As the White House fights it out with the Congress in order to avoid a ‘government shut down’ while continuing to consider some combination of military action against Syria and arming ‘rebels’, The Monitor wonders why so little attention is being paid to the underlying questions at the base of these stories: Why is there a revenue problem? and who would ‘we’ arm in Syria?
- Exposing the Big Money in Tax Breaks – an interview with Jo Comerford, Executive Director of the National Priorities Project.
- Arming the Syrian ‘Rebels’ – an interview with David Swanson of RootsAction.org
More about this week’s guests:
Jo Comerford is the Executive Director of the National Priorities Project. She sets the strategic direction for National Priorities Project, builds organizational alliances, and acts as the NPP’s primary spokesperson. She has a strong background in community organizing and travels extensively, offering budget talks and facilitating participatory workshops, including as a speaker at a 2012 TEDx and 2013 Ignite. Jo previously served as Director of Programs at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and Director of the American Friends Service Committee’s western Massachusetts office. She is a frequent media contributor, with print pieces appearing in The Nation, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, and Mother Jones. Jo holds an MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Smith College School of Social Work.
From the NPP report:
In fiscal year 2013, tax breaks cost the federal government an estimated $1.13 trillion – just slightly less than all discretionary spending, and substantially more than the budget deficit in the same year. Every dollar the government spends on a tax break is a dollar it can’t spend elsewhere – whether on early-childhood education, environmental protection, or infrastructure improvements.
David Swanson is with RootsAction.org, which recently launched a petition, now at over 22,000 signatories: “We helped prevent U.S. missile strikes on Syria. Public pressure made Congress turn against an attack, opening the door to diplomacy. Now let’s stop the flow of ‘lethal aid’ to Syria. ‘The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria,’ the Washington Post reported. Those shipments have combined with ‘separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.'” See: StopWeaponsToSyria.org A recent CNN/ORC poll found what when asked “In the conflict in Syria, do you think that the United States should take the side of the Syrian government, or take the side of the Syrian rebels, or not take either side?” a full 85 percent of Americans responded “neither side.”
Swanson is author of the new book War No More: The Case for Abolition and “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org
Swanson holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for theInternational Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
Swanson is Co-Founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, creator of ProsecuteBushCheney.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com, a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, the Backbone Campaign, Voters for Peace, and the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, and chair of the Robert Jackson Steering Committee.