Dog-eat-Dog Smile — The Twenty Percent Want their Money and Cake, Too

Here it is, really – the bold-two/faced lie of the liberal class, the 19 percenters holding up their share of the pain for the rest of us. We make paltry livings and have zero benefits. We see the cuts to food assistance, see the massive funding of transfinancials through our hard-earned work. We see the dumbdowning of America, the dog-eat-dog reality of these rabid souls. You can name them in your nightmares, or see them on Charlie Rose. You can thumb through their rap sheets in the magazines of their class – Forbes, the Economist, WSJ. These are the kingpins of felonies, stealing the goods in broad daylight. They are the worker bees for the plutocrats, the upper class, those Americans who are living the dream of inherited wealth, disturbed/distributed incomes based on the very nature of their species – money for no work, or for non-work they deem a million times worth more than our real work: land workers, teachers, brick layers, body men, child care workers, the backs and the brawn, and the people who want their world to be fair, for something more than a prayer and a tune, something bigger than the heft of their bank accounts and the displacement of their engines.

Liberals, or democrats, or those slobbering fools who give tithe to same sex marriage campaigns, or push the dialing for dollars for this or that animal cause. These people are the pornographers of humanity, stillborn in their love of self, their self-righteousness, their ability to see a world of hope and dreams and exceptional prosperity by their very nature as narcissists seeking enlightenment through what they have and covet and will hold until they are dead, passing on that gold charm to children . . . while the children of the world are locked in a battle in the streets.

They are keen and grouped and like a lumbering cancer on the land. They see themselves as the 99 Percent, yes we can, but, no se puede, they are the backbone of the T. Rex devouring the land. They work for Boeing, for MIT, for your local save the river non-profit. They lift huge worlds through digital clarity. They see the way of the future, robotic, artificial intelligence stitched to every movement of mankind. They have drone fever, and a love of the crap, the Wired, the crap of PBS and smarmy documentaries. They are consumers, but with a smile, with pins proclaiming their breast cancer awareness, their save the whales flukes.

Then, they have followers, these 19 percenters. A few out of us, the 80 percent. Not so many, but enough to preen their hackles, to flaunt their all-knowing magic, their boosterish lust to send kids to the good colleges, to retire at 60 with good knees, a hairline fitting a 20 year old, and with a nimble portfolio and sturdy hips to boot for snowboarding and wake-boarding and their runs through Hawaii.

Alexis Gravel (CC-BY-ND)

Here, AP – Read and weep:

The new rich’s influence will only grow as middle-class families below them struggle. The Federal Reserve said Monday that the nation’s wealth rose 2.6 percent from July through September to $77.3 trillion, a record high, boosted in part by a surging stock market. But the gains haven’t been equally distributed; the wealthiest 10 percent of U.S. households own about 80 percent of stocks.


In a country where poverty is at a record high, today’s new rich are notable for their sense of economic fragility. They rely on income from their work to maintain their social position and pay for things such as private tutoring for their children. That makes them much more fiscally conservative than other Americans, polling suggests, and less likely to support public programs, such as food stamps or early public education, to help the disadvantaged.

Last week, President Barack Obama asserted that growing inequality is “the defining challenge of our time,” signaling that it will be a major theme for Democrats in next year’s elections.

“In this country, you don’t get anywhere without working hard,” said James Lott, 28, a pharmacist in Renton, Wash., who adds to his six-figure salary by day-trading stocks. The son of Nigerian immigrants, Lott says he was able to get ahead by earning an advanced pharmacy degree. He makes nearly $200,000 a year.

After growing up on food stamps, Lott now splurges occasionally on nicer restaurants, Hugo Boss shoes and extended vacations to New Orleans, Atlanta and parts of Latin America. He believes government should play a role in helping the disadvantaged. But he says the poor should be encouraged to support themselves, explaining that his single mother rose out of hardship by starting a day-care business in their home.

The new research suggests that affluent Americans are more numerous than government data depict, encompassing 21 percent of working-age adults for at least a year by the time they turn 60. That proportion has more than doubled since 1979.

Even outside periods of unusual wealth, members of this group generally hover in the $100,000-plus income range, keeping them in the top 20 percent of earners.

