Ryskamp: German Greek Bailout Legislation, TARP 1.0, and Hitler’s Enabling Act

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By John Ryskamp, an attorney and author of The Eminent Domain Revolt

One must work to get behind the import of an enabling act, because such an act is invariably, and intentionally, short and vague. It intends to grant much, and to tell little. This is certainly true of the three acts compared here: the German Greek bailout legislation, Paulson’s 2008 draft legislation, and Hitler’s 1933 enabling act, all reproduced below in English translation. Nevertheless, it is a revelation—if an appalling one—to peer into the enabling act laboratory.

As we shall see, these three acts are closely modeled on each other. Indeed, the authors of the German bailout legislation seem to have had Paulson’s proposal close by, because the two enabling acts are remarkably similar. It remains for history to tell us whether or not U.S. Treasury officials actually had a hand in drafting the German legislation.


Health and welfare regimes hand over almost all power over almost all facts, to the political system; there are few individually enforceable rights. Rights regimes do the opposite—there is little discretion within the political system, and rights are nearly absolute.

Health and welfare regimes tend toward enabling acts because there are few individually enforceable rights. This tendency extends to the formal attributes of the political system itself: it is impossible for the individual to enforce the disposition of powers in a health and welfare regime. This vastly facilitates the enabling act, setting unitary power on its course by bringing its four indicia into play. These four actors we discuss here.

The enabling act changes the nature of the political system which puts it into effect, which is why such political systems are said to have “committed suicide” by passing enabling acts. It is important to keep this in mind, because, on their face, enabling acts seem often only amend the previous political system; the political system remains, and indeed enabling acts make much of the supposed preservation of the existing political system. They also make much of dealing only with specific problems over a specified period. But various traps, sprung along the way to enforcement, lead to unitary power and the discarding of government. People wonder how a simple remedy led to such profound dislocation.

A closer look reveals that the intention of enabling acts is to entirely displace the previous political system as they proceed—indeed, to read politics and law entirely out of the definition of power. Enactment is only the first step, not the last step, of an enabling act. There is more to the “act” than legislating an enabling act.

In the promulgation and enforcement of an enabling act, four actors come into play to lead the society to unitary power: justification of power, unification of power, preservation of power and restoration of power. These four facts are the economic indicia of unitary power, and they are what enabling acts set in motion. As they take over, politics and law become vestigial and anachronistic, and are repeatedly derided as such by the unitary power regime.


To some, it is unclear how a system of defined powers, such as the Weimar Republic or France’s Third Republic, gave way to unitary power. However, under health and welfare regimes, the economic play is nearly over even before the curtain rises on the enabling act. Health and welfare regimes already grant so much power to the political system, that enabling acts seem more a simple power grab between power centers than a principled enactment. Result? There isn’t much protest by the public against enabling acts, and enforcement of them provokes only minimal resistance. In this respect, the “waters” have been tested beforehand, to make sure that an enabling act is politically possible.
By the time an enabling act is politically possible, no justification is felt by its authors to be necessary, and there is usually no or little justification in the acts themselves. There is, for example, no “wherefore” in Paulson’s 2008 bailout proposal. The only word ever used to justify the act is “necessary.” The equivalent provision in Hitler’s 1933 enabling act is that the enabling act is justified because “it has been established that it meets the requirements for legislation altering the Constitution.” Indeed, justification is often relegated to the title, if it is anywhere in the act at all—Paulson’s proposal is simply titled, “Legislative Proposal for Treasury Authority to Purchase Mortgage-Related Assets.” Hitler’s title refers to the need to “remedy the distress.” No further mention is made of this “distress,” and that is intentional—the term is designed to be universally “understood,” and, for that reason, incontestable. It is certainly not litigable.

The German Greek bailout legislation follows this well-worn path of justification. Few words are devoted to justification, even under the section “Rationale.” Indeed, the “Rationale” repeats Hitler’s self-ratifying language: “Germany adopts with the law at hand the necessary measures on a national level in order to be able to give rapid aid to the Hellenic Republic.” The odd superfluity of this language is easily explained: as in the case of Hitler’s language, it is simply fiat. There is reference to an “emergency” and to the “preservation of the stability of the monetary union’s solvency.” However, we are never told what “emergency,” “preservation,” “stability,” or “solvency” mean. This truncated justification just meets the political necessity—it concedes no more than is necessary to turn aside enforcement problems. Too much justification undermines the enabling, because it starts to define what is NOT part of the act. The enabling is presumed to be justified by the emergency, and the emergency to call for the act. The constitution plays no role, and there is political consensus—questioning the “obvious” is an attack on the society.

Thus, there is a “toehold” in justification, but the implication of this is that as the enabling act is enforced, enforcement becomes its own justification. That is, the tendency is toward unitary power—and that in fact is the justification. Power is justified because it is power, and its exercise is the proof: we shall return to this little formulation.

The enabling act is forgotten—the power remains.


The canonical enabling act provision is the handing over of one governmental power to another—legislative power to the executive, executive power to the legislative, judicial power to the executive, the government to the “state,” or to one leader. The lack of definition, and explicit handing over of powers, are two sides of the same coin. To retain elaborate definitions of terms is to restore powers—it contravenes the whole purpose of the enabling act, and arouses suspicion as to what is being given up, and why. Enabling acts mean to end debate, not to provoke it; they claim to be the outcome of all debate, so further “debate” is sociopathological. That is why the end product is called unitary power: in the view of its advocates, power has, as its only component, itself. It is a matter of bringing legal formulations in line with that conception. For authors of enabling acts, what such acts enable, is unitary power. The explicit handing over of power, in combination with the lack of definition of terms, means that in operation the enabling act actively resists and repels definition and the “powers” of the former political system lose definition. The way to unitary power is made clear. In the end, the political system is so deformed that no charge of vagueness can be asserted against an enabling act.

The classic example is Hitler’s enabling act of 1933, which explicitly handed legislative power to the “government,” which was in turn nowhere defined because the political “consensus” knew what that word meant. Paulson’s 2008 bailout proposal is much less explicit on this point, but the grant of legislative authority by the legislature in the Paulson case is carried out through a paucity of defined terms: only three are defined. Indefinite terms are characteristic of enabling acts—Hitler’s 1933 act contains NO definitions of terms. There can be no charge that the enagling act has violated the law, when the terms are too vague to be compared to the law. And indeed, the adopted version of Paulson’s bailout legislation has proved to be effectively nonlitigable. If there has been anything which has given the German government heart to pursue its enabling act, it is the fact that one is in full force in the United States.

The German Greek bailout legislation—which is two pages long—contains no definitions, which means that power over everything pertaining to the subject—the “take-over of warranties”—is turned over to the ministry of finance. It remains only, in enforcement, to expand this incontestable “take-over.” That is exactly what happened in the case of Hitler’s enabling act.


While it purports to be objective, the German bailout legislation enacts a sleight of hand, under the cover of preserving formalities, which turns over the judicial power to the executive power. This is in line with the maneuvers of other enabling acts.

Paulson’s 2008 enabling act made explicit the unification of the judicial and executive powers: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” Two things about this provision are not often noted: 1) the “decisions” referred to include what are otherwise judicial decisions; and 2) “the Secretary” makes all other executive decisions, not just those reserved to the Treasury. Thus, this provision is the establishment of the “Treasury” as the unitary power, or, in short, the merging of the executive power into the unitary power.

Nevertheless, note that the Paulson act is promulgated as a Treasury program. “The Secretary” is the unitary power referred to, but formally the program is put forth as a Treasury program. So the act seems to preserve the nature, or power, of the Treasury, and by extension, of the executive and even of the judiciary. Again, however, the lack of definition of terms leads to the questions: what judiciary? what executive? Litigants are lost in the haze of enabling act vagueness—and lose their cases.
Contrast this with Hitler’s enabling act, which does not, either explicitly or implicitly, take power from the judiciary. In fact, the judiciary is never mentioned, so the act seems to say nothing about the judicial power and so it seems to preserve the judicial power. Hitler had no intention of ruffling German bourgeois feathers by an explicit assault on the judiciary; in this respect, he was much more cautious than Paulson. However, Hitler had a dodge: he simply did not bring his victims through the Constitutional judicial process. He either evaded the judicial process altogether and carted people off to concentration camp without further process, or he had them hailed before his kangaroo court, the People’s Court. For the “Treasury,” Hitler substitutes the “government”—formerly the executive power. Again, this “promulgation” assumes what it purports to establish (and all definitions which may be pertinent thereto).

Of course, the implication is always that the legislature, which merges the powers, can restore them again. But again, that contradicts the merger in the first place—it undercuts the merger of power if restoration of power is somehow looming somewhere as a possibility. The process of enforcing the enabling act is designed to show that this possibility does not loom somewhere.

Legislative power is reduced to consultation, and there is no legislative remedy. This is Paulson’s formulation: “Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.” Hitler’s enabling act dispenses entirely with the consultative function, which is consistent with his use of the term “government” as the power: there is no other power to consult.

The German Greek bailout enabling act language makes much of its own preservation of the political system’s powers, but that is a smokescreen. In truth, the unitary power is the “federal ministry of finance.” The toothless consultative function—behind which power is unified—seems to have been adapted closely from Paulson’s formulation: “the budget committee of the German Bundestag has to be informed, unless due to compelling reasons an exception is imperative. The budget committee of the German Bundestag is furthermore to be informed quarterly on the taken-over warrantees and their proper usage.”

Now we come to the crucial shift in the German bailout legislation: the “basis.” The “argument” of the act is that some power (the enabling act itself) can be not of the constitution, but nevertheless provide a “basis” for a power which is not in the constitution. It is that which is “based” in the constitution. What is lacking, of course, is the definition of the “basis.”

Oddly enough, this sleight of hand is the reason enabling acts are upheld, and why this one will likely be upheld. Here is the argument: the act is “based” in the constitution but it is not part of the constitution. Nevertheless, the basis is contained in the act, and so what the act carries out does not arise from the constitution. The act can be promulgated because it is promulgated: that is the rationale. Simple bootstrapping. The point is that it lets the constitution off the hook and renders it immune to judicial process; the constitution is respected by being ignored and inaccessible. This supposedly reflects the political “consensus.” And the courts do not mind, because no constitutional question arises under the enabling act. Why? Because the constitution has been written out of the act. It has always been too much to expect the populace to see through this “wishing away” of governmental powers, and enabling acts pass muster without too much demur.

Thus, the “basis” turns the judicial power over to the executive power. Look for “mediators” or “boards”—established by and answerable to the executive, and with coercive powers—to replace the judicial power in Germany.

The Paulson legislation is a self-professed enabling act: it simply denies judicial review. The curious “basis” provision of the German Greek bailout legislation is the analogue to those provisions of Hitler’s enabling act stating that the act does not “affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain undisturbed.” The other powers are rendered “invisible” by unitary power. Since there are no definitions, it is never clear whether this is a policy, a goal or a finding of fact. Is it a means or an end? There is nothing to contest, which, again, is why there is no need to refer to the judiciary in Hitler’s enabling act or the German Greek bailout legislation. And government is gone.

German hostility to the judiciary reasserts itself after eighty years of dormancy.


Sunset provisions of enabling acts are a politically necessary contradiction in terms; thus, their terms are awkward and embarrassing. One questions the need for the enabling act, if for some reason there is a need to put a termination date into it. Surely, a change in the facts would simply render an enabling act moot, without the need for a sunset provision. What exactly is being terminated?

Paulson’s enabling act has a very awkward sunset provision: “The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b) (5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.” However, these “authorities” extend not only over vast assets seized, but also, because the terms of those sections are poorly defined, it is not clear what powers inhere in the Treasury despite the sunset of the law, and so, what power is or even can be restored to the legislative, judicial or even executive.

Hitler’s sunset provision is equally vague: “This law becomes effective on the day of its publication. It becomes invalid on April 1, 1937; it also becomes invalid if the present Reich Cabinet is replaced by another.” Again, what can become “invalid” which is not clearly defined in the first place?

