At-Large Rep , GOTV Chair


  • Post-Election Views: Assuring the Integrity of the Vote

    Might the November 2016 election have been rigged? Apart from Trump’s avowal to challenge the results, relatively little attention was paid in the mainstream media before the election. On the Dem side, the reaction was, “Yeah, right, but not against you!” After all, the polls pointed to a likely Clinton win. Possibly a landslide!

    November 9 brought its harsh truth. Clinton had lost. While some leaped to explain why voters had rejected her, others looked ahead to what a Trump presidency would mean. A few sought ways to prevent it.

    The first ‘uprising’ took its outrage to the streets, for the most part peacefully and amid jeers from the Trump side of ‘It’s over! Get used to it!’

    The next wave petitioned the Electoral College to do its job, i.e. choose the most suitable candidate as President when they meet on Dec 19.  Three days after the election, over 3 million had signed. As of today, there are 4.6 million signatures and counting, with growing justification. Clinton’s lead in the popular vote has surpassed 2 million, and votes are still being tallied in a few states. Clinton has 64,223,958 votes, compared to Trump’s 62,206,395 votes.

    However, many of these votes are in populous, blue states whose Electors have already been pledged to Clinton. Still, the original two Electors who said they will not vote for Trump have been joined by four more.  They need 37 to change the outcome, and those other 31 will be more inclined to break their pledge, paying a lousy $1000 fine for the pleasure, if they have just a little more justification.

    This is where ‘integrity of the vote’ comes in. The opportunity to correct anomalies occupies a small window between final tallies and certification of the vote by each state. Some states, Wisconsin, for instance, have deadlines for challenging the vote.

    Election integrity encompasses three distinct areas.

    1. voter suppression

    2. conduct of the election process

    3. integrity in recording and counting the vote

    2016 was the first election in 50 years not fully covered by the Voting Rights Act. Parts of the VRA were struck down by the US Supreme Court, on arguments that election access was now a done-deal for minority votes in what had been ‘Jim Crow’ states. Said states, at least those under Republican governors and legislatures, set about reconstructing roadblocks for minority voters.


  • published Post election Views - Chair's Note in News 2016-11-13 17:04:24 -0500

    Post election Views - Chair's Note

    A post-election note from the DAGR Chair

    It’s been five days since the Election. You haven’t heard much from your ExCom and you may be wondering if we’ve slunk away, tail between legs, embarrassed in defeat.

    Not so!

    Okay, it did take a couple of days to recover from what we now think of as elect-lag.  Staying up all night -- and dragging home if that all-nighter was at an outside event -- followed by another hour or so of BBC or CNN to catch the last bad news takes a toll. Floppy body, mush mind!

    Then the need to reach out takes over, and the phone, email, web articles and Facebook frenzy kicks in. Share the grief! Perform the post mortem! Sign a petition!

    Do what you will, it’s still surreal!

    If you, like me, get your TV English news from BBC, you may be struck this weekend by the notion that Trump may not be such a bad choice after all. And it comes back to you that during the campaign, you noticed they hadn’t seemed sufficiently terrified of him. Now, THAT’s surreal!

    Otherwise, reactions are mixed. Some of us just want to accept it and move on. Fair enough! It’s been an exhausting campaign. Others -- and I’m in this camp -- unload our angst by increasing activity and encouraging others to do the same.

    There are a lot of options for action now. We’re trying as quickly as possible to get some ideas up on the DA website > Greece > News page. US and state laws provide many remedies, and they fall into a logical sequence.

    1. track your own ballot and make sure it’s counted

    2. monitor and make sure your state’s vote count is accurate

    3. petition the Electoral College to elect the popular vote winner

    4. draw stateside friends into the discussion in social media and emails

    5. organize our DAGR country plan and timeline for 2017

    6. help decide if we should go to an inaugural party or hold an anti-inaugural

    7. bone up on the issues a Trump presidency is likely to attack

    8. read about voter suppression in ‘red’ states once VRA was curtailed

    9. advocate for the National Popular Vote Compact in your home state

    That may seem like a lot of work, and some like No. 3 have a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding. But each action has its own optimal time and unique rewards.

    Know that by participating in any or all of these actions, we’ll deepen our knowledge of our system. That means we’ll be better prepared to hold the line on crucial programs (e.g. Social Security) and fight off future assaults on voter enfranchisement.

    Of major importance, especially by social media, we can reach out and support those energetic, young, first-time voters who got slapped down. We can encourage them and offer something constructive to do when the weather goes cold and street protests peter out.

    ExCom will be meeting soon to assess our performance past and our road ahead. We’ll also put up a survey to learn what you’d like to do as a member of DAGR and what you think the Party as a whole should do.

    For now, our approach is the one Elizabeth Warren, among others, shared this week. 
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/10/elizabeth-warren-faces-president-trump-with-rachel-maddow-no-compromise-on-bigotry.html

    Stronger Together!

    Karen Lee, Chair


  • Post Election Views - Déjà vu? Change the View!

    Déjà vu? Change the View!

    November 2000. Gore gets 500,000+ more popular votes than Bush, but is denied a recount of flawed ‘hanging chads’ and ‘butterfly ballots’ in Florida. Florida’s Electoral College votes go to Bush. We are terribly disappointed, but good sports about it. Touch-screen digital voting machines are mandated by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) with subsidies for their purchase. 

    November 2004. The new touch screen machines are in use across the country. Most provide no printout of the vote. Kerry is projected as winner in the first few hours after polls close. At about 11 p.m., some observers claim they noticed the score in Ohio abruptly flip from 51-49 to 49-51. Amid some confusion in the US and utter disbelief abroad, Bush is elected to a 2nd term. Vote integrity groups spring up and identify other anomalies in the count vs prior and exit polls. The Greens and Libertarians chip in and call for a recount, but again, there’s no ‘paper trail.’ We are terribly disappointed, but Kerry, his staffers and the Dem party are gracious losers.

    November 2008. Obama amplifies an inspired campaign with innovative use of online resources and sweeps into office with a Democratic House and Senate. He inherits a gutted economy and the seeds of a backlash coalition of racist, socially conservative, anti-government forces. But, with Dems also in office at the state level, some of the voting machine ‘glitches’ are corrected. We pass what laws we can. We are happy.

    November 2012. Founded by Kerry’s nemesis, the Swiftboaters, and funded by oil billionaires, the backlash has become the Tea Party movement. It‘s pulled off a major 2010 midterm win at all levels and set about gerrymandering House districts. Congress is in gridlock and slow economic recovery unsettles working class voters. Obama squeaks by into his 2nd term. We are relieved.

    November 2016. The Tea Party tries to look respectable and fields a remarkable number of candidates for the GOP nomination. Last man standing is tyro Trump, whose uninhibited use of hate-the-other rhetoric rivals the Tea Party’s and is envied by the unsettled. On the Dem side, Sanders talks issues, taps into the unsettled anger and brings a growing coterie of enthusiastic progressives. Polls say he’d trounce Trump, but the Dem establishment still holds the reins and plays it ‘safe’ with Clinton. Clinton runs a stand-up campaign and is predicted to win. Trump wins and overnight retracts his hair and his worst divisive rhetoric. We are confused, devastated, gob-stopped, but still hopeful when Podesta tells us to come back for news in the morning. In the morning, Clinton gives an eloquent concession speech. She’s a gracious loser. Déjà vu.

    At first, most of us tried to process what had happened. We reached out to each other by phone and social media. We scanned the newsfeeds for some clue that would explain the void we felt. Some were heart-broken, some were scared. Some were heckled and worse by Trumpeters. Others admitted that they were really, really pissed off. In the US, they took to the streets in protest.

    But next the day dawned, and it was still surreal. Party leaders sent out brave emails, graciously extolling inclusiveness and unity, calm heads and forgiving hearts. You hear Gandhi in those words. But Gandhi also marched to the sea. Shouldn’t we?

    If you, like many of us, are tired of déjà vu, let’s talk about changing the view! Acting now, employing the remedies built into the US body of law, we can take our minds off the disappointment and set positive change in motion. – K. Lee, DAGR Chair, 2015-17


    “Don’t agonize; organize” – PDA

    Hillary Clinton Concession Speech

    http://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016/11/09/hillary-clinton-concession-full-speech.cnn

    President Obama Full Speech on Trump Election Win

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr2USTE3L98

    Trump Victory Speech w/into by Mike Pence

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qsvy10D5rtc


     [articles following or to come]

    1. Secure the Vote

    2. Count Every Vote

    3. Petition the Electoral College to Use its Mandate

    4. Revise Electoral College Selection

    5. Prepare for a Tussle Ahead

    6. Get Involved in Democratic Activity


  • published Post election Views - Count the Vote in News 2016-11-13 16:41:15 -0500

    Post election Views - Count the Vote

    Count the Vote

    What’s the most popular come-back of the week?

    “The election’s a done deal! Get over it!”

    Get over the shock, yes! But, remember that the election didn’t end when polls closed Tuesday night. Whether anything changes or not, the process goes on until the Inauguration.

    At the local/state level:

    Absentee ballots

    ... are still accepted and counted by several states. Rules vary widely from state to state, but some accept mailed ballots up to 10 days after the election. Mailed ballots are hard copies, so envelopes must be matched to the voter rolls, then opened and the ballots counted (usually) by hand. Absentee ballots can and have affected the final count.

    Provisional ballots

    … are cast at a polling station on Election Day if the voter’s eligibility is in question. Questions arise from a simple error or illegible handwriting. Or because the voter has been caught in a vote purging effort.

    Challenges and recounts

    … may take place. Some states fund an automatic recount in a very close race (1 point or less difference).  In most, voters or a political party may challenge the vote, call for a recount, and pay the expense. Such challenges arise when vote tampering or hacking of electronic systems is suspected.

    The deadline for finishing the count, then, may be even later, up to December 19, this year. As the states finish their job, the process connects to the federal level. It’s dull reading that glosses over a lot of potential drama.

    Mid-November through December 19, 2016

    The governor of each state prepares Certificates of Ascertainment and, as soon as “practicable,” sends one to the Archivist of the United States (head of the National Archives). This should happen by the time of the Electoral College elector’s meeting.

    December 13, 2016

    States must make final decisions in any controversies over the appointment of their electors at least six days before the meeting of the Electors. Decisions by states’ courts are conclusive, if decided under laws enacted before Election Day.

    December 19, 2016

    The Electors meet in their state and vote for President and Vice President. They send the result on a Certificate of Vote, which goes with their state’s Certificate of Ascertainment to the President of the Senate, et al.

    December 28, 2016

    Electoral votes (the Certificates of Vote) must be received by the President of the Senate and the Archivist no later than nine days after the meeting of the electors.

    On or Before January 3, 2017

    The Archivist and/or representatives from the Office of the Federal Register meet with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House in late December or early January.

    January 6, 2017

    The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes. The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the count, announces the results of the Electoral College vote, and then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.

    If no Presidential candidate has won 270 or more electoral votes, a majority, the House of Representatives elects the President, choosing from the three candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote is taken by state, with each state having one vote. The process is repeated for Vice President, but with the Senate voting.

    Objections to the Electoral College vote must be submitted in writing and be signed by at least one member of the House and one Senator, with the House and Senate then considering the merits under procedures set out in federal law. (See 2004!)

    January 20, 2017 at Noon—Inauguration Day

    The President-elect takes the Oath of Office and becomes the President of the United States.


     Key Dates in the 2016 General Election

    Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration

    https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/key-dates.html

    National Association of Secretaries of State

    Explore a little, visit your state’s SOS site, linked to NASS.

    (Hint: tons of details in training materials for precinct election officials)

    http://www.nass.org/elections-voting/election-ready-2016/


  • Post Election Views - Sins of Our Fathers....

    “Our fathers sinned, and are no more; It is we who have borne their iniquities.”

    Lamentations 5:7

    Today it was announced that one of the architects of Bush’s torture policy, Jose Rodriquez1, is being considered for head of the CIA in the Trump administration. Waterboarding is considered illegal by the UN and most nations and yet we may have it returned to the CIA arsenal.

    During the first days of the Obama Administration I thoroughly expected an investigation to be called for to bring to justice Bush and Co for their lies and deceit in the run up to the Iraq War and for the runaway spending that gave us a HUGE deficit along with the untold numbers of Americans dead and injured not to speak of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Bush and Co pushed the limits of Presidential power but Obama did nothing to rein it in. Obama saw a much divided nation and wanted to mend fences between the parties. Commendable, maybe? Litigation and investigation was NOT on the table and we will be reaping this lack of oversight with the Trump administration and extreme policies.

    To me, this was always a serious tactical mistake. Our example of holding officials accountable is found with what happened with Watergate2. Democrats AND Republicans came together setting aside partisan politics for the investigation. Why, because they considered upholding the Constitution and its tenants more important to the health of the country than holding onto their partisan turf, taking the high road even at a cost. Watergate and its operatives were investigated and tried. Many in the administration went to jail, Nixon resigned and laws were created and passed to try and avoid these excesses of power in the future. This legacy made it much more difficult to play the same game again and allowed the wounds inflicted on the country to heal.  If Obama had heeded history he would have at least had an investigation. But he and Eric Holder turned the other cheek and didn’t, so today we have the distinct possibility that we will reap what we sowed. The Constitution should ALWAYS trump partisan politics, ALWAYS!

    1 https://theintercept.com/2016/11/11/trump-cia-torture/

    2 http://billmoyers.com/2013/03/29/watergate%E2%80%99s-lessons-washed-away/


  • published DAGR Athens Intro in News 2016-11-10 16:51:05 -0500

    DAGR Athens Intro


    Welcome to Democrats Abroad Athens!

    DA Athens is a chapter of DA Greece, the official country committee for US Democrats living in Greece. Watch this space for upcoming announcements of meetings and events - we have events planned throughout the year, and encourage anyone interested in participating to get in touch.

    If you have questions or would like to help with Democrats Abroad in Athens, please contact us.

    Karen Lee, Chair,  chair-GR-Athens@democratsabroad.org

    Marion Kavallieros, Athens Chapter Chair 

    Join Dems Abroad | Follow us on Facebook

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  • AHI Publishes Hillary Clinton's Position Paper on Greece - US Relations

     

    Growing Together: Hillary Clinton’s Vision for Advancing Opportunity

    for Greek Americans & Immigrants of Greek Descent

    Hillary believes the U.S.-Greece relationship is underpinned by shared interests and values, as well as strong bonds created by the large Greek American community. The United States is home to an estimated three million people who identify as Greek Americans. Their numerous ties to Greece – both business and personal – enhance the bilateral relationship and serve as a bridge of understanding between Greece and the United States. From adding rich diversity, to spurring small businesses and economic growth, Greek Americans and Greek immigrants have helped build this country and strengthen our communities.

     Hillary has a record of standing by Greece and the Greek American community:

    ● As First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary regularly engaged with leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church. She visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate three times, highlighting its importance: once as First Lady in 1996, again in 1999 when she returned with President Bill Clinton – the first sitting US President ever to visit – and again in 2011 as Secretary of State. Hillary is a long-time advocate of religious freedom. And she was proud to represent the vibrant Greek American community in New York as Senator.

    ● As Secretary of State, Hillary visited Greece in 2011 and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen collaboration and reduce looting and trafficking of Greek antiquities, and provide for their return to Greece to preserve its cultural heritage. During this visit, she also reinforced the U.S.-Greece partnership in the NATO alliance and reiterated the U.S.’s support of the Greek government to make the necessary reforms to put Greece back on sound financial footing.

    As President, Hillary will continue to fight for issues that are important to the Greek American Community.

    On issues of importance around the world, she will:

    • Stand with our allies and strengthen NATO: Hillary knows that the world is too complex and too complicated for the U.S. to go it alone. Greece is a historic friend and ally of the United States and the bilateral relationship is critical in promoting regional stability and security, trade and investment, and the diversification of energy resources for Europe. Hillary recognizes Greece’s important role as a NATO ally. Greece hosts the U.S. Naval Support Activity at Souda Bay in Crete, whose deep protected harbor provides a strategically important location for supporting U.S. and allied military activities in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. As President, Hillary will ensure that we support Greece and work together on important issues such as climate change, fighting terrorism, and economic security. Above all, this is an alliance of values, rooted in a deep commitment to liberty and democracy.

    Support economic security for Greece and Europe: The economic crisis that struck Greece in 2009 caused its economy to contract by about 25 percent and, resulted in dramatic increases in unemployment and poverty. Hillary supports Greece’s efforts to restore fiscal stability, implement structural reforms, recover competitiveness and restart growth. And she strongly believes that the Eurozone should continue to take the necessary steps to keep its monetary union intact. Hillary will continue to support efforts by Greece and its creditors to find solutions for Greece to meet its financial obligations, while providing a path forward for economic recovery through debt relief.

    Call for a robust international response to the European migration crisis: Hillary recognizes the tremendous efforts made by the Greek people to offer humanitarian aid and assistance to the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants who have entered the country since 2015. The generosity and compassion they have demonstrated set an important example for Europe and the world. Hillary will continue to call for a more robust international response to the European migration crisis. She will also ensure the U.S. maintains its role as the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and refugees.

    Support a comprehensive settlement to reunify Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. Hillary strongly supports efforts to reach a comprehensive settlement to reunify Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. She supports Cypriot-led, UN-facilitated negotiations as the best process to achieve a fair and lasting settlement. Hillary views Cyprus as a strategic partner of the United States, and she values our close cooperation with Cyprus and the European Union in advancing our shared transatlantic priorities.

    And on issues of importance here at home, she will fight to:

    Ensure quality education: Hillary will champion new opportunities in education to ensure nothing stands in the way of all Americans achieving their full potential. Hillary will increase our investment in Early Head Start and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. She also has a plan to make pre-K universal for all 4 year-olds in America, and will fight for strong public schools in every community across the country. Like too many Americans, Greek Americans and Greek immigrants face difficulty in paying for college and paying off their student debt. Through her New College Compact, Hillary will fight to ensure that cost is not a barrier for anyone who wants to attend college—and that debt won’t hold them back when they do.

    Keep families together through comprehensive immigration reform: As president, Hillary will fight for comprehensive immigration reform that provides a full and equal path to citizenship, treats every person with dignity, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.

    Hillary Clinton is committed to building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. In her first 100 days in office, Hillary will break through Washington gridlock to make the biggest investment in good paying jobs since World War II. That plan includes: first, making the boldest investments in American infrastructure since Eisenhower built the interstate highway system to spur economic growth. Second, she will also invest in American manufacturing and crack down on trade abuses that hurt working Americans. Third, she will make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. Fourth, she will cut taxes and reduce red tape so that small businesses can grow and hire. Fifth, she will support scientific research and technological innovation. In fact, an independent analysis by Mark Zandi, a former economic advisor to John McCain, recently calculated that under Hillary’s plans the economy would create 10.4 million jobs in her first term alone—and we think it could create even more than that.

    Expand access to affordable health care to all families: Hillary has been fighting her entire life to ensure that families have access to affordable health care. She will stand up to Republican attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and will protect the progress we have made. She will work to lower out-of-pocket health care costs, reduce the cost of prescription drugs and transform our health care system to reward value and quality. She believes we should let families—regardless of immigration status—buy into the Affordable Care Act exchanges. As president, Hillary will fight to defend Medicare and Social Security as well as expand benefits for widows and women who have taken time out of the workforce—so that all American families can retire with dignity

    Paid for by Hillary for America


  • Dukakis Center to Host Reception - Election Day USA

    A few of you have asked DAGR if anything was planned for Election Watch in northern Greece. We had not been able to plan a Chapter event and, until recently, were unaware of others. However, we’ve just learned The Dukakis Center IS planning one and we’re happy to share their invitation with our members! Hope you can attend!

    The Michael and Kitty Dukakis Center for Public and Humanitarian Service

    Cordially invite you to

    A reception
    "Election Day USA"
    Tuesday, November 8, 8 PM
    Hyatt Regency Hotel Thessaloniki
    Regency Ballroom

    RSVP here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdTjIdr3uOmjzZREWEnPlkRuXlMQEYdz79dCJNftMqxBHCH_A/viewform?c=0&w=1


  • published Election Watch Party in News 2016-10-28 17:37:17 -0400

    Election Watch Party

    Yes, Virginia, there IS an Election Watch party, Tuesday Nov 8th till dawn!

    And you won’t want to miss it. Share the suspense among like-minded friends.

    Democrats Abroad Greece Election Watch 2016
    Divani Caravel Hotel, Ilissos Room
    Vassileos Alexandrou 2, Athens
    9:30 p.m. (21:30) till dawn
    €25 at the door

    RSVP required - https://goo.gl/forms/21ieiVatqrlkr3tF3

    FREE TICKET to 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 100th RSVP received by Nov. 1!

    NOT TO BE MISSED:

    The 2nd ceiling-shattering election in a row! An 80+%  chance Democrats will retain the White House. A good bet we’ll retake the Senate. A growing likelihood we’ll regain the House and state majorities. BUT down-ballot, it’s going to be a cliff-hanger!

    TIMING:

    Doors open at 9:30 for those who can’t stay out late. Anyone who hopes to stay till the results are fairly final can come later. Our reception desk will stay open till everyone’s in.

    TRANSPORT: 

    Our ride-share desk will be open from 11:30 onwards. Carpool and taxi-share interest is in the RSVP form to get it rolling. We’ll connect you to arrange transport TO the event. Then broker rides to home area or public transport when a car/taxi is about to LEAVE.

    STAY-OVER OPTION: 

    A group from Mykonos learned a double room at the hotel is €125. They’re sailing in and staying over. Check out this option with Divani Caravel if you like. Tell them you’re with Dems Abroad. Tel: 210 720 7000 or online at http://divanicaravelhotel.com/

    PROGRAM:

    Welcome drink on arrival. First buffet at 10 p.m. with streaming pundits and predictions, plus info on what’s at stake besides the White House. Buffet replenished as exit polls come in. Polls start closing in the US at 2 a.m. Athens time. Substantial results about 4 a.m.  And possibly a small group of hardy souls will stumble to breakfast when it’s all done.

