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Hollywood's Latest Diet Craze? Ozempic, the Insulin Drug With Vanishing--Literally--Side Effects

DEC 2022/JAN 2023 Issue
Hollywood’s Latest Diet Craze? Ozempic, the Insulin Drug With Vanishing—Literally—Side Effects
Originally marketed for diabetics, Ozempic has become an It Drug in Tinseltown, even at $1,500 a pop.
By Emily Jane Fox
December 1, 2022

Under a rehearsal piano in a studio on the MGM lot in Hollywood in 1952, Debbie Reynolds crumbled. She was in the middle of preparing for Singing in the Rain, which would be her first leading role for the studio, alongside Gene Kelly, and the first time she’d have to dance, really. She was 19 years old, had three teachers, and was spinning around eight hours a day. It hurt everywhere, she wrote in her autobiography 60 years later, “most of all my brain and my feet.” She lay there, under that piano, until Fred Astaire materialized to coax her back up. She wasn’t going to die, he told her. If you’re not sweating, you’re not doing it right. So she shot “Good Morning” from eight in the morning till eleven o’clock that night. When it was over, she collapsed. For days, she didn’t get out of bed at her doctor’s behest. The studio had its own MD, who wanted to administer what they called a “vitamin shot”—amphetamines. Possibly, the same ones, Reynolds wrote, that “ruined Judy Garland.”

Since its inception, Hollywood has been the land where unrealistic beauty standards collide with financial pressure that hinges on its stars keeping thin, energetic, and always ready to make more hits. And there’s always been a quick fix or two. Since Reynolds’s era, the nature of the fixes have evolved from “vitamin shots” and “pep pills” to phen-fen to Adderall to clenbuterol—a medication used to treat breathing problems in horses. That’s to say nothing of the extra-medicinal aesthetic boosts by way of CoolSculpting, injectables, and Brazilian butt lifts, which suck pockets of fat from one part of a body and insert them into another, in order to create a generation of Instagram-age Jessica Rabbits.

It should have been no mystery, then, that when the people of Hollywood started dropping dozens of pounds in a matter of weeks, it wasn’t that everyone had suddenly started practicing moderation and logging 10,000 steps. It seemed like overnight everyone knew someone who was injecting semaglutide, whose brand name is Ozempic. The insulin regulator, developed by the Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk in 2012, won FDA approval to treat type 2 diabetes five years later. It works by stimulating insulin release, which helps lower blood sugar levels and slow down food leaving the stomach, in turn making Ozempic users feel satiated for longer periods of time. When doctors noticed that patients using Ozempic were losing weight as a side effect of the drug, Novo Nordisk saw opportunity, conducting clinical trials on obese and overweight individuals to find that its drug did, in fact, lead to weight loss of about 15 percent of body mass in a few weeks or months. Soon the manufacturer started marketing a higher-dose semaglutide, called Wegovy, to treat obesity. Injections, which, mostly, people give themselves once per week, usually take six to eight weeks to cause significant weight loss.


There has been no long-term study of the drug for people without blood sugar diseases taking the medication. And less of a guide for those tired of feeling tired or nauseous or injecting themselves or paying thousands of dollars a year to poke themselves with a drug people don’t know much about other than it seems to work. Because the drug is relatively new, it is unclear what the long-term effects could be, particularly if someone is not diabetic. How long can someone using it off-label stay on it? As Bravo’s Andy Cohen tweeted earlier this fall, “Everyone is suddenly showing up 25 pounds lighter. What happens when they stop taking#Ozempic ????”


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 5, 2022, 12:13 PM (0 replies)

Call a whaaaambulance!

He's so full of poop.

Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 5, 2022, 11:28 AM (15 replies)

Lyft and Uber are letting Christian drivers 'missionize' riders 'against their will': complaint

Lyft and Uber are letting Christian drivers 'missionize' riders 'against their will': complaint
Can Uber and Lyft survive if California's worker protections go nationwide?
Matthew Chapman
and Raw Story
December 03, 2022

On Saturday, OnlySky Media reported that rideshare companies Uber and Lyft are facing complaints that they are allowing Christian drivers to proselytize to unwilling passengers without consequences.

