Real Change: Presidential Medals of Freedom Edition

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I can be pretty hard on President Obama. He’s broken promises on transparency. His regulation of the financial sector leaves much to be desired. He supports horrible laws. In the midst of all that disappointment, one can lose track of the fact that while he may be continuing many of the last administration’s worst policies, Obama is not George W. Bush. The previous president decided that these guys deserved Presidential Medals of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor:That’s a whole heaping bag of fail right there. From left to right, we have the guy who screwed up the intelligence before the Iraq War (George Tenet), the guy who screwed up the troop numbers for the Iraq War (Gen. Tommy Franks), the Decider himself, and the guy who screwed up the Iraq occupation (L. Paul Bremer). Later, Gen. Peter Pace, noted homophobe, also got himself a shiny medal.

The current president has slightly different criteria for awarding this prestigious honor. His list includes Stephen Hawking, Billie Jean King, Sidney Poitier, two Nobel Peace Prize winners, and (tear) Harvey Milk, among others. It really makes that parade of fail above look especially pathetic. It’s a small thing, but it is, for once, some real change.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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