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Senator Peters and Stabenow don’t fight for the $2000 COVID relief checks, but they do vote for $740.5 billion in US militarism

January 3, 2021

On Friday, the majority of the Democratic Senate demonstrated just exactly what they stand for by voting with Mitch McConnell to override a veto of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021.

The effort by Senator Bernie Sanders to try to force a vote to give the majority of people in this country, millions who are unemployed and facing eviction in the midst of the pandemic, $2000 per person, was voted down 80 – 12

This means that not only did the majority of Senate Democrats decided not to fight to give $2000 to millions of people who are suffering under Corona Capitalism, they also voted in favor of another $740.5 Billion for militarism and imperialism.

In a December 23rd statement on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, Michigan Senator Gary Peters was at least honest about the reality of the annual US military budget, when he said: 

“This vital legislation has traditionally received broad, bipartisan support – and this year was no exception.”

US militarism, like Capitalism, have always enjoyed bipartisan support.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, also voted with the majority of the Senate to adopt the $740.5 Billion US military budget. Senator Peters and Stabenow both posted statements on why they voted the way they did with rhetoric about supporting US troops and Michigan weapons manufacturers, but this is not how the rest of the world experiences the largest annual transfer of US taxpayer money to militarism and imperialism.

The $740.5 Billion public subsidy of the US military is just a number, but what does the vote mean in concrete terms, especially for the rest of the world. Here are a few of the consequences that the rest of the world has to endure:

  • 800 US military bases that occupy other countries around the world. Not only is there a constant threat of invasion or support of proxy forces around the world, the 800 US military bases also perpetuates sex trafficking, since US soldiers always need to be “serviced.” (See David Vine’s Base Nation and Cynthia Enloe’s Bananas, Beaches and Bases.)
  • Continued US military actions which leaves thousands of civilians dead or wounded on an annual basis, particularly in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, throughout Africa an Latin America.
  • Continued US support for dictatorships and foreign governments that provide access to multinational corporations to exploit resources and labor around the world.
  • Unexploded US ordinance, which kills and wounds thousands of civilians annually, in countries like Vietnam.
  • Toxic waste from US military bases and operations, which contaminate ecosystems around the world.
  • The perpetuation of US weapons sales, particularly to countries like Saudi Arabia, Colombia and Mexico, which have atrocious human rights records.
  • The perpetuation of the consumption of fossil fuels, which makes the US military complicit in the climate crisis
  • Lastly, voting for the annual military budget means that the US outspends the rest of the world on militarism and it means that roughly half of US taxpayer money goes to militarism, instead of going to things like Medicare for All, housing justice, renewable energy, etc.

What is interesting and at the same time aggravating about all of this is that people will still continue to vote for the likes Senator Peters and Senator Stabenow. But lets be honest, when people vote for Peters and Stabenow they are ensuring the perpetuation of US militarism and US imperialism, which translates into the brutalization of humans and ecosystems across the planet. As Dr. King said in his famous Beyond Vietnam speech:

This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

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