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. They 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 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 digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

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.

"The Amazon is fundamental to the life support systems of this planet and for us as humans," Extinction Rebellion said. (Photo: Extinction Rebellion/Twitter)

'Our Lungs Are on Fire': Climate Campaigners Rally at Brazilian Embassies to Protest Destruction of Amazon Rainforest

"We need governments around the world to speak up against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro—and put pressure on him to stop these devastating fires and protect the Amazon."

Jake Johnson

Climate campaigners demonstrated outside the Brazilian embassies in London, Paris, and Madrid on Friday to protest what they say is the Bolsonaro regime's role in dozens of fires that have ravaged large swathes of the Amazon rainforest over the past three weeks.

The Extinction Rebellion movement, which helped organize the demonstrations, said "every inch that continues to burn takes us further away from any hope of sustaining life on this earth."

"The Amazon is fundamental to the life support systems of this planet and for us as humans," Extinction Rebellion wrote in an Instagram post ahead of the protests. "We cannot sit in silence while life on Earth is being destroyed. ⁣⁣⁣We need governments around the world to speak up against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro—and put pressure on him to stop these devastating fires and protect the Amazon."

The protests came amid growing global outrage over the Bolsonaro government's support for deforestation and refusal to take action to combat the fires, many of which were intentionally and illegally set to clear land, according to the New York Times.

Carlos Nobre, a senior researcher with the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of São Paulo, blamed Bolsonaro for encouraging the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, which is often called "the lungs of the world" for its capacity to absorb carbon dioxide.

"The situation is very bad. It will be terrible," Nobre told the Guardian. "A very large number of these fires are due to the cultural push that ministers are giving. They are pushing deforestation because it is good for the economy. Those who do illegal deforestation are feeling empowered."

Demonstrators on Friday echoed that assessment. Peter McCall, a pub owner based in London who attended the embassy protest, said he decided to take part because "the Amazon is so vital to all life on Earth, including ours."

"I'm scared that if we lose it then there won't be any hope for our survival," said McCall, "and yet the Brazilian government [is] actively encouraging its deforestation and exploitation."

The fires, which have been burning for nearly a month, forced the Brazilian state of Amazonas to declare an emergency last week.

As the Guardian reported Friday, the fires have "sparked international concerns about the destruction of an essential carbon sink" and increased pressure on France, the U.K., and other countries to cut off trade relations with the Bolsonaro government.

António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations, said Thursday he is "deeply concerned by the fires in the Amazon rainforest."

"In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity," Guterres tweeted. "The Amazon must be protected."

Bolsonaro, who campaigned in part on opening the Amazon to corporate exploitation, has not taken action to stop the fires. As Common Dreams reported Wednesday, the Brazilian president suggested without evidence that non-governmental organizations may have started the fires to embarrass him.

In a statement on Friday, the Indigenous Environmental Network and Rainforest Action Network said the fires devastating the Amazon are "not only a global emergency, they are a testament to Bolonsaro's racism, ignorance, and greed."

"His words and deeds have paved the way for these man-made fires," the groups said. "We know that protecting tropical rainforests, stopping fossil fuel emissions, and upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples are some of the most important ways to address the global impacts of the growing climate crisis. That's true in the Amazon. That's true in the Indonesia rainforests. That's true at Standing Rock."


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.

In Face of Planetary Emergency, US Climate-Related Financial Risk Report Denounced as 'Pitiful' Failure

"Finding consensus between those who see or don't see our climate reality," said one critic, "is not democracy in action: it's homicidal."

Jon Queally ·


Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·


After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·

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