While the establishment news media brought plenty of bad economic news in 2011, the real story hasn’t been adequately told.
The true rate of unemployment and inflation and the real state of the U.S. economy, which is far worse than reported, tops WND’s annual list of the 10 most “spiked” or underreported stories of the last year.
At the end of each year, many news organizations typically present their retrospective replays of what they consider to have been the top news stories of the previous 12 months.
WND’s editors, however, long have considered it more newsworthy to publicize the most underreported or unreported news events of the year – to shine a spotlight on those issues that the establishment media successfully “spiked.”
WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah has sponsored “Operation Spike” every year since 1988, and since founding WND in May 1997, has continued the annual tradition.
Produced with the help of WND readers, here are the WND editors’ picks for the 10 most underreported or unreported stories of 2011:
1. The true rate of unemployment and inflation and the real state of the U.S. economy, which is far worse than reported.
When the Obama administration prepared to finance a 2011 budget deficit expected to top $1.6 trillion, the American public was largely unaware that the true negative net worth of the federal government reached $76.3 trillion last year.
The figure was five times the 2010 gross domestic product of the United States and exceeded the estimated gross domestic product for the world by approximately $14.4 trillion, according to economist John Williams.
Statistics compiled by Williams, based on the 2010 Financial Report of the United States Government, demonstrate the real 2010 federal budget deficit was $5.3 trillion, not the $1.3 trillion reported by the Congressional Budget Office.
The difference between the $1.3 trillion “official” 2010 federal budget deficit numbers and the $5.3 trillion budget deficit is that the official budget deficit is calculated on a cash basis, where all tax receipts, including Social Security tax receipts, are used to pay government liabilities as they occur.
“The government cannot raise taxes high enough to bring the budget into balance,” Williams said. “You could tax 100 percent of everyone’s income and 100 percent of corporate profits and the U.S. government would still be showing a federal budget deficit on a GAAP accounting basis.”
Meanwhile, the government’s own statistics showed in December that if the same number of people were seeking work today as in 2007, the jobless rate would be 11 percent.
While the Obama administration touted a November unemployment rate of 8 percent, much of it was a result of people leaving the labor force, not because they’ve become sick or too old, but because they have been unable to find a job and have stopped trying.
What’s more, the seasonally-adjusted rate adjusted for long-term discouraged workers – who were defined out of official existence in 1994 – was more than 22 percent in November.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics broadest measure of unemployment, which includes the short-term discouraged and other marginally attached works, along with part-time workers who can’t find full-time employment is more than 15 percent.
Methodological shifts in government reporting also have depressed reported inflation. If inflation were calculated the way it was in 1990, the annual rate would be nearly 7 percent.
2. The Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” operation, which facilitated the delivery of American firearms into Mexico to violent drug cartels, later used in the murder of hundreds, including a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
The aim was to trace guns to the “big fish” in the cartel, but the practice of “gunwalking” put thousands of weapons on the street that have been used in hundreds of murders.
Two guns found at the scene of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder by cartel killers were traced to guns the ATF deliberately allowed to be sold to known cartel straw buyers in American gun shops in violation of federal gun laws. Justice Department records turned over to congressional investigators also showed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was gunned down by cartel killers using a pistol purchased by a straw buyer in Texas with cartel ties. ATF agents knew of the buyer’s cartel ties but did nothing to prevent the sale or the shipment of the gun to Mexico.
CBS News, the only establishment news agency to investigate the scandal, uncovered emails showing that Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department has used the proliferation of cartel weapons to call for expanded gun control regulations.
In October, Holder lashed out at Congress members holding him accountable for the scandal, calling them “irresponsible” and guilty of “inflammatory rhetoric.”
In the letter, he claimed he first heard of “Fast and Furious” when Border Patrol agent Terry was assassinated in December 2010. But he had told Congress in May that he “became aware” of “Fast and Furious” only “a few weeks ago.”
Furthermore, the Justice Department released five censored memos from July and August 2010 addressed to Holder that referred to the program by name.
3. The organizations and money behind the supposedly “leaderless” Occupy Wall Street movement.
Adbusters poster mobilizing participation in Occupy Wall Street
The Occupy movement was caught red-handed operating a nerve center staffed by professional agitators deeply tied to groups funded by billionaire activist George Soros.
The radical connections have been largely missed by the general public. CNN, the only news media outlet to receive exclusive access to Occupy’s alleged headquarters, did not fully identify the activists found running it.
Activist Han Shan, for example, is the former program director for the Tides Center-funded Ruckus Society and an activist with the Tides-funded Adbusters.
Shan was listed as the contact person for protests outside the 2000 Democratic National Convention that were sponsored by both Adbusters and Ruckus.
The Tides-funded Adbusters magazine is reported to have come up with the Occupy Wall Street idea after Arab Spring protests toppled governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. The Adbusters website serves as a central hub for Occupy’s planning.
The Tides-funded Ruckus Society has been providing direct-action training to Occupy protesters as well as official training resources, including manuals, to Occupy training groups. Ruckus, which helped spark the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, was also listed as a “friend and partner” of the Occupy Days of Action in October.
Another grantee of Tides is MoveOn.org, which has joined Occupy.
A public relations firm closely partnered with the Tides Foundation represented the anti-Wall Street march past millionaires’ homes in New York.
Fenton Communications has been behind the public relations strategy of a who’s who of far-left causes, organizations and activists, from Soros himself to Health Care for America Now to crafting strategies for MoveOn.org and a litany of anti-war groups.
Fenton serves on the board of numerous Tides-funded groups, while his firm represents more than 30 Tides Center grantees.
4. The role of leftwing groups and the Obama administration in the fall of Arab regimes and the rise of Islamic radicals.
Billionaire activist George Soros has funded opposition organizations in Egypt and throughout the Middle East, where anti-regime chaos toppled the pro-Western leader of Tunisia and the rule of President Hosni Mubarak, a key U.S. ally, among others.
Mohamed ElBaradei, one of the main opposition leaders in Egypt, sat on the board of an international “crisis management” group alongside Soros and other personalities who champion dialogue with Hamas, a violent offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood, which seeks to spread Islam around the world by first creating an Islamic caliphate in Egypt, backed ElBaradei.
Soros leads an international “crisis management” group that long has petitioned for the Egyptian government to normalize ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. It released a report urging the Egyptian regime to allow the Brotherhood to establish an Islamist political party.
Soros’ Open Society also funded the main opposition voice in Tunisia, Radio Kalima, which championed the riots there that led to the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
In September, Soros’ group was looking to expand its operations in Egypt by hiring a new project manager for its Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, which is run in partnership with the Open Society Justice Initiative. The group is seeking to develop a national network of legal empowerment actors for referral of public-interest law cases. Such organizations in the past have helped represent Muslim Brotherhood leaders seeking election or more authority in the country.
Soros himself made public statements in support of the protests in Egypt, which the Mubarak government warned would result in the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the country.
In a Washington Post editorial, ElBaradei recognized that if free elections were held in Egypt, “the Brotherhood is bound to emerge as a major political force, though it is far from assured of a majority.”
Soros singled out Israel as “the main stumbling block” in paving the way toward transition in the Middle East.
Egypt accused the Obama administration of championing the protests and of pressuring Mubarak to resign.
Mug shots of William Ayers and Bernardine Doh
Months before protests erupted throughout Egypt, President Obama’s own associates provoked anti-regime chaos on the streets. WND reported at the time the protests were led by former Weather Underground terrorists Ayers and Dohrn.
Another protest leader was Jodie Evans, co-founder of Code Pink, a far-left activist organization formed in 2002 to protest America’s war in Iraq. The group previously met with Hamas and with leaders of the Taliban. Evans was a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama’s presidential campaign.
Also protesting in Egypt was Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the anti-Israel Electronic Intifada website. WND previously reported Obama spoke at pro-Palestinian events in the 1990s alongside Abunimah. At one such event, a 1999 fundraiser for Palestinian “refugees,” Abunimah recalls introducing Obama on stage.
Ayers and Dohrn were two of the main founders of the Weather Underground, which bombed the New York City Police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972. The group was responsible for some 30 bombings aimed at destroying the defense and security infrastructures of the U.S.
5. Compelling evidence from multiple experts that the birth certificate released by Barack Obama on April 27, 2011, is a fraud.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaking to the Eastern Orlando Tea Party Nov. 12 in Orlando, Fla., about his investigation of Barack Obama’s eligibility. (WND photo)
When Barack Obama announced in the spring that he was finally releasing his birth certificate after two-and-a-half years of battling court cases and ridiculing requests to prove his presidential eligibility, he declared it was time to “get serious” and move on.
It was no accident that one week before the April 27 release, some of the startling findings of two-time No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Jerome Corsi’s then-upcoming blockbuster book declaring Obama ineligible for the White House, “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” were leaked on the most influential news and political page on the Internet, the Drudge Report.
The publicity drove the book immediately to No. 1 on Amazon.com one month before its scheduled release and obviously caught the attention of the White House.
The White House declared in April that the issue had finally been put to rest, and the public could see the document that served as “proof positive” that Obama was born in Honolulu and fulfilled the constitutional requirements for the presidency. But more than 20 document and computer imaging specialists who examined the online image either have questioned its authenticity or declared it outright to be fraudulent.
Since then, famed Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio has commissioned a “Cold Case Posse” of former cops and lawyers to investigate Obama’s eligibility for Arizona’s 2012 presidential ballot.He promises a report early in the new year.
Arpaio has been careful about revealing details of his probe, but when WND asked him whether he commissioned the posse merely out of obligation to his constituents or because he was personally persuaded by the evidence, he replied: “The old saying, ‘Where there is smoke … .’”
Arapaio told WND the investigation is complex, and his team is “putting a lot of time into this, looking into it 24 hours a day.”
“They’re living this thing,” the sheriff said. “I think they almost dream about it at night, with all the stuff that’s come.”
The experts who initially raised questions on blogs and Web forums about the document released by the White House April 27 contended it looked like it was fraudulently manufactured because it is composed of multiple layers.
Some pundits who took note of the layer argument, however, quickly dismissed it after some graphic artists pointed out that the format in which Obama’s document was released, Portable Document Format, or PDF, is typically composed of multiple images.
The next day, however, a computer document specialist in Tampa with 28 years experience in the field concluded the multiple layers of the PDF document were not normal.
He was followed by a raft of others who in unequivocal terms declared it fraudulent.
In all, nearly two dozen experts contacted Corsi of their own initiative, explaining they had offered their work to many mainstream media outlets, including the New York Times, but were rejected.
6. The true mission of Islamic groups such as CAIR and other U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood-front organizations and their infiltration of the U.S.
JROTC cadets on the USS Theodore Roosevelt
After intervention by the Council on American Islamic Relations, the Defense Department reportedly decided it will now allow Muslim students participating in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps to wear headscarves and turbans while in uniform.
The decision marked the latest influence by controversial Islamic groups on military affairs.
WND previously broke the story that an Islamic group that has been closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and was named by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas – the Islamic Society of North America – is the official endorsing agency for the U.S. Armed Forces Muslim chaplain program.
ISNA also runs regular events for the military’s Muslim chaplains.
WND also reported the Army’s Muslim chaplain program was founded by a terror-supporting convict while the Army’s first Islamic chaplain, who is still serving, has been associated with a charity widely accused of serving as an al-Qaida front.
FBI agents arresting CAIR founding director Ghassan Elashi in 2002.
In December, five jihadists behind a Texas-based scheme by the Muslim Brotherhood to channel millions of dollars to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas under the guise of a charity had their convictions upheld by a federal appeals court.
The Holy Land Foundation at one time was the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. The five convicted Muslims include a member of the founding board of directors of the Texas branch of CAIR, Ghassan Elashi, who is serving a 65-year sentence.
The Justice Department named CAIR’s national organization, based in Washington, D.C., an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case.
Former assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, said that the Obama administration would do well to take note of the Fifth Circuit’s December decision.
“Given the lengths to which the current administration goes to portray the Muslim Brotherhood – inside and outside the United States – as a ‘moderate,’ ‘largely secular’ organization,” he said, “it’s nice to see any part of government recognize it for what it is: an Islamist conglomerate dedicated to the destruction of Israel and committed to raising millions of dollars to support accomplishing that end through a jihadist war.”
CAIR, meanwhile, is suing a father-and-son team that conducted an undercover probe that came up with 12,000 pages of internal documents confirming the group’s role as a front for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in the U.S. The findings were published in the WND Books best-selling expose “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America”
CAIR complained in October that it was unfair for the Department of Homeland Security to single out Muslims for observation, even though some 3,094 people have been killed in 66 Islamic terror attacks in the United States in the last decade.
CAIR has been distressed with proposals in Congress that would authorize the federal department to appoint an official to coordinate efforts to deter and prevent such attacks. The Muslim group is urging Muslims “and other people of conscience” to lobby members of Congress to oppose Senate Bill 1546, which calls for the DHS secretary to “designate an official … to coordinate efforts to counter violent extremism in the United States, particularly the ideology that gives rise to Islamist terrorism as identified in the 9/11 Commission Report.”
A related proposal in the House calls for the DHS secretary “to designate an official of the department to coordinate efforts to counter homegrown violent Islamist extremism, including the violent ideology of al-Qaida and its affiliated groups, in the United States.”
Two Republican candidates, when asked, pledged to investigate CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood related groups for terrorism-related activities, including the Islamic Society of North America.
Herman Cain said the federal government has been “too permissive of those kinds of organizations in this country for the sake of political correctness.”
Newt Gingrich said he would “support an attorney general who would look very aggressively at prosecuting any group which supports terrorism or which sends money to terrorism or which encourages terrorism.”
The former House speaker said “we should be much more aggressively challenging” groups like CAIR.
“I think groups that are dedicated to replacing the United States or to destroying the United States we should actively pursue, just as we did communists and just as we did the Nazis,” Gingrich said.
7. The real impact on the U.S. economy of Obama’s $787 billion stimulus.
The Congressional Budget Office in November downgraded its estimate of the benefits of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, saying it may have sustained as few as 700,000 jobs at its peak last year and that over the long run it will actually be a net drag on the economy.
While the Recovery Act boosted the economy in the short term, the extra debt generated by the stimulus “crowds out” private investment and “will reduce output slightly in the long run – by between 0 and 0.2 percent after 2016.”
The Obama administration had promised that at the peak of spending, 3.5 million jobs would be produced.
Meanwhile, Obama’s stimulus bill has benefited many of the president’s associates, including those who helped craft the legislation.
An adviser to Obama who played a key role in developing the energy provisions of the bill, TJ Glauthier, has served on the boards of several companies that recently received government funds, including hundreds of millions in stimulus money.
In addition to serving on the boards of major energy companies, Glauthier previously held two presidential appointments during the Clinton administration. He was the Energy Department’s deputy secretary and chief operating officer, the second-highest ranking official.
Stimulus legislation also helped to fund an education initiative associated with Weather Underground terrorists Ayers and Dohrn.
8. The harmful impact of unions on the American economy.
As Thomas Sowell wrote in a column published by WND, unions “specialize in siphoning off wealth created by others.”
“The most fundamental fact about labor unions is that they do not create any wealth,” he said.
Sowell pointed to a bill the Obama administration is trying to push through Congress, called the “Employee Free Choice Act,” as the best example of “the utter cynicism of the unions and the politicians who do their bidding.”
“Employees’ free choice as to whether or not to join a union is precisely what that legislation would destroy,” he said.
As more and more workers in the private sector have voted to reject union representation, the unions’ answer has been to take away secret-ballot elections, he noted.
Under the “Employee Free Choice Act,” unions would not have to win in secret-ballot elections in order to represent the workers. Instead, union representatives could simply collect signatures from the workers until they had a majority.
While private-sector workers, using secret-ballot elections, have increasingly voted against being represented by unions in secret-ballot elections, government unions continue to thrive as taxpayers “provide their free lunch.”
John Stossel noted in a WND column how “politicians obtain union political support by granting government workers generous pensions and health benefits, leaving taxpayers liable for trillions in unfunded promises
Only 8 percent of private-sector workers still belong to unions, Stossel pointed out.
“In the private sector, wage and pension demands are tempered by competition,” he explained. “If one company pays too much, a competitor takes his business.”
But governments are monopolies,” Stossel said. “They face no competition and get their money by force. So they can conspire with public-sector unions to milk taxpayers. That explains the fix we’re in today.”
In September, Teamsters union President James Hoffa, addressing a large Labor Day rally, brazenly proclaimed that labor unions – especially the huge government employee unions like the 3-million-member National Education Association and 2-million-member Service Employees International Union – provide the ground troops in the ongoing war to “fundamentally transform” America into a socialist utopia.
