Author: Mottavio

Mitch McConnell Takes on the Green New Deal

Michael Ottavio | United States

Senate Majority Leader and brilliant tactician, Mitch McConnell, is currently gearing up to take Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” a proposed solution to climate change and a massive economic overhaul program, to the Senate floor for a vote.

Continue reading “Mitch McConnell Takes on the Green New Deal”

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Ocasio-Cortez Needlessly Opposed the State of the Union

Michael Ottavio | United States

Tuesday night, President Donald Trump gave his 2019 State of the Union address.  With the country’s partisan divide growing larger every day, there was no question Trump needed to bring Americans together over issues that we all agree that we should address. And boy, oh boy, did Trump deliver for not only himself but for his party.

There will always be some in the opposition that abstain from clapping during the mention of more right-wing policies. However, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is getting attention this morning for appearing unhappy with achievements that should make any freedom-loving American happy.

During the State of the Union

Pictures of a stoned-face Ocasio-Cortez started surfacing during the SOTU address. She seemed to be unmoved by a speech that has earned a 76% approval rating. Ratings like that show that even many Democrats approved of the president’s State of the Union.

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With such high approval ratings, it is clear Trump did something right last night. But apparently, Ocasio-Cortez did not think so. She appeared on Rachel Maddow shortly after with a friend claiming that “it was clear he did not do his homework,” insinuating that President Trump did not prepare for the State of the Union address. This claim is a little bizarre, seeing how Trump both had an extra two weeks to prepare thanks to Democrats blocking his speech and read a scripted speech. Let’s be honest, Donald Trump did not write that himself nor did he just prepare notes last-minute.

This was a very calculated and planned out speech to boost his approval ratings, and it looks like it will do that. Trump needed a boost in the eyes of independent voters and to narrow the partisan divide. It appears he accomplished both last night.

Strange Reactions from Ocasio-Cortez

Since Ocasio-Cortez is Trump’s opposition, it is no surprise she would refrain from applauding at times. However, particular things she did not cheer for were shocking to many. During his speech, Trump made multiple comments about how unemployment is at an all-time low and that the economy is thriving. These remarks which got a rise out of both Democrats and Republicans, but not Ocasio-Cortez.

The most shocking moment for Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez came when she sat there stone-faced when Trump announced border patrols tackling the human trafficking problem at the border. This issue disproportionately affects women over men. One would think that a president making it a priority to combat human trafficking would be worth celebrating. But sadly, she sat there with the same discontent face she had on most of the night. Ocasio-Cortez continued to stay visually discontent throughout the speech, making no affirmative reactions during talks of programs that will help minorities and criminal justice reform, both issues that should be bipartisan.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did stand up and clap once. This occurred when Trump mentioned how there are more women in Congress than ever before. While this is something to celebrate, it’s funny how Ocasio-Cortez only celebrates herself. Though it’s obvious she was out to make a statement, she appeared to not care about how the country is actually doing. She didn’t care about helping to repair the divide; her only concerns were for herself and her message while the president she calls divisive gave one of his most unifying speeches ever.


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No, Journalists Are Not Soldiers or War Heroes

Michael Ottavio | United States

Superbowl 53, while not the most exciting of games, had many great commercials. The most absurd of these was the Tom-Hanks-narrated commercial the Washington Post put out. This 10-million-dollar commercial was essentially the Washington Post putting journalists on a diamond pedestal and making them out to be war heroes.

The Journalists Commercial

The commercial opens with a picture of troops making landfall on Normandy beach during WWII. It then tries to instill the idea in your mind that journalists are equal to war heroes and soldiers who risk their lives for our country. It continues as Tom Hanks states various vague situations while scenes of destruction flash.

This is a perfect example of fear-based reporting and advertising. Essentially, the Washington Post was saying, “Look at all the bad things you won’t see coming without us”.  Admittedly, without the media, you wouldn’t see everything happening in the world. However, this is just a reflection of what the mainstream media in our country has become. They prey on people’s anxieties for ratings in a race to see who can bring the most death and destruction to your TV screen.  They will do and say whatever they can to get ratings. Often, facts are not the prime focus of the ones doing the reporting.

People in the United States are obviously tired of the extremely biased and often not completely factual reporting that has become status quo in our country. While Trump has seemingly coined the term “fake news,” the outrage didn’t start with him. One Gallup poll has shown that trust in the media has been on the decline for over two decades now. This is mostly because of the polarizing effect that the media is having on our country.

A Media Split

As Accuracy in Media reports, over 300,000 Democrats and Republicans believe CNN is the most polarizing news outlet to date. This is likely because they don’t claim to have a bias, and one wouldn’t assume one from their name. While MSNBC holds the spot of the most liberal, and Fox News the most conservative, every media outlet in between now chooses a side. A quick look on any fact check site will show you that almost every single media outlet now has left or right-leaning bias. There are almost no outlets left that report facts without spin. For this reason, the American people on both sides of the aisle are increasingly distrusting the media.

Trust in Mass Media, by Party
Trust in Mass Media, by Party

 

The media is and always has been an industry, and companies within it exist to turn a profit. The reporters and journalists within these companies are generally there for a paycheck. This is not to say journalists and reporters do not enjoy their job, of course. However, just about all in the mainstream media would probably resign if they were no longer going to get paid.

