Atticus vs The Architect:
The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman
Thursday, Oct 18 - 7:00 pm
Exile Room, Athinas 12, 3rd floor, Athens
DAGR members and guests
Wine and chat afterwards
Political witch-hunt Prosecutorial misconduct - Appeals denied - A decade in prison
It really happened, IN AMERICA, in the 21st century!
And it could happen again!
Don Siegelman is the former Governor of Alabama, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State - an extremely popular Democrat in a deep red state. Since certain rogue Republicans could not beat him fairly through the election process, a cadre of corrupt national and local GOP operatives put on a show trial and in 2006, convicted him of "bribery." The acts for which they convicted him are commonly performed by politicians - including President Obama and President Trump - everyday.
However, Don Siegelman served as "America's # One Political Prisoner" in the Federal Bureau of Prisons until February 8, 2017 when he was released to home confinement through the Early Release program. He will be on probation until 8.9.2020.
The Siegelman experience shows what can happen when the courts are stacked and collude with political interests to further their goals. A particularly timely film, after the recent SCOTUS confirmation sideshow!
The documentary is available for link rental, download or DVD from Amazon or, to directly benefit the Siegelman defense efforts incurred over 12 years of appeals.
Come and watch this important film with us!
A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government. —Twentieth Century Fox
Join DAGR members and guests for this award-winning tribute to a high point in US journalism. This struggle set the tone and determination WaPo would show once again when they broke Watergate.
DAGR encourages women everywhere who, like WaPo’s chief, are finding their own strength in the struggle. It seems fitting that we also take this occasion to celebrate her 95th with our Honorary Women’s Caucus Chair, Margarita Papandreou. Happy Birthday!
Thursday, Oct 04, 2018
The Exile Room, 12 Athinas, Monastiraki, Athens
€5 donation at the door
Refreshments – door prize
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.
Obama 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?”
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.
Setting 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!
I have done what I am supposed to do.
I don’t need to do any more.
Don’t bug me; I am busy.
So, you followed all the links, got yourself registered to vote in your local precinct, received a confirmation e-mail, have been checking your status and awaiting your ballot -- be it an e-ballot, an emailed ballot to be printed and mailed, scanned or an actual paper ballot received through snail-mail. The only thing left to do really now is VOTE and send in the ballot on time. Right?
Yes and no. You may have done everything right for your vote. Have you assisted others in getting registered, getting fired up, getting friends and acquaintances who have the right to vote in the game? Maybe you’re shy and you don’t like to push people on their politics, but this isn’t pushing an agenda of right, left or center. It is encouraging everyone who has the right to vote to do so -- you can’t get more American, patriotic or non-partisan than that.
You have a couple of expat friends who speak incessantly of US Politics and at this point you are fed up, because you have done what you were supposed to do and when the ballot arrives, you will do so then as well. You have convinced your adult children to register, your second cousin and Kyria Katina, who lives next door to the mini-market, who lived in the States for 20 years, before she and her husband retired in Greece.
It is easy to get complacent because you did what you were supposed to do. It is also easy to get cocky today as we have watched Manafort flip and it looks like the man who was elected by the Electoral College may soon find himself out of the Oval Office. When all the allegations directed toward him are being proven via sworn testimony or tape recordings, it seems that “Game Over” will soon be flashing on screens across the world and Pence will be sworn in as the 46th. (Not that this is a victory, but at least 45 will be out, no longer able to steer the entire globe on crash course.)
We can’t be complacent now, especially now. This is the time when we show our might -- we must keep talking about what is happening at home because if we don’t, the worst of it is bound to wash up -- literally or figuratively -- on Greek shores. We still have a full month to make sure anybody that can be registered, is registered to vote. We have to remind them to track their ballots. We have to keep talking to our uncommitted as well as our Republican friends. We have to keep pushing if the blue wave is to wash over the 2018 midterms. By nature, a wave is powerful and forceful and pushes aside what gets in the way. And that is who we have to be as Dems -- the embodiment of that wave.
We felt that power after Parkland -- those beautiful teenagers had more guts and gumption than a hundred senior senators - they lit fires under us, made us take to the streets and say -- this must end. These midterms can make the difference between a legislative body that is willing to stand against the deep pockets of the NRA and say -- No More. Gun regulation is going to happen so that every citizen feels safe. No more mass shootings with automatic weapons, no more deaths dealt from demons with delusions of grandeur and access to firearms.
Yes, it is easy to slip into cocky complacency -- but don’t. A democratic future for the globe is dependent on all of us being hands on and not sitting back and letting somebody else do it.
-- by Stacey Harris-Papaioannou
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” -- Plato
DNC Summer Meeting
Which type of Democrat are you?
- Pretty busy with ‘life’ but usually vote and try to support the Party when I can.
- Read the daily news and tweets! Frustrated! But I do what I can to change things!
- Really fascinated by the Party’s inside workings.
Most of our members probably fall in the first group. However, the Trump reign has moved a lot of folks to join the activists in the 2nd group.
And then there’s that handful of ‘political addicts’ who also involve themselves in the inner workings of the Party. That includes the DAGR Chair and Vice Chair, our voting members of DA, who have to attend the meetings.
And then there are the pundits, the TV analysts, the talk-news hosts. Their bread and butter is controversy. The inner workings of all parties are grist for the daily headline mill, but they’ve had particular fun predicting the fracturing and demise of the Democratic Party since November 2016.
The social media echo chamber picks up the theme. McDonalized blog louts (soft trolls) love the negative news, picking up a sleek phrase from their latest twitter feed: Dem duplicity, Dems depleted, Dems at loggerheads, Dems doomed! They think it makes them look sophisticated. No ‘my party right or wrong’ for them!
Sorry, guys! But the Democrats do self-correct. We’ve been working hard on this one ever since the fiasco of 2016. And here’s a major result. Predictions to the contrary, the DNC Summer Meeting this past weekend in Chicago:
- Reduced the number of automatic/unpledged aka super delegates by 60%
- Limited their votes for the presidential nominee to the second ballot at the Convention (unless those votes match the popular vote of their constituency).
While this will not change the 2016 outcome nor the anger in some quarters over how that was achieved, it will affect the 2020 selection process. OUR votes in the primaries will not be offset by deals made ahead of time by party leaders.
The Saturday plenary meeting was extended by 2 hours to accommodate more debate. And some of that debate was heated. At the end of the day, realizing the Unity Reform Commission (URC) recommendations were going to pass, the opposition conceded and the package of reforms was passed by acclamation. (unanimously)
In the ‘big tent’ that is the Democratic Party, unity is seen as the underlying need. Our message is clear. It’s called The Platform. And our way to passing that message into law is winning elections with renewed emphasis on transparency, inclusion and grassroots organizing.
If you want to know more detail about how it works, what it was in the past, how it’s changed, try these 4 short articles from DemList Daily that cover the process as it moved forward.
Dec. 11, 2017 – Recommendations of the Unity Reform Commission
March 13, 2018 – The Old Way and the New (Maybe) Way (Superdelegate details)
Aug. 24, 2018 – The Plenary’s Decision
Of what use is a photo of yourself holding a sign? Well, it IS a message! And it’s a fast way to send that message. You send friends pictures from the beach, with your family, of your latest grandkid. Why not send one to your elected official?
It’s just a mini billboard and a lot cheaper than those big ones along the Interstate! You don’t even have to send $3 to help us put it up!DAGR tried something new at the 4th of July celebration in Athens … the Selfie Helper. As noted below, sending a selfie is a piece of cake for some phone owners and alien turf for others. So, we asked a volunteer to stand by to help the selfie challenged. The goal was to carry on from a virtual presence on June 30 “Families Belong Together” action. And to learn.
The ubiquitous mobile phone ... a recorder of history, a news camera, to amplify official versions or add substance to claims of mistreatment. From traffic stops to paragliding, the camera tells it all.
When phone designers added a second camera pointed back at the user, the selfie took off! Selfies started out as a lark, one more way to say ‘Kilroy is here, and I’m Kilroy!’. Then the afficianodos began to find more serious uses of this instant sharing facility.
Selfies as a Dems Abroad tool
DA’s tech-savvy leadership has encouraged selfies and virtual messaging. On a social media page, they’re a visual ‘list’ of supporters. Put together in a montage, hundreds of them together form a virtual march from all around the world. The virtual amplifies the live protests and official statements sent to the party lawmakers.
Some country committees have been represented better than others, depending on savvy, connectivity, and knowledge of which link to send their selfies to. But, before each major event, there seems to be a welter of hashtags and addresses that might or not land the photo where someone else can pick it up and include in a montage..
This is especially so if the protest is launched by another group, or coalition in which DA takes part. Everybody’s got a hashtag in the game. Where do I see myself after the event? The fog of addresses is clearing slowly, but for those accustomed to more traditional letters, calls and now emails and petition clicking, the key question is whether anybody cares about a selfie.
Who can get a Selfie?
Selfies aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. And you can’t send them to all politicos. But DAGR Vice Chair Steve Medeiros and Athens Chapter Chair Marion Kavallieros did a bit of digging and found some promising possibilities.
They started with the “Indivisible” proposition that the message should be sent to one’s own Congressman and Senators. They’re all listed in government websites. Each one has an email option for contact. Easy, right? Um, nope! Unfortunately, the dialogue box only accepts written messages, typed or pasted in.
