$20 Billion BP Escrow Fund Compared to Nazi-era Law

The above video features Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) quoting a recent column by respected conservative columnist and author Thomas Sowell in which Sowell compares the $20 Billion escrow fund set up by BP to help pay for the damages caused by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to a law passed by German Reichstag that gave Hitler “dictatorial powers.” 

To be fair to Sowell, he claims that the BP escrow fund is just once in a series of events that point to Obama’s similarity to Hitler in his quest for “arbitrary power.” I’m not sure what the other events are, but I’m guessing the recently passed health care reform legislation makes the list.  Sowell also returns to the bogus charge of numerous “czars” appointed by Obama as more evidence of Obama’s power moves.

It’s disturbing that Sowell of anyone would compare a fund set up to help Americans damaged by the BP oil spill to a law that helped to solidify Hitler’s place in history of one of its worst villains because he has issues with its constitutionality. To add to the drama, Rep. Gohmert quoted from the part of Sowell’s column in which he introduces a reference attributed to Lenin–just in case the Hitler reference wasn’t controversial enough–on the House floor:

There’s a brilliant man named Thomas Sowell. And, um, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but I sure would have voted for Thomas Sowell. This man, well, his article says quite a lot. His editorial, um, says here — and it’s just been posted this week — but it says, “When Adolph Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920’s” — and I’m quoting from Thomas Sowell in his editorial:

‘leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics. Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler’s rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions. ‘Useful idiots’ was the term supposedly coined by V.I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union.’

And this isn’t in the article — this is my comment — but we do have useful idiots today, who are heard to say, ‘Wow, what we really need is for the president to be a dictator for a little while.’ They know not what they say.

Transcript from ThinkProgress

By the way, many sources claim that Lenin never said or wrote “useful idiots.”

Image courtesy of RussiaArthurk


Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik7 years ago

Phoebe - They want WHAT exactly stopped? The oil spilling? BP making profits? What exactly do they expect President Obama to do? Walk on water with a sponge attached to his feet? Become an osmosis device so that HE can suck up the oil? Appeal to the diety of choice? They are calling him "Little Hitler/" WHY?
If BP owns the well; If TransOcean built it & Halliburton's safety device failed - then how does that make President Obama liable for it? Did you see Rachel Maddow's report? BP made a profit of 55.58 Billion dollars last year (that was net) - they set aside 27.1 Thousand to study ways to drill safer. Contingency plans for what would happen in a spill? Farmed out to a company, who doesn't do those studies, didn't know they were supposed to and so their research was 0%..Therefore BPs research on containment or what happens if plans was 0%. They didn't even study it or think about it. But they still made record profits.
So, Obama negotiates with BP and they set up a contingency plan agreed upon by both parties & Obama gets called a facist; a Nazi, or a communist - (& sorry folks it is only one can't be all three as they are opposite systems). Not sure just WHO was expected to pick up the tab for BPs carelessness here - OH YES... I guess that would be us, the middle class taxpayer - the one who always gets the shaft.
Now, you are informed - perhaps you should point some of this out to them when they bitch.

Phoebe Morgan
pj d7 years ago

I am a simple bartender. Most folks wander in looking for a quiet "release" for the days' craziness. One thing I picked up early on is that if you want to get people riled up again, just bring up this oil disaster. The people want it STOPPED! AND they are already calling the president "little HITLER". If he wants to run again, he better start doing his job.

donald b.

BP should fork over 20 Billion dollars to help the people affected and to pay for the clean up. SHAME on ANYONE who BEGS to diifer!!

Morgan G.
Morgan Getham7 years ago

Actually, Jessie M., it was the American PEOPLE who were willing to let the Nazi German government alone on a "live and let live" basis up until the Germans declared war of the US. The Roosevelt government did everything it could to get the US INTO the war, sending military aid to England and generally trying to provoke Hitler as much as they could.

America would not have permitted German to invade Canada (under the Monroe Doctrine), but if Hitler had not been stupid enough to declare war of the US, even after Pearl Harbor the people of the US would have insisted on revenge on Japan and FORGET about the situation in Europe.

Morgan G.
Morgan Getham7 years ago

Oh, and with taxes added. The IRS is going to grab its share of that $20 billion before our needy citizens see dime one of payments to offset what they have lost.

Dave Tohunga
Dave te tohunga7 years ago

How come no one mentions Halliburton who were the hands on oil spillers and the ones on the spot who did the stuff up thanks to Dick Chaney deregulating oil exploration safety constraints in the 1st minutes of the 1st fraudulent George W Bush administration, the very same criminals who gave you Afghanistan and Iraq and torture as govt policy and still commits mass murder against civilians with DU WMD's and predator drones.
Americans...what % are totally divorced from reality in a mental cloud of their own propaganda it wouls appear to anyone outside brainwashing central?

Barb F.
Barb F7 years ago

"corporate death penalty, starting with BP", if ever just a partial statement were so totally true. I may add those politically in bed with BP to the list of guilty parties, no doubt, I would.

Daniel W.
Daniel W7 years ago

Donna: There's nothing wrong with comparing Obama to Hitler, or Bush for that matter. Obviously, neither Bush nor Obama are nearly as bad as Hitler, but it's good to learn from history, and it's normal to look to the worst example of something for comparison purposes.

That said, however, I think this $20 billion escrow is a good idea. BP needs to pay up for its carelessness and greed. It's hard to argue that they're being treated unfairly or being demonized. They demonized themselves with their own actions, and the evidence is all over the beaches of the Gulf Coast. IMO, the government needs to implement a Corporate Death Penalty, and BP needs to be the first to get it. The company should be seized, put under government control until the mess is sorted out, and all its assets sold off. All the executives should be tried and imprisoned for life terms.

Jo Hofreiter
Jo Hofreiter7 years ago

Dear Judith,

Much thanks and appreciation for the Green Star, I'm sure I'm saying exactly what you would say.


Alison Baker
Alison Baker7 years ago

The escrow account was a good idea. Corporate attys have one job: liability protection. Mitigating risk is key to paying almost nothing so it's always someone else's financial responsibility. Arguing against the escrow account just shows which legislator (& judge) is in the corporate pockets.