    This is what all the emails, phone calls, and events of the past 10 months have led up to. We’re looking forward to a marathon of political fun and suspense, and … we’re pretty sure … celebration.

    It wouldn’t be the same without YOU!

    See you there!

    RSVP - https://goo.gl/forms/21ieiVatqrlkr3tF3


  • DebateWatch 3 – Presidential: Clinton vs Trump

    Tempting as it is to say “No, not one more minute of DT’s trash-talk,” this IS the 3rd and last debate. It may be Hillary’s best yet. After that, we turn to the folks at home, with that last pitch to get them out to the polls.

    Whatever the tone of DW3, you won’t want to miss it. So join us at the Hard Rock!

    DEBATE WATCH 3 – Details

    Thursday, October 20 - 07:00 pm - €10

    Hard Rock Café, Adrianou 52, Athens, Greece

    Just behind the Monastiraki train station - Park and ride!

    RSVP here by Wednesday:

    https://goo.gl/forms/7YGWzpxrPZdgLyyN2

    Mark your menu choice(s)!

    Cheeseburger, Caesar Salad w/Chicken or Veggie Leggie Burger – with fries and your choice of a beer, glass of wine, or soft drink.

    Pay at the door.
    Order more from the waiter if you like; pay as served.

    Upper room at HRC. Take the stairs from the entrance, or, if you’re stair-challenged, just ask the staff for help. They’ve got us covered so everyone can enjoy the evening.

    €10 per person

    Tips jar will be passed for the wait staff!

    See you there!


  • DebateWatch 2 – Presidential: Clinton vs Trump

    If you missed DW1, may we confess that we got slammed!

    Hard Rock set up for our guest list and then had to bring in 7 more tables. The wait staff smiled through it all, bless ‘em … and WE had a great time!

    Incidentally, Secretary Clinton mopped the floor with Mr. Unhinged. The cherry on the cake!

    Ready for Round Two?

    DEBATE WATCH 2 – Details

    Monday, October 10 - 07:00 pm - €10

    Hard Rock Café, Adrianou 52, Athens, Greece

    Just behind the Monastiraki train station - Park and ride!

    We promised we’d stick to the guest limit this time. So, first booked, first confirmed!

    RSVP here: https://goo.gl/forms/hyrq9p9J7ScM6iWb2

    Presidential Debate #2 between our issues-talking candidate and that guy whose gas could replace 10 coal-fired power plants.

    Will this be the knock-out punch?


    Menu adjustment by popular demand!

    Choose from – Cheeseburger, Caesar Salad w/Chicken or Veggie Leggie Burger – with fries and your choice of a beer, glass of wine, or soft drink.

    We learned from last week’s deluge:
    Pay at the door.
    Order more from the waiter if you like; pay as served.

    Upper room at HRC. Take the stairs from the entrance, or, if you’re stair-challenged, just ask the staff for help. They’ve got us covered so everyone can enjoy the evening.

    €10 per person

    Tips jar will be passed for the wait staff!

    See you there!


  • posted about US Embassy’s 2016 Voting Party – RSVP Deadline Extended! on Facebook 2016-10-03 02:41:07 -0400
    US Embassy’s 2016 Voting Party – RSVP Deadline Extended!

    US Embassy’s 2016 Voting Party – RSVP Deadline Extended!

    If you want to attend the Embassy’s party on Oct 14th, you still can! Guest list is growing but …

    the deadline for RSVPs is extended to Monday, Oct 10.

    There will be music, games, and refreshments to celebrate casting our absentee ballots for this year’s Presidential Election.  

    Trained voting assistance representatives will be on hand to help you with the mechanics of preparing your ballot for mailing. 

    After you drop your voted ballot in a giant ballot box, the Embassy will ship ballots to the United States in time to meet all jurisdictions’ deadlines.

    Friday, October 14, 2016 - 5:30 to 8 pm

    American Community Schools of Athens

    U.S. Citizens and Guests

    Registrations close on Oct. 10

    Register today at EventBrite ….
    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-athens-voting-party-tickets-27598744588

    All guests, regardless of nationality and age, must register with EventBrite  (see above) with their passport or Greek ID numbers.  Only registered guests will be permitted entry.

     

    More details:

     

    If you haven’t registered, do it now! State registration deadlines begin falling Oct 8.
    Dems Abroad site www.votefromabroad.org or the federal site at www.fvap.gov

     

    Ask to have your ballot sent by email. Your local election official will send it as soon as they receive and process your registration.

     

    Check your state’s deadlines on the VFA site at:
    https://www.votefromabroad.org/vote/svid.htm?submission=true

     

    If you wait till the 14th to register at the party, you should also get a Federal Write-in Ballot, and send both back via the Embassy. Just in case!

     

    If you’ve got your ballot and want to drop it in the box at the party, be sure it’s got enough US postage. The Embassy will get it to the US, but it has to be mailed on to your local election official.

     

    If you’ve already sent your ballot, the Embassy staff say they’ll be happy to have you come anyway. Drop an empty envelope in the ballot box, with “I already voted!” written on it. And listen for the drum roll as you drop it in!

     

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  • published Happy Birthday, Margarita! in News 2016-09-30 12:43:43 -0400

    Happy Birthday, Margarita!

    Happy Birthday, Margarita!

    DAGR extends warm wishes to Margarita Papandreou on the occasion of her 93rd birthday, today!

    Just one year ago, Ms Papandreou consented to serve as Honorary Chair of the just-forming-up DAGR Women’s Caucus. It was a role waiting for her to fill.

    As wife of the Prime Minister, she lent her drive and public profile to the effort of modern Greek women to gain equal rights. The controversial six-year effort culminated in Law 1329/1983, passed in the Greek Parliament on December 31, 1982.

    “The Greek Family Law of 1982” brought sweeping changes to a society in which patriarchy and gender inequality had been codified in law. Among its key provisions were the introduction of civil marriage, joint decision-making by spouses, a woman’s right to use her maiden name after marriage, the abolition of the institution of dowry, equal parental status between spouses and no-fault divorce by mutual consent. It also reduced the age of majority to 18 and equalized rights of children born in and out of wedlock.

    In its time, the Law was forward looking, even for Europe. For rigidly conservative families it spelled wrenching changes. For others, it would long be associated with party politics. But for women it meant choice in education, profession and marital status, control of property, legal redress in the courts. For their children, and the men in their lives, it unlocked the future.

    So, it is fitting, as we, Democrats Abroad Greece, anticipate the election of our first woman US President, that we celebrate the long struggle for full emancipation, worldwide and here in our host country.

    Our ‘card’ – covering a flash drive of DAGR photos and videos – was constructed by DAGR-WC Working Chair, Sarajane Leone. Marion Kavallieros, Athens Chapter Chair, is handling the transfer to Ms Papandreou’s son Nick for delivery. In between, our man at the computer, Nick Loisos, recorded the last segment for the flash drive: attendees at the first Debate Watch this past Tuesday singing an impromptu, possibly off-key, but rousing rendition of the Birthday Song to one of our own!

    Happy Birthday, Margarita!


