Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

Heil Chavez!

Two days ago I read this story:

CARACAS, Venezuela — Hugo Chavez has just about everything a president could want: popular support, a marginalized opposition, congress firmly on his side and a booming economy as he starts his new six-year term.

Now, he’s about to become even more powerful _ the all-Chavista National Assembly is poised to approve a “mother law” as early as Wednesday enabling him to remake society by presidential decree. In its latest draft, the law would allow Chavez to dictate measures for 18 months in 11 broad areas, from the “economic and social sphere” to the “transformation of state institutions.”

Chavez calls it a new era of “maximum revolution,” setting the tone for months of upheaval as he plans to nationalize companies, impose new taxes on the rich and reorient schools to teach socialist values. With near-religious fervor and plenty of oil wealth, Chavez is mobilizing millions of Venezuelans, intent on creating a more egalitarian society.

Already, profound changes can be seen throughout Venezuela. Those who felt left out of the old system are thrilled at the prospect of having a voice in politics. Others are horrified, predicting that doors will close on their personal freedoms under one-man rule, although exactly what Chavez will do with his power remains unclear.


Outside the Spanish Embassy, dozens line up with documents in hand. Many plan trips for tourism or study, but Henry Krakower is thinking darker thoughts. He wants a passport for his 10-year-old son in case they need to leave for good.

“I don’t really know what all the coming changes are, but I don’t think it’s the best idea to give all the power to a single person for him to decide on my behalf,” says Krakower, the son of a Polish concentration camp survivor who found a haven in Venezuela after World War II.

Government officials insist there will be total freedom of religion and speech and that private property will be safe, but the Krakowers aren’t so sure. Listening for clues to what lies ahead, they worry about economic restrictions and ideology in education. At their son’s private Jewish school, some parents are talking about how and when to leave the country.

“I think the president is going to do what he wants to do, because he will have all the power to decide on all things,” Krakower says. “I think we’re headed toward totalitarianism.”


How much say the public will have in how Chavez uses the “enabling law” remains unclear, but lawmakers have been holding assemblies to gather public input.

“If there is no popular participation, there will be no socialism,” lawmaker Dario Vivas said at one meeting. “Socialism is, definitively, giving power to the people.”

I did not have time to post on it two days ago, but now it has happened:

CARACAS, Venezuela — A congress wholly loyal to President Hugo Chavez approved a law Wednesday granting the Venezuelan leader authority to enact sweeping measures by presidential decree.

Meeting at a downtown plaza in a session that resembled a political rally, lawmakers unanimously approved all four articles of the law by a show of hands.

“Long live the sovereign people! Long live President Hugo Chavez! Long live socialism!” said National Assembly President Cilia Flores as she proclaimed the law approved. “Fatherland, socialism or death! We will prevail!”

Chavez, who is beginning a fresh six-year term, says the legislation will be the start of a new era of “maximum revolution” during which he will consolidate Venezuela’s transformation into a socialist society. His critics, however, are calling it a radical lurch toward authoritarianism by a leader with unchecked power.


Chavez, a former paratroop commander who easily won re-election in December, has said he will use the law to decree nationalizations of Venezuela’s largest telecommunications company and the electricity sector, slap new taxes on the rich and impose greater state control over the oil and natural gas industries.

The law also allows Chavez to dictate unspecified measures to transform state institutions; reform banking, tax, insurance and financial regulations; decide on security and defense matters such as gun regulations and military organization; and “adapt” legislation to ensure “the equal distribution of wealth” as part of a new “social and economic model.”

Now, let’s compare:

The Enabling Act (Ermächtigungsgesetz in German) was passed by Germany’s parliament (the Reichstag) on March 23, 1933. It was the second major step after the Reichstag Fire Decree through which the Nazis obtained dictatorial powers using largely legal means. The Act enabled Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his cabinet to enact laws without the participation of the Reichstag.


While there had been previous enabling acts in the earliest years of the Weimar Republic, this one was more far reaching since Article 2 allowed for deviations from the constitution. The law therefore formally required a two-thirds majority in the Reichstag.

Though the Act had formally given legislative powers to the government as a whole, these powers were for all intents and purposes exercised by Hitler himself; as Joseph Goebbels wrote shortly after the passage of the Enabling Act:

The authority of the Führer has now been wholly established. Votes are no longer taken. The Führer decides. All this is going much faster than we had dared to hope.

Formal cabinet meetings were rare during the whole Third Reich and non-existent during World War II.

It is indicative of the care that Hitler took to give his dictatorship an appearance of legality that the Enabling Act was formally extended twice by the Reichstag (by then a puppet of Hitler) beyond its original 1937 expiration date.

The passage of the Enabling Act reduced the Reichstag to a mere stage for Hitler’s speeches. The opposition parties were suppressed or banned, and eventually even the parties making up Hitler’s coalition yielded to government pressure and dissolved themselves. On July 14, 1933 the government decreed a law eliminating political parties other than the Nazi Party. By this, Hitler had fulfilled what he had promised in earlier campaign speeches: “I set for myself one aim … to sweep these thirty parties out of Germany!”.

Also, here:

…[P]resident Paul von Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934. Rather than holding new presidential elections, Hitler’s cabinet passed a law proclaiming the presidency dormant and transferred the role and powers of the head of state to Hitler as Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor). Thereby Hitler also became supreme commander of the military, which then swore their military oath not to the state or the constitution but to Hitler personally. In a mid-August plebiscite, these acts found the approval of 84.6% of the electorate. Combining the highest offices in state, military and party in his hand, Hitler had attained supreme rule that could no longer be legally challenged.

So, what is the Spanish for “Führer”? While the crazy American Left screams at the Bush administration and compares the President to Hitler, their new darling Hugo Chavez quite literally follows Hitler’s rise to power.
I think I’ve said it before: current combat in Iraq in Afghanistan will be compared to the war that is coming like American involvement in Nicaragua in the late 1920s – early 1930s can be compared to World War 2. And this coming war we might actually have to fight on our soil. Not just in Aleutians, but actually in the continental US.

January 31, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment