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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

Both President Donald Trump's and Congressional approval ratings have plummeted in the first half of December, according to a new Gallup poll.

Trump's approval rating has dipped to 39 percent, a 7 point decrease from the last Gallup survey, while Congressional satisfaction dropped 15%, the lowest rating for the 116th Congress, according to Gallup.

The president began December by ramping up political attacks while also increasing his threats to American democracy. His erratic behavior has even started to worry Trump's aides and his closest allies, leading to a "heated" Oval Office meeting with far-right conspiracists Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell. In that meeting Flynn proposed "martial law" to overturn the free and fair election that Joe Biden won by millions of votes.

Meanwhile, December was also a tumultuous month for Congress, as members bickered over a yearly defense spending bill (NDAA), a budget for FY 2021, and much needed COVID-19 relief. Late last night, right before a midnight deadline, Trump finally signed a joint bill which included COVID-19 relief and next year's budget. He also vetoed the defense bill, which Congress is expected to overturn.

Though American's moods are souring towards the current government, the Biden administration is receiving high marks for handling the transition. According to Gallup, nearly two-thirds of respondents reported they "approve" of Biden's actions during the transition.

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Supreme Court of the United States

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A new analysis is explaining the disturbing circumstances surrounding the overturning of Roe v. Wade and how the U.S. Supreme Court has morphed into an entity actively working toward authoritarianism.

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Billionaires

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After a year of reporting on the tax machinations of the ultrawealthy, ProPublica spotlights the top tax-avoidance techniques that provide massive benefits to billionaires.

Last June, drawing on the largest trove of confidential American tax data that’s ever been obtained, ProPublica launched a series of stories documenting the key ways the ultrawealthy avoid taxes, strategies that are largely unavailable to most taxpayers. To mark the first anniversary of the launch, we decided to assemble a quick summary of the techniques — all of which can generate tax savings on a massive scale — revealed in the series.

1. The Ultra Wealth Effect

Our first story unraveled how billionaires like Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos were able to amass some of the largest fortunes in history while paying remarkably little tax relative to their immense wealth. They did it in part by avoiding selling off their vast holdings of stock. The U.S. system taxes income. Selling stock generates income, so they avoid income as the system defines it. Meanwhile, billionaires can tap into their wealth by borrowing against it. And borrowing isn’t taxable. (Buffett said he followed the law and preferred that his wealth go to charity; the others didn’t comment beyond a “?” from Musk.)

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