Obama And Biden Award Themselves Medals

Ricky Gervais a few years back hosted the Golden Globes Awards and he joked to the audience about the uselessness of awards “Remember if you do win tonight, no one cares about that award as much as you do. Don’t get emotional, it’s embarrassing. That award is, no offense, worthless. It’s a bit of metal some nice old confused journalists wanted to give you in person so they could meet you and have a selfie with you, okay? That’s all it is!” Ricky Gervais had won three of these awards for his past performances and yet he thought so little of the award that they were used as doorstops in his house.

The joke is funny because it is true. Because over time, the majority of awards and titles mean nothing to the general public. They only matter to the people who receive them.

Which leads me to President Obama and Vice President Biden who awarded themselves service medals during the last few weeks in office. President Obama awarded himself the Distinguished Public Service Medal for his own appreciation as his time as Commander in Chief while Vice President Biden won the Medal of Freedom award, the nations highest civilian award.

Many pundits were incredulous at the awards. And on many of the comment feeds on the articles have likened the awards to a much maligned “participation medal” and many others were even more skeptical of Obama giving himself a medal.

In Latin America the practice of the government awarding themselves participation medals is quite common. It is not uncommon to see a general in uniform stacked with medals and ribbons This is especially bizarre given none of them have seen any combat in generations. So self deluded with power and aggrandizement they award themselves medals to let people know how important they are.

Not all medals and awards are useless. Take a look at any serviceman who won the Medal Of Honor and you will get a glimpse if what real heroism looks like. I know many combat veterans here in the U.S who were actively engaged in combat operations and by ways of medals, have very little to show for it. The point being these awards were meant to really mean something.

For example in Mel Gibson’s latest movie Hacksaw Ridge about a Navy Medic, Desmond Doss, the movie depicts the heroism of Desmond as he saved countless lives on the battlefield. For his actions, he won the Medal Of Honor and I can guarantee you that every man in his unit will be forever thankful and indebted to Desmond for his actions and truly honored for him to win such an award.

Contrast this to President Obama winning his award for being an excellent Commander and Chief, the whole sordid notion reeks of desperation. Military awards are always given by their superiors to their junior leaders to recognize their efforts. Being that he is the most senior military leader, he nominated, recommended and awarded himself the award. President Obama winning that award is comparable to a mid level employee at Apple giving an award to Steve Jobs for his leadership abilities. That is how pathetic this whole thing is. In the military a junior officer can never recommend or award his superior an award, it is not the protocol and it is not conducive to good leadership.

The whole ceremony reminded me of the the famous line from Shakespeare: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” from Hamlet. The saying  has been used as a figure of speech to describe someone’s overly frequent and vehement attempts to convince others of some matter of which the opposite is true, thereby making themselves appear defensive and insincere.

These two must know how desperate this whole scenario reeks of so they award themselves medals to hide their incompetence.Since no one else will give them the credit they so rightly deserve, they award it to themselves. They really really want to let people how good, heroic and noble they were. And yet we have Benghazi.

During an attack on a U.S embassy in Libya, the president and his staff would not support Americans actively engaged in combat during the firefight where Ambassador Stevens was killed as well as four other Americans.The participants on the ground repeatedly called for help and even though there were Marines ready to go in, they were denied. We as a country had no problem putting Americans lives in harms way, and yet the Obama administration would not protect them when called.

With the Benghazi story as the backdrop of how not to behave in combat, during the invasion of Iraq, I remember reading a story about a Marine General who was relived of his duties during the attack quite simply because his units were moving too slowly causing other units in the attack unnecessary risk. I called my former Company Commander to see if he knew the story and if he could add clarity to the article. My former Company Commander said it was a highly unusual move for a commander to be relived of duty during combat operations as the General’s honor would forever be destroyed. He said “Most marine commanders would rather commit suicide than to face the eternal shame of failing in combat.”

His comments did not shock me as they rang true.For many not acquainted with military culture, this is exactly how mature military leaders think, and yet when President Obama had the chance to help fellow Americans in combat, he reportedly slept through the night.

Add this to his recent pardon of Bradley Manning who Obama commuted the sentence of a solider who went into a war zone, stole tons of classified files, and gave them to WikiLeaks. Manning released hundreds of thousands of secret documents relating to national security, during a time of war, with no regard to how it would undermine our war efforts and put lives at risk.  In any other time, Bradley Manning would have been shot for treason.

The whole thing is so outrageous that words don’t do it justice. The pardon of Manning along side his own award for leadership stand as juxtaposition of a man gone mad. A truly despicable finale to his presidency.




Joe Biden’s Chutzpah

If you’re not up on your Hebrew, chutzpah means arrogance.


Several decades ago I had the fortunate opportunity to work in conjunction with a team of lawyers and Congressman to have the humanitarian, Swedish WWII war hero, Raoul Wallenberg, deemed to be a U.S. Citizen. The effort was spearheaded by Wallenberg’s family in trying to find out what happened to him after the war ended and he was taken prisoner by the Soviets.

Wallenberg had saved tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary but as the war ended, the Russians believed him to be an American Intelligence asset.  Taken into Soviet custody, he was never seen again although for years there were rumors and spottings by released prisoners that he was being held in Lubyanka Prison. He was officially declared dead in absentia in October 2016 by the Swedish Tax Agency. His story is truly amazing.

Wallenberg was, in fact, awarded the title of Honorary Citizen on the United States by President Ronald Regan in 1981. I played a small part in the events leading up to that award. Without going into much detail, I had the opportunity at that time to meet with then Senator Joe Biden to discuss efforts being made by the Wallenberg family to freeze, through litigation, Soviet financial assets here in U.S. banks to force the Russians to reveal his whereabouts or fate following his capture.

At the time, my impression of Senator Biden was that he was charming, personable, likeable and not too bright. Over the ensuing decades, his public persona seemed to validate my perception of long ago. Oftentimes I, like many Americans, found his foibles and verbal fopahs the basis for a good laugh. “Good Old Joe” was fun to watch and expectations of grand achievements were low.

Fun to watch until today.

Today, a much older but no wiser Vice President Biden had the audacity to slam Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for obstructing the Middle East Peace Process, with reference to the Netanyahu government’s policies regarding settlements in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

Biden said “I firmly believe that the actions that Israel’s government has taken over the past several years — the steady and systematic expansion of settlements, the legalization of outposts, land seizures — they’re moving us and more importantly they’re moving Israel in the wrong direction” He continued that those policies were moving Israel toward a “one-state reality” “That reality is dangerous,” Biden added.

First of all, with friends like him who needs Arab enemies? Secondly, how dare he tell a statesman who has, literally, dedicated his life (as his brother Yoni gave his life) in defense of the country he loves? Thirdly, how does he know in what direction Israel needs to move and who is he to say anyway? Fourth, no two state solution? Good! Because once Palestinians have that other state they will be joined by their Arab neighbors and, in accordance with the PLO Charter and Hamas’ stated goal, set out in full force to attempt to annihilate Israel once and for all.

The impediment to peace is Israel’s policy of building homes in a specific area? Its not rabid, knife-wielding Palestinian terrorists randomly stabbing innocent Israelis and Americans just walking the streets of Jerusalem? Its not tunnels ending in Israeli towns or army bases, built by Hamas, for the sole purpose of kidnapping Israelis or slaughtering them in their sleep? Its not Palestinian-planted fire bombs on public buses transporting men, women and children just living their daily lives? It’s not Palestinian schools teaching that Jews are pigs, or worse, and killing them is the highest aspiration a child can achieve?


Biden had two problems in giving that speech; one is that he works for an anti-Semitic boss. Two, Biden was playing to his audience and giving them what they wanted to hear. He was speaking before “J Street” which the media often mischaracterizes as a pro-Israeli advocacy group. Nothing could be further from the truth. J-Street is a left-leaning lobby that disparages Israel’s efforts to defend itself and undermines the country’s image when it can.  J Street is Pro-gressive not Pro-Israel. Shame on Biden for carrying Obama’s water and for pandering to J Street.

However, in this primary season with all its chaos, there is apparently reason for hope and celebration. Joe Biden isn’t running.