The Media Needs to Get its Shit Together

A big reason why Trump was able to rise to power so effectively was because the media spent so much time focusing on his obvious personal flaws and failed to dive deep into his actual politics. A vote for Trump was easy because his politics were simple: Make America Great Again. He didn’t need details, because who doesn’t want to make America great, and for those who don’t care about the personal stuff, attacking him on those points just made him stronger. This is Trumps greatest strength, his sleight of hand, and the media falls for it again and again.

Trumps latest focusing on the size of his inauguration crowd is no different. At the end of the day, this is really trivial crap; it does not matter how many people were at the inauguration, and it does not matter how many “alternative facts” are used to prove it. What does matter is the actions his new administration is working on, as well as the rest of the Republican party, for example:

Did you know the Republican Party is proposing a bill that the US pull out of the United Nations?

Did you know that Trump signed an executive order eliminating the rate cut for mortgage insurance for first time home buyers?

What is Trumps plan for exiting the Paris Climate Accord? 

What is Obamacare being replaced with?

 

Everything is Going to be OK

Now that Trump has taken the oath and is officially the POTUS, people are starting to get the sense that we’ll never be able to recover from Trump. After just 1 day in office, Trump is tweeting easily observable lies regarding the size of the crowd at his inauguration. We all knew candidate Trump was thin-skinned, and now it’s looking like President Trump is equally thin-skinned. Trumps press secretary even took things further when briefing the press, and told some more lies about how people were not being allowed to enter the national mall because of barricades from the surrounding roads (the Secret Service has denied this). And even this morning, Trump’s right-hand woman Kellyanne Conway attacked Chuck Todd (as a proxy for all media) because someone has Tweeted that the bust of MLK was removed from the Oval Office immediately when in fact it wasn’t, and that this was a blatant attack by the media against Trump. When Todd pressed her regarding the blatantly wrong statements about the size of the inauguration crowd, she simply stated that the administrations view were “alternative facts”. This explains pretty well the Trump bubble we’ve been witnessing since he starting running for office, and is a good sign of what is to come.

Do not fret. Trump will be nothing but a speed bump in the long run. The majority of people in America were not on his side on election day, and his popularity has unprecedentedly fallen since then. It’s easy to look at the comments on news articles and our Facebook feeds and see the absolute stupidity that exists out there, and to let this stupidity eat at our sanity. Remember though, for every 1 person that went to Trumps inauguration on Friday, at least 2.5 as many people were there in solidarity to march against everything he stands for. There are far more people in this country against Trump, and that number is only likely to rise during the craziness that will ensue.

I went for a bike ride yesterday, and after about 12 miles I got a pin hole in my back tire. It sucked; this was a decent weather day in January and maybe the only good chance to get a ride in for the next 2-3 months, and less than an hour in I get a flat tire. And honestly, this happens to me. All the time. I love getting out for bike rides as much as possible, and it can be incredibly demotivating when you constantly get flat tires, or broken spokes, or anything that slows you down from doing something you love. Well, that’s what Trump is. Trump is the flat tire America is dealing with right now. And it sucks because if we ride long enough on this flat tire it might break the wheel, and a broken wheel is harder and more expensive to fix than a flat tire. But the wheel can be fixed, and eventually replaced for a far better one, and when it does it’ll be smooth riding for a good amount of time.

The Donald’s Whole-Hearted Honor to Dr. King

So sweet of President Elect Trump to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by tweeting about his legacy in 140 or less character. I’m sure Dr. King would be so honored that if he were alive today, he may even retweet the sincerity.

Or maybe Dr. King would sit back, and reflect on what the hell is going on. For instance, just this past weekend Trump used the very same platform to denounce Congressman John Lewis of Georgia,  who publicly announced he would be boycotting the inauguration of Donald Trump. John Lewis was 18 years old when he met Dr. King, was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, was arrested for peaceful protests more times than one could count on all their fingers and toes, and even spoke at the March on Washington beside Dr. King. Oh the irony.

