Posts Tagged ‘Tom Cotton’

The Young Turks: US Senator Blames Heroin Addiction on Disability Benefits

December 27, 2015

Okay, this is another video from The Young Turks across the Pond. I’m reblogging it here, because the attitude of the Republican senator, who made this stupid speech is exactly the same as the Conservatives over here. It’s so similar that I wonder how long it’ll be before Ian Duncan Smith, Katie Hopkins, Louise Mensch or some other Tory rentagob makes precisely the same argument in parliament, or in the pages of the Sun or the Mail.

The Republican senator, Tom Cotton, gave a speech to the right-wing Heritage Foundation arguing that disability benefits should be abolished because they act as a disincentive for the disabled to get jobs. He stated that disability benefits encourage increasing numbers of people to stop working to go on them. Eventually there comes a point, according to Cotton, where the sheer number of people on disability benefits drives companies away from an area. Without the prospect of work, the people then turn to drugs like heroin.

The Turks’ Ana Kasparian points out that the heroin epidemic in America isn’t due to disability benefits. It’s due to the pharmaceutical companies putting pressure on doctors to overprescribe massively oxycotin. When this drug then becomes unavailable, those who have become addicted to it then try to self-medicate with heroin.

The Turks’ other anchor, Cenk Uygur, states he has some sympathy with Cotton, on the grounds that if benefits are paid at a rate above that of normal wages, most reasonable people will try to go on them instead. But he argues that isn’t the reason why Cotton has made this argument. Cotton is talking about the depressed communities in the Appalachians – the ‘Rust Belt’. These communities have been hard hit by the decline of the American manufacturing industry. Unlike Pittsburgh, the Appalachians haven’t been able to boost their economy with the introduction of new technology. So Cotton is attempting to divert attention from industry’s inability to create employment in the area by blaming the people themselves for their problems.

Uygur and Kasparian also start talking about the double standards the Repugs adopt when talking about drug addiction amongst White and Black communities. When it comes to White communities, they’re much less harsh and start to pretend to feel the pain of those communities suffering from it. ‘Cause those people aren’t Black. They also do so because many of the politicos’ own families are addicted to something unpleasant. To properly demonise something, they have to pretend it’s foreign. Uygur states that in the 1920s, when the US outlawed cannabis, they renamed it ‘marijuana’ in order to link it mentally with Mexicans. As for the corrosive effect of the pharmaceutical industry on American politics, the industry is the largest political donor.

The Tories share Cotton’s attitudes to disability. They too are determined to stop people claiming it, along with other benefits. As for the pharmaceutical industry, this is one of the problems that come with privatised medicine. So if the Tories get rid of the NHS, we’ll suffer the same phenomenon over here. And the Heritage Foundation has influenced British politics. Very many of the Tories on the extreme Right-wing of the party, like one Paul Staines aka Guido Fawkes, have been part of sections of the party, that have links to the Foundation and similar right-wing organisations. Cotton is saying what a fair number of Tories are thinking, and what they’d like to say if they could get away with it.

Senator Behind Iran Letter Has Links to Arms Industry

March 12, 2015

This is another video by The Young Turks following up their story about the Republicans’ campaign to damage negotiations between Obama and Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme. A group of 47 Republican senators, led by Tom Cotton, wrote a letter to Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, declaring that they would do everything to make sure that any peace deal made would not have congressional backing. It would thus be merely a presidential agreement, which subsequent administrations could easily modify or disregard.

The Young Turks rightly pointed out that it was tantamount to treason for the Republicans to try to undermine their own, elected president like this, simply in the interests of Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of a completely different country.

In this piece, they show also the domestic, economic motives behind Cotton’s and the Repugs’ attempts to increase tension with Iran: defence spending. They point out that the defence industry is one of the top three political sponsors in the US. Cotton himself went off to talk to the National Defense Industries’ Association, a lobbying group for Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Oshkosh, Booz and other defence contractors and arms manufacturers.

It also ain’t any kind of accident that Cotton is a supporter of Israel, and their plans to launch an attack on Iran. Boeing is also negotiating with Israel for purchasing B 52 bombers and bunker-buster bombs.

Cotton is therefore deliberately courting war, just so that he gets lots of campaign dollars and re-elected from the defence industry, and they get to maximise their profits by starting another war in the Middle East.

And hundreds of thousands, if not millions, will die, just so that Cotton and his cronies can make a fast buck.
Despicable.

