May’s Political Wine: Whether POTUS or Manchurian Candidate, How & Why To Cope.

As a follow-up to May's Political Wine, here are the associated article's referenced in Doc CURLIN's presentation:

The power of impeachment is a more promising tool for curtailing a defective Presidency. The Framers considered the ability to eject an executive so critical that they enshrined it in the Constitution even before they had agreed on the details of the office itself. On June 2, 1787, while the delegates to the Constitutional Convention, in Philadelphia, were still arguing whether the Presidency should consist of a committee or a single person, they adopted, without debate, the right to impeach for "malpractice or neglect of duty".

Read the full The New Yorker's How Trump Could Get Fired article here.

The Times editorial board will look more closely at the new president, with a special attention to three troubling traits:

  1. Trump’s shocking lack of respect for those fundamental rules and institutions on which our government is based. Since Jan. 20, he has repeatedly disparaged and challenged those entities that have threatened his agenda, stoking public distrust of essential institutions in a way that undermines faith in American democracy.
  2. His utter lack of regard for truth. Whether it is the easily disprovable boasts about the size of his inauguration crowd or his unsubstantiated assertion that Barack Obama bugged Trump Tower, the new president regularly muddies the waters of fact and fiction.
  3. His scary willingness to repeat alt-right conspiracy theories, racist memes and crackpot, out-of-the-mainstream ideas. Again, it is not clear whether he believes them or merely uses them.

Read the full LA Times' Our Dishonest President editorial opinion piece here.

The insult that Donald Trump brings to the equation is an apparent disregard for fact so profound as to suggest that he may not see much practical distinction between lies, if he believes they serve him, and the truth. His approach succeeds because of his preternaturally deft grasp of his audience. Though he is neither terribly articulate nor a seasoned politician, he has a remarkable instinct for discerning which conspiracy theories in which quasi-news source, or which of his own inner musings, will turn into ratings gold.

Read the full LA Times' Why Trump Lies editorial opinion piece here.

What’s uniquely threatening about Trump’s approach, though, is how many fronts he’s opened in this struggle for power and the vehemence with which he seeks to undermine the institutions that don’t go along. It’s one thing to complain about a judicial decision or to argue for less regulation, but to the extent that Trump weakens public trust in essential institutions like the courts and the media, he undermines faith in democracy and in the system and processes that make it work.

Read the full LA Times' Trump’s Authoritarian Vision editorial opinion piece here.

This may seem like bizarre behavior from a man who consumes the news in print and on television so voraciously and who is in many ways a product of the media. He comes from reality TV, from talk radio with Howard Stern, from the gossip pages of the New York City tabloids, for whose columnists he was both a regular subject and a regular source. But Trump’s strategy is pretty clear: By branding reporters as liars, he apparently hopes to discredit, disrupt or bully into silence anyone who challenges his version of reality.

Read the full LA Times' Trump’s War on Journalism editorial opinion piece here.

Trump seems as willing to mouth off today as he was on the campaign — about wiretaps, inauguration crowds, fraudulent voters, you name it. And the problem with that is that he is no longer a blowhard TV personality or a raunchy guest on Howard Stern or a self-promoting real estate magnate or even a long-shot candidate for the Republican nomination. He’s now the president of the United States, and he is allowing the credibility of his unimaginably powerful office to be exploited and wasted on crackpot ideas that have been rightly discredited by politicians from both parties.

Read the full LA Times' Conspiracy Theorist in Chief editorial opinion piece here.

But as we settle in for the next four years, California needs to be clear-eyed about the challenges it faces and strategic about how it responds. An all-out war with the federal government is neither sustainable nor wise. The state will have to choose its battles.

Read the full LA Times' California Fights Back editorial opinion piece here.

A Hundred Days of Trump

The political math is clarifying: 489 of the wealthiest counties in the country voted for Clinton; the remaining 2,623 counties, largely made up of small towns, suburbs, and rural areas, voted for Trump. Slightly fewer than 55% of all voting-age adults bestirred themselves to go to the polls. That statistic is at least as painful to process as the Comey letter, the Russian hack of the D.N.C., the strategic failures of the Clinton campaign, and the over-all darkness of the Trump campaign. It’s a statistic about passivity, which is just what a democracy in the era of Trump can no longer afford.

Read the full The New Yorker article here.

Managing Your Finances in a FATCA Environment

The Riviera Chapter received positive feedback from our guest speaker, Brian Dunhill, from OmniWealth. For such a heavy topic on financial investments in a FATCA market, one hour wasn't long enough. As a follow-up to our presentation, here are some important resources:

The most current DA FATCA Task Force report 

OmniWealth American Expat Guide

OmniWealth - An Introduction video

OmniWealth - Where To Invest video

North American Expat Financial Forum in Paris - 30 May

Request a Personal Appointment with Brian Dunhill

Call To Action: Get Out the Vote for the Congressional Special Elections!

The results are in from the first Congressional Special Elections and Democratic voters are energized!  In California, Republicans were completely locked out of the June Runoff Election and in Kansas - one of the reddest Congressional Districts in the US -  Republicans eked out a win after suffering a huge 20 point drop from Trump’s winning margin.


Sign up to phonebank in Georgia  You can call voters in Georgia about the upcoming Special Election on Tuesday, April 18.  This is a rare opportunity to flip a long-held Republican seat and demonstrate just how unpopular the Republican agenda is!

Join Democrats Abroad's phonebanking campaign

We’re calling DA members - who vote in GA, MT and SC - to help them register, request their ballots and vote in these Special Elections.  Our CallHub phonebanking system is 100% online, so you don’t have to use a single minute of your phone plan. All you need is a computer or laptop, Internet access, and a headset (or cellphone ear buds). You just follow the script displayed on your screen and click on the answers to the survey.

To sign up for phonebanking:

  1. Sign in to your DA account at:  (Click on "Join/Sign In" on the upper right)
  2. Come back to this email and click on:  (You need to be signed into your DA account first)
  3. Follow the (short) instructions to sign up as a phonebanking volunteer.

After you've signed up, you will receive an email from [email protected] to activate your CallHub account and set up a password. (It may take up to 10 minutes to receive the email).  And here are some training materials:
Intro to CallHub - review of the system
CallHub Do's and Don'ts

Questions?   Please contact us at: [email protected]

Cast Your Ballot! - DAFrance - Riviera Chapter Elections 2017

Our Democrats Abroad France - Riviera Chapter activities don’t come without the strong efforts of a vibrant Executive Committee.  So the time has come for our own Executive Committee elections.  Please review our online ballot in a PDF format to vote for the following positions:

  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Up to six members-at-large

Then join us on 18 APR 2017 to cast your ballot.  Immediately following our voting, we will host a guest speaker, Brian DUNHILL, who will present Managing Your Finances in a FATCA Environment.

DAF - Riviera Chapter Elections
Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 18h30 to 19h30
Hôtel Villa Rivoli
10 rue Rivoli, 06000 NICE

If you are not able to submit your ballot in person, you may send your signed ballot and a photocopy of your American passport to our official Elections Monitor:

Elizabeth TOMACRUZ
(Deadline: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 16h00)
6 avenue des Fleurs
06000 NICE

She is able to accept your ballots by either post or electronically via e-mail.

Cutting Off 'Fly-Over' States, Trump to Axe Amtrak for 220 Cities

It's ironic that President Trump's first budget proposal undermines the very communities whose economic hardship and sense of isolation from the rest of the country helped propel him into office. These working class communities—many of them located in the Midwest and the South—were tired of being treated like 'flyover country, but by proposing the elimination of Amtrak's long distance trains, the Trump administration does them one worse, cutting a vital service that connects these small town economies to the rest of the U.S.

Read the full Common Dreams article here.

Inside The Wealthy Family That Has Been Funding Steve Bannon's Plan For Years

I mean, they have very extreme views, and they're impatient - both of them. They want action fast. And what was a question for me as I was reporting this was, so how did they get what they wanted? What did they do? And they couldn't really do it on their own because, like many wealthy people who have strong political ideas, they have no idea how to sort of manipulate politics. They need some kind of professional help. And the person they turned to for that was Steve Bannon.

Listen to the full NPR - Fresh Air interview here.

An expat’s 10-step guide to political engagement

Perhaps you know the feeling. Before your first cup of coffee, you debate whether to check the news to see what happened while you were sleeping. You try to resist, as something about your news obsession feels voyeuristic, undignified. But you check anyway . . . .
You feel overwhelmed and powerless. You are torn between focusing on what is happening in America and retreating into the comfort of being far away. Yet you know in your gut that retreat is a privilege whose comfort is illusory.

Read the full SwissInfo opinion piece here.

An Opportunity for Action: DAFrance - Riviera Chapter Elections 2017

Now that we have elected our executive committee for Democrats Abroad France, the next step is to elect our own executive committee here, within the Riviera Chapter. Our activities don’t come without the strong efforts of a vibrant Executive Committee.  Recovering from the traumatic 2016 Presidential Elections, it is time to renew these efforts.  We can’t let our momentum subside nor allow our voices to be silenced.  So the time has come for our own, Democrats Abroad France - Riviera Chapter’s Executive Committee elections.  We are officially calling for candidates for the following positions:

  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Up to six members-at-large

Please take the time to consider the possibility to dedicating time to our Executive Committee for a two year term.  If you have any questions about the roles and responsibilities of these positions, please respond to this e-mail and we will get back to you.  It takes a team of volunteers to keep the torch lit.

In order to successfully organize these elections, we are establishing a deadline for reception of candidacies.  To have your name on our ballot you will need to submit the following by our next Political Wine on 05 APR 2017 (Wednesday):

  • your name, 
  • the position you wish to run for
  • a brief statement of your interest (150 words maximum) 

Your submission can easily be done by replying to this e-mail.

In addition for all members, please mark on your calendar 18 APR 2017 (Tuesday evening) when our elections will be formally held.  The location:

Hôtel Villa Rivoli
10 rue Rivoli, 06000 NICE

(**Voting will be possible electronically, by post or in person.)

Along with the elections, we will be hosting an expert on FATCA and how it has impacted our communities abroad. Keep an eye out as more details to come at a later date.

Please note this is our local election and is independent of the national election for the DA-France Executive Committee just held on 11 MAR.

Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government

The list we obtained includes obscure campaign staffers, contributors to Breitbart and others who have embraced conspiracy theories, as well as dozens of Washington insiders who could be reasonably characterized as part of the “swamp” Trump pledged to drain.

The list is striking for how many former lobbyists it contains: We found at least 36, spanning industries from health insurance and pharmaceuticals to construction, energy and finance. Many of them lobbied in the same areas that are regulated by the agencies they have now joined.

Read the full ProPublica article here.