September 22, 2023

GSC October 2023 Newsletter

EDITION 18 October 2023




Chair’s Corner 

I hope everyone had a pleasant summer wherever you live. It has been a frustrating time for us as Americans Abroad to see what has been happening politically Stateside. We see a former President's growing indictments, a move by radical Republicans toward impeaching our current President, his son being indicted on charges that some say are not usually charged, etc. So how do we respond? Well, we need to ensure that the Democrats win in 2024. So let's start early and do all that we can to get out the vote. 

Let's help register voters and let's be united as a party. Let's put aside petty differences and do as much as we can for our party to win. It is interesting to see that Democrats Abroad’s voter registration efforts are featured in an article written by journalist Jeana Whitaker (an American living in Portugal) in US Democracy Day. Whitaker says our input came be “game changing.” So let's make her statement a reality!

Also, Brendan Read, the Chair of our Senior Caucus WEP Committee asks that our caucus get behind a piece of legislation that was reintroduced on 14 September by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. 

It would restore federal protections of Social Security benefits to prevent the federal government from garnishing them for the repayment of all non-tax federal debt—such as student loans. 

Have a happy September!

— Betsy Ettorre, Chair of the Seniors Caucus


from the Editor

Celebrate Jimmy Carter's 99th Birthday on 1 October

You can wish him a special happy birthday  by sending him a message with a photo or video of you!

Plans are shaping up all over Democrats Abroad for a big win in 2024

Many Dems ask what do we need to DO to win next year? The answers are simple: Contact like-minded friends to be sure they feel the urgency and are committed to vote.

Phonebanking and postcard writing campaigns are, for us, proving to be very useful to let voters know how important their vote is to save Democracy. Please sign up today if you have not signed up in the past. Training is available from our cheerful DA volunteers. 

The Phonebanking campaigns to New Jersey & Virginia voters are now running

NJ & VA are holding elections on Nov 7 for all seats in their respective state legislatures.

We're calling about 2,100 DA members who vote in targeted state legislative districts.

The CallHub team sent an email to all active phonebanking volunteers, but if any volunteer wants to learn how to do phonebanking (or needs a refresher), please send them to:

If you have any question about phonebanking, please contact the DA CallHub Helpdesk.



HR.82 - the Social Security Fairness Act now has 290 co-sponsors!!! Keep up the good work!

DA International Chair Martha McDevitt-Pugh reminds us that this is the start of the fall legislative session, and we’re seeing the introduction of legislation that, if passed, would improve the lives of Americans abroad: the Tax Simplification for Americans Abroad Act and Earned Benefits and Family Reunification Act. Many of you have written letters and made calls and congressional visits to ask that US policy take into to the needs of Americans abroad. Stay tuned for news from our Taxation Tax Force and Medicare Portability Task Force. You can sign up for updates and action alerts. We’re grateful for the dedication of both task forces and their fearless leaders, Rebecca Lammers and Heather Stone, and to all who have taken action!



2023 is an Election Year

If you vote in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, or Virginia, please request a ballot to vote in these critical elections at Vote from Abroad. Your Vote Matters

State Teams

Have you signed up to help out our State Teams? We’re building from the ground up, and taking on issues of importance state by state. You can join a team or if you have questions, you can email the organizers

Facebook State Groups

For the past 10+ years, volunteers from Democrats Abroad have run groups for each U.S. state on Facebook. They post state-specific voting deadlines and "how to” information on all aspects of voting. If you’re curious about your voting state group, you can read about them here, and find you state group here



Robert Reich wants to talk about something that is so scary, we need to find another word for it.

You see, all advanced capitalist countries pool their resources for the common good.

But here in the United States, conservatives seem to find a certain word for this practice so ... terrifying ... that we can’t even think or talk about it clearly.

So let’s call it something else ... something not so scary …

As you and I know, public investment isn’t some evil socialist plot; it helps people. Our latest video uses a new approach to break through the fear mongering and make sure others also know the importance and power of pooling resources for the common good.

Sometimes we just have to face our fears. I think in the long run, we will all benefit -- even your conservative Uncle Bob!

Robert Reich
Inequality Media Civic Action

Sign the ECCC National Climate Emergency Petition

We urge President Biden to declare a National Climate Emergency NOW under the National Emergencies Act, which would unlock key statutory powers such as the Defense Production Act and the International Economic Emergency Protection Act.  

By this authority we can strengthen clean energy deployment, prohibit imports of harmful climate products, halt crude oil exports by reinstating a ban that Congress lifted in 2015, and bolster climate resilience, especially in vulnerable communities. 

Click to Sign the Petition because…

the World Bank Spent billions of dollars backing fossil fuels in 2022

despite repeated promises to refocus on shifting to a low-carbon economy, research has suggested.

The money went through a special form of funding known as trade finance, which is used to facilitate global transactions.

The March on Guns

We MUST ban ARs and all other military gear from our streets and neighborhoods!

If neither Republicans in Congress nor the courts will take action to help make our communities safer from gun violence, then we — the people — must do it ourselves.

Convening a constitutional convention requires 34 state legislatures to call for this. It starts with one, and California will be the first.

Will finding 33 more states calling to amend the Constitution be easy? No, of course not, I am clear-eyed about that.

From there, my promise to you is we are working, and will continue to work, with other states to grow that number.

- Gavin Newsom, Governor of California



This has been a very busy month for Brendan Read, Chair of our Seniors WEP Committee. In hopes of gaining the attention of Liz Warren and other representatives in Massachusetts, Brendan has written a letter of concern to Senators Warren and Markey, and Representatives Neal and Keating of Massachusetts.  

Meanwhile, the National WEP/GPO Task Force held a rally in Washington DC on Sept. 13th, involving many organizations who advocate for WEP repeal. Also in the works is a webinar series on WEP. We hope to share that with you in upcoming newsletters. 

I hope you’ll join us in giving Brendan a big round of applause for his outstanding work! You can read his report on WEP activities, and if your Representative is not a co-sponsor, CALL them - do it today!

Here’s a "Fun" List

Every Republican voted against Medicare drug price negotiations.


It is imperative that you contact legislators to cosponsor both H.R. 82 and S. 597.  

Visit our WEP page to engage in this Call to Action

Please sign this important MoveOn petition to repeal the WEP and GPO:
Elimination of the Unfair GPO and WEP Provisions of the Social Security Act  

JOIN Social Security Works!

Have you joined yet? You’ll receive updates on their work, take direct action, and sign petitions to protect Social Security. Watch our webinar here

Social Security Works messages 

Last month we shared Nancy Altman’s vision for keeping SS strong for good. Here is this month's message from Alex Lawson and Nancy Altman, both of Social Security Works:

"Republicans are waging a war on seniors. Already this year, they voted to cut Social Security and to raise drug prices. The only reason those plans didn’t become law is that Democrats stopped them.

Now Republicans are continuing their war on seniors by trying to shut down the government at the end of this month. If they succeed in shutting the government down, it will be harder for seniors and people with disabilities to get the benefits they've earned.

If a shutdown happens, Social Security Administration employees will be forced to work without pay. They will also be unable to perform certain duties, creating delays for people trying to claim their benefits or report a problem.

We MUST protect Social Security and Medicare from Republican terrorists. Donate $7 to fight back!

What do they want in return for keeping the government open? During their debt ceiling hostage taking last Spring, demands included a closed-door commission designed to fast-track cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits. They know these cuts are incredibly unpopular so they want to make them in secret.

Democrats must refuse to negotiate with legislative terrorists. Republicans get NOTHING.

If Republicans choose to shut down the government, we'll make sure the seniors in their district know that their earned Social Security benefits are being held hostage. Hands off!”

-- Alex Lawson, Social Security Works

"As a grandparent, I am sick and tired of Republican politicians trying to make my grandkids work until they die.

Our Social Security system was built over nearly a century, brick by brick, always getting stronger. These greedy politicians want to weaken it and tear it down so that their wealthy Wall Street donors don’t have to pay another dime.

These cynical politicians think seniors won’t care if they screw over the coming generations as long as they promise not to touch our benefits. It’s time to show them how wrong they are.

We’re proud to partner with the young organizers at Blue Future and others to send a clear message: Do NOT touch the retirement age!

When we say “Hands Off Our Social Security,” we don’t mean just for current beneficiaries. We mean every American who pays in to the system over a lifetime of hard work deserves their benefits, and those benefits cannot be cut. Social Security is a sacred promise, and no damn politician can break it.

Sign now: Hands off our Social Security!"

In solidarity,
Nancy Altman
President, Social Security Works
Friend, Progress America



Extended Tax Filing Deadline for Americans Overseas

is 15 October — IF — you filed the 4868 form: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return 

If you’ve just moved overseas and want to learn about tax filing, Americans Overseas created a FAQ section at the bottom of this page that will walk you through the basic information.

Submit Your Formal Comment on FBARs

If you haven’t yet submitted comments about FBAR, FinCEN invites comments which 

must be received on or before October 10, 2023.

Click here for more information and to submit your formal comment.

Do American Expats Need Their Own Taxpayer Advocate?

by Robert Goulder

“A few years ago, a neighbor of mine was having a serious problem with the Social Security Administration. The agency inexplicably denied her the retirement benefits she was entitled to — all because of a name change. Something so basic as reverting to her maiden name (after being widowed for a decade) was enough to hurl her beneficiary status into an abyss of bureaucratic malfunction.

She took the appropriate steps to notify the agency of its blunder. That got her nowhere. Her phone calls weren’t returned; her letters went unanswered. Multiple trips to the local SSA office accomplished nothing.”

Sound familiar? Keeping reading

Tax Simplification for Americans Abroad Act

On 13 September, U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA) and Dina Titus (D-NV) announced the introduction of the Tax Simplification for Americans Abroad Act, legislation to help American taxpayers living overseas comply with their U.S. tax obligations by calling on the IRS to create a short form certification for Americans living abroad who owe no U.S. tax and earn below $400,000 annually. 



Elaine LaLanne’s morning exercises often begin before she’s even out of bed. Lying on top of the covers, she does two-dozen jackknifes. At the bathroom sink, she does incline push-ups. After she dresses and applies her makeup, she heads to her home gym, where she walks uphill on a treadmill for a few minutes and does lat pull-downs on a machine.

“Twenty minutes a day gets me on my way,” she said at her home on the Central Coast of California. Read the article

Still Minor Offenses - Femicides against Seniors Women in Germany

In the Federal Republic of Germany, the number of violent crimes against girls and women, which are all too often fatal, has been rising continuously for years

- this development remains largely hidden from the public, because the official police crime statistics (PKS), published annually in November, refer exclusively to "partnership violence". In concrete terms, this means that all femicides carried out by fathers, sons, grandsons, brothers, neighbors, stalkers and/or caregivers remain entirely unmentioned. Read the article

I asked a friend …

who has crossed 70 and is heading toward 80 what sort of changes she is feeling in herself? She sent me the following:

  1. After loving my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children and my friends, I have now started loving myself.
  2. I have realized that I am not “Atlas.” The world does not rest on my shoulders.
  3. I have stopped bargaining with vegetable & fruit vendors. A few pennies more is not going to break me, but it might help the poor fellow save for his daughter’s school fees.
  4. I leave my waitress a big tip. The extra money might bring a smile to her face. She is toiling much harder for a living than I am.
  5. I stopped telling the elderly that they've already narrated that story many times. The story makes them walk down memory lane & relive their past.
  6. I have learned not to correct people even when I know they are wrong. The onus of making everyone perfect is not on me. Peace is more precious than perfection.
  7. I give compliments freely and generously. Compliments are a mood enhancer not only for the recipient but also for me. And a small tip for the recipient of a compliment, never, NEVER turn it down, just say "Thank You.”
  8. I have learned not to bother about a crease or a spot on my shirt. Personality speaks louder than appearances.
  9. I walk away from people who don't value me. They might not know my worth, but I do.
  10. I remain cool when someone plays dirty to outrun me in the rat race. I am not a rat and neither am I in any race.
  11. I am learning not to be embarrassed by my emotions. It’s my emotions that make me human.
  12. I have learned that it's better to drop the ego than to break a relationship. My ego will keep me aloof, whereas, with relationships, I will never be alone.
  13. I have learned to live each day as if it's the last. After all, it might be the last.
  14. I am doing what makes me happy. I am responsible for my happiness, and I owe it to myself. Happiness is a choice. You can be happy at any time, just choose to be!”

I decided to share this with all my friends. Why do we have to wait to be 60 or 70 or 80, why can't we practice this at any stage and age?

Posted to Facebook by Starlette Tolver, no source mentioned



Quick Links

Wednesday, September 20 -
Medicare Portability Webinar

Everyone is encouraged to listen in as DA Medicare Portability Task Force Chair, Heather Stone and DA Senior Caucus Medicare Part B Committee Chair, Toni Kamins take us through an overview of Medicare and Medicare Portability. A small donation to DA is required.

Friday - 29 September - Coffee Chat

Don’t miss our Seniors and Disability Caucus monthly chats from 9 to 10:30 am Eastern Time (US & Canada). Everyone is very welcome! RSVP to get the Zoom link, and add it to your calendar. Next month: Friday, 27 October.



Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. You can find a list of positions DA is looking to fill on DA’s Volunteer page

  • The Global Seniors Caucus is always looking for volunteers. Email us for details on our volunteer opportunities.
  • The Global Black Caucus is searching to fill more positions. Get in touch here.
  • The Global Communications Team is also looking for volunteers as they ramp up for the 2024 election! Do you have a communications background? Are you interested in helping? If so, please fill out the Global Communications Team Interest Form.

State Teams

DA State Teams held a State Fair Volunteer Arena event on September 3rd. If you missed it or want to see it again, you can watch and also share the link to the Event Recording with others. 


Final Thoughts

George Harrison on aging - “Nothing changes.”

(click on the photo to see his quote)


If you like our work, please consider making a donation to Democrats Abroad. 

It all goes to helping us Get Out The Vote! 

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