Republican Senators Attempt to Scupper Peace Deal with Letter to Ayatollah of Iran

March 12, 2015

This is another piece from The Young Turks that I found on Youtube. I’ve blogged recently about how the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Republicans in America have been criticising Obama because of his negotiations with Iran in order to stop them developing nuclear weapons. Netanyahu and the Repugs have been attempting to scare the American public by lying to them about how the Iranians are on the verge of developing nuclear weapons that can be launched at Tel Aviv, New York or Los Angeles.

It’s all lies. According to the international atomic energy authorities, Iran is not developing nuclear arms. Their nuclear research programme is doing exactly what the Iranians claim: it’s purely for domestic power production.

This, however, has not been good enough for the Repugs. A few days ago a group of 47 Republican senators, under the leadership of Tom Cotton, wrote a letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, stating that they intended making sure that any treaty between their nation and the Iranians would have no congressional ratification. Without this, it would merely be a presidential agreement, which they were also determined to modify or disregard completely in subsequent administrations.

Here’s the video giving The Young Turks’ take on the letter.

The Turks’ anchor, Cenk Uyghur, is absolutely right on this. It is outrageous, and borderline treasonous for the Republican to undermine the leader of their own nation simply on behalf of another country, regardless of whether that nation is Israel, Canada, Germany or Siam. Worse, these people actually seem to be campaigning for another war.

And Uyghur here makes another good point: the Neo-Con Repug leadership are all chickenhawks. None of them have ever fought in a war, and in fact most of them actively dodged the draft. Dick Cheney is a case in point. He had it deferred seven or eight times because he ‘had better things to do.’ There’s a long list in the book, Confronting the New Conservatism, of Dubya and the other Repugs who similarly squirmed out of serving in Vietnam. The book quotes Conservative critics of the Neo-Cons, including high-ranking military personnel, to show that they don’t understand the Middle East and deeply resent the diplomats, generals and senior officers that do.

And these people won’t be sending their sons and daughters to die out in the desert. The people who’ll do the dying will be spouses and children of Mr and Mrs regular American.

A few years ago there may have been an argument for a pre-emptive strike on Iran. Ahmedinijad was a millennialist, who believed that the End Times were upon us. He was part of a group of Twelver Shi’ah, who believed that the return of the Mahdi, the ‘Rightly-Guided’ Twelfth Imam, was imminent. The Shi’ah differ from Sunni Muslims in that they believe that Mohammed’s son-in-law, Ali, was the true successor to the prophet. Ali’s descendants were the Imams, who were the true spiritual guides and rulers of the Muslim community. The precise number of Imams venerated differs from Shi’ah sect to sect. Some believe that there were only seven. The majority of Iranians are Twelver Shi’ah, who believe that there were twelve rightly guided imams. The last imam went into occultation – that is, vanished from the world, after going to a well in the ninth century. Twelver Shi’ah believe that he will reappear to fight the forces of evil just before the end of the world.

Ahmedinijad was one of those, who believed that the twelfth imam’s return was imminent. He renovated the well at which the imam is believed to have vanished. Before then it was quite neglected, although it was a site of pilgrimage for some Shi’ah. It’s now been extensively restored and is the centre of a complex of religious buildings devoted to spreading the faith. Even liberal papers over here, like the Independent, were afraid that Ahmedinijad’s religious convictions would lead him to start another war in the mistaken belief that he was hastening the way for the return of the imam.

Ahmedinijad is not the only political leader to have dangerous millennial beliefs. Similar concerns were expressed in the 1980s about Ronald Reagan because of the way he surrounded himself with extreme right-wing Christians, who also believed that the End Times were upon, following Hal Lindsey’s The Late, Great Planet Earth. They saw the millennial conflict as between America and the Soviet Union, representing the forces of Satan. And there was a similar fear that Reagan would start a nuclear war as part of a programme to hasten Armageddon and the return of Christ.

Ahmedinijad and Reagan are both gone, and the current elected Iranian leader rather more liberal. As I’ve also blogged, any attempt to avoid further war in the Middle East is well worth pursuing, given the bloody chaos that has resulted from the invasion of Iraq. Apart from the massive general bloodshed and loss of life that has resulted from the West’s invasion of Iraq, it has resulted in the religious cleansing and attempted extermination of Christians and other religious minorities, like the Yezidis, from their ancient homes by ISIS. Iran is already the eighth worse country in the world for its persecution of Christians. I don’t want it joining the North Korea, Somalia and Iraq as the very worst, just as I don’t want any more people, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Yezidi, Buddhist or whatever, to die just to enrich the multinationals and boost Netanyahu’s election chances.

America and Iran have a real chance of making the Middle East just a little bit more stable, and pushing the forces of death and war back just that little bit. It’s monstrous that it’s being scuppered by Repugs and their attempt to join forces with the hardliners in the Islamic Republic.