GSC Communications, Administrator, Facebook State Abroad groups

  • published Robin's Journey - Part 1 in At Home and Abroad 2022-05-24 10:01:15 -0400

    Robin's Journey - Part 1

    “I Only Want to Change the World” -- One Woman’s END WAR March

    Our member Tilly, from France, kept in contact with a friend named Robin (who she met from Democrats Abroad Global Veterans & Military Families Caucus ZOOM meetings) as she made a 56 day, nearly 1,000-kilometer march from Ukraine to Berlin. Robin, who goes by her pen-name Ama, made a daily YouTube video starting on March 27 (viewable at March 4 Humanity), but Tilly called her personal phone about 5 times a week and provided her friends with updates and some inside scoops. This is a condensed version of some of this REAL story.  ** Robin's comments are in italic. 

    Tilly begins ... 

    Robin’s plan is to go to the Ukraine border after landing in Warsaw. This first leg from Warsaw to the border can be done by bus or train. We looked together at possibilities. Chelm, Lublin or Przemysl (pronounced sheh.muh.shl) … then Lord knows how to cross the border. We didn’t get that far. Robin plans to leave Warsaw on Monday, 28 March. 

    First she wants to buy a stroller, yes, a stroller, to carry her things and, more importantly, as a way to represent the children killed in wars. She is also looking for flags of all countries that are undergoing war or conflict, to hang from the stroller.

    What an adventure …. dear Robin. We’re all with you.
    Tilly

    AND BEFORE SHE SET OFF ….

    Robin sent this message to Tilly in France

    What an idea! 

    So far so good!! No problems with ticket or luggage or passport!!!!

    On the bus to the plane. I'll be in your time zone soon. 

    I think I land at 2:30. There's WiFi at the hostel so I'll check in!! 

    Of course I’m leaving on the most beautiful day in Greece!!

    Ciao,
    Robin

    Read more

  • published Chair's Corner in Opinions 2022-05-23 12:02:40 -0400

    Chair's Corner

    In May and June, we celebrate two holidays – Mother’s Day in May and Father Day in June. Sadly, the war in Ukraine is continuing and we cannot celebrate world peace. This is an appropriate segue into the origins of Mother’s Day from Heather Cox Richardson, the well-known American historian. She tells us “As the reality of women’s lives is being erased” (i.e., by the potential elimination of Roe vs Wade) “in favour of an image of women as mothers”, she wanted to point out why Mother’s Day began in 1908. 

    At that time, Anna Jarvis decided to honor her mother. Richardson tells us “Mothers’ Day” actually “started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage. Mothers’ Day was not designed to encourage people to be nice to their mothers. It was part of women’s effort to gain power to change modern society.” She noted, “Men were trampled into blood-soaked mud, piled like cordwood in ditches, or transformed into emaciated corpses after dysentery drained their lives away…. The women who had watched their men march off to war were haunted by its results. They lost fathers, husbands, sons. The men who did come home were scarred in body and mind.”

    When First Lady Jill Biden celebrated Mother’s Day with an unannounced visit to western Ukraine, she was continuing this noble pursuit of gaining power though peace. She visited Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska at a school currently being used to house internally displaced Ukrainians. On her Facebook page, Biden posted: “On this Mother’s Day, my heart is with you, First Lady Olena Zelenska, and all of the brave and resilient mothers of Ukraine.” 

    Father's Day was inaugurated in the early 20th century to complement Mother's Day. Again, war was a feature of this day. Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. After hearing a sermon about Jarvis's Mother's Day she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. 

    So, when we think of these days, let’s remember also that in today’s world we have all sorts of mothers and fathers. These mothers and fathers are not only in heterosexual relationships but also represent lesbian, gay and transgender families. They may also be part of immigrant, minority and oppressed groups. Let’s celebrate this diversity as we also remember our own parents.


  • published Hoopla!! in Tech Corner 2022-05-23 09:45:51 -0400

    Hoopla!!