There they are, living in their a rich wood interior second homes, solar panels sleek and new, incredible burled wood furniture, triple-pane windows and a view of a river. I was there when Obama won the first time, at one of these liberal and non-profit CEO’s digs, when they attacked me for working for the third party candidate, McKinney, and then a second go-round – Obama or what’s the other choice voters – as I watched them design trips abroad, fun little fandangos in Chile on a river, or some charity event. They attacked me again, for Jill Stein this time around.

They got what they knew they were getting in an Obama – the writing was on the walls way before the marketing rip-off of a real man, Cesar Chavez, si se puede!

Here, recently, Obama, his words as inarticulate as his thievery, but the kind CEOs love:

It wasn’t a grand speech. Rather, it was a chummy discussion between the president of the United States and a gathering of business leaders at an event called the “Wall Street Journal CEO Council.” But when future historians search for a way to summarize the Obama years, they’d do well to ignore his more poetic speeches that have so little to do with the man’s actual actions, and focus instead on these words:

Obama — “When you go to other countries, the political divisions are so much more stark and wider. Here in America, the difference between Democrats and Republicans–we’re fighting inside the 40-yard lines…

People call me a socialist sometimes. But no, you’ve got to meet real socialists. (Laughter.) You’ll have a sense of what a socialist is. (Laughter.) I’m talking about lowering the corporate tax rate. My health care reform is based on the private marketplace. The stock market is looking pretty good last time I checked.”

So the little stories on Alternet, or HuffPo, or the other million other sites on the internet where people actually see their trolling and their pontificating and defenses as worthy of a world of work, of change: “More Socially Liberal, America’s New Rich are Wielding Power but May Foil Income Equality.” 

Letters – comments– trolls

Writer Numero Uno:

“You have to take into account how people make their money. If you work 14 hour days in a high stress occupation like medicine, for example, you’ll naturally want to keep as much of what you earn as you can. In this respect, the surgeon making $1 million a year isn’t that different than the factory worker making $30,000. They both feel like they had to work really hard for that money. But the Mitt Romneys, the Koch Brothers, the Walton family, etc. don’t actually work. They make money off their investments.

Yes, this is the challenge with the way our economic culture works. One problem is these people must keep working to keep up with their lifestyle. Their larger house, luxuries, private schools all cost money. But if their basic necessities (food, healthcare, education and housing) were provided to them at no cost, suddenly, they could do much more with much less.

The 20% are no less wage slaves than the rest of us. So we’re in the same boat. Changing the game such that they are freed from the tyranny of earning a living will be just as attractive to them as it will be to the rest.”

Numero Dos:

“Have you even spoken to a person with a six-figure salary Maxwell? They may not struggle like the poor, but they have their struggles. They have their worries. They may not be what yours are, but they are (to them) probably no less a struggle. If everyone’s basic needs were provided to all, they would be just as happy.

Capitalism is a zero-sum game for everybody. That means everyone is looking over their backs expecting to get screwed, whether you make $6 an hour or $6000.

Your “disgust” and mocking of other people’s difficulties – whether you relate with them or not – seems to me to show how little you realize that we are all connected on this planet. “All” includes the six-figure folks. We won’t get out of this alive if we continue to see “us” and the “other”.

I suppose you’ll say that’s disgusting too.”

Numero Tres (Maxwell)
“Is it a coincidence that liberalism has become dominated by the relatively well off, and that simultaneously economics are no longer front and center for the Democratic party but are merely a minor side issue?

All of the liberal causes are important, once you already have a certain degree of economic freedom. None of the causes are very important to the rest of the population. This is the built in bias of the liberal community that leads to an inability to stand strong against the ruling class or to connect with the average person, and has now led to people who are supposed opponents to the right wing taking anti-immigration and pro-free trade and free market positions, and support the war on drugs and the war on terror. The Democratic party andliberal organizations have become the biggest supporters of the new aristocracy, while dominating all political discourse that is not overtly right wing and suppressing any true politics of opposition from emerging.

The rest of the people in the world suffer, in order to support the conditions that allow the 20% of our population to enjoy the luxury of living in the realm of political musing and theorizing. The lives and outlook of that 20% are seen as the standard, as the given, as the norm. It is not the norm even within any metropolitan area, unless you ignore minorities, ignore the elderly and infirm, ignore the working poor and single mothers, and ignore the millions of people working blue collar jobs.

