Archive for the 'Reform' Category

Constitutional amendment to remedy the “Do As I Say (Not As I Do)” syndrome?

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

By Andrew L. Jaffee, Captain
New Mexico Conservatives for Freedom
Restoring America Together

Americans have gotten used to, and quite fed up with, many of our elitist politicians who “Do As I Say (Not As I Do).” Isn’t it about time that all Americans live as equals? Have we fought so many great battles — the Revolution, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement — just to end up with elitist politicians pushing us around, not caring about what we who pay for their cushy jobs believe in? One of our politicians, Rand Paul, is demanding that Americans do live as equals. Now the question is: Can we get enough people in the U.S. together to start the ball rolling to propose Paul’s amendment to the United States Constitution as described in Article Five? (Click here for the process by which we amend our constitution.)

Oct 21, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul last week introduced S.J. Res. 25, a Constitutional amendment that would hold government officials to the same standard as the American people. The amendment states that “Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.” The amendment also contains two provisions that apply that same principle to the Executive Branch and Judicial Branch of the federal government. The amendment text can be found below:

S.J.RES.25

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to applying laws equally to the citizens of the United States and the Federal Government. (Introduced in Senate – IS)

SJ 25 IS

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. J. RES. 25

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to applying laws equally to the citizens of the United States and the Federal Government.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

October 11, 2013

Mr. PAUL introduced the following joint resolution; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to applying laws equally to the citizens of the United States and the Federal Government.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States:

‘Article–

‘Section 1. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress.

‘Section 2. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to the executive branch of Government, including the President, Vice President, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and all other officers of the United States, including those provided for under this Constitution and by law, and inferior officers to the President established by law.

‘Section 3. Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, including the Chief Justice, and judges of such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

‘Section 4. Nothing in this article shall preempt any specific provision of this Constitution.’

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Israel’s Bad Neighborhood

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative,” “Israel Hayom”

While the Middle East combusts, threatening vital US interests, the US attempts to clip the wings of Israel — the only reliable, predictable, stable, effective, democratic and unabashedly pro-US firefighter in the region.

Western policy-makers and public opinion molders welcomed the 2011 riots on the Arab Street as an Arab Spring, a people’s revolution and a transition toward democracy. However, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria have demonstrated that the Arab Street is experiencing an Arab Tsunami and a transition towards intensified chaos, totally unrelated to the Palestinian issue, which has been a regional sideshow. In fact, Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the International Committee in Russia’s Duma, stated on July 4, 2013: “the ongoing events in Egypt confirm that the so-called Arab Spring has led not to democratic renewal but to chaos… We can see this in Egypt, in Libya, in Syria, and in Iraq… The events in Egypt show that there can’t be a quick and gentle transition from an authoritarian regime to political democracy. There can’t be such a transition in the Arab Middle East countries…”

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What Turkey’s Riots Mean

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

by Daniel Pipes*

Rebellion has shaken Turkey since May 31: Is it comparable to the Arab upheavals that overthrew four rulers since 2011, to Iran’s Green Movement of 2009 that led to an apparent reformer being elected president last week, or perhaps to Occupy Wall Street, which had negligible consequences?

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The Good News in Turkey

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

by Daniel Pipes*

How to interpret the recent unrest on the streets of Istanbul and about 65 other Turkish cities? Specifically, is it comparable to the Arab uprisings over the last 2½ years in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain?

On one level, they appear unrelated, for Turkey is a far more advanced country, with a democratic culture and a modern economy. But two connections — autocracy and Syria — do tie them together, suggesting that the Turkish demonstrations could have a potentially deep importance.

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Radical Islamist turns ardent Zionist: The story of Kasim Hafeez

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

By Fern Sidman

On Thursday evening, November 15th, an audience of several hundred people sat in rapt attention at Temple Israel on New York City’s Upper East Side, as they heard the compelling narrative of a most unusual man. Kasim Hafeez, 28, is a British born Muslim of Pakistani descent who was raised in an environment where he was taught that, “Jews control the world, and Israel is at fault for just about everything.” As many other young Muslims in the United Kingdom, he embraced the teachings of radical Islam and internalized the visceral hatred for Israel that is endemic to this philosophy.

Growing up in a home where his father praised Adolf Hitler as a, “brilliant man,” whose only shortcoming was that he, “didn’t kill enough Jews,” Mr. Hafeez was being groomed to be yet another virulent Israel basher, but this life trajectory was abruptly derailed when he decided to undertake some serious research on the political history of Israel. Today, the Nottingham-based university administrator addresses audiences around the globe about the epiphany of truth that changed his life. He is being sponsored by the premier North American pro-Israel student advocacy organization, StandWithUs.

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Are Iraq and Turkey Models for Democratization?

Monday, July 30th, 2012

by Ofra Bengio*

In the wake of the upheavals that have shaken the Arab world since December 2010, activists, politicians, and analysts have all been searching for new, democratic models of governance that could come into force in these lands. The cases of Iraq and Turkey are perhaps the most obvious choices to examine based on the notion that these are the only examples of functioning democracies within Muslim-majority nations of the Middle East.

Hoping to turn post-Saddam Iraq into a model to be emulated by the Arab states, the Bush administration set out to create an Athens-on-the-Tigris complete with free elections and a constitution with separation of powers provisions. Although the Turkish model had a completely different genesis and evolution, it is worth exploring as Ankara has proclaimed itself a model for the post-revolutionary regimes. What lessons can be drawn from the Iraqi and Turkish experiences, and to what extent do they fit other Middle Eastern states?

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Rethinking Libya

Monday, July 16th, 2012

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi*

Pace the expectations of numerous commentators, including my own, Islamist factions have not emerged to dominate the Libyan election results. Instead, the National Forces Alliance (NFA) — a coalition led by the former interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril — has outmaneuvered the Muslim Brotherhood and the al-Watan party led by Abdelhakim Belhadj, who once headed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group that was affiliated with al Qaeda.

The Islamist factions are hoping to dominate the political process through the remaining 120 seats in the Libyan congress open to candidates who are at least nominally independent, but tally results so far suggest that even in areas where Islamists are thought to have stronger influence than in the rest of the country (e.g. the eastern city of Darna), the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party performed poorly against the NFA.

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Regime Change in Iran?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

by Brendan Daly*

There is every reason to believe that the Islamic Republic’s days are numbered. The current government, lorded over by the religious supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i, and his Guardian Council of aging mullahs, who can overrule any policy change by the pseudo-elected president, seem wildly out of touch with the general populace. Not only are the youth of Iran—some 70 percent of whom are under the age of thirty—chaffing under the “guardianship of the Islamic jurists” (velayet-e-faqih)—but so is the economy, due to sanctions imposed by the West in response to the regime’s insistence on pursuing its nuclear program.[1] Inflation has long been out of control and trade and tourism a tiny fraction of what it could be, and yet the establishment has on the whole shown little interest in sacrificing militant, revolutionary principles for economic, and indeed, political expediency. Can this approach be sustained in view of the tightening economic noose around Tehran, and at what cost?

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Free Markets Can Transform the Middle East

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

by Daniel Doron*

As the high hopes for a brave new Middle East fade rapidly, Western policymakers must recognize that promoting market economics and its inevitable cultural changes are far more critical to the region’s well-being than encouraging free elections or resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. In addition to producing material prosperity, diffusing power, and curbing tyranny, economic freedom promotes social, cultural, and religious changes conducive to democracy and tolerance. It enhances personal responsibility and social involvement and instills good work habits and accountability. It builds a civil society with a stake in peace. If there is to be any hope of lasting peace and stability in the Middle East, nothing less will do.

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Bashar’s ‘Iron Fist’

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi and Oskar Svadkovsky*

The iron fist against “terrorist gangs” as promised by Bashar Assad got off to a fairly impressive start two weeks ago. Homs — the Benghazi of the Syrian rebels — has been subjected to massive and sustained shelling for days, causing hundreds of fatalities among the defenders. With the fist heading for its third week, however, the spectacular artillery barrages seem to have delivered little.

This is not the first time during the uprising that the Syrian army has stormed urban areas. In July and August, the army recaptured Hama, Deir ez Zor, and Latakia after these had been taken over by crowds of protesters reinforced by army defectors.

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Iran, Democracy, and Human Rights

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

By Sara Akrami and Saeed Ghasseminejad

As long as the priority of democratic governments is the establishment of freedom and democracy rather than financial gain, then the roots of authoritarianism will gradually dissolve throughout the world, and equality and justice will replace authoritarianism. Democratic governments must function as role models for authoritarian regimes and provide the hope of freedom and dignity for citizens living under oppressive rule.

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Challenges Facing the States of North Africa

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

A briefing by Bruce Maddy-Weitzman*

Bruce Maddy-Weitzman is Principal Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University, and an expert on the Maghreb. He is a frequent contributor to the Middle East Quarterly and has authored three books, the most recent of which is The Return to History: Berber Identity and the Challenge to North African States (2011). Mr. Maddy-Weitzman addressed the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia on November 3, on the implications of the North African upheavals for U.S. and Western national interests.

Mr. Maddy-Weitzman began by describing 2011 as a transformative year but cautioned that the Arab uprisings had produced mixed results, with a final verdict still pending.

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Spring comes, but not for Iraq’s Kurds

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi*

Amid widespread protests during this so-called “Arab Spring,” one place that has received relatively little media coverage is Iraqi Kurdistan. How does the response of the Kurdish authorities to discontent there, a region long held up by foreign observers as a freer political exception in Iraq, compare with that of other governments in the Middle East?

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Syria – Is It On the Threshold Of a Civil War?

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

By Jonathan Spyer

The Assad regime’s brutal assault on the town of Hama should serve to dispel any notion that the struggle in Syria is nearing its end, or that the Assad regime has accepted its fate.

The general direction of the revolts in the Arab world now suggests that the region’s worst dictators have an even chance of survival, on condition that they have no qualms about going to war against their own people.

Syrian President Bashar Assad appears to have internalized the lesson.

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Empower Iranians vs. Tehran

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

by Daniel Pipes*

How should Western governments deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which Washington labels “the most active state sponsor of terrorism”?

Iranian aggression began in 1979, with the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and the holding of some of its staff as hostages for 444 days. Major subsequent attacks included two bombings in Beirut in 1983: at the U.S. embassy, killing 63, and at a U.S. Marine barracks, killing 241.

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