Justin Brannan: Bay Ridge politics and another GOP-DEM shootout.

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Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 11.41.27 AM( ♤   Author’s note:   A year after writing this, Justin Brannan is 7 months into his first term and has turned out being as centrist and as beholden to big monied interests as the rest of the NYC Council.   It was a fear I had when I first wrote this piece on him and the council race he was involved in last year.    Sadly, none of the other candidates from that council election would have been any better.    But likely they wouldn’t have been much worse either.

BUYER’S REMORSE:     Justin Brannan has turned out being a run-of-the-mill council lackey posing as a progressive.   •  August 4th, 2018 AD.  ♤ )
•  July 4, 2017: In Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, in NYC, there is a very high profile city council race going on this year for the open seat and one of the major players in the race is Justin Brannan, a favorite son of Bay Ridge and a legitimately talented and intelligent politician who has been leading a Democratic club that he started in Bay Ridge about 7 years ago when the other local Democratic club in Bay Ridge, started and run by a centrist Democrat named Kevin Peter Carroll, turned out to be dramatically ineffective and ingloriously imploded.    Brannan, disgusted by the design and the efforts of Carroll’s club and with Carroll’s using the club as a personal vehicle, continued forward with his newly formed club, the Bay Ridge Democrats, and steadily proved himself more adept at navigating the strange and tricky political waters of Bay Ridge than the other local Dem & GOP operatives and clubs and the next generation of local leadership.    Justin Brannan’s brand is very simple:  sincerity.

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The other notable “non-JB” Democrats in the race are really not that notable, but the recipe for these other more centrist Democrats posing as progressives lately is very much like the soft-machine of old, seducing people with charm and good looks and promises they can’t keep.  Except now minus the good looks and any authentic charm.  Or vision.  Or intelligence.  Just blatant, shameless lust for public office.
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Exhibit A:
Kevin Peter Carroll, who in his relatively insignificant position as district leader had won his first campaign on the basis of being supposedly anti-corruption (in his own words) and had pointed out the transgressions of former Brooklyn Democratic party leader Vito Lopez – then upon winning election immediately took an additional job as an assistant to councilman Steve Levin, the venal Vito Lopez’s foremost protege and an extreme and shameless gentrifier himself also.   Mr. Carroll is simply another machine politician and has supported and has long family ties to former & disgraced Brooklyn DA Charlie “Joe” Hynes.   Mr. Carroll has also expressed extremely centrist views and has been enamored of the Clintons’ brand of opportunism/centrism for many years.   In the 2013 mayoral campaign, Carroll supported Sal Albanese, a candidate who now in 2017 shows extremely nativist inclinations in his current mental incarnation and who finished 11th or 12th out of roughly ten candidates in the 2013 mayoral election.   Carroll very recently came out as gay only to garner sympathy votes from new progressive residents in Bay Ridge, having hid in the closet long after it was safe to come out of the closet and not currently having or ever having had a romantic partner, making his sexuality essentially a non-issue other than an election year ploy.   Carroll refused to be brave about gay right, even after a gay Democrat won in Staten Island over a decade ago and long after marriage equality  became the law of the land.    The timing of his coming out also accentuates the implosion of his erstwhile political club and his lack of popularity in Bay Ridge.  He seems to be oddly exploiting himself for votes, largely unsuccessfully, as he has managed to lose people’s confidence the more they have got to know him in Bay Ridge in the years he’s been there,  totally alienating himself even from any and all powerful Democrats in Bay Ridge, Carroll is known more for being stubborn and without any valuable ideas.    Carroll is closer in social circles to the local Republicans … and the Bay Ridge Democrats view him as intensely hollow and corrupt.
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   The other two candidates in the Bay Ridge race are Trojan horses and mere demographic-grab candidates, Khader El Yateem, a surrogate for the locally unpopular and clandestine anti-Semite Linda Sarsour, and Chinese candidate Nancy Tong, essentially unqualified with no significant prior experience.   El Yateem, being a Christian pastor, should automatically be disqualified, as per the separation of church and state.   Tong is clearly bought and likely only represents the Chinese NYC real estate mafia that is soaking up property suspiciously quickly and is equally as anonymous to most voters.   She quite literally represents a mere pile of someone’s expendable income, as do El Yateem and the Carroll fellow.
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 Kevin P. Carroll’s claim to the throne is via his cousin Bobby Carroll, the smarter side of the Carroll family, however Bobby is also another centrist, yet another opportunistic elected Democrat.   The NYC machine only lets in a certain very specific kind of lapdog or ideologue.   A particularly egregious case study would be Park Slope councilman Brad Lander, your run-of-the-mill scheming, lying, backstabbing council member who somehow has painted himself as progressive, in the vein of de Blasio et al, and Lander, like de Blasio, has primarily been a gentrifier but self-anoints via PR as a “progressive”, and who, also like de Blasio, is nothing at all like Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn, etc.
 In a sea of buffoons and stooges, Brannan is the only viable candidate in Bay Ridge.   On the surface a genuinely really nice guy, a gentleman, educated, intelligent, and known by friends as very compassionate, especially for a politician.  Brannan traveled the world as the lead guitarist with a punk rock band he led for many years and is exceptionally talented and socially versatile when it comes to the mind-bogglingly insane and eternally underhanded dynamics of New York City politics.  In the time that Brannan has been involved in politics he’s developed an image as someone who is neither left nor right but seems to actually care about all residents in Bay Ridge.   No shit.  (We’ll see?)  He seems to care about New York City without the need of a hidden agenda or a party ideology.   Of all the candidates, Brannan is without question the most intellectually sharp, the more seasoned and creative, and has time to talk openly and honestly, and is not just there to represent a specific demographic slice of Bay Ridge, like the other candidates.
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 Bay Ridge may normally be seen as a kind of ignorant Republican stronghold and a vestigial copland, which it still partially is, but the majority of voters in Bay Ridge are actually registered Democrats – and the theory that Staten Island ruins things politically is largely due to a GOP voting heist, because a majority of Staten Island residents are also Democrats and there are actual Democratic candidates in Staten Island who have won there and are in office, including Matt Titone, the openly gay Democratic congressman there across the Verrazano bridge from Bay Ridge.   Largely, there is a lack of black candidates to represent the black residents in Staten Island and there is very likely also voter fraud by the GOP and voter suppression there, due to entrenched Republican partisan manipulation, GOP deception, and GOP criminality.   So the Repugz have a very gerrymandered chokehold on Staten Island still, illegitimate tampering being the main tool, as is always the case with the morally and intellectually bankrupt Republicans.   And this has negatively affected and skewed Bay Ridge politics, historically.
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Brannan looks poised to very possibly win the council seat this year, as this goes to press, if things go well for him.   There likely will be lies, tricks, stunts, and falsehoods to try to dismantle Brannan’s good fortune and his good timing, and in fact Liam McCabe (GOP), El Yateem, and Carroll are already pushing false narratives and hyperbolic exaggerations.   Obviously, stealing elections away from good candidates has become standard operating procedure in recent elections at the city, state, and federal level and all around the whole world.   And it’s never easy being a frontrunner.
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   There are not too many other options in Bay Ridge, as the Republicans in that part of Brooklyn are ultra-conservative, anti-choice nutjobs and ideological idiots who are essentially Tea Partiers and big Trump supporters, the type of GOP clones who thought that Scalia was a great Supreme Court judge and who consistently trot out whiney stale wedge issues like abortion and favoring taxing the rich less, climate change deniers, public school assassins, despite any and all accurate evidence being distinctly against their ideology.   Most of the GOP stiffs quote Ron Reagan ad nauseum, but they would all likely make even Reagan recoil.
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Exhibit GOP:
Two leading Republicans are John Quaglione and Liam McCabe, Quaglione being the corrupt state senator Marty Golden’s right-hand man for many years and McCabe having been an inner circle member of the infamously and irredeemably even-more-corrupt Michael Grimm’s descent into jail and ignominy.   And McCabe was also a recent lackey for the toxic shitty person of the decade in NYC, Dan Donovan, a divorced guy living in his mom’s basement, who supports the Muslim/Arab ban, and a deceptive Tea Party guy who somehow got elected to office by Republicans, even after allowing Eric Garner’s NYPD killer Dan Pantaleo to walk, while Donovan was the Staten Island DA, as the tragic and infamous “I can’t breathe” video was captured.  Donovan consequently directly caused the largest explosion of social unrest in NYC in the last 50 years, outside of Occupy Wall Street.
Bob Capano, another walking GOP aneurysm who is a toxic pile of falsehoods, exaggerations, and defamation of character of other people and symbolically only a guy trying to draw attention to his own profile, a glorious fool, like McCabe and Quaglione, but unfortunately people are prone to sometimes believing this kind of intellectual midget and his ilk.
Besides the perjury and desperation, the most dangerous part of the GOP game plan is the cronyism, the connections and the corruption that link so many generations of politicians together.  And it has hamstrung NYC and Brooklyn and most of the country for decades now.   And of course, the GOP is now as incestuous and as morally bankrupt as anything the world has ever seen, in essence.
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 As far as the Democrats in NYC and their future, Mayor De Blasio is a good example of the frustrating dynamic:   great intentions, then transformed by the political machinery into a willing accomplice of the monied interests.  Billy de Blaz began his career with a heavy dose of idealism, worked his way up through a network of Brooklyn political gatekeepers and real estate developers, then Cuomo and the Clintons, etc., and now no longer resembles any part of the man of integrity he once was about 30 years ago.  He compromised away all of his ideals in exchange for power.   Purely a very base quid pro quo, at this point.  De Blasio was the councilman for two terms in Carroll Gardens and Park Slope and what also includes part of Red Hook.  He and others like him are mostly men of rhetoric, not producing any progressive actions that are notable, much like Steve Levin, the councilman from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who was the protege of the mercifully-now-deceased, intensely and indecently corrupt councilman Vito Lopez, who many knew of, but many new residents do not.  De Blasio’s successor ideologically and otherwise in his old council district, Brad Lander, aka “Blander”, also poses as a progressive councilman but has been a willing lap dog for the real estate developers his entire career,  a classic duck-and-run liar who has consistently said one thing to residents in meetings and done another when faced with real estate companies in private.   Councilman Braddie Blander is an example of unfettered and unchecked corruption mercilessly ripping into a community with gentrification and overdevelopment in exchange for his own career ambitions.
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And then many who know NYC political players know of the checkered history of people like Christine Quinn and Melissa Mark-Viverito.   There seems to be not a single councilperson who is free from some sort of serious corporate or real estate collusion in New York City.   Carlos Menchaca in Sunset Park & part of Red Hook is also very much owned and paid for, having been a lackey for Chuck Schumer prior to becoming a councilman, Schumer being still known for his undeniably proud hedge fund and Wall Street ties, to a fault.    And most of the remaining NYC councilpeople are colluding with serious and institutionalized corruption in one way or another.
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There are often candidates who might be better if their parties did not require subservience to patronage, cronyism, blind allegiance, etc.    But really good candidates are always kept out of any powerful positions or council seats in New York City.   Things may be changing, however.  There is some evidence of that.  But it’s not a sure thing, at the moment.  The Green party can’t get out of its own way and the progressive side of the Dems is continually sabotaged by the centrist Clintonista circle of influence.
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Even a decent guy, on paper and in reality, like Justin Brannan, who had the right idea by living a well-lived life and by staying out of politics until the last decade, now must face an altered breed in Bay Ridge, the puzzlingly knee-jerk, intellectually confused, and fractured electorate.   But he arrives with a few new ideas.   Brannan’s potential predecessor Vinnie Gentile left a middling centrist legacy for Democrats there in Bay Ridge that is safe and solid, but relatively short on real accomplishments and looks entirely Republican in any other NYC council district and certainly looks Republican in many other cities.
The core of the GOP, of course, is an amoral, heartless, careerist, dark place that poses as patriotic, community-oriented, and noble, but is easily exposed as simply the diametric opposite of that.   Why is it so hard for a sizable bunch of people in the US to see that?   Or is it just part of the ruse that elected Democrats also benefit from?   The dumbing-down effect.
Bay Ridge is so politically and intellectually shallow and culturally bankrupt that almost anyone with any kind of financial support and the blessing of one of the two political monopolies can steal a seat with no valuable or true commitment to people and to voters.  And that’s the secret of the electoral success for the current crop of Bay Ridge GOP goons like Marty Golden, Nicole Malliotakis, and Dan Donovan, who have more allegiance to organized mob crime and organized corporate crime than to their voters.   The rhetoric used in campaigns is easy and always hollow.  The GOP candidates in Bay Ridge are using those same tired tactics with just enough manipulation to win.
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Consumer coercion and the now normalized corporate sponsor patches on politicians like bought-and-paid-for NASCAR drivers is part of the fast-moving cancer.   Both parties serving their campaign donors is not only repulsive but is exactly how the country’s infrastructure, education, stability, health, sanity, peace, and the future collapse.
The time to take a bold stand was probably 40 years ago, then 20 years ago, then during the Bush Jr. years, then during the Obama years (at least we got OWS in 2011), and now, um… well…
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Becoming a banana republic has always been a very real threat as long as delays to stop the corruption continued.    Any country built on capitalism, that has no end goals other than MORE MONEY was going to crash eventually.   “It can’t happen here” no longer applies.     The Democrats can no longer afford to bargain away real progressive accomplishments in exchange for campaign donations.
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Liam McCabe and John Quaglione, the two leading GOP candidates there in Bay Ridge, are too ludicrous to be real human beings and certainly have only about one tenth of a brain between the two of them (despite their strategic charm and jokey personalities), and if they really believe their party’s platform and dismiss actual world crises and events and argue incontrovertible scientific facts simply because of GOP groupthink, then they are dumber than they already seem.   If the McCabe fella and Quaglione believed half the insanity of the GOP platform, they’re just simply bad human beings… and if they’re doing it as a job, then the opportunism also qualifies them as bad human beings, because what they will do in office will be identical to what their patrons and former employers Golden, Grimm, Donovan, Malliotakis, etc. have done:   criminal deception and mendacity of the highest order, things that are easily as bad as treason and sedition.   Misinformation.   Toxic Fox news clone agitprop.   Felonies wrapped in connections and completely disconnected corporatized legislation.  Vile & false National Review speaking points designed only to perpetuate the power of robber-barons and thieving hedge funds.   The usual insanity.   And now this new order of post-Reagan, post-Tea Party fascism they support, endorse, and vote for, Donald Trump Republicans, ignoring anything but their own financial ambitions.    These are the qualities of the GOP clones in Bay Ridge… and nationally.    Mere stereotypes.  The American Taliban.
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 But the GOP chimps are politically autistic, either not aware of their crimes or so deep in denial that they are sleepwalking politically, only there for the cash prize.   Or possibly just reptiles occupying a human body…  certainly no different than reptiles, at this late stage, literally.    No one who can occasionally hold a conversation could believe some of the crazy bullshit that they entertain, unproven crap such as that life begins prior (yes, prior) to conception.   Authoritative scientists are liars to them and the Earth is hollow… is the sky a distinctly blue shade on a nice day?   It is to 99.99% of us.   So what is with these guys giving credence to lies.   What really happened to the brains of these Trump dummies?   McCabe, Quaglione, and Bob Capano … putridly rabid inside, will whore away anything, as does their current master, faux-president Trump.   And Brooklyn and Queens are the two boroughs where the Trump family with their Italian mafia connections cut their teeth and developed their power with the New York City Council in the time of Donald’s father Fred Trump, a man who had even deeper racial bigotry than his multi-damaged son.   These GOP lackeys, mostly ignorant of American history itself, romanticize that kind of tough guy Mafia sewage nowadays, pursuing gangster narratives into deeper holes.   But Republicans were never anything more than middling students and lack constitutional knowledge and seem to have even less knowledge of American history and world history.
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The fundamental question is how do these knuckle-draggers thrive and survive?   Obviously money.   The classic power game.   But what else resides in their swollen amygdalas and atrophied, oxygen-starved brain tissue?   And the question is how do we neuter the American Taliban, the GOP, who thrive on malice and destruction?   They are politically warped and socially awkward and for that reason are unaware of the damage they cause and unwilling to change course.   The zombie apocalypse embodied.
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And the Democrats have not fought hard enough to prevent the advances of this grudgeful political attack that is now decades-old, often seeming to operate more like Republicans when gaining control, as Bill Clinton did.
The GOP has a base that is boiling over with a deep-held blind rage, even in victory, and are built on a vast misinformation and belong to an impressive Stockholm Syndrome, defining the Dunning-Kruger effect, and a dangerously low level of intellectual comprehension.
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But one of the main reasons the GOP survived is because of the complete and totally ineffective policies and strategies of the Democratic Party.   And there is no credible threat from any third party.   The Green party and any other parties are always so disorganized, underfunded, and ill-equipped to be any kind of firewall at all.    In 2016 the Green party decided to attack Hillary more than Trump and certainly had an inadvertent and unintended helpful hand in Trump’s election, assuming that Hillary would win and that they had to go on the attack against her preemptively.  It proved to be a myopic tactic and many leading Green party officers were warned of this strategy being far too dangerous, but they declined to consider the real possibility of a Trump presidency.  One Green party officer who went to Philadelphia to protest the Democratic National Convention, then explained to me that the Green party did not go to Cleveland to protest the Repuplican National Convention as much as they did the DNC in Philadelphia because (and I quote) “it was farther away”.   Now the Green party is trying to act like they are legitimate activists again, after they helped put Trump in office – they were warned to be careful not to let their anti-Hillary stuff become extremely pro-Trump long before November 8th.   But the Green party has never been known for being well-organized, well-funded, or effective, and many of them still deny that they handed votes to Trump, trying to use the Ralph Nader strength in the 2000 election as a narrative to prove that they are still legitimate.   (Personally, I think that Nader was their best shot and that Nader did not hand the election to Bush in 2000.  Candidates must win elections entirely on their own merits and popularity.  And Nader had votes from potential GOP voters also.)   Greens foolishly tried to harvest votes from the Center and the Right last year by attacking Hillary, rather than getting votes from other places in the political spectrum.
Foolish –  especially when you consider that the Supreme Court, this country, the climate, and the world were hanging in the balance.    It’s pretty obvious that the Green party should answer for the Supreme Court going back to the Republicans and a lot more innocent people winding up remaining in jail due to this new development and the new GOP US attorney general Jeff Sessions.    But the Greens perpetually defend themselves as if their actions have no consequences in the real world.    Should we have more political parties?  Yes.  But maybe the answer is closer to that we probably should have no political parties and simply better candidates.    End partisan games.  No more Democrats, no more Republicans, and no more Greens.
At any rate, the vote always dissolves into broken promises the day after every inauguration day without fail.    Even an ostensibly decent guy like Justin will have a hard time navigating the monied waters.   There are so many obstacles and pitfalls and sharks and snakes.
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Back to the local Republican goons in the race:
The McCabe character is blindly loyal to any and all GOP speaking points and seems to be a cookie-cutter conservative despite his wily personal charm and his ability to joke around and to be affectionately tactile and playful personally.   Clearly anyone who would work for ex-con Michael Grimm and then future-con Dan Donovan is short on real morality and ethics, although McCabe roils quite intensely when his integrity is questioned, a classic “the lady doth protest too much” scenario.   McCabe has also had his own style of communication when ruffled which resembles the thin-skinned ethics of a man who voted for and endorsed for president Donald J. Trump.   McCabe’s fundamentalist Catholic leanings, his anti-choice/anti-abortion religious claptrap superstition, and his unwavering and unquestioning allegiance to the NYPD (even when they commit crimes) and his support of war and any & all military or flag-bearing items smacks of very prototypical old school conservative stoogeblood, ideological foolhardiness and fuckwithery… but he tries to couch it in things like his proclaimed affinity for hip hop and the Mets fan stuff.   The image he likes to project and cultivate is that of “ordinary guy, man of the people”.     A marathon he started locally just a year and a half ago and other odd pursuits were starkly aped from observing local Democrats.
McCabe’s girlfriend Christine Sisto is the embodiment of an angry and raging Tea Party acolyte – she’s been a National Review contributor and “writer” in the past and embodies the petty team-sport acrimonious loathing toward anything remotely liberal, out of spite, not understanding that this country was founded on the tenets of the French liberalism of the Enlightenment, although you would think that people who claim to be well-read like her might know a bit more real history and how to contextualize that knowledge more accurately… but no one ever accused anyone writing for the National Review of necessarily espousing humanitarian views.  Or being enlightened.    McCabe’s right-hand woman Sisto has an enormous chip on her shoulder that even alienated and disgusted and drove away some of the other Republicans in McCabe’s local conservative club, and these were pretty far to the right Republicans McCabe recruited for his resume-building club, not garden-variety know-nothings.  But Sisto and McCabe play the good cop-bad cop thing very well (sort of), Liam being chummy and garrulous, while Sisto glowers at everyone and judges from a corner of the room, plotting who to destroy and who to use, trying so hard to smile from behind her crystallized agony, clueless confusion, and wild, searing malice.   The irrational loathing is her red flag of irredeemable partisan entrenchment.    Both McCabe and Sisto have a deep and abiding superiority complex to anything left-wing which explains their fierce commitment to Michael Grimm’s very badly failed tenure as a congressman, now a felon, and then working with the ludicrous Dan Donovan’s vile and deeply racist conclusion of Grimm’s term and tragic re-election, including Donovan’s gleeful commitment to supporting Trump’s race-baiting and un-American ban on Muslims, the Southern wall, etc.   Donovan’s famous protection of guilty NYPD cops caught on video killing Eric Garner in broad daylight in Staten Island make Donovan an odds-on candidate for the most racist, sneaky, cowardly platform and policy positions anywhere in New York City – and he only gets to hold office based on gerrymandering, lying, and due to the brainwashed state of GOP thug voters in Staten Island, voter suppression in Staten Island, and ill-informed Fox News mentalities that have become violently toxic among the Republicans in New York City, getting more vile by the year due to the propaganda and their intolerance of basic realities like civil rights and freedom of speech.    And then of course there’s the gulf of the education gap between the left and the right, which is very pronounced in Staten Island and Brooklyn.   Republicans are not well-informed, rarely know much about history, science, geography, the roots of religion, or much beyond being their party of “no” and of celebrating low-IQ positioning, and the GOP voter base seems to specialize mostly in sports commentary and drinking.
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 Much of the GOP crap has been planned and orchestrated by GOP think tanks for decades.   When better things and progressive values and American intellect were on the rise in the 1990s, latter-day right-wing John Birch society trash like the Heritage Foundation and the National Review, etc. planned their counter-attack to the more peace-loving world movement.    Post-Berlin wall and post-Eastern bloc, there was a few years when Newt Gingrich and a young John Boehner and the young Turks of the the “next gen” Republican Party were attacking the easily distracted Bill Clinton for mostly fabricated and petty things, however those wasted years of slander and squabbling created a void into which the Republicans planted many malignant seeds, out of which grew the Tea Party and this new virulent & pestilent strain of ugly and nationalist conservatism.  The lack of ideas and of any real counterattack or offense by the Democrats has been so horrible for the middle class that the Democrats now look like they were only playing the good cop in the good cop/bad cop scenario, both taking advantage of the divisions, or they were so completely inept that we now need to start a completely new structure, with little or no involvement of the Dems or the GOP, since the two parties both appear to be so politically and socially malignant and compromised that only a total replacement can create the real progress that’s needed in the very little amount of time that this multi-front crisis bottleneck in history is calling for, particularly if we want to avoid the chaos and violence of the impending implosion that the two parties have set the stage for with their team sport mentality and their partisan fraternity impulses, the divisive and degenerating bloodsport that yields diminishing results with every cycle and is based in ethical turpitude and blatant corruption, legislative criminality being carried out in broad daylight in transparent collusion with the banking and Wall Street criminals, who continue to hold all the cards even after the cataclysmic disaster they knowingly caused in 2008, that almost destroyed the entire global economy.
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The hope is that Brannan does not follow in the footsteps of the outgoing councilman Vinnie Gentile, who by the waning days of his 12 years as a councilman in Bay Ridge, has more enemies than friends and was deeply centrist and in any other district would be well to the right of center and deemed borderline Republican, having been one of those politicians who falsely claimed that there was a war on police with his false “Go Blue” (Blue Lives Matter) campaign that he foisted on unsuspecting Bay Ridge residents who are prone to believing propaganda like that from decades of GOP lies and propaganda.   Gentile was the point man on the city council for the libraries while the library system was under attack and selling off its land – his efforts led to the library system always being bargained away… likely more collusion with real estate developers.  Gentile also let certain MTA bus lines disappear, only to act like a hero when one of them was restored, which all local politicians attempted to take credit for.  Gentile also presided over his red herring issue of “Chinese massage parlors”, when the biggest problem afflicting Bay Ridge was more clearly the epidemic of drugs spreading throughout the neighborhood, with addiction and death ripping into Bay Ridge, little empty dope baggies a common sight on the sidewalks of many blocks around Bay Ridge.   Gentile and Golden and Nicole Malliotakis engaged superficially in mere rhetoric once or twice about the issue and the local NYPD 68th precinct was so inattentive and absent regarding the narcotics issue as to raise suspicion of some kind of yet undisclosed scandalous collusion or kickbacks.
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Justin Brannan is the candidate that makes the most sense as there is no announced Green Party candidate and the other Democrats are goofballs.    And if you’re still voting for Republicans then there’s just simply something wrong with you, no respect accorded or earned.    Theoretically most voters, after last year, should already be attempting to transcend party politics and picking good candidates and registering as independent, but Americans tend to never listen.   Most Americans, assuming they possess more intelligence than they show and not nearly as “rugged” or as “independent” as they dream themselves to be seem to blindly follow their team, throw caution to the wind, and support their team myopically, even when faced with apocalyptic consequences,  such as the tactics of the Green party in last year’s presidential election that I mentioned earlier.  And flippant disregard also always the hallmark of Republican voters and far too many Dems.   We could benefit from educated voters… a license to vote?  Or, at minimum, mandatory voting, to have a more reflective result.
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 My opinion of Justin is that he is the candidate who is closest to being a non-party politician and although he is a Democrat, he is likely to be the candidate who is most effective and who knows the lay of the land and has the ability to make Bay Ridge a more manageable and a more livable and ultimately a better place.    Of course, that will be up to him.   Everyone needs to be held accountable in the short term and in the long run.    But most politicians aren’t, obviously, especially Bay Ridge’s longest running elected official Marty Golden, one of the most venal and empty candidates in recent memory, even among some who have gone to jail (Michael Grimm) and some who should probably someday go to jail (Nicole Malliotakis).  Marty Golden is an as-of-yet-unindicted-sadly-may-never-be-indicted political crook who consistently gets away with cronyism, pay to play, gladhanding horseshit in backrooms, and uses family members to front for his financial conflicts of interest.  But somehow Golden consistently manages to fool enough of Bay Ridge to get re-elected in every cycle.   No one would be surprised if he had some help from within from some shady connection working downtown at the Board of Elections.   Golden had a dark history in his former career as an NYPD thug, and, according to a retired Bay Ridge NYPD officer interviewed for this article, Golden once claimed his mother “lost” his gun while doing the laundry, around the time the NYPD was notoriously selling guns for extra cash on the down-low.  Golden’s NYPD career was unremarkable and he has the IQ and the strange, sickly charm and twisted grin of a bad used car salesman.  But, like the current POTUS Golden supported wholeheartedly, Golden has an inexplicable ability to not have his criminal tentacles affect his electability and seems to suspiciously always evade what appears to be a logical  and deserved criminal prosecution.  
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Brannan is aware of the entirety of Bay Ridge’s history, political, cultural, and within the context of the bigger picture of New York City and the rest of the country, and he seems to be committed to bringing the Bay Ridge community up to speed without losing the roots and the flavor of his lifelong neighborhood.   Through conversations I’ve had with various candidates in the race, Brannan does seem to be the only one intellectually prepared for the responsibility and the heavy burden of being the next councilmember – again, he has the sincerity and the very real passion for it.  The other candidates are so absurdly pursuing the position out of mere careerism, lust for control, or other insincere agendas.   Not one among the other candidates on the left or the right would fully represent all of Bay Ridge, nor are any of them in it with full integrity or without their agendas sticking out a little too far, still thinking they’re being skillful or convincing.
 
FB_IMG_1451714590447Brannan has been committed to progressivism and to a decent and intelligent brand of humanism for his adult life, whether it was in music, raising money for clean energy, animal activism, or working for the benefit of his home turf in Bay Ridge.   I’m not sure if Bay Ridge will sabotage itself by voting for the wrong candidate, as it has so many times in the past, but the stage is set for Justin Brannan to assume a role for which he’s perfectly suited.   Getting there is the first step – and the steps that follow are often much harder in the cesspool of NYC politics.   Brannan can take this race if he chooses, it will ride on the support he gets from his campaign staff, however he does have the goodwill and the support of some key political elements, populations, and unions.    The Democratic primary is in September – that’s the first hurdle.  Then in November dispatching the GOP goon there blocking the path to Brannan’s ascent and his very possible tenure as potentially one of the most qualified and talented councilmen in Brooklyn.  •
 ♤ POSTSCRIPT:
  The GOP has continued to be horrible and absurd.   But Brannan and most elected Democrats have been mediocre and a very weak firewall against a cultural coup by conservative Republican bloodlust.
 Justin Brannan’s connection to the NYC mayor, the establishment forces, and the financial services industry continues to seem to dictate his not holding big-money accountable and the same goes for the rest of the compromised New York City Council.
Elections continue to be a farce of pre-chosen candidates and political patronage.    The electoral process has taken too long to yield too few results.    What is left to do is to disempower elected officials by not voting for them and not giving them our time and the keys to our communities anymore.   We need to begin alternative and independent organizations for representation.    There’s no more time to wait for politicians to come around, as they drag their feet on almost every single important issue.    Time has already supposedly run out on responding to climate change.
 Brannan and elected Democrats and the rest of the pile of unresponsive and lethargically inactive politicians on both sides have failed to do the right thing in the time they were given.
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☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
Michael Reiss

Author: Michael Reiss

Film. Politix. Free Leonard Peltier. Free Tibet. Free America. Free food. Free shit. "Free yr mind and yr ass will follow."