Monday, February 11, 2013

John “Johnny Protocols” Richardson: Emphathetically leading Brunswick…..

…over the cliff of unconstrained Government, that is.


We begin with motherly common sense from some 65 years ago:

“Everyone else is doing it?  So tell me, if everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you do that too?''

Barely a month into his seat on the Brunswick Town Council, John (Johnny Protocols) Richardson has already established himself as a darling of the ‘new schools at any cost’ crowd at BCU.  And now he’s led the Town into Corporate Affiliation with PeaceWorks, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and umbrella group Maine People’s Alliance.  Who knows how many others we’ll be joining as J.P. builds his campaign apparatus through his role as Town Councilor.  For those with ‘expansive’ thinking, you’ll find numerous candidates here; enough to make your eyes bleed, frankly.

We use this all to set the stage for a recent news report on Brunswick Town Councilor Benet Pols web site:

“The Council passed a resolution seeking a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United on a 6-3 vote. Wilson, Watson & Favreau were opposed.”

(The above is a report from the Council meeting held Monday, February 4th, and updates this earlier post on Pols’ site:)

“We’ll also be hearing a request that the Town Council take a position against the Supreme Court’s decision known as Citizens United. This is a decision that has allowed corporations to spend much more than they were allowed in the past to influence elections. Many municipalities have taken similar actions.” (Could you please name them, Councilor?)

“The item is sponsored by Councilors Brayman and Richardson. The Council has been hearing about this issue during public comment at almost every meeting since September. To this point, all speakers have urged the council to adopt a resolution like the one before the council at this meeting. (emphasis ours)”

So there you are; It doesn’t matter what the jurisdiction of the Council is, or what powers are invested in it by the Town Charter.  The Council can simply assume any powers those using the public comment period ask that it take for its own, especially when certain members are seeking higher office, and are pandering to local special interests.  And it makes them look good on camera.

Let’s parse things a bit here.  We’ll use some videos, which if you watch carefully, will prove to you that the advocacy here was anything but a ‘grass roots’ effort to convince an ‘apolitical’ and ‘non-partisan’ group of ‘public servants’ to do ‘the right thing.’

This first one combines the statements of six residents over five council meetings into one clip, very professionally produced, to lead the uninformed (dare we say Ostrich fans?) into believing that a flood of citizens appeared to make their case on a single night.

This conflicts with Councilor Pols’ comment from above, which we repeat here;

“The item is sponsored by Councilors Brayman and Richardson. The Council has been hearing about this issue during public comment at almost every meeting since September. To this point, all speakers have urged the council to adopt a resolution like the one before the council at this meeting. (emphasis ours)”

Official council minutes show that six people spoke over a span of five Council meetings ranging from October to December.  So we call bravo sierra on the hyperbole from Pols.

This next video shows just how far individual Councilors will go to expand their powers and responsibilities beyond just bounds if it can 1) expand their hopes for future office, and 2) help them pander to special interests.  Note especially the professional production values as they apply to the visage of Johnny Protocols. 

Any claim that this was simply ‘candid’ footage is so deceitful as to be a public, bold-faced lie.  This is not cable channel footage; this is professionally produced private film-making. It features Johnny P., who played the leading role in meeting coverage, and appeared to be very well prepared for his ‘brief’ moment on camera.  Pre-planned script and coverage anyone?  Multi-camera pre-arranged production crew?  Serious post-production expertise?

Be sure before you watch the clip to click on the play arrow in the audio clip just below and above the video clip.  It will make your overall experience far more enjoyable.

We don’t know specifically where the boundaries between anarchy, tyranny, and ordered liberty fall, but as we heard someone famous say recently, '”what difference does it make?”  This outcome indicates that governance is more or less a free-for-all, and that squeaky wheels should get oiled, especially if it makes for good TV, good press, happy special interests, and rising polls.

The intent of this post is not to debate the Citizens United decision, per se, but Instead, to question the common sense, motivations, and propriety of our elected officials.  Some call them ‘public servants;’ don’t get us started down that path.  Most behave as ‘our betters.’

Now that we’ve seen how things work, perhaps we should come before The Council to ‘urge’ them to adopt the following resolutions:

  • The growing of broccoli with heads larger than 10” across the widest point within Brunswick town limits should be outlawed.
  • Parking a car in a way that consumes two marked parking spots while shopping at Morning Glory Natural Foods should result in a fine of $500, and a requirement to eat twelve non-organic carrots in public.
  • Shooting a U-turn on Maine Street to cop a parking spot on the other side of the street should result in loss of your Drivers License, and your perp photo being published on this blog.
  • The Federal Income Tax should be repealed.
  • Subarus, Volvos, and Priuses should not be permitted to display political bumper stickers.
  • Barack Obama should be declared President for Life.  Is there any doubt that Brunswick citizens would overwhelmingly support such a Constitutional Amendment, and that the consequences would effect the lives of every Brunswick resident?  What more should be needed to compel Council action?
  • July and August cannot be too hot.
    And there's a legal limit to the snow here.
  • The winter is forbidden till December
    And exits March the second on the dot.
    By order, summer lingers through September.
  • The rain may never fall till after sundown.
    By eight, the morning fog must disappear.

Further, we should come before the State Legislature and ‘urge’ them to pass the following resolutions:

  • Hamburgers at The Big Top Deli should be free, and required to be cooked to medium-well or more on Fridays.
  • Brunswick property tax rates should be limited to no more than $15 per thousand of assessed value.
  • The sky should be declared turquoise on the third day of each month that has 31 days.
  • The Maine Constitution should be amended to allow Johnny P. to simultaneously hold the offices of Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House, with no limits on terms.

Finally, we’d like to ‘urge’ the Federal Government to pass the following resolution:

  • Municipal Governments should mind their own damn business, and stick to what they are supposed to do, which is managing the local municipal enterprise.

Further Study Note:  In case you wanted to know more about Maine People’s Alliance, you’ll get a ‘kick’ out of their “Fair Share” platform:

Our Plan to Pass Through the State Legislature or Referendum:

1. Universal education from pre-K through college. Education is a human right. From the time a child is 3 years old until they enroll in the University of Maine or Community College system, their education should be free.

2. $1 billion to eliminate unemployment. Meaningful work is a human right. The Job Creation Fund will create jobs in key sectors of the economy, such as infrastructure, health care, clean energy, and education. We’ll also raise the minimum wage to $10/hr to get closer to a living wage.

3. Publicly Financed Health Care. Health care is a human right. In a “single payer” system with no health insurance companies, everyone gets the care they need by contributing what they can afford through taxes.

4. We’ll pay for it by making our tax system fair. Lower taxes for the bottom 70%. The top 10% will pay 5% more than low-income Mainers pay now.

No doubt which side of the political spectrum they’d have us reside on.  And won’t this make a fine candidate for the next resolution the Council wants to pass.  In this town, you could get 6 people to demand the Council support this policy, and 2,000 petition signers to endorse it, in front of a Bank on Maine Street of a Saturday Morning.  Or at the upcoming Peace Fair.

Clearly, we are not among the elites to whom ‘it’ has been revealed, especially the ruling elites.  In our frustration, though, we feel it is our obligation to remind you of a few things. 

Maine is comprised of unincorporated territories and incorporated territories.  And wouldn’t you just know, Brunswick is a municipal corporation.  To whit:


§2002. Municipality as body corporate

The residents of a municipality are a body corporate which may sue and be sued, appoint attorneys and adopt a seal.

Further, it doesn’t take much of a logical leap to recognize that labor unions, LLC’s, Associations, and any number of other institutions in our society are, ipso facto, corporations.  How about AARP, the AMA, and the ABA?  How about The Corporation for Public Broadcasting?  How about small businesses?  (Note: anyone who thinks Johnny P. and friends are going to limit labor union political activism and financing needs to not pass go.)

Then there’s Brunswick’s Town Charter, which says the following:

Section 101. - Incorporation.

The inhabitants of the Town of Brunswick shall continue to be a municipal corporation called the Town of Brunswick, Maine.

Section 102. - Powers of the town.

(a) The town shall have, exercise and enjoy all the rights, immunities, powers and privileges of municipal corporations incorporated under the laws of the State of Maine. It shall be subject to all the duties, liabilities and obligations provided for herein, or otherwise pertaining to or incumbent upon such municipal corporations.

(b) The town may enact by-laws, regulations and ordinances consistent with the Constitution and laws of the State of Maine and establish penalties for the breach thereof as provided by the laws of the State of Maine.

Too bad we didn’t have any attorneys on the Town Council to explain these nuances of the proposed resolution to the other councilors and the seen and unseen audience.

What?  We have three attorneys on the Council?  Then how the hell could this have happened?

OK, Roger that, but we can’t print those words here.

While we’re on the subject, let’s make one more point.  The Council CAN’T DO a damn thing about the School Budget, but it CAN press for an Amendment to the US Constitution?  And they want us to take them seriously?  And buy into their ‘costs beyond our control’ rhetoric?

And you want this Town Council to determine the future of this town?  And you want this Councilor, one Johnny Protocols, to be our next Governor?  Or is it Senator, or Representative, or all of the above?

We wore ourselves out as we worked on this post; the snow was (and is) snowing, the wind was blowing, but we can weather the storm.  What do we care how much it may storm, we’ve got our love to keep us warm.  And our dogs, and our common sense.

As counterpoint, here’s a clip that credibly examines the subject at hand:

A Little Historic Background, and the Origin of “Emphathetic” 

Lest you think Johnny Protocols simply bends with the wind on such matters, we remind you of a Sept 2009 Forecaster Article that discussed public concerns over drones coming onto the scene at the redeveloping Naval Air Station:

Richardson, who is considered a potential gubernatorial candidate, made an effort to emphathize with the crowd, noting that as the former state House speaker, he was one of the few state lawmakers to oppose the war in Iraq.

"That was not a popular position at the time," Richardson said.

Once could infer, then, that J.P. took an anti-drone position at that time.  Funny how things change.  Now that Barack Obama is in office, and Senator King, Angus supports their use, drones have suddenly taken on a left-wing Radical Chic, and J.P.’s resistance is no longer au courant. 

So there you have it; If there’s anything Johnny Protocols is good at, it’s emphathizing.   You learn that in Augusta.  We take this to be a combining form of emphatic and empathizing.  Or, being blunt, as you expect us to be, politically expedient pandering.

And Even More Historic Background:

This story is so juicy because when it served his purposes, Johnny P has been completely enthralled with evil corporations, and all too ready to find loopholes and tax breaks and any other form of incentive to bring them to Brunswick. 

in June 2009, speaking to the Town Council, he bragged of how he was involved in ‘no less than a dozen opportunities,’ speaking to Fortune 500 CEOs and COOs, about coming to the former BNAS.  That same night, he advised that we need ‘a protocol’ to keep the Council informed.  And that’s when we decided to call him Johnny Protocols.  You can read about it here, in the post that featured the now classic line “take two protocols and call me in the morning.”

Funny, isn’t it, how those dozen Fortune 500 prospects were never to be heard of again, not even one of them.  Our man Johnny mustn’t be too good at passing the baton.  Passing the buck seems to suit him better.

We have one last thought on resolutions for our Council leaders to consider:

  • Brunswick Council Chambers should be renamed Cape Richardson as J.P. regularly launches campaign shots from the site.


Sadly, as must all things, this post has to end.  We’ll do so musically, as we ask you to imagine Johnny singing these words:

Bruns-a-wick! Bruns-a-wick!
In far-off halls I heard your call.
Bruns-a-wick! Bruns-a-wick!
And here am I to give my all.
I know in my soul what you expect of me,
And all that and more I shall be.

The soul of a pol should be a thing remarkable,
His heart and his mind as pure as morning dew.
With a will and a self-restraint
That's the envy of ev'ry saint
He could easily work a miracle or two.
To love and desire he ought to be unsparkable,
The ways of the flesh should offer no allure.
But where in the world
Is there in the world
A man so untouched and pure?
(C'est John!)

And just because we like it, and it seems fitting, here’s a parting shot of BCU members and other town notables evaluating the dives of Council Members as they plunge into the Sea of Madness.

(We’d like to thank W. T. Fugawy, who contributed significant research to this post.)

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