5 Spiritual Survival Strategies in the Trump Era | Sojourners

I’ll put it this way: When they go low, we go deep.

A couple of weeks ago I went out to lunch with the pastor of our church in Santa Fe, N.M. She asked, “What do you think you will do to respond to the Trump Administration?” My immediate response was, “I’m going to find a spiritual director.”

I was serious. I had, in fact, been meeting monthly with a spiritual director during the past year, but in October she moved away. The unexpected election of Donald Trump plummeted me into such a mood of disbelief, emotional reactivity, and political angst that I was losing my spiritual center.

Responding on Facebook to the latest outrage, while perhaps politically therapeutic, wasn’t satisfying my soul. I needed to become grounded again with my deepest self, and with God.

At a lunch with friends from church to process the aftermath of the election, my wife Karin said, “Donald Trump is going say or do something every day that will arouse us emotionally. And we can’t allow ourselves to be stuck in that place of continuous arousal, responding to him. We have to find safe spaces to support proactively the things we’re called to do.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: 5 Spiritual Survival Strategies in the Trump Era | Sojourners

Allegan County United Way announces enhanced security features to free online tax filing tool 

Allegan County United Way would like to announce enhanced security features to MyFreeTaxes designed to further safeguard taxpayer information. MyFreeTaxes is a free, safe and easy way for anyone earning $64,000 or less to file state and federal taxes.

For the past eight years, United Way has partnered with H&R Block to provide free tax filing services for federal and state taxes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since that time, the partnership has helped more than 750,000 taxpayers claim every deduction and credit they deserve. These tax breaks that lead to refunds provide important opportunities for individuals and families in Allegan County to build their financial stability.

“MyFreeTaxes helps put refund money back in the taxpayers’ pockets so that they can pay bills, cover their costs of living, and put money aside to build a more stable financial future,” said United Way President Patrick Moran.

READ MORE ABOUT THIS FREE PROGRAM HERE: Allegan County United Way announces enhanced security features to free online tax filing tool | Allegan County United Way

Democrats challenge ‘gerrymandered’ Michigan districts

LANSING — Michigan Democrats are going to federal court to try to undo congressional and legislative electoral districts they say are unlawfully gerrymandered to Republican advantage.

They are hoping to replicate a recent success by Wisconsin Democrats, who got legislative districts in that state struck down through a 2016 federal lawsuit. The November ruling in the Wisconsin case was significant because it was a rare instance in which a federal court struck down legislative districts on the grounds of partisan gerrymandering, rather than racial gerrymandering.

Southfield attorney Mark Brewer, who is representing the plaintiffs, said he sent registered letters Tuesday to about 60 individuals who could be witnesses in the pending lawsuit, putting them on notice not to destroy records about how the districts were created in 2011. At the time, both chambers of the Legislature, plus the Michigan Supreme Court, were under GOP control, as they remain today.

“In 2011, the Republican-controlled Legislature intentionally and effectively gerrymandered the maps to benefit Republican state and federal legislators and diminish the effect of the votes of Democratic voter,” Brewer, of the law firm Goodman Acker, said in the letter giving notice of the lawsuit.

Read more: Democrats challenge ‘gerrymandered’ Michigan districts

Why Sen. Orrin Hatch suspended committee rules to advance Trump nominees | PBS NewsHour

On the second day of boycott from Democrats, Hatch says they ‘haven’t done a thing to help cooperate” with hearings for Steve Mnuchin, Rep. Tom Price.

It was the most pivotal and decisive Senate hearing of the Trump administration so far. But the room was relatively empty. Just a few reporters made it.

With relatively little public notice, Senate Finance Committee Republicans voted Wednesday morning to approve two of President Donald Trump’s hotly debated cabinet nominees: Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and Tom Price, Trump’s pick for the Department of Health and Human Services. For a second day, all Democrats on the committee declined to attend, leaving Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, without the single Democrat required for the committee to take votes.

Hatch and Republicans were able to move the nominations forward by voting to suspend that rule for the morning. It was a virtually unprecedented step, one Hatch said was approved by the Senate Parliamentarian.

NewsHour was among the few outlets to make the hearing. Listen to an impromptu Q&A between Hatch and PBS Newshour’s Lisa Desjardins after the committee adjourned.

Go here to listen to the interview: Why Sen. Orrin Hatch suspended committee rules to advance Trump nominees | PBS NewsHour

Covering Trump the Reuters Way | Reuters

The first 12 days of the Trump presidency (yes, that’s all it’s been!) have been memorable for all – and especially challenging for us in the news business. It’s not every day that a U.S. president calls journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth” or that his chief strategist dubs the media “the opposition party.” It’s hardly surprising that the air is thick with questions and theories about how to cover the new Administration.

So what is the Reuters answer? To oppose the administration? To appease it? To boycott its briefings? To use our platform to rally support for the media? All these ideas are out there, and they may be right for some news operations, but they don’t make sense for Reuters. We already know what to do because we do it every day, and we do it all over the world.

To state the obvious, Reuters is a global news organization that reports independently and fairly in more than 100 countries, including many in which the media is unwelcome and frequently under attack. I am perpetually proud of our work in places such as Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists. We respond to all of these by doing our best to protect our journalists, by recommitting ourselves to reporting fairly and honestly, by doggedly gathering hard-to-get information – and by remaining impartial. We write very rarely about ourselves and our troubles and very often about the issues that will make a difference in the businesses and lives of our readers and viewers.