  • published Presidential Debate Watch 1 in News 2016-09-23 14:35:13 -0400

    Presidential Debate Watch 1

     
    Join us in Athens for Debate Watch 1, on the 27th

    DEBATE WATCH 1 – Details

    Tuesday, September 27 - 07:00 pm - €10

    Hard Rock Café, Adrianou 52, Athens, Greece

    Just behind the Monastiraki train station - Park and ride!

    DebateWatch 1 – Presidential: Clinton vs Trump

    Hot off the ether! Grabbed in the wee hours of the day for our viewing pleasure!

    The first of three Presidential debates between our clear-headed, issue-savvy candidate and the other one, who some have dubbed a race-baiting shape-shifter. Just sayin’.

    Come casual – Chat up old friends, make new ones – Select a snappy button!

    And then settle in to see how this first debate plays out.

    Come hungry and chow down on great eats!

    Choose from – Cheeseburger, Chicken Tenders or Veggie Leggie Burger – with fries and your choice of a beer, glass of wine, or soft drink. These are ‘normal’ size portions, not mini-burgers. They’re not HRC’s jumbo-size either, but you can order more from the menu if you’re super hungry. We’ve tested our menu and it’s all tasty!

    We have the upper room at HRC to ourselves, fully equipped for sound and unobstructed viewing! Take the stairs from the entrance, or, if you’re stair-challenged, just ask the staff for help. They’ve got us covered so everyone can enjoy the evening.

    €10 per person

    See you there!

     


  • published Annual FOJ Quiz - 2016 in News 2016-07-21 16:01:10 -0400

    Annual FOJ Quiz - 2016

    DAGR ANNUAL FOURTH OF JULY POLITICS QUIZ

     1. Who was the only Senator (super delegate) to endorse Sanders in the Primaries?

    a. Elizabeth Warren

    b. Jeff Merkley

    c. Barbara Boxer

     

    2. Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for DC, was appointed by Obama to replace which Supreme Court justice?

    a. Antonin Scalia

    b. Ruth Bader-Ginsberg

    c. Arthur Kennedy

     

    3. As a result of the sit-in staged by Dems in the US House to force a vote on sensible gun control measures, the House ___ .

    a. voted in favor of background checks and an assault weapons ban

    b. approved stiffer checks to prevent terrorists from buying guns

    c. went on vacation, returned and now continues to block a vote

     

    4. What idea did NOT appear in the language, notes, and debates on the 2nd Amendment?

    a. the individual’s right to own a gun for self-defense or recreation

    b. an individual’s right to own a gun if needed to defend the country

    c. the potential need for the country to defend itself in the future

     

    5. Which ítem in the Dems Abroad Platform may NOT get into the DNC Platform today?

    a. Dump the TPP/TTIP trade agreements

    b. Produce 50% of US power from renewables by 2050.

    c. Raise the US mínimum wage to $15/hr

     

    6. Who’s FOR the proposed free trade agreements, TPP and TTIP?

    a. US Congress and the US administration

    b. Clinton, Sanders, Trump and Obama

    c. Obama but not Clinton and Sanders

     

    7. What, if any, effect may the Chilcot Report have on the US?

    a. Families of military sent to Iraq may sue GWBush et al for damages.

    b. US DOJ may prosecute Bush admin officials for WMD misinformation.

    c. No action: “Let’s focus on the future.”

     

    8. How many Articles of Impeachment were presented to the US House, June 9, 2008, in  H.Res. 1258? Against whom? By whom?

    a. 15 against GW Bush et al, by Rep. Barbara Mikulski

    b. 22 against Dick Cheney et al, by then-Rep. Bernie Sanders

    c. 35 against GW Bush, by Rep. Dennis Kucinich

     

    9. Which Florida politician is running against the current DNC Chair?

    a. Tim Canova

    b. Alan Grayson

    c. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz

     

    10. Which organization is headed by Howard Dean’s brother, Jim?

    a. AARP

    b. DFA

    c. OFA

    BONUS: What do the acronyms stand for? What was the original name of DFA? OFA?

     

    11. Who’s the progressive Dem House candidate in the NY-19th?

    a. Pete DeFazio

    b. Zephyr Teachout

    c. Kirsten Gillibrand

     

    12. In an April 22, 2016 article, the Wall Street Journal explored something that these 6 Republican senators have in common. What was the object of the WSJ’s concern?
    Senators: Rob Portman (Ohio), Ron Johnson (Wisconsin), Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire), Mark Kirk (Illinois), Richard Burr (North Carolina) and Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania)

     

           _____________________________________________________________________________

     

    13. FUN FACTS ABOUT BERNIE SANDERS  (T/F?)

    _____ He worked as a carpenter before entering politics and has released a folk album

    _____ Since 2009, Sanders top five campaign contributions have come from labor unions.

    _____ He is only the second Democratic senator ever to represent Vermont  

    _____ He won his first election, as mayor of Burlington, VT, by 10 votes.

     

    14. FUN FACTS ABOUT HILARY CLINTON  (T/F?)

    _____ She won a Grammy Award in 1996.

    _____ She worked a job sliming fish in Alaska during college.

    _____ She campaigned for Goldwater in 1964 as a “Goldwater Girl” and went on to campaign for George McGovern in 1968

    _____ She tried to join the Marines at age 27, but was told, “You’re too old, you can’t see and you’re a woman.”

     

    15. FUN FACTS ABOUT DONALD TRUMP  (T/F?)

    ____   His sister is a federal appeals court judge.

    ____   He is an Ivy League university graduate.

    _____ He graduated from the same Military Academy for troubled teens as Francis Ford Coppola, Stephen Sondheim and John Gotti, Jr.

    ____   He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    ____   He participated in WWE’s Wrestlemania 23.

     

    16. IN CASE YOU’VE FORGOTTEN WHAT’S AT STAKE:
    Which of these quotations is NOT attributable to Donald Trump? Circle the number of the right answer.

    1. “ An extremely credible source has called my office and told me that Barak Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud.

    2. “Our great African-African President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore.”

    3. It’s freezing and snowing in New York. We need global warming.”

    4. I will build a great great wall on our Southern border. I will make Mexico pay for it.”

    5. “I’ve said that if Ivanka wasn’t my daughter, maybe I’d be dating her.”

    6. “My IQ is one of the highest – and you know it.”

    7. “I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.”

    8. “The only card that Hilary Clinton has is the woman’s card…”

    9. "They're  (Muslims) not coming to this country if I'm president. And if Obama has brought some to this country they are leaving, they're going, they're gone."

    10. “He’s  (John McCain) not a war hero,” said Trump. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

    11. He said (or tweeted) it all. YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP.

     

    Tick the statements about Voting From Abroad that are TRUE.

     * If you live outside the US, you must register every year you want to vote.

    * If you request a Democratic Primary ballot, your state will send your information to Democrats Abroad.

    * The only way to become a member of Democrats Abroad is to JOIN.

    * When you fill out the VFA registration app, it goes online, directly to your home state.

    * Mail your voter registration application to your county voting authority, usually called a Registrar or County Board of Elections.

    * Democrats Abroad has a Global Primary every two years, in the even-numbered years.

    * If you vote for President in the DA GPP, you may NOT vote for President OR for delegates for that candidate in your home state election.

    * If you vote in the DA GPP, you MAY vote for other ‘down-ballot’ races on your state ballot.

    * ‘Down-ballot’ races might include US Senate and House, state legislatura, mayor and US Supreme Court justices.

