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Ho hum...

There was no clear winner in the first Republican Presidential Primary Debate hosted by Fox News live from the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ron DeSantis did not stand out, and Vivek Ramaswamy came across as animated, self-important, snarky, smarmy, and spouting platitudes -- clearly out of his depth. Mike Pence was uncharacteristically frisky but to no avail.

Fox needlessly injected Trump into the mix to the delight of Chris Christie, who was roundly booed, and Asa Hutchinson.  Moderators Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum were undistinguished and almost lost control of the candidates occasionally. 

Biggest surprise...

There was no concerted attack on the second to the frontrunner, Ron DeSantis.

Best line...

In response to Ramaswamy, "Let me just address a question that is on everybody’s mind at home tonight. Who the heck is this skinny guy with a funny last name?  An obese Chris Christy responded, "The last person in one of these debates who stood in the middle of the stage and said, ‘What’s a skinny guy with an odd last name doing up here?’ was Barack Obama, and I’m afraid we’re dealing with the same type of amateur.” 

Vivek Ramaswamy was the most animated, so let's look at his negatives ...

  1. Absolutely no experience in elective political matters.

  2. Government is not a “business” enterprise and cannot be managed as a business enterprise. Unlike that of a corporate officer, the President's power is checked by Congress and the Judiciary and held to task by a hostile media with deep allegiance to the opposition, the progressive communist democrats.

  3. While intelligent, well-educated, and well-spoken, Ramaswamy appears to be another billionaire buying into a lucrative political sinecure.

  4. Ramaswamy might not be running for the Presidency, but he is increasing his name recognition for a future run or auditioning for a cabinet position.

  5. Ramaswamy looks like another Obama-style Manchurian candidate.

  6. Ramaswamy may be positioned as an “outsider,” but he is well-connected with both the Democrat and GOP establishment.

  7. Ramaswamy appears to be a Trump ally and may serve as a stalking horse for Trump to clear out the pesky opposition.

  8. Ramaswamy has already upset the foreign policy applecart.

Vivek Ramaswamy Paid to Have His Soros Fellowship and Covid-Era Role Scrubbed from Wikipedia Page

Longshot presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has accused his prospective Republican rivals of parroting him, but Ramaswamy himself has made an intentional effort to conceal his own biography, even paying a Wikipedia editor to remove potentially politically damaging details about his past from his page.

Ramaswamy’s Wikipedia page includes the warning, “this article has multiple issues,” with a note that it “contains paid contributions” and “may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia’s content policies, particularly neutral point of view.”

The source of these concerns are changes made by an editor with the screen name “Jhofferman,” who has disclosed that he was paid by Ramaswamy to make alterations to the page.

According to the article’s version history, the editor removed lines about Ramaswamy’s receipt of a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans in 2011. Paul Soros was the older brother of billionaire funder of leftist causes George Soros, who was the biggest individual political donor in the United States during the 2022 election cycle.

Also removed from the page on February 9, 2023 was Ramaswamy’s role on the state of Ohio’s Covid-19 Response Team. The editor recorded that Ramaswamy’s Covid-era work was removed from the article by the candidate’s own explicit request, while his Soros fellowship was deemed “extraneous material” by the editor.

Ramaswamy announced his candidacy for the White House a little less than two weeks after the changes to his page were made. <Source>

About that Soros Fellowship…

Ramaswamy was already millionaire when he accepted Soros award he said he needed to pay for law school

Ramaswamy reported $2.2M income during same year he accepted Soros scholarship.

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy was already a millionaire by the time he accepted the Soros scholarship he previously said he needed in order to pay for law school.

Ramaswamy defended himself last month for accepting a $90,000 award from the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, which was founded by Daisy and Paul Soros, the late older brother of liberal billionaire financier George Soros. <Source>

Fingers in the Covid payout pie?

Moderna loses bid to shift liability in COVID-19 vaccine patent case

Warminster Township, Pennsylvania-based Arbutus and Genevant — a joint venture between Arbutus and Roivant Sciences Ltdsued Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna for patent infringement last year, seeking royalties from Moderna's multi-billion-dollar COVID vaccines.  <Source>

In 2014, Ramaswamy founded the biotechnology firm Roivant Sciences; the "Roi" in the company's name refers to return on investment. The company was incorporated in Bermuda, a tax haven, and received almost $100 million in start-up capital from QVT and other investors, including RA Capital Management, Visium Asset Management, and the hedge fund managers D. E. Shaw & Co. and Falcon Edge Capital. Roivant's strategy was to purchase patents from larger pharmaceutical companies for drugs that had not yet been successfully developed, and then bring them to the market. <Source>

A foreign affairs disaster in the making?

Ramaswamy: Cut Off Aid to Israel After 2028

The 38-year-old biotech entrepreneur and self-proclaimed political "outsider," has raised eyebrows for his shifting positions on U.S. military aid to Israel, which he now says he wants to cut off in 2028.

He supports ending the military funding once the current package passed by Congress expires in 2028, arguing that the aid will be unnecessary after he successfully negotiates new peace treaties between Israel and its Arab neighbors during the first year of his presidency.

"If we’re successful, the true mark of success for the U.S., and for Israel, will be to get to a 2028 where Israel is so strongly standing on its own two feet, integrated into the economic and security infrastructure of the rest of the Middle East, that it will not require and be dependent on that same level of historical aid or commitment from the U.S.," Ramaswamy told the Free Beacon on Saturday.

Ramaswamy describes his Middle East plan as "Abraham Accords 2.0," an expansion of the historic Trump-era deals cementing relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.

He said he would broker expanded agreements between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Indonesia, and believes he "can deliver that in my first year in office."

"Why is that important? That integrates Israel into the economic and security infrastructure of the rest of the Middle East, in a way that hasn’t happened because Israel has been wrongfully held hostage over a complex historical Palestine question, from being able to integrate itself," he said. "Because Israel was isolated, that required years of the U.S. having to stand for our democratic ally, including in the form of military aid to Israel." <Source>

Ramaswamy breaks from GOP orthodoxy on foreign policy, sparks pushback ahead of first debate

In his remarks at Erick Erickson's "Gathering" in Atlanta, Georgia, last week, Ramaswamy said he would discourage China from invading Taiwan only until the U.S. achieves semiconductor independence. The U.S., through legislation such as the CHIPS Act, is working to bolster its chip-making technology as a national security measure. <

Ramaswamy said he would let Russian President Vladimir Putin keep parts of Ukraine under Moscow's control in exchange for severed ties with China, telling ABC News that "the China-Russia military alliance is the single greatest military threat to the United States" and it's imperative that it be dismantled -- a take he views as a bipartisan, "pro-American policy."

"I will ensure that I'm not a wartime president by actually de-escalating. Make sure that we're in a position to pull apart that alliance, do a deal that yes, Vladimir Putin would do because he comes out of it rationally ahead of where he is now. But we come out even further ahead of where we are," he said, breaking from the opinions of Senate Republicans such as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Ramaswamy, who said he would prioritize a trip to Moscow in his first year in office, said he would make a "hard commitment" that NATO should never admit Ukraine, provided that Putin exit Russia's military partnership with China. <Source>

Over in Tuckerland...

 In a pre-taped interview with Tucker Carlson released on Twitter/X ... Ho Hum -- different day, same old shit. Trump's summary: Everyone but him is irrelevant.

The most controversial issue was the hint of the assassination of the indisputable front-runner in the Republican race. “They are savage animals. They are people that are sick. Really sick. You have great people in the Democrat Party, great people that are Democrats. But I’ve seen what they do; I’ve seen the lengths that they go to.”

As far as responding to his legal troubles, "Bullshit, it’s all bullshit.”

Bottom line…

I don’t trust Ramaswamy. Period!  Would I vote for him if he were the GOP nominee facing Biden or, more likely, California Governor Gavin Newsom? You bet. The key to holding a president in check is ensuring we have an unassailable majority in Congress and electing more conservative judges.

Let historians relitigate the elections as we clean up the swamp. That is, if we can get through the upcoming Covid emergency that demands everybody vote by mail.

The debate was a waste of time with no new information or real news value.

We are so screwed.

-- Steve

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS