The same profiteers that sold America the Iraq War are selling us this latest escalation of violence

What do we want?

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I power walked up the hill on Beacon Street in boots that wouldn’t stay tied up toward the State House whose dome is painted in a disgusting gold leaf color that looks like the shit restaurants paint on chicken wings now so they can sell them for $10 each and get a viral Business Insider video out of it everyone fucking hates and I passed the frozen Frog Pond in the Boston Common where maybe three or four people circled and circled as Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” blared including one tall man in a bright yellow jacket like you’d wear when you were doing roadwork and didn’t want to get run over by a car who skated without joy with his hands in his pockets and his head down like he was serving penance of some kind or other the type of skating like how you walk when the Vince Guaraldi Trio is playing Christmas Time Is Here on the piano.

I guess they first painted the State House dome gold in 1874 but then during World War II they painted it gray to make sure it wouldn’t be visible during potential bombing attacks but that never happened. Then in 1997 they painted it gold again and now it looks like it looks and it will surely never be bombed unless everything everywhere is bombed. I don’t know why I was walking in such a hurry probably because it was cold and steadily raining but I was on my way to go stand in the cold and the rain so what’s the difference. I was already soaked.

The Christmas lights and wreaths are all still hung up on the trees in the park and that made me feel less lazy about still having mine up at home and I rounded the corner down toward Park Street where a crowd of a couple hundred had gathered to yell about war. “What do we want?” “No more war!” the crowd chanted and then the bells at the Park Street Church chimed but I think that was just a coincidence.

A speaker at the rally led the crowd in another call and response. “Which country, Iran or the U.S., has killed more people in the Middle East?” he asked and everyone knew the answer to that one.

“Which country is funding the Saudi destruction of Yemen?” he asked and everyone also knew the answer to that. He asked a bunch of questions we all knew the answer to.

A woman named Mojgan Haji from the Iranian American Council took the shitty microphone and expressed her fear for her family and friends back in Iran over the shitty speakers.

“This high-ranking commander in Iran, he was liked by many people. His death has actually consolidated all of the political factions in Iran. Hardliners, moderates, even the opposition… Now they all are angry with Americans…. Our troops in Iraq are in danger. This is not the way to deescalate,” she said. “We just put the house on fire.”

“This all started with this administration leaving the nuclear deal,” she said. “The nuclear deal took away Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon. It was actually helping the situation.”

“Why this is so personal to me and our community in the United States: I have family in Iran. An 86 year old father. I have elderly aunts and uncles. I have nieces there… cousins, their children. I’m scared. I’m terrified for all of them. Over here, I have three sons, and each one of them has friends in the U.S. Armed Forces. I’m terrified of what’s going to happen to them. One of my sons’ very close friends, she left for bootcamp yesterday. I’m scared for her…. We need to stop this. There is no winner here. We are all losers here. We lose in this battle. The only people who are going to win are the defense contractors.”

And then the church bells chimed again and I shivered but I think it was because of the cold.

A lot of historic shit happened at that church but one thing I just learned was that “America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)” was performed for the first time there in 1831. Everyone knows the first verse to that one but I just looked up the lyrics to the rest of it and it is a lot more religious than I remember.

Our fathers' God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King!

Everything about this country is a lot more religious than I remember even our wars.

I looked at my phone standing there in the rain and I saw this tweet and I thought it’s so fucking grim that even the “pretty good” Democrats have to operate from this place of absolute denial about what this country actually is and does and has always been.

Then a woman named Ihssane Leckey took the shitty microphone to talk over the shitty speakers and she said the government is going to blame every evil in the world on Iran to justify this war and that is true because people who had never even heard of Solemani five minutes before he was killed were already all over the liberal media talking about how he was the most evil man in the world and his death was going to materially improve the freedom levels of godly Americans everywhere.

“Remember how they did the same in Iraq,” Leckey went on.

Leckey is running for Joe Kennedy’s seat in the 4th District in Massachusetts which I do not live in but my gym is there so I think that makes me an honorary constituent. Leckey is Muslim and a Moroccan immigrant to the U.S. and says she is a socialist Democrat for the Green New Deal and Medicare For All and free public college and seems alright to me as far as I can tell thus far. “There is absolutely no moral capitalism. Everybody knows that. There is democratic socialism and we see it in our social security system, we see it in the roads we share," she told NBC Boston earlier this year so ok.

