Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Ron Paul Revolution Continues: “We are the Future !”

Tampa, 26 August 2012 – Last Sunday, a day ahead of the now postponed Republican National Convention (RNC), Ron Paul hosted his sensational “We are the Future” rally. Amassing a crowd of 8000, the retiring congressman delivered an electrifying speech at the USF Sun Dome.

Normally political rallies are all about repeating the same old party line, recitation of cliché terms and the making of false promises like Obama’s “Hope and Change”. There is little substance but loads of rhetoric foisted upon a gullible audience. Pitch phrases arouse the crowd and deafening cheers are heard. Talking points are made, invectives are levied upon the opposition; the crowd yells even louder and before you know it everyone is drowning in a pool of ignorance.

However, Ron Paul’s “We are the Future” rally was everything but conventional. Instead of the usual stuff, he engaged the audience with intellect and promoted his ideas of individual liberty and freedom on the basis of logic and argument. 

For anyone who is looking for sound policies and an effective plan to restore America’s “Peace, Prosperity and Liberty”, his speech is a must watch.

Ron Paul’s Full Speech: “We are the Future !”

The 8 minute introductory speech was given by Kentucky senator  Rand Paul. After a solemn expression of gratitude towards his father “for supporting the cause of liberty and not letting our founding principles die” the senator got the whole crowd fired up by asking:

Is there anybody here who wants to abolish the TSA ?

The question was immediately responded with a zealous uproar, the auditorium was obviously teeming with young and energetic individuals.

Once the congressman took center stage, it didn’t take long for the crowd to start chanting buzz words like “President Paul...President Paul...President Paul”.

For many decades Ron Paul has been America’s leading voice for liberty, for ending America’s military adventures abroad, for free markets and free trade, auditing and ending the Federal Reserve, a return to the gold standard and sound money, repealing Roe vs Wade and above all for defending the constitution and the golden principles of the founding fathers. 

Instead of libeling against Mitt Romney & current president Barrack Obama, Mr. Paul firmly focused on the war of ideas. Throughout his address he quoted the founding fathers, free market economists and key libertarian philosophers building his case for small constitutionally limited government. Immediately diving into key issues of individual liberty and personal freedoms, his stance on a peaceful foreign policy and ending the Fed drew the most applause.

In a brisk walkthrough of 20th century history he outlined the emergence of Keynesianism, the Federal Reserve System, Communism, Fascism and a number of BIG government ideologies. He categorized these philosophies as “bad ideas” which have lead to so much death and destruction while making references to all the wars and the loss of millions of lives. The congressman not only exclaimed the inefficacy of these theories  but also recognized the necessity of trying something novel.

During the speech, the retiring congressman re-iterated:

My personal goal with politics and my personal life is that a free society provides me an opportunity to seek virtue and excellence. And that should be a personal goal. If the government takes over the rule of trying to make you a better person, an excellent person and make you virtuous, it’s all over. That is the seeds of authoritarianism.

Since this event marks the official end of the Ron Paul campaign many people have construed it as the end of the libertarian revolution. He scoffed at this thought by saying:

Don’t they just wish ?

Optimistic that libertarianism has a prosperous future, Ron Paul told assured his supporters that liberty is an idea whose time has come and in time it will be a force to be reckoned with.

So instead of seeing this as a continuation of the era of the 20th century that gave us so much death and destruction and undermining our liberties, and conditions today that are so dangerous, let us think that we are now moving into a new era. A new era where we’re going to concentrate on liberty and freedom and property and peace. I believe that is the cause that we should lead and I thank you very much for being a part of it.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Agha Waqar Khan’s Water kit Car: Fraud or Reality?

Just when the countries problems couldn’t be any worse, Hamid Mir along with a dubious engineer named Agha Waqar Khan descend as angels to proclaim the good news that all of Pakistan’s energy and fuel crises have been solved.

The media’s hype surrounding Waqar’s invention of a HHO water kit and the prospect of water-fueled cars in Pakistan is its latest attempt at minting money via dream selling and drugging an already dysfunctional and delusional nation.

Hamid Mir and Agha Waqar demonstrate the operation of the water kit car

A recent blog on ET exclaimed the irresponsibility of the media in reporting this event, however the author completely ignored the objectionable science being proclaimed by Waqar and his associates; and the long history of fraudulent claims regarding the use of water as a fuel for automobiles.

In 1980, Stanley Meyer claimed to have built water fuelled a dune buggy. He refused to give up his car for scientific inspection; later in 1996 after an investment scam, an Ohio court charged him $25000 and found him guilty of “gross and egregious fraud.”

In 2002, Genesis World Energy (GWE) also claimed a market ready water fuel device for powering automobiles. After laundering $2.5 million from private investors, the owner of the company, Patrick Kelly was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $400,000 in compensation.

Later in 2008, Sri Lankan media hailed an inventor Thushara Priyamal Edirisinghe who claimed to have driven a water fuelled car 300 kilometers in just 3 liters of water. Thushara even demonstrated his findings to the Sri Lankan government which pledged full financial support in commercializing his technology. Months later, Thushara was arrested on suspicions of investment fraud.

In the same year, Formosa Plastics sued Filipino inventor Daniel Dingel for yet another water fuel scam. Daniel had claimed  to have developed water fuel technology since 1969 and in 2000 the inventor struck gold by entering into a partnership with Formosa Plastics to further research and develop his technology. After a successful lawsuit, the 82 year old Daniel was finally sentenced to 20 years in prison for defrauding the company.

Can anyone spot the pattern in this series? Guess what comes next

Now our very own Agha Waqar Khan has also claimed to have invented an electrolysis water kit with many of the same attributes as the devices listed above.

I am only glad that we are all living in Pakistan; the law lacks force, no one is arrested and imprisoned and case hearings extend well beyond the life of the accused. Therefore, I believe that Pervez Hoodbhoy  has nothing to fear from his new lawsuit. The only laughable irony here is that who’s the plaintiff and who’s the accused. Unlike all the other countries, in Pakistan the conmen walk free while the scientists end up explaining Thermodynamics in courts.

