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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.

President Obama

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.

Eric Holder

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.

The company was founded in 1982 by David Fenton, an activist who served as a photographer for Bill Ayers’ domestic Weather Underground terror group.

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.

George Soros

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 Dohrn

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.

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