Kennedy is running against Ed Markey one of the architects of the Green New Deal and is currently outpacing Markey in raising money. On top of that “Kennedy owns as much as $1.75 million worth of stock in the fossil fuel industry, including oil and gas companies that see Markey’s Green New Deal as an existential threat,” according to a Sludge review of financial statements. That includes Chevron and ExxonMobil and Schlumberger and NextEra Energy and I have never even heard of the last two but I feel confident in assuming they are evil as shit.

“Chevron and ExxonMobil have been linked to efforts to fight the Green New Deal,” Sludge writes. “Chevron donated $1.75 million during the 2018 election cycle to a super PAC that ran attack ads against Democrats for their support of the Green New Deal. ExxonMobil is a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council, a think tank that is promoting a carbon tax policy that its leadership says is a more efficient and less expensive alternative to the Green New Deal. Climate scientists have called the carbon tax proposal an insufficient response to the climate crisis.”

Hmmm.

“From Vietnam to Iraq, war did not establish peace…War destroyed lives for generations, destroyed ecosystems and created massive amounts of refugees. American youth have been maimed and are suffering for life. War endangers all of us,” Leckey continued back at the protest.

“The same profiteers that sold America the Iraq War are selling us this latest escalation of violence,” she said. “We are here to tell Trump and the forever war machine we can’t and will not let this cycle repeat,” she said and then not long after that Trump went on Twitter to explain that this cycle is definitely going to repeat. He said that he is very eager to commit war crimes by among other things destroying numerous Iranian cultural sites and then Pompeo went on TV to say Trump didn’t actually mean that then Trump came back on Twitter to say that he did in fact mean it and I believe him because he has been expressing his enthusiasm for war crimes since before he was even elected.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Right around the time of the rally I saw a tweet that went like this: “The bedrock premise of American political culture is that the US can go anywhere on earth and kill as many people as we want and it's fundamentally illegitimate for anyone to fight back” and that about perfectly summarizes my feelings on that matter.

Watch that video above and realize if you haven’t already and are somehow accidentally reading this newsletter for some strange reason that we are now and almost always have been the bad guys.

There were all manner of groups out at the protest who do good work including the Workers World Party, ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK and others explaining the history of our disastrous meddling in the Middle East. A flier from Massachusetts Peace Action laid out our timeline of fucking things up in Iran from the CIA helping to overthrow Mosaddegh in 1953 because we and the Brits wanted that sweet sweet oil up through the seventies when we supported Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War up through the eighties when we shot down an Iranian airliner killing almost 300 civilians up to last year when Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Agreement seemingly on a whim.

America loves helping out countries with oil a lot like I'm going to definitely take a look at the screenplay of the guy who still has some coke left at the end of the night. Cool cool cool man yeah promoting democracy and help with defense just like you say man for sure say any of that oil left or...? A little taste is cool no problem.

The thing was a fine leaflet and informative but the reason I bring it up is because of this graphic on the top which I found so bleak and demoralizing. Something about that design with the Q switching over to the N like a war odometer is a real fucking bummer man like we went through all this in 2003 and we marched and yelled and demanded no war and then it happened anyway and now we gotta do it all over again and it will probably happen all the same this time too. Still have to try though don’t we.

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

I watched some of the Golden Globes last night and there was some talk about politics and some talk about war and some talk about the climate crisis and I was reminded of this quote from Vonnegut:

“During the Vietnam War, every respectable artist in this country was against the war. It was like a laser beam. We were all aimed in the same direction. The power of this weapon turns out to be that of a custard pie dropped from a stepladder six feet high,” he wrote.

Then I thought about this exchange from Slaughterhouse-Five about anti-war literature:

“You know what I say to people when I hear they’re writing anti-war books?”

“No. What do you say, Harrison Star?”

“An anti-war book? Why not write an anti-glacier book instead?”

I don’t think either of those lines are meant to be as fatalistic as they sound I think he had a lot more hope than that. The artists saying it isn’t enough I think is what the first one means we all have to say it all at once.

On top of that the idea that war will always be with us the same way glaciers will always be with us doesn’t seem as true anymore because we’ve managed to go a long way toward eliminating glaciers from the world since that book was written so maybe there’s hope after all. Maybe the end of war is possible. As the glaciers continue to disappear there will likely be an uptick in conflict but then someday all the glaciers will be gone and all the war will be gone too and we can all finally know peace.