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Friday, May 08, 2009

"Fodder units": Jeb Bush and the economic meltdown

Most Americans blame Dubya for the financial disaster, although an increasing number (incorrectly) blame Obama. Not enough people understand that Jeb Bush also played a role in this disaster -- a major one.

A few posts down, I questioned the veracity of a quote widely attributed to Jeb Bush:
The truth is useless. You have to understand this right now. You can't deposit the truth in a bank. You can't buy groceries with the truth. You can't pay rent with the truth...
The quote goes on like that for a while; you get the gist. Jeb, I now understand, did not actually utter those words. A former intelligence officer named Al Martin wrote (on page 200 of his book The Conspirators) similar words as his way of summarizing what he felt was Jeb's attitude. Martin claims that he came to know Jeb rather well in the days before the latter achieved the governor's office.

(My thanks go to reader Mike Rogers, who found the cite. I do not possess a copy of Martin's book.)

Getting to the bottom of that "false quotation syndrome" mystery was of some importance, but the following section from a Martin article is much more significant:
You must realize that most of the big, big Republican money (the trillion-dollar type money) was made by huge short positions in the market during the time frame of 1987-1989.

This was extensively discussed by Jeb Bush and others in 1985 — and rather openly so. They were shorting entire indexes, and that's what distorted the markets. That's why there was so much distortion in '87, '88 and going into '89, when all these different types of spreads came up, and people couldn't figure out what they were.

In other words, the Bush Cabal entered into a policy, which they knew would weaken the economic marketplace, the capital marketplaces of the United States, and hence worldwide, since when we sneeze, the rest of the world gets the flu, economically speaking. They capitalized on it further by instituting enormous short positions in a market because they were themselves the ones causing the economic damage to the underpinnings of the nation, which would eventually be felt in the nation's capital marketplaces.

The companies used were the same old list of favorites. Merrill Lynch. Goldman Sachs. Practically every Republican I knew at the time did business there. They would form offshore investment groups that they would all pool into. Trilateral Investment Group Ltd. was one name I remember. The Omni Investment Group Ltd. They would all be Republican-controlled, and they would institute huge short positions in the markets. A lot of times they were dealing with Republican controlled institutions, so if they got into an unsecured debit balance position, nobody ever put the arm on them for the money. They could carry positions much longer, outside of market rules.
This passage focuses on the shennanigans of 20 years ago, but the principle applies to more recent times.
I have made this contention before-that the stock market collapse in October of 1987 was caused by a massive draining of capital out of the United States, principally due to a variety of schemes originally proffered by the Bushites.

The market did not reach its bottom until December 4, 1989, and enormous amounts of money were made in that period of time.
Here's a claim that I would like to see verified by another source:
I don't know where the term came from, but "One Fodder Unit" became a popular term on the Republican cocktail party circuit in 1985. According to them, each individual American citizen equals One Fodder Unit.
The Urban dictionary offers a more restrictive definition, without (alas) favoring us with a citation:
Fodder unit -- derogatory term for a serving member of the armed forces, used in the Bush family between Jeb & Dubya after the term was originally coined by their father George H W Bush.
Elsewhere, Martin claims that Bush insiders shortened "one fodder unit" to OFU. Again, I've seen no outside evidence to support this assertion. On the other hand, I've yet to run into anyone who has debunked Martin's contention that he knew Jeb Bush and Richard Secord "back in the day." Martin has been around for a while now, and if his tale had any obvious holes, someone (I should think) would have made note of them by now.

Here's the short-and-dirty version: Martin claims that the Bush family -- by using and promoting a wide variety of frauds and scams -- intentionally damaged the economy in order to profit from well-timed short-selling.

A 2008 article in the Tampa Tribune -- Negligent Florida Let Criminals Infect Mortgage Industry -- may add credibility to this view:
A blockbuster investigation by The Miami Herald details the devastation that resulted from the state's regulatory neglect. In an eight-month investigation, the newspaper found:

• From 2000 to 2007, regulators approved 10,529 people with criminal records to work in the mortgage profession.

• Some of these criminals committed nearly $85 million in mortgage fraud, stealing customers' identities, their savings and even their homes.

• Regulators ignored a state law adopted in 2006 requiring criminal background checks on mortgage brokers. The backgrounds of more than half the people who wrote mortgages in Florida were never checked.

• Despite the epidemic of mortgage fraud in recent years, license revocations declined during the last five years.

• And regulators allowed at least 20 brokers to keep their license after committing fraud.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink is right to call for the resignation of Don Saxon, who heads the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and oversees the mortgage industry.

Saxon's record is shameful. His office awarded mortgage licenses to bank robbers, racketeers and cocaine traffickers. It approved licenses for applicants caught lying or who admitted to crimes that should have disqualified them. Indeed, regulators had no qualms about empowering criminals to handle people's money during home sales, often the most important financial transaction of their lives.
Saxon eventually resigned in disgrace. Here's how he entered into the job that made him infamous:
Saxon became the state’s chief financial regulator in 2003, through a new office created by the Jeb Bush administration
Saxon was doing what his boss wanted. This is what Governor Jeb Bush said in his 2003 inaugural address; “There will be no greater tribute to our maturity as a society than if we can make these buildings around us empty of workers; as silent monuments to the time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill.”
The Miami Herald (quoted by the afore-linked site; the original story is no longer online) wrote the following about the rampant criminality that Bush and Saxon unleashed on the mortgage industry:
As the housing boom exploded in 2001, so did the number of people rushing into the mortgage industry, with loan originators leading the way. But as their numbers rose each year — 66 a day in 2005 — so did the number of former criminals. With home sales rising more than 20 percent a year in parts of Florida, mortgage companies were hiring loan originators at an unprecedented rate, state records show. ”Back then, it was such a feeding frenzy,” said David Velazquez, 37, a former loan originator in Broward who served time in prison for drug trafficking. ‘People were saying, `We need loan originators. We’ll train you.’ It was so busy. They were pulling in anyone they could.’ In all, more than 5,300 people with criminal histories rushed into Florida’s mortgage industry as loan originators since 2000. Even for people who had five or more convictions, there were no impediments to getting in.
The Herald went on to assert that by 2006, one in every five fraudulent loans in the United States were written in Florida.

Obviously, the housing boom was a nationwide phenomenon. But Florida played a massive role in creating the crisis.

The scheme here is not difficult to understand, although the accusation is so large that even the most cynical minds may not easily accept it: The Bush clan intentionally created an unsustainable real estate boom and then cleaned up by short-selling when the whole thing went bust.

Is it possible? Did it happen?

I've yet to see any evidence that the Bush family personally profited from short selling. However, it is indeed true that quite a lot of short selling did occur last September. See here and here. As Martin has noted, the short selling could have occurred by proxy.
Do you think ANYONE ( with the juice to do so ) will actually investigate the Bush connection in this?

Didn't think so.

Today nothing surprises me.
More great reporting on your part. So many possible echoes of the attitude attributed by the BBS film The Century Of The Self to Edward Bernays, the mastermind of American propaganda ("public relations" in his terminology). It describes the shift from viewing Americans as citizens to labeling us "consumers", and now we may just be "fodder" to them?
Do you plan to blog on Steven D. Green's conviction? Back in 2006, you were all over the story and I keep checking thinking you might have some insight since he just got convicted.
Dear Joseph and readers,

If the scumbags in the Bush family were to disappear from the face of the Earth overnight, our problems would be diminished hardly an iota. Same if they never existed (say, for example, if Prescott had fathered no children).

So, articles like this, while very thoughtfully researched and well-written, leave me frustrated.

If some error is apparent in my thinking here, I would be genuinely appreciative if someone could point it out to me, because I'm getting sick of (us) going around in circles and getting nowhere. (That is not a snide remark; I'm expressing this as sincerely as I can.)

Thanks in advance for your consideration of my quandary.
I cannot put much significance in revelations that there was short selling last fall. That is entirely expected, given the market declines prior to that time, and the obvious nature of the economic slowdown that had to lead to far lower profits and even losses, which tend to drive stock prices lower in any case. The so-called smart money was short in a lot of sectors, and in particular, the FIRE (financial, insurance, and real estate) sector. A friend of mine who is no master of the universe Bushite whatsoever held short positions on most financials, the most vulnerable banks and brokerages, the REIT industry index, etc.

Gary (above) is onto something important, which is the realization that even the Bush Co. itself is NOT the lead actor in these market manipulations, but simply the most prominent public face put forward by this plutocratic elite.

Prescott was a hireling of Harriman's at Brown Brothers Harriman, 'earning' the family fortune as a contractor for far more prominent financial market actors. George HW Bush made his career from being the recipient of the appointment largesse of Nixon (making him head of the RNC, UN Ambassador, and envoy to China), who was himself hired into government and meteorically risen to a heartbeat away from the presidency by these forces using Prescott as their agent.

The ways of profiting are many and varied - and the money is unlikely to end up in their checking accounts, is it? I would also venture to suggest that it would not only be the Bushes who profited from such market manipulations but a cabal of like-minded individuals and hangers-on (Xi's "plutocratic elite").

As to question of whether the current housing bubble was deliberately created and then shorted, there is much circumstantial evidence to suggest so. Curious citizens might, for example, wonder why the Bush administration (and a coalition of major banks) blocked all 50 states from investigating subprime lending practices. They were making money on the uptick and I'm pretty sure planned to make an even faster buck once the bubble became unsustainable. Who wouldn't?

Mike Rogers
Have you ever contemplated the futility of washing dishes or vacuming the house or for that matter showering? It isn't as if you don't have to do it all over again the next day or the next week, so why bother.
On going maintenance is necessary for preseration of an accepted state of being.
Weeding out one "Bush" will not assure the end of weeding, you are right. But the ulternative is a garden taken over by weeds.
Bush and allies looted this country. There's some good stuff on this in the book by Clint Curtis.
beeta, I’m a strong advocate of maintenance (and bathing)
never considered it futile. But
the relentless carefully-crafted gutting of
the oversight system we had . . .

Isn't the fact
that it and most history has
in the public mind been reduced
to a foggy memory
through the 45-year slow-motion
train wreck with its recent eight-
year assault of daily outrages and terror
and threats of terror and our nation assuming the character
of a sociopathic mass-murderer
the rape of the Constitution –-
the most impressive achievement of the Cheney-Bush
Administration and its enablers?

Doesn't anyone see?
If people don’t understand
the principles of any system
they can't maintain it.

The dumbing-down was intentional.
See video with Edward Griffin interviewing Norman Dodds, for example.
Ohhhhhh..... that kind of frustration.....
I don't have a cure for that...except maybe.... an uprising!
But America is still too rich, too full and too comfortable for it.
The entrenched apparatchik is one factor that tends to suggest “uprising” as a solution.
But there are still people in government (more than apparent, I’d suggest) who are loyal to the Constitution—many are now retired. Uprising-wise, perhaps a general strike would be, in theory, the most effective means. A violent revolution is the oligarchs’ wet dream. They have orgasms watching chaos and death from their penthouse offices and bunkers and castles.

The rich, full and comfortable portion of the working class are becoming jobless and homeless, without medical care, educational system, … crumbling hard infrastructure, etc. “If there is hope . . . it lies in the proles…” The oligarchy/plutocratic elite works hard to deep them clueless (entertained, confused, terrorized, mis-educated…). This is key.

Respectfully, I can’t buy (and find “counter-productive”), the “America is still too rich, too full and too comfortable” line. What America is, is brainwashed/conditioned. This conditioning is deep, because it spans generations now.

AMERICA WILL CRASH / is crashing / has crashed but most don’t see it. It’s a done thing. More accurately, the SYSTEM has crashed (not the Constitutional one, it can survive—the “invisible” one), the bankster-drugmoney-laundering, terrorism-supporting, military-industrial, petroleum idiocy, anti nuclear energy, radical-environmentialist thing, the corpse that is absolutely dead, but has incomprehensibly-expensive life support pumping the lifeblood of the innocent into it to maintain the illusion of HOPE.)

The real battle is what system will replace it. [corporatist-fascism or rational nation-states, embodying different cultures, but essentially aiming toward mutual benefit].

I don’t envy you, having to live amidst Americans. There are billions of people (regrettably, myself included) who regard them as the dumbest son-of-bitches on the planet. No offense intended.

Again, if some error is apparent in my thinking here, I would be genuinely appreciative if someone could point it out to me, because I'm getting sick of (us) going around in circles and getting nowhere. (That is not a snide remark; I'm expressing myself as sincerely as I can.)
On the Other Hand, Pete Seeger has just celebrated his 90th birthday.Good man. Good American man.

Legendary Folk Singer & Activist Pete Seeger Turns 90, Thousands Turn Out for All-Star Tribute ...
P.S. -- Pete Seeger has outlived the bastards. House Unamerican Activities Committee
August 18, 1955:

Stupid forgotten slimeball: "... I want to know whether or not you were engaged in a similar type of service to the Communist Party in entertaining at these features."

Pete Seeger: "I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody. That is the only answer I can give along that line.

"'These features'...what do you mean? Except for the answer I have already given you, I have no answer. The answer I gave you you have, don't you? That is, that I am proud that I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I have never refused to sing for anybody because I disagreed with their political opinion, and I am proud of the fact that my songs seem to cut across and find perhaps a unifying thing, basic humanity, and that is why I would love to be able to tell you about these songs, because I feel that you would agree with me more, sir. I know many beautiful songs from your home county, Carbon, and Monroe, and I hitchhiked through there and stayed in the homes of miners."
Pete Seeger was sentenced to a year in jail for contempt of Congress but appealed his case successfully after a fight that lasted until 1962. The above is but a small portion of the questioning.
I "choose" to live among Americans, even though I have other chioces. That ought to tell you something about America. I am not naive about what is wrong with America today or for that matter all that America has done wrong in its short history. I have lived/visited many other parts of the world and I still think, America is too rich, too full and too comfortable. Yes I agree, a huge portion of America is standing on the edge of abyss, but untill they fall to the depts of hunger and homelessness and hopelessness, they will not see the farce of Free Markets and Democratic elections and War afainst Terror.
Yes I agree, America has been brainwashed for years and kept too busy/terrorized/confused/uneducated to notice how utterly corrupt our government has become or the fact
that the "American Dream" was never about owning a house or driving a SUV or having a college degree, it was always about "opportunity".
America has given ample opportunity to politicians and preachers and bankers and..... to bleed us dry and leave us hopeless, homeless and hungry.
What Republicans call the culture of responsibilty, I call the culture of"if you havn't reached the American Dream, is because you have not been a good bloodsucker".
So yeah, as bad as things may seem to you now, it has to get a lot worse before people wake up and try and make some sense of it all and then like you said, comes the time to "choose" the system that replaces it. And that is a whole other depressing chapter in the history of the world.
Another great article Joe....

I learned back in 1996 all about the details of the upcoming Economy Collapse that was to follow what we now call "911" only then it was called "Something big is planned to happen to kick start everything off". WHO was involved seems to be starting to surface and fasten your seat belts since there is still a lot more yet to surface too. As I understand from the family I was in, this is all part of a huge major Operation with specific goals.

Marty Didier
Northbrook, IL
What about the short selling the day before 9/11? I'm not one who thinks the government perpetrated the attacks (they couldn't get anything else right, except dishing out money to their friends), but they ignored many warnings from foreign intelligence agencies.

Making money from the warnings while not warning others would be typical behavior by those psychopaths, as far as I'm concerned.

Carolyn Kay
Just a quick thanks for your reply. I've been abroad about 20 years (35 if you don't count a remote island as America) and don't have the financial resources to revisit the USA. So you can see more than me. I'm delighted to hear that you have lived and visited abroad. I hope we can speak more of this another time. I've gotta do work now. Thanks...
What out for Jeb Bush...they have been grooming him for years. Right down to having him marry a Spanish woman and him learning Spanish.

It got him the South Florida vote. This was the first step in getting in line for the role of President of the U.S.

There was NO way they were going to get him in office after the damage his brother heaped on our heads for 8 years.

They are laying back and waiting like vipers in a snake pit.

Call me paranoid...the thought of any Bush in office again keeps me awake at night...

Southern smiles and world peace,
~The Baby Boomer Queen~
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