The sunset provision of the German Greek bailout legislation is lost in the sunset glow of vagueness. The grant of power is supposedly only for two years, but it is “for credits to the Hellenic Republic for emergency measures that are necessary to preserve the financial stability of the monetary union’s solvency.” It is uncertain what triggers the end of the legislation, or what constitutes an end to the legislation. This is because it is unclear whether the union’s “solvency” is dependent on the “emergency measures,” or the other way around. In this legislation, “solvency” is used neither as a fact nor a goal. The term “emergency measures” is not used as a fact or a goal, either. Instead, these two terms are defined in terms of each other, merge with each other, without formal definition. This is of a piece with the intent of enabling acts to dispense with definitions. The result is that there is no clarity as to what ends at the end of two years.

The intent of sunset provisions is not to restore powers. The intent is to bind powers to what the enabling act has brought about—the tendency toward unitary power. That is exactly what happened to the “sunset” provision of Hitler’s enabling act.

Unitary power as such has not previously been identified as an economic concept. Economists—ill-equipped to deal with it—shunt it to politics or law whenever it appears on the economic stage. However, the ground for its identification now, has been well laid. It is in essence the analytical framework not only of Piero Sraffa’s articles on Mussolini and the banking system, but also, of The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte—itself an echo of Napoleon’s own (or his handlers’ own) enabling act. And so democracy in Germany comes to an end—for the second time.

In the Eighteenth Brumaire, Marx writes: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

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  1. Richard Kline

    So John, buddy . . . not to be harsh, but I have _no_ idea what you are talking about here. I think it would be difficult to make an accurate historical parallel between any of the present bailout legislation and the Enabling Act of 1933, but not necessarily impossible. But I simply cannot follow your associations here, and I do have some facility in historical analogy.

    Can we give you a mulligan on this, and have a synopsis of your argument? I might be interested, I might not, but I simply can’t follow this well enough to know where you’re going.

    1. Moopheus

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who had that response. This is really not the sort of thing I expect to see here. That “George Washington” guy is bad enough–this is totally worthless.

  2. Abhishek

    Same here can’t make out what is being written here. Anway the European has blown away the “speculators” with the $971 billion bazooka. Madrid up 12% , CAC up 8% , other European indicies up 5%. Hail the printing press

  3. Dave of Maryland

    I vote with Richard. As much as I could make anything of it, it seemed to me to be the old Socialism = Evil in fancy dress. Knee-jerk nonsense if so.

    I just did an astrological analysis of Hitler’s chart. Had to change his birth time by nearly an hour to do so, which we get criticized for. Innate leadership abilities with a distinct “father” tinge, which, in the end, overwhelmed him. Fabulous intuitive/instinctive speaking abilities. And a certain love-death flaw that was the real evil part. (No wonder he liked Wagner.) Nasty combination.

  4. H.F. Wolff

    Hmmmm, if the bail-out is so unattractive and one-
    sided to the Greeks, THEY CAN ALWAYS TURN IT DOWN.

    No-where have I read that the Wehmacht has invaded
    Greece and forcing them to accept the bail-out funds.

    Most likely the Greeks see this bail-out as more
    “free money”.

  5. toxymoron

    The way I see this. A ‘government’ can be either ‘democratic’ (the ‘health and wefare’ regimes of the article), or ‘dicatorial’ (‘rights’ regimes). We all tend to know that to go from dictatorship to democracy, you need a war or a revolution or both. The author here describes that the reverse is also possible: that there is a way from democracy to dictatorship.

    He illustrates his thesis with Hitler, Tarp 1.0 and the German Greek baiout act. An “enabling act” basically says “from now on, you grant me the power to be the boss, and I remain the boss until I decide otherwise”.

    Personally, I think he has a point. ‘Hitler’ is a very good illustration of the (ultimate) consequences such an act may bring, but it is indeed a bit to close to the Godwin point.

    You may want to replace it with the Homeland Security Act (if that’s the right name), allowing for torture, emprisonment, eavesdropping and other perks not usually seen in democratic environments. TARP 1.0 was only a logical extension of that.

    So I read this as a strong warning sign:
    1. It takes a single, short, “anbling act” to topple any democracy;
    2. The consequences of such a single act can and will be horrendous in the medium/long term;
    3. Several of such “enabling acts” are making the rounds.

    We will need all the power we can get to avoid another enabling of an “enabling act”. Good luck to all.

  6. Christopher Harlos

    The writer of this piece operates at a level sure to baffle the majority of the readers of this blog. One may dispute his analysis and/or recitation of facts, but to say Ryskamp makes no sense is misplaced. The US Federal Reserve, another enabled agency, has appropriated trillions of dollars extra-constitutionally…abjure that, folks, and don’t shoot the messenger.

  7. Paul Revere

    The centralization of power and expropriate of wealth in the past decade by the klepto-plutocracy is beyond dispute. From the Patriot Act to the Paulson-Bernanke-Geithner fiascos, we have had one enabling “act” after another.

    The naysayers here sound similarly pre-manufactured, almost as if they were part of the U.S. Justice Department’s pro-administration propaganda campaign.

    1. Renato

      There are literally hundreds of organizations that pay people to post propaganda and disinformation in blogs. Why pick on only one of them?

  8. Jennifer Hill

    Hey I get it completely this – another version of the expansion of the executive and the distancing of any means to challenge authority through using these enabling pieces of legislation. We have no way to challenge the authority of many decisions being made on behalf of us for our economy, and if you have read Shadow Elite it outlines how this is achieved at the national and international level. Yours is a fascinating historical perspective indeed.
    We need more of this telling the story of our failures and successes as they relate to our collective histories to take back control of our conversation as it relates to governance. We want citizens to get it that the law is not always right, that the only real power the law has is legitimacy given by the citizenry. The best way to have that conversation is to remind them that the authoritarian or parental forms of government are not in line with real democracy and self determination.

  9. mario

    Yves, you nailed it. Surprised how many readers can’t handle the truth. Just a reminder to fellow readers, this is not about Hitler, this is about economics.

  10. Orin T.

    Both interesting and understandable. Add in the proposals to modifiy Meranda and stripping people of their citizenship and a pronouced direction of drift is evident. What I wounder is; have we reached the tipping point?

  11. anon

    For those who wan to argue that the Greeks can simply refuse the bailout if they don’t want to accept the terms (i.e., the austerity measures), please realize that last Friday, it was announced to members of the Greek parliament that from then on, decisions about the economic rescue plan would no longer require the vote of the legislature – the representative of the people – but instead would only require the signature of the Finance minister, Georges Papaconstantinou. See:

    (In French.)
    Note that while this piece of information has not been widely reported in the French media (either), it appeared as an exclusive in l’Humanité, a well-known left-wing paper founded in 1904.
    It’s a reputable source.

    This seems to me to be very much in keeping with the kind of anti-democratic power grab that Ryskamp describes in this important piece.

  12. mannoclay

    Whats not to get? He is simply pointing out how crises, organic or manufactured, lead the public to seek leaders who will save them. Therefore “emergency” powers are granted to a president or prime minister that circumvent the checks on power built into constitutions or bodies of law. Think Homeland Security and the Patriot act. Once in place these powers are almost impossible to withdraw, especially as another crises, or a permanent state of crises will emerge. by the time the electorate realizes they’ve been had, it is too late.

    by coincidence. last night I watched a NOVA film about how the National Security agency had been tracking terrorists for 3 years before 9/11. They were tracking the movements of these terrorist in the US, even as they made their way from the west coast to Washington area. They refused to pass this information to the FBI who had the jurisdiction and means to stop it. It doesn’t make sense unless you go into conspiracy mode. 9/11 was a manufactured crises whose purpose was to pass the enabling acts necessary to suspend constitutional rights and set us up for a “unitary power.”
    this led directly to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and domestic spying on a grand scale.

    Whether this applies to the Greek bailout remains to be seen.

  13. Ed

    Other than the fact that this entire essay violates Godwin’s Law, the 1933 Enabling Act was indeed opposed, from the left (by socialists, in fact). Hitler had to arrest a fair number of Reichstag deputies, on top of rigging the previous election, in order to get his “majority”.

    I agree with the other comments. The essay is short on facts and the arguments make no sense.

    1. anon

      So no one is ever permitted to make any kind of historical comparison to anything related to Hitler lest they break Godwin’s Law of internet etiquette? That’s hilarious.

      The point is to try to understand the dangers of this period which seems increasingly hostile to democratic values.

      1. Transor Z

        Godwin’s Law AKA argumentum ad nazium/ad Hitlerum just recommends exhausting less extreme analogies before breakin’ out the ol’ Third Reich.

