Dave Emory’s entire lifetime of work is available on a flash drive that can be obtained here.  The new drive is a 32-gigabyte drive that is current as of the programs and articles posted by 12/19/2014. The new drive (available for a tax-deductible contribution of $65.00 or more) contains FTR #827 . (The previous flash drive was current through the end of May of 2012 and contained FTR #748 .)
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This program was recorded in one, 60-minute segment .
Introduction: As a new year begins, we bring some stories up to date, introduce some others and reflect on the year gone by and the times to come.
Late last year, President Obama normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba. More than half a century ago, President Kennedy attempted to do the same thing–this at the height of the Cold War. It was one of the factors that led to his death. The broadcast opens with discussion of JFK’s ill-fated attempts at de-escalating the Cold War.
Updating information presented in FTR #825 , we note that Mariano Rajoy’s government has–to a considerable extent–criminalized political dissent  in Spain. Rajoy’s Popular Party might very well be termed a “kinder, gentler” Falange. (The Falange was the fascist political party of Francisco Franco.)
Fascist revanchist policy is manifesting itself in Croatia  as well. Birthed in the Balkans wars, the Croatian republic is among those NATO and EU countries that had its genesis in the World War II politics of the brutal Ustachi regime. The murderous World War II leader Ante Pavelic was commemorated in a mass in Zagreb, the capital of the “new” Croatia.
As the Holiday season recedes in the rear view mirror, we note that reactionary icon Ayn Rand helped with an investigation  of the Christmas cinematic staple It’s a Wonderful Life. Seen by some as “crypto-Communist” tract, the film is critical of some aspects of the financial industry–enough to put it in the investigative crosshairs of the GOP right. This is indicative of the mindset of many in the governing elites of our country.
Representative Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, has stated that “we are living in an Ayn Rand novel.” He is wrong, of course, but his attitude exemplifies the mentality of the GOP-dominated Congress. That Congress is embracing “dynamic scoring”  by rejecting the current head of the Congressional Budget Office. To make a long story short, this will empower an utterly fantastic and fraudulent interpretation of economic data, reinforcing the austerity dogma advocated by the GOP.
Although the 2001 anthrax attacks have receded into historical memory, new information continues to surface casting doubt  on the official “long nut” theory which pinned responsibility for the attacks on Bruce Ivins.
The program concludes with a look at a dire prediction  by theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, that echoes Mr. Emory’s ruminations  concerning the potential dangers of artificial intelligence.
Program Highlights Include: Paul Krugman’s assessment of global elite economic policies , noting the effects similar to those embraced by their counterparts in the 1930’s, when economic deprivation drove many into the arms of fascist dictators; the high-tech characteristics of the anthrax spores used in the 2001 attacks, indicating a level of technological sophistication that would likely be unavailable to a single individual; review of Mariano Rajoy’s jingoistic policies, pursued in the wake of Spanish economic deprivation; review of the restoration of neo-Ustachi elements in Croatia following the Balkans wars; indications that CIA-linked anti-Castro Cubans had learned of JFK’s attempts at normalizing relations with Cuba.
1. One of the bigger international news stories of 2014 was Barack Obama’s normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba. When President Kennedy tried to do this in 1963–at the height of the Cold War–he was murdered (in part) for his efforts. The material presented here is from AFA #12, side d.  The text excerpts are from the book Conspiracy  by Anthony Summers.
2.We have an established history of blaming major events involving conspiratorial process on “lone nuts.” That appears to have been the case in the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks.
The GAO just released its assessment of the Bruce Ivins investigation: it appears that the Ivins may not have been the “lone nut” we were told he was. The anthrax spores showed signs of sophisticated development.
A congressional inquiry into the F.B.I.’s scientific work on the anthrax mailings of 2001 has identified major gaps in genetic evidence that purportedly links the germs to Bruce E. Ivins, the Army microbiologist blamed for attacks that killed five people, sickened 17 others and shook the nation.
The Government Accountability Office study, requested in 2010 and made public on Friday, echoes earlier criticism from the National Academy of Sciences. In 2011, its expert panel found that the bureau’s analysis of the genetic evidence “did not definitively demonstrate” a firm link between the mailed anthrax spores and a sample taken from Dr. Ivins’s laboratory at Fort Detrick in Maryland, and more generally was “not as conclusive” as the bureau had asserted.
The G.A.O. had better access to F.B.I. records and deepened the genetic critique, finding that the bureau’s investigation “lacked several important characteristics” that could have strengthened its case. “A key scientific gap,” the 77-page report said, was the bureau’s failure to investigate whether samples of anthrax spores could naturally mutate enough to obscure their putative links to Dr. Ivins.
In 2008, shortly after he killed himself , the bureau laid out a sweeping but circumstantial case against Dr. Ivins, an Army microbiologist, saying he had acted alone in conducting the nation’s first major bioterrorist attack. It called the case Amerithrax and said that unique mutations in the anthrax spores had helped put Dr. Ivins under the spotlight.
In an interview, Timothy M. Persons, the G.A.O.’s chief scientist, credited the bureau with working hard to correct some of its science deficiencies but said its evidence fell short in the anthrax case, which was officially closed in 2010. “They needed better science and measurement in order to be more conclusive,” he said. “It sounds nitpicky, but that’s important in building up the scientific evidence for an important case.”
The bureau said it agreed with the G.A.O.’s advice on improving its forensic science.
The deadly wisps of anthrax, coming just after the September attacks, set off new waves of panic. Over the years, a growing number of outside experts have asked whether federal investigators got the right man and whether the F.B.I.’s long inquiry brushed aside important clues.
To the regret of independent scientists, the report made no mention of an issue beyond genetics: whether the spores displayed signs of advanced manufacturing. They have pointed to distinctive chemicals found in the dried anthrax spores that they say contradict F.B.I. claims that the germs were unsophisticated.
Evidence of special coatings, they say, suggests that Dr. Ivins had help in obtaining his germ weapons or was innocent.
Martin E. Hugh-Jones, an authority on anthrax at Louisiana State University, said the report was disappointing.
3. Supplementing FTR #825 , we note the Rajoy regime’s active criminalizing of dissent, echoing the policies of Francisco Franco, whose fascist dictatorship spawned the “kinder, gentler” Falange embodied in the PP .
What’s a government to do when the people take to the street to protest the way the country is being run? A sensible government would change policies to appease the people it is committed to serving. Alternately, a government could take Spain’s current approach, which is to start fining and arresting people for protesting  in the first place. Yes, that will solve the problem!
Spain is showing signs of fascism with its new anti-protest legislation nicknamed the “Gag Law.” This past week, Spain’s lower parliament okayed the law, pushing it much closer to reality. Among the restrictions cemented by the law, punishable by a $700–37,000 fine:
* Holding a protest without obtaining a permit from the government first.
* Protesting the day before an election.
* Insulting a police officer.
* Burning a flag.
* Photographing/filming police officers and sharing said photos/videos.
* Protesting at a bank.
* Blocking a home foreclosure
* Assembling near a legislative building
* Wearing hoods or masks, as they prevent authorities from identifying you.
That’s not all. Even peaceful protests can be shut down if police fear that the protest could at some point “turn disorderly” (left to the police’s discretion, obviously.) Oh, and don’t even think about appealing these fines in court. People who appeal these fines will be made to pay the court costs.
A quarter of Spain’s population is unemployed, with half of the nation’s young adults lacking a job. By upping the financial repercussions for protesting, the government knows it can scare away people who can’t afford to pay these tickets.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has pretended that this law is meant to “protect” the citizens. “One of the obligations of the government is to guarantee the liberty and security of all of its citizens,” Rajoy said, despite actually taking active steps to strip Spaniards of their liberties.
The good news is that the people of Spain aren’t taking the news in stride. This past week, tens of thousands of people in more than 30 cities gathered to speak out  against this attack on free speech rights. They might as well take advantage of their ability to protest before it’s made illegal, eh?
4. A Catholic Mass was celebrated in the Croatian capitol of Zagreb in honor of the Ustacha leader Ante Pavelic.
The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre slammed Monday a Mass in Zagreb to commemorate Croatia’s World War II pro-Nazi leader, claiming it was a “badge of shame” for the Catholic Church.
“It’s hard to believe that in the centre of the capital of a member of the European Union, very close to Zagreb’s Jewish community, hundreds of people gathered yesterday to commemorate the memory of one of Europe’s biggest mass murderers,” the head of the centre’s Jerusalem office said in a statement.
Efraim Zuroff labelled the service marking the 55rd anniversary of Ante Pavelic’s death an “insult to the memory of Pavelic’s hundreds of thousands of innocent victims”, and a “badge of shame for the Catholic Church”.
Masses on the anniversary of Pavelic’s death are regularly held in a basilica in downtown Zagreb and in Split, on the Adriatic coast.
Pavelic headed a Nazi-allied Croat state from 1941 to 1945.