We don’t know yet how sharp the Trump administration’s attacks will be over time or to what extent those attacks will be accompanied by legal restrictions on our news-gathering. But we do know that we must follow the same rules that govern our work anywhere, namely:

Do’s:

–Cover what matters in people’s lives and provide them the facts they need to make better decisions.

–Become ever-more resourceful: If one door to information closes, open another one.

–Give up on hand-outs and worry less about official access. They were never all that valuable anyway. Our coverage of Iran has been outstanding, and we have virtually no official access. What we have are sources.

–Get out into the country and learn more about how people live, what they think, what helps and hurts them, and how the government and its actions appear to them, not to us.

–Keep the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles close at hand, remembering that “the integrity, independence and freedom from bias of Reuters shall at all times be fully preserved.”

Don’ts:

–Never be intimidated, but:

–Don’t pick unnecessary fights or make the story about us. We may care about the inside baseball but the public generally doesn’t and might not be on our side even if it did.

–Don’t vent publicly about what might be understandable day-to-day frustration. In countless other countries, we keep our own counsel so we can do our reporting without being suspected of personal animus. We need to do that in the U.S., too.

–Don’t take too dark a view of the reporting environment: It’s an opportunity for us to practice the skills we’ve learned in much tougher places around the world and to lead by example – and therefore to provide the freshest, most useful, and most illuminating information and insight of any news organization anywhere.

This is our mission, in the U.S. and everywhere. We make a difference in the world because we practice professional journalism that is both intrepid and unbiased. When we make mistakes, which we do, we correct them quickly and fully. When we don’t know something, we say so. When we hear rumors, we track them down and report them only when we are confident that they are factual. We value speed but not haste: When something needs more checking, we take the time to check it. We try to avoid “permanent exclusives” – first but wrong. We operate with calm integrity not just because it’s in our rulebook but because – over 165 years – it has enabled us to do the best work and the most good.

Media Contact:

Heather dot Carpenter at thomsonreuters dot com

[Reuters PR Blog Post]

Source: Covering Trump the Reuters Way | Reuters

Senator: ‘Not a single person on this panel, if they could avoid it, would allow their kid to attend’ Detroit schools | Chalkbeat

Detroit schools have so many problems that a U.S. senator charged Tuesday that his colleagues would never consider the city’s schools for their own kids.

“Kids are going to school in an American city that not a single person on this panel, if they could avoid it, would allow their kid to attend school,” said Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who listed a slew of painful statistics about the state of Detroit schools. “So many kids in America … haven’t been given a chance.”

Bennet’s comments came as a Senate committee considered the nomination of Michigan philanthropist Betsy DeVos to become the next U.S. Secretary of Education.

DeVos, whose nomination won narrow approval from committee members and will now go before the full Senate, has had great influence over education in Michigan.

Critics say she bears blame for the condition of the city’s schools while defenders say she’s given parents options they would not otherwise have had. Here’s Chalkbeat’s guide to the facts behind that debate.

Source: Senator: ‘Not a single person on this panel, if they could avoid it, would allow their kid to attend’ Detroit schools | Chalkbeat

Column: Trump’s border tax is not the right fix for U.S.-Mexico trade | PBS NewsHour

There is little to gain and much to lose by using a border tax adjustment as either a punitive import tariff or a policy designed to finance a border wall.

BY CHAD BOWN  January 30, 2017 at 3:57 PM EST
Less than one week into office, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order indicating U.S. intent to build a wall on the border with Mexico. The next day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated the administration might pay for the wall by levying a new, 20 percent border tax on U.S. imports from Mexico.

A significant diplomatic fallout erupted. New confusion also suddenly arose due to the apparent shift in Trump’s policy priorities.

Further U.S. rhetoric and escalation could even force trading partners to seek vigilante justice … This would result in considerable economic pain to U.S. companies and U.S. jobs.

The Trump administration needs to tell the truth about this 20 percent border tax adjustment. Further obfuscation elevates the risk that any U.S.-imposed border tax adjustment would lead to an immediate trade dispute, that the United States would lose that dispute and that the U.S. would face internationally sanctioned retaliation.

Worse, further U.S. rhetoric and escalation could even force trading partners to seek vigilante justice. They could address their own trade problems in ways that lead everyone into an inadvertent trade war. This would result in considerable economic pain to U.S. companies and U.S. jobs.

Read the full essay here: Column: Trump’s border tax is not the right fix for U.S.-Mexico trade | PBS NewsHour

Top Republican Says They Will Have To Raise Taxes, Repealing Obamacare Harder Than They Thought

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) says that Republicans will have no choice but to raise taxes if they continue on with their current plan to get rid of Obamacare – without offering an alternative plan.

“[It] would be best for our country to go ahead and replace it with something that works and repeal at the same time.”

At a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, he said that keeping subsidies in place for three years while getting rid of the Affordable Care Act’s revenue streams, will increase the annual budget deficit – and cost $116 billion.

Source: Top Republican Says They Will Have To Raise Taxes, Repealing Obamacare Harder Than They Thought

The psychology of why Americans are more scared of terrorism than guns, though guns are 3,210 times likelier to kill them — Quartz

According to the New America Foundation, jihadists killed 94 people inside the United States between 2005 and 2015. During that same time period, 301,797 people in the US were shot dead, Politifact reports.

At first blush, these numbers might seem to indicate that Donald Trump’s temporary ban on immigrants from seven countries—a goal he said was intended to “protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States”—is utterly misguided.

But Trump is right about at least one thing: Americans are more afraid of terrorism than they are of guns, despite the fact that guns are 3,210 times more likely to kill them.

Source: The psychology of why Americans are more scared of terrorism than guns, though guns are 3,210 times likelier to kill them — Quartz

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