April Newsletter

  Click here to download the pdf!

Welcome to all of our new members! We hope you enjoy being here.

We had an overwhelming response to our email last month about WEP, and now have a very healthy sized WEP committee. Look for the announcement below on how to attend the upcoming meeting on 6 April.

          

VOTING in the 2022 mid-term election is VITAL TO OUR DEMOCRACY

GSC1.pngContinuing from last months’ newsletter, we remind you that on November 8, 2022, 34 U.S. Senators, 435 U.S. Representatives, 46 State legislatures, and 36 governors will be elected. State primaries begin in May. Voting has never been more important.

To see which Senate seats are up for grabs this year, click on this 2022 election map -- hover over states for information on incumbents, open seats, recent Senate and presidential election margins of victory, and race ratings.

To our new members, we URGE you to check your Voter Registration, and then Request your Ballot. Even if you’ve received ballots before, this year may be different. Depending which state you vote in, you may not automatically receive your ballot each election cycle as you had in the past, so to be sure you’re ready to vote and to avoid confusion or even disappointment when it comes time to vote. Check your voter registration status, and request your ballot at VotefromAbroad.


If
you’ve never used the VFA website before, just click here, then click on the RED START button, and you will be led through the registration and ballot request process. When complete, you will have requested your ballot(s) for all elections in 2022.

Here you’ll find voting deadline and ballot return information for your state's upcoming elections. Choose your state from the drop-down menu.


TAX NEWS

With tax season looming, more DA leaders are organizing Tax Webinar for us overseas voters. You won’t want to miss this one, hosted by DAUK, this webinar is available to view online through 8 April 2022. They ask for a small donation to view it.

Tax Filing — Have question or problems with filing? Is this your first year abroad?

Not to worry - below we’ve shared a few links to help you get organized. 

If you have questions, need help on anything tax advocacy related, or if you are interested in joining the TTF please don't hesitate to reach out to Rebecca Lammers.

  • The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide assists with online queries.  providing virtual tax assistance to anyone, free of charge, with a focus on taxpayers who are over 50. That’s us! 
  • The IRShas a helpline and these pages are designed specifically for international taxpayers. 
  • Form 1040SR can be used for those 65 an over (born before 1 January 1957). 
  • Form 2555 is used to reporting Foreign Earned Income. 
  • Best of all - you can file online, for FREE with e-file: https://www.e-file.com/ HOWEVER, you will need a US mobile phone number. You can get a US mobile phone number on SKYPE.

HEALTH & MEDICARE

How are you Feeling Today?  Last month our Vice Chair Jim Dobson shared his thoughts on Exercise and Aging - Part 1. Even as the pandemic restrictions ease in some places, we should keep asking ourselves - am I moving enough? Am I making excuses to stay in, not walk, not stay mobile? Here is Part Two on Exercise and Aging.

Exercise and Aging- Part Two - by Jim Dobson

Last month I suggested that regular exercise is a key aspect of managing one’s aging — that it reduces the health risks that accompany aging and that it allows for a more engaged and rewarding life. I also promised to provide you with a recipe for developing a productive and sustainable pattern of exercise.

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” When Theodore Roosevelt said those words. Read more here.

This story about Medicare B comes from Seniors Caucus member Connie Foss…

I worked for physicians in the University of Louisville, KY school of medicine (clinical and academic fellows). While there, I learned a lot from these MDs about the Humana health insurance industry. They called the health insurance industry "the devil," because it interfered with true medical care between doctors and their patients. Through this experience, I became more aware of the way Big Pharma and insurance giants like Humana, Anthem, Cigna, etc, profit from this relationship. Read more here

Medicare Part B Committee (in formation)

We are currently gathering members to explore Medicare Part B. If you are interested in joining our Medicare Part B Committee please email us and we’ll get back to you.


Activist's Corner

“We are living at the last possible moment in human history when we can do something about climate change, or fail to do so, thereby denying hundreds of millions of people a liveable future. This is not hyperbole. This is our call to action.

On this World Social Justice Day let's continue working at the intersection of democracy and the environment for racial, social, and gender justice.”  — Jane Fonda


Chair’s Corner

In March, we celebrate International Women’s Day when we praise the contributions of all women, old and young, Black, and white, straight, and gay and living and dead.  The theme for this year's International Women's Day is: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” About this day, the United Nations has said:

“With the latest data, we now understand the vital link between gender, social equity and climate change, and recognize that without gender equality today, a sustainable future, an equal future, remains out of reach. 

Women and girls experience the greatest impacts of the climate crisis as it amplifies existing gender inequalities and puts women’s lives and livelihoods at risk. Across the world, women depend more on, yet have less access to, natural resources, and often bear a disproportionate responsibility for securing food, water, and fuel.

As women and girls bear the burden of climate impacts, they are also essential to leading and driving change in climate adaption, mitigation and solutions.  Without the inclusion of half of the world's population, it is unlikely that solutions for a sustainable planet and a gender equal world tomorrow will be realized.” (1)

This text has been hard to write as I am so saddened about how peace in the world, particularly in Europe, is being disrupted. Many, if not all of us, remember the trauma of World War II and many, if not all of us, had fathers and relatives who participated in that war. War always brings suffering and trauma. As seniors, we have an acute sense of the need for peace as we are in the evening of our lives. Let us all please be hopeful.

“In life, there are many challenges. It’s a season of life. There is a time for mourning or celebrating, a time to fight or rejoice, a time to question or trust, but there is one thing we always hold onto, Hope.” (2)

Warm wishes,

Betsy Ettorre
Chair, Global Senior Caucus

(1) In Focus: International Women's Day | UN Women – Headquarters
(2) 30+ Inspirational Messages of Hope and Encouragement 2022 (wedskenya.com) 


FRAUD CORNER 

Facebook Messenger: Most of us have gotten strange private messages (PMs or DMs - Direct messages)  from fake accounts pretending to be one of our friends. What to do??? Tell your friend by email, if possible to CHANGE THEIR PASSWORD immediately. If you don’t have their email, go to their real Facebook page and send them a message from there.

Passwords – how to keep them safe.
Next month we’ll report on apps that keep your passwords safe.


News and Stories from Home and Abroad

We've collected some funny, some serious and some informative articles for you in this corner. Click here to be taken to our curated monthly collection.


This month in US history

March 2, 1836 - Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

March 3, 1931 - Congressional resolution makes the "Star Spangled Banner" the official U.S. anthem.

March 3, 1791 - Congress establishes the U.S. Mint.

March 4, 1789 - The Constitution of the United States of America goes into effect.

That just gets the month started.  Many more historical events are listed here. 


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?

Please click here to find out more and to contact us.


UPCOMING EVENTS

March started with a bang with our 3 March State of the Union 2022 event. There are so many to choose from, from book clubs and cocktail hour trivia nights to heavyweight speakers answering our questions about Washington DC, women’s issues, the DNC, and what’s coming up in the primaries in 2022.

  • Friday, March 25 @ 3 PM CET: DA Global Disability Caucus: Building Allyship Online — RSVP here
  • Monday, March 28 @ 12:00 PM EST: Progressive Prescription: Healthcare for Americans at Home+Abroad RSVP here
  • Wednesday, March 30 @ 8-10 PM CET: The Struggle for Justice in the Halls of Congress: event on Justice Reform. Online — RSVP here
  • 6 April: First Seniors Caucus WEP Committee meeting

Thank you to all who responded to our request for this committee. The Committee will break into 3 sub-groups related to the 3 questions below:

  1. How do other countries deal with this issue (i.e., Do they have any process like WEP for their retirees?) We aim to have a policy paper on these which reports on all the countries you live in.
  2. What is the current state of actions to eliminate WEP in Congress (e.g., See the incomplete list below and we want to complete this list) and
  3. How can we move our legislators to help to eliminate WEP? We aim to contact many of them.

You can join this meeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. The link is:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89987272008?pwd=SkRFRGtNRkJFMlIrazlhQ3VXMS9Wdz09
Password: 038904


Tech Tips

Having a hard time reading your computer screen? We’ve been there ourselves. You can enlarge the size of the display of you’re seeing by holding down these keys:

MAC: Command, Shift and the + sign

PC: Use Magnifier. 

NEW: Travel Translation - 9 Best Translation apps


PEACE TRAIN by Cat Stevens

gsc4.pngFifty years ago 'Peace Train' became one of the most iconic hits from the '70s - and now in honour of the International Day of Peace, Yusuf/Cat Stevens has corralled a global cast of musicians for a beautiful rendition of the song.

Joining Yusuf — who appears at a white piano in a tranquil open air setting in Istanbul Istanbul, Turkey — are over 25 musicians from 12 countries, their contributions seamlessly combined to create a song that transcends genre or style. 

Featured musicians include Pat Simmons (The Doobie Brothers), James "Hutch" Hutchinson (bass player with Bonnie Raitt), five time Grammy Award winning blues/Americana artist Keb’ Mo’ and Grammy nominated Senegalese artist Baaba Maal.


 Members of the Steering Committee

Chair Betsy Ettorre (Finland)
Vice Chair Jim Dobson (Finland)
Secretary Lois Floyd (Panama)
IT Will Prescott (Mexico)
GOTV (Get Out The Vote) Jim Mercereau (Spain)
Legislation and WEP Antonio Nichols (Austria)
Medicare Portability Marnie Delaney (France)
Communications, Social Media, Newsletter Lauren Hakulinen (France)
Eric Jackson (Panama)
Member/Volunteers Recruitment Tilly Gaillard (France)
Dan Smith (Israel)
Member-at-Large
Karen Lee (Greece)
Melanie Gardner (Canada)
Robert Scott (Germany)
Member (ex-officio)
Candice Kerestan Chair, Democrats Abroad 
Katie Solon, DNC, DA Member (Germany)