He died in Madrid on December 28, 1959, reportedly from wounds inflicted in an attack on him two years earlier in Buenos Aires, where he had fled after the Axis defeat in 1945.
Pavelic’s World War II Ustasha regime killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascist Croatians in concentration camps.
Almost 90 percent of Croatia’s population of 4.2 million are Roman Catholics.
The former Yugoslav republic joined the EU last year.
5. Award-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman notes that the policies being pursued by the world’s global elites are producing political dynamics similar to those of the 1930’s, when economic hardship drove many into the arms of fascists.
. . . . Elsewhere, however, we see the rise of nationalist, anti-immigrant parties like France’s National Front and the U.K. Independence Party, or UKIP, in Britain — and there are even worse people waiting in the wings.
All of this suggests some uncomfortable historical analogies. Remember, this is the second time we’ve had a global financial crisis followed by a prolonged worldwide slump. Then, as now, any effective response to the crisis was blocked by elite demands for balanced budgets and stable currencies. And the eventual result was to deliver power into the hands of people who were, shall we say, not very nice.
I’m not suggesting that we’re on the verge of fully replaying the 1930s. But I would argue that political and opinion leaders need to face up to the reality that our current global setup isn’t working for everyone. It’s great for the elite and has done a lot of good for emerging nations, but that valley of despond is very real. And bad things will happen if we don’t do something about it.
6. With the holiday season now fading from view for another year, we christen it with our own unique brand of champagne. NB: GOP Presidential candidate Rand Paul  was named for Ayn Rand. Paul is being promoted by good ol’ Ralph Nader, no doubt seeking to outdo his de facto efforts on behalf of George W. Bush in 2000.
A number of years ago, I was telling a longtime city dweller friend of mine yet another story about the small, upstate New York town in which I grew up.
Simultaneously baffled and captivated, he said, “I think you were born and raised in Bedford Falls,” the fictional burg at the center of Frank Capra’s classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Well, I wasn’t. Actually, I grew up about 27 miles west of there. Its real name is Seneca Falls, NY – yes, the same place that’s also the birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement. While not absolutely certain, there’s a compelling body of circumstantial evidence that Capra had the town in mind when he created his cinematic version of Bedford Falls. The steel bridge over the canal, for example, like the one from which the hero George Bailey contemplates jumping in a suicide attempt, only to dive in to save his guardian angel, Clarence. The old Victorian homes, the design of town streets, a large Italian population, mentions of nearby cities Rochester, Buffalo and Elmira are just a few of the other similarities. There’s even the perhaps apocryphal tale of Frank Capra finding inspiration after stopping in Seneca Falls for a haircut on his way to visit an aunt.
Enough coincidences abound that Seneca Falls now holds a yearly “It’s a Wonderful Life” festival, and although it may not draw as many visitors as the nearby Women’s Rights National Historical Park, there’s also an “It’s a Wonderful Life” museum. Whatever the ultimate truth, there’s no denying that the movie is a storybook evocation of bygone small town America, places like Seneca Falls and my own hometown, right down to the underside of greed and malice that often lurks just around the corner from the film’s compassion and wholesome neighborliness. As for Frank Capra, as he prepared to make the movie, he told theLos Angeles Times, “There are just two things that are important. One is to strengthen the individual’s belief in himself, and the other, even more important right now, is to combat a modern trend toward atheism.”
Which makes it all the crazier that when the movie first came out, it fell under suspicion from the FBI and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) as Communist propaganda, part of the Red Scare that soon would lead to the blacklist and witch hunt that destroyed the careers of many talented screen and television writers, directors and actors.
Screenplay credits on “It’s a Wonderful Life” went to Frances Goodrich and her husband Albert Hackett, Capra and Jo Swerling, although a number of others took turns at different times, including Clifford Odets, Dalton Trumbo and Marc Connelly – not an unusual situation in Hollywood. But a 1947 FBI memorandum, part of a 13,533 page document, “Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry,” first went after the writers Goodrich and Hackett:
“According to Informants [REDACTED] in this picture the screen credits again fail to reflect the Communist support given to the screen writer. According to [REDACTED] the writers Frances Goodrick [sic] and Albert Hackett were very close to known Communists and on one occasion in the recent past while these two writers were doing a picture for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Goodrick [sic] and Hackett practically lived with known Communists and were observed eating luncheon daily with such Communists as Lester Cole, screen writer, and Earl Robinson, screen writer. Both of these individuals are identified in Section I of this memorandum as Communists.”