Does the obvious racist sentiments of Trump stop there? Donald Trump nominated Senator Jeff Session to be the impartial Attorney General of the United States. Sessions is a man that could not get past the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 when nominated to be a judge by Ronald Reagan because of comments like the KKK is “OK until I found out they smoked pot.” or denouncing the NAACP because it was “shoving Civil Rights down peoples throats”. How dare they stick to their mission.

How about the fact that just 5 years after Dr. King was assassinated, Trumps father Fred Trump was sued by the Justice Departments Civil Rights Division for blatant racial discrimination in who Trump’s housing businesses rented apartments to. The National Urban League sent equally qualified renters, some white and some black, to apply to Trump owned apartments – can you guess who was not “qualified” to live in them?

Or the time Trump took out full page ads advocating for the death penalty for 5 black kids in NYC who were convicted for raping and beating a 28 year old woman? Well, maybe it’s not that terrible, people are strongly divided on the death penalty… oh wait it is because the kids sentence was vacated in 2002 when DNA evidence not only cleared the 5, but pointedly singled out the actual attacked who was already in prison for like. OK, he can’t be judged for something he didn’t know in 1989, but he can, because as of 2016 he still thinks the 5 black kids are guilty!

How about the fact that Trump refused to believe that Barack Obama was an American citizen because his father was born in Kenya until early 2016? And not only that, he blamed Hillary Clinton for starting the rumor 8 years prior!

Indeed President Elect Trump, let us all honor the legacy of Dr. King. Let’s just be sure not to follow your example.

Political Ideology is a Scam

The world of political ideology is wide ranging. There are more issues than one could possibly keep track of, yet somehow here in the United States we managed to divide them down in such a way that all positions are considered either “left” or “right”. How did that happen, is that how people are naturally wired? Is it just a gigantic coincidence that people’s feelings are so aligned perfectly to our two party system? Not a chance.

Our political parties are big business conducting never ending studies on people’s interest and adapting their stances on certain things while shifting the views of their base on others through vigorous campaigns. They are purposely divisive in order to energize their base supporters in order to raise the vast amount of money it takes to remain a viable political party by getting their members elected to office. And once those members take office their prime responsibility is to continue raising money for the party. For example, our congressional men and women spend at least half their working day sitting in a cubicle calling donors to send money for their party to support themselves and other candidates in the same party. Many members of congress have publicly complained about this, yet they are powerless to change it. And even more annoying is that many of us among the voting population know all this and continue to be powerless to put an end to it.  

It’s all very crazy. Personally, I am a registered voter but not registered to any party. Why? Because I am in favor of social safety nets like unemployment and welfare, I would love to see a single payer healthcare system, and I am also all for lower business taxes, free trade, and significant incentives for long term capital gains. How would the government pay for the social safety nets while keeping business taxes and capital gains incentivized? Via a more progressive personal income tax code and consumption taxes on non-life-essential products. More importantly than those issues I believe in not perpetuating hate. I believe in spreading positive energy and in effect that energy will be passed on in perpetuity. I believe in a world where tolerate does not have to mean acceptance and that’s OK. What does this make me? I don’t know, but I’m not conforming to a lousy party whose sole interest is maintaining its existence while pretending they represent *me*.  

Step Aside Official Endorsement for President of the United States

Actual image of undecided voter
Actual image of undecided voter

This election has been crazy. Like, seriously crazy. So crazy that even Russia is getting involved. It’s certainly up there for the “Most divisive election” award, which is a tough honor to achieve because the past three presidential elections were no picnic either. But this election is arguably far more special and the American public has to decide not who is the best leader of the free world, no, we are left to decide which candidate is less shitty. Well, rest assured we at Step Aside were not going to leave you hanging, and we are proud to officially endorse Not Donald Trump!

asshole
Yeah, definitely not this asshole

There are a lot of reasons we could list as to how we came to this decision, but The Atlantic actually did a great job of that already, so go read that. Please, when you get into that voting booth, don’t vote for this guy. We’re not even suggesting you should vote for Hillary Clinton, just be sure to not vote for Drumpf. We don’t care if you write in Ross Perot (is that guy still alive? UPDATE: He is!), as long as you don’t pull that lever for the coke using, pussy grabbing, alleged rapist, 6 time company bankrupt, dozen time failed businessman, sleazeracist, and bigot that is Donald Trump.

Crazy Political Agendas in the Aftermath of the Paris Attacks

French Flag

It’s been about three days since the ISIS attacks on Paris and the United States media is still buzzing from it. A lot of the noise is basic updates regarding the attack, like the number of assailants, how they were killed, where some of them were from, and updates on the number of casualties. However, 72 hours is an eternity with regard to turning the unfortunate events into clickbait articles for zealots, and I’d like to hit on some of those.

  1. Blame the refugees – At least one of the terrorists had a passport that is traceable back to the flow of immigrant refugees that entered Europe via Greece. As a result, some are calling for the immediate closing of all borders between the middle east and Europe; this would be a devastating blow to humanity though. Hundreds of thousands of people are living in far greater within the borders of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan than anywhere else in the world, including those living in France. And it is legitimate fear, considering hundreds of thousands have been killed already, a number that is likely to continue growing for the foreseeable future. Now don’t get me wrong, the influx of refugees from these regions is a risk on behalf of the countries allowing them in, but the humanitarian reward is far greater than the risk. Also keep in mind, the mastermind of the attacks is a European national, and all the other terrorists known have been French or Belgian nationals as well. This attack was not the result of overt terrorist refugees, and disallowing refugees from entering Europe is highly unlikely to stop the next attack. If I am certain of anything with regard to this global mess of shit, it is these two things:
    1. Every member of ISIS should be burned alive while being fed their genitals
    2. Anyone living under a constant threat from ISIS in Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan should be provided safe haven somewhere around the world, because no one, *regardless of religion*, should have to live with that fear.
  2. Islam *is* ISIS – This is probably the most offensive sentiment to come forward from this disaster, and that is that all of Islam is equatable to ISIS. This is so far beyond insanity I don’t even know where to begin… so let’s start 1000 years ago when the Pope (yes, the leader of Catholicism) called on Christians to militarize and seize the holy lands from Muslims, killing everyone that stood in their way (including lots of Jews). Along the way, crusaders would recruit young men (14 – 16 year olds) with the promise that fighting for the pope would guarantee you forgiveness from all sins and entry into the promised land. Sounds familiar yet?? Yeah it was 1000 years ago so it’s hard to judge, right? Well keep in mind 1000 years from now, just like the little blip from 10th grade history class spent learning about the crusades is exactly what people will be learning regarding the events of today. So stop wasting your energy hating billions of people when it’s an unbelievably small subset of radicals that are the problem. Also keep in mind, no religion is without its radicals, from KKK God-fearing “Christians” all the way to racist Buddhist monks in Myanmar. More than anything, these events will be remembered for its hate and hate inspired killing, just like the crusades.
  3. Obama’s Fault – The attack on Paris is as much Obama’s fault as 9/11 was President Bush’s fault. Arguably even less for Obama since he’s not sworn an oath to protect the people of France. If you want to really start playing the blame game, let’s blame Bush for invading Iraq in the first place which is largely responsible for creating ISIS. Nah forget that, let’s go back further and blame Bill Clinton for upholding economic sanctions in Iraq and keeping military troops in Saudi Arabia, two of the main motives behind the 9/11 attacks. Nope, not far back enough, we need to blame Bush Senior for imposing the sanctions and placing troops in Saudi Arabia in the first place. Actually, let’s blame the Reagan administration for initially arming Al-Qaeda in an attempt to kill Russians near the end of the cold war and then abandoning them as soon as the Berlin wall fell. Fuck it, let’s also blame President Truman for being president when the first order of the United Nations was to essentially create an independent Israel, a major source of butt-hurt for these terrorist assholes.