"Both ride-sharing companies have strict rules prohibiting religious discrimination. Drivers cannot refuse a customer, for example, who is very clearly not a member of their faith. But there’s no rule blocking drivers from proselytizing and attempting to win new converts, and Christians know it," reported Hemant Mehta. "A recent Associated Press article focused on Lyft drivers who see their work as 'mobile Christian ministries.'" One pastor who drives for Lyft, Kenneth Drayton, said, "The car is such an ideal place to do this because it's personal. I can share my faith and it's so important because that's what I live for."

"There’s a belief among many evangelicals that there shouldn’t be any boundaries when it comes to sharing the faith," noted the report. "But there’s a substantive difference between using personal social media, podcasts, or TV shows to do it — where recipients can always block the noise or change the channel — and doing it as part of a ride-share company where passengers may not be able to leave the car and the preacher is literally the person in the driver’s seat."

According to the report, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is sending legal complaints to both Lyft and Uber calling on them to change their policies and ban this practice.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Dec 4, 2022, 08:39 AM (94 replies)

Uh, Politico? Biden Didn't Make Marjorie Taylor Greene "The Face of the GOP" -- Republicans Did


Uh, Politico? Biden Didn’t Make Marjorie Taylor Greene “The Face of the GOP” — Republicans Did
by Amanda Marcotte | December 3, 2022 - 11:15am
— from Salon

"The widespread assumption that only Democrats have any agency or causal influence over American politics." This is famously known as "Murc's Law," named after a commenter at the blog Lawyers, Guns, and Money who noticed years ago the habitual assumption among the punditry that Republican misbehavior can only be caused by Democrats. Do Republicans reject climate science? Must be because Democrats failed to persuade them! Did Republicans pass unpopular tax cuts for the rich? Must be that Democrats didn't do enough to guide them to better choices! Do Republicans keep voting for lunatics and fascists? It must be the fault of Democrats for being mean to them! Even Donald Trump's election was widely blamed on Democrats — who voted against him, to be clear — on the bizarre grounds that Barack Obama should have rolled over and just let Mitt Romney win in 2012.

Republicans are about to take power in the House of Representatives once again, and so, with exhausting predictability, we return to a Beltway narrative where none of the choices they will make with that power are their fault: It is somehow all because Democrats have failed to manage Republicans properly. Unsurprisingly, the latest example comes from Politico, which pins the blame for the rise of right-wing superstar Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene not on the voters who sent her to Congress or the GOP leaders who indulge her or the conservative media that celebrates her. Instead, Greene's popularity with Republicans is laid at the feet of Joe Biden and the Democrats.

"Biden world once ignored Marjorie Taylor Greene. Now it's making her the face of the GOP," announces a Thursday headline in Politico. Underneath it, Eugene Daniels and Jonathan Lemire write that the Biden White House has tried to turn Greene "into the poster child of the incoming House GOP majority."

But of course Biden had nothing to do with that, because Republicans had already done it. Republicans in her district enthusiastically voted her into office. Republicans gave Greene a standing ovation in response to her remarks claiming that school shootings like Parkland and Sandy Hook were "false flags." Republicans made her one of the top fundraisers in the House. Republican leadership is currently indulging Greene's demands to treat the Jan. 6 insurrectionists as "political prisoners."


There are two ways for the press to deal with these depressing inevitabilities. Option No. 1 is to say straight out that the GOP is run by a bunch of shameless liars who are waging war on truth and democracy. But doing that, of course, means giving up the pretense that "both sides" are the same. The other option is to stubbornly refuse to see the abundant evidence that Republicans are deliberately sinister actors and to go on depicting them as wayward children who honestly can't be expected to know any better. The former frame fulfills the purported mission of journalism, which is to tell the truth. But alas, we're probably in for at least two years of elaborate apologies and roundabout justifications and Murc's Law proving out once again across the media universe.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Dec 3, 2022, 04:33 PM (16 replies)

Inside the CNN newsroom cuts

POLITICO Playbook PM: Inside the CNN newsroom cuts
12/01/2022 01:06 PM EST

CILLIZZA OUT — CNN’s mass layoffs have claimed one cornerstone of its Washington coverage: Political analyst CHRIS CILLIZZA is among those who have been laid off from the network this week. People familiar with the decision confirmed the move, first reported by Variety, with Eugene and Chris Cadelago.

CNN would not comment on the cuts. Its Reliable Sources newsletter gave a rundown Wednesday evening, reporting that new network head CHRIS LICHT said in a staff memo that the layoffs “affect both our departing colleagues and those who remain.” No word yet on precisely how many members of staff were laid off this morning. Variety reports others affected include correspondents ALEX FIELD, MARY ANN FOX, ALISON KOSIK and MARTIN SAVIDGE.

Puck’s Dylan Byers reports that as a part of the cost cuts, HLN — the sister network formerly known as CNN Headline News — will “cease all live programming.”

On Wednesday, a swath of on-air contributors were told their contracts would be terminated. We’re told folks at the network have been shaken by the layoffs, especially in the midst of the holiday season, and that Licht is likely to address the cuts in a larger way to staff soon.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 1, 2022, 01:45 PM (11 replies)

Rep. Matt Gaetz's Associate Joel Greenberg Gets 11-Year Prison Sentence

Rep. Matt Gaetz’s Associate Joel Greenberg Gets 11-Year Prison Sentence
The former Florida tax official, now a prolific government witness, pled guilty to sex trafficking of a child, wire fraud, and stalking—but avoided 27 other criminal charges.
Jose Pagliery
Political Investigations Reporter
Published Dec. 01, 2022 12:13PM ET 

Joel Greenberg, the corrupt Florida tax official who tried to reduce his jail time by telling the FBI that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) paid for sex with a teenage girl, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The hefty sentence comes close to the decade-plus prison time that federal prosecutors requested—and didn’t seem to give credence to his value as a government witness in a dozen other investigations into the fraud and corruption.

Greenberg turned his suburban Florida tax office into a small-time criminal operation. He used his position of authority to prey on young women, play a gun-toting cosplay cop, run government computers to mine cryptocurrency, hire his friends as top managers, and give an Instagram model a no-show job. But it wasn’t until he was running for re-election and tapped a shadowy network of Republican operatives to slander a political opponent that he was finally caught.


But none of these cases is as big as the one that has yet to be filed: underage sex trafficking charges against Rep. Matt Gaetz.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 1, 2022, 12:40 PM (19 replies)

January 6 committee to discuss potential criminal referrals at Friday meeting

January 6 committee to discuss potential criminal referrals at Friday meeting
By Annie Grayer, Jamie Gangel and Zachary Cohen, CNN
Updated 8:17 PM EST, Wed November 30, 2022
CNN — 

As the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, US Capitol attack stares down a fast-approaching deadline to complete its work, members are scheduled to have a key meeting on Friday to discuss its final report as well as the possibility of making criminal referrals, multiple sources tell CNN.

A subcommittee of members is also expected to provide options to the full committee about a number of pressing issues including how to present evidence of possible obstruction, possible perjury and possible witness tampering as well as potential criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, according to multiple sources familiar with the committee’s work.

Also under discussion in the Friday meeting will be how to handle the five Republican lawmakers who refused to cooperate with their subpoenas, which includes House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

“We will be discussing whether to make referrals, and if so on whom and for what,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, a committee member and member of the subcommittee that is expected to be providing options. “We are considering any offenses for which we have uncovered relevant evidence and think there is a basis for a referral,” he said, adding that could extend beyond former President Donald Trump.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 1, 2022, 08:48 AM (2 replies)

What would Harry Reid do right now? Threaten to cancel Christmas to save the country

What would Harry Reid do right now? Threaten to cancel Christmas to save the country
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Wednesday November 30, 2022 · 3:16 PM EST

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 08: Senate Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) (L) shares a moment with Vice President Joseph Biden (R) during Reid's leadership portrait unveiling ceremony December 8, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The leadership portrait unveiling ceremony was held to honor the outgoing Democratic leader. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Harry Reid had no problem about threatening to cancel Christmas.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are staring down the double-barreled threat of multiple, critical deadlines and the knowledge that the House is going to be turned over to a raft of incompetent maniacs in a little more than one month’s time. The two leaders allowed their members to come back from the election on Nov. 8 and accomplish very little, then take the full Thanksgiving week—and the days book-ending it—off. That wasted time is now biting the whole nation in the ass, with the workload increasing—along with Republicans’ determination to thwart progress.

The number one thing Pelosi and Schumer needed to deal with started a few months ago, when House Republicans began announcing their hostage-taking intentions. The over-confident GOP announced that they would force cuts to Social Security and Medicare by refusing to raise the nation’s debt ceiling next year, now likely in June. That’s the promise the U.S. government makes to all its creditors and to the American people that the payments that have been promised to them—from troops’ paychecks to monthly Social Security checks to global debt servicing—will be covered. Not extending those guarantees by raising the debt ceiling threatens the entire global economy.

The threat that they would use this tactic was reiterated and reinforced. Democratic leadership more or less ignored the threat, implying that sure, it would be nice to deal with that, but there is just so little time and so many other priorities. Well, here’s a kick in the pants to that excuse of too little time, too much to do: Senate Republican leadership is now endorsing the House maniacs’ tactics, including the direct threat to Social Security and Medicare.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Mitch McConnell’s number two in leadership, told a Bloomberg panel of editors and reporters that Senate Republicans are right there with the House maniacs. They want to use the debt ceiling as a cudgel to force changes to Social Security—by “changes” they always mean cuts—and other programs.

“There’s a set of solutions there that we really need to take on if we’re going to get serious about making these programs sustainable and getting this debt bomb at a manageable level before it’s too late,” Thune said. “Typically, I think there’s been a pretty broad bipartisan understanding that default’s not an option,” Thune said. “But at the same time I think there’s an understanding that this does create an opportunity especially if the pressure’s on one side to deliver that outcome.”

The one side who would feel that pressure is the Democrats—meaning President Joe Biden and Schumer. So what should they do? Channel former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and cancel Christmas.

The threat would probably be enough to bring some recalcitrant members—possibly even some outgoing Senate Republicans—into line to get priorities taken care of. Like starting a budget reconciliation bill in the House right now that will include dealing with the debt ceiling, funding the government, and whatever other steps necessary for maniac-proofing the government. Yes, budget reconciliation bills take time, and can include all-night vote-a-ramas in the Senate. Do what Harry did, on multiple occasions: keep the Senate in session all night. Tell Senators they will have to be there all night.

Let them know that if they don’t play nice, they may have to be there until Christmas Eve, just like Harry made them do to give the nation access to health care. The Affordable Care Act passed the Senate on Christmas Eve, 2009, while a blizzard engulfed Washington, D.C. Threaten to do that again, this time to save Social Security.

Make sure the whole nation knows that’s what you’re willing to do: forego your treasured time off, during the biggest holiday of the year, to make sure the programs that are so vital will continue, unharmed. Make House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s nightmare of a leadership fight even harder by focusing the nation’s ire on the House Republicans.

Let Speaker Pelosi step away from the gavel having realized one last, huge achievement—saving Social Security.

Be like Harry Reid. Fight.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Dec 1, 2022, 08:01 AM (14 replies)

A Number of Republicans Don't Want to Condemn Donald Trump's Dinner With a Couple of Antisemites


Levin Report
Surprise: A Number of Republicans Don’t Want to Condemn Donald Trump’s Dinner With a Couple of Antisemites
They too know where their bread is buttered.
By Bess Levin
November 28, 2022

In the year 2022, the number one thing that unites the Republican Party is bigotry and hate. Hate for Black people. Hate for (non-white) immigrants. Hate for anyone who isn’t Christian. Hate for the LGBTQ+ community. Which is why it should surprise no one who has been paying literally any attention whatsoever that a number of GOP lawmakers apparently don’t want to publicly condemn Donald Trump’s recent dinner with two men who have made names for themselves as virulent antisemites.

Axios reports that though a handful of Republicans have spoken out against Trump’s dinner with Kanye “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE” West (a.k.a. “Ye”) and Holocaust-denying white supremacist Nick Fuentes, many members of the party “have largely remained silent,” with spokespeople for almost two dozen House and Senate GOP lawmakers—including “party leaders” and people who are literally “cochairs of caucuses and task forces focused on Judaism or antisemitism”—declining to respond to requests for comment. While the outlet suggests that the lawmakers’ refusal to criticize the dinner speaks to “the stranglehold Trump still has on the Republican Party” despite his poor showing in the midterms, it seems more likely that these people, like Trump, don’t want to upset voters who were actually extremely pleased to see the ex-president and current candidate for office dining with individuals who have expressed such views.

Among the small group of Republicans who have spoken out against last week’s dinner, the trend appears to be that the only ones who have truly castigated Trump are people who are departing Congress in January (representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) or don’t actually hold positions within the party at this time (former NJ governor Chris Christie). While current GOP lawmaker James Comer, who is likely to be the next chair of the House Oversight Committee, responded to the matter on Meet the Press, his mild criticism left a great deal to be desired; he told the morning show that Trump “needs better judgment in who he dines with.” Among the elected officials who actually offered full-throated condemnation were Rep. Don Bacon, the GOP cochair of the Caucus for the Advancement of Torah Values, who told Axios of the sit-down, “I am appalled,” and Senator Bill Cassidy, who tweeted: “President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites. These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained.” (He added, obviously falsely, “This is not the Republican Party.”) Late Monday, Senator John Thune said Trump having dinner with Fuentes was a “bad idea on every level” and that the person who planned it should be fired

For his part, Trump has not felt the need to disavow the viewpoints of either of his dining companions. He also, as of Monday afternoon, has not invoked his having a Jewish daughter and son-in-law as a way to justify having dined with people who openly talk about their hatred for Jews, but it is presumably in the works.

Posted by babylonsister | Tue Nov 29, 2022, 08:53 PM (6 replies)

A pharma millionaire is suing four hunters for $7 million, and the results will have ahuge impact

A pharma millionaire is suing four hunters for $7 million, and the results will have a huge impact
Mark Sumner
Daily Kos Staff
Tuesday November 29, 2022 · 3:22 PM EST
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OnX is an app that’s intended to help hunters find public land so they can go after deer, elk, or whatever they happen to be hunting. At first glance, that may not seem like news, but users of that app get an invaluable view of just who owns the property around them, which is critical when trying to reach public lands where hunting is legal. They have also gotten a very clear view of something that is otherwise hidden from the public: how corporations, millionaires, and billionaires have blocked out huge chunks of public property so that they alone can access it—without paying a dime. 

They do this by creating public land “islands,” areas that are surrounded by privately held property. The public lands in these islands become de facto parts of the surrounding property. In most states, there is absolutely no rule that says the property owners have to do anything to allow access to that island of land.

Now, in what may be one of the most egregious case of someone using their power and wealth to bully both local residents and officials, drug company executive Fredric Eshelman—net worth $380 million—is trying to make the situation even worse. He’s trying to block off huge areas of land even when he doesn’t surround them, by pressing a case that would make it much easier to prevent the public from reaching public land.

In the process, Eshelman is trying to financially destroy four hunters for “trespassing,” even though they literally never set one foot on his property. The outcome of this case will affect not just hunters and fishermen, but hikers, bird watchers, artists, photographers, and anyone who simply wants to access land that belongs to all of us.

As The New York Times reported on Saturday, the OnX app is at the center of the controversial case now being tried in Carbon County, Wyoming, because that app was used by Missouri bow hunter Bradly Cape in plotting how out he would access the public lands around Elk Mountain in Wyoming.

Well aware of how prickly many land owners are about hunters crossing their property, Cape located an area of “checkerboard” control. That is, the land is divided into one mile-by-one mile sections, half of which are public property, half of which are privately owned, like the black and white squares on a checkboard.

At one place on this checkboard map, Eshelman controlled two squares that met at a corner. The other two squares were public property. Using OnX, Cape mapped out the exact location and led three friends in stepping across the corner from one public square to the other. They not only didn’t step on Eshelman’s land, the area of his property they crossed was infinitely small. Not one state has laws against this “corner crossing,” which is common in areas where grants of public land were once given to railroad companies in an effort to “open up” the West.

Legally, Eshelman can’t run a fence across that corner. So instead he installed “no trespassing” signs at the corners of each of his squares, leaving only a few inches in between (a photograph of the signs is in the Times article). But in a return visit the hunters, aware of the signs after scouting the location, brought with them a specially constructed short ladder, allowing them to hop over the space between the signs. 

As WyoFile reports, Eshelman’s ranch manager spotted Cape’s group on the public property. After ranch workers harassed the hunters, including chasing them with pickup trucks which Eshelman’s men drove across the public land, the manager called the local sheriff along with Wyoming Fish and Game in an effort to charge the hunters with criminal trespass. Originally, officers from both agencies informed that manager that they didn’t issue trespassing charges for corner crossing. But days later, after the manager pressured local officials by reminding them of Eshelman’s importance in the county, another fish and game deputy issued the charge. 

Eshelman owns 23,277 acres near Elk Mountain, but in prosecuting this case against corner-crossing, he attempted to block access to 1.6 million acres of public land. 

The case went to trial in April, with the local district attorney claiming that someone would be prospected for trespass just for violating the “airspace” above private land (which would certainly be news to the FAA). It only took a local jury about two hours to decide the whole thing was ridiculous and find the four men not guilty.

That should have been the end of the whole thing, but after failing to get what he wanted from the criminal trespass case, Eshelman piled on to the hunters with a civil suit “for causing millions of dollars in damage” which seeks not only compensation for this supposed damage, but for the hunters to pay all legal fees in both the criminal and civil cases. He is seeking an incredible $7 million in damages for disturbing a few inches of air over his land.

As Donald Trump has illustrated so frequently, those who are wealthy enough can work the courts endlessly, using them both as a means to batter others into submission, and as a means of evading personal responsibility for anything. Hunting groups and other advocates for access to public land have raised $110,000 to help cover the legal fees, which threaten to crush the four hunters.

No matter how ridiculous this may all seem, and no matter the quick outcome of the jury trial, Wyoming officials are convinced that the landowners will win in the end. According to a Republican attorney who formerly worked for the state attorney general’s office, if the hunters win, “it would not surprise me at all that the Legislature would come back and pass a law saying corner crossing is illegal. It’s sort of if you win, you lose, and if you lose, you lose.”

Though most people are unaware, that kind of checkerboard control covers a huge amount of the American West, and blocking access to public land by this route would make equally huge areas completely inaccessible. The implications would reach far beyond one jackass pharma millionaire who used his Wall Street earnings to snap up some of Wyoming’s most beautiful property. 

The answer to a Wyoming law saying corner crossing is illegal is simply enough: a federal law saying it is. But Republicans are unlikely to allow such a law to pass, even if every hunter in America calls for it. Because for Republicans, if it comes to a contest between middle-class hunters and wealthy landowners … that’s not even a contest.

According to Forbes, Eshelman made his millions when one of multiple drug companies where he was an executive was sold in 2011 for $3.9 billion. “Eshelman personally made at least $160 million in the sale, after taxes. FORBES estimates that his fortune is worth at least $380 million. Eshelman would not comment on his net worth or on how much he netted from selling his stakes in any of his companies.”

Eshelman is a longtime supporter of conservative Republican politicians
. According to WyoFile:

He’s donated millions to conservative Republican candidates running for federal offices. In the 2008 election cycle he pumped $5.5 million into Rightchange.org, Eshelman’s “527” tax-exempt organization “formed primarily to influence a political election,” according to Open Secrets.

OpenSecrets lists Eshelman as the second-highest individual contributor to “Outside Money Organizations” in the 2010 election cycle, with $6,359,660 in contributions. His total contribution to Republican candidates for federal office is at least $28.5 million.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Nov 29, 2022, 08:04 PM (67 replies)
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