Journalism is a fantastic field of work, and journalists often go to great lengths to get their stories and repot directly from certain locations. However, it is worth stating that a journalist is just working a job and receiving compensation accordingly. There is no mainstream journalist in the United States that voluntarily goes overseas to war-torn countries without compensation. These people live for the thrill and make living off of it. While I have the utmost appreciation and respect for those who go to dangerous places to do their reporting, they are far from the honorable war heroes the Washington Post claims.


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Israel and the American-Made Power Vacuum in Syria

Michael Ottavio | United States

On January 21st, Israel announced that they had struck multiple Iranian targets in Syria following a missile attack that was intercepted by Israeli defense systems.  This major escalation follows the beginning of U.S. troops withdrawing from the area at the start of the month.

In a strong message to Tehran, Israel launched wide-ranging strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.  This missile strike came in response to an Iranian surface-to-surface missile fired towards the Israeli occupied Golan Heights.  The Iranian missile that was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system originated from an Iranian occupied area outside of Damascus, roughly 31 miles from the Golan Heights area.

Back and Forth

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the missile strike hit munition storage sites and a military training camp, as well as another Iranian occupied site near Damascus international airport.  Israel has stated that they made Syria aware of the strike and warned them not to interfere, but the Israeli missile strike turned on Syrian air defense systems after they began firing on the Israeli jets carrying out the strike.

All this escalation comes after a very volatile few months and talks of a total U.S. withdrawal from Syria.  According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), this was the “most intense and violent attack against the regime forces and their allies in terms of casualties since May 2018.”  Israel continues to take a hard stance against the Iranian presence in Syria, and now as the last pillar of stability in the Middle East, they must vehemently defend their borders from hostile nations.

Two Powers Collide

The United States is now in the beginning stages of withdrawing their troops from Syria after they once again intervened in a war that was none of their business.  The departure of American forces is going to cause more destabilization, so why did we get involved in the first place? Back in 2017, the American mindset was manipulated with pictures of war zones and deadly attacks. A need for immediate action became almost unanimous.  While it is very unfortunate, people die in conflicts all around the world and there’s almost never a call to intervene. That may be due to the fact that Russia isn’t involved in every other conflict, but they are heavily involved in Syria.

In September of 2015, Russia started a military intervention in the Syrian Civil War,  in which they fully support the government of al-Assad. Then in April of 2017, less than two years since Russia began intervening in the Syrian Civil War, the United States launched its first attack on a Syrian target.  In an ever-growing need to impede Russian imperialism, the United States entered into yet another conflict to oppose the Assad regime.  It would soon become readily apparent this was not a conflict that was going to be quickly resolved by lobbing missiles at an already destabilized area.

Just like the last Middle Eastern country the U.S. got involved in, we launched our first strike under the guise of deterring the use of deadly chemical weapons. That sounds familiar, right?  It’s almost as if the United States didn’t learn its lesson in Iraq when the power vacuum that formed after dismantling the Saddam regime led to the perfect platform for the terrorist group ISIS to gain a legitimate foothold in the Middle East.

One thing is certain we have not seen the end of the violence in Syria, and Iran has shown no signs of backing down. The United States has, once again, participated in the destabilization of an area, leaving before the conflict has been resolved.  By launching this strike Israel has sent a clear message to Tehran that even in the absence of the United States they are not backing down and will continue to oppose all Iranian operations inside of Syria.

As a nation that has been built, funded, and supplied by the United States, Israel is more than capable of handling the situation on their own. The United States needs to learn from their mistakes and turn away from the old imperialist mindset because every single time we invade a middle eastern country it blows up in not only our faces but our allies as well.  We are not the world police, we need to bring our troops home and keep them here.


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Trump Officially Recognizes Juan Guaido as Interim President of Venezuela

Michael Ottavio | United States

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump formally recognized Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate “interim president” of Venezuela. This comes as yet another slap to the face of Nicolas Maduro, the recently elected president of the country. Maduro had served as president since 2013.

Trump said in a statement this afternoon, “In its role as the only legitimate branch of government duly elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country’s constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant. The people of Venezuela have courageously spoken out against Maduro and his regime and demanded freedom and the rule of law”.

Out with Maduro, In with Guaido

This move comes after the Venezuelan National Assembly ruled Nicolas Maduro’s presidency illegitimate. This, therefore, left the Venezuelan presidency vacant. To fill the vacancy, opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself the interim president. Maduro, who was sworn in for a second term earlier this month, immediately had his election labeled as fraudulent by other nations. Guaido, who rose to the top of the opposition, was arrested shortly after he proposed to take power. However, authorities released him soon after. The incident speaks to the disregard for the rule of law in the Maduro regime.

This move was not a surprising one from the Trump administration. Strong sanctions and heavy criticism of Maduro’s regime were all meant to bolster the opposition. It is also worth noting that Maduro has been responsible for destroying Venezuela’s economy and countless human rights violations.

Trump is now urging other nations to support Guaido and the opposition party. He states that the country “will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy.”


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