By now, hopefully you’re thinking “OK Mr.Smart Guy, what’s the solution?”, to which I will reply “fuck if I know”. As I said above, the only things I am certain about is that I want to see all of ISIS executed and in the meantime refugees granted safe haven. There are lots of renewed talks of sending ground troops into Syria to flush them out, which on the surface sounds great, but it’s also the same strategy from 14 years ago the created this recent problem. If you flush them all out of Syria and Iraq, they’ll move to Yemen, or Libya, or Pakistan. And then the second the troops leave Iraq and Syria the terrorists move right back in as if they never left. It’s not as easy as just sending troops in. It’s always nice to think all problems have simple solutions, but the reality is complicated problems often have complicated solutions.

If anything, try and take a step back and look at the situation as objectively as possible. Then and only then will you be able to see through all the zealot-feeding political hate and bullshit.

Vaccinations + Idiots = “Vaccidiocy”

NobodyGetsSmallpoxOrPolioAnyMore

Holy shit, let’s just stop for a moment and come to the realization that it’s been almost one year since the last Step Aside post (363 days to be exact). It was a pretty easy hiatus in all honestly, because either A) no one reads this crap or B) if people do, they’re not letting us know.

Anyway, lets talk about the vaccidiocy that is currently plaguing our media, and is actually starting to take its toll on a very small portion of the American public. To fill you in, in case you have not heard by now, there has been a growing trend of idiot parents not vaccinating their children because they don’t trust the “science” of vaccines. These parents believe that vaccines to prevent some deadly diseases will actually harm their children with autism, or “mental retardation” if you are in fact a retarded former congresswoman from the state of Minnesota. In case you don’t know, there is not a single link between vaccines and autism – there just isn’t. Here are some articles explaining so:

http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/policy-statements/information-about-vaccines-and-autism

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/autism/

Regardless, if you already do not trust the science, this certainly will not convince you otherwise, and I’m not here to try. Stupid people are stupid and cannot be fixed (kind of like Polio – if only it could be prevented though)

No, instead lets talk about the politics of this. Liberals defend the science and simply say parents should get their children vaccinated. Conservatives believe it is a parents right to not get their children vaccinated. Both sides are right here, though I think liberals have the populous edge here. This has the potential to be a big issue for politicians, not because it’s actually a big issue (relative to other issues like income inequality, war and taxes), but because it gets people so passionate that the media will run with it for as long as they can. Conservatives are making a big mistake in downright defending these morons, they really are. Instead, they should say something like “parents have the right to put their children in danger and other by not getting them vaccinated, and let the freedom of the rest of the country shun these idiots.” In other words, these kids should not be allowed in public school, let Disney ban these kids from their theme parks, let the airlines ban them from flying, even let your supermarkets ban them from entering. The point is, it really is not the governments job to prevent stupid people from doing stupid things, however we should be allowed to to eliminate stupid people from entering a society where they could cause harm.

 

Coca-Cola Sparked Hatred to Sell Sugar Water

Muy Bien
Muy Bien

Have you seen any of the aftermath for what seemed like a harmless Coca-Cola Superbowl commercial? The one where a diverse group of people sing America the Beautiful in different languages? Oh, it also supposedly featured the first gay couple in a Super Bowl ad spot? Yeah that’s the one. Have you seen the uproar? Where do we even begin..

First, the emphasis on language is just tiresome. People are offended that a patriotic-American song is being sung in different languages. If anything, this should be taken as a complement to America, not an insult. America should be thought of as a place to be desired by all peoples of all races and cultures. If the offended love America so much, what’s wrong with others envying what you love so much?

Also on the subject of language, keep in mind words and speech are entirely arbitrary. They are made up sounds engineered by human beings that evolve over time into chaotic structures that try and make sense of our surroundings. Don’t get me wrong, communication is important, but not nearly as important as the underlying message for what these words represent: beauty, love, anger, triumph; it is all the same regardless of language.

Former Congressman Allen West says this kind of commercial balkanizes the United States instead of unifying it. I can say with 100% certainty that he is wrong; it is people like Mr. West balkanizing the United States by saying things like this. Mr. West is (sadly) a powerful influence to his many followers, and by saying stuff like this he is now a proponent of dividing people. Had he just accepted the commercial, or said nothing about it, West would have done a far greater service to the effort of unifying people. Instead, West further pushes the intolerance envelope by enlarging what should not have been a non-issue in the first place.

