Is It A Good Day For Some CLUSTERFUCK NATION?

It’s a Great Day for some Clusterfuck Nation…
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By Jim Kunstler… The Hidden Figures

The fabulous Coen Brothers of Hollywood couldn’t come up with a wackier Deep State than the one depicted on Cable News this week. Thursday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing had Congressman Jim Jordan (R- Ohio) in the role of “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski doing battle with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as “Osborne Cox” in Burn After Reading. Rosenstein was sure burning, or at least smoldering in his seat, as Jordan badgered him about threatening House staffers by subpoenaing their emails and phone calls…!

The gotcha moment: “You can’t subpoena a phone call,” Rosenstein answered, trying to suppress his mirthful smirk… as in, listen to me, you dim, Rotarian, Buckeye clod, with your worthless JD from the most obscure law school in the darkest corner of your meth-and Vicodin-addled state… you can’t subpoena a phone call, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…!

Had Mr. Jordan been a little more nimble of mind in his Dude role, had he not, say, downed that Red Bull and Ayahuasca “pick-me-up” before the committee session, he might have come back smartly at Mr. Rosenstein with a simple, “…yes, but you can subpoena the records of phone calls, can’t you?” Schwing. Only the poor clod muffed it, and Rosenstein’s praetorian guard of attorneys in the seats behind him joined in the mirthful smirkery, grand fellows of the Deep State are we, we eat Buckeyes for breakfast!

Now, Mr. Trey Gowdy (R – SC) is a different breed of porpoise among congressmen, kind of legal man-eating orca. In look and demeanor, he comes off as a cross between Atticus Finch and the young feller who played the banjo so well in the opening scenes of Deliverance. Mr. Rosenstein didn’t dare lay any mirthful smirky trips on Mr. Gowdy, who radiated the consolidated wrath of the legislative branch at this flock of executive branch popinjays. Mr. Gowdy, who is declining to run for his seat this year, may be bound for bigger things. Some say he may be the next Attorney General.

In case you’ve forgotten, Rod Rosenstein is not the Attorney General, he’s the Deputy AG. His boss is Mr. Jeff Sessions, an elusive figure for months now in the malarial DC backwaters, like that Louisiana Swamp Thang that turns up in the fake Bigfoot documentaries, looming hairily through the night-vision goggles in a cypress slough. Maybe three or four people have laid eyes on him since sometime back in April. Better check his office, make sure he isn’t hunched over face-down in a take-out order of tonkatsu ramen.

It’s rumored that our president, the Golden Golem of Greatness, can, shall we say, put the Department of Justice and its subsidiary, the FBI, out of their current misery by finally firing a few of these conniving top dawgs. Order Rosenstein to release un-redacted files he’s been sitting on for a year, and fire his ass for cause when he refuses. In the case of Mr. Sessions, for Godsake, call the undertaker.

The figures most hidden these days go by the names Barack Obama, Hillery Clinton, Bill Clinton, John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Loretta Lynch, Huma Abedin, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. If or when the dark, tangled, matrix of “matters” at the FBI ever manage to get unraveled, these characters will come tumbling out with the yarn, dropping into the harsh daylight like little squirming larva of Tineola bisselliella, the common wool moth.

Personally, I can’t imagine that the mighty mischief at DOJ and the FBI the past two years was not initially approved before 1/20/17 in some fashion by Mr. Obama and with his explicit knowledge. There’s little doubt that the “Steele Dossier” was the “insurance policy” that FBI Counter-espionage Chief Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page referred to in their famous text exchange about how to deal with the “terrifying” specter of a possible President Trump. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz needs to explain under oath how her humble IT employee, a Pakistani national, become a real estate millionaire in the DC burbs while servicing, shall we say, her laptop. Hillary, of course, is like some mythical Cave of Seven Winds — a boundless dark realm of winged beasts and crawling things. Loretta Lynch still has some public ‘splainin’ to do about meeting certain folks on tarmacs. The grand juries are begging to be convened.

Red Wing Cookin’

Drought Map for June 28th 2018

Drug for Skin Disease Boosts Hormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Immunotherapy Drug for Skin Disease Could Boost Hormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer
Wed, 06/27/2018 – 4:09pm by Institute of Cancer Research

A new form of immunotherapy reactivates the response to hormone treatment in advanced prostate cancer, a study in mice and human prostate cancer cells has found.

Hormone therapy is a mainstay of prostate cancer treatment – but tumour cells can grow resistant, leading to a hard-to-treat, advanced form of the disease.

The new study found that blocking a protein produced by a type of immune cell – known as granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells – restored sensitivity to hormone therapy.

Drugs that block this protein, called IL-23, already exist and are used for autoimmune diseases such as the skin condition psoriasis.

Clinical trials are now planned to assess the possible benefit of this new form of immunotherapy alongside the next-generation hormone therapy enzalutamide, in men with advanced prostate cancer.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, worked with colleagues at the Institute of Oncology Research in Switzerland on the study, which was published in the prestigious journal Nature today (Wednesday).

The research was supported by funders including the Prostate Cancer Foundation in the US, Prostate Cancer UK, the Movember Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

The researchers studied mice, along with tumour and blood samples from prostate cancer patients treated at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, to unpick the role of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in prostate cancer.

They found that blood and tumour samples from men with resistant prostate cancer contained higher levels of these suppressor immune cells and IL-23 than those from men whose cancer still responded to hormone therapy.

When they studied mice with prostate cancer that no longer produced IL-23, they found their tumours shrank considerably, and cancer cells grew more slowly.

It also took longer for the prostate tumours to become resistant to hormone therapy, and the mice survived for a longer period of time.

Both blocking IL-23 and stopping suppressor cells from moving into the tumour led to an improved response to hormone therapy, giving the researchers confidence that they identified a key mechanism that drives hormone therapy resistance in prostate cancer.

The researchers believe that IL-23 allows prostate cancer cells to sidestep the need for androgen hormones to fuel their growth.

Other immunotherapies, which work by reactivating the immune system’s ability to recognise and kill cancer cells, have shown some promise in prostate cancer, but only a subset of men respond well.

As myeloid-derived suppressor cells are present in many prostate tumours, the researchers believe that this immunotherapy approach could work in a large proportion of men with the disease.

Professor Johann de Bono, Regius Professor of Cancer Research at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Hormone therapy works well in men with prostate cancer, but when cancer evolves to become resistant to treatment, other options are greatly reduced.

“Our study found an important interaction between hormone signalling and the immune system. We believe we could exploit this to reverse hormone resistance in prostate cancer, and boost the effect of widely used prostate cancer drugs such as enzalutamide.

“We are keen to start clinical trials to investigate how we can combine this new form of immunotherapy with existing hormone therapies, to improve treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer.”

Professor Andrea Alimonti, Professor of Oncology at the University of Italian Switzerland and Institute of Oncology Research (IOR), Bellinzona, Switzerland, said:

“When we discovered that IL23 producing-MDSCs were the main immune subset infiltrating prostate tumors that have acquired resistance to hormone-treatment, we immediately realised that these cells could be one of the cause behind the emergence of castration-resistant prostate cancer.

“This study describes a new unexpected mechanism by which the tumor immune response supports the growth of prostate cancer and it opens the way for future novel therapeutic applications for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer patients.”

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“Immunotherapies have shown great promise in many cancer types, but so far their benefit in prostate cancer has been limited to a small subset of men.

“This new study has uncovered a completely new way to modify the immune system to combat prostate cancer.

“A combination of hormone therapy with this new form of immunotherapy could be a really exciting new avenue of treatment for advanced prostate cancer, and it’s important this approach is tested in clinical trials.”

Howard Soule, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief science officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, said:

“This important study identifies an immune protein that enables resistance to anti-androgen therapy, and suggests that targeting this protein may be effective in the treatment of men with castrate-resistant prostate cancer.”

Drug for Skin Disease Boosts Hormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Clinical Trials

Immunotherapy Drug for Skin Disease Could Boost Hormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Wed, 06/27/2018 – 4:09pm by Institute of Cancer Research

A new form of immunotherapy reactivates the response to hormone treatment in advanced prostate cancer, a study in mice and human prostate cancer cells has found.

Hormone therapy is a mainstay of prostate cancer treatment – but tumour cells can grow resistant, leading to a hard-to-treat, advanced form of the disease.

The new study found that blocking a protein produced by a type of immune cell – known as granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells – restored sensitivity to hormone therapy.

Drugs that block this protein, called IL-23, already exist and are used for autoimmune diseases such as the skin condition psoriasis.

Clinical trials are now planned to assess the possible benefit of this new form of immunotherapy alongside the next-generation hormone therapy enzalutamide, in men with advanced prostate cancer.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, worked with colleagues at the Institute of Oncology Research in Switzerland on the study, which was published in the prestigious journal Nature today (Wednesday).

The research was supported by funders including the Prostate Cancer Foundation in the US, Prostate Cancer UK, the Movember Foundation and Cancer Research UK.

The researchers studied mice, along with tumour and blood samples from prostate cancer patients treated at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, to unpick the role of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in prostate cancer.

They found that blood and tumour samples from men with resistant prostate cancer contained higher levels of these suppressor immune cells and IL-23 than those from men whose cancer still responded to hormone therapy.

When they studied mice with prostate cancer that no longer produced IL-23, they found their tumours shrank considerably, and cancer cells grew more slowly.

It also took longer for the prostate tumours to become resistant to hormone therapy, and the mice survived for a longer period of time.

