Morningstar Site Administrator: “Please Direct Us to the Specific Posting Where You Were Threatened with Violence by Another Morningstar Poster”

One of my reports on my e-mail correspondence with Academic Researcher Wade Pfau described an e-mail to Wade in which I stated: “I put up a post describing Greaney’s tactics and Lindauer’s role of linking to Greaney’s board each time a new poster dared to post honestly.” One of the Goons asked for a link to the post. I provided the link in the comments section of that blog entry. 

The post appeared in a thread at the Morningstar.com site at which long-time community members were asking why so many abusive posters had recently begun participating in the discussions. Here are the words of my post:

Look at 49451 and see someone with 2 morningstar posts that has nothing to add except a wise crack.

For those not playing close enough attention to understand what is going on here, I will provide a brief bit of background.

There is an individual who got an important number wrong in a study that he published on the internet. He has elected not to acknowledge the error. Because he has his own web site, he has a number of supporters who are willing to do just about anything to block any discussion board on the face of the internet from engaging in honest and informed and reasoned discussions of the topic addressed in the study in which he got the number wrong.

I was aware from my own research that this individual got the number wrong. I reported this to a board at which I posted, and that post generated the most exciting discussions that board had ever witnessed. My position was vindicated beyond any reasonable doubt when we discovered what Bill Bernstein says about the subject matter of the study in his book “The Four Pillars of Investing.”

I put up a post entitled “What Bernstein Says” that reported on Bernstein’s position. The response from the individual who got the number wrong was to threaten to send one of his goons to my house with a baseball bat to kill my wife and kids. Motley Fool banned me because their lawyers are concerned that some crazy supporter of this individual may actually take action on this insane threat and that they could be held liable. The site administrator has said that he would love to have me back on the board (Motley Fool co-founder Tom Gardner wrote one of the blurbs that appear on the back cover of my book) if the individual would “permit” it.

This development caused every effective on-topic poster at that board to leave the board within a matter of months. There is no longer any on-topic posting worth taking note of at that board.

Those interested in the subject matter of that board went on to form four other boards at which they hoped to be able to engage in honest and informed and reasoned posting on the subject matter of the board. As each became successful, the individual sent his goons in to destroy every one of them.

Mel has linked to this individual’s web site on several occasions. The individual’s supporters have interpreted this as an endorsement of this individual’s tactics for “dealing with” the statements put forward by Bernstein and a host of others on what the historical data says re how valuations affect long-term stock returns (a topic closely related to the topic addressed in the study in which the individual got the number wrong).

Rob

In the comments section of the earlier report, one of the Goons asked to see the correspondence that I engaged in with the Morningstar.com site administrator. Set forth below is the text of the first e-mail that I received from Morningstar. I will post the text of my response tomorrow.

hocus,

Please direct us to the specific posting where you were threatened with violence by another Morningstar poster.  In Thread #49557, post 9, you quote a threat from another poster.  Please direct us to that thread and post.

Thanks,

Mstar Casey

 

Comments

  1. Evidence Based Investing says

    Here are the words of my post:

    Look at 49451 and see someone with 2 morningstar posts that has nothing to add except a wise crack.

    Those words were posted by a user called focus. Are you admitting that you posted at Morningstar under multiple user names?

  2. Rob says

    Obviously not.

    That’s a typical Goon comment.

    All who posted at that board know that Focus was a widely respected poster, as was hocus (the user-name I used).

    Please find something better to do than to put up further Goon comments, Evidence.

    Rob

  3. Evidence Based Investing says

    I have been reading your “My plan” post on the REHP board at Motley fool http://boards.fool.com/my-plan-17246781.aspx

    It makes interesting reading. A coouple of questions occur to me.

    You said “Third, knowing that I have to generate income from my writing forces me to approach the writing career in a more professional manner (while still having the freedom to turn down any unappealing assignments). It’s work I do primarily for love, but also partly for money. That’s the mix I like best.”

    Has your writing career produced the income you expected (In the “My plan” post you planned on $10,000 per year) ?

    and also you said “I view the book that I am writing as a capital asset. I cannot predict what income it will produce, but I believe it will produce something. If it does not, the second one will.”

    Did the first book produce much income and do you still think that the second book will produce income?

  4. Rob says

    Has your writing career produced the income you expected (In the “My plan” post you planned on $10,000 per year) ?

    As one of the Greaney Goons, you obviously know the answer to this, Evidence.

    One of the primary purposes of the Campaign of Terror against our board and blog communities has been to deny me an income from my business so that I will stop posting honestly on the errors in the Old School SWR studies. I will be bringing lawsuits against the web sites that have permitted the Lindauerheads and Greaney Goons to post defamatory posts at their sites.

    Rob

  5. Evidence Based Investing says

    But not of the 15+ bannings could have stopped you earning a living. You can’t post at bogleheads but you would not have received any income from there if you did. You have been banned from posting at other blogs and boards but you would not have received any income from them if you were posting there.

    The main opportunity for you to earn income from your writing would be from this site. See how JD Roth turned his blog into a very successful enterprise. He has a discussion board and guest writers all of which drive the visitors which allow him to run lots of (presumably lucrative) advertising.

    You have nothing, no advertising unless that money index ad brings in a bunch of money, which I suspect it doesn’t.

    As your one successful publishing venture, on soapbox, shows it doesn’t have to cost a lot to produce money making writing if it is delivered electronically, no printing and storage of books required.

