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New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel nixes new medal for drone pilots

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has nixed the creation of a new military medal that would honor drone pilots and cyber operatives. According to Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel, veterans and lawmakers alike created an uproar when it was announced that the new medal would outrank the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal was proposed in February by outgoing Secretary of Defense, Leon Pannetta, and was intended to honor military achievements “beyond the battlefield” since September 11, 2001. The outcry against the new medal came when it was clear that the new honor would take precedence over traditional combat awards, including the Purple Heart, awarded to those who are injured in service to the country, and the Bronze Star, awarded for acts of heroism and courage, as well as for meritorious service.

After a 30-day review of the new medal, Hagel chose to introduce a modifying insignia to be worn with an existing medal rather than to create a separate honor.

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the concurrence of the service secretaries, have recommended the creation of a new distinguishing device that can be affixed to existing medals to recognize the extraordinary actions of this small number of men and women,” he said. “I agree with the Joint Chiefs’ findings, and have directed the creation of a distinguishing device instead of a separate medal.”

“The service men and women, who operate and support our remotely piloted aircraft, operate in cyber, and others are critical to our military’s mission of safeguarding the nation,” continued Hagel. “I again want to thank my predecessor, Leon Panetta, for raising the need to ensure that these men and women are recognized for their contributions.”

“This decision will clearly keep medals that can only be earned in combat in their high order of precedence,” said John E. Hamilton, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, “while providing proper recognition to all who support our warfighters regardless of their distance from the fight.”

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People are calling Denver’s newest city council member a communist — but she’d rather be called an anarchist

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On April 10, Candi CdeBaca’s 33rd birthday, Denver’s second “bomb cyclone” of the year brought snow and heavy wind, and knocked out power in some areas, including at CdeBaca’s house in Elyria-Swansea. When CdeBaca, then a Denver City Council candidate, finally got power back and turned on her phone, she saw she had an unusually high number of missed calls and messages. Birthday wishes, she assumed.

“There was a death threat,” she said. “There were two of them within an hour. One of them said, ‘I was trained to kill commie shit like you.’”

The context: At a candidate forum on April 7, CdeBaca offered some remarks that, to many, sounded like she was advocating a Communist form of government.

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Iran says new ‘mentally retarded’ Trump sanctions mean ‘permanent closure’ of diplomacy

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Iran said Tuesday that new US sanctions targeting its supreme leader meant a “permanent closure” of diplomacy, while the country’s president labelled the White House “mentally retarded” as tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing the sanctions against Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday, taking a dramatic and unprecedented step to increase pressure on Iran after Tehran’s downing of an American drone last week.

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‘Dangerous linguistic power’: A historian explains how Trump weaponizes nicknames

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Is Donald Trump the modern day Earl Long?

A three-time Louisiana governor, Long mastered the art of political ridicule seven decades ago by weaponizing nicknames. The hilarious names Long pinned on his rivals, and the rollicking stories he told about them, riveted audiences bored by puffed-up rhetoric.

While Long’s stunts may be remembered as silly hijinks, there was a sly, often deadly serious, purpose to his technique. He used it to get voters to laugh at his foes and to put them on the defensive––a place politicians never want to be. Tucked within Long’s jests were razor-sharp attacks aimed at exploiting opposition weaknesses––hidden swords inside a pea-patch cloak.

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Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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