When It Comes to Keeping America's Helium Supply Flowing, Senator Ted Cruz Blows Hot Air

Categories: Politics

ted cruz.jpg
A droll old English butler once told the Dark Knight that "some men just want to watch the world burn." The ends they pursue aren't coherent. Their objectives are inscrutable to rational men. They sow chaos, because it is a faith unto itself. Alfred was talking about the Joker, but these words might equally apply to Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate was prepared to vote by unanimous consent on a measure that would keep the country's helium reservoir outside of Amarillo running. Why should you care about helium, you ask? If you're a welder, you should care. If you manufacture fiber-optic cables or semiconductors, you should care. If you've torn your ACL and you need an MRI, you need it to cool the machine's superconducting magnets. The reservoir in Texas contains a third or more of the world's helium, and any disruption to its operation would send shock waves through vast sectors of the economy. As of now, the supply valves will be shut off by October 1 if Congress doesn't act. At that point, the federal government, which has administered the reservoir since World War I for national defense purposes, loses its authorization. Like the fiscal cliff our lawmakers race toward repeatedly, this is an eminently preventable self-inflicted wound.

The legislation on deck in the House and in the Senate are a bit different. In the House, the $500 million in revenues generated by the reservoir would go toward the national debt, though it would leave some control in the hands of the federal government. The Senate bill, on the other hand, would phase the feds out completely in five years, but instead devotes some $50 million to the debt, funneling the rest to underfunded programs, like the remediation of abandoned mines, and addressing a maintenance backlog in our national parks.

The Senate sought to pass an amended bill by unanimous consent as a palatable substitute to the House bill. The only thing standing in its way was Cruz. The use of that revenue for anything other than paying down our debt was to him unacceptable. Never mind the $500 million generated by the reservoir over 10 years amounts to less than 2 percent of the interest expense on our national debt FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST.

He still voted against a bill that would prevent a catastrophic interruption to whole sectors of the economy to burnish his fiscal-conservative credentials, which would result in the elimination of the merest fraction of monthly interest expense.

In the grand scheme of the helium legislation, Cruz's opposition comes to nothing. The Senate passed the substitute nearly unanimously Thursday afternoon (97-2, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama rode Cruz' coattails) and the House will vote on it next. Either they approve it or they amend it, and it goes to conference or back to the Senate floor. But the bipartisan will to see the thing done is resolute and overwhelming.


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72 comments
harleykarmadad
harleykarmadad

If you consider that this blog is about as liberal as it CAN get in Dallas and that for the most part the Religious Right pretty much controls our State....yet you read the comments below and you would think that Texas Liberals are rounding up Republican's and horse whipping them in the public square. 

The venom on this (again supposed liberal) blog that is spewed towards the writers and other commenters for simply not agreeing or having an opposing view is unfuckingbelievable. 

Funny, sometimes the most sensible comments are the spam comments about how to make a zillion bucks at home.   

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

John White, a former Democratic official, lamented that "there used to be better ways to gut a guy besides putting his personal mores through the meat grinder."  Hello Dallas Morning News and the Austin American Statesman, using the "some say" technique of character assasination.  The Dallas Morning News is today employing the same bullshit in its relentless slaughter of Cruz without saying specifically what they object to, based upon what he is saying and writing.  It's solely innuendo.  It is disgraceful, but they have a template in DeLay, and so do the hyper partisan District Attorneys.

Mr. DeLay was first accused by Mr. Earle, the chief prosecutor of Travis County, Texas, of conspiring to violate Texas campaign laws. That indictment immediately was challenged because, even if there had been sufficient evidence of wrongdoing it would have necessitated prosecuting Mr. DeLay for violating a law that had not yet been passed at the time he was alleged to have broken it, a clear violation of the constitutional ban on ex post facto prosecution. Knowing that his indictment was doomed, Mr. Earle scrambled to convene a new grand jury in order to secure additional charges. The second grand jury refused to cooperate and rejected Mr. Earle’s plea for a second indictment, issuing what is called a “no bill,” meaning a formal refusal to indict based on the evidence presented. Under normal Texas procedure, a no-bill document is made public on the day it is issued; Mr. Earle schemed to keep the grand jury’s rejection of his case secret until he could convene yet another grand jury. He found a brand-new one that had just been seated and, with the statute of limitations hanging over his head, wrung out of them indictments on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering after only a few hours of presenting his evidence. The refusal of the second grand jury to indict was kept secret until the third grand jury had done so. Mr. DeLay’s attorneys filed a formal complaint of prosecutorial misconduct, including the use of coercive and misleading measures in the matter of the third grand jury.

To charge Mr. DeLay with money laundering and conspiracy to commit same was a desperate maneuver never destined to stand up to final judgment. That is because to be guilty of money laundering, one must be guilty of producing the money in question through some prior felony offense.

His alleged wrongdoing under campaign-finance laws consisted of using corporate “soft money” donations to offset “hard money” campaign donations in order to circumvent the Texas law prohibiting direct corporate contributions to political candidates. Never mind that Mr. DeLay was never convicted of any such offense — indeed, never mind that such an offense is not criminal — there was never any evidence that he had even come close to committing such a violation. The court had just thrown our Mr. Earle’s first indictment alleging that he had.

As Justice Goodwin notes in her opinion, Mr. DeLay’s political-action committee followed standard practices, segregating soft money and hard money in separate accounts. Democratic PACs operating at the same time had followed exactly the same procedures in the handling of comparable sums of money, here $190,000. As the justice writes, Mr. DeLay’s organization “did not transfer funds between these two accounts. . . . There was no evidence that [DeLay’s PACs] treated the corporate funds as anything but what they were, corporate funds with limited uses under campaign finance law.” In the court’s most damning finding, the justice writes that DeLay was prosecuted not for attempting to circumvent the law but for trying to satisfy it: “The evidence shows that the defendants were attempting to comply with the Election Code limitations on corporate contributions.”

That DeLay was convicted at all is a product of judicial incompetence at the trial-court level, also attested to by Justice Goodwin’s opinion. The jury, justifiably confused about how Mr. DeLay could be convicted of money laundering without an underlying crime producing dirty money to be laundered, sent the judge a question: “Can it constitute money laundering if the money wasn’t procured by illegal means originally?” Justice Goodwin again: “The proper answer to the question is ‘no.’ The jury’s question about the law was not answered, however.” Which is to say, the judge refused to answer an explicit jury inquiry about the fundamental legal question at stake in the case.

There are many legitimate criticisms that may be made of Tom DeLay, from some of his political choices to his appearances on Dancing with the Stars. But he is not a criminal. On the other hand, his defense team’s complaint alleging criminal misconduct on the part of Mr. Earle is persuasive. Unhappily, the same Democratic single-party rule in Travis County (Austin and environs) that allowed Mr. Earle’s circus of a case against Tom DeLay to proceed in the first place ensured that he was never held to account for his gross and shameful abuse of the public trust. Mr. DeLay did not earn his nickname, “The Hammer,” for being a nice guy, but the attempt of Texas Democrats to criminalize politics, and the decade-plus persecution of Mr. DeLay that resulted from it, is an act of corruption in the most literal sense of that word, eroding the legal and political institutions that enable democratic self-rule in a constitutional republic.

parts taken from today's National Review

And no doubt the press will come up with a live girl or a dead boy on Cruz. Some say . . . 

Have you people no shame?

of course you don't.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Cruz is what reality looks like from the center.  

It's a shitty little world you live in when you cannot even articulate what the guy says that pissed you off (ha!).

go wash your face.

IgnatiusJ
IgnatiusJ

Thanks again, Texas Teapots (R- Koch Dupes) for electing this embarrassment.  Then again, you do this ever election:  find the most flamboyant, wiley Corporate Shill who fans your faux-populist flames and you're in love.

leftocenter
leftocenter

Brantley, dude, I haven't even finished the article, but you just compared Ted Cruz to the joker, and nailed it!  Perfect analogy...back to reading

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Ok, Cruz doesn't want, let Perry expropriate it, eminent domain, etc. Plan B, follow CIA operating procedure (see Southern Air, Air America) and sell it to a dependable crony.

rusknative
rusknative

Cruz is a BIG PICTURE man in this issue.  Thank goodness SOMEONE sees ALL means of cutting debt BEFORE interest rates start to SKYROCKET soon beats out some small potatos funding of projects....he is bringing PRINCIPLE to the financial picture....not special interests.  Helium doesn't matter is no doctors are around for CAT scans, or if the economy stays in the tank and there is nothing to WELD.   The Saudis have thru OPEC a stranglehold on the WORLD supply of petroleum, and they open and close the spiggot as pleases their price control desires.  Helium is merely a commodity, not the end user.   Cruz gets it.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Tom Delay's conviction was not only overturned yesterday, the appellate court took the rare step of acquitting him of money laundering.

It took six grand juries and forum shopping to Travis County to get him indicted, and a judge who ordered the jury to convict him when they sent out the simple question "can you be convicted of laundering money that was legally obtained?"

The appellate court, of course, said no, blistering the judge.  

But hey!  You scum in the the news biz, combined with the radical Left, convicted a guy for his political beliefs and removed him for 17 years from the playing field.

And you almost jailed him just like you are doing now with Ted Cruz.

The demagogue is usually sly, a detractor of others, a professor of humility and disinterestedness, a great stickler for equality as respects all above him, a man who acts in corners, and avoids open and manly expositions of his course, calls blackguards gentlemen, and gentlemen folks, appeals to passions and prejudices rather than to reason, and is in all respects, a man of intrigue and deception, of sly cunning and management. - James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), U.S. novelist. The American Democrat, "On Demagogues" (1838).

jamessavik
jamessavik

What a perfect example of misleading bias in a story.

roadsidecouch
roadsidecouch

All you commentators are full of sh@t.  Cruz was actually trying to speed up passage of the bill by making it equal to the House bill.  Meaning if Cruz's version of the bill goes through, the bill goes to the president to sign.  Otherwise it goes to conference committee where a compromise bill is created and then sent to the House and Senate to vote again,.

"He still voted against a bill that would prevent a catastrophic interruption to whole sectors of the economy "  

We have enough helium reserve to last  100 years or more.  We still have the Strategic Helium Reserve which was designed to be used on department of defense airships, deemed necessary back in 1935.  Yes 78 years later we are still storing helium for the purpose of using them for non existent airships and selling a portion to the public to fulfill the public demand for Helium.  A bill was passed in 2007 to eliminate it and congress reversed it in 2011.  We still have the reserve.  You don't really expect congress to get rid of a useless 78 year old program do you?   That bill would have put the reserve into private hands where it belongs.

And all this vote does is send the bill through regular channels like most other bills and it was  still voted on and passed yesterday. Now it will go to conference committee as described above.  

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

As is the case with Cruz and his demagoguery on the funding bill, "Empty Suit" Ted wants to stir it up with a hysterical "NO".

No what Ted? No government support for a critical product, a product that the government is ensuring is available and which the government actually makes a profit doing?

good grief. just when I thought Texas couldn't have a more idiotic politician than Perry, Cruz proves that he can be more...

ruddski
ruddski

The debt is so large, there is no point to trying to pay it off. Guys like Cruz just want to kill people, for fun - depriving the children of discounted government helium is one way to do it. Keeping large-capacity automatic assault pistols legal is another.

hardlineHARDLINE
hardlineHARDLINE

@harleykarmadad i disagree the lefty libtards are just as abusive as the neo con church nazis.  The Lefty commies just use bigger words so it doesn't seem so abusive.  Personally I hate all you on the ideological extremes and wish you all would move to Kenya so the Centrists could take over and try to right this ship.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@harleykarmadad 

Wait 'til you get a load of how much the Yuppies have loaded you up with.

The debt's in the trillions, and the Yuppies are retiring at over 10,000 a day for the next 17 years.  Their income years are over with and it's up to you to pay it off.  This government funds itself on income taxation.

And it is your 1st home/car/kid payment.  

This is what Cruz is talking about.

The Yups will be lucky they aren't turned into DOGFOOD when you realize just how much money comes out of your ass.  They spent it.  You pay it back, but to be honest it cannot be paid back.  That's why Congress is polarized.  That's why they cooked up Obamacare to recast Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security through Obamacare.  They are now full of IOUs.  Congress spent the trust funds.  And you're it.

The finite mind cannot comprehend 17 trillion in debt we recognize and 100 trillion we don't (unfunded entitlements already committed to).

One day you will all be Ted Cruz.

