Category Archives: Bricklyn Politics

Preacher Johnny Plater Kahn

Are the Gods Angry?

A Crisis from Above, Part 1

  • by Eric Tiler Corman, Bricklyn Eagle Politics correspondent & Duane Sandville, Outland Affairs correspondent.
  • August 19, 2021

Summary of Article ➤ A crisis atmosphere pervades Bricklyn, as thundering booms from the heavens shatter the peace & quiet of the Realm.

Bricklynites have been shaken by daily thunderous booms emanating from the skies. But when the look up, they seeing nothing out of the ordinary. The roaring booms have set babies crying, dogs barking, hearts pounding, conversations ceasing, and school classes halting. Tension levels have mounted, as reactions range from bewilderment to fear.

First thoughts of many were that some unknown meteorological disturbance was to blame. But denials by Bricklyn meteorologists and the frequency and continuation of the booms has now led voices to speak of divine anger.

Preacher Kahn and crowd in downtown Bricklyn yesterday, shaking longsticks toward the heavens.
Preacher Kahn with his most devoted follower, Evanora, behind him.

Preacher Johnny Plater Kahn has taken to the streets calling on Bricklynites to repent.

“Beware the wrath of God is upon us,” he recently pronounced during a KBBS News interview, adding that “Bricklynites will be paying for their sins of sloth and donut over-consumption.”

Crowds have gathered around Kahn, shaking black longsticks pointed to the sky.

The Hidden Truth

F-35 fighter jet. Photo from Shutterstock.

Unknown to the vast majority of Bricklynites, the Bricklyn Office of Outland Affairs, since this past March, has been aware of the true cause of the sonic booms: the introduction of shockingly loud F-35 fighter jets by the Vermont Air National Guard. These extremely high decibel jets are now rocketing almost daily over Burlington — and their sounds have reverberated in Bricklyn’s own air space.

July 7, 2021 issue of the Seven Days Vermont weekly paper focuses on the noise impacts of the new F-35 fighter jets based at the Burlington International Airport. See “Sound Effects: In the F-35’s Flight Path, Vermonters’ Lives Have Changed” by Colin Flanders. “The aircraft now fill the skies with thunderous noise twice a day, four days a week … Those who hear the jets are increasingly voicing their concerns.”

Members of the Samfundet🌀 have been informed of the situation. But because of limitations on the sharing of knowledge about Bricklyn’s twinned relationship with Burlington, 98% of Bricklynites are not aware of what is actually causing the booms.📍

📍We’ve previously reported on the Kyndige, the Samfundet, and the simulation hypothesis. See those posts for a fuller explanation of Bricklyn’s relationship to Burlington and why so many Bricklynites have been “kept in the dark.”

The surging number of Bricklynites attributing the booms to divine causation, evidenced by the growing popularity of Reverend J.P. Kahn and others, has triggered a crisis among Bricklyn leadership and the Samfundet on what to do.

Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts by Bricklyn consular officials to end the booms have reached an impasse, threatening the relationship between Bricklyn and Burlington.✥

Bricklyn Eagle Masthead

The Bricklyn Eagle will continue to report on this evolving crisis.

Understanding the Federal Council

  • by Eric Tiler Corman, Bricklyn Eagle Political News correspondent
  • July 30, 2021

Summary of Article ➤ The Federal Council of the Realm of Bricklyn (FCRB) is the national governing body. Gain an appreciation of the FCRB’s responsibilities under the Bricklyn Constitution, as well as the contrasting role of the King.

Warning to readers. As a reporter, I shouldn’t be telling you this, but unless you’re a political or comparative government junkie, or a reporter like me, you may find some of the following a bit dry to read. In that case, just focus on the material I’ve highlighted in bold!

The Federal Council of the Realm of Bricklyn (FCRB) came into existence on the day of the Realm‘s founding: May 14, 1961, following an advisory referendum put to all citizens of the three cities of Bricklyn, South Bricklyn, and Bricklyn Junction to: (1) disassociate from the Danish Realm; (2) associate to create the Tripartite Realm of Bricklyn; and (3) adopt the draft Constitution for Bricklyn.

The citizenry of the three cities by a 3-1 margin voted in support of the three questions. Voters also elected their representatives to the newly formed FCRB.