With regard to the gay couple in the ad, I know there is nothing I can say to make the offended care less about this. Though, I will point out the woman who wrote the song America the Beautiful more than 100 years ago, Katherin Lee Bates, was very likely a lesbian herself. She lived with the same woman for more than 25 years. Of course, this may just make the offended hate the song now, so what’s the use?

Why hate this commercial for political reasons, or at all for that matter? It’s a Coca-Cola commercial, not a government/Obama/political commercial. It’s a multinational corporation selling you sugar water. It’s not a spark for a debate on immigration reform. It is nothing but an advertisement. How do non-English speaking people really affect your lives? How do gay people really affect your lives? These things likely have no impact on your day to day life, so why muster the energy to hate on these things? Because it’s easy to hate?

What I really want to say is just live and let live you crazy fucks. Or, to put it more eloquently than I ever could, I will let the late Roger Ebert take it away:

I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances.

Michael Grimm – The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Just expressing my first amendment rights when I say this guy is purely made from dicks and assholes
Just expressing my first amendment rights when I speculate this guy is purely made from dicks and assholes

I am unfortunate enough to have once been considered one of this clown’s constituents. Even before Grimm made any one of his public gaffes, I had problems with the guy and his office. I had been the victim of senseless abuse by the US Department of State while applying for a passport. A small percentage of US citizens who apply for passports are subjected to an excess of information gathering by the US State Department. The departments passport office asks for an entire life history, down to where you were baptized (not a joke, they actually asked that question). There are a couple of sites that claim this procedure is highly illegal by the government, and even a scant few congressmen have questioned the department about the practices. When I asked my congressman’s office what the hell it was all about and why I had to do it, all I was told was that it’s because I had moved within the last two years. Apparently, changing your place of residence is synonymous with being a terrorist threat. The point is, I went to my congressman with what was a very obvious misuse of government power, and not only did his office not do anything, they did not even care.

Fast forward to 2014, and this clown has done it all. Let’s break down the timeline:

January 2012 – Rabbi arrested for shady campaign finances for Grimm’s 2010 run for congress

June 2012 – Grimm “threatens” democrat Steve Israel with a butter knife.

August 2012Grimm allegedly took an unplanned trip to Cyprus full of drinking and skinny dipping. It wouldn’t have been a huge deal had it not been for the fact the the trip was allegedly funded by possible campaign funds, for which a campaign adviser was later arrested.

October 2013Grimm allegedly bangs a chick in a public restroom at a wine bar in Brooklyn. This is by far the most disturbing point to me, not necessarily because of his actions, but because it happened in a wine bar that I used to go to and loved. It’s a tiny place with a small bathroom. I hate this guy.

January 2014Grimm is investigated for fraudulent campaign finances dating back to 2010.

January 2014 – Grimm threatens to “break” reporter for asking a question about campaign finance investigation. The “apology” video in this link is particularly appalling, as he talks about fighting hard for his constituents. Bullshit, read the first paragraph congressman.

It’s all just wonderful because the guy has not served two full terms yet. Just imagine the career this guy is going to have, and all the crazy shit that will continue to be reported about him. And if you think any of this would impact his chances for re-election, think again. The majority of his constituents come from a little place called Staten Island – the only place stupid enough to re-elect this asshole.

Selfless Promotion for New Product I Made

Use it because I want you to
Use it because I want you to

So this is totally unrelated to anything ever posted on the Step Aside bog, but I would like to take the next couple of sentences to introduce you to Proceemo. Proceemo is a free service that lets you “watch” items on Amazon, and notifies you when the price of that item has dropped. In case you have not noticed, prices on Amazon fluctuate often because of third party sellers, Amazon inventory, etc. Proceemo offers users a simple and free way to get notified via email when something you want has lowered its price. It’s simple, and did I mention its free?

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