Two-Faced Susan: Susan Collins' Lies, Hypocrisy, and Allegiance to the GOP's Far Right Wing

(By the end of this post, you'll want to contribute heavily to Congressman Tom Allen's Senate campaign.  Keep the link handy.)

Susan Collins is approaching the conclusion of her second term as Maine's junior Senator, the seat she first won in 1996.  Her employment history prior to serving as a U.S. Senator includes twelve years on the staff of U.S. Senator William Cohen (R-ME), so she is no stranger to the machinations of representing the state of Maine in the U.S. Senate.

While Collins has presented herself as a moderate or centrist in order to maximize the breadth of her appeal to Maine voters, when one looks at the entirety of her record, what is evidenced is overwhelming double-talk and an undue allegiance to the far-right wing of the Republican Party and the current Bush administration.  It has become clear that Susan Collins is out of step with mainstream Maine voters and is far too comfortable being patently dishonest when it suits her political ends.

(Much, much, much more below the fold.)

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The Three Stages of Republican Corruption

Crossposted from Left Toon Lane, Bilerico Project& My Left Wing

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Reprinted from The Satirical Political Report

In a move that legal scholars are calling both stunning and long overdue, the American Bar Association (ABA) has issued a ruling prohibiting all lawyers from serving in, or representing, the Bush Administration.

Although this decision had been under consideration for some time, the straw that broke the camel's back was the recent statement of Charles D. Stimson, a senior Pentagon official, who condemned lawyers at leading national firms for providing representation to prisoners at Guantánamo, and suggested that corporate clients should terminate their relationship with such firms. The same point appeared Friday on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal.

The decision by a special three-member panel of the ABA was based on a seldom-used disciplinary rule, DR-666, which provides that "a lawyer's duty of zealous representation does not apply to a client who is the devil-incarnate."

However, the decision was not unanimous, as Professor Alan Dershowitz of the Harvard Law School cast a dissenting vote, on the basis that "the ruling did not go far enough, and should have included a proviso for the torture and rendition of these right-wing lawyers."


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In a lawsuit that legal scholars are calling unprecedented, the Republican National Committee has filed suit against Diebold, the manufacturer of electronic voting machines, for breach of contract, negligence, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty - all arising out of Diebold's failure to "fix" the midterm elections in favor of the GOP.

The 189-page complaint, filed, naturally, in the Southern District of Florida, alleges that "Diebold reneged on its promises to deliver a majority of votes to Republican candidates in 49 states."

A footnote to the complaint explained that "no damages are sought regarding the Communistwealth of Taxachussets, which even elected a black guy as governor; as the GOP acknowledges that Diebold could only be expected to perform its contractual promises, not miracles."

Professor Alan Dershowitz of the Harvard Law School commented that this was the first time he could recall an action being brought against a party for failing to carry out a fraud. "Indeed," Dershowitz added, "it would be like O.J. suing a private investigator for not finding the real killer ... Oops!"


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What We've Forgotten About AIDS

Cross-posted at Creative Trouble!

As the world focuses attention this week on the 25th anniversary of the first AIDS diagnoses, there will undoubtedly be a lot made of the fact that, as Nicholas Kristof writes in today's New York Times, "In the early years of AIDS, the virus didn't get attention because the victims were marginalized people: gays, Haitians and hemophiliacs. Then when AIDS did threaten mainstream America, it finally evoked empathy and research dollars."

This typical account of the early years of AIDS is true only to a point. Kristof makes it sound as though the "early populations" (leaving out IV drug users) affected by AIDS were not only distinct from "mainstream America" but that they were tragically overlooked because of their status as "marginalized people." This common reading denies the fact that it was well known early on among scientists and experts that AIDS was already in Africa and was clearly being spread by heterosexual contact in addition to homosexual. Furthermore, it denies the unique way in which AIDS was socially constructed as a gay disease, not just because of a general misunderstanding but because of deliberate efforts by right-wingers to use the disease in a fashion that Simon Watney compared to that of the public spectacle in his essay "The Spectacle of AIDS" to revive Victorian-era conceptions of homosexuals as sick by their very nature.

When we talk about the culture wars in America, the common image is angry people screaming at each other about their beliefs. We rarely think of those wars as having serious casualties. Yet the efforts of leading right-wing culture war figures like Pat Buchanan, William Bennett, Fred Phelps and Jesse Helms to frame AIDS as "nature's revenge against homosexuality" - a perverse illness to match a perverse lifestyle - led to the deaths of many thousands of Americans of AIDS. These people had no reservations about what the government should do to people with AIDS - for since they were all gay to them, their response was basically, "Let the fuckers suffer, die, and burn in hell."

Their actions - helped along by an almost totally silent President Reagan and by other supposedly reasonable and remarkable right-wing luminaries - such as William F. Buckley, who in a 1986 op-ed in the New York Times called for HIV+ gay men to be forcibly branded on the buttocks and talked of a possible need for concentration camps -  exposed the right wing's culture war for exactly what it is: an effort to render dead or silent all those whose actions, identities, values and politics do not conform to traditional hierarchies of power.

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