All day long in the media, that 20% – white, upwardly mobile, educated, trolling around in new cars, climbing the corporate management ladder, buying expensive homes, having full access to health care, having access to excellent public education
and municipal services, taking fun and exotic vacations, buying the latest gadgetry and trinkets – is presented as being representative of “us” – who we are as a people.

Modern liberalism is occupying the space where the Left should be, confusing and misleading people, steering people away from accurate perceptions and clouding their minds, preventing them from asking the right questions because they think they already have the answers. That is dead wood that needs clearing. If we are willing to kick over the beehive of modern liberalism you will see the true face and the true nature of the ruling class war against the people with crystal clarity. As it is, we can’t even see the enemy now. We are looking out the tent flap watching for the approach of those dreaded right wingers, and the enemy is behind us right in our own tent.”

For years I labored with the idea of reforming the existing institutions of society, a little change here, a little change there. Now I feel quite differently. I think you’ve got to have a reconstruction of the entire society…a radical redistribution of political and economic power.

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Mine, Numero Quatro

“When will readers of Alternet get the math? Again, even from fascist Forbes Magazine (sic): One Percenters have 40 percent of the wealth, while their little sycophants and little big man and woman Eichmanns have 53 percent. That’s a whopping seven percent for me and my ilk. count me as two graduate degrees, 30 years teaching at community colleges and universities, working as a journalist, activist, still, precarious. These liberals are worse than puke-faced neo-cons. The liberal class is damaged through and through — culturally, economically, intellectually, and, well, spiritually. My worse enemies are fellow faculty, full-time, tenured, who have this smile, this, well, you are part-time, so, you must be damaged, so I can moonlight, overload my schedule, and, screw you, temp=at-will workers. The problem is that my ilk includes 75 percent of all faculty, part-time and/or full-time, with no benefits, no contracts, and if we have contracts, no tenure.

Death of the Liberal Class — that’s an older book by Hedges. Alternet is vapid. Look at the BigNoseDog below. What a bunchy of Crock. Read, be in the community, get arrested in protests, monkey-wrench, but DO not count on liberals or the controlled opposition:

1984 anyone?…

Oh, god, not liberals! We get the parasitic Rooney types, the Koch brothers, but do we really “get” the liberals-libertarians like the Zionist Google Boys, Gates, Bezos, Soros? Right, let’s hammer the dumb-ass conservatives and let the choir taking us all to the cleaners off the hook. The insipid defenders of wage inequality who live in this Alternet land, where Jon Leibowitz Stewart, Mister One Percent with his brother head of NY Stock Exchange har-har-ing up up all the way to the hedge fund fund-raiser, will defend a doctor getting millions of dollars while the bedpan cleaner gets $8 an hour and has no public services — bye-bye USPS, bye-bye libraries, bye-bye public commons.

These liberals and these conservatives, with money, as some of you say, hard-earned as a stock trader, as an insurance salesperson, has a seller of junk, junk, or house flipper, these are what we want to live up to? Rotting at the top, and the rest of us, we are smelling their souls.

We are the 80 Percent . . . that 99 Percent meme was one of the biggest lies coming down the pike.”

 Numero Cinco, a retort to mine above – How to Get Rich and Not Teach or Do anything else WE need in society:

“You think that your situation is less than fair after all of your hard work there Mr. part-time college professor, you could be living In a beat-up old camper down at LAX eating gas station and airport fast food, trying to catch a little shut-eye amid the jet noise and kerosene fumes after washing your pilot’s uniform in your camper’s kitchen sink, just for the privilege of flying another half-dozen planeloads of tourists and ungrateful wealthy business executives around for another 10 hours plus delays tomorrow, all for another $100!!!

Like I told somebody else earlier, if you want to make the big money and become intimately-familiar with most all of North America without having to work yourself into a giant debt hole beforehand, for a fair and steady amount of income, why don’t you go to truck driving school like I did back in 1978, so that you can earn double what the average airline commuter pilot gets paid and keep all of the wheels firmly on the ground in a two-dimensional universe instead? So the job doesn’t get the same level of respect that college professor or airline pilot does, as working as a truck driver you will be way ahead to start with.

Just think of all of the would-be rock stars that worked their tails off 100 hours per week just to play a weekend gig at some dive bar for $100 bucks and maybe the sting of non-tenured faculty will begin to wear-off just a little bit too! Just so that you know, in-addition to my 75,000 hours of trucker-in-command time I also have a college degree too, and yet here I sit on my fixed income in semi-retirement at the age of 57, hoping like heck that Social Security is still around in another 5 years too!