Both blocking IL-23 and stopping suppressor cells from moving into the tumour led to an improved response to hormone therapy, giving the researchers confidence that they identified a key mechanism that drives hormone therapy resistance in prostate cancer.

The researchers believe that IL-23 allows prostate cancer cells to sidestep the need for androgen hormones to fuel their growth.

Other immunotherapies, which work by reactivating the immune system’s ability to recognise and kill cancer cells, have shown some promise in prostate cancer, but only a subset of men respond well.

As myeloid-derived suppressor cells are present in many prostate tumours, the researchers believe that this immunotherapy approach could work in a large proportion of men with the disease.

Professor Johann de Bono, Regius Professor of Cancer Research at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Hormone therapy works well in men with prostate cancer, but when cancer evolves to become resistant to treatment, other options are greatly reduced.

“Our study found an important interaction between hormone signalling and the immune system. We believe we could exploit this to reverse hormone resistance in prostate cancer, and boost the effect of widely used prostate cancer drugs such as enzalutamide.

“We are keen to start clinical trials to investigate how we can combine this new form of immunotherapy with existing hormone therapies, to improve treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer.”

Professor Andrea Alimonti, Professor of Oncology at the University of Italian Switzerland and Institute of Oncology Research (IOR), Bellinzona, Switzerland, said:

“When we discovered that IL23 producing-MDSCs were the main immune subset infiltrating prostate tumors that have acquired resistance to hormone-treatment, we immediately realised that these cells could be one of the cause behind the emergence of castration-resistant prostate cancer.

“This study describes a new unexpected mechanism by which the tumor immune response supports the growth of prostate cancer and it opens the way for future novel therapeutic applications for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer patients.”

Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

“Immunotherapies have shown great promise in many cancer types, but so far their benefit in prostate cancer has been limited to a small subset of men.

“This new study has uncovered a completely new way to modify the immune system to combat prostate cancer.

“A combination of hormone therapy with this new form of immunotherapy could be a really exciting new avenue of treatment for advanced prostate cancer, and it’s important this approach is tested in clinical trials.”

Howard Soule, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief science officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, said:

“This important study identifies an immune protein that enables resistance to anti-androgen therapy, and suggests that targeting this protein may be effective in the treatment of men with castrate-resistant prostate cancer.”

Caging Kidnapped Babies A Trial Run For Fascism

stolen from logo the irish times

Fintan O’Toole: Trial runs for fascism are in full flow

Babies in cages were no ‘mistake’ by Trump but test marketing for barbarism

Tue, Jun 26, 2018

To grasp what is going on in the world right now, we need to reflect on two things. One is that we are in a phase of trial runs. The other is that what is being trialled is fascism – a word that should be used carefully but not shirked when it is so clearly on the horizon. Forget “post-fascist” – what we are living with is pre-fascism.

It is easy to dismiss Donald Trump as an ignoramus, not least because he is. But he has an acute understanding of one thing: test marketing. He created himself in the gossip pages of the New York tabloids, where celebrity is manufactured by planting outrageous stories that you can later confirm or deny depending on how they go down. And he recreated himself in reality TV where the storylines can be adjusted according to the ratings. Put something out there, pull it back, adjust, go again.

Fascism doesn’t arise suddenly in an existing democracy. It is not easy to get people to give up their ideas of freedom and civility. You have to do trial runs that, if they are done well, serve two purposes. They get people used to something they may initially recoil from; and they allow you to refine and calibrate. This is what is happening now and we would be fools not to see it.

One of the basic tools of fascism is the rigging of elections – we’ve seen that trialled in the election of Trump, in the Brexit referendum and (less successfully) in the French presidential elections. Another is the generation of tribal identities, the division of society into mutually exclusive polarities. Fascism does not need a majority – it typically comes to power with about 40 per cent support and then uses control and intimidation to consolidate that power. So it doesn’t matter if most people hate you, as long as your 40 per cent is fanatically committed. That’s been tested out too. And fascism of course needs a propaganda machine so effective that it creates for its followers a universe of “alternative facts” impervious to unwanted realities. Again, the testing for this is very far advanced.

Moral boundaries

But when you’ve done all this, there is a crucial next step, usually the trickiest of all. You have to undermine moral boundaries, inure people to the acceptance of acts of extreme cruelty. Like hounds, people have to be blooded. They have to be given the taste for savagery. Fascism does this by building up the sense of threat from a despised out-group. This allows the members of that group to be dehumanised. Once that has been achieved, you can gradually up the ante, working through the stages from breaking windows to extermination.

It is this next step that is being test-marketed now. It is being done in Italy by the far-right leader and minister for the interior Matteo Salvini. How would it go down if we turn away boatloads of refugees? Let’s do a screening of the rough-cut of registering all the Roma and see what buttons the audience will press. And it has been trialled by Trump: let’s see how my fans feel about crying babies in cages. I wonder how it will go down with Rupert Murdoch.

To see, as most commentary has done, the deliberate traumatisation of migrant children as a “mistake” by Trump is culpable naivety. It is a trial run – and the trial has been a huge success. Trump’s claim last week that immigrants “infest” the US is a test-marketing of whether his fans are ready for the next step-up in language, which is of course “vermin”. And the generation of images of toddlers being dragged from their parents is a test of whether those words can be turned into sounds and pictures. It was always an experiment – it ended (but only in part) because the results were in.

‘Devious’ infants

And the results are quite satisfactory. There is good news on two fronts. First, Rupert Murdoch is happy with it – his Fox News mouthpieces outdid themselves in barbaric crassness: making animal noises at the mention of a Down syndrome child, describing crying children as actors. They went the whole swinish hog: even the brown babies are liars. Those sobs of anguish are typical of the manipulative behaviour of the strangers coming to infest us – should we not fear a race whose very infants can be so devious? Second, the hardcore fans loved it: 58 per cent of Republicans are in favour of this brutality. Trump’s overall approval ratings are up to 42.5 per cent.

This is greatly encouraging for the pre-fascist agenda. The blooding process has begun within the democratic world. The muscles that the propaganda machines need for defending the indefensible are being toned up. Millions and millions of Europeans and Americans are learning to think the unthinkable. So what if those black people drown in the sea? So what if those brown toddlers are scarred for life? They have already, in their minds, crossed the boundaries of morality. They are, like Macbeth, “yet but young in deed”. But the tests will be refined, the results analysed, the methods perfected, the messages sharpened. And then the deeds can follow.
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fintan otoole
Fintan O’Toole

Fintan O’Toole has been an op-ed columnist for the paper since 1988. His column on political and social affairs appears every Tuesday. He also writes for the Culture Shock slot on Saturdays. A former literary editor of The Irish Times, he has written more than a dozen books; most recently he edited the book of the newspaper’s series Modern Ireland in 100 Objects. Awards include the AT Cross Award for Supreme Contribution to Irish Journalism

Melania Trump’s Coat Celebrates Fascist Regiment

Roger Benham  June 22 2018

01-mt captioned_1Giovanni Tiso wrote a short and enlightening essay today about the history of “I Really Don’t Care” in Italian: https://overland.org.au/…/a-brief-fascist-history-of-i-don…/: I don’t really speak Italian, so I didn’t realize this right away, but “Me Ne Frego,” or “I don’t really care,” was the slogan of the World War I Arditi, the Italian stormtroopers. It came from the writings of the soldier poet and proto-Fascist Gabrielle d’Annunzio, who led Arditi veterans in taking the city of Fiume in Croatia after the war, a brief nationalist revolution that indirectly led to Mussolini’s seizure of power in 1922.

02-mt death head me ne frego i don't really careHere’s what’s startling to me, after finding this out. I have been to northeastern Italy, and just across the border into Slovenia. You cannot drive through the smallest village in this region without seeing a monument or cemetery dedicated either to the World War I dead, the Fascists, or the defeat of the Fascists by Communist Yugoslav partisans and Italian antifa geurrillas at the end of World War II. Streets everywhere are named after Fascists or antifascists. There are references to d’Annunzio everywhere. There’s some photos here of some of these monuments, in Redupuglia, Trieste, the Val Di Risondra and elsewhere.

But as I said, I don’t speak Italian and was only there for two weeks.

Melania Trump was born in Novo Mesto, a city in Slovenia which was part of first Fascist Italy, then the Third Reich in World War II. Her father was a Yugoslav Communist Party member, from a village which has three large mass graves from the struggle against the Fascists and Nazis. She went to school and first worked in Lubljana, a city full of references to the fight against Fascism. She started her modelling career there before moving on to Milan, the city where Mussolini was executed after a mass uprising against the Nazis and Fascists. She speaks Italian.

Let me repeat that: Melania Trump speaks Italian.

When you add to this the fact that Fascists have just had an electoral victory in Italy, that there are active Fascist street movements everywhere there today, actively resurrecting and using the Fascist slogans and mottos of the 1920s and ’30’s (including “I Don’t Really Care”), that admirers of these movements have worked and do work in the White House, from Steve Bannon to Sebastian Gorka to Stephen Miller, and that Zara, the jacket manufacturer has previously been controversial for producing a swastika themed handbag and a shirt with a concentration camp Jewish star on it, it is impossible for me to think that this signalling was not intentional.

Some may think the jacket is a distraction from the very real threats facing our country and world right now, from scapegoating of vulnerable immigrants and refugees to the stripping of the social safety net and the destruction of workplace and environmental protections. I firmly believe it is not. The First Lady of the United States, who grew up in the heartland of symbolic contestation over Fascist symbols and mottos, wore a Fascist message jacket from a company with a history of Fascist messaging.

I care about that very, very much.