who can get a Selfie?
Selfies aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. And you can’t send them to all politicos. But DAGR Vice Chair Steve Medeiros and Athens Chapter Chair Marion Kavallieros did a bit of digging and found some promising possibilities.
They started with the “Indivisible” proposition that the message should be sent to one’s own Congressman and Senators. They’re all listed in government websites. Each one has an email option for contact. Easy, right? Um, nope! Unfortunately, the dialogue box only accepts written messages, typed or pasted in.
Steve discovered a web facility that would send a selfie directly to your designated public official. A perfect solution, but, it’s only set up for stateside users. He wrote off to them to suggest they expand their service abroad. They haven’t written back. Yet.
And then, it hit them. Facebook.
In FB Messenger, you can upload a photo. Save it to your computer or phone Internet app, and upload it to a message. Do all congresspersons have Messenger service? No. But a lot do. And each of us only has to check three officials. Ours.
You can probably do this in Twitter and Instagram, too. The team just didn’t have time to get that far before the fireworks went off. Stay tuned. For now? Instructions below.
For the camera-confident, Go For It!
if you’re good with your camera and have some confidence with ‘posting selfies,’ here’s what you do:
Look up your Congressperson or Senators on the gov’t websites.
Drop their full name into Facebook search box. They may have more than one page. Look for one with a Message link. If they have one, you’re good to go.
Print out a sign or scribble one on a piece of A4 paper.
Hold your sign and take your selfie.
Upload it to your personal Facebook timeline.
Then Share it via Facebook Messenger to each congresscritter you’ve found.
If you use Twitter, you can try the same method as for Facebook. Your elected officials may accept photos. If they do, tweet them a selfie with message!
Text Messages … Say It With Words!…
Some elected officials don’t have Facebook or Messenger or a Twitter feed. If not, or if you’re not up to selfies, you can use the old-fashioned written word.
Click on the “send email” or ‘contact’ link to open the dialogue box.
Fill in your voter info so they know they should worry about getting YOUR vote.
Select a ‘category.’ Note: There’s rarely one that fits what you want to say.
Type in a Subject line, e.g. “Re-unite Immigrant Families”
Type your message in the box. It can be quite short, or longer and heartfelt. But it should be clear, e.g. “The zero-tolerance immigration policy keeps kids in jail, with or without their families. Please do all you can to reunite families IMMEDIATELY, release families from detention, and then work for a sane, humane, effective immigration policy in compliance with international standards of human rights.”
Most officials now ask for a US phone number. If you don’t have a US phone, borrow one. (First, ask your friend, agent or relative for permission … and which number they keep only for telemarketing and nuisance calls.)
Or go to voice communication
The links above for Senate and House also have the phone numbers for their DC offices. If hometown offices are not listed, and you want to call during a holiday break, click on their website address. There may be several offices for a senator across the state. Most congresspersons have just one. Find these numbers in the personal websites.
Long distance to the US used to be expensive. If you have a flat-rate calling arrangement, it may cost the same as a local call now. If not, use calls for the most urgent matters you want to weigh in on. Be prepared with your information and talking points. Keep it short.
These calls ARE counted by staffers. So are the messages left for some lawmakers. They’re definitely worth the effort!
Charity Moschopoulos published 4th of July Report from Athens and Thessaloniki Chapters in News 2018-07-16 12:20:35 -0400
Prompt: DAGR has an Athens Chapter and a Thessaloniki Chapter.
Response: Oh, has it got TWO chapters, then?
~ paraphrasing the Grivas companion to Access to English, Book 2, Oxford Univ. Press...
Thessaloniki Chapter drew a good turnout for its 2nd year in a row. The northern celebration is smaller than Athens, less scripted, supported by potluck offerings and more open to simple socializing with a strong shot of political discussion. This year, ThessChap reports the focus was on how they’ll Get Out The Vote in the north lands. Under consideration is lending support to registering the healthy contingent of Study Abroad students expected to arrive in September.
Kudos to ChapChair and Rep, Anna Vasilliou and Peter Baiter, for the BBQ put on in Peter’s garden. And thanks to Dimitris Chriss for the donated portion of Vergina Beer and Tuvunu to ThessChap as well as AthChap.
AthChap traditionally has a much larger event, primarily because DAGR was started in Athens, and grew word-of-mouth, friend-to-friend for a decade or so before ThessChap was formed. That’s okay, and tomorrow ThessChap will double and other city chapters will spring up. Disclaimers aside … on to Athens.
Over 130 Athens Chapter members, friends, family and young ones, gathered at ENOA again this year for food, fun and and fireworks to celebrate the nation’s birthday.
Grim realities that made some feel less than celebratory were put to work. Don’t like what you see? Change it! (BTW, have we mentioned Register, Vote, November?) This is what Democracy looks like!
Selfies and a petition to replace 45’s brutal, pandering-to-base, zero-tolerance immigration policies with effective, humane practices set the theme. The petition is to be sent on to DA global, hopefully to be passed on to DNC. If you’d like to add your John Hancock, reply on this email and we’ll get it to you.
The political message was reinforced by the flower-bordered Wall piñata, and small Dems bashed it to pieces. It wasn’t easy! But the rewards were many! Let the children inspire us!
We had great support this year from Omar Alshamy and the ENOA kitchen and grounds crews. Again, we had solid help from our accounting firm, CompuTax, in filing and pushing through one of two VAT exemptions offered to non-profit associations by the Greek Tax Service.
Still, success depends on hard-working volunteers. So a round of applause for:
Early planning: Nikki Fellouris, Marion Kavallieros, and ExCom. Sign-in and ticketing: Charity Moschopoulos, Nick Loisos, Anna Haughton, Stacey Papaioannou. Decorations: Marion Kavallieros. Food Service: Steve Medeiros, Fern Velentzes, Jimmy Katsinis, Zoe Loukopoulos. Beverage Service: Kristin, Iannis and Annalie Zissis. Microphone: Kate Wattles. Promotions: Christina Manning. Selfies Help: Karine Ancelin. Piñata and Lemonade: Sarajane Leone, Charity Moschopoulos, Jai Salvador, Elizabeth Fullerton, Popi Stratis, Kristin Zissis, Annalie Zissis, Karen Lee. Piñata bashing mgrs: Jai Salvador, Christina Lewis, Emma Hensley. Annalie Zissis (capped the final blow!) Declaration History: Vasilios Gikas; read by Steve Medeiros. Declaration Text: read by Emma Hensley. Pyrotechnics: Brady Kiesling and 2 brave young guests of John Lewis. Donations: Site rent, fireworks, beer and mountain tea, lemonade, ice, watermelons, cupcakes, zucchini bread, DJ/playlist and singer, piñata materials, plus €60 in cash donations.
Again this year, we put up a feedback form for AthChap attendees and want to thank the 17 who have taken time to share thoughts and suggestions for next year.
More photos on Democrats Abroad Greece and Democrats Abroad Greece-Thessaloniki Facebook pages.
Wednesday, July 4
ENOA on the Elliniko beach
Fav menu with new twists, new buttons, silent auction, snappy program. Piñata and fireworks. Burgers, dogs, vegan falafel; beer, wine, soda. Fresh LEMONADE makes a come-back! And same reasonable prices as last year: Adults €15 includes dinner and first beverage! Kids-under-12, €10 full fare. A la carte available.
Details with RSVP link and ONLINE pre-sale will be in next week’s invitation. Watch for it in your inbox!