IgnatiusJ
IgnatiusJ

@rusknative Actually, Venezuela has the highest oil reserves and Canada almost that of Saudi Arabia.  In addition, the US is no slouch in that.  "PRINCIPLE" as you put it, shouldn't get in the way of practicality and facts.  Cruz is a lawyer who knows he can count on Koch money and other Top 100 richest Americans to fool people that his paymasters interests are the same as someone in a rural county and 1/100th of his income.  Special Interests- look it up. Cruz is a fly in the ointment of good government.

IgnatiusJ
IgnatiusJ

@holmantx Shouldn't you be listening to Limbaugh, on Alex Jones or dead breitfart's site with your misdirected rage and obfuscation of facts?  The fact you defend Delay says all we need to know about your personal ethical convictions (pardon the pun).

leftocenter
leftocenter

I'm ok with doing that to Cruz...he's a special brand of looney.  Not prison, but just, ya know

leftocenter
leftocenter

You're reading the wrong blog, then...

Consider FOX...just saying.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@roadsidecouch 

very creative of you.

not reality mind you, but very creative.

rusknative
rusknative

@ruddski Cruz clearly wants to promote a Civil War where the conservatives get so fed up with liberal stupidity that they take up arms and attack homeless bums on the corner of Forest Lane and Central Exressway.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@ruddski 

The point is that this nitpicking and bloviating that amount to nothing substantial in the scheme of things. It's not heroic, it's nothing more than a distraction.

He's not a reformer, he's a  performer - just like the rest of them.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@fracquestions @rusknative 

gee.  Brilliant statement.  Can I quote you?

It was a dark and gloomy night.

Like ships lost in a deep fog, you all sound the same - "MO-RON, MO-RON" acomin'.

it's a wonder you fools don't run into each other . . .

The unbearable lightness of being Liberal I suppose.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@brussell8691 @holmantx 

ANOTHER airhead response (smarm)  (smirk).

(air kiss, air kiss)

This is what I'm talking about.  Complete morons who are incapable of debating past the, Bush Lied, People Died level.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@leftocenter 

That's kinda like me saying you're a dickhead without a shred of evidence.

a marginalization, you know?

a flip remark like, somebody oughta put a bullet in your face.

you make no sense.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@rusknative

what a compelling response.

or actually with the absence of detail, a telling response.

ruddski
ruddski

Cruz is holding America hostage!

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@holmantx 

not too difficult to see the vedict reinstated. the appeal ruling could easily be reversed, with no need for a retrial. you are wrong, it doesn't go to the TX Supreme Court, it goes to the TX Court of Criminal Appeals.

Earle performed his job, and did it well. a jury found DeLay guilty. the verdict was rendered after a fair trial.

the enforcement of the law is not "throughly discredited" at all as the Appeal Court decision was not unanimous. the dissenting opinion:

http://images.bimedia.net/documents/DeLay+Dissenting+Opinion.pdf

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@mavdog @fracquestions @holmantx @brussell8691

Quite frankly, that deconstruction is so complete that it would be difficult to imagine the Texas Supreme Court overturning any of it — and a successful appeal would have to hope that the court overturns all of it, or at least enough to get a new trial.  I’d predict that the directed verdict of acquittal will send a strong enough message to dissuade prosecutors from trying it again.

DeLay joins the late Ted Stevens as two members of Congress recently prosecuted for corruption to be later vindicated in appeals to original convictions.  William Jefferson, who was prosecuted in the same time frame, lost all of his appeals and will be in prison for at least the next ten years.  The man who should be under scrutiny now is Ronnie Earle, whose years-long legal grudge match against DeLay  and other Texas Republicans has been thoroughly discredited by the appellate court.

Hot Air - ED MORRISSEY

the ruling is here:

http://images.bimedia.net/documents/tom-delay-appeal-doc-12D.pdf

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@fracquestions @holmantx @brussell8691

sorry frac, would like to say you're right but...

The Appeal Court overturned the conviction, and as they state "render judgements of acquittal".

The Appeal Court (by 2-1) held the State didn't show evidence sufficient to prove DeLay violated the Statute. It comes down to how to interpret the Statute.

This isn't finished, a higher Appeals court could find DeLay is still guilty by having a different interpretation of the Statute.

fracquestions
fracquestions

@holmantx @fracquestions @brussell8691 Just because somebody got a headline wrong does not mean the statement is accurate. Delay was CONVICTED. His conviction was OVERTURNED. Delay was NOT ACQUITTED!

I am sorry if these nuances of law are beyond your grasp, but it has been the same way with the Trinity East deal, so no big surprise here!

fracquestions
fracquestions

@holmantx @brussell8691 Are YOU fucking paying attention to what happened yesterday? Delay was NOT acquitted. His sentence was overturned. He was already CONVICTED!

Every time to write something you just prove how truly stupid you are. You must be home schooled!

leftocenter
leftocenter

Awkward...

We understand he was acquitted...good lawyering, no doubt.  The feds don't make cases they won't win or cases that won't stand up, so that is significant.  Just not Biblical

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@brussell8691 @holmantx are you fucking paying attention to what happened yesterday?

Jesus!

He was acquitted.  For precisely the reverse of what you just claimed!


IgnatiusJ
IgnatiusJ

@holmantx @brussell8691  Facts are facts!  A Republican appointed State Supreme Court Justice appointed a retired, well-respected by both parties judge who convicted Delay on money laundering.  It doesn't matter if the campaign donation money was given to an acceptable candidate, as it fell under Campaign Finance law, it was re-routed illegally, as any attorney familiar with basic campaign law will tell you.

As for "shopping" grand juries, gee, that's never happened before on either side.

But don't let the facts get in the way of your Republican At All Cost, Despite Logic argument.

leftocenter
leftocenter

Dang I hate an old-fashioned lexicon...forces me to use the actual definitions of words -- a handy practice.

Attacked because he was effective...that's just silly conspiracy-theory bunk. 

and the BOGUS IRS "political attack", if you are talking about profiling Tea Party, et al, did you miss the part where they ALSO profiled "progressive" and similar words as well?  It turned out to be a non-story.  There are IRS rules for non-profits about the percentage of activity that can be political.  That's why they were scrutinizing them.

READ.  SOMETHING REAL, NOT WHAT YOU GOT IN YOUR EMAIL CHAIN.  CHECK YOUR OWN FACTS...IT'S FUN!

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@leftocenter to demagogue is a verb in the modern lexicon and Delay was not convicted because of his associations with Abramoff, or anyone else.  Think about what you are saying.

He, like Cruz, was attacked because he was effective.

leftocenter
leftocenter

As far as Delay goes, he was connected to Jack Abramoff, who has plead guilty many time over to influence peddling in DC -- major player.  If you really want to understand how Delay got rolled up in this, read up on Abramoff.  Not a bad guy, just did some really bad things -- suspended his conscience, it happens all the time.

leftocenter
leftocenter

We really can't communicate until you look up and understand "demagogue"...def a political leader who tries to get support by making false claims and promises and using argulents based on emotion rather than reason (Merriam-Webstera)  I have to agree it's a good label for Cruz, but not sure you understand what you are saying -- it's not a verb.

So, "1st demagogue, the indict"  ... what are you trying to say and who are "you people?"  Pretty much every one of his far, far, land-far-away, radical right assertions offend me -- that's the nature of partisan politics.

Frankly, you are sounding pretty paranoid and conspiracy-theorizing...hey, different strokes, right? 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@leftocenter 

1st demagogue, then indict.  You people are establishing a pattern.

What is he advocating that so offends you?

And why did he come from 40 points back to defeat Dewhurst and the Republican Establishment's endorsement, and their money?

Do you think it might be his message or do you subscribe to the marginalization by invective of half this country?  What part of "Taxed Enough Already" do you not understand?  And what two-bit shiftless idiot murmurs the mantra of racism?  One who cannot argue on the merits.

What precipitated the political attack by the IRS?

A cadre of radical Leftists who presently control this country, with the President at the top.  It is a mindset that it is okay to jail Tom Delay.

And it's the attitude displayed on this board which promotes the idea that your political enemies can be rightfully set upon by federal agencies and a partisan court.

leftocenter
leftocenter

@holmantx Yes, you make a good point, but Cruz has gone to great lengths to make himself a lighten rod, and consequently, will attract lightening.  It won't always be fair, but it will be lightening. 

He's creating his own evidence of dickhead-ness every time he opens his mouth.  Isn't your comment about trying to jail Cruz just hyperbole too?  flip, non-sensical?  Anyone really trying to "jail" him?

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