GSC 2022 July Newsletter

EDITION 5 JULY 2022

 

CONTENTS

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4th of JULY

As we prepare our BBQs and salads for our 4th of July picnics, our thoughts are with New Yorkers as they head to the subway not knowing if other passengers intend to harm them now that state open carry laws intended to protect our citizens were wiped away.

Our hearts are with the millions of women who will be adversely affected by the “Supreme” Court’s latest partisan fiasco, the demolition of Roe v. Wade. We will take to heart the statement by Democrat’s Abroad to “show up to the polls this November”!

Our thoughts also turn to Founding Father and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson.

As much as he did to create a better union, controversy follows his legacy. Eric Jackson shares his thoughts about the man and statesman.

Connect with us
          

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GUNS, GUNS, GUNS, GUNS, GUNS

This Time It Is Different from David Hogg, Founder and Board Member of March For Our Lives; and Quick Actions we can all do.

The 2nd Amendment continues to be convoluted by the NRA and their Republicans enablers seeking more and more power.


Sometimes we need state laws;

other times we need FEDERAL laws.


Here’s why. Texas has entered uncharted territory on several issues vital to citizen safety, and now Indiana is poised to make it easier to carry a firearm in public. That worries law enforcement there and in Chicago. "Growing incidents of gun violence in Indiana, especially in Indianapolis, which experienced record-setting homicides for the second consecutive year in 2021, is why some feel the need to protect themselves with their own weapons.”

Meanwhile, having more assault rifles (ARs) on our streets puts children, teachers, citizens, and law enforcement officers at risk. Will 50 Senators stand up?? Read more

We are heartened to finally see 14 Republicans join Democrats in the House to approve the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, by 234 to 193 votes, but we wonder how New Yorkers feel riding the subway in light of the open carry law struck down by this Supreme Court this week. Is it enough? The answer is simply NO. No, we do not need assault rifles or other military grade hardware on OUR streets!

Can Dems win in November?

Pod Save America cohost Pfeiffer (Un-Trumping America) takes a punchy look at “how disinformation and propaganda became the dominant Republican political strategy, how it works, what it means, and how Democrats can fight back.” 

This podcast is the roadmap to keep the House and Senate. Read more

Local Governments Can Lead in Public Safety Movement

We are literally Marching for our Lives. Will it be enough?

“Negotiations on a federal police reform bill have collapsed because Congressional Republicans are willing to stand in the way of lifesaving changes to policing. It is time for state and local governments to take the lead in reimagining public safety. And it is time for all of us to support local leaders who are willing to show leadership and take risks to make it happen.

Change is not going to come from Congress, at least for now. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act earlier this year. It would have been a good first step. Like other good legislation, though, the bill was stopped by Republican obstruction in the Senate. Read more

Meanwhile, Dr Oz wants to secure Pennsylvania’s borders against…. New Jersey!

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OIL, OIL, OIL, OIL…

Where does it come from, where does it flow? Which countries have it, which countries need it?

I’d often wondered but never looked into it until last month, when visiting an art installation in Helsinki Finland, I saw a film made in 2005 by a Swiss documentarian about the BTS oil pipeline which runs from Baku, Azerbaijan through Turkey’s Bosphorus Sea, and is then shipped to Europe - avoiding Russia.

That got me thinking - what was the war in Chechnya about? Or the one in Georgia? And now, in Ukraine? Puzzled about the connection, but seeing in my mind that they all surrounded the Black Sea inspired me to ask — what is at stake for Russia?

The answer is easy enough — just follow the money. It is real estate, to acquire total access and control of countries surrounding the Black Sea. And that means oil. Read more

Running some google searches and looking at maps of oil pipelines, the picture soon came into focus. First, the largest pipeline in the world - the Brotherhood pipeline runs straight through Ukraine. Cancelling access to this line would badly hurt the Russian economy, as 1/3 of its revenue comes from oil. In 2021, gas delivered to Europe fell by 25%. Who is the largest consumer of Russian oil in Europe? Germany.

After Chernobyl the German voters demanded that Germany end its dependence on nuclear power. This led to an increased dependence on oil and gas from Russia. After rocking back and forth for decades, the German voters said no more oil - we want renewable energy. Germany is expanding solar power at a great rate, but is also buying oil from Russia, in roubles.

This map and article from Le Monde diplomatique gives more detail of this new oil war.

In 2021 the Biden administration lifted sanctions set in place by the previous administration for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The Nord Stream 2 would run from Vyborg, Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The German government is now in talks about new Russian sanctions in Brussels, and is weighing its options.

