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News that Republican outsider and libertarian Texas Rep. Ron Paul is picking up steam in Iowa and breaking out of his base of hardcore backers is surprising, if only because Paul is up against an obstacle that even Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann don’t face: the political press doesn’t take him seriously and dismisses his candidacy at every turn.

If Paul does pull off an upset or even a strong second place showing in the caucuses in January, as looks plausible, it will be interesting to see whether the press corps finally starts talking about his candidacy with something other than scornful laughter.

Because even though voters choose the candidates they like best in American electoral politics, the oxygen in our media space is determined by editors and writers at a few hundred media outlets — and if they’ve decided three-time candidate Paul is not “serious,” then he isn’t, if only because he can’t amplify his message except via paid media and events sponsored by activists who already back his campaign.

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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.

In a new op-ed published by The Guardian, Jill Filipovic —author of the book, The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness—offered an assessment of the message being sent with the Supreme Court's rollback of the 1973 landmark ruling.

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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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