No one has ever been able to substantially demonstrate that water can be used as a fuel by means of Electrolysis. In fact, all experiments affirm that using an electrolysis cell as an attachment to an internal combustion engine degrades vehicle performance and makes the engine response leaner. 

Simply put, Agha Khan’s water-kit won’t work and here’s why:

Agha Khan’s basic theme is that the car’s 12 V battery will drive an electrolytic cell which will break water molecules into its constituents Hydrogen and Oxygen. The combination of these gasses (HHO) will serve as combustible fuel and the engine will subsequently recharge the battery during its stroke cycles.

In this entire energy circuit, for the battery to not lose power, all of the energy it imparts to the cell must be returned to it by the engine. In other words  all of the energy is isolated in the loop, the car has become a perpetual motion machine and the engine is lossless. This off course is simply IMPOSSIBLE.   

According to aardvark, to maintain  a cruise speed of 65mph (~100kph), the engine needs to produce roughly 20 HP or 15 KW of power. Assuming that the cell has 100 percent efficiency (which it doesn’t), the 15 KW must be supplied entirely by the car’s internal 12 V battery.

To state the obvious, this means that an immense 1250A current will be flowing in the car’s external circuit! – This is sure to melt your wires any second.

It is also a well-known fact that your average IC engine has an efficiency of 30 percent, by itself the engine can only successfully return about 4.5 KW to re-charge the battery. Two thirds or 10 KW of the original power supply will be wasted in the mechanical and heat losses; at this rate the battery is also sure to to die any second. 

Agha Khan’s claim that he’s only using 1 to 2 percent of the batteries power totally contradicts the efficiency dynamics of any automobile engine we know about, it violates the Law of Conservation of Energy and the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. If his claim is taken to be true then Agha Khan’s engine is doing the impossible task of magically re-supplying the lost energy to the battery.

Either Agha Khan is right and the Laws of Thermodynamics are wrong;

or the laws are right and Agha Khan is wrong.

Even more abysmal is Agha Khan’s amusing request that ONLY distilled water must be used in the electrolytic process.

For electrolysis to work, the electrolyte must contain ions to conduct the electrical charges. Water’s proficiency as a conductor is directly proportional to the presence of impurities; it’s the ions from the salts and minerals that actually carry the charges and for this reason electrolysis is usually performed using salt or tap water.

Distilled water on the other hand has a very low ionization constant, the partial ionization via H and OH ions implies extremely weak conduction. The consequences for the given scenario are that the electrolysis and production of Hydrogen gas will proceed at a very slow rate, certainly not fast enough to power an automobile.

So then, why does Agha Khan want to use distilled water even when salt water would be a much better candidate for electrolysis?

In summary, according to our known laws of physics, the energy consumed (during electrolysis) to break the covalent bonds of H2O molecules is always greater than the energy produced at the combustion of Hydrogen. Consequentially, the Electrolysis kit will always be acting as a permanent load that is constantly draining more energy than it can provide.

All things set aside, if Agha Waqar Khan has really found a violation to the Laws of Thermodynamics then his contributions truly merit a Nobel prize in Physics.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

PTA: Censorship, Blasphemy & Keeping Pakistan “Clean”

Dear Citizens! As you already know, the world is divided between the land of the believers and the land of the infidels. Indeed, the infidels will stop at nothing in declaiming against our faith.
But Fear Not! – A perfect remedy has been found.

By mistake or by intention, Never again, shall a single Muslim soul lend them a ear ever again. For your convenience we introduce a complete ban on all blasphemous material online.

As of now, the following message will be displayed on all blocked websites:
Dear Valuable Customer
Your requested site is blocked by PTA. Please consult PTA if you have any query regarding requested site
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) promises internet salvation and a sin free browsing experience for all citizens. We are sincerely committed in securing a lush and blissful heaven for all Pakistanis in the afterlife. The PTA offers the complete solution to all of your Gunnah problems – This message is brought to you by, yours truly, government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Since its inception, the PTA has consistently pestered the entire nation by blocking a number of daily visited websites in response to blasphemous emergencies often oblivious to the average citizen.

The motion for purging the internet of all things un-Islamic began with the publication of a dozen editorial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The Danish cartoon controversy culminated in protests and the conflagration of Danish embassies in Muslim countries worldwide. Adding to the rage was the publication of these cartoons online. In remonstrance the PTA placed a blanket ban on all Blogger-Typepad blogs.

Later in 2008, after the release of the Dutch movie Fitna, the PTA blocked worldwide access to YouTube for almost 24 hours. Likewise, on 19 May 2010, another two day ban was imposed on a number of social networking sites in response to Facebook hosting a global competition called Draw Muhammad Day.

In each of these cases the intent of the offenders was to ridicule and inflame Muslims all across the world and the bans accorded were always temporary in nature, lasting till the resolution of the conflict. Whether you want to justify censorship in the case of such emergencies is mostly a matter opinion and I raise no objection in support or against them; besides, a day off from Facebook isn’t exactly the end of anyone’s world.

Despite the occasional display of tyranny, Wikipedia records:
In late 2010 Pakistanis enjoyed generally unimpeded access to most sexual, political, social, and religious content on the Internet.
However, since then the PTA has been setting the dangerous  trend of permanently censoring material it self-proclaims as blasphemous.

It is one thing to initiate a motion of censorship in response to an immediate situation but it is entirely criminal to go on an escapade of declaring “this” or “that” as anti-Islamic and permanently blocking access to half the websites on the web.

For example, one of the domains that  has been permanently banned by the PTA is  Answering Islam  is actually a Christian counterpart to a host of other Muslim websites like or These websites are essentially a paradigm of the internet religious debate culture – whatever one group posts, the other tries to negate, each one trying to defend their faith and criticize the other.

