Barney Frank on Katrina: "Ethnic Cleansing by Inaction"
by Matt Stoller, Thu Jan 04, 2007 at 08:51:08 AM EST
Barney Frank is the incoming Chair of the Financial Services Committee, and he has come in and committed himself to a very progressive agenda. The first piece of his remarkable speech was his sharp point that the intentional neglect of the housing situation of Katrina victims was 'ethnic cleansing through inaction'. The video quality isn't the greatest; he said in clear language that doing nothing for New Orleans residents is an intentional strategy to make Louisiana richer, whiter, and more Republican. It's not a huge secret.
The latest elected official to step into the swamp was Rep. Richard H. Baker, a 10-term Republican from Baton Rouge. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that he was overheard telling lobbyists: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."
It's great that we have fighters in there willing to do what's necessary. Frank also discussed the budget in the context of Iraq and Katrina, and executive pay. He wants a law passed that allows shareholders to vote on the pay that executives receive, which is a great way to restore public participation in corporate America and reign in managerial abuses.
After listening to Frank, I'm a lot less worried that the Democrats are going to fold to right-wing economic interests. Frank understands that political and economic elites have betrayed this country, and is going to reign them in. I wouldn't want to have someone as smart, experienced, and tough as Frank as my opponent, and I certainly wouldn't have needled his character, insulted his intelligence and offended his values for years. Which the Republicans have done. We have a friend in Frank.