    Have a library card? You can read, listen and stream movies online at Hoopla.

     


  • At IOP Disinformation Conference, Obama Warns of “Anger, Resentment, Conflict, Division”

    Some countries put up with being used as platforms for international online swindles, so long as they are not aimed at their own citizens. The journalist who covers such stuff in those countries, when looking up the fraud artists online, finds a plethora of bogus promotional stuff, made to look like it's from other sources. Search engines are gamed so that disinformation about the scam is the first several pages of anything that comes up. This criminal modus operandi was common enough before being introduced into politics. Now it has a life in the political discourse of the United States and a number of other countries.
    Former President Barack Obama joined Nobel and Pulitzer laureates and other top journalists at a University of Chicago conference last month on Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy. The discussion needs to continue far and wide, and get deeper. Those of us who were taught how the Nazis adapted the late 19th century Wall Street "big lie" ad campaigns — typically about patent medicines at the time — and applied them to German racist politics in 1930s media should update our knowledge about how this sort of thing is done today. With the former president, Filipina Nobel laureate journalist Maria Ressa and Pulitzer prize winner Anne Applebaum we get the lay of the cyber-landscape on which we must fight this year's campaign.

    Thanks to Eric Jackson for these contributions.


  • Charities and non-profit organizations

    As we look forward to outcomes from the myriad of lawsuits against the former President, in this article we look back over the past 4 years to remind us of some of the lawsuits concerning Donald Trump, now settled, against charities and non-profit organizations.


  • Former FBI & CIA Director William Webster warns about Elder Fraud

    WHAT? She promised him a good time with a Nigerian princess, and nobody would ever know? Or something? USUALLY scam artists are craftier than that. The smarter ones do some homework and have an idea of the emotional or identity buttons they might push. See more … 


  • Heather Cox Richardson, from Letters from an American, May 7, 2022

    I told this story here two years ago, but I want to repeat it tonight, as the reality of women’s lives is being erased in favor of an image of women as mothers…. 

    If you google the history of Mother’s Day, the internet will tell you that Mother’s Day began in 1908 when Anna Jarvis decided to honor her mother. But “Mothers’ Day”—with the apostrophe not in the singular spot, but in the plural—actually started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage. Mother's Day was not designed to encourage people to be nice to their mothers. It was part of women’s effort to gain power to change modern society.

    The Civil War years taught naïve Americans what mass death meant in the modern era. Soldiers who had marched off to war with fantasies of heroism discovered that long-range weapons turned death into tortured anonymity. Men were trampled into blood-soaked mud, piled like cordwood in ditches, or transformed into emaciated corpses after dysentery drained their lives away.

    The women who had watched their men march off to war were haunted by its results. They lost fathers, husbands, sons. The men who did come home were scarred in body and mind.

    Modern war, it seemed, was not a game.

    But out of the war also came a new sense of empowerment. Women had bought bonds, paid taxes, raised money for the war effort, managed farms, harvested fields, worked in war industries, reared children, and nursed soldiers. When the war ended, they had every intention of continuing to participate in national affairs. But the Fourteenth Amendment, which established that African American men were citizens, did not mention women. In 1869, women organized the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association to promote women’s right to have a say in American government.

    From her home in Boston, Julia Ward Howe was a key figure in the American Woman Suffrage Association. She was an enormously talented writer, who had penned The Battle Hymn of the Republic in the early years of the Civil War, a hymn whose lyrics made it a point to note that Christ was “born of woman.” 

    Howe was drawn to women’s rights because the laws of her time meant that her children belonged to her abusive husband. If she broke free of him, she would lose any right to see her children, a fact he threw at her whenever she threatened to leave him. She was not at first a radical in the mold of reformer Elizabeth Cady Stanton, believing that women had a human right to equality with men. Rather, she believed strongly that women, as mothers, had a special role to perform in the world.

    For Howe, the Civil War had been traumatic, but that it led to emancipation might justify its terrible bloodshed. The outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 was another story. She remembered:

    "I was visited by a sudden feeling of the cruel and unnecessary character of the contest. It seemed to me a return to barbarism, the issue having been one which might easily have been settled without bloodshed. The question forced itself upon me, “Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters, to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone know and bear the cost?”

    Howe had a new vision, she said, of “the august dignity of motherhood and its terrible responsibilities.” She sat down immediately and wrote an “Appeal to Womanhood Throughout the World.” Men always had and always would decide questions by resorting to “mutual murder.” But women did not have to accept this state of affairs, she wrote. Mothers could command their sons to stop the madness.

    "Arise, women!” Howe commanded. “Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.’”

    Howe had her document translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Swedish and distributed it as widely as her extensive contacts made possible. She believed that her Women’s Peace Movement would be the next great development in human history, ending war just as the antislavery movement had ended human bondage. She called for a “festival which should be observed as mothers’ day, and which should be devoted to the advocacy of peace doctrines” to be held around the world on June 2 of every year, a date that would permit open-air meetings.

    Howe organized international peace conferences, and American states developed their own Mothers’ Day festivals. But Howe quickly gave up on her project. She realized that there was much to be done before women could come together on such a momentous scale. She turned her attention to women’s clubs “to constitute a working and united womanhood.”

    As she worked to unite women, she threw herself into the struggle for women’s suffrage, understanding that in order to create a more just and peaceful society, women must take up their rightful place as equal participants in American politics.

    Perhaps Anna Jarvis remembered seeing her mother participate in an original American Mothers’ Day when she decided to honor her own mother in the early twentieth century. And while we celebrate modern Mother’s Day, in this momentous year of 2022 it’s worth remembering the original Mothers’ Day and Julia Ward Howe’s conviction that women must make their voices heard.


  • WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT AND WHAT’S AT STAKE IN AZ?

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    WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT AND WHAT’S AT STAKE IN AZ ?

    Join us on Zoom to meet your fellow Arizona overseas voters!

    Invited:  DA members who vote in AZ, and friends and allies of our critical-2022-midterm state.

    Come meet other AZ voters abroad, compare Democratic primary candidates and discuss challenges facing our state.  Find out how you can help find or call AZ voters abroad or otherwise spread the voting word. Help turn our purple state blue!

    When: Tuesday May 24, 1 - 3pm ET  //  7 - 9pm CET
    Where:  Zoom

    For Dems to keep the US Senate, it is CRITICAL that we re-elect Mark Kelly! 

    Four Arizona US House seats are close:  (using the new congressional district #s):  AZ-04 Greg Stanton is slightly ahead, Ann Kirkpatrick’s AZ-06 is redistricted to be slightly tougher for us to keep, and Tom O'Halleran’s AZ-02 even tougher. In AZ-01 – where we got so close to beating Republican (ugh) David Schweikert in 2020 – it’s do-able this year! 


    Our overseas votes can be the deciders.
     

    We’ll share candidate profiles for these KEY federal races, as well as for Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and a couple of state legislature races. (Republicans have only the slimmest of majorities in both houses = one seat!) 

    Which candidates do you prefer and which issues are most pressing?

    Hope to see & hear from you on Zoom May 24th!

    RSVP BELOW to get the meeting link!

    CALLS TO ACTION FOR AZ VOTERS ABROAD:

    • Request your Primary ballot, if you haven’t yet!  www.votefromabroad.org 
    • Make (free) calls to DA AZ members around the world  (May 19 - June 1)

    ​​https://www.democratsabroad.org/phonebanking_training

    • Vote in the Primary August 2th and in the General Election Nov 8th!
    • Spread the voting word to family and friends abroad and in AZ – make this OUR year!

     

    Contact:
    Democrats Abroad AZ State Team
    [email protected] 



    WHEN
    May 24, 2022 at 1:00pm
    48 rsvps

  • published May Newsletter in News 2022-04-30 10:34:05 -0400

    May Newsletter

    EARTH DAY was Friday, 22 APRIL

    Across the planet people are joining communities, contacting officials, signing petitions, planting trees, picking up plastic and more.

    Earth Hour invites us all to join together, all over the world to take action!    What did you do? 

              

     


    WE HAVE A NEW JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT!

    The Democrats you helped elect in 2020 are making many “firsts” in history to the benefit of Americans both at home and abroad. On Thursday, 7 April, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the first Black woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court! We’re celebrating this moment and excited by the lived experiences Justice Jackson will bring to the Court. She is a brilliant legal mind who will undoubtedly shape our nation’s future for the better for generations to come. Read DA’s full statement here.


    VOTING NEWS

    Upcoming Democratic Primary Elections

    Democratic primary elections are quickly approaching in many states. This is your chance to decide which Democrat will go up against the Republican in the November general election.

    May 3:    Indiana, Ohio

    May 10: Nebraska, West Virginia

    May 17: Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania

    May 19: Idaho

    May 24: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas (runoff)

    Request your ballot early AND return it early!

    VOTING ALERT!


    Here is what happened in Texas in January, and it could happen in other states too. 


    Voting by Mail in Texas - 
    by Alice Embree Jan. 13, 2022

    “Texas Alliance for Retired Americans (TARA) has challenged the legality of new Texas voter suppression laws. We also discuss the issue of nonpartisan redistricting. Listen to this blog by a longtime Austin writer and activist, Alice Embree, guests Jan Lance, retired Austin ISD teacher and president of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans (TARA), and Julie Fleming, a TARA activist.  TARA “seeks to enroll, educate and mobilize retired union, senior and community activists into a statewide grassroots movement advocating on behalf of Texas retirees and seniors.” Read more

    Even Willie Nelson and wife Annie D’Angela-Nelson had trouble voting in the Texas primary - Friday, March 25, 2022 by April Slese

    “It seems that no Texan is immune from the difficulties of trying to cast a ballot and adhere to the state’s stringent new voting laws. According to the Austin American-Statesman, it took Willie Nelson and his wife, Annie D’Angelo-Nelson, two attempts before they were able to vote absentee in the recent primary. D’Angelo-Nelson told the newspaper that it was ‘ridiculously difficult’ to try and cast a ballot. The two had trouble with SB 1’s identification requirement that states a voter must use the same ID to cast a ballot as the one they used when they first registered to vote.” Read more


    STATE TEAM NEWS

    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 to get the meeting links or email us

    Join your Voting State group on Facebook


    HEALTH & MEDICARE

    With the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act last month, President Biden also authorized the very first Medicare Portability pilot program so that Americans like you and I may one day soon be able to draw our hard-earned benefits from abroad.
    Our voices from abroad matter, and they are being heard by this administration!

    Medicare must negotiate drug prices to stop more massive premium increases

    Alex Lawson, 10 January 2022

    (Washington, DC) — The following is a statement from Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works, on the announcement that Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra will order Medicare to reconsider plans to increase premiums:

    “Today’s announcement from Secretary Becerra is good news for seniors. Older Americans should not have to pay $22 more for Medicare every month to cover the outrageous prices of prescription drugs. 

    Medicare will likely avoid such a large increase for one reason: Public pressure recently forced the pharmaceutical company Biogen to cut the price of Aduhelm, a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug, in half. But we can never rely on pharmaceutical corporations to do the right thing….” Read more

    Tell Congress to Require Medicare to Negotiate Drug Prices

    Americans already pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs and pharmaceutical corporations continue to raise prices. Meanwhile, retirees and their families can’t afford the medicines their doctors prescribe.

    The Alliance for Retired Americans has posted this petition to tell Congress to take action on this vital issue. Take action — Sign today!

    The Political Folly of Siding with Pharma

    With the narrowest of majorities, a complex set of policy issues, and huge differences between moderates and progressives, the path to the biggest, boldest piece of progressive legislation in recent memory was always going to be bumpy. Disagreements and disappointment were inevitable. But I have rarely seen a more selfish and self-defeating act than what three House Democrats did yesterday. As the Wall Street Journal reported:

    “Democratic Reps. Scott Peters of California, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, and Kathleen Rice of New York voted against a measure enabling Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs in a House Energy and Commerce Committee vote Wednesday, preventing it from advancing when the panel deadlocked in a 29-29 tie.” Read more…

    12 Mindless Habits that are Exhausting You

    Feeling tired no matter how much rest you get? These behaviors you probably do every day could be to blame.

    #1 Watching emotionally charged television shows!

    One of the ways binge-watching emotionally charged TV shows can lead to mental exhaustion is through trait identification, which refers to the process of temporarily imagining yourself experiencing the same feelings and events of a specific character. Read more


    Correction to March Newsletter by Toni Kamins, Co-Chair, Medicare Part B committee, Medicare Portability committee

    Ms. Foss is right when she says that Medicare is unclear and difficult to navigate. As such, it’s understandable that we all have difficulty assessing our benefits, understanding our rights, and understanding Medicare.

    To clear up a few things, Medicare Part B is part of the federal-government-run health-insurance program for those over 65, and it's not-for-profit. Medicare Advantage, which is offered as a comprehensive substitute for Medicare Parts A, B, D, and Medigap, is private, for-profit insurance. And yes, she is correct, that their agenda is about profits. Big profits. 

    The insurance offered under the ACA (Obama care) is also private insurance provided by for-profit insurance companies that agreed to deliver specific sets of benefits via the federal and state ACA web portals. The doctors in those insurance-company networks are private clinicians and not employees of the federal government, unlike the US Public Health Service.

    Finally, Physicians for Single Payer Healthcare is a national organization, and not limited to Kentucky.


    image7.pngTAX NEWS

     If you owe tax to the IRS, it must be paid by 15 April. However, as Americans abroad we do not have to file our tax returns until 15 June, and if you file a tax extension (use form 4868), that date moves to 15 October – a full 6 month extension. 

    The Democrats Abroad 2022 tax survey of Americans abroad ends today! 
    Click here to take the survey. (Thank you for participating!)

     


    NEWS AND STORIES FROM HOME AND ABROAD


    The Loneliness, Loss and Regret: what getting old really feels like – new study (UK, September 2021)

    Paula, 72, told me how four years ago she’d lost her husband. She had been his carer for over ten years, as he slowly declined from a degenerative condition. Read more

    This health care practice robs many seniors of vitality and life in their twilight years

    A year ago, a prolonged surgery and trips back to theatre to battle the complications affected his memory …  Read more 

    Why so many elderly in China are unvaccinated

    For weeks the authorities in Shanghai tried to stem an outbreak of covid-19 with a whack-a-mole approach. Individual buildings were locked down...Read more 


    THIS MONTH IN U.S. HISTORY

    April 4, 1949 - Twelve nations signed the treaty creating NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The nations united for common military defense against the threat of expansion by Soviet Russia into Western Europe.

    April 8, 1913 - The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified requiring direct popular election of U.S. senators. Previously, they had been chosen by state legislatures.

    Many more historical events are listed here. 


    UPCOMING EVENTS

    April showers bring May flowers, and our Events are blooming too! 

    Sunday, 10 April: The Seniors Caucus had its 2nd WEP meeting. We will update you in our next newsletter, so stay tuned for that.

    Tuesday, 3 May: The DA Taxation Task Force is holding a session to recruit volunteers. 

    Wednesday, 4 May the Women’s Caucus is launching a project to promote voter registration under the theme Reproductive Rights for ALL.