Given the relatively small population of the three cities making up the Realm of Bricklyn — at the time of founding in 1961, just 21,755 citizens (36,054 today) — Bricklyn’s founders did not see the need for a large legislative body. Instead, federal level decisions are made by the seven member FCRB, whose members are elected to three year terms.📍

📍There has been a regular tug and pull between federal and local responsibilities which are beyond the scope of what we’re covering today. Suffice it to say, all “foreign affairs,” including relations with both Inland🌀 and Outland🌀 communities are within the purview of the FCRB.

Six of the seven Council seats are allocated by a population-based formula. Since the founding of the Realm the allocation has not varied, with Bricklyn having three seats on the Council; South Bricklyn having two; and Bricklyn Junction one seat. We should note that even the smallest of the three cities is guaranteed at least one seat on the Council.

The seventh seat, however, is the most important one, as that Councilor is elected by a vote of the entire Realm — that is, of the residents of all three cities. It is comparable to what can be called an “at-large” seat. But there is one critical distinction. The at-large Councilor is also designated the President of the Council. Since 2012 at-large Councilor Hilma Plater-Zybrick has served as President.

The Role of the Council President

The President of the FCRB, like all other Councilors, has only one vote on the Council. However, she also has several other key responsibilities, one of which is serving on certain Special Committees set out in the Constitution as having the power to make key appointments. For example, the appointment of the Realm’s Chief Prognosticator🌀 is made by a three-member Special Committee consisting of the Federal Council President, as well as the Realm’s Principal Historian and the Realm’s Chief Scientist.

Photo from the 2012 coronation of YMK Brickburger, which occurred shortly after both his election as Mayor of the City of Bricklyn, and the election of Hilma Plater-Zybrick as Federal Council President (back left with orange hair). Also visible in photo: Chamber of Council President Thomas Brickorti; Chief Magistrate Ruth Plater Kinsburg; and a member of the Realm of Bricklyn Guard.

The Constitution also gives the Federal Council President the power to appoint the Chief Counsels for Inland and Outland Affairs, as well as the position of Chief Magistrate and several other key federal positions.

However, the Constitution does provide that these and other appointments are subject to consent of a majority of the Council (in other words, four Councilors, including the President as Councilor, must vote to consent.

Each member of the Council is also assigned to head one of the Realm’s departments. Assignments (or reassignments) are made by the Federal Chancellor in consultation with Council members:

  • ➤The Department of Outland Affairs (headed by the President)
  • ➤The Department of Inland Affairs (headed by a Council member)
  • ➤The Department of the Environment (headed by a Council member)
  • ➤The Department of Transportation (headed by a Council member)
  • ➤The Department of Commerce (headed by a Council member)
  • ➤The Department of Environmental Protection (headed by a Council member)
  • ➤The Department of Justice (headed by a Council member)
    • ➤ note: The Department of Mediation is headed by the Federal Chancellor in his/her capacity as Chief Mediator.

Is Malter Thurnbrick the Real Decision Maker?

Federal Chancellor Malter Thurnbrick in the Federal Council chambers (which also serves as the Royal Hall when needed for the King’s ceremonial duties).

You probably haven’t heard much of Malter Thurnbrick. After all he’s only a “humble civil servant” (as he calls himself) who directs the Federal Council’s staff of seven.

Yet his position as Federal Chancellor is often extremely influential in developing federal policy positions for the Realm, especially in its dealings with Burlington as well as other Outland and Inland cities.

The Federal Chancellor is a position set out in Bricklyn’s Constitution:

Article I, Sec. 5. “The Federal Chancellor shall be appointed by the President of the Council for a three-year term, subject to the consent of a majority of the full Council. The Federal Chancellor shall: (a) provide staff support to the Federal Council; (b) have the right to table motions of the Federal Council for up to 30 days; (c) be responsible, after consulting with Councilors, for assigning or reassigning Councilors as Department Directors; (d) serve as the Chief Mediator of the Realm; and (e) have such other duties and responsibilities as the Council sees fit as specified by majority vote of the Council.”

Some savvy, well-traveled readers may already have noted several similarities between Bricklyn’s Federal Council and the Federal Council of Switzerland. One such parallel is in the role of the Federal Chancellor. As Federal Chancellor Malter Thurnbrick told us: “Yes, for sure there are lessons Bricklyn’s founders took in drafting our Constitution. They drew not just on their Danish heritage, but also looked at Outland countries such as Switzerland, and, of course, took heed of their new homeland within the State of Vermont.”📍

📍Vermont’s influence can more deeply be seen at the local level, and in particular, in the practice of town meeting. More on that in a future post.

Walter Thurnherr, Federal Chancellor of Switzerland. Photo from Chancellery web site. Of course, his lack of a beard clearly distinguishes him from Bricklyn’s Malter Thurnbrick.

As Malter Thurnbrick continues: “The Bricklyn Federal Council certainly draws on aspects of Switzerland’s Federal Council, as does my position as Federal Chancellor. My ‘counterpart’ in Switzerland, the curiously named Walter Thurnherr, nicely described his role as Federal Chancellor with these words: ‘I don’t see myself as the eighth federal councillor, but rather as the most senior civil servant. My power is limited, but I do have a certain influence. My role is to mediate, offer guidance and coordinate, and I can make proposals.’ … I couldn’t have said it better myself!”📍

📍See “The Federal Chancellery” on the Swiss Federal Chancellery FCh website.

… and What Role Does Bricklyn’s King Play?

Yes, Bricklyn does have a King. Today, that is YMK Spiro Brickburger. However, his role is primarily ceremonial, and to serve as a “goodwill ambassador” to other Inland and Outland communities. Let’s quickly take a look at how Bricklyn’s Constitution defines the role.

Article II, Sec. 1: The King or Queen of the Realm of Bricklyn shall be the then elected Mayor of the City of Bricklyn, that City being the capital city of the Realm, unless such Mayor declines to accept the appointment as Queen or King, in which event the Queen or King shall be appointed by majority vote of the Federal Council for a term of three years. 📍

YMK Brickburger after being crowned KIng of the Realm of Bricklyn

📍By traditional Bricklyn practices of modesty, most past Mayors of the City of Bricklyn have declined being simultaneously appointed King. However, YMK Brickburger chose to accept the Kingly role, saying it would “strengthen the impregnable bonds of comity throughout the Realm.” Political analysts have still been trying to understand the meaning of Brickburger’s remark.

Photo of YMK Brickburger after being crowned; holding the sacred foundation tile of Bricklyn.

Article II, Sec. 2: The King or Queen’s principal responsibility is to promote the values of unity, conciliation, honesty, and kindness in the Realm of Bricklyn, and to represent these values in dealings with other Inland and Outland communities.

If Necessary, as a Last Resort

The King, as well as all elected officials in the Realm, whether serving at the federal or local level, are subject to removal from office. As the Constitution provides:

Article II, Sec. 3: “All elected officials, whether at the federal or local level, as well as the King, can be removed from office before the end of their term if a majority of voters of their jurisdiction so vote at a special election. Such special election shall be take place within 45 days of the receipt and verification by the Chief Clerk of the appropriate jurisdiction of a petition signed by at least 20 percent of the registered voters of said jurisdiction.”

We’ll soon be turning our attention to some heated developments related to the current King, WMK Brickburger, including a recently initiated petition effort to simultaneously oust him as King of the Realm and as Mayor of the City of Bricklyn.

Key Council Rulings

The Bricklyn Eagle has already provided you with information on two key FCRB rulings: the recent ruling finding Facebrick guilty of antitrust and privacy law violations; and the Council’s landmark 1992 ruling limiting network access within the Realm. Given the central role that the FCRB plays in Bricklyn, you’re sure to be hearing more about their decisions in future posts.✥

Facebrick Banned in Realm of Bricklyn

by Eric Tiler Corman, Bricklyn Eagle Political News correspondent
July 9, 2021

Summary of article ➤ In an unexpected ruling, the Federal Council of the Realm of Bricklyn has banned Facebrick from the Realm due to monopolistic practices & abuse of privacy. Reactions to the ruling and next steps.

Federal Council President Hilma Plater-Zybrick at her home.

In an unexpected action, the Federal Council of the Realm of Bricklyn (FCRB)🌀 has just issued a ruling (by a 5-2 vote) mandating the termination of Facebrick’s🌀 services within the Tripartite Realm of Bricklyn.

The Council’s decision only applies to Facebrick, not to Facebook (the parent company). Facebrick has been operating a Bricklyn-only network since 2016, as Bricklyn has long restricted access to Outland networks. But unanswered questions remain over whether the Council’s ruling also applies to Bricklyn citizens trying to connect to the global Facebook social network at The Exchange.📍

📍For some background about The Exchange, see “When Bricklyn Pulled the Plug.”

Council Finds Monopoly and Privacy Violations

According to Council President Hilma Plater-Zybrick, “the ruling centers not just on violations of Bricklyn anti-trust laws, but also on concerns over infractions of Bricklyn’s privacy regulations.”

One of the examples of anti-competitive behavior cited by the Council was Facebrick’s 2020 acquisition of the fledgling social media app WeBricks, “snuffing out a potential competitor,” the Council’s ruling said.

Editor’s Note: While the Council’s ruling dealt with the monopolistic practices of Facebrick, have we given any thought to just what Bricklyn’s youth are learning when they play this board game and need to accumulate the most money & wealth in order to win? The Junior Version of this popular board game is designed for 5 year olds and up!

As to privacy, the Council found Facebrick repeatedly failed to tell customers of its sharing of personal data with third parties, and also engaged in other “systematic privacy breaches.”

The Council cited Facebrick’s failure to address these issues, despite repeated warnings from Bricklyn regulators.

Facebrick supporters claim that the company is being unduly tarred with accusations being made in some Outland countries against Facebook, and that Facebrick is a good corporate citizen, providing valued social media services to Bricklynites.

Replying to these critics, Council President Plater-Zybrick said that: “Regardless of Facebook’s practices in the Outland🌀 world, the Council’s ruling was solely based on Facebrick’s practices within the Realm of Bricklyn.”

Plater-Zybrick has been considered a long-time “skeptic” of Facebrick, but that she could convince four other Council members to join her in ruling against Facebrick remains a surprise. When asked, Plater-Zybrick would only say, “What became clear to most of us was the egregious nature of Facebrick’s violations. What’s more, we received a statement of support for the actions we were considering from the Chief Prognosticator🌀, always an important consideration in major rulings by the Council.”📍

📍 By long standing Bricklyn tradition, the Chief Prognosticator of the Realm can be called in for an in camera meeting with the Federal Council when the Council is considering taking actions that may have “high significance for the future of The Realm of Bricklyn.” The decision to call for the Chief Prognosticator can be made by either the Council President, or by vote of a majority of Council members. The current Chief Prognosticator is David Bricks.

Facebrick Supporters Attack Council Decision

Bill B. Butler, Federal Council Member
Federal Council Member Bill B. Butler, aka “3B”. Besides serving on the Council, Butler is an engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad.

Bill B. Butler, who represents South Bricklyn, was one of the two dissenters on the Federal Council. When asked about the ruling, Butler said: “Facebrick is a great resource for Bricklyn. It gives people what they want, which is why virtually everyone who wants to be socially networked uses it. What’s more, most folks don’t give a hoot about their so-called privacy, as long as they can easily network with their family and friends.”

As Butler added, “if Facebrick did happen to violate our laws, what that means is we need to re-examine and change our laws so that Facebrick can quickly resume operations here in Bricklyn. I’m sure that’s what most Bricklynites would want.”

Representatives of Facebrick could not be reached for comment. An appeal of the decision to the Chief Magistrate’s Court, along with a request for a Stay of the mandate, are possible. However, given the fact that the ruling received the endorsement of Chief Prognosticator Bricks, most legal analysts view it as unlikely that the Court would hear an appeal (the Court has discretion on whether to accept appeals of Federal Council decisions).

Public to be Polled

There has been little opinion polling on the Facebrick question, but Bricklyn Eagle Editor Whitman, along with TV 3 Managing Editor Frank Smallbrick, have just announced they will be teaming up on a poll in the coming weeks to gauge public reaction to the ruling.✥

➤ Note from Bricklyn Eagle Editor Walt Brickman: Unfortunately, as Editor, I must offer an apology. As you may know, The Bricklyn Eagle just recently launched a Facebook page for Outlanders. In fact, some of you have already “liked” it. We are seeking clarification from officials at the FCRB if this page must be taken down in light of the ruling, or whether it can remain available to our Outland readers. All I can say right now is, stay tuned! But rest assured, we at The Bricklyn Eagle will continue to provide you with unbiased news reporting, despite our having used Facebrick and Facebook for our business.

➤ Note from Reporter Corman: As mentioned in our article, Outland policies and laws were apparently not taken into consideration by the Bricklyn Federal Council in its Facebrick ruling. Having said that, readers may find it of interest that U.S. President Joe Biden, in remarks given today (coincidentally the same day as the Council’s ruling), said that: “We are now 40 years into the experiment of letting giant corporations accumulate more and more power … and what have we gotten from it? Less growth, weakened investment, fewer small businesses. … I believe the experiment failed.” As Biden observed, “Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism, it’s exploitation.” See “Biden launches assault on monopolies,” POLITICO (July 9, 2021).