Friday, January 15, 2016

A wolf in sheeps clothing...

Wall Street, neocons and big government; oh, my! Ted Cruz’s troubling inner circle

by Sam Rolley

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, both recently blasted the younger Paul’s fellow GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for missing the recent Senate vote on whether to debate the Paul-driven Audit the Fed bill. And Cruz’s missing the vote on the bill, which he had endorsed, has left many of his supporters scratching their heads.

The younger Paul said in a tweet Tuesday that he was “disappointed” Cruz “didn’t show up for work” to help in the procedural vote that would have advanced the bill.

Ron Paul, who built the framework upon which his son’s legislation is based, similarly questioned Cruz’s absence, saying: “Ted Cruz says he is for Auditing the Fed, but when the Senate voted on Rand’s bill, Ted was nowhere to be found.”

Cruz’s decision seemed so uncharacteristic of the candidate who has co-opted so many of the Pauls’ Fed-skeptic positions that radio host Glenn Beck reached out to the GOP contender to find out why.

Here’s what Beck learned, as reported by The Blaze:

Cruz told Beck that he “strongly supports” the legislation, which would require an audit on the Federal Reserve, reminding the radio host that he was one of the original co-sponsors of the bill. But as for his reason behind missing the vote, Cruz simply said it wasn’t going to succeed anyway.

“Unfortunately, it was clear early on that yesterday’s vote wasn’t going to succeed (it fell 7 votes short),” Cruz wrote in an email, which Beck later published on his Facebook profile. “And, at the same time that the vote was scheduled, I had longstanding commitments to be in New Hampshire.”

Cruz went on to write that he was speaking at a Second Amendment rally in the Granite State and was delivering a State of the Union town hall, which the GOP hopeful says was to be attended by 1,500 people.

“If my vote would have made a difference in it passing, I would have cancelled my campaign events to be there,” Cruz reassured Beck. “Because the vote was not going to succeed, I honored my commitments to be with the men and women of New Hampshire.”

It’s true that Paul’s audit legislation appeared doomed to be blocked by Democrats — but every vote counts, even if just toward giving the bill more steam for the next go-around. Cruz knows that. As does Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who took time away from his campaign for the Democratic nomination to vote in favor of Paul’s legislation for that very reason.

So maybe there’s more to Cruz’s decision to abstain from the vote?

As we’ve pointed out in the past on Personal Liberty®, Cruz does have plenty of reason to leave the Fed alone despite his big talk about reducing its power.

Bob Livingston wrote in 2014, as he wondered whether Cruz is a demagogue posing as a statesman: “Cruz’s attack on the Fed and the crony system is curious, given that his wife works for Goldman Sachs, one of the chief beneficiaries of the system. That means that, by extension, he benefits from the system. Perhaps that tie gives him cover to demagogue the issues. Knowing they have Cruz’s wife in their pockets, perhaps the globalist elites believe they have Cruz in their pockets as well.”

The mainstream media has also pointed to Cruz’s very personal tie to big finance in the past. But as the presidential race heats up, new information is emerging.

Cruz has often used a story about putting up his entire personal fortune to run for the Senate to prove to voters that he’s devoted to his causes. But, as noted recently by The New York Times, his story isn’t exactly accurate.

Cruz’s personal spending on the campaign was heavily subsidized by two low-interest loans, one from Goldman Sachs where his wife worked in Houston before taking leave for the campaign and another from Citibank.

From the report:

A review of personal financial disclosures that Mr. Cruz filed later with the Senate does not find a liquidation of assets that would have accounted for all the money he spent on his campaign. What it does show, however, is that in the first half of 2012, Ted and Heidi Cruz obtained the low-interest loan from Goldman Sachs, as well as another one from Citibank. The loans totaled as much as $750,000 and eventually increased to a maximum of $1 million before being paid down later that year. There is no explanation of their purpose.

The Times does, however, note that there is “no evidence that the Cruzes got a break on their loans.”

Still, Cruz’s affiliation to big money on Wall Street and its intersection with big government doesn’t end with his wife. Just check out his campaign chairman, Chad Sweet’s, career profile from LinkedIn:

Chad Sweet is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Chertoff Group, a global advisory firm and investment bank exclusively focused on the security sector. Mr. Sweet formerly served as the Chief of Staff of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Prior to DHS, Chad was an investment banker at the firms of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. He served in the CIA.

It’s not exactly the profile of a small government advocate.

Just as Cruz’s close personal ties to massive banks via his wife could betray his devotion to auditing the fed, his ties to big government via Sweet could certainly betray all of the other small-government talk the candidate spews.

As noted by The New American:

As a leader of the Chertoff Group, Sweet “advocated for expanding NSA metadata collection.” Again, this belies Ted Cruz’s public position on the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance of Americans.

“One of the most troubling things we have seen in recent years is an expansion of federal government authority into surveilling American citizens. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of the USA Freedom Act,” Cruz said during a speech in Austin in November 2014.

Despite such public declarations, it’s little wonder that a key member of the Cruz foreign policy team would support dragnet surveillance of Americans given that one of the principals of the Chertoff Group is General Michael Hayden, director of the NSA until 2005.

These sorts of inconsistencies have sunk other campaigns, particularly those of candidates who fly the flag of the Constitution as proudly as Ted Cruz.

The article also lists a few other big government names on team Cruz, including:
•Bill Clinton-era CIA Director James Woolsey as his foreign policy adviser
•Elliot Abrams, former George W. Bush adviser and senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, also helping out with foreign policy
•Victoria Coates, a well-known neocon and former Donald Rumsfeld lackey, as national security adviser

Maybe none of this matters. Maybe Cruz does want to audit the Fed but was just too busy to vote. Maybe Cruz doesn’t want government spying on Americans but just couldn’t find a better chairman than one of government spying’s biggest advocates.

Voters will only know for sure if he’s elected. And maybe he will be. After all, he’s working so hard at it he can’t make time to show tangible support for legislation he claims to back.

Cruz recently appeared in a commercial shooting ducks with Phil Robertson from Duck Commander to show conservatives he’s an average guy rather than another Washington powerbroker. And the Robertson endorsement will likely sway some voters to support Cruz.

But for others, hopefully the fowl in the commercial will remind them of that old saying about birds of a feather.


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