So much for the idea that hard work would make us rich and respected, eh? LMAO!!!”

Numero Seis —  Mine back to the trucker

“Oh, yeah, that’s the ticket — everyone become a trucker! I teach in prisons, on military compounds, in alternative schools, at community colleges, in factories. I am a teacher, who happens to instruct at the college level. Precarious, at-will, tied to community service, working with all sorts of groups. People seek me out because, a, I teach them how to read, write, petition the powers that be. I have taught engineers in Mexico and Americans in big operations how to put two and two together — reports, research projects, words.

Also, I have been a journalist in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico, Central America, Washington, Idaho, Canada, Oregon. So, as far as — let’s all truck the goods around America and be happy and sit in the LazyBoy, well, thank fucking god that there are people who do more than that life plan. Hell, I’ve even taught students in a trucking program at two community colleges. I’m glad a few of them had something else going on in their brains besides “can’t wait to make all that money and sit it out and watch Fox News.” Even the blue collar aristocrats who own plumbing empires or construction firms get it that we need more in this culture than framers, dry wallers, delivery men and women.

So, I’m called teach, teacher, Mister, but never ever Professor or Doctor.

Looking down on people is not my credo, as I can see Spur011 (AKA Troll-011) must have adopted at an early age.”

 Numero Siete, Trucker Mark Back at Me –

“My one brother in law is a tenured full time professor at a respected liberal arts college and with 35 years there he only makes 2/3rds of what I averaged driving a semi to Chicago and Detroit every week over the last decade, so being a full-time professor isn’t all that its cracked-up to be, at least on an income vs prerequisite basis.

And as for your contention that driving semis and/or working in the wholesale food business is some kind of worthless endeavor, most of us don’t eat nearly as well if somebody isn’t hauling food around either. Imagine the amount of geographic and logistical knowledge combined that I have in addition to my regional sustainability planning and urban planning knowledge?

One more thing: Next time that you are in a big hurry to get to your next part-time gig, and there is a heavily-loaded truck ahead of you, just remember that it takes a heavily loaded truck several times the distance to stop from the same speed that your car can stop in too. Imagine getting paid $1200 just to drive from Denver to Detroit and back, which only takes 4 & 1/2 days, the next time when you wonder how you are going to pay the rent on your part-time teacher income too!

Perhaps your problem is that you know too much, as my own experience is that there is a very limited employment market for people who know too much!”

Numero Ocho — My last one, and fine readers, note that I do not spend more than a few nanoseconds on these trolling adventures:

“Oh, man, the “I can one up you on, lord, who gets paid what . . . can you believe all that waste of education?” drivel. And, now, what, how trucking and trucks have saved the world!

Thanks for pining in, though, amigo. Next time you or your ilk have a prostate cancer gig or back problems, or when you come to that late state in life where your bedpans need changing, face wiping and food pureed, thank the lowly health care aid making $8 an hour. Lordy, which job deserves what kind of pay?

Thanks, though, because this little string of drivel and American not-know-how is now becoming part of another job, free, sorry, I have with an on-line blog — what trash, what patriotism, what community spirit? “I got mine, so the rest of the world can just suck on it.”

Again, read the bouncing letters — in society, in this parasitic capitalist society, yes, we have completely out of whack salaries and unearned incomes. I have worked as an organizer for unions, including SEIU, and, thanks to my trucker friends in UNIONS who support better wages for service workers, human health care workers, child care workers, and, yes, the faculty majority in colleges — PT freeway fliers, making poverty wages teaching future truckers, future trucking titans, future doctors, future engineers, future whomevers who are teaching and guiding people on how to think and QUESTION this broken system of capitalists and parasitic and vulture take-over experts and military hardware hawkers, and all the other BIG ass welfare cheats in the lobbying world and their clients.

Ahh, I just can’t wait for another gridlock day of 18 wheelers clogging up my life; and in the state Oregon, 26 and 28 wheelers with triple loads on freeways not meant for this shit. Bring back the rails ASAP. We are a broken country of broken bridges, highways that clog in 6 months, and goods and not so good goods being trucked back and forth in this capitalist effed up land.

