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Singer Lady Gaga rallies Maine activists in fight against ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

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Singing sensation Lady Gaga threw the full weight of her stardom Monday behind efforts to repeal a US ban on gays serving openly in the military, decrying it as “against all that we stand for as Americans.”

The pop provocateur electrified a crowd of several hundred in a park here in the northeast US state of Maine, home to two Republican US senators who Lady Gaga and other gay rights activists hope will break with their party and support ending the ban.

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The openly bisexual singer — an icon in the gay community — has urged senators to vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that requires gay military personnel to hide their sexual orientation or face dismissal.

“Equality is the prime rib of America,” she told the crowd. “But because I’m gay I don’t get to enjoy the greatest cut of meat my country has to offer.”

She appeared to be alluding to the explosively controversial “meat dress” that she wore to the MTV Music Awards earlier this month — a provocation she seemed to confirm was an effort to draw attention to the inequality of the 1993 rule that requires gays to disclose their sexual orientation or face dismissal.

“I’m here because Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is wrong, it’s unjust, and fundamentally it is against all that we stand for as Americans,” she said to rapturous applause.

Dismissing what she called the use of homophobia as a defense in the argument that gays should not openly serve, she proposed turning the tables on soldiers who claim they can’t perform their duties adequately alongside a gay colleague.

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“Doesn’t it seem to be that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is backwards?” she asked, observing that gay soldiers who “hold and harbor no hatred, no prejudice, no phobia, are sent home” while “homophobic” troops remain on the job.

“If you are not honorable enough to fight without prejudice, go home!” she said in her fiery 20-minute speech before hugging veterans who had been dismissed by the US military because their sexual orientation was disclosed.

The Senate was set to vote Tuesday afternoon on a bill that includes a repeal of the ban, but Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican who lost to Barack Obama in 2008, is expected to block the vote with a move called a filibuster.

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The Maine lawmakers Lady Gaga is lobbying with her rally, Senators Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, have not said how they will vote on the issue.

Kevin Kelly, a spokesman for Collins, said the senator “is undecided. She has encouraged Senator (Harry) Reid to work with Republican leaders to come up with an agreement to allow for Republican amendments.”

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A “yes” vote by at least 60 of the Senate’s 100 members would end the filibuster and allow a full vote on the bill to proceed.

Obama’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both backed the repeal this year, and said a Pentagon study due at the end of 2010 would help guide the new rules for military service.

Lady Gaga singled out McCain for his filibuster, and in a message to her 6.4 million fans on Twitter urged fans to call their senators to end the filibuster.

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McCain, a former naval officer with strong ties to the military, said he was not opposed to ending the ban, but did not want it repealed before a thorough study is conducted on its impact on military effectiveness and morale.

On Monday, he told reporters, “I encourage the debate and discussion,” even giving a nod to Lady Gaga.

“I’m confident that all the young people who admire her will read about this issue and study it and I’m confident that we will have more support,” McCain said.

The US House of Representatives in May passed its version of the bill with a provision to repeal the controversial measure, with Collins voting in favor.

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This video was published to YouTube on Sept. 20, 2010, originally broadcast by CNN.


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2020 Election

The truth about Bernie Sanders’ medical records: They’re encouraging — but a key detail is missing

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When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) landed in the hospital at the beginning of October 2019 after suffering a heart attack, it became guaranteed that his health would be an issue in the 2020 Democratic primary. The 78-year-old is known for his passionate rallies and reveling in the rigors of the campaign, but a candidate's health condition can change the course of an election, and a serious medical crisis like a heart attack puts into question his ability to do the job.

To help allay these concerns, Sanders assured voters that he would release "comprehensive" medical records. But he hasn't, and now it seems he doesn't plan on doing it. Instead, he released three letters in December from doctors describing his health positively and vouching for his ability to handle the campaign trail and potentially, the presidency.

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2020 Election

How the question of who killed JFK emerged in an unexpected way on the 2020 campaign trail

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On Monday night in Fairfax, Virginia, Donald Jeffries, author and talk radio host, asked Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard about a book she was seen carrying, “JFK and the Unspeakable.” Published in 2008, the book is a Catholic philosopher’s meditation about the assassination of liberal president John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, one of the great historical crimes of American politics.

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Trump whines about losing the Time ‘Man of the Year’ award he lost to a teenage girl

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President Donald Trump goaded his audience into booing a teenager during a campaign rally in Colorado Springs on Thursday.

Trump said, "I got beaten up by Greta" -- in reference to Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who recently celebrated her 17th birthday.

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