The real number of unemployed in the United States is far more than the federal government’s official count and the recovery could be long and tenuous, a Federal Reserve official told the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Area Chamber of Commerce last week in a speech that received some media attention.
“If one considers the people who would like a job but have stopped looking — so-called discouraged workers — and those who are working fewer hours than they want, the unemployment rate would move from the official 9.4 percent to 16 percent,” explained the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Dennis Lockhart.
As reported by the AFP in an article entitled “Real US unemployment rate at 16 pct: Fed official,” Lockhart noted that neither category is considered by the U.S. labor department in its monthly unemployment estimates. He also noted that the number of people working part-time due to the economic situation has increased more in the current crisis than at any time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking the information.
He warned of a long period of high joblessness that could not be “stimulated” away with more government spending and said some of the jobs that were lost may never come back.
“My forecast for a slow recovery implies a protracted period of high unemployment,” he continued. “If my prognosis for the broad economy is correct, the pace of job restoration and growth through the medium term will be frustratingly slow.”
In the post-meltdown world, it is irresponsible, ineffective, and ultimately useless to have a serious economic debate without considering and challenging the role of the Federal Reserve.
Most people think of the Fed as an indispensable institution without which the country’s economy could not properly function. But in END THE FED, Ron Pauldraws on American history, economics, and fascinating stories from his own long political life to argue that the Fed is both corrupt and unconstitutional. It is inflating currency today at nearly a Weimar or Zimbabwe level, a practice that threatens to put us into an inflationary depression where $100 bills are worthless.
What most people don’t realize is that the Fed — created by the Morgans and Rockefellers at a private club off the coast of Georgia — is actually working against their own personal interests. Congressman Paul’s urgent appeal to all citizens and officials tells us where we went wrong and what we need to do fix America’s economic policy for future generations.
“We will subject them to a complete audit,” Frank said, explaining that he has been working with Paul, a Texas Republican, on the bill and expects it to pass as part of a broader financial regulatory overhaul in October.
Frank said he and Paul are working to make sure the audit does not appear as if it would influence policy.
“We don’t want to have the audit appear as if it is influencing monetary policy, because that would be inflationary,” Frank said.
He said the audit would make public a list of what the Federal Reserve “buys and sells” but that such information would be released several months after the fact, so as not to affect the markets.
Paul tried to push a similar bill back in 1983, but it died. He suggested earlier in the year that the renewed concern about excessive federal spending and loose monetary policy is driving the wave of support to his proposal this time around.
“I think it’s the financial crisis obviously that’s drawing so much attention to it, and people want to know more about the Federal Reserve,” Paul told FOXNews.com, warning about the consequences of continuing to give the body more authority. “If they give them a lot more power and there’s no more transparency, that’ll be a disaster. ”
Powerful House Financial Services Committee chairman says central bank’s lending powers to be ‘curtailed’
Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), one of the most unabashed liberals in the U.S. House of Representatives, told a Massachusetts town hall recently that Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Federal Reserve will clear his chamber by October.
Over half of the House members, most of them Republican, have signed on to the bill, H.R. 1207.
Though Frank disagrees — as many proponents of the bill contend — that the Fed is the cause of the U.S. dollar’s shrinking value, he told a Massachusetts audience that he’s been a proponent of greater transparency at the nation’s central bank for some time.
“Here’s what we plan to do: I want to restrict the powers of the Federal Reserve in a number of ways,” he said. “First of all, they will be the major losers of power if we’re successful, as I believe we will be, setting up that, uh, financial product protection committee.”
The committee Frank mentioned was proposed by President Barack Obama during the campaign, as a way of protecting consumers. It was formally presented to Congress in the President’s financial regulatory reform white papers in July, noted law firm Wiley Rein LLP.
“The Federal Reserve is now charged with protecting consumers,” continued Frank. “They were supposed to do sub-prime mortgage restricted … Congress in 1994 gave the Federal Reserve the power to adopt rules to ban bad sub-prime mortgages. … They have the power to ban credit card abuses. They have the power to do most of it. They, under Greenspan, did nothing.
“Under Bernanke, they started to do things, but only after Congress started, when I became chairman of the [House Financial Services Committee], we began to act on these things: Sub-prime mortgages, credit cards, overdraft … And after we started, the Fed did. So, that’s why one of the reasons why in the new consumer protection agency we will take away from the Federal Reserve the power to do consumer protection.”
