Gary Ackerman's phony bluster: He and Congress pals deserve blame; his own district hard hit by Bernie Madoff
It's time to stop pinning the "news" tag on Gary Ackerman's angry outburst at the SEC yesterday for not stopping Bernie Madoff.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of the House hearing, yes. But while the New York Democrat yelled at the SEC, whistleblower Harry Markopolos spoke more softly but cut deeper the day before.
Ackerman's five minutes of fame passed the audio-visual test, but not the smell test.
The SEC deserves harsh criticism. But when it comes to the Madoff scandal — and the role of the SEC in trying to control Wall Street's conniving bankers — Congress stinks it up too by consistently undermining the SEC.
More on that in a minute, but first, more on Ackerman:
There are 14,000 brokerage accounts that make up the latest list of Madoff's victims — "Swindler's List," as L.A.'s Jewish Journal and others call it — and 2,000 of them are Long Island-based, Newsday reports. That's one in seven, and the largest cluster of Long Island suckers — 600 of them — is in Great Neck. And Great Neck is one of the most influential towns in Ackerman's Congressional district, which stretches along Long Island Sound's "Gold Coast" of rich people. Nassau County itself is the nation's 10th-richest county.
Yesterday, I pointed out Ackerman's standing as an ardent loyalist of the Jewish lobby AIPAC loyalist (and a past recipient of campaign money from Madoff). And Madoff, as we well know, leaned heavily on his own Jewishness.
Philip Weiss (the former Observer columnist who got hounded out of there because he dared to write provocatively about Israel) noted that in December 2008 in "Madoff and the Israel lobby." Weiss quoted one of his readers as remarking that "the Madoff event may be the greatest example of intelligent people being blinded by ethnocentrism I've ever seen."
It's no wonder that Ackerman was so pissed off at the SEC. He couldn't blame Madoff's wealthy victims, who, after all, are his constituents. He may not have known that Madoff himself was a monumental goniff, but he and other Jewish Democrats knew very well who the prominent party fundraiser was. No-brainer that Ackerman put on a good TV show; no brains if you think it's consequential news.
Instead of looking at the cameras, Ackerman should be looking in the mirror, notes Seeking Alpha, the largest stock-market blog (and hailed in 2007 by Time as one of the top 50 websites).
The New York-based outlet aimed at investors puts the blame where much of it should be. In "Congress Should Look in the Mirror Before Attacking the SEC," GT McDuffy notes:
McDuffy is just getting warmed up. And I'm going to include a lengthy excerpt. Just as James Lieber's must-read "Up in Smoke: What Cooked the World's Economy?" in my own paper probed and poked at Wall Street's machinations, McDuffy jabs at Congress for its role in the fiasco.
The differing perspectives of the two pieces sketch a good portrait of the Wall Street crime scene. Ackerman's incredulity was phony, as McDuffy's credible screed points out. Hence, this long excerpt from McDuffy:
You don't have to be Jewish to understand where much of the blame for the Madoff scandal and other Wall Street shenanigans should be levied.
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