        There are ample contemporary examples of creeping executive power caused by legislatures abdicating their responsibilities. Here in the U.S. we’ve got the USA PATRIOT Act and the amendments to FISA, to name only two. And this doesn’t even get into the longstanding issue of executive agencies aggregating more and more quasi-judicial AND legislative powers.

        1. anon

          I certainly agree that there are many examples of creeping executive power and other undemocratic legislative-type events. But what is at issue here is a specific kind of legislation, the enabling act:

          While the Wikipedia article does indicate that enabling acts have different meanings depending on their respective contexts, I do find it interesting to read what an attorney like Ryskamp has to say about the use and effects of language and so on in the enabling acts he discusses.

          1. Transor Z

            Also a lawyer. Look, enabling statutes are everywhere in constitutional governments. Every time a legislature establishes a federal or state executive agency, that’s done via enabling statute.

            If you want to talk about enabling acts here in the U.S., you might consider the Rules Enabling Act of 1934, which granted the U.S. Supreme Court the authority to promulgate the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A lot of people would call that one a big success — an enabling acts that granted some “legislative” power to the judiciary.

            And those executive agencies I alluded to earlier with quasi-judicial and legislative powers, how do you think they were created and got those powers? Yep, more enabling statutes.

            The cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security was established by enabling statute in 2002. The USA PATRIOT Act granted expanded powers to the executive, a kind of enabling act, to combat terrorism. This greatly impacted the scope of DHS’s authorized activities.

  14. Jerry

    To me, with my limited understanding of all of this, the only way to take the power back is to first impeach whoever is in power (this time it is Obama, before it would have been Regan, Clinton, etc) It was discussed before that the TARP, bailout money, etc was not even authorized for use with the auto industry so it can surely not be authorized to give to the central bank of Europe or whatever their plan is for distribution……2)vote out any incumbant that voted for these….This money is OURS it is time we insist that the powers that be no longer distribute it according to the end game…..anyone want to begin the impeachment discussions?????

  15. charles 2

    At least, Napoleon restored gold as currency, thus recognizing that somehow external restraints to absolute power were necessary.

    1. Skippy

      Yeah he would be envious of the new America ‘why didn’t I think of that, I was so blunt and obvious’. Concur, very poor example.

      Skippy…suck im in and hang-em out to dry, thats the ticket.

  16. K Ackermann

    Rules are circumvented all the time.

    Roosevelt rounded up and interred American citizens and confiscated their property.

    There was already a document in place that said he couldn’t do that.

  17. JuddBudd

    To those who don’t get it, here’s a translation,

    Part I:
    “Health and welfare regimes hand over almost all power over almost all facts, to the political system.” Translation: People in a welfare state (Read: the US) have a nasty habit of handing over power even when faced with the facts that doing so are highly likely to remove even more power, thus enslaving those handing over what little power they have even more. They allow fear to rule the day; they allow the fear of the bad feeling of what might happen overwhelm their capacity to actuallly handle it.

    Part II: An individual-Hitler, Paulson, Euro leaders- seek to have power handed over to them or we face “incalculable consequences.” No specifics are given, just again, the fear of doom, that there will be blood dripping from the sky if you don’t; just sign this simple document and all will be well again; you won’t have to do anything… “I’ll take care of everything.” Translation: I’m going to use this crisis as an opportunity to consolidate power… because fear is power and the more afraid I can make you, the more power I have.

    Part III and IV (for simplicity’s sake): Boundaries between powers (checks and balances in the US, the Fed as an independent body, the ECB as a separate entity) get demolished in times of fear-based (and fear-stoked) crises. The Fed oversteps its bounds under the ruse that if it didn’t, the US would face economic Armeggedon; the ECB has to step in to save the Euro / Eurozone from political collapse and financial Armegeddon; the Nazis have to step in to maintain control over those Jews, gays, intellectuals who are trying to take away from those of “us” who are “rightfully entitled” to keep our stuff. In all cases, we are asked to rationalize the irrational, to allow consolidation of once separated powers with the fear-based lie that it is for the common good.