Frank added that Congress will reverse an action by the Democratic Congress of 1932 that gives the Fed authority to lend money at will.
The Federal Reserve, the unelected central bank of the U.S., enjoys a monopoly over the flow of our nation’s money and credit but has never been completely transparent and accountable to Congress since its creation in 1913.
Over its nearly 100 year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar while Congress has kept its hands off and its eyes closed. Since 1913, the dollar has lost over 95% of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy.
During the current economic crisis, Congress, the Treasury, and the Fed have put us on the hook for over $12 trillion in bailouts and loans. This is in addition to our almost $12 trillion national debt. When testifying before Congress, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has refused to disclose which institutions have received trillions of dollars in these bailouts and loans or to give our representatives details about what deals are being made with foreign banks.
Although the Fed is currently audited by outside agencies, these audits are not thorough and do not include monetary policy decisions or agreements with foreign central banks and governments.
The crucial issue of Federal Reserve transparency requires an analysis of 31 USC 714, the section of US Code which establishes that the Federal Reserve may be audited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), but which simultaneously severely restricts what the GAO may in fact audit. Essentially, the GAO is only allowed to audit check-processing, currency storage and shipments, and some regulatory and bank examination functions, etc. The most important matters, which directly affect the strength of the dollar and the health of the financial system, are immune from oversight.
An Open Letter to the
US House of Representatives
Whereas: Congress, the Federal Reserve, and the U.S. Treasury have put the American taxpayer on the hook for over $12 trillion in bailouts and loans; and
Whereas: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently refused to tell Congress who has received trillions in these funds from the Federal Reserve; and
Whereas: Allowing the Fed to operate our nation’s monetary system in almost complete secrecy leads to abuse, inflation, and a lower quality of life for every American; and
Whereas: HR 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, and S 604, the Federal Reserve Sunshine Act, would require a full audit of the Fed for the first time in its history and would provide answers to the American people about how our money is being spent;
Therefore: It’s time to hold the Federal Reserve accountable to Congress and the American People. I urge you to do everything in your power to pass the Audit the Fed bill!
CLEVELAND–Congressman Dennis Kucinich says “America has lost a great champion for health care, working people and education,” with the passing of Senator Edward Kennedy.
Kucinich shared some personal remembrances.
He first met Senator Kennedy in the mid 1970′s. Then Councilman Dennis Kucinich was a patient in St. Alexis Hospital. Kennedy and other senators were touring local hospitals and wound up spending time with him.
Kucinich has recently experienced the death of two brothers and a sister.
He remembers one of the first calls of condolence on the death of his brother Perry came from Senator Kennedy.
With yesterday’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska that ordered the Federal Reserve to hand over records regarding the lending of taxpayer money to various financial institution, there’s renewed interest in keeping the federal government accountable for their financial practices—especially when it comes to bailouts and monetary policy.
There are currently two pieces of legislation in Congress, HR 1207, which has 282 co-sponsors (101 of which are Democrats) and S 604 which has 23 co-sponsors that would bring new accountability to the Federal Reserve. Notable co-sponsors include Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Jim DeMint (R-SC).
The legislation, titled the “Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009” would allow the Comptroller General of the United States to do a financial audit of the Federal Reserve. After the audit is complete, the Comptroller General would be required to report his or her findings to Congress.
Although the Federal Reserve is not technically a government agency, it’s a staple of the United States’ current economic system and was created through congressional legislation. A recent survey from Rasmussen reports found that a super-majority of Americans think that it might be time to take a second look as to whether or not the Federal Reserve should continue to operate without accountability.
The survey found that 75% of Americans now support an audit of the nation’s central bank, and only 9% of Americans opposed an audit.
Long-gagged FBI whistleblower’s full under-oath testimony from Ohio election case, details Congressional blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration, more…
Just over two weeks ago, FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was finally allowed to speak about much of what the Bush Administration spent years trying to keep her from discussing publicly on the record. Twice gagged by the Bush Dept. of Justice’s invocation of the so-called “State Secrets Privilege,” Edmonds has been attempting to tell her story, about the crimes she became aware of while working for the FBI, for years.
Thanks to a subpoena issued by the campaign of Ohio’s 2nd District Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate David Krikorian, her remarkable allegations of blackmail, bribery, espionage, infiltration, and criminal conspiracy by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials, and agents of the government of Turkey are seen and heard here, in full, for the first time, in her under-oath deposition. Both the complete video tape and transcript of the deposition follow below.
Though there was much concern, prior to her testimony, that the Obama Dept. of Justice might re-invoke the “State Secrets Privilege” to keep her from speaking, they did not do so. Nor did they choose to be present at the Washington D.C. deposition.
The BRAD BLOG covered details of some of Edmonds’ startling disclosures made during the deposition, as it happened, in our live blog coverage from August 8th. The deposition included criminal allegations against specifically named members of Congress. Among those named by Edmonds as part of a broad criminal conspiracy: Reps. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), Tom Lantos (D-CA), as well as an unnamed, still-serving Congresswoman (D) said to have been secretly videotaped, for blackmail purposes, during a lesbian affair.
High-ranking officials from the Bush Administration named in her testimony, as part of the criminal conspiracy on behalf of agents of the Government of Turkey, include Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Marc Grossman, and others.
During the deposition — which we are still going through ourselves — Edmonds discusses covert “activities” by Turkish entities “that would involve trying to obtain very sensitive, classified, highly classified U.S. intelligence information, weapons technology information, classified Congressional records…recruiting key U.S. individuals with access to highly sensitive information, blackmailing, bribery.”
Speaking about current members of Congress during a break in the testimony,Krikorian told The BRAD BLOG that “for people in power situations in the United States, who know about this information, if they don’t take action against it, in my opinion, it’s negligence.” (More video statements from Krikorian, Edmonds and attorneys from all parties, taped before, during, and after the 8/8/09 testimony, areavailable here.)
Edmonds’ on-the-record disclosures also include bombshell details concerning outed covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson’s front company, Brewster Jennings. Edmonds alleges the front company had actually been shut down in August of 2001 — three years prior to Bob Novak’s public disclosure of the covert operative’s identity — following a tip-off to a wire-tap target about the true nature of the CIA front company. The cover was blown, Edmonds alleges, by Marc Grossman, who was, at the time, the third highest-ranking official in the U.S. State Department. Prior to that, Grossman served as ambassador to Turkey. He now works “for a Turkish company called Ihals Holding,” according to Edmonds’ testimony.
An unclassified FBI Inspector General’s report, released on her case in 2005, declared Edmonds’ classified allegations to be “credible,” “serious,” and “warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI.” In 2002, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), then the senior members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, co-wrote letters on Edmonds’ behalf to Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and DoJ Inspector General Glenn A. Fine, calling on all of them to take action in respect to her allegations. And in a 2002 60 Minutesreport on Edmonds’ case, Grassley noted: “Absolutely, she’s credible…And the reason I feel she’s very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story.”
The 8/8/09 deposition was brought by Krikorian as part of his defense in a case filed against him before the Ohio Election Commission (OEC) by Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH). The 2nd district Congresswoman has accused Krikorian, an Armenian-American who ran against her as an independent in 2008, of “false statements” during the campaign last year alleging that she had accepted “blood money” from Turkish interests. Krikorian says that Schmidt, co-chair of the Congressional Turkish Committee, accepted more money from Turkish interests during last year’s campaign than any other member of Congress, despite few, if any, ethnic Turks among her local constituency. He has suggested she may have been instrumental in helping to hold off a Congressional vote on a long-proposed, much-disputed resolution declaring the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians during WWI as a “genocide” by the Turks.
Edmonds herself happens to be a Turkish-American, though she was recently attacked by the Turkish Lobby, following her long-sought, long-blocked testimony.
The complete transcript of Sibel Edmonds’ under-oath testimony, may now bedownloaded here [PDF]. The complete video-taped testimony follows, in five parts.
She was concerned that one of her fellow translators, Can Dickerson, was a member of the American-Turkish Council, a Turkish group being investigated for:
A. Bribing top government officials and members of Congress
B. Drug trafficking
C. Illegal weapons sales
D. Money laundering
E. Nuclear proliferation.
Sibel was sacked from the FBI in April 2002 after she raised her concerns.