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.

nuclear

Members of the New York Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons gathered in Manhattan on August 6, 2020, the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima. (Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

UN Chief Warns Humanity Is 'Unacceptably Close to Nuclear Annihilation'

"Now is the time to lift the cloud of nuclear conflict for good," United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said ahead of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Jake Johnson

In remarks ahead of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on Sunday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that humankind remains "unacceptably close to nuclear annihilation," with roughly 14,000 atomic bombs stockpiled across the globe.

"Now is the time to lift the cloud of nuclear conflict for good, eliminate nuclear weapons from our world, and usher in a new era of trust and peace," said Guterres, who observed in a statement last week that hundreds of nuclear bombs are just a "pushed button away from being launched."

At a disarmament conference on Thursday, Guterres urged all nations that possess nuclear technology to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which—if enacted—would prohibit "any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion." The United States—the only country that has used nuclear weapons in war—is among the eight nuclear-equipped nations that have yet to ratify the CTBT.

"As a global family, we can no longer allow the cloud of nuclear conflict to shadow our work to spur development, achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and end the Covid-19 pandemic," said Guterres. "Now is the time to lift this cloud for good, eliminate nuclear weapons from our world, and usher in a new era of dialogue, trust, and peace for all people."

In the U.S., anti-war veterans marked the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons by imploring President Joe Biden to adopt a "no first use" policy and "make that policy credible by publicly decommissioning U.S. ICBMs that can only be used in a first strike."

"We represent millions of people who want nothing more than to see the United States make a dramatic 'Pivot to Peace,'" the advocacy group Veterans for Peace wrote in an open letter to Biden. "What better place to start than to step back from the brink of nuclear war? The billions of U.S. tax dollars saved could be applied to the very real national security threats of the climate crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. What better legacy for the Biden administration than to begin a process that could lead to worldwide nuclear disarmament."

The organization's call came amid growing fears that Biden is building on the dangerous nuclear policies of his predecessor despite criticizing them on the campaign trail. As Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association observed earlier this month, the Biden administration's first budget request "would continue the expensive and controversial nuclear weapons sustainment and modernization efforts pursued by the Trump administration pending the outcome of the Nuclear Posture Review."

The Biden administration also recently announced a new "security alliance" with Britain and Australia that will help equip the latter nation with nuclear-armed submarines.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. is expected to spend $634 billion over the next decade on updating and maintaining its own nuclear arsenal.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the U.S. Defense Department "removed a top political appointee in charge of nuclear policy from her position, prompting concern among disarmament advocates that the Pentagon is sidelining those with less hawkish views as the Biden administration develops its official policy on nuclear weapons."

Jeffrey Lewis, a professor and nuclear weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, said in response to the department's ouster of Leonor Tomero that "firing her sends a clear message to everyone in the Pentagon that there is no tolerance for new ideas when it comes to our nuclear weapons policies."

"People wonder why we don't learn from failures like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan," said Lewis. "The reason is simple: People who point out alternatives to current national security policies are systematically driven out of positions of authority."

The Pentagon insists that Tomero's removal was part of a broader Defense Department "reorganization" effort, not an attempt to silence a critic of U.S. nuclear weapons policies.

In a letter (pdf) to Biden on Friday, progressive Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) voiced concern that "the sudden departure of a top appointee, charged with presenting you options on the future of the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise, will result in a draft Nuclear Posture Review that reflects the Cold War era's overreliance on nuclear weapons, rather than your lifetime of work championing policies that reduce nuclear weapons risks."

"Congress needs to understand whether ideology played any role in Ms. Tomero's dismissal," Markey wrote.


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.

'When We Organize, We Win': Ocasio-Cortez Joins India Walton at Rally in Buffalo

The two progressives joined striking hospital workers on the picket line at Mercy Hospital after the early voting rally.

Julia Conley ·


Fatal Film Set Shooting Followed Outcry by Union Crew Members Over Safety Protocols

"When union members walk off a set about safety concerns, maybe 'hiring scabs' isn’t the solution you think it is."

Julia Conley ·


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 ·

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