    17 May: World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 

    The ITU has chosen this year’s theme as: “Digital technologies for older person and healthy aging” to raise awareness about the important role of telecommunications/ICTs in supporting people to stay healthy, connected and independent, physically, emotionally and financially – to a life of healthy ageing - and as critical for the sustainability of economic and health systems.

    From book clubs and cocktail hour trivia nights to heavyweight speakers answering our questions about Washington DC, Demystifying the DNC, and what’s coming up in the primaries in 2022, there is something for everyone at Democrats Abroad.


    CHAIR’S CORNER

    In April, we saw the escalation of the war in Ukraine, and I understood from some DA colleagues that many American Seniors abroad are quite worried about this state of affairs. Yes, we need to be hopeful and indeed supportive of our government’s policies with regards to this war. As I said in March’s Chair’s Corner many, if not all of us, “remember the trauma of World War II and many of us, had fathers and relatives who participated in that war. War always brings suffering and trauma.” Let us hope that this war does not drag on and that we can celebrate a peaceful solution to this conflict.

    I am happy to report that our WEP Committee had its first meeting on April 6th and a smaller group met on April 9th. We are working hard to come together to eliminate WEP. I would like to thank Rebecca Lammers, Chair of the Taxation Task Force for her help and leadership in our formation of this WEP committee. Also, the Medicare Part B/ Medicare Portability Committee had our first meeting on April 14th. We are liaising with the Medicare Portability Task Force (MPTF), chaired by Heather Stone and thank her for her help. In our new Seniors Medicare Part B Committee, chaired by Toni Kamins (who is also a member of the MPTF) we are hoping to have a clear understanding of Medicare Part B for those of us living abroad as well as to make Medicare Portable. Thank you to all those members of the Seniors Caucus who volunteered for these committees. We need many hands on deck.

    Finally, I would like to celebrate with you the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson as an Associate Justice for the Supreme Court. It was a difficult confirmation. I felt horrified and sometimes physically sick by how this dear judge was treated by some Senators in the Judiciary Committee. It felt to me as if their words were shaped by racism and misogyny. Nevertheless, this well-qualified and intelligent woman was confirmed. I am currently reading the biography of Constance Baker Motley, another judge who was an inspiration for Justice Jackson. Both are inspirational women and patriotic Americans. 


    FRAUD CORNER

    Thanks to Steering Committee member Tilly Gaillard for bringing this to our attention — fraud police in France that help elderly people with issues relating to fraud, online security and more. 

    We also found that the UK has a similar program. If you know of one in your country, please write us an email to let us know so we can share that information with our members. Thanks!

    Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors

    By Robert Scott

    Seniors are being targeted with financial scams more and more each year. According to a consumer report from Georgia, financial scams are now considered “the crime of the 21st century.” In this first report we will identify the Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors and we will examine other aspects of these scams in subsequent articles. Read more…

    Why Fraud is so Wide Spread? A bit of history…

    We missed this anniversary in last month’s newsletter, but the next time you get angry at some breach of your privacy via social media, thank Jeff Flake, the Republican Party, and their corporate “constituents”. THIS is Republican governance. Read more


    TECH CORNER

    Memorizing multiple passwords can be a pain, but it's downright dangerous to use the same one for everything, and online privacy is not the place you want to be cutting corners. With many employees still working remotely, it's never been more essential to make sure that your online presence is secure and safe from prying eyes.  Please click here to find out more on how to keep your passwords safe! As promised, here is the latest on the best apps to keep your passwords safe. 


    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!


    DA IS GETTING A NEW WEBSITE!

    From time to time, websites need to be updated, with new technology and a fresh look. It’s more important than ever in this election year to have a strong digital presence. 

    We’ve been working on the new design, and are working to put it into place, but we need your help – more funding. If you can, please help with this vital upgrade that will help us reach more Americans like you, living abroad, to VOTE this year.   Please chip in today!


    image9.jpgGRATITUDE: THE SHORT FILM BY LOUIE SCHWARTZBERG

     “The one day that’s given to you – right now. The only appropriate response is ... gratefulness.” 