I did a great piece around two truckers in El Paso, one coming from Florida, the other coming from Los Angeles. Both had orange juice concentrate in their tankers. One was headed to Florida for some of that California sunny delight; the other one headed for California for Florida-kissed sweet delight. What a joke, and, alas, if we built things in this country, if we learned what local communities are and how to plan regionally and to build a secure world, we wouldn’t need all you truckers trucking your goods and bad goods around.”

Why not end on easy fodder here, so, why not words from Hedges, as in Chris:

The presidential election exposed the liberal class as a corpse. It fights for nothing. It stands for nothing. It is a useless appendage to the corporate state. It exists not to make possible incremental or piecemeal reform, as it originally did in a functional capitalist democracy; instead it has devolved into an instrument of personal vanity, burnishing the hollow morality of its adherents. Liberals, by voting for Barack Obama, betrayed the core values they use to define themselves—the rule of law, the safeguarding of civil liberties, the protection of unions, the preservation of social welfare programs, environmental accords, financial regulation, a defiance of unjust war and torture, and the abolition of drone wars. The liberal class clung desperately during the long nightmare of this political campaign to one or two issues, such as protecting a woman’s right to choose and gender equality, to justify its complicity in a monstrous evil. This moral fragmentation—using an isolated act of justice to define one’s self while ignoring the vast corporate assault on the nation and the ecosystem along with the pre-emptive violence of the imperial state—is moral and political capitulation. It fails to confront the evil we have become.

“The American Dream has run out of gas,” wrote the novelist J.G. Ballard. “The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It’s over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now. …”

Liberals have assured us that after the election they will build a movement to hold the president accountable—although how or when or what this movement will look like they cannot say. They didn’t hold him accountable during his first term. They won’t during his second. They have played their appointed roles in the bankrupt political theater that passes for electoral politics. They have wrung their hands, sung like a Greek chorus about the evils of the perfidious opponent, assured us that there is no other viable option, and now they will exit the stage. They will carp and whine in the wings until they are trotted out again to assume their role in the next political propaganda campaign of disempowerment and fear. They will, in the meantime, become the butt of ridicule and derision by the very politicians they supported.

The ineffectiveness of the liberal class, as I saw in the former Yugoslavia and as was true in Weimar Germany, perpetuates a dangerous political paralysis. The longer the paralysis continues, the longer systems of power are unable to address the suffering and grievances of the masses, the more the formal mechanisms of power are reviled. The liberal establishment’s inability to defy corporate power, to stand up for its supposed liberal beliefs, means its inevitable disappearance, along with the disappearance of traditional liberal values. This, as history has amply pointed out, is the road to despotism. And we are further down that road than many care to admit.

Now read what the commenters on the Star Tribune (where the piece by the AP was located) have to say.

Or, the PMC, AKA, Yuppie: Death of the Professional Managerial Class.


More profoundly, the PMC’s original dream—of  a society ruled by reason and led by public-spirited professionals—has been discredited. Globally, the socialist societies that seemed to come closest to this goal either degenerated into  heavily militarized dictatorships or, more recently, into authoritarian capitalist states. Within the US, the grotesque failure of socialism in China and the Soviet Union became a propaganda weapon in the neoliberal war against the public sector in its most innocuous forms and a core argument for the privatization of just about everything.

But the PMC has also managed to discredit itself as an advocate for the common good. Consider our gleaming towers of medical research and high-technology care—all too often abutting urban neighborhoods characterized by extreme poverty and foreshortened life spans.

Should we mourn the fate of the PMC or rejoice that there is one less smug, self-styled, elite to stand in the way of a more egalitarian future? On the one hand, the PMC has played a major role in the oppression and disempowering of the old working class. It has offered little resistance to (and, in fact, supplied the manpower for) the right’s campaign against any measure that might ease the lives of the poor and the working class.

On the other hand, the PMC has at times been a “liberal” force, defending the values of scholarship and human service in the face of the relentless pursuit of profit. In this respect, its role in the last century bears some analogy to the role of monasteries in medieval Europe, which kept literacy and at least some form of inquiry alive while the barbarians raged outside.

As we face the deepening ruin brought on by neoliberal aggression, the question may be: Who, among the survivors, will uphold those values today? And, more profoundly, is there any way to salvage the dream of reason—or at least the idea of a society in which reasonableness can occasionally prevail—from the accretion of elitism it acquired from the PMC?


Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.