Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Troops patrol Brussels, Belgium on Saturday, November 21, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

Brussels Maintains State of Emergency as European Crackdown Grows

Officials tighten security measures in former border-free zone amid terror warnings

Nadia Prupis

Brussels remained under lockdown for the second day on Sunday as authorities continued to search for the suspects behind this month's attacks in Paris that killed 130 people.

Belgian officials, who have repeatedly rejected criticisms of their security measures, are expected to meet later during the day to discuss whether to maintain the state of emergency amid fears of a similar attack.

The city's terror warning jumped to maximum level on Saturday over threats that "go beyond just one person," according to Interior Minister Jan Jambon, who spoke to broadcaster VRT over the weekend. "We're assuming larger actions are underway."

As soldiers and armored vehicles crawled throughout the city, the capital of Belgium came to a standstill, with public transportation out of service, businesses shut, concerts and sports games cancelled, and museums and other landmarks closed.

While the metro is likely to resume service on Monday, the city-wide shuttering is the latest development following a series of aggressive crackdowns by European ministers who vowed on Friday to tighten the Schengen zone's once-free borders.

As Common Dreams reported at the time:

European ministers, gathered in Brussels on Friday one week after the Paris attacks, vowed to tighten external border controls, backing France's call for a fundamental revision of the so-called Schengen deal to allow the "systematic" controlling of EU citizens at borders.

[....] According to news outlets, EU interior and justice ministers also agreed to speed new legislation to share air passengers' data, which Deutsche Welle notes "EU lawmakers have long opposed on privacy grounds," and pledged "systematic registration, including fingerprinting, of all migrants entering into the Schengen area."

Yet it remains unclear what impact these sweeping measures would have on counter-terrorism efforts. As Reuters reported on Sunday, authorities missed many "red flags" that could have allowed them to catch the suspects before the Paris attacks took place.

And the restrictions Belgians now face may have even more far-reaching impacts. As New Statesman columnist Laurie Penny explained in an analysis published last week, extremist groups may in fact be "looking forward" to knee-jerk reductions of civil liberties.

ISIS and similar organizations "aren’t worried about the prospect of more air strikes, more civilian casualties, more callousness on the borders of Europe, more security clampdowns at its heart," Penny wrote. "They are looking forward to all of that."

"They’re probably rubbing their hands at the xenophobic attacks taking place right now across the continent, at the conservative calls for crackdowns on Muslims, at the imminent passing of further surveillance legislation that has proved dubiously effective in catching terrorists but extremely efficient in curbing the individual freedoms of ordinary civilians," she continued. "What ISIS wants is a holy war between two violently homogeneous civilizations, and the only way it will get that is if the West starts to behave like one."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm' to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

"We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy," said one conservation expert.

Brett Wilkins ·


West Virginia Constituents Decry 'Immorality' of Joe Manchin

"West Virginia has been locked into an economy that forces workers into low-wage jobs with no hope for advancement, and after decades of this our hope is dwindling," said one West Virginian. "The cuts that Sen. Manchin has negotiated into the agenda hurt our state."

Julia Conley ·


'Texans Deserved Better Than This': Supreme Court Leaves Abortion Ban in Place

The nation's high court set a date to hear a pair of legal challenges to the "horrific" restrictions.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Like It Never Happened': Federal Judge Tosses Trump Attack on Clean Water Rule

Denying a Biden administration request to temporarily retain the rule, the judge reestablished "the careful balance of state and federal power to protect clean water that Congress intended when it wrote the Clean Water Act."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo