Gadfly is Marty Aussenberg, a columnist for the weekly Memphis Flyer. Marty is a former SEC enforcement official, currently in private law practice in Memphis, Tennessee. (A full bio is below the fold.) Cross-posted at The Memphis Flyer.

Seldom does a week go by when the likes of a Bill O‘Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter or others of their ilk don‘t make some idiotic, antisocial or otherwise sociopathic public statement over the airwaves. That‘s what their constituents expect; it‘s what they tune in for, and what these hucksters of sensationalism are more than willing to give them to keep them listening/watching. But why, oh why, must there always be a response, not only from the blogosphere, but from the MSM as well, and why must we elevate the worthless claptrap purveyed by these shlockmeisters to the realm of being discussed, much less debated. … continued below

Whether it‘s the manufactured “War on Christmas,” the invitation to Al Qaeda to bomb San Francisco or, in Robertson‘s case, the curse called down on an entire community because of its stand against Intelligent Design, the asininity of the statements by this group of out-there commentators is self evident. So why does the blogosphere go ballistic on these idiots every time they make one of their bizarre pronouncements, and why does the MSM pay them any attention when doing so only multiplies the impact of statements that so richly deserve to be consigned to oblivion? One site, Media Matters for America, has made a career of contradicting virtually every syllable that comes out of O‘Reilly‘s mouth, as though anything the man says should really be listened to, much less debunked. Some bunk just doesn‘t need to be debunked.

On any given day, in any major city in this country, it isn‘t difficult to find some poor misbegotten soul ranting on some street corner, be it about the second coming of Jesus, the imminent end of the world, alien abductions or an occasionally more believable subject. “Speaker‘s Corner”in London‘s Hyde Park actually sets aside a space for these oratorical bloviators. But no one sees fit to dignify these harangues by responding to them, or even by paying any attention to them.
Are the likes of O‘Reilly or Limbaugh worthy of any more credence than these lunatics? So what if they have audiences that number in the millions? They‘ve already been turned into irretrievable mental zombies by O‘Reilly and his ilk, to whom such things as either facts or logic are utterly irrelevant. If what H.L Mencken once said (“no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public”) is true (surely our last two national elections proved that), it‘s time we stopped resisting the fact that there will always be people in this country who will be credulous enough to believe people like Bill O‘Reilly.


Mr. Aussenberg is an attorney practicing in his own firm in Memphis, Tennessee. He began his career in the private practice of law in Memphis after relocating from Washington, D.C., where he spent five years at the Securities and Exchange Commission as a Special Counsel and Trial Attorney in its Enforcement Division, during which time he handled or supervised the investigation and litigation of several significant cases involving insider trading, market manipulation, and management fraud. Prior to his stint at the S.E.C., he was an Assistant Attorney General with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking in Philadelphia and was the Attorney-In-Charge of Litigation for the Pennsylvania Securities Commission, where, in addition to representing that agency in numerous state trial and appellate courts, he successfully prosecuted the first case of criminal securities fraud in the state’s history.

Mr. Aussenberg’s private practice has focused primarily on investment, financial, corporate and business counseling, litigation and arbitration and regulatory proceedings. He has represented individual, institutional and governmental investors, as well as brokerage firms and individual brokers, in securities and commodities-related matters, S.E.C., NASD and state securities regulatory proceedings, and has represented parties in shareholder derivative, class action and multi-district litigation, as well as defending parties in securities, commodities, and other “white-collar” criminal cases.

Mr. Aussenberg received his J.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and his B.A. degree in Honors Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Immediately following law school, he served as a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow with the Delaware County Legal Assistance Association in Chester, Pennsylvania.

He is admitted to practice in Tennessee, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, before the United States Supreme Court, the Third and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the United States Tax Court, as well as federal district courts in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. He is an arbitrator for the NASD, New York Stock Exchange and American Arbitration Association, has published articles (“Stockbroker Fraud: This Kind of Churning Doesn’t Make Butter”, Journal of the Tennessee Society of C.P.A.’s,; Newsletter of the Arkansas Society of C.P.A.’s; Hoosier Banker (Indiana Bankers Association), and been a featured speaker on a variety of topics at seminars in the United States and Canada, including: Municipal Treasurers Association of the United States and Canada, Ottawa, Canada; Government Finance Officers Association; National Institute of Municipal Law Officers, Washington, D.C. ; Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants, Memphis, TN; Tennessee Association of Public Accountants, Memphis, TN (1993)

Mr. Aussenberg has two children, a daughter who is a graduate of Columbia University and holds a Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and is currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a son who is a graduate of Brown University and is working with a conservation organization in Marin County, California while he decides what to do with the rest of his life.

Mr. Aussenberg is an avid golfer whose only handicap is his game, an occasional trap shooter whose best competitive score was a 92, and an even less frequent jazz drummer.

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