America honors its worst. Others most deserving are ignored. Doing the right thing doesn’t matter. Supporting wealth, power and privilege wins awards.
On August 8, The New York Times headlined “16 Medal of Freedom Honorees Are Named,” saying:
“Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and 14 others” were chosen. On Thursday, the White House said Obama will present the awards later this year.
An August 8 White House statement headlined “President Obama Names Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients,” saying:
“2013 Marks 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s Establishment of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama named sixteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
The awards will be presented at the White House later this year.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as the first ceremony bestowing the honor on an inaugural class of 31 recipients.”
Since that time, more than 500 exceptional individuals from all corners of society have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President Obama said, ‘The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours.’
‘This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.’ ”
Recipients include Bill Clinton. His rap sheet’s one of the worst. He’s an unindicted war criminal multiple times over.
A previous article explained. It discussed his involvement in Rwandan ethnic massacres. He’s responsible for genocide against Iraqi civilians.
He did so by intermittent bombings. He maintained lawless sanctions. They caused about 1.5 million deaths. Most were young children. Up to 7,000 died monthly.
In June 1995, his Presidential Directive (PDD 39) authorized “all legal means available to exclude from the United States persons who pose a terrorist threat and deport or otherwise remove from the United States any such aliens.”
Black site torture prisons followed. Guantanamo’s one of many. They operate globally. They hold innocent victims. Few, if any, committed crimes. They’re brutalized for political advantage. It continues out of sight and mind.
In 1999, Clinton waged war on Yugoslavia. He did so lawlessly. He ravaged it for 78 days. He massacred and displaced thousands. A humanitarian disaster followed.
Domestically, Clinton policies benefitted Wall Street crooks. They still do. He helped institutionalize grand theft.
He facilitated public misinformation, deregulation, market manipulation, insider trading, Ponzi schemes, false accounting, embezzling, bilking investors with impunity, and practices leading to housing bubble disaster for millions.
He ended Glass-Steagall. It prevented commercial/investment banks/insurance company combinations. He signed into law the Commodity Futures Modernization Act.
It legitimizes swap agreements and other hybrid instruments. It permits some of the worst financial crimes. It ended regulatory derivatives and leveraging oversight.
It turned Wall Street more than ever into a casino. It facilitates the grandest of grand theft. It continues out-of-control.
Washington’s corporate occupied territory. Money power runs things. Elections are convenient fictions. Illusion substitutes for reality.
Telecom deregulation became law on Clinton’s watch. So did NAFTA and WTO’s establishment. Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch director Lori Wallach calls it a “slow motion coup against democracy.”
So-called “free trade” isn’t fair. It’s one way. It grand theft, plunder, exploitation, and ecocide. Bottom line priorities alone matter.
Clinton’s Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) waged war on America’s most disadvantaged. Sink or swim became policy.
It’s worse than ever now. Austerity’s force fed. It’s increasing. Main Street Great Depression conditions don’t matter. Let ’em eat cake is policy.
Clinton’s tenure was lawless. His record speaks for itself. He remains unaccountable. In June, Shimon Peres awarded him Israel’s Medal of Distinction.
One war criminal honored another. They deserve prison, not merit awards.
Oprah Winfrey’s another honoree. A previous article discussed her. She was Harvard’s 362nd Commencement speaker.
She’s an African-American billionaire. She’s an on air celebrity/media mogul/actress/producer. She helped popularize junk food TV.
She’s connected to America’s rich and powerful. She supported Bush’s Afghan and Iraq wars. She did so on air. She featured neocon guests.
She called aggressive wars liberating ones. She lied saying so. She lies for power. She’s unapologetic. She’s busy using money to make more of it.
Critics call her more infomercial than real. She sells false hopes and promises. She supported Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. They teamed up for demagogic campaigning.
She appeals to America’s lowest common denominator. She’s no progressive. She’s on the wrong side of major issues.
She abhors what she claims to support. She lies on air to viewers. She plays fast and loose with facts. She supports neoliberal harshness. She’s dismissive about civil rights.
She didn’t become a billionaire by being a good guy. Balzac said behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Wealth and power alone matter.
Humanity’s on its own to survive. Oprah’s like Obama. They don’t care about ordinary people. They’re more white than black.
Honoring Oprah shamed Harvard. So does granting her America’s highest civilian award.
In July 1945, Harry Truman established Medal of Freedom awards. In February 1963, Jack Kennedy replaced it with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
It’s awarded “for especially meritorious contributions to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
It mocks what it claims to represent. It replicates Nobel hypocrisy. Recipients include war criminals. Obama, Henry Kissinger, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Al Gore, and Kofi Annan among others stand out.
Other Presidential Medal of Freedom honorees include:
Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Bank. How does hitting home runs contribute to world peace, national security and other interests mattering most?
Country music singer/songwriter Loretta Lynn. She contributes nothing to peace on earth, good will to all.
Musician/composer Arturo Sandoval. How does winning multiple Grammy, Emmy and Billboard awards contribute to making the world a better place?
Retired basketball coach Dean Smith. What does basketball coaching have to do with values mattering most?
Sally Ride (awarded posthumously). She was America’s first female astronaut. She was involved with America’s militarized space program. It’s goal is exclusive outer space control. It plans waging future wars that way.
Retired Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee. His career reflected lying for wealth and power.
Senator Daniel Inouye (awarded posthumously). He endorsed waging war on Afghanistan and Iraq. He supported Patriot Act and Homeland Security harshness.
Senator Richard Lugar. He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s more hardline than Inouye. He supports all US imperial wars. He endorses austerity harshness. He backs police state lawlessness.
Former Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Patricia Wald. She served on the International (Kangaroo) Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
She’s connected to George Soros. She’s board chairman of his Open Society Justice Initiative. Her record speaks for itself.
The remaining honorees include chemistry Nobel Prize recipient Mario Molina, civil rights advocate Bayard Rustin (awarded posthumously), Israeli/American psychologist Daniel Kahneman, minister/author CT Vivian, and feminist/journalist/publisher/Obama campaigner/supporter Gloria Steinem.
Since 1963, over 500 honorees got Presidential Medal of Freedom awards. Most were undeserving. Some were war criminals.
They represented wealth and power interests. They still do. They mock what matters most. They’re not peace advocates. They deplore government of, by and for everyone equitably.
They’re on the wrong side of history. Their record speaks for itself.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.” www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour