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.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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