Barney Frank is in his glory as he prepares to celebrate his 69th birthday on March 31.
Frank's climb has taken 28 years since he first won a seat in the House, but he has now become, in the words of The New York Times, “one of the most powerful members of Congress.”
Since becoming chairman of the Financial Services Committee in January 2007 after the Democratic Party reclaimed Congress in 2006, Frank has taken high-handed regulatory control of both America's banking and housing industries — not coincidentally, the two industries at the center of today's severe economic recession.
“A crisis,” prominent Democrats now chant gleefully, “is a terrible thing to waste.”
And Frank, who did much that precipitated today's economic crisis, appears eager to use public outrage at insurance company AIG bonuses as leverage to enact what he and then-Sen. Barack Obama wrote legislation to do in 2007: demonize capitalists and impose a ceiling on all business executive incomes.
To appreciate Frank's manipulative and bullying role in causing the crisis and his political efforts to hobble capitalism, we need to look back to the roots of his radical, gutter-tactics politics.
This is important, because when you understand Barney Frank, you comprehend the essence of today's Democratic Party, what it is and what its real values and often-concealed aims are.
Barney Frank is the perfect poster boy for today's Democratic Party — and its apotheosis.
Any time an American votes for any Democrat — even one claiming to be moderate and bipartisan — more power accrues to Frank and his ideological comrades such as San Francisco-based Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, daughter of the former Democratic machine boss of Baltimore.
Frank represents the 4th District of Massachusetts, where he succeeded Robert Drinan, a radical liberation theology priest ordered Pope John Paul II ordered to resign. Jesuit Drinan, like Frank today, supported partial-birth abortion.
Barnett “Barney” Frank was born in 1940 in Bayonne, N.J., the red-diaper baby of a radical mother he describes as “an activist.” His sister Ann (Lewis), two years older, would become President Bill Clinton's communications director.
“My father ran a truck stop,” Frank told Jeffrey Toobin, author of a revealing article in the January 12, 2009, magazine The New Yorker.
“He sort of lived on the fringes. We're talking about Hudson County — Frank Hague was the boss — a totally corrupt place. In 1946, my father's brother Harry got the contract to sell cars to the city, and of course he had to give a kickback to the guys who ran the city. My father was a middleman or something.”
Frank later said “his father was involved with the Mafia,” according to Toobin.
“Funzi Tieri, a big-time gangster with the Genovese family, came to my brother David's bar mitzvah, when I was 23,” Frank told Toobin.
After his father, Sam, died at age 53 while Frank was attending Harvard, wrote Toobin, “Barney took a year off to help resolve the family's tangled financial affairs.”
“The Mafia guys were very helpful to me at the time,” Frank told Toobin.
Famed Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, who dated a Bayonne High School classmate of Frank, told Toobin: “Because Bayonne was such a sleazy place, nobody knew whether Barney was going to wind up in Congress or in jail.”
Frank made his home in Massachusetts after graduating from Harvard. He worked on the staff of Democratic Congressman Michael J. Harrington, won his own seat in the state legislature and served there for eight years, then narrowly won Drinan's seat.
Scandal is how most Americans first heard of Barney Frank, after his live-in lover Steve Gobie was caught running a callboy sex business. Frank admitted using his position to fix 33 of Gobie's parking tickets, paying Gobie for sex, hiring his lover as an aide, and writing letters on congressional stationery to help Gobie with Virginia probation officials.
Congressman Frank probably was close to losing his seat in a House Ethics Committee investigation.
But then the committee suddenly, mysteriously rejected all evidence concerning Gobi and showing Frank had any knowledge of an illegal gay prostitution operation run from his own home. The Ethics Committee downgraded its punishment of Frank to a weak wrist-slap reprimand.
Frank, I've been told, quietly threatened fellow lawmakers that, if he went down, he would put out evidence of others in Congress, prominent members of both parties, who had availed themselves of callboy services.
Faced with such blackmail, many congressmen turned tail and ran. They are the reason Frank today is a ruler on Capitol Hill and despoiler of American capitalism.
Frank, who rarely laughs and has a carefully rehearsed act accusing those who interrupt his fast-talking filibusters of rudeness, has threatened to “out” any closeted gay or bisexual Republican who opposes whatever Frank deems lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual rights.
From 1991 until 1998 Frank's live-in “lover,” “spouse,” and official “domestic partner,” (as the Washington Post wrote that Frank called Herb Moses) was an executive in charge of key housing policies at Fannie May. During these years, Frank urged looser lending standards that could enhance his lover's job and bonuses.
Fannie May and Freddie Mac were (and are) piggy banks for Democrats, and Frank pocketed more than $40,000 in campaign contributions from these entities he helped regulate.
Both Frank and Moses told the Wall Street Journal that they strove to avoid conflicts of interest. But how would liberals such as Frank react to a high-ranking Republican member of the committee that regulates Fannie May having as his strange bedfellow a female Fannie May executive?
Frank applauded press probes into the private lives of Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's family. But Frank's liberal media comrades have almost never scrutinized his pockmarked life.
They should, but of course, they dare not.
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