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.

The U.S. Department of State building is seen in Washington, D.C., on July 22, 2019.

The U.S. Department of State building is seen in Washington, D.C., on July 22, 2019. (Photo: Alastair Pike / AFP via Getty Images)

"This Doesn't Smell Right": Acting State Dept. Inspector General Resigns Just Months After Predecessor Fired

Questions are being raised over the sudden departure amid lingering concerns of alleged impropriety by Secretary of State Pompeo.

Andrea Germanos

"This doesn't smell right."

That was the reaction from Chris Lu, who held multiple positions in the Obama administration including White House cabinet secretary, to news Wednesday that State Department acting Inspector General Stephen Akard is leaving the post less than three months after the administration ousted the previous IG.

Akard, an ally of Vice President Mike Pence who had been simultaneously serving as Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, is returning to the private sector, department officials said.

According to the Washington Post, which was the first to report on the development, staff was informed of Akard's leaving by Deputy IG Diana Shaw, who also said she would take on the role of temporary acting inspector general.

President Donald Trump announced in May that Akard would serve as the head of the Office of Inspector General after ousting his predecessor, Steve Linick—a move seen as continuing a purge of IGs and an attack on government oversight.

Linick's office was carrying out five separate reviews into potential wrongdoings by the department including one regarding Pompeo and his wife's use of government funds. Akard said he would recuse himself from that review in light of his continuing connection to the State Department with the Office of Foreign Missions position.

Another review—which Linick told lawmakers the department tried to bully him into dropping—looked at the administration's use of emergency powers to sell billions of dollars in arms to Saudi Arabia.

CNN reported:

[Akard] worked under then-Indiana Gov. Pence as the head of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

His ties to Pence and the fact that he maintained his role as the head of the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions when he went over to lead the State IG's office rankled diplomats and Democratic lawmakers, who saw him as a part of the politicization of the State Department.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a statement that while Akard was not "the right choice to lead the office... his sudden resignation leaves another opportunity for the Trump Administration to try to weaken oversight and accountability."

Menedez pointed to the ongoing congressional investigation into Linick's firing, which the senator said "will continue full speed ahead."

"As a leadership crisis at the State Department continues to shake the agency to its core, it is imperative that the next IG, or the deputy IG, ensures that the work of the office continues apace," said Menendez.

"Secretary Pompeo must understand this is not an opportunity to embed a loyal political ally to represent his interests in the Inspector General's office," the senator added, "it is about ensuring that there is a qualified, experienced individual who will serve as an independent watchdog to hold the Department and the Secretary accountable for any misconduct."


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