The groups that run these websites aren’t necessarily scholarly authorities on religion either, it’s not as if academics like Martin Lings or Francisco Ayala would go around posting here. One may think of them as a breed of internet  road warriors, and whenever you have a collection of overly conspiratorial and enthusiastic religious individuals, it doesn’t take too long for the discussions to become of a fiery disposition.

In a formal debate both sides would normally maintain a degree a of subtlety  and refrain from being too contentious – on the internet, all bets are off and everything is game; unlike in a live TV discussion, there is no moderation here. Consequentially, controversial themes like polygamy, sexuality, rights of women, apostasy, crusade, counter-crusade and terrorism are being hurled in either direction and equally true for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.

The PTA’s ban on websites like Answering Islam is objectionable on a number of grounds:

For one, it stifles the discussion. Websites like Answering Islam maybe anti-Islamic but they are not trying to be inflammatory, as in the case of the Danish cartoons. Engaging in a dialogue in an attempt to disprove another religion and promote your own is standard religious discourse; it is only natural that members of one group must be antithetical to the faith of the other, otherwise there can’t be any debate to begin with.

Secondly, it is somewhat biased and hypocritical. It isn’t always possible to defend your religion every single time; so, often being victorious becomes equivalent to ridiculing the other. Since, the use of strong language on these types of religious websites is equally true for Muslims, Christians e.t.c, an anti-Islamic tone by non-Muslims cannot be made a pretense for censoring them, especially in the light that non-Muslim governments have yet to censor any of our websites.

Thirdly, a thorough inquiry into any religious system should surface its more  questionable aspects – of violence, of wars and murder, of dubious commandments and rituals. The provision of freedom of speech  isn’t here so that we can talk about our favorite ice-cream; it exists, solely to provide a platform for the controversial, offensive and the taboo. A non-Muslim group who is pre-disposed to be anti-Islamic will tend to expose such themes in the Islamic faith, leaving it to the Muslims to dismantle their objections and defend the religion on rational ground. Censoring others and  refusing to answer their questions in this manner is a willful  submission of our own ignorance regarding Islam and our inability to defend it.

Fourthly, on a much more psycho-analytic level, not engaging in this type of dialogue also represents a kind of cowardice – it’s like turning and running away from the contest, as if defeat has already been accepted.

On a final note, not only is this program of censorship an attack on freedom of speech and dialogue, but it is also an infringement  of the people’s right to an interference free browsing experience and an unrestrained internet.

No government should have the power of legislating the personal viewing habits of individuals, unless you fancy reading more of those PTA bulletins and living in an Orwellian nightmare.

In summary, we may say that websites like Answering Islam and their criticisms of Islam deserve a legitimate rebuttal, not a gag order Ninja

Thursday, 29 March 2012

British Monarch vs U.S President: Then and Now

In 1776, at the time of the declaration of Independence, the British Monarchy was the most splendid, the grandest, the most formidable political institution known to man. At its peak the British Empire spanned a quarter of the globe, and a mere change in gesture of a single King would determine the fate of millions around the world.

It was in the wake of the absolute reign of the British King, the founders risked, as they would have liked to tell us, "Their Lives, Their Fortunes, and Their Sacred Honors" to craft a revolution, a struggle which would eventually culminate into the foundation of an independent and sovereign American Republic, not of subjects, but of a prosperous, free and self-reliant body of citizens. At the very heart and purpose of these United States of America was the fulfillment of two noble promises: to its own people, an oath of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" and to the rest of mankind of, "Peace, Commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none."

 Yet both vows have been broken. People have been deprived of their Life, Liberty and Happiness. So far and distant does the federal government stand from "Peace and Honest friendship" with other nations, that propping foreign dictators, brutal suppression of the liberties of its own people, Economic coercion, perpetual and endless wars seems to be the Federal Governments only known language of conduct and discourse. 

In the Federalist Essay 67, guaranteeing the faithfulness of the executive branch, Hamilton writes,

" There is hardly any part of the system which could have been attended with greater difficulty in the arrangement of it than this; and there is, perhaps, none which has been inveighed against with less candor or criticized with less judgment."

"Here the writers against the Constitution seem to have taken pains to signalize their talent of misrepresentation. Calculating upon the aversion of the people to monarchy, they have endeavored to enlist all their jealousies and apprehensions in opposition to the intended President of the United States; not merely as the embryo, but as the full-grown progeny, of that detested parent. To establish the pretended affinity, they have not scrupled to draw resources even from the regions of fiction. The authorities of a magistrate, in few instances greater, in some instances less, than those of a governor of New York, have been magnified into more than royal prerogatives. He has been decorated with attributes superior in dignity and splendor to those of a king of Great Britain. He has been shown to us with the diadem sparkling on his brow and the imperial purple flowing in his train. He has been seated on a throne surrounded with minions and mistresses, giving audience to the envoys of foreign potentates, in all the supercilious pomp of majesty."

Fast-forward 200 years and the world seems to be turned on its head. The reality of the 21st century, ironic as it is, has vindicated the anti-federalists in almost every aspect of the constitutional debate. Whereas, the British Empire has long disappeared and the monarchy largely ceremonial, with the crown being vested in a harmless old lady who spends her days merely giving slick speeches to keep up the well dressed image of a fast fading past; the U.S president has usurped and furnished himself with majesty and powers of such great magnitude that juxtaposed with the then King of Britain, ruler of a quarter of the globe, the U.S president may very well be said to be the King of the ENTIRE Earth.

"The President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law. The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution."

Now, what good is a provision of impeachment which is simply hardly ever used and that too for the wrong reasons?

In our times there is only one president who has been impeached in the United States. Oddly enough Bill Clinton wasn't put on trial for giving a false testimony under oath, nor for taking bribes, not even for his bombing of Iraq, something which Mr. Clinton even continued even on the very day of the House impeachment vote. Instead he was impeached, in the words of Hamilton, for his "ministers and mistresses"- more specifically his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Ironically, he was acquitted of even this charge of misconduct.

It is worth reiterating that Mr. Bush and Obama stand unimpeachable even despite all their unconstitutionality while their war crimes are simply glossed over by congress. So, in practice, if U.S presidents can get away with all such truly 'impeachable' offenses then there is hardly any difference between the pomp of King of Great Britain and the his highness the U.S president. Either one of them can get away with acts of treason and bribery, the former due to inviolability and the latter in open and flagrant breach of constitutional statute.

Moreover, it is worth noting that every presidential campaign is run on charity from lobbyists and large corporations, and although such money acquired maybe conveniently termed as "donations", taking sums from wall street banks and passing bailouts in their favor is in effect BRIBERY.

But perhaps the most important difference between the English King and the U.S president outlined by Hamilton is on the issue of declaring war. 

"The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other [King], in addition to this right, possesses that of DECLARING war, and of RAISING and REGULATING fleets and armies by his own authority."

There was hardly any other topic which was more deliberated upon in the constitutional convention than the question of declaration of war. Calculating upon their experiences with the colonies and the English Monarchy the founding fathers had judged that in any government it is always the "Executive Branch" which has the greatest appetite for war; therefore, they had deliberately reserved the power of declaring wars explicitly with congress ONLY.

Therefore, would it not be a 'real' impeachable offense if the president declared war without  express permission from Congress ?

Yet, President Obama all by himself and by his own initiative declared an unconstitutional war in Libya without congressional approval. Instead of seeking congress, he went to his cronies at NATO, the Arab League (a bunch of Arab dictators) and the UN Security council. After that the troops were sent in, CIA officials were sent in, the drones were sent in and the bombing commenced for so called "humanitarian purposes". Sixty days passed and the deadline for the War Powers resolution passed by without Obama seeking permission for the No Fly Zone; after which Pres. Obama in classical despotic fashion told the congress " That NO authorization was needed."

In one public statement he even went on to say, "I'm not going to go around putting my constitutional lawyer hat on."

By engaging in this illegal war, President Obama has once again showed us that the congress is merely ceremonial and that a President, very much like the King, may commit the country into war whenever he feels like without reproach or the risk of impeachment. Certainly, Obama isn't the first president to have done this, nevertheless he has setup one more precedent for future Presidents to do the same.  

Monday, 26 March 2012

A few quotes from Prince Machiavelli

"A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise."

"A son can bear with equanimity the loss of his father, but the loss of his inheritance may drive him to despair."

"Before all else, be armed."

"God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us. "

"Hence it comes about that all armed Prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed Prophets have been destroyed. "

"It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."

"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver."

"It is necessary for him who lays out a state and arranges laws for it to presuppose that all men are evil and that they are always going to act according to the wickedness of their spirits whenever they have free scope."

"Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain."

"The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present."

"To understand the nature of the people one must be a prince, and to understand the nature of the prince, one must be of the people."

"Whoever conquers a free town and does not demolish it commits a great error and may expect to be ruined himself."

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Machiavelli and Democracy

A lot has been written about Nicolò Machiavelli, the notorious Florentine politician, philosopher and Renaissance man. Best known as the author of the handbook for tyrants, The Prince, he also wrote Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livy, a much more republican affair. Both are considered classics of political thought, especially for the use of the ‘inductive method’ – the idea of grounding knowledge on the collection, collation, and analysis of what we call facts’ (Femia, Page 151-152). While many sought ‘explanations by a long process of inference and deduction’ about which system would be the perfect one for humans to exist, Machiavelli employed a different tack, using history to make his argument. In this essay, I will discuss his inductive conclusions about democracy being the best political system of all, comparing and contrasting them with the views of others.

What is democracy? There is no universally accepted definition for it and is open to interpretation. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as ‘a government in which supreme power is vested in the people.’ Aristotle was the first to classify the various different types of political constitutions in Politics, building on Plato’s question ‘Who would rule in an ideal society?’ (Burns, 81-82). He theorised that there are six types: kingship, tyranny, aristocracy, oligarchy, polity and democracy. Plato preferred aristocratic rule by benevolent ‘philosopher-kings’, the product of an intensive education system. He argued that democracy was akin to ‘mob rule’, and that that the democratic man is anarchic and disordered as his desires compete with each other (Reeve, 56). Aristotle endorsed democracy, because ‘man is by nature a social and political animal. A fully human life is one of harmonious fellowship with others, living together in a community, or polis’ (Burns, 76-77), and democracy is the most just way of distributing political power. Machiavelli took the idea further:

‘There are six types of government, of which three are very bad, and three are good in themselves but easily become corrupt, so that they too must be classed as pernicious.....for Principality easily becomes Tyranny. From Aristocracy the transition to Oligarchy is an easy one. Democracy is without difficulty converted into Anarchy’ (Machiavelli, Discourses, Book 1, Chapter 2)

Though concurring with Aristotle, he presents them as a cycle, instead of six separate systems, explaining that hereditary corruption would lead to one mutating into the next. According to him, this inherent instability results in the state being ‘subject to a neighbouring and better organised state’ and eventually loses its freedom. To have the best possible regime, an amalgamation of the three should be adopted by legislators. The principality, the aristocracy and the democracy would cancel each other out and prevent corruption, resulting in a much more stable ‘republic’. The Romans, he said, had hit upon the perfect formula. ‘The Discourses are an attempt to elucidate the first four hundred and fifty years of Roman history in such a way that a modern reader might see why Rome was great; how it remained for so long incorrupt’ (Anglo, 92-93) and his main objective is ‘to explain how Rome developed in to the greatest polity the world had ever known, and thereby demonstrate the faults of modern polities.’ (Anglo, 90)

While Plato and Aristotle believed in a utopia, Machiavelli was of the opinion that a political system is always in flux. There are several factors that affect a republic, of which ‘liberty’ is the most significant. The importance he attaches to this is apparent by how the first few chapters of the Discourses deal with liberty.

‘Those who have displayed prudence in constituting a republic have looked upon the safeguarding of liberty as one of the most essential things for which they had to provide’ (Machiavelli, Discourses, 1, 5)

In a principality, because the prince holds all the power, as the nobles do in an aristocracy, the general population suffers from a lack of freedom, their desires contradicting those of the rulers. In a republic, where all the different classes have representation, liberty is easier to obtain. ‘The Roman republic achieved a perfectly moderate constitution only when the plebs obtained their place in institutional life of the city through the Tribunes, along with the nobility, represented by the Senate and the consuls. It was precisely in virtue of this moderation that the Roman republic qualified as the ‘perfect republic’’ (Viroli, 167). An issue with of power-sharing is who gets more, the people (plebs) or the nobles.

‘Whether the Safeguarding of Liberty can be more safely entrusted to the Populace or to the Upper Class’ (Machiavelli, Discourses, 1, 5)

Machiavelli acknowledges the dilemma. If the guardianship is in the hands of the nobles, their ambitions are satisfied. It also keeps the plebs from ‘acquiring a sense of power’. On the other hand, he argues, power should be in the hands of people less likely to use it for personal benefit, i.e. the plebs.  To solve this dilemma, he compares Sparta and Venice, where power lay with the nobles, to the Romans, where it was in the hands of the plebs. Since the former lasted much longer, common sense would dictate that they employed the better system, but there are distinctions to be made between both cases. If ‘one is content to maintain the status quo’ and not expand its borders, then the case of Sparta and Venice is ideal. But, if a republic wants to grow and become an empire as Rome did, power must reside in the hands of the people. By this argument, the plebs should be the guardians of liberty.

Civil discord is an aspect of liberty. Where most classified it as chaotic and detrimental to peace, Machiavelli considered it essential.

‘Discord between the Plebs and the Senate of Rome made this Republic both Free and Powerful’ (Machiavelli, Discourses, 1, 4)

He also discusses this at length in Chapter 6 of Book I in the Discourses, debating whether Rome could have functioned under a government without hostility between the classes. Again, he uses the examples of Sparta and Venice. ‘Rome had a large population and employed it in war, and consequently though Rome acquired a great empire, there were also endless opportunities for rebellion amongst the plebs. Venice did not employ its populace in war and Sparta kept its populace small and did not admit foreigners into this city. When they tried to enlarge their territories, they failed and collapsed’ (Viroli, 159) If a republic is to maintain freedom and expand, it must tolerate social conflicts. He recommends this despite witnessing the time of Girolamo Savonarola (Kreis, The History Guide), the anti-Renaissance preacher. He had seen mobs support the purges of the puritanical monk, and then turn against him, hanging and burning him. In spite of these threats of violence, he saw more benefits to sacrificing the peace than keeping it.

Another significant factor is ‘virtù’ in the populace. ‘The term is used to describe the range of capacities that each one of us as a citizen needs to possess: the capacities that enable us willingly to serve the common good, thereby to uphold the freedom of our community, and its consequence to ensure its rise to greatness as well as our own liberty’ (Skinner, 303). This includes courage and determination, for self-defence from external threats. Prudence and other civic qualities are also needed so as to be able to play an active role in public life. Lack of these leads to corruption, ‘a failure of rationality, an inability to recognise that our own liberty depends on committing ourselves to a life of virtue and public service.’ (Skinner, 304) Machiavelli holds a very cynical view of the nature of men, and says that corruption is inevitable.

‘It must needs be taken for granted that all men are wicked and that they will always give vent to malignity that is in their minds when opportunity offers’ (Machiavelli, Discourses, 1, 3) and ‘How easily men are corrupted’ (Machiavelli, Discourses, 1, 42)

This is a view echoed much later by Hobbes in Leviathan, with his concept of ‘egoism’, arguing that individuals are ‘motivated by self-interest’ (Baumgold, 164-165). As opposed to Machiavelli, he advocated monarchy as the best method to counter it, appointing a leader in whose interests it would be to ensure everyone’s needs are met. Machiavelli also held Christianity, or its interpretation, partly responsible, despite agreeing that religion has the power to unify a state. It ‘demands of its adherents the fortitude to bear suffering, not to achieve great things...this has come about from the baseness of men who, interpreting Christianity according to sloth and not according to virtù, have not considered how it permits us to exalt, honour, and defend our fatherland’ (Anglo, 111,112). He suggests a civic religion to get the best out of men, though he does not clarify what he means by it. Virtù is necessary to stop corruption and combat the inherent human condition that ‘the natural selfishness of men will regularly subvert the state, reduce it to chaos, and transform it into something different’ (Femia, 154), which leads to the instability mentioned earlier.

Hobbes and Locke thought that ‘the image of the social contract makes it apparent that we are looking for the functionality of government in the benefits it confers on individuals’ (Waldron, 185), that governments are born out of a moral need to overcome man’s nature. Machiavelli, on the other hand, believes that it is for the good of the whole state, not just one individual.  It should aim for greatness, and only a democracy can fulfil that aim.  This is reinforced in the Discourses:

‘...a republic has a fuller life and enjoys good fortune for a longer time than a principality, since it is better able to adapt itself to diverse circumstances owing to the diversity found among its citizens than a prince can do. For a man who is accustomed to act in one particular way, never changes, as we have said. Hence, when times change and no longer suit his ways, he is inevitably ruined.’ (Machiavelli, Discourses, 3, 9)

He explicitly states that a prince would find it difficult to alter his approach to ruling. This shortcoming would be ultimately detrimental to the state, whereas in a republic, those with virtù and suited to the situation would be nominated to lead according to the prevailing circumstances. He gives an example of the benefit of elections.

‘For, if the immediate succession of one virtuous prince by another suffices for the conquest of the world, as it did in the case of Philip of Macedon and Alexander the Great, a republic should be all the more successful, since, thanks to its practice of electing its rulers, it has not merely a succession of two highly virtuous rulers, but an infinite number each succeeding the other; and this virtuous succession may always be kept up in a well-ordered republic.’ (Machiavelli, Discourses, 1, 21)

As Alexander had no clear successors, his death prompted civil wars, fracturing the Empire. This would not have been the case in a democracy, like the Roman Empire. After one virtuous leader, another would be elected to lead the republic forward.

Hence, of the six kinds of regimes described by Aristotle, Machiavelli believes in not one, but all of them, combined together to form the ideal administration, and compares the Roman Empire to others to prove his point. Even though Machiavelli concedes that the Spartan/Venetian model is better, having lasted much longer, yet he still puts forth democracy as what a republic should endeavour for, giving it the ability to expand its borders, as in the case of Rome. This argument is used to prove that plebs should be the guardians of liberty. The only aspect that Machiavelli seems confused about is religion, as his views are contradictory. As they say, Rome was not built in a day, but took a long time to perfect. This is the advice he gives to all governments: implement a democracy with liberty and virtù. Thus, greatness will be assured, as it was for Rome.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Hassan Nisar Explains Pakistani Immigration

Hassan Nisar rips apart Pakistanis on the issue of immigrating to European countries. English subtitles included. BTW....The terrible music isn't my fault. Blame the Uploader !

Western Imperialism Exposed

In this video, Hassan Nisar, one of the best columnists in Pakistan dispels the myth of "western imperialism" within the Sub-continent, Pakistan and India

Since critics often make use of western colonial history as a pretext for demonizing Western European culture, for those of you who don't understand Urdu or Hindi, I am posting a translation of what he is saying about this key and often misunderstood issue.


Just think about it; who are the ones that have carved the world that we live in today ?

Let me call it upon your attention, that the first and only railway station in the country [built by the British] went operational in Lahore only 149 years ago in 1860. Then the British went on to introduce the first motor car just 114 years ago; then, 101 years ago, they introduced the first aeroplane; 109 years ago, they introduced electricity; and just 47 years ago the west introduced the first television set.

Please, try to conceive your life without these few utilities. Minus these few things [the above and injections], have you even thought how people used to live before that ? Even a genius like Ghalib [the most famous poet in sub-continental history] was left perplexed and bewildered when he saw the British using Match-Sticks.

"What kind of nation has appeared before us, which carries fire within its pockets ?!!!", Ghalib asked in astonishment.

Have you even ever thought how people used to clean their clothes 70-100 years ago ? What did they have when there were no soaps, or when there was no shampoo or any tissue papers ?....And these are very minor things.

Today, when the lights go out for load-shedding, there is just so much tumult, clamour, noise and objection against the limited supply of electricity in this country. Electricity is something your grand-parents didn't even know about !

So, the world that we are living in today is all the product of Western-European labour and hard-work.

I am not joking here; often, when I turn on a light bulb, I pray to God, asking the Lord to grant Thomas Edison mercy and compassion. People like him are a blessing to all of man-kind.

In the old days when people used to go do the Hajj, it took ages to go to and from Mecca; and for those that did embark on this journey, it wasn't even expected that they would ever return back [He said this because of the risks involved in such a long and treacherous journey].

Have you ever contemplated how comfortable and easy it has become today to go and do the Hajj ?  How blessed are these westerners who have taken all these Non-European nations [sub-continent, Africa, Middle-East e.t.c], who were using nothing more than mere donkey carts for transportation just half-a-century ago, and have given them the utilities of modern day technology like trains, cars, planes e.t.c.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Marine Le Pen Slams Caller on the Iraq War
[Embedding is Disabled]

A caller by the name of chantel calls in live television to ask Marine Le Pen about her father's seemingly controversial remarks on 9-11.

Marine SCHOOLS her in one single lesson.

Friday, 9 March 2012

U.S Marines Urinate on Afghan Corpses

The moral depravity of America's war in Afghanistan has yet again furnished another perverse and repugnant incident.  An anonymous individual has posted a video of what appears to show U.S marines urinating on the corpses of Afghan bodies. The video was first uploaded onto YouTube with a caption indicating that the marines belonged to a Scout Sniper Team.

In this case, the legitimizing claim happens to be that the dead men were Taliban insurgents and not Afghan civilians. In the video it's very hard to tell whether there are any guns lying beside the corpses, however a rolled over construction cart is clearly visible, so it's anyone's guess whether these individuals were simply construction workers caught in the cross-fire or actual Taliban members. 

Midway through the video, one of the marines, contrary to every sense of human dignity, and much to his joy and amusement can be heard saying: "Have a great day buddy" while his other colleagues laugh and joke: "Yeah !.....Golden like a shower."

Department of Defence spokesman Captain John Kirby remarked, "Regardless of the circumstances or who is in the video, this is egregious, disgusting behaviour." 

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta condemned these acts saying, " This conduct is entirely inappropriate for members of the United States military " and vowed that a full investigation would be carried out.

Then Lady Clinton followed suite and went on to repeat the same old exhausted cliché, " This is absolutely inconsistent with American values. " 

Now, unlike George Galloway I don't even want to get in the whole history of the never ending list of U.S wars, human rights abuses and the ridiculous notion of "American Values". Even casting aside all wrongs of this despicable act and giving admittance to the fact that in war bad things do happen, I think all of these public statements and the entire incident itself is kind of a distraction from the main issue.

Here U.S politicians are going around offering condolences and apologies for an incident which, although deplorable, is more or less a trifle, yet no apology is offered for the millions dead in Iraq and absolutely nothing is learned from one's policy and failures. I mean what good is a statement of "sorry" for something of so small and little a value compared to the huge pile of problems that the United States has created in the Middle-East.

Ron Paul is absolutely right when asking the question, " What about the whole idea of invading a country, occupying a country, disturbing a country and creating hundreds of thousands of refugees and suffering. Does it ever get to a point where apologizing about these things [this incident and others] is minor compared to the other problems we have created in these countries ? " 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Guantanamo Bay [GITMO] and Bagram

Retired Colonel, Davis Morris, chief prosecutor for the GITMO war trials joins Judge Napolitano and discusses key issues like torture at Guantanamo and now the Bagram air-force base in Afghanistan.

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama campaigned on the promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and to reverse the Bush administration's practice to detain "so called" enemy combatants there indefinitely. Instead Guantanamo Bay remains open and the Obama administration has expanded this program of indefinite detention; and have taken it from Cuba to a massive air-force base at Bagram in Afghanistan.

Over there, detainees continue to be denied their basic human rights !!!! 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Motivation For American Hatred and 9/11 Attacks

--> PASS IT ON: 

This is just Outrageous !!!

US politicians have been consistently lying to us that Bin Laden attacked the United States because he hated American freedom and democracy, their right to vote, or their freedom of religion, and in general, the whole catalogue of nonsensical reasons that go along these lines. 

As a response to these claims Bin Laden actually published an open letter to the American People, dated 24th of November 2002. Oddly enough, only the guardian UK had published an online English translation of the Letter, while the American Public was kept in the dark.

His explicitly stated reasons for the September 11 attacks:
  • Unconditional U.S support for the State of Israel
  • Support for the Saudi Police State
  • Extortion of Middle-Eastern Oil and Resources
  • U.S military activities within Muslim countries e.g Iraq, Somalia, Yemen 
The American people need to wake up; otherwise our lying politicians might very well lie us into another war with Iran !

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

To What Extent was Machiavelli Republican ?

In addressing this question first I will delineate the different forms of government which Machiavelli considers in the Discourses and the peculiar advantages and disadvantages of each. After having done so I will proceed to show in what way Machiavelli wants to use these and combine them in a particular arrangement to create his ideal Republic. From there I will end with a deduction to the question posed above.
Regarding states in general, Machiavelli writes that there are three basic “good” forms of government and each of these have a “bad” counterpart.
The first of these was the principality; once these became hereditary they begot lascivious and licentious princes aroused the hatred of the populace. Propelled by the fear of the angry mob the Prince began to rule harshly and quickly Tyranny gained a foot hold. The populace along with some wealthy nobles conspired and plotted against him and by the force of arms soon laid him to rest. The nobles who were now heralded as liberators by the plebeians constituted a government by aristocracy. This too like principalities, upon being passed on to descendants quickly gave rise to rapacious oligarchs who confiscated Plebeian property and womenfolk. Once again the plebeians erupted in flames, undid the government and having lost their conviction in principalities and aristocracies simply chose to rule themselves and constituted the first democracy. However this democracy like all “simple” democracies was short lived and degenerated into anarchy. The subsequent chaos was finally put to an end by an authoritative individual who once again erected a principality. This is the blue print outlined by Machiavelli which he claims that repeated itself until some noble prince appeared and by brute force established the first constitutional republic.
Machiavelli explains that the instable nature of democracies is due to a lack of restraint on the Plebeians. He points out that Solon did nothing to restrain the avarice of the Plebeians and within his lifetime a tyranny was erected by Pisistratus. Although the democracy was recovered after a lapse of forty years, once again it lasted no longer than a century. It is for the same reason that Republican thinkers of the Enlightenment era like James Madison condemned democracies as:
” [They] have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
Despite his long campaign for Principalities in The Prince in Chapter three of The Discourses Machiavelli concedes that each of these three basic governments are inept and far from satisfactory each having its own particular set of weaknesses. Hence for Machiavelli the dilemma of constituting a suitable form government has two fundamental touchstones: first being stability, the second being its adaptability to the winds of fortune. Machiavelli writes that prudent legislators in light of this, to procure security and long lasting prosperity, have contrived to create mixed Republics in which all three are blended in the correct measure, so as to create a system of “checks and balances” where one watches over the other and their individual defects diluted.
Those who have read about the Roman constitution will find in it many peculiar institutions; namely the Senate, Tribunes, Consulship and the interim seat of Dictator. Unlike modern Republics, Rome had an oral constitution, in which additions and subtractions of in branches occurred mainly as reflections of present circumstances. There were certainly many others that came later like the Plebeian Council, but the key ones listed above are those to which the scope of this essay applies.
For Machiavelli these four branches of government, in order of appearance, constitute the democratic, aristocratic and princely attributes of the Roman Republic and the combined symphony of these effected to strengthen and perfect the Roman constitution.
Having discussed the three basic forms of government and their atomization in a constitutional Republic I proceed to elucidate the peculiar character and personality of each sought after by Machiavelli within a Republic like Rome.
Going back to our previous paragraph Machiavelli outlined the basic flaw of hereditary principalities as the absence of any guarantee of the merits of the next prince. Indeed, if fortune wills he maybe the next Suleiman, the Magnificent or the last Louis XVI.
And although he advises that a Prince should adapt to the times he doesn’t fail to point out that men seldom have the ability to alter their conduct in a way that is contrary to their disposition, nature and habits. God forbid the times should change, princes who lack such virtue, shall unequivocally end up in self-destruction.
Therefore, in order to mitigate the problems enumerated above, a Republic must ensure that its princely institution must result in an infinite succession of capable and merit worthy consuls. In Chapter 19, Machiavelli tells us that a weak prince preceded by another weak prince will not be able to hold any principality for long, however if he is preceded by a strong prince and the winds of fortune do not blow him away he might be able to last his term playing on the success of the previous one. But in the next chapter he writes that two strong princes, one following the other have a multiplier effect and their acquisitions are that much greater.
The Republic altogether eliminates the malignity of hereditary succession by conferring the power of suffrage to the general population and what better judge of merit of a Prince except his own people. With regards to the reserved power of the prince in a Republic Machiavelli’s view from The Prince would still hold, which is the powers vested in the Consul should concern warfare and military affairs only.
However, contrary to modern day Republics, by vesting power in a multitude of executive magistrates with veto over one another, the Romans went a step further in securing the rights and liberties of the Republic. Having split the regal power into two separate offices the Romans recognized the bad prince from the good one; and in doing so availed the utility of both. Machiavelli is well aware of the dangers of a Dictator undoing the Republic and instituting a tyranny, as Caesar in fact did, but he is more than happy to accept the institution. Sudden changes in fortune will ultimately impel the people to seek refuge under a dictatorial power. Machiavelli realized that to compose a chaotic crowd and re-mobilize it in a military enterprise it is necessary to have an exception for a Hitler like figure. To elucidate, Machiavelli gives the example of how Cincinnatus rescued the Minucius’s army from the Aequi. He also presents him as a model of Roman virtue and military command.
There is also the advantage that a person like Cincinnatus, honoured and respected, will always enjoy a lending ear from the populace; a trait of special utility in ending violent tumults and chaos within a Republic. Machiavelli gives the example of a religious figurehead Messer Francesco [242] and lays down Virgil’s edict “If then some grave and pious man appears. They hush and lend a listening ear”. However I will give another example which is more pertinent to our cause.
On November 8th, 1923 when Dr. Von Kahr made his pronunciation, which officially amounted to secession and Bavarian liberation, on the following day, a youthful Adolf Hitler and Ludendorff (a former commander in the First World War) stormed the streets petitioning against the secession in favour of a strong national union. In an attempt to subdue the insurrection the German army opened fire. Hitler and a few others who were caught in the crossfire fell flat to the floor with injuries, however an emboldened Ludendorff walked right passed through the spray of bullets; and once having appeared in full view of the soldiers behind the barricade, all of Germany went silent.
Not a man dared draw a trigger on his old Commander. [Mein Kempf]
All things considered, Machiavelli wasn’t averse to dictatorship (in fact he admonished all Republics that they should have some institution akin to that of the Roman Dictator) provided these conditions were satisfied: First and foremost the people aren’t corrupted and remain religious and law abiding. Secondly, the constitutional powers enumerated to the dictator didn’t allow him to make amends within the constitution and the civic institutions. Thirdly, the service of the Dictator when called upon would be temporized to a limited and short duration. Fourthly, any individual does not by unconstitutional authority vest himself with dictatorial, consular and princely powers. Fifthly, the dictator should preferably be called into service by a consul to avoid any blowback arising from a feeling of resentment.
Concerning the democratic part, the Tribunes, Machiavelli demands that the general discipline of the populace represented by the tribunal council should be at all times impeccable and of the highest ideals. He is far more assertive of the rights and liberties of the Plebeians than most would acknowledge and has very high expectations from a Republican populace. Machiavelli seems to have completely departed from James Madison’s view that one of the principal objectives of government was to shun democracy and protect “the minority of the opulent from the majority”. Noam Chomsky has always criticized Madison arguing that since conflict arises naturally from economic disparity it can only be dealt with by a welfare state where all people are given an equal share.
Machiavelli however has a more realistic picture in mind. He candidly declares that there are fundamentally two different dispositions: that of the populace and that of the nobility. He writes that the latter has greater propensity in usurping the public liberty where as the former having only the desire not to be dominated are seldom harmful to liberty. Balancing these two out essentially require some degree of class warfare. Quiet obviously perfect equality between men isn’t really possible and Machiavelli doesn’t want it either, otherwise the Republic will quickly disintegrate into a short lived democracy like Athens, but he doesn’t want extravagance either. Hence Machiavelli’s recommendation is that to constitute a republic there must be “notable” equality. The difference between wealth among the classes should be minimal and that there should be no individual [gentry] who derives his wealth by exclusive estates without having to perform physical labour, even among the nobles.
Although Machiavelli greatly defends the role and position of the general populace he is only willing to go so far in that the population has not been tainted by any sense of moral corruption. People must be disciplined to pursue their citizenry without being rapacious, servile and obsequious to their establishment, for a Republic only stands as long as a populace can keep a government accountable. Wherein a state the people shall be found content and happy within their place, law abiding and religious Machiavelli affirms that “when the populace is in power and is well ordered, it will be stable, prudent and grateful, in much the same way, or in a better way, than is a prince.” He also advances the view that the populace is also sounder in judgement and prudence compared to a prince (if not misled by artifice and rash promises), possessing a greater power to discern the intent of good or evil, and adopting the best alternatives that are conducive to their common interests. In appointing individuals, inspired by the fact that the Romans never had to repent more than four elections in hundreds of years, he writes that they will seldom make the mistake of electing a mischievous person to office.
If it be the case that a populace has become corrupted, in general Machiavelli seems to acknowledge that the remedy will mostly depend on the measure of corruption. Provided that the situation is not too dire, some noble individual should be able to correct this; however princes who become fixated within their ego may never be corrected, for they often lack the ability to adapt themselves to the times.
On a final note I conclude that Machiavelli doesn’t explicitly forward nor idealise any particular form of government or princely rule. He is mostly concerned on how to combine different types of government so that their individual deficiencies can be countered, their advantages availed and a more perfect Republic realised. This makes it possible to accentuate each of the constituent parts according to the situations that the Nation will face. Therefore, if the Republic is in dire conditions then it ought to exhibit steadfast princely rule by instituting a dictator; if it is peacetime then the democratic element ought to check the magistrates for stark accumulation of executive power; and in turn the class warfare between the nobility (senate) and the plebeians should keep the Republic devolving into an “absolute” democracy or “mob-rule”.