    * Military personnel overseas can register and vote online (UOCAVA).

    * Civilian voters can fill in the application to register online, but must print, sign and send the hard copy back to their home county voting authority.

    * Most US states currently use electronic (touchscreen) voting machines and will accept online votes from abroad as well.

    * Your state Sec’y of State keeps track of who you vote for. If you usually vote for Democrats, they will send you a Democratic Primary ballot.

    * To stay a member of Dems Abroad, you must make contact at least every four years, by attending events, updating your contact information, or talking to a phone  volunteer.

    * If you move to a different country abroad, you can move your membership to their DA group.

    * If you move back to the US, you are no longer be a member of Democrats Abroad.

    * DAGR has a Women’ Caucus, a Young Democrats group, an LGBT Caucus and a group working on taxation issues.


  • published Annual FOJ Quiz Key - 2016 in News 2016-07-21 15:56:43 -0400

    Annual FOJ Quiz Key - 2016

    KEY

    Political Quiz

    1   B

    2   A

    3   C

    4   A

    5   A

    6   C

    7   C

    8   C

    9   A

    10 B Bonus: Democrats For America, Dean For America, Obama For America

    11 B

    12 All six are vulnerable Republican incumbents up for re-election in November.

    13 T, T, T, T

    14 T, T, T, T

    15 T, T, T, T, T

    16 All T except the last one, #11.

     

    Tick the statements about Voting From Abroad that are TRUE.

    X If you live outside the US, you must register every year you want to vote.

      - If you request a Democratic Primary ballot, your state will send your information to Democrats Abroad.

    X The only way to become a member of Democrats Abroad is to JOIN.

     - When you fill out the VFA registration app, it goes online, directly to your home state.

    X Mail your voter registration application to your county voting authority, usually called a Registrar or County Board of Elections. (Actually, we later learned that in some states, you may mail the ballot to city or other officials, but at the FOJ event, we counted this one as True.)

    -  Democrats Abroad has a Global Primary every two years, in the even-numbered years.

    X  If you vote for President in the DA GPP, you may NOT vote for President OR for delegates for that candidate in your home state election.

    X  If you vote in the DA GPP, you MAY vote for other ‘down-ballot’ races on your state ballot.

    -  ‘Down-ballot’ races might include US Senate and House, state legislatura, mayor and US Supreme Court justices.

    Military personnel overseas can register and vote online (UOCAVA).

    X  Civilian voters can fill in the application to register online, but must print, sign and send the hard copy back to their home county voting authority.

    -  Most US states currently use electronic (touchscreen) voting machines and will accept online votes from abroad as well.

    -  Your state Sec’y of State keeps track of who you vote for. If you usually vote for Democrats, they will send you a Democratic Primary ballot.

    X  To stay a member of Dems Abroad, you must make contact at least every four years, by attending events, updating your contact information, or talking to a phone  volunteer.

    X  If you move to a different country abroad, you can move your membership to their DA group.

    X  If you move back to the US, you may no longer be a member of Democrats Abroad.

    -  DAGR has a Women’ Caucus, a Young Democrats group, an LGBT Caucus and a group working on taxation issues. (Not yet, anyway. Just wait!)


  • U.S. INDEPENDENCE DAY Celebrate at the Beach!

    U.S. INDEPENDENCE DAY

    Celebrate at the Beach!

    Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR)

    http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w410/dagrphotos/4th%20July%202015/FOJ20201520pic202_zpsrqewhjge.jpg 

    Message from the Chair:

    Most of us can’t remember an election year like this one in our lifetimes: whacko in its way and yet exciting in its prospects. Fireworks galore!

    In the middle of July, the GOP meets in Cleveland to set off the Donald Rocket or help it fizzle out. A week after that, Dems will gather in Philadelphia. With the nomination 99% a done-deal, our goal is to hammer out a deal that lets us unite behind our candidates.

    DAGR’s July celebration marks a brief lull before we dive back into furious activity in the fall. We’ll be renewing old friendships, having some fun, sharing ideas, and … filming more material for our GOTV video. It’s going to be a great event, with our own special brand of pyrotechnics! See you there! ~ K.L.

    Invited: All American citizens in Greece, family and friends of any nationality

     

    DATE:

    Saturday, July 9, 2016

     

    TIME:

    8:00 to 11:00 pm (20:00 to 23:00)

     

    PLACE:

    Nautical Club of Egyptian Greeks (ENOA), Ellinikon

    See directions, map link below

     

    RSVP by noon, Thursday, July 7, using the reservation form at:

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1BmSklH6DT_BHZMmFOJDsQ8THwfzeR_8MmPPXe87TO88/viewform

     

    Gate opens at 8 - Food service at 8:30 - Fireworks at 9:30 

    Dancing till drop or 11-ish

    Swimming, beach volley

    Piñata games and face painting

    Table competitions and US Election Trivia Quiz

    Updated 2016 straw poll for the politically minded

    Young Dems meet-up for tweens to 20s

    Medley of American music throughout

     

    Donation: Adults €15 -- 6-12 yr olds €7 -- under 5 yrs free

    Includes: 1 hotdog, 1 hamburger, corn-on-cob, 3 salads, watermelon

    Vegetarian option available

    Extras: beer, ice tea, lemonade

    NB: Donations may only be received from US citizens, FEC rules. Please bring your US passport!

     

    For general information:

    Email demsabroadgreece@gmail.com OR

    Call Secretary Charity Moschopoulos, 697 743 3146, or Chair Karen Lee, 693 270 0095

     

    Join us for a wonderful Fourth of July!

    For Democrats Abroad Greece Executive Committee, 

    Karen Lee, Chair 2015-2017

    ……………………………………………………………………….

    How to Get There: (look for the over-road footbridge!)

    By Car – Seawards off Leoforos Poseidonos at 2nd Agh. Kosmas tram stop (left between 2nd and 1st Agh. Kosmas bus stops to loop back, if coming from Sounion).
    Follow the winding road almost to the end (Akrotiri). Parking!

    And let us know if you need or are willing to form a carpool!

    By Bus – 2nd Agh. Kosmas bus stop. Walk down the winding road toward the sea.

    By Tram –2nd Agh Kosmas tram stop. Metro connects with tram near Syntagma and at several other stations along the route.
    Map on ENOA Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/ENOA/201331406586376

    Walking impaired? Reserve for our shuttle service when you RSVP!


  • IRS Webinar on Overseas Filing for U.S. Taxpayers in Greece

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

    Free online, web-based information session to assist U.S. overseas taxpayers in understanding their tax filing obligations.

    Of interest to taxpayers and tax professionals.

    Click this link to log in: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/490/14725

    The session will be recorded and made available at a later time. 

     

    The full announcement from which this summary was taken was sent out by the United States Embassy Athens, Greece.

    For further information, please contact the IRS directly at https://www.irs.gov/uac/contact-my-local-office-internationally

    …………………..

    Here’s the full announcement below if you need to check any details.

     

    United States Embassy Athens, Greece

    May 24, 2016

    Message for U.S. Citizens: 

    IRS Webinar on Overseas Filing for U.S. Taxpayers

    On Wednesday, May 25, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will hold a free online, web-based information session to assist U.S. overseas taxpayers in understanding their filing obligations.  The following guidance is made available from the IRS.  For further information, please contact the IRS directly.

    The webinar for Greece will be held 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25.   interested in learning more about these requirements should click this link to log in:  Overseas Taxpayers.  Attendees are encouraged to log in 10 minutes prior to the start time.

    The session will be recorded and made available at a later time. 

    The IRS reminds U.S. citizens and resident aliens, including those with dual citizenship who have lived or worked abroad during all or part of 2015, that they may have a U.S. tax liability and a filing requirement in 2016. The IRS encourages taxpayers with foreign assets, even relatively small amounts, to check if they have a filing requirement (under FBAR or FATCA).

    Most People Abroad Need to File

    A filing requirement generally applies even if a taxpayer qualifies for tax benefits, such as the foreign earned income exclusion or the foreign tax credit , that substantially reduce or eliminate their U.S. tax liability. These tax benefits are not automatic and are only available if an eligible taxpayer files a U.S. income tax return.

    The filing deadline is Wednesday, June 15, 2016, for U.S. citizens and resident aliens whose tax home and abode are outside the United States and Puerto Rico, and for those serving in the military outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico. To use this automatic two-month extension, taxpayers must attach a statement to their return explaining which of these two situations applies. See U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad for details.

    Nonresident aliens who received income from U.S. sources in 2015 also must determine whether they have a U.S. tax obligation. The filing deadline for nonresident aliens can be April 18, 2016, or June 15, 2016, depending on sources of income. See Taxation of Nonresident Aliens on IRS.gov.

    Special Reporting for Foreign Accounts and Assets

    Federal law requires U.S. citizens and resident aliens to report any worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts. In most cases, affected taxpayers need to complete and attach Schedule B to their tax return. Part III of Schedule B asks about the existence of foreign accounts, such as bank and securities accounts, and usually requires U.S. citizens to report the country in which each account is located.

    Taxpayers with an interest in, or signature or other authority over, foreign financial accounts whose aggregate value exceeded $10,000 at any time during 2015 must file with the Treasury Department a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). It is due to the Treasury Department by June 30, 2016, must be filed electronically and is only available online through the BSA E-Filing System website. For details regarding the FBAR requirements, see Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

    In addition, under the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), certain taxpayers may also have to complete and attach to their return Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets.  Generally, U.S. citizens, resident aliens and certain nonresident aliens must report specified foreign financial assets on this form if the aggregate value of those assets exceeds certain thresholds. See the instructions for this form for details.

    Expatriate Reporting

    Taxpayers who relinquished their U.S. citizenship or ceased to be lawful permanent residents of the United States during 2015 must file a dual-status alien return, attaching Form 8854, Initial and Annual Expatriation Statement. A copy of the Form 8854 must also be filed with Internal Revenue Service Philadelphia, PA 19255-0049, by the due date of the tax return (including extensions). See the instructions for this form and Notice 2009-85, Guidance for Expatriates Under Section 877A, for further details.

    Choose Free File or E-File

    U.S. citizens and resident aliens living abroad can now use IRS Free File to prepare and electronically file their returns for free. This means both U.S. citizens and resident aliens living abroad with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) of $62,000 or less can use brand-name software to prepare their returns and then e-file them for free. A limited number of companies provide software that can accommodate foreign addresses. To determine which will work best, view the complete Free File Software list and the services provided.

    The electronic filing options are available until Oct. 15, 2016, for anyone filing a 2015 return. Check out the e-file link on IRS.gov for details on the various electronic filing options. Free File is not currently available to nonresident aliens required to file a Form 1040NR.

    More Information Available

    Any U.S. taxpayer here or abroad with tax questions can refer to the International Taxpayers landing page and use the online IRS Tax Map and the International Tax Topic Index to get answers. These online tools assemble or group IRS forms, publications and web pages by subject and provide users with a single entry point to find tax information.

    Taxpayers who are looking for return preparers abroad should visit the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications.

    To help avoid delays with tax refunds, taxpayers living abroad should visit the Helpful Tips for Effectively Receiving a Tax Refund for Taxpayers Living Abroad page.

    Questions regarding this webinar may be sent by email to AthensAmericanCitizenServices@state.gov


  • Save the Date, More Events, News, Post-Convention Wrap-Up

    Before we report on this past weekend's Dems Abroad Global Convention, please note a LOT of news:

    CHANGE THE DATE! AND THEN SAVE IT!

    DAGR Independence Day Celebration

    Where: ENOA, Ellinikon coast, Athens

    NEW DATE: SATURDAY, JULY 9

    Time: Doors open 7:30, with fun, food, fireworks and more fun after that!

    The baptism that had already booked the ENOA indoor space demanded they not have to compete with outside noise. We yielded to 'first come, first served' and have now confirmed for the 9th. We can start later and avoid the heat ... and dance after the fireworks! Better late than curtail the revelry! We might even invite the French since we're so close to Bastille Day. :)

     

    POLITICS AT THE BISTROT: How democratic are the Democratic primaries?

    MONDAY, May 23, 7-9 p.m.

    La Place Mignonne, Ethnikis Aminis 4, Thessaloniki

    Debate on US Democratic primaries, premiere of get-out-the-vote campaigns, selection of the best Vote-here signs, mock exit poll, masterclass in social media, and more. Not a DAGR event, but definitely of interest!

    Panel:

    Alec Mally (former US Consul General of Thessaloniki, Democrats Abroad Greece)

    John Koenig, via Skype (Former US Ambassador to Cyprus, Democratic Party delegate, WA)

    Michael Dukakis, via Skype (1988 Democratic Nominee for President, Northeastern University)

    With:

    Dimitris Savvaidis (AddArt),

    George Siakas (University of Macedonia Research Institute)

    Lansie Sylvia, via Skype (Here?s My Chance, Philadelphia)

    THE COFFEE PARTY aka Chapter to meet in Thessaloniki

    THURSDAY, June 9, 7 p.m.

    Macedonia Palace Hotel, Coffee Shop - Thessaloniki

    Thessaloniki Chapter, watch for emails w/details

     

    WORTHY GOAL: No more 'riders' slipped into unrelated bills!

    The North Carolina state legislature has slipped an anti-abortion 'rider' into a Motorcycle Safety bill. Well, yes, riders do show up on motorcycles! The bad news shows up in an excellent article on Reproduction Rights, which our DAGR Women's Caucus is discussing this month. Ask to join the group on Facebook or read the article here.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-war-on-planned-parenthood-20160406?page=2

     

    WORTHIER GOAL: Make Election Day a National Holiday

    In 2014, voter turnout hit a 70-year low. One reason is that Election Day is mid-week, and, with early/weekend voting cut in some states; many people can't afford to take time off to wait in line at the polling booths. By making Election Day a national holiday, every eligible American voter would be able to exercise their right to vote. This is also a proposed plank in the DA Platform draft, and President Obama has just come out in favor. PTP asks for a click in support.

    http://go.turnoutpac.org/page/s/Election-Holiday?source=MS_EM_PET_2016.05.16_B2_Election-Holiday_X__F1_S3_C1__all

    HALC - ELECTION PREFERENCE SURVEY

    If you'd like to let the Hellenic-American Leadership Council know how you stand on current elections, their short survey can be clicked athttp://hellenicleaders.com/WhereDoYouStand

    CONDOLENCES

    To the family and friends of former US Ambassador Monteagle Stearns, who died Saturday at the age of 91. Stearns, who served as the US ambassador to Greece from August 1981 through September 1985, during the premiership of Andreas Papandreou, was credited as being one of the US's most able diplomats in Greece and a true Philhellene. He was known to many members of DAGR and was also the first ambassador under whom former Chair Alec Mally served. Full article is on e-Kathimerini at

    http://www.ekathimerini.com/208681/article/ekathimerini/community/former-us-ambassador-to-greece-stearns-dies

    STATE DEPARTMENT JOBS POSTED

    The DOS Recent Graduates Program (RGP) is accepting applications from graduates of trade and vocational schools, community colleges, universities, and other qualifying educational institutions or programs. To be eligible, applicants must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion.

    Position

    Announcement Number

    Human Resources Specialist

    HRSC/ACWA-2016-0016

    Program Analyst

    HRSC/ACWA-2016-0017

    Budget Analyst

    HRSC/ACWA-2016-0018

    IT Specialist

    HRSC/ACWA-2016-0021

     

     

     

    A complete application must be submitted by 11:59PM (EST) on the closing date of the announcement to receive consideration.

    MORE JOBS - International Rescue Committee (IRC)

    Urgently seeking many social workers, translators (Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish, Dari speakers are all needed), people with experience working with vulnerable women and children, psychologists and many other positions! Working in Greece to provide essential care and services to the refugees. These are paid jobs; contracts are 3-6 months with possibility of extension. Interested applicants please send CVs and inquires directly to molly.abbott@rescue.org.  All jobs and details are posted here: http://www.skywalker.gr/companyHomepage.aspx?companyID=11689

     

    DEMS ABROAD GLOBAL CONVENTION, Berlin 2016

    Four 8-hour days at the monitor have come and gone. Exhausting! Exhilarating! Very well conducted!

    Congratulations are in order for the international DPCA ExCom, Dems Abroad Germany hosts, and volunteers at every level of the operation. And special kudos are due the IT team that managed the WebEx connection.

    DAGR Chair Karen and Vice Chair Steve, as voting members of DPCA, attended all four days, starting with the Global AGM on Thursday. Also registered as ?electors? (any elected member of ExCom could register), we took part in the EMEA Regional Caucus on Friday, both in Sanders caucus room. (The carefully maintained mask of candidate neutrality has just been whipped off to reveal our true faces.) Treasurer Alec joined the Global AGM as well, but had not signed up as an elector. He also ran our Twitter and FB feeds as elections progressed over the weekend.

    Thursday began with work on the Platform to be discussed on Sunday. The DPCA AGM had required officers and committee reports, quite interesting actually. Then a discussion ensued on whether to have AGMs all in DC, alternating DC and worldwide, etc. Pros and cons on both choices.

    Those of you who've joined our local meetings via WebEx know there's a big screen where files and slides can be shown and, to the right, a video of the main meeting, a list of participants, and a type-chat facility.

    By Friday, we discovered chatting was risky. You had to be very careful not to send a private comment to 'everyone,' to keep the 'everyone' channel open for 'hand up to speak' queues and voice votes. Like this:

    "Aye/No," Send to everyone. Okay!

    "Young guy is sharp. Other one seems full of himself," Send to everyone. Whoops!

    Alec observed the Sanders Global Caucus on Saturday. (A thin veil drops quietly to the floor.) We tried to run Skype at the same time, but couldn't mute WebEx without muting Skype. So, we figured out we could open up Skype on laptops, then swing over to the desk-top screen to chat to 'everyone' or cast votes on delegate candidates. Check delegate hopefuls' bios on the DA Wiki. Post a screen shot to Facebook. Check that young alternate's Twitter feed. Multi-task! Yes!

    Coffee break, 10 minutes: pop yesterday's coffee in the microwave, throw in a load of laundry, wash breakfast dishes, check snail mail in lobby, grab cup, back to desk as the meeting reconvenes. Whew!

    Pledged Delegates are apportioned to the nearly 68-32% spread of the GPP vote. That meant of the 13 pledged delegates, 9 went to Sanders and 4 to Clinton.  EMEA also had more to elect than Americas and Asia-Pacific, as it had had a higher GPP turnout. Finally, each CC got the number (or fraction) of votes proportional to its turnout in its region. Complicated, but an algorithm handled it and we just clicked a radio button.

    Sunday, a few tempers frayed. One IL lawyer took exception to an off-hand reference to 'Chicago politics.' Another, also IL bar, smoothed ruffled feathers. (The DAGR elector from Ohio refrained from noting what neighboring states say about Chicago.) Delegate elections, left-over from Saturday, were finished. Affirmative Action goals were fairly met, 16 of 18 points fulfilled by the Sanders delegates.

    Election of 3 new DNC members (4-year terms) was accomplished. Platform work ran on until the room had to be cleared at 6 p.m. CET, and will be completed by WebEx in the next week.

    Speakers smiled at each other as they argued. The work UNITY was used 87 times (at least).

    The DA Delegation to the Democratic Nation Convention, July 25-28, including elected pledged delegates, new and current DNC members, and the International Chair and Vice Chair, is listed on the DA Wiki at

    http://wiki.democratsabroad.org/display/Berlin2016/DA+National+Convention+Delegation+-+May+2016

    CONVENTION IMPRESSIONS

    Steve: "Highlights for me ...

    1. The passion and earnestness of new, young candidates...new members to Democrats Abroad (perhaps even the DP)...their commitment to getting and staying involved.

    2. The conscientious and professional organization and leadership (of the process) throughout the global meeting.

    3. I came away from the experience feeling that there will be party unity (at least in DA) after the convention and support for our party's nominee. Obviously, strong feelings expressed in both camps...but I did feel that I could trust the representatives we elected (after fighting hard for their positions in Philadelphia) understand that electing a Democrat in November is our top priority. This was important for me, and was an idea that informed my own voting."

    Alec: "As many of you know, I declined to run for Chair in 2015 in part because I saw our party's nominations process as controlled by the DNC, thus the path to the coronation essentially foreordained.  The vitality and determination of the Sanders campaign over the last year has made me rethink many of my earlier views on how our party works and I was amazed to see a number of truly democratic candidate selection mechanisms/practices in action (not 100% but still?) at the Global Convention and the depth of support for Senator Sanders in Democrats Abroad globally.  Now however, the watchword going forward must be “Victory in Unity."

    Karen: "The DA Platform says it all! Progressive, sensible, do-able! Once or twice, someone wanted to remove a plank as it was too visionary, would never pass, etc. The plenary kept it in, to raise the issue and set a goal. There's a high level of expertise among members plus a lot of just well-informed people. Our work will become part of the DNC Platform -- and that's a floor fight you won't want to miss! With the nomination still wide open, everyone's worried about how to keep those bright, committed Sanders millennials on board should Clinton win. Well, the Platform is the key!"

    AND THAT'S THE NAME OF THAT TUNE!

    Winter Lesson Student Performances
    Dora Stratou Greek Dances Theatre, Philapappou

    Sunday, May 22, starts after dark, 9-ish, chair's group about 10:30-ish

    One of the senior 'beyond 3-yr certificate' classes will be performing dances from Avestades, Thrace. As this class is large, the program is double, an aerobic selection including: Tapino, Baidouska, Zonaradiko, Gaitani, Koulouriosto, and Mantilato. Your DAGR Chair will be the old lady about 5th from last in the circle.

    2016 seems to be speeding up, or at least our emails seem to be coming out more frequently. We hope it strikes a balance for you between enough-news and not-too-often.

    Till next time!

    Karen and the ExCom