The nation’s highest civilian honor has just been bestowed upon an impeached U.S. president, a scandal-plagued senator accused of sexual harassment and corruption and a television talk-show host who owns a school embroiled in a huge sexual molestation scheme.
This is just a sampling of President Obama’s bizarre picks for the 2013 Medal of Freedom. President John F. Kennedy created the award five decades ago and it has been presented to more than 500 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.” This week President Obama added 16 names to the “distinguished list” in a ceremony at the White House.
Let’s take a look at some of the better known awardees; Bill Clinton, impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice involving his affair with a 21-year-old intern named Monica Lewinsky. The disgraced commander-in-chief also has the honor of being the first sitting president to testify before a grand jury investigating his shameful, and let’s not forget illegal, conduct. This proves his behavior was especially atrocious because presidents are practically untouchable, protected by immunity and executive privilege.
Next we have a deceased, Democratic U.S. Senator (Daniel Inouye) from Hawaii with a storied career. A number of women, including the veteran lawmaker’s hairdresser, claimed Inouye sexually harassed them throughout a decade. In 2009 Inouye got busted for abusing his influence as a senator to get a Hawaii bank that held most of his wealth and that he helped found federal bailout money. After the late senator intervened the bank, Central Pacific Financial, got $135 million in bailout funds though its application had been rejected, according to an investigative news report.
The feds had rightfully turned down the failing bank’s bailout request because it had lost $146 million in the second quarter of 2008 alone, more than the profits of its previous three years. Logically, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) refused to give it a favorable recommendation for bailout funds so Inouye got involved. Not surprisingly, there was no mention of this in the White House Medal of Freedom announcement, which described Inouye as a lifelong public servant who fought in World War II.
Next we have talk-show host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey, a raging Hollywood liberal who founded a boarding school in Africa to provide disadvantaged girls with a “nurturing educational environment.” Instead the $40 million Johannesburg school has been the center of a chain of scandals involving sexual molestation of students by employees. In 2011 the dead body of a newborn was found in the bag of a 17-year-old student at the school. Winfrey brought a team of private detectives to investigate the matter, which she says has shaken her to her core.
Obama’s other high-profile awardees include militant feminist Gloria Steinem, a renowned abortion rights activist and Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, a “civil rights” leader who heads a group (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) investigated by the federal government for communist infiltration. The White House announcement describes Steinem as a writer and activist for women’s equality and Vivian as a distinguished minister, author and leader in the civil rights movement.