News

DAGR Chapter Promotes 'Vote from Abroad' at the Farm Fest in Thessaloniki

peter talking with people

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.

playing at the Farm Fest


First Young Democrats Abroad Event in Athens is coming up!

Athens Chapter

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!



Join our ERA Photo and Video Campaign!

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.

Video Guidelines:

  1. 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.
  2. Do NOT wear or say anything partisan. Almost all Dems support ERA so trying to win the Rep vote.
  3. Please show some passion but avoid/limit profanity.
  4. Start with “I’m an American living in GREECE”.
  5. If you live in a country that has equal rights for women in the constitution, especially if in some non-European country, mention that.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Ask for ERA support.
  9. 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 era@democratsabroad.org

Text ideas:

  • 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

Photo Guidelines:

  1. Make sign on A4 or 8.5x11 paper
  2. Please include on the sign “American living in GREECE” along with some support for ERA.
  3. Take photo with sign with your face showing
  4. Photos of your kids holding the sign is also good – if you are ok with the photo on the internet
  5. 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.
  6. Please send photo to ERA@democratsabroad.org

Text ideas:

  • 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 era@democratsabroad.org

#DAforERA
#VAratifyERA


Painted into the Chair's Corner

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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

 


Political Prisoner in the US? Yes - Come and See the True Story

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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
Donation €5

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!

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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!


Special Screening of 'The Post'

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!

The Post

Thursday, Oct 04, 2018
19:00 (7pm)
The Exile Room, 12 Athinas, Monastiraki, Athens
€5 donation at the door
Refreshments – door prize


Nostalgia for the Articulate Orator

There’s No Comparison

by Stacey Harris-Papaioannou, DAGR Communications Chair

I read the headline in disbelief.  Obama was at U of I in Champaign stumping for Democrats. U of I is the well-known term for anybody from the tri-state area – Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana – for the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, a 4-hour drive due south of Chicago. He was in his (and my) backyard so to speak. His last major speech as POTUS 44 was also in our Greek backyard—the then-brand-new Niarchos venue, in November 2016. It was his last overseas trip, to Democracy’s cradle. 

We were all still shell-shocked over the election of Trump but somehow still clinging to some wild hope.  As we watched Obama and listened to his words, we contemplated the threat the likes of a Trump presidency posed on the nation and the core of democratic principles.  We had faced the results of a popular vote give the Democratic candidate nearly 3 million votes over the Republican contender – and yet thanks to the archaic Electoral College system, this man would become POTUS 45 anyway.

Obama’s words back in November 2016 tried to quell our panic, our fear.

“And so here, where democracy was born, we affirm once more the rights and the ideals and the institutions upon which our way of life endures.  Freedom of speech and assembly -- because true legitimacy can only come from the people, who must never be silenced.  A free press to expose injustice and corruption and hold leaders accountable.  Freedom of religion -- because we’re all equal in the eyes of God.  Independent judiciaries to uphold rule of law and human rights.  Separation of powers to limit the reach of any one branch of government.  Free and fair elections -- because citizens must be able to choose their own leaders, even if your candidate doesn’t always win.  (Laughter.)  

We compete hard in campaigns in America and here in Greece.  But after the election, democracy depends on a peaceful transition of power, especially when you don’t get the result you want.  (Applause.) 

And as you may have noticed, the next American president and I could not be more different.  (Applause.)  

Fast forward 22 months. We noticed! And, now, he has returned to remind us what our priorities should be.  The Dems have been criticized for using him to “get out the vote,” as it is unheard of for a former president to campaign for anybody, never mind lashing out at the man currently in office.

At Champaign-Urbana, Obama said the country is in a “backlash” moment. 

“You happen to be coming of age during one of those moments,” Obama told the audience at U of I. “It did not start with Donald Trump ¯ he is a symptom, not the cause. He is just capitalizing on resentment that politicians have been fanning for years. A fear, an anger that is rooted in our past but is also borne in our enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.”

While Obama had in the past blasted Trump’s policies, this was the first speech in which he used his successor’s name.

DT2_GR0923.jpgObama also addressed Trump’s tone-deaf comments after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA, last year. The president claimed there were “some very fine people on both sides” during the mayhem that saw white supremacists squaring off against anti-racism protesters. Paralegal Heather Heyer, 32, was killed during the protest when a white supremacist struck her with his car.

“We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers,” Obama said. “How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?”

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The former president also applauded the women who have taken a stand in the Me Too movement, and the teens of Parkland, Florida, who are standing up to gun violence and the National Rifle Association. That’s how real change starts, Obama said. But nothing will get done if this generation doesn’t vote, he added.

DT4_GTR0923.jpgSetting the record straight, he also noted, “By the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high, and the uninsured rate hit an all-time low, poverty rates were falling,” Obama added. “I mention this just so when you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started.”

“The threat to our democracy doesn’t just come from Donald Trump,” Obama said. “The biggest threat to our democracy is indifference. The biggest threat to our democracy is cynicism. Cynicism has led too many people to turn away from politics and stay home on Election Day. To all the young people that are here today, there are now more eligible voters in your generation than in any other, which means your generation now has more power than any other to change things.” 

The only thing you have to do, Obama said, is “show up.”

Well, Obama showed up in my backyards, twice in 2 years—first in Athens and just a week or so back in Illinois.  His words made me nostalgic – for a man respectful of all, charismatic and able to laugh at himself. His message is simple, framed to make us act, to reignite our enthusiasm and send everyone to the polls in November.

Show up! Engage! Vote!

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Cocky Complacency in the Mid-Terms

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

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Which Type of Democrat are You?

DNC Summer Meeting
Which type of Democrat are you?

  1. Pretty busy with ‘life’ but usually vote and try to support the Party when I can.
  2. Read the daily news and tweets! Frustrated! But I do what I can to change things!
  3. 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.

Oct 26, 2017 – Who IS the DNC? And What Did They Vote in the Winter Meeting?

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

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