Saturday, June 09, 2012

State of Law swears the curtain is down on a no-confidence vote

Al Rafidayn reports that an oil pipeline in northern Iraq was attacked with two bombs today.  AFP adds, "The pipelines transport oil from the Bai Hassan field in the disputed province of Kirkuk to the Ceyhan pipeline that exports crude via Turkey." While Reuters explains, "The bulk of Iraq's oil is exported from the southern terminals of Basra but around 400,000-450,000 barrels - a quarter of all exports - is pumped through the strategic Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline to Ceyhan port in Turkey."  In related news, Alsumaria reports a police station in Mosul that oversaw a pipeline was attacked with mortar shells. 

Like the violence, the political crisis continues.  Alsumaria reports that Ayad Allawi spoke in Mosul today and stated the process towards a no-confidence vote continues.  Iraqiya is dealing with the issue of, as Al Rafidayn notes, 7 of their MPs stating they will not cast a vote of no-confidence in Nouri.  Iraqiya notes that 5 of these 7 MPs did not sign the petition for the no-confidence vote.  That would mean only two of those they knew they could count on have broken away.  Alsumaria notes that State of Law is insisting today that the curtain has come down on the hopes of a no-confidence vote.  For someone unconcerned about the vote, Nouri's decision, reported by Dar Addustour, to begin moving military brigades into Baghdad is a puzzler.  (He also moved the forces from control of the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Defense.  Nouri controls both ministries due to the fact that he never put forward a nominee for either to Parliament.)

Allawi, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Najaifi and others met in Nineveh Province today to discuss the no-confidence vote. This was apparently a meet-up of Iraqiya only. State of Law is insisting Jalal Talabani is not going to allow the process to move forward.  Talabani is the President of Iraq.  Such a move on his part would further damage his image in the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Alsumaria notes that Nineveh Governor Ethel Najaifi states there will be a meeting Sunday of Iraiqy, Moqtada al-Sadr and the Kurdistan alliance.

The following community sites -- plus On The Wilder Side and the Pacifica Evening News -- updated last night and today:

We'll close with this from the Green Party of Michigan:

For Immediate Release:

For more information, contact:
John Anthony La Pietra
Elections Co-ordinator, GPMI
(269) 781-9478

Michigan Conservatives Again Thwart Emergency Manager Law Repeal

In a unique conclusion, a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed that there was a precedent which would place the Emergency Manager Repeal on the November ballot, but the panel stayed the ruling citing disagreement with the previous judgment. The Green Party of Michigan calls on judges in this case to act now to let the people express their will and political power this fall.
Last month, the Board of State Canvassers decided to rule against the group Stand Up for Democracy who recognized that Governor Snyder's Emergency Manager Law was undemocratic; the citizens of Michigan never had a say in its enactment, and it took away their right to empower their elected representatives. The petition had far more signatures than was required to get the question on the ballot, but a false technicality may thwart the will of the people.
A conservative group, Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, argued that the requirement for a 14-point font size for the header was not met. A partisan vote on the Board of State Canvassers let this challenge block the referendum. Not deterred by this decision, Stand Up for Democracy appealed and hoped to have the matter decided in time for the people to vote on the law in November.
The three-judge appeals court panel included Kurtis Wilder, Kirsten Frank Kelly, and Michael Riordan. Even though it is a non-partisan appointment, these are three judges with distinctively conservative backgrounds: Judge Riordan was appointed by Snyder, Judge Wilder is a member of the Federalist Society, and Judge Kelly is a Republican Party member and a vocal opponent of “judicial activism”. This may serve to explain why they voted unanimously to maintain this law which broadens the power of a Republican governor despite clear legal precedent. It should come as no surprise, given that the Republicans in the Board of State Canvassers voted likewise.
The 2002 precedent the appeals judges have to overcome states that a petition only needs to be in substantial compliance with guidelines. In other words, if the petition is readable and the wording is clearly visible, the petition should be deemed valid and the people should get to vote on it, even if the size or style of some type may be slightly off.
While judges must follow precedent set in earlier rulings, the judges in this case stayed their decision pending a possible review panel who will look over the previous judgment and decide whether to overturn the precedent. If it is overturned, the petition may again be rejected; if it is not, the petition will be approved.
Still, this may all be a moot point, as MSU professor Chris Corneal, a graphic design expert, attested recently. “I determined that [the disputed petition text] was Calibri bold set at 14 point. Simply measuring the heighth of the capital letter will not give an accurate point size. It should include the cap heighth, plus the depth of the descender [the lower part of, say, a g], plus a little buffer area that is different for different cap heighths.” Using this expert's means of measurement, the stated standard was indeed met, negating the need for the special panel sought by the appeals court.
As there is a strong contingent of Green Party members in the Detroit area, arguably the region most affected yet by the law, the party has taken a great interest in its repeal. In an earlier release, the Green Party called on the powers-that-be to consider Article I, Section 1 of the Michigan Constitution: “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security and protection.” The citizens of Michigan spoke through the signing of the petition, following a clearly democratic process in order to overturn a clearly undemocratic law.
John Anthony La Pietra, GPMI's Elections Co-ordinator, points out: “The precedent these three judges don't like is founded on the bedrock of the Michigan constitution, which says power belongs to the people – and adds that the people reserve for themselves the power of initiative and referendum.
“Of course that should trump any minor technical difficulties with these petitions -- if there were any. But the facts and the record are clear that the petitions are not only in substantial compliance with the statutory requirements -- they are in actual compliance.
“GPMI has urged prompt action before. Now we insist that Michigan's elected and appointed judiciary act immediately to declare the petitions valid, suspend PA 4, and put the referendum on the ballot. Any more delay will deny justice and block the people from exercising their power by voting.”



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