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.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) speaks at The National Council for Incarcerated Women and Girls "100 Women for 100 Women" rally in Black Lives Matter Plaza near The White House on March 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. The organization and its supporters are urging President Joe Biden to release 100 women currently incarcerated in federal prison.

U.S. Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) speaks at the National Council for Incarcerated Women and Girls "100 Women for 100 Women" rally in Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House on March 12, 2021. (Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

Cori Bush Among Advocates Demanding Clemency for Ernest Lee Johnson Ahead of Scheduled Execution

"The fact of the matter is that these death sentences are not about justice. They are about who has institutional power and who doesn't."

Julia Conley

Adding their voices to calls made in recent weeks by Pope Francis and other death penalty opponents, Reps. Cori Bush and Emanuel Cleaver are petitioning for clemency in the case of Ernest Lee Johnson, a man who has an intellectual disability and is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday.
Writing to their state's Republican governor, Mike Parson, on Friday, the Missouri Democrats said in their letter (pdf) that the execution "would be a grave act of injustice."
"The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits executing intellectually disabled people," the lawmakers wrote. "As members of the U.S. House of Representatives, we urge you not to act in contravention to our Constitution. You must not execute Mr. Johnson."
Johnson was convicted of killing three employees at a convenience store in Columbia, Missouri in 1994. His conviction has been upheld multiple times by courts, but his death sentence was thrown out twice previously, including in 2001 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that executing people with intellectual disabilities was unconstitutional.

"Like slavery and lynching did before it, the death penalty perpetuates cycles of trauma, violence, and state-sanctioned murder in Black and brown communities."
—Reps. Cori Bush and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)

In addition to being born with an intellectual disability, Johnson underwent surgery for a benign brain tumor in 2008, after which an MRI showed about 20% of his brain tissue had also been removed.
Johnson recently requested that he be executed by firing squad because a lethal injection could induce painful seizures due to scar tissue from the operation, but the Missouri Supreme Court denied his request last month.
Bush and Cleaver called on Parson to "move our country towards accountability and healing" by halting the "cruel execution."
"The fact of the matter is that these death sentences are not about justice," they wrote in their letter regarding Johnson, who is Black. "They are about who has institutional power and who doesn't. Like slavery and lynching did before it, the death penalty perpetuates cycles of trauma, violence, and state-sanctioned murder in Black and brown communities. We urge you to correct these injustices using every tool available, including the power to grant clemency."
The lawmakers' call followed a letter sent by Pope Francis to Parson, in which the pope called on the governor to consider that "when violence of all types is restrained... all of society benefits."
Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP) announced over the weekend that it will join with faith leaders and other advocates on Tuesday to hold a statewide vigil for Johnson to "stand in solidarity with Ernest and continue calls to Governor Parson to grant him clemency."
More than 23,000 people have signed a petition organized by MADP, which also provided a call script for advocates to call on Parson to halt the execution.
"Death is not justice, and we should not execute this man," said MADP in the petition.

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 York Taxi Workers Stage Hunger Strike to Demand Medallion Debt Relief

"They are an essential industry here in New York City," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "and we need to make sure we're doing right by them."

Julia Conley ·

'It's Not Coming Out': Bernie Sanders Stands Firm on Medicare Expansion

"It's what the American people want and, after waiting over 50 years, what they are going to get."

Julia Conley ·

'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 ·

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