Wait – it gets nuttier. According to the media archival website Aphelis, “Among the group who produced the analytical tools that were used by the FBI in its analysis of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ was Ayn Rand.”
“Abbott and Costello Meet Ayn Rand” – what a comedy horror picture that would have made. Rand’s group told the FBI:
“The purpose of the Communists in Hollywood is not the production of political movies openly advocating Communism. Their purpose is to corrupt non-political movies — by introducing small, casual bits of propaganda into innocent stories and to make people absorb the basic principles of Collectivism by indirection and implication. Few people would take Communism straight, but a constant stream of hints, lines, touches and suggestions battering the public from the screen will act like drops of water that split a rock if continued long enough. The rock that they are trying to split is Americanism.”
But redemption of an odd sort came for “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the infamous October 1947 House Un-American Activities Committee hearings. Just days before the appearance there of the Hollywood 10 – writers (and one director) who refused to testify and subsequently went to prison — a parade of “friendly witnesses” (including Ayn Rand, Gary Cooper, Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney) came before the committee to insinuate and weave dark tales of Communist infiltration and subversion in the movie business. One of them was a former Communist and screenwriter named John Charles Moffitt.Aphelis reports :
“When asked by HUAC Chief Investigator Robert E. Stripling if Hollywood is in the habit of portraying bankers as villainous characters, Moffitt takes the opportunity to try to clear the reputation of Frank Capra’s movie ‘It’s A Wonderful Life:’ he tries to argue that the film isn’t, in fact a Communist movie.”
MR. STRIPLING. The term “heavy” has been used here as a designation of the part in which the person is a villain. Would you say that the banker has been often cast as a heavy, or consistently cast as a heavy, in pictures in Hollywood?
MR. MOFFITT. Yes, sir. I think that due to Communist pressure he is overfrequently cast as a heavy. By that I do not mean that I think no picture should ever show a villainous banker. In fact, I would right now like to defend one picture that I think has been unjustly accused of communism. That picture is Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The banker in that picture, played by Lionel Barrymore, was most certainly what we call a “dog heavy” in the business. He was a snarling, unsympathetic character. But the hero and his father, played by James Stewart and Samuel S. Hines, were businessmen, in the building and loan business, and they were shown as using money as a benevolent influence.
At this point, there was a bit of commotion in the hearing room.
THE CHAIRMAN. Just a minute. Come away. Everybody sit down. Will all you people who are standing up please sit down? And the photographers.
MR.MOFFITT. All right.
THE CHAIRMAN. Go ahead.
MR. MOFFITT. Well, to summarize, I think Mr. Capra’s picture, though it had a banker as villain, could not be properly called a Communist picture. It showed that the power of money can be used oppressively and it can be used benevolently. I think that picture was unjustly accused of Communism.
7. A little-noticed item concerning the new GOP-controlled Congress concerns the fact that they are moving to replace the previously-independent head of the Congressional Budget Office with their own hack, who can be expected to turn their ideological fantasies into political reality.
The incoming leaders of the new Republican-controlled Congress have opted against reappointing Doug Elmendorf as head of the Congressional Budget Office, Bloomberg News reported  Monday citing an “aide briefed on the decision.” The move helps clear the way for so-called “dynamic scoring” — a Holy Grail of conservative GOP budget wonks who don’t like the way the costs of tax cuts are currently calculated.
Elmendorf previously served as an economist with the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve. He was appointed to lead the CBO in 2009 after Peter Orszag, the previous director, was nominated to run the White House Office of Management and Budget. After that, in 2011, Elmendorf was confirmed for a four-year term after Republicans took over the House of Representatives.
Over the past few months Republicans have renewed their focus on changing the way CBO scores budgets if they were to take control of the Senate and keep control of the House of Representatives. Dynamic scoring calculates budgets through a controversial view that tax cuts both create economic growth and counter lost revenue. Currently the CBO does not use dynamic scoring.
Both Rep. Paul Ryan (R‑WI), the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R‑KY) have argued in favor of dynamic scoring.
8. Hawking recently warned of the potential danger to humanity posed by the growth of AI (artificial intelligence) technology.
Prof Stephen Hawking, one of Britain’s pre-eminent scientists, has said that efforts to create thinking machines pose a threat to our very existence.
He told the BBC:“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI. . . .
. . . . Prof Hawking says the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.
“It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” he said.
“Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” . . . .
9. In L‑2  (recorded in January of 1995) Mr. Emory warned about the dangers of AI.