    Part V: You can’t “end” a power that was never clearly defined in the first place. In other words, the seeker(s) of those who wish to consolidate power do so in such a vague manner that their expiration is as fictional as the falsely created circumstances in the first place. How can you end the power obtained through fear? If you hand over power without clearly defining boundaries, how can those boundaries be re-established after the “crisis” has passed? Look at it this way: If Bob is afraid of the killer (real or imagined) outside of his door, and I promise to keep that killer on the other side of the door, Bill will do whatever the hell I want him to… how can he ask for his life to be as it would… that killer may come back….

    Never underestimate the power of fear and the impotence of men in the face of that fear…. TARP, all the bailouts, the Enabling Act… they all seem like the logical actions… until it is too late to realize that they are the worst possible actions we can take….

    1. Evelyn Sinclair


      Thanks! Nice short version. Well put.

      “How can you end the power obtained through fear?” — As the CheneyBush crowd says, “Remember Nine Eleven!!!” And your last paragraph does tie it all together.

      (Only I’m one of these people who seem to be immune to the anaesthetic, so I was fully feeling the pain of the folly of the TARP (harassed friends to sign petitions saying NO DON’T DO IT) and had similarly bad feelings prior to Shock & Awe and the retribution rained down on Afghanistan before that. )

      And come to think of it, all that military stuff we’ve got going on in the middle east is STILL on an ’emergency’ basis. Bush declared an emergency, called himself “the decider” and never called it off. Obama has become War Prez II and kept up the exact same footing.

      Does anyone happen to remember that little formality that (according to the US Constitution) only Congress can declare war?

      So other than the “emergency” nothing we are doing over there in the way of conquest and occupation is legal. Its not legally a war at any rate.

      And that’s also interesting from the standpoint of our detaining all these civilians. US officials keep saying the “enemy combatants” have no rights BECAUSE they’re civilians not soldiers — but we’re only pretending to be lawfully at war….. I’m confused.

      Is it still ‘legal’ to torture them them because the lawyers defined it as not torture?

      Nazis? We don’t need no stinking Nazis.

      Remember, everything they did was perfectly legal. All they had to do was change the law to make is so. That’s not so hard a lesson to learn, and we have PLENTY of recent examples right here at home, now don’t we?

  18. Jonathan Nolan

    For all the silly Godwin’s Law nitpickers, next time you use google or wikipedia, do note the part that says that GODWIN’S SO-CALLED LAW CAN’T HAVE ANY APPLICATION WHEN THE DISCUSSION IS NECESSARILY ABOUT NAZISM. Duh.

    This article began with a direct legal comparison between Enabling Acts including that of the Third Reich. Derrr….

  19. Betty Wingo

    Re: German Greek bailout Legislation, TARP 1.0, and Hitler’s Enabling Act

    Well, this is a chilling concept to say the least. The German Enabling Act of 1933 along with a group of anti semitic laws was referred to by Nazi Propagandists (Goebbels, Goering, Himmler ). As “The Triumph of The Will”- (a movie was made by the same name). This was an extension of the thoughts of the German philosopher Nietzsche, to him the will was a tangible element of society, a superior man forged his will (society collective will) like steel – He was dubbed Uber-man – “The Superman”.

    This article draws parallels with the Bailout Legislation by Paulson and recent Greek Bailout Legislation. They are referred to as ‘Enabling Acts” acts that give enablement to go around constitutional limitations and governmental structure to counter “ A Crisis At Hand”.

    One could add I think the Enabling Acts passed after Pearl Harbor that enabled Japanese decent American citizens to be inturned without benefit of “Corpus Delicate”, to have their property confiscated with the issue never being addressed by the judiciary, never even an Amicus Brief ever being submitted to any bench.

    In a passing reference to Bonaparte – One is reminded of another “Little Corporal” whose own reminisce of how he achieved power went. “I saw the Crown of France laying in the gutter, I bent over, picked it up, ant set it on my head” – Yes, desperate time breed desperate measures.

    So I guess the message is whenever we face a desperate situation, when we allow these “Enabling Acts” we tread on dangerous ground a “Pandora’s Box” of woes may result. One must remember always Adolph Hitler was legally elected to office by one of the best educated, culturally advanced population in Europe – If it could happen it Germany it could happen here.

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