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VOTING NEWS

Democrats Abroad Global reminds us that “By gaining only two more Democratic Senators, the Biden administration will be poised to pass legislation to secure our voting rights, our reproductive rights, and our safety.” 

But we also have a fight on our hands to keep control of the House. While we are encouraged by Beto’s landslide win in Texas; one of the most shocking wins was in Pennsylvania where celebrity heart surgeon and TV entertainer Dr Oz won his primary and will face off against Democrat John Fetterman this November. Or was it "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance? Or was it Marjorie Taylor Green who won her primary?

We cannot stress this enough — talk to your friends and family. Paint a picture of what is at stake: Democracy. 2022 primary results, so far.

Upcoming Democratic Primary Elections

Results are rolling in on many Democratic primary elections, and more are quickly approaching. This is your chance to decide which Democrat will go up against the Republican in the November general election.

June 28: Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah
26 July: Alabama (runoff)
2 August: Arizona, Kansa, Michigan, Missouri, Washington
4 August: Tennessee
9 August: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, Wisconsin
13 August: Hawaii
16 August: Alaska, South Dakota (runoff), Wyoming
23 August: Florida, New York, Oklahoma (runoff)

Request your ballot early AND return it early!

Advice from FVAP:

  1. Submitting your FPCA early is the best way to help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
  2. Using the FPCA provides voters with an option to receive blank balloting materials electronically – and states send the ballots out 45 days before the election.
  3. Using the FPCA allows voters to use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) as a backup ballot, if needed.
  4. Voters can follow-up with their election offices to be sure their request was processed.

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TAXES

Questions? This page is a quick guide that will help you find many answers. Also, the IRS has a dedicated page for International Taxpayers.

Tax Return Assistance

If you need assistance preparing your return, the DA Taxation Task Force team referred me to this list of tax preparers on the IRS site. Some things to keep in mind for your search:

  • Check the boxes for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and/or Enrolled Agent Credential (EA) for your search.
  • Please note we strongly recommend that you speak to at least 3 companies before deciding on which one to go with and make sure that they are a CPA or an EA if you seek the services of an accountant (more on that here).
  • Do not be afraid to ask for references and to speak to at least 2 satisfied clients of theirs before deciding to engage their services.
  • Do not be afraid to research until you find one in your budget. Prices range wildly in this space, and chances are there is someone that is able to assist you within your budget, it just takes patience and research to find the right match for your circumstances.

If you would like to be notified the next time we host another tax webinar, you can join the Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force mailing list by going here: https://www.democratsabroad.org/taxation

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HEALTH

Learn Tai Chi

Senior Caucus member Dan Smith brought this to our attention this month - learning Tai Chi at home. Not only do you build core strength, it helps with balance and calm — much needed these days! Learn more

Low Impact Yoga

I love these low impact workout videos on YouTube.

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MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY & AGING

Sign this Petition (please)

In 2022, Medicare increased its premiums by the largest amount ever―largely in anticipation of an expensive Alzheimer’s drug called Aduhelm. But because of scrutiny from advocates like Social Security Works, the manufacturer cut the price of the drug by nearly $30,000, and then Medicare severely restricted its use because it was ineffective. Now, Medicare is charging seniors inflated premiums every single month.

When every other price is rising, this is one that should be going down. But the Biden administration just announced that they won’t reduce the premiums for the rest of the year, as they had previously suggested that they might. They need to reverse this decision, now.

Here’s what’s clear: Seniors should never have had their premiums increased to pay for an ineffective, dangerous, and massively overpriced drug. Not only is lowering Medicare premiums the right thing to do, but it's also a political necessity. Older voters are a key force in midterm elections. Keeping Medicare premiums needlessly high until after the election is a gift to Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans. Every congressional Democrat who wants to keep their seat in November should join us in calling on the Biden administration to reverse this decision and lower Medicare premiums now! Click here to….

Tell the Biden Administration: Make this right―stop overcharging seniors for their Medicare premiums and issue rebate checks to make up for the period when they were paying inflated premiums!

Thanks,

Michael Phelan, Social Security Works

NO! to Medicare Advantage

Following on the heels of our article in last months newsletter “Joe Biden is Quietly Pursuing the Creeping Privatization of Medicare”, here are some of the horrors of Medicare Advantage. Read more

Time to save Social Security, Medicare is NOW

WHAT is the problem with saving Social Security? Dems propose to do so by raising the maximum salary cap. It’s currently at $147,000.

“According to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, half of all working-age families have $5,000 or less in retirement savings. That picture will only worsen during this time of high inflation.”

HOW is it being blocked? “The gag rule, commonly called the filibuster, makes it worse. Originally, it required opponents of a bill to hold the floor and keep talking. Now, it prevents debate from even beginning without the support of 60 senators.” Read more — if you dare…

See our Chair Betsy Ettore ask questions about WEP on this web event with Wisconsinites Abroad.

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NEWS AND STORIES FROM HOME AND ABROAD

Why Making Friends in Midlife Is So Hard

I thought I was done dating. But after moving across the country, I had to start again —this time, in search of platonic love. Read more

Your Work Peak is Earlier Than You Think

“It’s not true that no one needs you anymore.”

These words came from an elderly woman sitting behind me on a late-night flight from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The plane was dark and quiet. A man I assumed to be her husband murmured almost inaudibly in response, something to the effect of “I wish I was dead.” Again, the woman: “Oh, stop saying that.”

Read more

What Baby Boomers can learn from Millennials at work — and vice versa

For the first time ever, we have five generations in the workplace at the same time, says entrepreneur Chip Conley. What would happen if we got intentional about how we all work together? In this accessible talk, Conley shows how age diversity makes companies stronger and calls for different generations to mentor each other at work, with wisdom flowing from old to young and young to old alike. Listen to this TedTalk.

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EVENTS

Look for 4th of July picnics and parties this month.

There is something for everyone at Democrats Abroad.

25 June: Juneteenth with hosts Global Black Caucus & Veterans Military Caucus

28 June: Heavyweight speakers will be answering our questions about Washington DC online. RVSP for Demystifying the DNC.

4 July: Join your local chapter and receive invites for parties.

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CHAIRS’ CORNER

I write to you from the middle of nowhere in the forest in Finland. I am mourning the loss of Roe v. Wade as I just heard that this momentous decision was overturned an hour ago. It was our generation who benefitted from Roe v. Wade and I know of countless women, feminists or not, who were able to have abortions safely and openly. What a truly sad day. I also have been listening to the January 6th Committee hearings and am riveted to what I am hearing. I am also impressed by the chair, Hon. Bennie Thompson and the vice chair, Hon. Liz Cheney -  what upstanding patriots and Americans they indeed are. Let us all hope that the work the committee is doing will have a lasting effect on the hearts and minds of all Americans. We need to protect our votes and we need to have honest people to hold the office of President of the United States.

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FRAUD CORNER

15 Ways we give social media companies personal data

Crypto Cash - RobertReich highlights how this fraud scheme targets seniors

Thanks to Eric Jackson for these contributions.

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STATE TEAMS — JOIN NOW

State Teams were launched in September 2021. This initiative is designed to enhance DA’s voter assistance, voter mobilization and advocacy by

  • Building partnerships with State and County Democratic Parties as well as grassroots advocacy groups
  • Providing connection and a sense of purpose in staying engaged with domestic politics (“skin in the game”)
  • Engaging and educating new members
  • Enhancing internal communication with newsletters and voter/election alerts

➔ Join the State Team Slack group to get the meeting links, or email us

➔ Join your Voting State group on Facebook

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IN SEARCH OF VOLUNTEERS…

We are still looking for volunteers for the Global Senior Caucus Steering Committee.

What does a member of the Steering Committee involve?

  • Good communication skills in meetings and enjoying the company of others.
  • Steering Committee Meetings are via WebEx once a month (the 1st Wednesday of the month) for 60-90 minutes at 8 am Eastern Time.
  • Taking on a specific role on the Steering Committee and helping the Caucus to organize around your role.
  • Please click here to find out more and to contact us.

The Global Communications Team is also looking for volunteers as they ramp up for the midterms! Do you have a communications background and are interested in helping? If so, please fill out the Global Communications Team Interest Form. Thanks!

The Global Black Caucus is searching to fill more positions. Get in touch here.

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THIS MONTH IN U.S. HISTORY

2 July 1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into law.

4 July 1803: President Thomas Jefferson announces the Louisiana Purchase. The price tag: $15million, about 4 cents per acre.

8 July 1796: The first U.S. passport is issued.

20 July 1958: President Dwight d. Eisenhower signs a bill creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (NASA)

26 July 1775: Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General.

Many more historical events are listed here for July.

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Final Thoughts


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