    The invitation: Open up your heart and feel grateful for this day, the beauty of this planet, the people we meet.

    Watch now as we celebrate the 52nd EARTH DAY on 22 April.


     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)

     


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  • published Fraud Police in Fraud Corner 2022-04-29 10:45:24 -0400

    Fraud Police and Top 10

    Thanks to Steering Committee member Tilly Gaillard for bringing this to our attention fraud police in France that help elderly people with issues relating to fraud, online security and more.

    We also found that the UK has a similar program. If you know of one in your country, please write us an email to let us know so we can share that information with our members. Thanks!

    Obama warns of “anger, resentment, conflict, division” monetized online

    the lay of the cyber-landscape on which we must fight this year's campaign.

    Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors  

    By Robert Scott

    Seniors are being targeted with financial scams more and more each year. According to a consumer report from Georgia, financial scams are now considered “the crime of the 21st century.” In this first report we will identify the Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors and we will examine other aspects of these scams in subsequent articles.

    Health Care/Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud

    In many of these cases the perpetrators may pose as Medicare representatives to get older people to provide them personal information, or they may provide bogus services for elderly people at makeshift mobile clinics, then they use the personal information to bill Medicare and pocket the money.

    1. Counterfeit Prescription Drugs

      Counterfeit drug scammers operate mostly on the Internet where seniors go to find better prices on specialized medications. The danger is that in addition to paying money for something that may not help, the victim may purchase unsafe substances that can inflict even more harm.

    2. Funeral and Cemetery Scams

      Two types of fraud that the FBI warns about are: scammers read obituaries and call or attend the funeral of a complete stranger. They then take advantage of the grieving widow or widower, claiming the deceased had an outstanding debt with them. Another practice of disreputable funeral homes is to add unnecessary charges to the bill. One common scam is to insist on an expensive casket even when the body is being cremated and a cardboard casket could be used for that purpose.

    3. Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products

      Many older Americans seek treatments and medications to maintain a youthful appearance, putting them at risk of being scammed. A bad batch of Botox can have health consequences far beyond wrinkles or drooping neck muscles.

    4. Telemarketing

      With no face-to-face interaction, and no paper trail, these scams are incredibly hard to trace. If one scammer is successful, he/she is likely to pass the buyer’s name to another schemer. Examples of telemarking frauds are: “The Pigeon Drop”- the con artist says the he/she has found a large sum of money and is willing to split it if the person will make a “good faith” payment by withdrawing funds from his/her bank account. “The Fake Accident Ploy”- the con artist gets the victim to send money because a child or other relative is in the hospital and needs money. “The Charity Scam”- money is solicited for a fake charity, normally after a natural disaster of some type.

    5. Internet Fraud

      One of the most common examples of internet fraud is Email/Phishing Scams. A senior receives email messages that appear to be from a legitimate company asking them to “update” or “verify” their personal information. Do not update personal information on the internet.

    6. Investment Schemes

      Since many seniors are planning for retirement, and managing their savings for once they finish working, a number of investment schemes have been targeted at seniors. There are pyramid schemes like Bernie Madoff’s to the Nigerian prince looking for a partner to claim inheritance money, and other very complex financial products that many economists don’t even understand. Remember investment schemes have long been a successful way to take advantage of older people so, only trust your financial investments to people and institutions that you know and trust.

    7. Homeowner/Reverse Mortgage Scams

      There are schemes such as reassessment of the property’s value for tax purposes, of course for a fee, and unsecured reverse mortgages that can lead property owners to lose their homes. If you are considering refinancing your home it should be done through an official refinancing institution, (e.g. FDIC Bank, Federal Credit Union, etc.) 

    8. Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams

      The scammer informs the individual that he/she has won the lottery or a sweepstake of some kind, and he/she needs to make some sort of payment to unlock the supposed prize. Often the senior will be sent a check that they can deposit, but since it is fake the check will never clear. The scammer will quickly collect the fee, and move on to the next mark.

    9. The Grandparent Scam

      The scammer will place a call to an older person, and when the older person picks up, the scammer will say something along the lines of: “Hi Grandma, do you know who this is?” When the grandparent guesses the name of the grandchild the scammer sounds most like, the scammer has established a fake identity. Once “in” the fake grandchild will usually ask for money to solve some unexpected financial problem and will plead with grandma not to tell their parents or their parents will kill them. These scams are normally for hundreds of dollars.

    Many of the scams are very sophisticated and can catch anyone off guard. We must all be as vigilant as possible, and remember to never send money to anyone without having some kind of face-to-face contact with the person on the other end!

    Why Fraud is so Wide Spread? A bit of history…

    March 23, 2017 was the 5th Anniversary that the Senate voted 50-48, along party lines, on Jeff Flake's bill to serve Republicans' corporate masters over American citizens — to repeal rules to protect citizens' private online data from being available to internet providers. 

    Flake's bill prevented the FCC's privacy rules from go into effect. We should remember this, and that at the end of his tenure, actually seemed like a "good guy", compared to the extremists in his party. 

    We missed this anniversary in last month’s newsletter, but the next time you get angry at some breach of your privacy via social media, thank Jeff Flake, the Republican Party, and their corporate “constituents”. THIS is Republican governance. Read more


  • published Fraud Corner in Fraud Corner 2022-04-29 10:14:14 -0400

    Fraud Corner

    We'll have Fraud Alerts and information for you here in every newsletter.


  • published Newsletter in News 2022-04-04 08:19:22 -0400

    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)


  • donated via 2022-03-27 12:37:50 -0400

    Help DA Update Its Website!

    $20,181.88 raised
    GOAL: $30,000.00

    Having a strong digital presence will be more important than ever for finding and mobilizing voters abroad for critical races in 2022. That’s why Democrats Abroad has prioritized redesigning its website (www.democratsabroad.org) in Spring 2022.

    At the top of the to-do list is making our website more engaging, accessible, and user-friendly -- something we know needs to be done, but which comes with a price tag of $30,000. Please help us in this longer-term investment so that we can better attract and support our online visitors -- and in turn convert site visits into activism and votes.

    If you are unable to contribute online, send us a US Dollar check with this form to the following address.

    Democrats Abroad
    PO Box 15130
    Washington DC 20003
    USA

    Thank you for your support!

    Online credit card contributions made to Democrats Abroad are secure, encrypted transactions made via Stripe.

    Donations to Democrats Abroad are not tax-deductible.

     

    Donate

  • published pin in Opinions 2022-02-25 12:28:31 -0500

    Opinion Articles from our Members and our Steering Committee members.

    Click a headline below to read the full article.


  • published News From Home And Abroad in At Home and Abroad 2022-02-23 06:59:17 -0500

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

    Click a headline below to be taken to outside sites like the New York Times, Bloomberg, and MSN.


  • wants to volunteer 2020-09-27 12:49:55 -0400

    Volunteer

    Join our tiny actions team and receive regular emails outlining actions you can take to support issues that matter to Democrats and our allies. 

    Democrats Abroad's country committees need local volunteers. Volunteer by clicking on the "Countries" tab above, find your country, and contact your leaders directly.

    Do you want to help at a global level? We have more than a dozen global teams that work to keep our organization running. 

    Our global teams provide get out the vote help, communications, technology support and more to the all the grass roots volunteers working at the local level in Democrats Abroad. Regardless of where you live there is a team that needs your talent and dedication. Now is the time to join fellow Democrats and help fight for what's right. Any questions, write us at [email protected]

    Please check out our global team opportunities.

     

    Become a volunteer

  • signed up on Global Black Caucus Signup 2020-05-22 18:16:50 -0400

  • signed up on Progressive Caucus Signup 2018-02-11 05:03:09 -0500