Steve discovered a web facility that would send a selfie directly to your designated public official. A perfect solution, but, it’s only set up for stateside users. He wrote off to them to suggest they expand their service abroad. They haven’t written back. Yet.
And then, it hit them. Facebook.
In FB Messenger, you can upload a photo. Save it to your computer or phone Internet app, and upload it to a message. Do all congresspersons have Messenger service? No. But a lot do. And each of us only has to check three officials. Ours.
You can probably do this in Twitter and Instagram, too. The team just didn’t have time to get that far before the fireworks went off. Stay tuned. For now? Instructions below.
For the camera-confident, Go For It!
if you’re good with your camera and have some confidence with ‘posting selfies,’ here’s what you do:
Look up your Congressperson or Senators on the gov’t websites.
Drop their full name into Facebook search box. They may have more than one page. Look for one with a Message link. If they have one, you’re good to go.
Print out a sign or scribble one on a piece of A4 paper.
Hold your sign and take your selfie.
Upload it to your personal Facebook timeline.
Then Share it via Facebook Messenger to each congresscritter you’ve found.
If you use Twitter, you can try the same method as for Facebook. Your elected officials may accept photos. If they do, tweet them a selfie with message!
Text Messages … Say It With Words!…
Some elected officials don’t have Facebook or Messenger or a Twitter feed. If not, or if you’re not up to selfies, you can use the old-fashioned written word.
Click on the “send email” or ‘contact’ link to open the dialogue box.
Fill in your voter info so they know they should worry about getting YOUR vote.
Select a ‘category.’ Note: There’s rarely one that fits what you want to say.
Type in a Subject line, e.g. “Re-unite Immigrant Families”
Type your message in the box. It can be quite short, or longer and heartfelt. But it should be clear, e.g. “The zero-tolerance immigration policy keeps kids in jail, with or without their families. Please do all you can to reunite families IMMEDIATELY, release families from detention, and then work for a sane, humane, effective immigration policy in compliance with international standards of human rights.”
Most officials now ask for a US phone number. If you don’t have a US phone, borrow one. (First, ask your friend, agent or relative for permission … and which number they keep only for telemarketing and nuisance calls.)
Or go to voice communication
The links above for Senate and House also have the phone numbers for their DC offices. If hometown offices are not listed, and you want to call during a holiday break, click on their website address. There may be several offices for a senator across the state. Most congresspersons have just one. Find these numbers in the personal websites.
Long distance to the US used to be expensive. If you have a flat-rate calling arrangement, it may cost the same as a local call now. If not, use calls for the most urgent matters you want to weigh in on. Be prepared with your information and talking points. Keep it short.
These calls ARE counted by staffers. So are the messages left for some lawmakers. They’re definitely worth the effort!
Prompt: DAGR has an Athens Chapter and a Thessaloniki Chapter.
Response: Oh, has it got TWO chapters, then?
~ paraphrasing the Grivas companion to Access to English, Book 2, Oxford Univ. Press...
Thessaloniki Chapter drew a good turnout for its 2nd year in a row. The northern celebration is smaller than Athens, less scripted, supported by potluck offerings and more open to simple socializing with a strong shot of political discussion. This year, ThessChap reports the focus was on how they’ll Get Out The Vote in the north lands. Under consideration is lending support to registering the healthy contingent of Study Abroad students expected to arrive in September.
Kudos to ChapChair and Rep, Anna Vasilliou and Peter Baiter, for the BBQ put on in Peter’s garden. And thanks to Dimitris Chriss for the donated portion of Vergina Beer and Tuvunu to ThessChap as well as AthChap.
AthChap traditionally has a much larger event, primarily because DAGR was started in Athens, and grew word-of-mouth, friend-to-friend for a decade or so before ThessChap was formed. That’s okay, and tomorrow ThessChap will double and other city chapters will spring up. Disclaimers aside … on to Athens.
Over 130 Athens Chapter members, friends, family and young ones, gathered at ENOA again this year for food, fun and and fireworks to celebrate the nation’s birthday.
Grim realities that made some feel less than celebratory were put to work. Don’t like what you see? Change it! (BTW, have we mentioned Register, Vote, November?) This is what Democracy looks like!
Selfies and a petition to replace 45’s brutal, pandering-to-base, zero-tolerance immigration policies with effective, humane practices set the theme. The petition is to be sent on to DA global, hopefully to be passed on to DNC. If you’d like to add your John Hancock, reply on this email and we’ll get it to you.
The political message was reinforced by the flower-bordered Wall piñata, and small Dems bashed it to pieces. It wasn’t easy! But the rewards were many! Let the children inspire us!
We had great support this year from Omar Alshamy and the ENOA kitchen and grounds crews. Again, we had solid help from our accounting firm, CompuTax, in filing and pushing through one of two VAT exemptions offered to non-profit associations by the Greek Tax Service.
Still, success depends on hard-working volunteers. So a round of applause for:
Early planning: Nikki Fellouris, Marion Kavallieros, and ExCom. Sign-in and ticketing: Charity Moschopoulos, Nick Loisos, Anna Haughton, Stacey Papaioannou. Decorations: Marion Kavallieros. Food Service: Steve Medeiros, Fern Velentzes, Jimmy Katsinis, Zoe Loukopoulos. Beverage Service: Kristin, Iannis and Annalie Zissis. Microphone: Kate Wattles. Promotions: Christina Manning. Selfies Help: Karine Ancelin. Piñata and Lemonade: Sarajane Leone, Charity Moschopoulos, Jai Salvador, Elizabeth Fullerton, Popi Stratis, Kristin Zissis, Annalie Zissis, Karen Lee. Piñata bashing mgrs: Jai Salvador, Christina Lewis, Emma Hensley. Annalie Zissis (capped the final blow!) Declaration History: Vasilios Gikas; read by Steve Medeiros. Declaration Text: read by Emma Hensley. Pyrotechnics: Brady Kiesling and 2 brave young guests of John Lewis. Donations: Site rent, fireworks, beer and mountain tea, lemonade, ice, watermelons, cupcakes, zucchini bread, DJ/playlist and singer, piñata materials, plus €60 in cash donations.
Again this year, we put up a feedback form for AthChap attendees and want to thank the 17 who have taken time to share thoughts and suggestions for next year.
More photos on Democrats Abroad Greece and Democrats Abroad Greece-Thessaloniki Facebook pages.
Wednesday, July 4
BBQ in Peter’s garden in Pilea
Casual -- read, political -- chat around the grill. Peter gets the dogs. A Vergina friend sends the suds. Potluck salads, hot dogs and desserts while seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
RSVP by noon, Monday, July 3
NB: If you have friends who aren’t members but who would like to be, we’ll have forms they can fill out and/or information about how to join online. It’s a good idea to have them bring their US passport!
For general information:
Call Chapter Chair Anna Vassiliou at 694 421 5298 or Chapter Rep Peter Baiter at 694 743 8773
Join us for a wonderful Fourth of July!
Anna and Peter
For Democrats Abroad Greece Thessaloniki Chapter
INVITED: All American citizens in Greece, family and friends of any nationality
DATE: Wednesday, July 4, 2018
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, Monday, July 2!
Gate opens at 8 - Food service begins at 8 - Fireworks at 10:00 - Dancing till drop or 11-ish
Early swimming option and beach volley
Voter Registration and Ballot Request Assistance!!
Pinata and face painting for the young (at heart)
Table competition - Snarky State-by-State Challenge
Straw Poll - Top 2018 Issues
Young Dems meet-up for tweens to 20s
Medley of American music throughout
Meal ticket €15 – Choice of hotdog, hamburger, or vegetarian falafel plate
(Split a plate for two medium-hungry kids or feed toddlers from yours)
First beverage - your choice!
Greek-style potato salad, coleslaw and tossed green salad
Extras: 2nd-3rd-nth drink: beer, wine, €2; our famous lemonade, mountain tea, soft drinks, €1
NB: Donations may only be received from US citizens. Please bring your US passport!
For general information:
Email us at Info@democratsabroad.org/gr
Join us for a wonderful Fourth of July!
Democrats Abroad Greece, Athens Chapter
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
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
BBQ in Peter’s garden
Casual -- read, political -- chat around the grill. Peter gets the dogs. A Vergina friend sends the suds. And potluck salads and desserts seem unstoppable. Watch for the invitation with details, next week in the inbox!
Saturday, June 09, 2018 at 11:00 AM
Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece
For the fourth year in a row, Democrats Abroad Greece, will be supporting the LGBTQ community at Athens Pride 2018, which will take place on June 9, 2018, in Athens' Syntagma Square.
DAGR will sponsor an information and GOTV (Voter Registration for US citizens abroad) booth, from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. on that day. DAGR members will also march behind the DAGR banner in the Pride parade in the evening. DAGR members are encouraged to volunteer to staff the booth in 2-3-hour shifts throughout the day (11-2; 2-5; 5-8), and to join us in the parade. About 15 DAGR members joined us for last year's parade. We'd like to double that number this year.
Interested in volunteering?
Contact: Steve Medeiros -
DAGR Vice Chair
DA LGBTQ Caucus member
via email: email@example.com
SMS at 694 811 9121