“President Obama, this is your army! We are ready to march! Let’s take these son-of-a-b*tches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” he shouted, referring to the tea party movement.
The Obama administration has been generously “funding” the union army since the inauguration, from the General Motors bailout, which blatantly favored union workers, to Obamacare, whose burdensome new regulations don’t apply to many unions thanks to special White House waivers. Obama’s early executive order required all federal agencies to accept construction bids only from contractors who agree to use union workers, and he packed the D.C. bureaucracy with union officials.
Unions tied to Obama also have played a large role in the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The protests are closely tied to the founders of ACORN and leaders of major U.S. unions, including the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU.
Stephen Lerner, an SEIU board member who reportedly visited the Obama White House at least four times, called for “civil disobedience” and “direct action” to begin Sept. 17 at Wall Street.
His stated aim was to “destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.”
In an interview about the planned protests, Lerner outlined his goals: “How do we bring down the stock market? How do we bring down their bonuses? How do we interfere with their ability to, to be rich?”
9. The looming potential for an EMP attack on the U.S. and its devastating impact.
Family Seucrity Matters image)
In a Republican presidential-candidate debate in November hosted by CNN, Newt Gingrich brought up a threat to U.S. national security that no other candidate had discussed, an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack that “would literally destroy the country’s capacity to function.”
Business Insider commented that “at first, we thought Gingrich had been playing too many video games, but after looking into it, it turns out EMP attacks are actually real and pretty damn scary.”
In August, James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation underscored its potential devastating effects in a paper titled “Clear and Present Danger: Time for a National EMP Awareness Day.”
“Communications would collapse, transportation would halt, and electrical power would simply be nonexistent,” Carafano said. “Not even a global humanitarian effort would be enough to keep hundreds of millions of Americans from death by starvation, exposure, or lack of medicine.”
William R. Graham, who led a 2008 congressional study on the effects of an EMP attack on the U.S., said an attack over the middle of the continental U.S. “has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures that support the fabric of U.S. society and the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.”
Graham, the science adviser to President Ronald Reagan, warned that several “potential adversaries have the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse, and others appear to be pursuing efforts to obtain that capability.”
Iran appears to be one of those nations in pursuit of the weapon.
Reza Kahlili, an ex-CIA spy who is a senior fellow with EMPact America, wrote that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have now armed all their naval vessels with surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and have announced they soon will start missions in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Guards have also announced the ability to transfer technology under their space project to solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach any target on the planet.
EMPactAmerica is a bipartisan organization for citizens concerned about protecting the American people from a nuclear or natural EMP catastrophe. It is lobbying Congress for the SHIELD Act, which would empower the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to work with industry and other government departments and agencies to protect the national electric grid from EMP threats
10. The federal government’s raid of the Gibson Guitar factory.
Armed agents from the Justice and Homeland Security Departments raided the offices and factories of the legendary Gibson Guitar company in Nashville and Memphis in August for the second time since President Obama took office.
Wearing bulletproof vests, the agents sent workers home and seized almost 100 guitars and boxes of raw materials, according to Gibson Chief Executive Officer Henry Juszkiewicz.
The raid, seeking illegally imported wood, incensed Tea Party groups and Republican lawmakers such as House Speaker John Boehner, who called it another example of an overreaching big government.
“The company’s costs as a result of the raid?” Boehner said in a Washington speech on Sept. 15. “An estimated $2-to-3 million. Why? Because Gibson bought wood overseas to make guitars in America. Seriously.”
In the previous raid two and a half years ago, over wood from Madagascar, the company was never charged.
The agents in August were investigating possible violations of the Lacey Act, which was enacted in 1900 to curb trafficking in fish and wildlife and expanded in 2008 to cover plants and plant products.
The raiders seized 6,000 fingerboards made of rosewood from India. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claimed the wood was exported unfinished, violating an Indian law that made it subject to the Lacey Act.
But India’s deputy director-general of foreign trade said in a September letter that the fingerboard is “a finished product and not wood in primary form,” and India allows free export of such products.
Agents “bum-rushed the building” and herded employees out so quickly that many left belongings behind, according to floor manager Johnny Alexander.
“They treated us like we were going to run back into the building and destroy guitars.”