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.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price listens to questions from reporters during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 2021.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price listens to questions from reporters during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 2021. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

State Dept Spokesperson Under Fire for 'Spineless' Refusal to Condemn Israel's Killing of Children in Gaza

"This unsurprising response is devoid of empathy and concern for human suffering," said Rep. Ilhan Omar. "He can't even condemn the killing of children."

Jake Johnson

Pressed repeatedly by reporters during a briefing on Monday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price refused to condemn Israel's killing of children with airstrikes on Gaza, offering evasive and mealy-mouthed responses that members of Congress slammed as unacceptable.

"We cannot just condemn rockets fired by Hamas and ignore Israel's state-sanctioned police violence against Palestinians—including unlawful evictions, violent attacks on protestors, and the murder of Palestinian children."
—Rep. Mark Pocan

Asked straightforwardly whether he condemns the killing of Palestinian children, Price replied that the Biden administration does not "have independent confirmation of facts on the ground yet" and is "hesitant to get into reports that are just emerging."

"Obviously, the deaths of civilians, be they Israeli or Palestinians, are something we would take very seriously," added Price.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), whip for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted late Monday that "this unsurprising response is devoid of empathy and concern for human suffering."

"He can't even condemn the killing of children," Omar added.

Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American writer and political analyst, called Price's remarks "spineless."

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Israel's airstrikes in Gaza on Monday killed 24 people, including nine children. Israel claimed it was targeting "Hamas operatives" and said the airstrikes were retaliation for rockets fired into Israel from Gaza, which reportedly caused several injuries.

Hamas claimed responsibility for a rocket attack in Jerusalem, where Israeli security forces injured more than 300 Palestinians earlier Monday in an assault on the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest site.

At the start of Monday's briefing, Price stressed "Israel's legitimate right to defend itself and to defend its people and its territory." But asked whether Palestinians have the same right, Price quickly reverted to defending the broad principle of self-defense while refusing to answer the question.

"It is long past time we finally take action to protect Palestinian human rights and save lives."
—Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and André Carson

"We believe in the concept of self-defense," said Price. "We believe it applies to any state."

Given that Palestinians are a stateless people living under Israeli military occupation, they would not have a right to self-defense under Price's standard, as Associated Press reporter Matt Lee pointed out.

"Are you saying the Palestinians don't have a right to self-defense?" Lee asked, to which Price replied, "I was making a broader point not attached to Israel or the Palestinians in that case... I'm not in a position to debate the legalities from up here."

Following the State Department press briefing, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) tweeted that "we cannot just condemn rockets fired by Hamas and ignore Israel's state-sanctioned police violence against Palestinians—including unlawful evictions, violent attacks on protestors, and the murder of Palestinian children."

"U.S. aid should not be funding this violence," Pocan added.

Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.) sent a similar message in a joint statement issued Monday, declaring, "We are horrified by the violent assault by Israeli forces on the Al-Aqsa mosque, and the continued violent attacks on the Palestinian people during the holy month of Ramadan.

"We continue to provide the Israeli government with over $3 billion in military aid every year—with no conditions or accountability for wanton human rights abuses and continuing illegal seizures of Palestinian land," the lawmakers continued. "For decades, we have paid lip service to a Palestinian state, while land seizures, settlement expansion, and forced displacement continue, making a future home for Palestinians more and more out of reach."

"It is long past time we finally take action to protect Palestinian human rights and save lives," the trio said.


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