TIPS Threatens Liberty, Shnelvar Warns

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The Colorado Freedom

TIPS Threatens Liberty, Shnelvar Warns

July 27, 2002

"On Tuesday, July 23, 2002, the Boulder City Council created national news by both practically and symbolically taking a slap at the horribly misnamed and Orwellian USA Patriot Act," Shnelvar said Wednesday.

"In this I congratulate the Boulder City Council for doing exactly the right thing. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, those who seek to trade liberty for safety will end up with neither. New executive powers such as those granted in the PATRIOT Act will not make us safer -- they will only misdirect our police resources even as they strip us of our rights."

Shnelvar, a student of history and a defender of freedom, explained, "Have you ever heard of Article 48 of the German Constitution of the German Weimar Republic?"

Some background on Article 48 can be found at: and

"The German Constitution, like ours, was a very good one when it came to people's civil rights.

"Unfortunately," continued Shnelvar, "that constitution also contained several fatal flaws. One of the worst was Article 48 of the constitution, which granted dictatorial powers to the president in times of national emergency."

Does this sound familiar? Germany was facing what it thought was an emergency. On July 16, 1930 Chancellor Brčning invoked Article 48. The German Republic was two-and-a-half years from the point where Hitler was to become Chancellor. It was the beginning of the end.

Then Hitler took power on January 30, 1933. On February 4, 1933, Hitler convinced Paul von Hindenburg, the president of the Weimar Republic, to sign a decree that authorized the Minister of the Interior and the police to prohibit public meetings and publications that could endanger public security.

Then came the Reichstag fire on February 27, 1933.

Article 48 provided Hitler the opportunity to issue a series of emergency decrees over Hindenburg's signature that undermined the Constitution and destroyed basic liberties.

From "Described as measures to ward off 'Communist acts of violence endangering the state,' these decrees suspended all fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly, freedom from invasion of privacy (mail, telephone, telegram) and from house search without warrant".

That was the end of the German Republic, the end of freedom, the beginning of a major increase in tyranny, and the real beginnings of genocide.

Doesn't that sound familiar? Substitute Moslem for Communist and you get the very same result. The USA PATRIOT Act and TIPS and just the general decay of the Bill of Rights is taking us down the same road that Article 48 and the Germans took back in 1930; three years before the Nazi's took power.

It was only a few more years that people were being marched to Concentration camps and being slaughtered. These were people who were good German citizens. Good Christians died, too. Somewhere between three and seven million more-or-less unremembered Christians died in Nazi Concentration camps.

We all know what happened to the Jews.

In the beginning (and prior to Hitler's reign), Article 48 put no "good German" in jail just as the USA-PATRIOT Act has yet (as far as I know) not put any "good American" away. But the German government found more and more excuses to use the powers granted it under Article 48 just as the U.S. government is finding more and more excuses to expand its police powers. I can remember when the police actually needed to hand me a search warrant before they entered my house.

"Just think of Operation TIPS, the Terrorist Information and Prevention System," said Shnelvar. "I can remember when the government didn't make it easy for Americans to snitch on their neighbors."

"I have had my very public disagreements with the Boulder City Council; even on civil liberties and private property rights issues. But with respect to the USA-PATRIOT Act, the Boulder City Council did the right thing by protesting in both practical and symbolic ways.

"For that I salute the Boulder City Council for being both courageous and principled."

The Colorado Freedom