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.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrives at O'Hare International Airport following his release from prison on February 19, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Sanders Says Trump Clemency for 'Wall Street Crooks' and 'Corrupt' Officials Lays Bare Broken Justice System

"Meanwhile thousands of poor and working-class kids sit in jail for nonviolent drug convictions. This is what a broken and racist criminal justice system looks like."

Jake Johnson

Sen. Bernie Sanders said late Tuesday that President Donald Trump's decision to grant clemency to several prominent white-collar criminals—including the former governor of Illinois and a financier known as the "junk bond king"—was a demonstration of how the U.S. criminal justice system favors the powerful while punishing the vulnerable.

"Trump granted clemency to tax cheats, Wall Street crooks, billionaires, and corrupt government officials," tweeted Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. "Meanwhile thousands of poor and working-class kids sit in jail for nonviolent drug convictions."

"This is what a broken and racist criminal justice system looks like," added Sanders, who is running on a platform that includes sweeping reforms to the criminal justice system.

Trump, who on Tuesday declared himself the "chief law enforcement officer of the country," pardoned or commuted the prison sentences of 11 people, including financier Michael Milken, who served 22 months in jail for racketeering and securities fraud charges; former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was convicted on multiple counts of tax fraud and lying to the government; and Illinois' former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted of bribery, wire fraud, and attempted extortion after trying to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat.

"He's got a obviously a big fan in me," Blagojevich said of Trump after being released from prison Tuesday. "And if you're asking what my party affiliation is, I'm a Trumpocrat."

Jay Young, executive director of Common Cause Illinois, said in a statement that by commuting Blagojevich's sentence, "Trump once again swims in the swamp he promised to drain."

As The Daily Beast reported late Tuesday, several of the people Trump granted clemency are "either Fox News regulars or have been championed by the president's favorite cable-news network."

"And in another case, the family of one pardon recipient dished out massive contributions to the president's re-election campaign just months before Trump's clemency spree," according to The Daily Beast.

In response to The Daily Beast's report, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted, "It looks like in the Trump White House, you can buy a pardon."

"This is corruption," Warren added, "plain and simple."


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.

'And Maybe More': Biden Says He's Open to Reforming Filibuster to Win Voting Rights

"It's a simple choice between a free America or one chained by the past," said one advocate. "Our democracy hangs in the balance."

Julia Conley ·


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 ·

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