How Hitler Became a Dictator


The day after the fire, Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to issue a decree entitled, “For the Protection of the People and the State.” Justified as a “defensive measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the state,” the decree suspended the constitutional guarantees pertaining to civil liberties:

Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications; and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

Two weeks after the Reichstag fire, Hitler requested the Reichstag to temporarily delegate its powers to him so that he could adequately deal with the crisis. Denouncing opponents to his request, Hitler shouted, “Germany will be free, but not through you!” When the vote was taken, the result was 441 for and 84 against, giving Hitler the two-thirds majority he needed to suspend the German constitution. On March 23, 1933, what has gone down in German history as the “Enabling Act” made Hitler dictator of Germany, freed of all legislative and constitutional constraints.

Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency

From The Progressive:

With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.

Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.”

He laid this all out in a document entitled “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51” and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20.”

The White House released it on May 9.

Other than a discussion on Daily Kos led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon.

The subject of the document is entitled “National Continuity Policy.”

It defines a “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.”

This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include “localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.”

The document emphasizes the need to ensure “the continued function of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government,” it states.

But it says flat out: “The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government.”

The Noli Plan

From Wikipedia:

The Nolli map was based on Bufalini’s map of 1551, with which Nolli readily invited comparison, but Nolli made a number of important innovations. Firstly, Nolli reorients the city from east (which was conventional at the time) to magnetic north, reflecting Nolli’s reliance on the compass to get a bearing on the city’s topography. Secondly, though he follows Bufalini in using a figure-ground representation of built space with blocks and building shaded in a dark poché, Nolli represents enclosed public spaces such as the collonades in St. Peter’s Square and the Pantheon as open civic spaces. Finally, the map was a significant improvement in accuracy, even noting the asymmetry of the Spanish Steps. The map was used in government planning for the city of Rome until the 1970s.

A high res (understatement when you see the map) version of the map can be found here.

(via Metafilter)

10 Animals That May Go Extinct in the Next 10 Years

From Scientific American:

There are currently 3,071 “critically endangered” species in the world, according to the World Conservation Union, also known as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), a collaboration of 83 countries, 800 nongovernmental organizations and 10,000 scientists and experts devoted to preserving Earth’s biodiversity. According to the IUCN, species assessed at the critically endangered level “face an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild unless the pressures on them are relieved.” Here are just a few of these species: