Obamacare, Taxes, United Airlines, and My Tea Infuser

By James Kwak

Over at Medium, I just posted a new article about the Jonathan Gruber-Obamacare “scandal.” Republicans are highlighting Gruber’s remarks as proof that the individual mandate really is a tax, and that the administration hid that fact in order to put one over on the public. But this whole argument flows from a faulty premise: that whether something is a tax or not is a question that has a knowable answer.

Last week I wrote a post complaining about my dismal experiences on United Airlines, which I chalk up to two things. The first is miserable computer systems. (It’s remarkable when you can see a computer system failing, and you know exactly what’s going wrong.) The second is the oligopolistic/near-monopolistic structure of the industry, especially when combined with a do-nothing Antitrust Division over at DOJ. It’s not just me: Tim Wu thinks so, too.

Finally, before that I wrote a post about Amazon’s extraordinary dominance in online retailing of physical goods. Who cares if no one will buy your phone when people are happy using other people’s phones to buy toilet paper and diapers from you?

Enjoy.

37 responses to “Obamacare, Taxes, United Airlines, and My Tea Infuser

  1. For-profit health insurance is a sadistic abomination – always was and always will be.

    IRS is not a “tax” collection agency – it’s the enforcer of economic genocide…

    486 people have 2.08 TRILLION to spend – how can 300 million have anything to spend when 486 have trillions?

    Please – share the “new math”…

  2. Having followed your online work since the early days of the Baseline Scenario, I thought you might be interested in a rough outline of an explanation of why United Airlines is still in business that incorporates evidence of the same type of political/regulatory behavior that is central to your financial industry analysis. Could not reply at Medium w/o joining facebook or twitter, and could not find a usable email contact.
    Keep in mind that even in the golden era of post-deregulation competition, network strength and competitive cost levels were more critical factors than on-board service quality. The recent consolidation process—which United led—didn’t just make United a bit less sensitive to consumer dissatisfaction about prices or service, it totally undermined all of the ways “capitalism is supposed to make things better” so that its control over roughly 30% of the US aviation market cannot possibly be threatened regardless of schedule or IT reliability problems.
    I have been in the industry since deregulation, was the person who developed the first successful airline alliance (Northwest-KLM), have personal experience with 15 major airline mergers, testified before Congress on both the DL/NW and UA/CO mergers and before DOT on most recent international antitrust immunity cases, worked on five different bankruptcy cases (including UA and AA). Everything below is based on first hand experience and can be backed up by detailed articles and grad school seminars on these competition issues. This note presumes that you might be interested in an introduction to the airline version of the larger “political destruction of market competition to massively benefit select insiders at the expense of the rest of society” problem. Lets start with the changes to the mechanisms by which “capitalism is supposed to make things better” in the aviation market.
    ■ The ability to “make things better” presumes competition (among many other things). Even if you use the Reagan DOJ “market contestability” test, industry consolidation since 2004 has totally eliminated this. Airline economics and competition are totally driven by longhaul international markets. The US and China are the only countries in the world that could support any meaningful domestic-only airlines; all industry growth and profits depend on longhaul. US-Europe is the world’s biggest international market. The last successful new entry occurred in 1987. It had 11 meaningful competitors in 2001 but was merged into a 3-player cartel. The transpacific is undergoing the same cartelization. In 2004 there were 10 significant domestic US operators (6 Legacy domestic+longhaul, 4 “low-cost” domestic only). Consolidation of longhaul markets into a 3 player cartel triggered recent domestic mergers since the other 3 could not survive without international, and artificial international profits distorted competition between AA/UA/DL and Southwest, Airtran, JetBlue and Spirit.
    ■ Capitalism requires more than the hypothetical possibility of competition, and the “number of competitors” does not measure actual competitiveness. To “make things better” you need actual mechanisms that actually lead to the ongoing reallocation of capital from companies with lower productivity/inferior service to companies with higher productivity/superior service. This is what I was taught about capitalism when I attended SOM (’80); I assume it was also what you were taught. For the first two decades after deregulation, this actually happened. The industry consolidation since 2004 actually threw this process completely into reverse. Each of the first 3 US megamergers (DL/NW, UA/CO, WN/FL saw a higher cost airline with weaker management take over an airline that was more efficient and better regarded, and the original AA bankruptcy plan assumed a similar takeover of US until US and the AA unions found a way to stop them. The Air France-KLM merger (which triggered European/transatlantic consolidation) was an even more extreme reallocation of capital from more efficient to less efficient.
    ■ Some of the industry shakeout of the 80s (immediately following deregulation) can be attributed to competition, or the collapse of a particularly badly run company (Eastern, TWA) But absolutely none of the recent (post-04) changes in industry structure had anything to do with “market forces”. None of the recent mergers were driven by external at-risk investors. It was an entirely political process–large incumbent carriers petitioning governments for major reductions in competition, and capturing the government decision-processes regarding mergers and antitrust immunity. There is no evidence that airline megamergers produce efficiencies large enough to offset the huge implementation costs and risks. Since none of the mergers of the 80s and 90s (CO/FL/PE, US/PS, AA/Aircal, DL/Western, etc) provided any financial returns, there was no consolidation until the industry refocused on mergers that could exploit sustainable anti-competitive market power. The airlines PR claims public benefits due to “merger synergies” have never been documented, and in the case of United (given its systems/reliability/employee/fleet problems) can be negative. Two key synergies from consolidation are significantly enhanced lobbying power and the creation of “Too Big To Fail” airlines.
    ■ Following the model of “capitalism making things better” that I think we were both taught, airlines grew for decades because competition and technological change drove industry innovations which drove lower costs which drove lower (real) fares which drove strong demand growth which drove some scale/network efficiencies that drove more growth. Before deregulation the key drivers were external (engine technology, subsidies for airport/ATC infrastructure, GDP growth); after deregulation the key drivers were internal innovation (cutting edge IT applications, hubs and similar network innovations, ne business models like LCCs). But radical consolidation destroys the pressure to innovate, and higher prices kills future growth. Probably not true in Asia, but in the more “mature” US and EU markets, data suggests that cost efficiency stopped improving ten years ago.
    ■ By the mid 90s, the transition from CAB regulation was complete and the benefits of productivity/network improvements went to both investors and consumers. But during the dot-com era several Legacy carriers—led by United—wrecklessly overexpanded, buying lots of expensive long-term assets (i.e airplanes and hubs) to pursue short term dot-com era revenue. Nothing illustrates the laws of supply and demand quite as well as competitive airline markets and the losses from the resulting crash wiped out all the profits earned since Kitty Hawk. Needless to say, none of the Legacy carriers materially addressed the overcapacity they had created, or accepted any blame for the strategies that had created it. Led by United, the industry engineered a financial turnaround based on maximizing protections for the senior managers of the largest airlines, a massive wealth transfer from consumers and employees to those senior managers (who controlled what most people would call “capital”) and the creation of anti-competitive market power large enough to ensure that mediocre managers providing mediocre service could produce profits under almost any economic conditions.

    Back to your question—after long being the poster child for lousy service and weak management, why is United Airlines not only still in business, but why does it face zero risk of future extinction? Because under Glenn Tilton, United engineered all the judicial/regulatory changes that subverted the normal processes by which capitalism is supposed to punish bad management and force the reallocation of resources to better uses. Four key pieces here:

    ■ When United filed bankruptcy in 2002, it had no credible reorganization plan, and Continental was ready with a takeover plan that would have gotten rid of the failed management and strategy, and eliminated the hopelessly uneconomic capacity. By falsely claiming United was on the verge of complete liquidation, Tilton got the bankruptcy judge to give him complete control of the reorganization process for 4 years, preventing Continental (or anyone else) from being able to present alternatives that would have yielded more for creditors. Tilton’s final plan assumed fuel prices would steadily decline from a peak of $65/bbl, there would be no cyclical downturn throughout the 2006-2012 period and assumed the industry could achieve historic unit revenue growth without any reductions in capacity (i.e. the laws of supply and demand would no longer apply). Tilton personally pocketed 20% of United’s equity without having raised a single dollar of new investment. But this effectively rewrote the bankruptcy laws to prioritize the protection of incumbent management over protection for creditors and maximization of new investment and future going concern value, as Congress had intended. The four subsequent airline bankruptcy (Delta, Northwest, USAirways, America West) also used exclusivity to protect (and enrich) the incumbent mangers that had driven their airlines into bankruptcy. The collapse of exclusivity in American bankruptcy led to dramatically higher creditor payouts and illustrates the economic losses imposed on creditors in the earlier cases.
    ■ As United refused to materially change strategy or management during its 4 years under bankruptcy protection, the only tangible P&L improvements came from a massive cramdown of labor contracts. This was also made possible by judges willing to rewrite laws and precedent. Chapter 11 had allowed courts to impose new contracts “if required for survival” but only if the debtor provided independent evidence of the imminent risk of liquidation and that the required labor cuts were in line with cuts imposed on other creditors. Starting with the United case, bankruptcy courts reinterpreted “required for survival” to mean “whatever incumbent management asks for”, and excluded union contracts from “equitable treatment among creditors” rules.. Each subsequent bankruptcy was based on the same labor-to-capital wealth transfer, and imposed the same draconian labor cuts, even in cases like AA where every other creditor group recovered 100%, and the company had become profitable a year before it emerged from court protection.
    ■ Immediately upon its emergence, Tilton and United initiated an organized campaign for “industry consolidation” focused on the DOT international antitrust immunity applications that cartelized the North Atlantic market around the Star/Skyteam/Oneworld groups and forced the subsequent domestic US mergers. DOT cannot grant ATI without objective evidence of tangible public benefits, and without a Clayton Act test showing that the reduced competition will not create artificial market power. DOT’s approved each application without presenting any pricing data or analysis, or any of the analysis of “market contestability” that had been central to every ATI case in the 90s (NW/KL, UA/LH) Its finding of public benefits in each case was based on the same fraudulent paper by a UC Irvine econ professor, which claimed that a regression of pricing data from the mid 90s (when the original Northwest-KLM alliances supplanted high priced, poorly timed interline connections) proved that any and every subsequent grant of ATI would automatically reduce consumer prices by 15-25%, regardless of economic or competitive conditions (i.e. the industry was totally immune from both macroeconomic conditions and the laws of supply and demand). The professor failed to disclose that he had paid by United Airlines to run these regressions for the express purpose of supporting their antitrust immunity claims. The claim that the regression “proved” that every ATI grant would have the same mathematical impact on consumer prices meant that airlines seeking to eliminate competition did not have to present any empirical evidence specific to current conditions or the markets they actually served. When evidence using DOT’s own data was submitted in later ATI cases showing that consumer prices had not fallen 25%, and in fact had risen to levels $10 billion higher than seen in domestic markets (where consolidation had not yet begun), DOT rejected the empirical pricing data, saying that the paper by the United consultant represented the established view of the economics profession. Absent this willful fraud, DOT would have had no legal basis for approving any antitrust immunity application since 2004, and absent international ATI, none of the recent domestic mergers (DL/NW, UA/CO, WN/FL, AA/US) would have occurred. (more on antitrust capture below) (1)
    ■ Anti-competitive market power in aviation goes well beyond pricing power. Equally important is the rent-extraction opportunities created when the DOT’s ATI decisions restructured international aviation around the three alliance franchises controlled by Lufthansa/United, Delta/Air France and BA/American. This destroyed the corporate value of Northwest, Continental and USAirways despite their lower costs and stronger managers. The three franchise holders exploited this market power through the ability to eliminate more efficient competition and acquire their valuable assets for next to nothing. (2) This form of rent-extraction is even more visible in Europe where Lufthansa has been able to establish total control over their alliance partners (Austrian, SAS, etc) without paying shareholders anything. Delta is currently trying to exploit this anti-competitive power in Seattle where wants to either run Alaska (which is much more efficient) out of business or force it to become a subservient feeder, but doesn’t want to pay Alaska’s shareholders what the company is worth.
    Your criticism of DOJ is both misplaced and badly understated. DOJ only has primary jurisdiction over purely domestic airline mergers. DOT had jurisdiction over all the international antitrust immunity cases that drove consolidation, although DOJ is entitled to participate and comment. The original UA/DL/AA objective was to get all of the cases that cartelized the North Atlantic approved by the Bush DOT (much easier to capture than DOJ, and it did rubber stamped the cases it did get), but the application to allow (the still independent) Continental to collude with United, Lufthansa and other Star carriers dragged into 2009, and was delayed until the Senate approved Christine Varney (a UChicago law classmate of Barack Obama) as head of the Antitrust Division. Varney’s first major act was a savage attack on the DOT’s approval of CO/Star collusion on the grounds that it had failed to present any empirical evidence relevant to the mandated legal standards and its findings were nothing more than “copy/paste” repetitions of the carriers’ claimed (but unsubstantiated) benefits. This set off a bureaucratic battle royal between DOT and DOJ that (according to the New York Times) was mediated by Larry Summers who came down 100% on the side of DOT’s belief that eliminating competition would provide major benefits to consumers. DOJ then remained silent on all subsequent ATI cases and the first three major domestic mergers (and Christine Varney returned to private practice). But after Bill Baer was finally approved as Varney’s permanent replacement at Antitrust in 2012, he filed a suit against the US/AA merger, the only case in the last ten years that hadn’t created any anti-competitive market power, and actually helped consumers at the margin by mitigating a bit of the artificial power achieved by the earlier DL/NW/Skyteam and UA/CO/Star combinations. The lawsuit against AA/US did not include any explanation as to how it (or any other airline merger) could create sustainable market power, and the final settlement did not address any of the threats to consumers alleged in the lawsuit. If I had offered you a million dollars to come up with a lawsuit that would totally discredit both the Antitrust Division and the general concept that antitrust law consumer protections are important to the public interest, you could not have come up with a filing half as bad as this.

    I think the story of how all of the principles of airline deregulation were totally abandoned, enabling the permanent cartelization of the industry in less than a decade highlights all of the major political issues (extreme regulatory capture, ideological judicial activism, the subversion of all basic principles of liberal market competition, the nullification of laws designed to protect consumers, long-term industry efficiency or any other public interest, explicit wealth transfers from labor to capital, dramatic market rigging to inflate short-term performance and protect large incumbents, TBTF, persistence of quasi-religious faith in the corrective power of markets despite the destruction of basic corrective mechanisms, etc) you’ve seen in finance and other industries. Any while everything here is just a crude overview, I think this is a story that can be easily explained to a broad audience without having to deal with the many mind-numbing details needed to explain these issues in finance (CDOs, SIVs, etc). If you have any questions, or would like any additional background, please let me know.

    (1) Understand “willful fraud” is a strong term, but I’ve fully documented the antitrust immunity jurisprudence issues in my article “Double Marginalization and the Counter-Revolution Against Liberal Airline Competition”, 37 Transportation Law Journal 251-291 (2010) available through SSRN, or from the seminars I’ve given at Northwestern which are at my website horanaviation. com
    (2) Delta acquired Northwest for stock valued at roughly the level of cash Northwest had on hand, so they got all other Northwest assets (fleet, customer base, marketing data, Minneapolis and Tokyo hubs, etc) for effectively nothing. United paid more for Continental (which had more negotiating leverage) but CO shareholders still only got a fraction of the true value of the Newark hub and other assets. American intended to acquire USAirways for pennies on the dollar post-bankruptcy until US (and the AA unions) disrupted those plans.

  3. I try not to fly too much, as a matter of fact, I think i’m going cold turkey in airplanes as of this moment.

  4. I like Tim Wu very much, mainly because of his views and very articulate writings on “net neutrality”, I matter that is very dear to me as a “net junkie”. I’m assuming his family name is Chinese, and when you look at his photos he doesn’t look especially Asian to my eyes. Maybe 1/4 blood?? It’s not a big deal but the first time I saw his photo on Bloomberg it made me do a double take.

    I road United Airlines in 2001 (obviously ions ago) and my experience was a very positive one. It was literally less than 3 weeks after 9-11. Most people were afraid to fly then, and even though it was an international flight, there were MANY empty seats on the plane (a guestimate would be 1/3). I wasn’t afraid because 9-11, my weirdo mind had it figured it was safer than ever from a security stand point after 9-11 because government officials would have their antenna set very sensitive. However I was neurotically, and had a phobia-like fear of flying in of itself. The stewardess was extremely kind to me and asked if there was anything she could do. I was NOT flying business class, had cheap seats and asked her if I could have an alcoholic beverage to relax my nerves. She gave me 2 decent sized glasses and was very kind about it. It was some type of liquor (if you put it just under your nose you’d have no doubt). So, you know, United 2014 may be a P.O.S. airline, but United Airlines circa 2001 has special place in my heart.

    I also flew United 2008, pretty much neutral experience. All our family pretty much sticks to Southwest Airlines, but I doubt Mr. Kwak would lower himself to “the riff-raff”.

  5. In America the “law enforcement” is always happy to kick people who lost their jobs out of their homes due to lapsed mortgage payments and intimidate those who believe free flow of information should be available to the masses, to the point of committing suicide.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/legal-woes-drove-swartz-suicide-girlfriend-article-1.1242463

    But one thing you will NEVER see “law enforcement” of America or the complete joke Eric Holder do:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-20/wall-street-stunned-iceland-dares-jail-banker-involved-2008-crash

    Well, we all know the self-labeled “Masters of the Universe” can do no wrong (at least no evil the Justice Department monkeys can see, hear, or speak):
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-17/goldman-fund-said-to-fall-5-6-on-interest-rate-position.html

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/goldman-ousts-currencies-trader-connected-to-probe-1416333931

  6. Does Mario Draghi and the BULLYING by the ECB of the Basel committee (see this article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-21/basel-to-toughen-abs-capital-rules-over-banks-objections.html )
    remind anyone of a certain conversation Larry Summers had with Brooksley Born??

    For those too lazy to read between the lines, the message here from Draghi seems to be “I am not going to keep my bureaucratic power base long, if we don’t let the European banks stuff cow crap into their ABS and LIE on their asset statements. So you boys at Basel just let the European banks stuff crap into their ABS, so we can bilk international governments (socialize the private TBTF banks’ losses to government balance sheets) at the next crisis, by which time I will have hit the ECB exit door the same as Larry Summers hit the Clinton admin exit door before 2008.”

    The fact is “central banks” NEVER regulate/supervise TBTF banks. They only provide a shabby veil for a FAKE/PHONY front of accountability, which in fact is non-existant.

  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/21/fed-too-big-to-jail_n_6201476.html

    And look at how MERCILESS those criminals at the banks were to home owners during the fraudclosure part of the program…

  8. @Hubert Horan

    Thank you for your post!

    Out of the 80 billion that investors poured into “Uber”, zero went to the purchase of “brick and mortar” – the AUTOMOBILES needed to drive people around.

    You wrote, “Each subsequent bankruptcy was based on the same labor-to-capital wealth transfer, and imposed the same draconian labor cuts, even in cases like AA where every other creditor group recovered 100%, and the company had become profitable a year before it emerged from court protection.”

    The business model everywhere now is labor-to-capital wealth transfer. Especially with ground transportation businesses. MILLIONS in PROFIT can be found in the proper maintenance of a fleet but that math formula has disappeared off the face of the earth. There is no re-investment in the business’s brick and mortar even though that is the biggest and best TAX BREAK on the books that corps already have.

    To say that government is dysfunctional is an understatement. Congress is MIA when it comes to war mongering, all you need is the COmmander in CHief to declare war and there go trillions of tax dollars to “fight terrorism”….anything else from a President is a constitutional crisis.

  9. Frankly, I see most women who are lauded in the media nowadays (aside from comedy relief style r-a-pe accusations claimed to have occured in the green room of Johnny Carson 1,500 years ago) are women who play with their hair as they glance peripherally at the camera. But 3 women I will name here as genuine All-Stars of their gender. Elizabeth Warren, Zephyr Teachout, and Jennifer Taub. You’ll notice certain women running for 2016 go unmentioned on my All-Star list. Maybe when she learns not to falsely claim being shot at from a helicopter (among many other major lies) while thousands of military men DIE in the Mid-east while she is trying to make imaginary photo-ops out of it. This isn’t even touching the fact that while she’s playing refreshments and Hors d’oeuvres at the White House, Richard Holbrooke was doing all the latrine duty in the Mid-East.

    Let me say something to Democrats, whether it is BIden, I kind of doubt it. But you better find a REAL statesman instead of a Mickey Mouse who will not appeal to a broad base of women, while she is screaming from the hills “Hey I’m a woman!!!. My gyno says ‘Vote for me!!!’ “

  10. Hors d’oeuvres

  11. oops, no, this refreshment:

  12. Let’s ALL play this song when the TBTF bank boards are FINALLY prosecuted as individuals by federal law which is written but currently (or over 3three decades) NOT ENFORCED

  13. @herzog

    Don’t get me started on how little Miss Yellin is DELUSIONALLY avoiding mentioning the destruction done to the Middle Class (“labor market”??!! – USA inventors producers scientists engineers are “labor”?) in order to pour the trillions into the Middle East, Mr. “Moses”…..you ain’t seen nothing yet when it comes to “cat fights”….

    And who can forget all the intelligensia – like Dr. Flowers – who were escorted OUT of hearings, like common criminals, that were about “Obamacare”….nice trick, calling the people not escorted out STUPID after you scorched-earth all the people who were INTELLIGENT about health care…

    Your misogyny makes everyone uncomfortable and adds NOTHING to a solution for the problems created by the REAL “constitutional crisis” – granting personhood to “corporations” and zygotes at the expense of REAL PERSONS.

    92 MILLION, Herzog – 92 MILLION people – there isn’t enough sensationalist rape crap you can channel 24/7 to control the conversation.

    1% of the population is NOT statistically significant…even when 99% of the conversation is being ruined by them.

    JUST WAR

    Askenazi FAIL to mention who was civilized 1000 years ago – even while hiding behind those shields at the same time

  14. Annie, there are no solutions to your crisis, and when the real solution does arrive, you will be swept up in the chaos, WORSENING your chances of survival. Plus the problem orbits all around you, lying, cheating, stealing, just because you are not conscious, or can not prove they are doing those things. But Moses is right, it takes great amounts of time to prosecute these people and you have to start at the top and work down. So as we slowly whittle these people down, and you see your hero’s go up in smoke, the ending is getting nearer.

  15. Justice is immediate – what are you suggesting, anon and anon, that people record the lying, thieving and murdering on their gizmos and cell phones instead of CONTAINING the 1% that launched this never-ending orgy of criminality as War, Drug and Slave Lords using MATH to do it from their gizmos?

    More misery for others = More $$$$ for ME ME ME

    It already ENDED, btw.

    And the chaos released when iniquity crashes and burns has always worked in the favor of those cultures that NEVER lost their way and re-constitute themselves like Tang in a glass of water :-)

    What a STUPID hijacking of the power of “religion” – all this PROPHECY crap – NONE of those delusions have come true – NONE – it’s nothing but an excuse to do NOTHING – and the “hottest place in hell” is reserved for those people who saw injustice and DID NOTHING.

    This is getting RIDICULOUS, btw, with the job front – getting fired or being rejected FOR SPEAKING THE TRUTH. You people may have wandered this continent for eons, but don’t ever call yourselves “Americans”.

    You can’t even get pre-emptive war legacy torturers out of management positions in hospitals and biotech research!

  16. I agree, but even I, did not try to manage all the space junk in the world, all because I saw no need too, and left the real hard stuff, to another God, at another future time, sort of like your own personal, Time Police.

  17. @Anonymouse – you always were and always will be a PREDATOR, seeking out to devour the producers, taking away the GOD GIVEN right people have to make their lives less miserable through honest work.

    For godsake, honest work has been transformed into a path to POVERTY.

    Metro police and FBI submit notarized statements and stress – WE HAVE NO RECORDS OF CRIMES OR MISDEMEANORS. There you have it, THEY ARE MAKING IT UP.

    MAKING IT UP.

    Torturors writing up psychological profiles on who is “dangerous” to America’s interest at the NSA. Who is anti-this and anti-that….

    gee, where’s the tolerance….?

    Indeed you have no need to do anything because you have chosen eternal death – a matter of TIME and shorter than you think for YOU personally – see, I can channel info just like the women CIA spooks employ to receive messages from their “god” – none other than the cosmically insane devil himself.

    JUST WAR

  18. You are so wrong there, recall it was you who said you were going to destroy me financially. That right there is the definition of preditor, and then you use the double trick to see if you can get away with it. Now it’s appearing to me that you and yours are more a part of the problem than the solution which is why finding the solution is so difficult for you and yours. It’s just the lost war on drugs your being affected by.

  19. I NEVER SAID SUCH A THING you loon, I do NOT know who your are – have we ever met in person??!! And it is simple enough to cut and paste your proof that I was out to destroy you financially!!! Where is your proof? Cut and paste it here, simple enough.

    good golly ms. molly, what insanity this virtual reality space is…

    Really? Just the lost war on drugs? Not the TRILLIONS that poured into that hell hole called the Middle East for you RELIGIONISTS fighting over “god”?

    Not the environmental damage from oil and gold extraction?

    Not the global increase in population thanks to a “what is rape?” discussion that nimrods switch to as relaxation from the brain power they used up during the contortion of logic they deployed discussing “what is torture?”

    Not the spyware and malware that was programmed in my Dell laptop shipped from Texas in 2003?

    My FEDERAL government did NOT protect me from FOREIGN enemies who waltzed from being an “existential” threat to STEALING everything I worked for my whole life – HONEST WORK – and now they MAKE STUFF UP about me in NSA databases – who the fck do you think you are?

    JUST WAR

  20. No SCIENTIST has a DUTY to stop talking.

    Once it is known that the EPA is MAKING STUFF UP, sane and normal minded people will follow the true leadership of scientists over to the coffee shop , ad hoc, rather than listen to the liars.

    http://www.iflscience.com/environment/epa-barred-getting-advice-scientists

  21. No one proclaims their innocence so loudly, as the GUILTY!

    One day soon you will be an observer, and NOT a commentor, that’s if you survive the day of reckoning which is dubious.

  22. https://news.yahoo.com/applications-us-jobless-aid-jump-313-000-133423296–finance.html

    always happens after September’s partying when the ILLEGAL list is drawn up and then fire them RIGHT BEFORE THEIR HOLIDAYS.

    let me guess, no one ever saw this “trend” before…?

  23. The wonders of cut & paste …continues

    “In 1971 Paul Revere & the Raiders recorded the song. This recording was released on the Columbia Records label and became #1 on the U.S. chart on July 24.[4] The RIAA gold certification followed on 30 June 1971, for selling over a million copies. It was later certified platinum for selling an additional million copies.[1]” – Wikipedia

  24. They should be protesting, burning down the house, expressing outrage to the lack of jobs, affordable education, pols continue syncopating to the Rich ….. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/tax-breaks-corporations-draft-113169.html

    Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid deservedly got demoted after Tuesday’s election. But the fact that they continue to renew party leadership for Pelosi, Hoyer et al shows what a bunch of dim bulbs the Democrats truly are….

    Need more proof….

    Senator Chuck “Carried Interest” Schumer wants party faithfuls to believe he’s on their side of Middle Class America while in the same breath, blocking and voting against anti-Wall Street regulation and Corporate Welfare (aka Crony Capitalism by the political Right).

    RE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-12/warren-said-to-meet-with-reid-to-discuss-leadership-role.html. Seriously!? They will cancel each other’s vote out. : “She will be strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, led by Senator Charles Schumer of New York. This places Warren, one of the Democratic Party’s chief critics of Wall Street, under the leadership of Schumer, one of Wall Street’s biggest backers in the Senate. ”

    Republicans have successfully established the political ground game for 2016. They will try and make it all about Hillary, the person, delegating Senator Rand Paul to lead the charge since Republicans as a whole, will not admit to their own short-comings either.

    Will Hillary triangulate or enlist her husband… she would not be a ‘Bill Clinton’ and is certainly, no ‘Barack Obama’. No doubt she can fight back, but as again, who gives a “F” about Hillary the person other than perhaps, Monica, Cuban Cigars, and a blue dress. Invoking those issues by Republican operatives will be enough for her to first bristle, then cringe, and finally, dismiss it as old news as her way of dealing with Republicans and critics within the Democratic party itself.

    Again, the Democrats’ first mistake was when earlier this year, the DNC says it would not share monies from their national coffers to Democratic Senate and Congressional races because they’re saving it all for Ready for Hillary because it’s ALL about her, don’t you know. The second and probably their bigger mistake, was in their Messaging. They should now fire Debbie Wasserman-Shultz and hire the marketing likes of Joni Ernst. But, because the party as a whole leans more Republican-lite, the Dumbocrats failed again, as usual, to capture the dissatisfaction and angry sentiment of the voters – failed on purpose since both parties are more in agreement and concerned with, their own political careers and self-enrichment.

    This should be the rallying cry: Make the Corporate – Elitist – Power Structure Squeal like Real PIGS!

    If Hillary Clinton is being described by Democratic pundits as “tough as nails”, could Hillary be as equally tenacious on such policy matters as tax reform/Income Inequality, Transpacific Partnership; Keystone XL Pipeline, gun control, Immigration, Citizens United, the NSA, TBTF, rent seeking, crony capitalism – as to the kind of toughness she often likes to project in her already hawkish – standing with Israel right or wrong – foreign policy positions.

    Considering Hillary’s milquetoast response when asked to comment recently about Wall Street and income inequality. She would NOT demonstrate nor act on those issues to the benefit of The Many, but rather to the benefit of A Few. There are too many examples to support the contention that a Hillary presidency would be another 4-8 years of voter remorse.

    Bob Shrum along with other political observers say Hillary could change, saying she has already acknowledged her mistaken vote on the authorization to use military force in Iraq (a comment that would be buried on the last page of the New York Times); although, she had also supported in taking military action in Syria earlier this year, and would probably of all things, approve of Israel sending nuclear weapons over Iran.

    So, seriously, would Hillary be willing to change? Undoubtedly, no. She could provide various comments to the liking of what voters want to hear but her governing the country will look and be, more Republican-(lite) in tone and policy.

    Like most pols, she’s in it mostly for herself to make history, reward her corporate donors, and make half-hearted speeches to satisfy, but to mostly shut-up, the Democratic base.

  25. What “law” is preventing the formation of a 3rd political party – “Independent”….? Can’t be voter registration since the amount of voters registered as “Independent” is equal or greater than the 2 other parties combined!

    There is no way to hide what is being said “between the lines” here – it is going to be a 2 year propaganda avalanche basically making the case for why the victims of economic genocide (a rose by any other name….) finally do NOT have representation in the Federal Executive, Legislative or Judicial Branches of Government, and so what? That was the plan all along….mission accomplished….

    JUST WAR

  26. Nope, just the lost war on drugs, shhhhh.

  27. We are being set up to have a 2 year long autopsy – “….how did it happen that the Middle Class/HONEST Labor has no representation in Congress, the Executive Office, or at the Supreme Court…..” just like we’ve been sitting here discussing the biggest heist in history done by WAR LORDS – not the Drug Lords who are just the bj givers to the War Lords and Slave Lords – that’s right, you heard me, how much respect do you think the War Lords and Slave Lords have for the whore who beds everyone….the Drug Lord….?

    When what we should be doing is filing the paperwork to FORMALIZE the fact that there already is a third political party based on voter registrations!

    Simple enough – why would that bring out a militarized police to stop the filing of papers…?

    Of course there are radical “ideas” floating about all the time – like the one that popped into my head just the other day – why not fire everybody who still has a job, transfer them into the health insurance database and let the IRS have at them until all the FIAT $$$$ is returned to the bosom of the FRB with compounded interest because it needs to go to what “IS” in the middle east…

    OBVIOUSLY, the people who have not been fired are bat sh-t crazy incompetent using stats to analyze meta-data for the complete mind control of humanity (how’s it going so far?)

    – blowing up rockets, letting air bags act as projectile-carrying bombs, having no protocol other than “prayer” for stopping a pandemic, and spending 18 billion developing a need-a-ride app for the infinite collection of fees without investment in brick and mortar – cars and infrastructure GLOBALLY…the people who still HAVE cushy 200K for-profit health insurance and other made-up jobs are dangerous SPIRITUAL nihilists – so fire EVERYONE for Christmas and suck all that FIAT $$$$ out of the system – then let’s see what happens – is “capitalism” not equipped to constantly “innovate” by ensuring that people have the RIGHT to make their lives less miserable through honest work?

    I guess when someone sez, “I need a head count” in the Middle East, the heads are located in a different bin than the body…but both are asking for the same reason:

    More misery for others = More $$$$ for ME ME ME

  28. By “monetizing” truth, beauty, and goodness, all three were blown off the face of this over-crowded and trashed planet….greed was not so good after all, go figure….

    Here’s a “suggestion” from “vulcans”, or whomever, ala The Urantia Book:

    “…The idealization and attempted service of truth, beauty, and goodness is not a substitute for genuine religious experience – spiritual reality. Psychology and idealism are not the equivalent of religious reality. The projections of the human intellect may indeed originate false gods – god’s in man’s image – but the true God-consciousness does not have such an origin. The God-consciousness is resident in the indwelling spirit. Many of the religious systems of man come from the formulations of the human intellect, but the God-consciousness is not necessarily a part of these grotesque systems of religious slavery….”.

    And only God is the competent judge of whether we know Him or not – the rest of us humans judge this way “…by their fruits you will know them….”.

  29. Good thing I believe in a woman God, outrageous I know.

  30. Where are the God-conscious female voices on this planet….? Brutally silenced by the all male intellect “formulas” – monkey brain math – and their “grotesque systems of religious slavery”….

    Let me guess, anon and anon, your female god is “demure” and never LOL out in public – like the PM of Turkey decrees women should behave – and tells he tells women it is their duty to have dozens of children while millions of war refugees from “religion” die on the doorstep of his country….

  31. It’s so brutal that the real Queen, the ones the real Gods have so much anger over, and hardly no one has ever seen, is scared to death of these so called intellects, and for good reason too, people would trick and not treat this queen properly, because of jealousy, which is why those people must be removed and not be allowed to make these same mistakes again. And this will happen right on time, (you can’t stop father time, or mess with mother nature for that matter) because the real queen(s) is/are still just teens and not yet aware of their full future potential, nor should they be at this young age, (brain development and all). Now the parents future, not so bright.

  32. Well, at least we now know from where your grasp of reality – spiritual reality – got short-circuited, anon and anon….”real Gods have so much anger”….and are jealous to boot. Uhmm, okeedokeee, look! a squirrel….

    “grotesque systems of religious slavery”

    Considering that so many 1%ers want to present themselves as competent in knowing exactly HOW to mess up people’s lives because it is according to their angry and jealous “god”, here’s a news flash, you filthy rich have already been brought before a court that judges in OUR own self interest – such as this one in Paper 71 – Development of the State:

    “…The appearance of genuine brotherhood signifies that a social order has arrived in which all men delight in bearing one another’s burden; they actually desire to practice the golden rule. But such an ideal society cannot be realized when either the weak or the wicked lie in wait to take unfair and unholy advantage of those who are chiefly actuated by devotion to the service of truth, beauty, and goodness…..Idealism can never survive on an evolving planet if the idealists in each generation permit themselves to be exterminated by the baser orders of humanity….”.

    I don’t know what a women who has had her body mutilated by the priest-class as a means of keeping her in line would morph into as a “queen” if power over others is dropped in her lap….my gene pool has long had the “military preparedness” to stop that kind of insanity right where it stood.

    The more sacred cows in your grotesque systems of religious slavery, the more impossible it is to not step on one. If that kind of “complexity” is how you measure cultural superiority, even religious superiority, than that is proof that “peace” will never be your goal.

    Congolese savagery – you got off one big heist – killing all the producers in the village and are now living off the fruits of their labor. All done from the gizmo, no less! Might want to start designing a smart-ass phone that feels good being shoved up your ____, cause that day is coming when you won’t be walking around the streets getting things “done” with a flick of the keyboard…

    You have one season to live off the booty, and then you will be back to being liars, thieves and murderers who have no intellectual or spiritual capacity for civilization – never did and never will….you CHOSE not to be human a long time ago…

  33. One season is all I need to deal with you, once on the wrong side of nature, always on the wrong side of nature, game on wenches.

  34. Here – this IP address is tied to Merck and Amazon, supposedly physically located in Oregon in the boonies, that has been trying to hack into my laptop the last couple of days- anyone on it?….54.201.107.94…

    The consistent projection of your HISTORY of iniquity is completely insane, anon and anon, everyone has the paperwork that it was YOUR ilk that committed the HEIST!

    All the savage knows about nature is theft through murder….AKA “Global” world order…

    The ONLY role of government is to protect the INDIVIDUAL against force and fraud. My government not only let FOREIGN powers come in and STEAL EVERYTHING, they encouraged them to do it by showing them all the legal loopholes available – fees, chaos in meta data collection, FASCIST ideologies spewing out of “churches”, NEED I GO ON?

    50 million have the EXACT SAME STORY! We have the paperwork…

    Where is the CLAW BACK? Who is getting the “fees”?

  35. Okay paper boy, your running out of time, go figure.

  36. The XL pipeline is evidence that the know-how exists to build a country-wide system of flood control, (the plan in the 1920s). Flood control will actually be more necessary as time goes on considering how weather systems are not being moved around by the jet stream the way they used to be moved and too much rain falls in a very localized area.

    People paid taxes for years and years to cover INFRASTRUCTURE improvement and maintenance costs….where did that money end up?

    In “energy” companies to be spent on destroying energy research!

  37. Some things you might read and conceivably say “I couldn’t have said it better myself”:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-03/cramer-s-thestreet-urged-to-explore-sale-by-shareholder-cannell.html