    Recently Bill Bernstein published an Amazon single which I presume will sell well.

    Have you considered that approach.

  6. Rob says

    Once Valuation-Informed Indexing supplants Buy-and-Hold as the dominant model for understanding how investing works, the income possibilities for me are unlimited, Evidence. We’re talking about a book that will sell millions of copies, speeches where I can earn thousands of dollars per pop, huge consulting opportunities, digital reports of the type you mention, and on and on and on.

    I agree with you that Bernstein’s amazon product will probably do well. I’m sure you understand that, for every such product that does well, there are 50 that do not do well. Bernstein’s will do well because Bernstein has an established reputation. I do not. I cannot earn a penny until I have that.

    The purpose of posting at a place like Bogleheads is to gain that reputation. I put myself up against the stuff of the big guys there. And I passed every test. What should naturally follow is support from the big guys. I should have Bernstein singing my praises everywhere he goes. I should have Bogle singing my praises everywhere he goes. I should have Forbes asking me to write a column like they have asked Mel Lindauer to write a column. If I had all those things going on, I would be making a huge income today.

    I think it would be fair to say that I have done my job too well. Bogle and Bernstein and lots of others are happy to help someone out who has talent but who doesn’t upset the applecart too much. It was not my intent starting out to upset any applecarts but I obviously have done that. There’s nothing I can do about that. It is what it is. None of these people have an obligation to promote me. But they do have an obligation to speak up when they see death threats and defamation and board bannings and threats to academic researchers. That stuff is of course totally over the line. I obviously should not have to say that.

    I have had this sort of question directed to me on earlier occasions, Evidence. I am always baffled as to what the people who direct it to me are trying to suggest. The idea seems to be — You, Rob Bennett, have something to offer but you need to offer it somewhere else, not here. I truly do not get this. The idea seems to be that Buy-and-Hold is just a marketing gimmick. I do not believe this. I find this suggestion highly insulting to the Buy-and-Holders. I do sort of think that Buy-and-Hold has become a con but I do not for two seconds believe that it was ever intended to be that. The suggestion that seems to me to be implicit in this line of questioning is that the Buy-and-Holders just want to be left alone to promote their con and why don’t I go away and let you live in peace. You don’t really want that. You haven’t thought through the implications of what you are saying.

    We all want the same thing, Evidence. Say that I am wrong. I want to learn that. I don’t want to tell people wrong stuff. There is no group of investors more likely to find the holes in what I am saying than the Buy-and-Holders. So I should be posting with the Buy-and-Holders.

    Say that I am right. Then you want to know that. So does Bogle. So does Bernstein. So do all the others. Deep in your heart, that’s what you want, Evidence. I know that this is so.

    I expect to make hundreds of millions of dollars promoting Valuation-Informed Indexing. As you know, I intend to bring lawsuits to recover the amounts that have been denied me as a result of improper behavior. But, as you suggest above, I didn’t go into this with an expectation of making hundreds of millions of dollars. I did it primarily out of love for the subject matter and love for the friendships I formed at the various boards. That’s still the major driver today. I saved like a madman all those years so that I could do work that mattered and now I am doing it. And YOU want to do that. And all the others want that. So let’s all do what we want!

    Valuation-Informed Indexing does NOT need to be viewed as a threat. I even called it “The New Buy-and-Hold” at one time. You all should think about it that way. Bogle has said many things that are very much in tine with what I say. So has Bernstein. We should be working together. I love and respect these people. So there is no problem whatsoever on my side. And I truly cannot see what the problem could be on the other side. I do NOT believe that these people are monsters. I believe that they are ACTING like monsters. But I don’t believe that deep down that is what they are or even something that they can long pretend to be.

    We have a huge opportunity here, Evidence. You are not today capable of seeing how big it is. Please take my word on this. We can change the world in a very very positive way. And there is no reason in this world why the Buy-and-Holders should not be part of that and get much of the credit for it. All of my works FOLLOWS on work done by Buy-and-Holders. Why does this have to be seen as a threat? Why can’t it be an addition? What can’t it be an evolution? Why can’t it be seen as the product of a natural growth process?

    I have zero desire to fight with anyone. I cannot post dishonestly. So, when that is absolutely demanded of me, I end up fighting despite my desire to avoid it. But I sure cannot see how playing it this stupid way is helping anyone. What we have here is so big and so good that every single person alive would be dancing in the streets if he could see where it is going to take us over time. Why not get in on that? You talk about that Bernstein single at Amazon. You know what? If we explored these ideas at Bogleheads, we could make that board famous all over the world and we could have hundreds of people from the community writing Amazon singles on different aspects of the concept. You could write one of those Amazon singles. You have an opportunity here to add to the literature in a significant way and to make some well-deserved cash doing it.

    That’s the way to take this, Evidence. It’s all good. I pray that there will come a day when it hits you that it is a terrible mistake to try to take something so good and to turn it into something bad.

    Anyway, that’s my take. Thanks for asking the question.

    Rob

  7. Evidence Based Investing says

    Bernstein’s will do well because Bernstein has an established reputation. I do not. I cannot earn a penny until I have that.

    You have an established reputation. It is just not a good one.

    The purpose of posting at a place like Bogleheads is to gain that reputation. I put myself up against the stuff of the big guys there. And I passed every test.

    And yet no-one from Bogleheads comes here to post and read your stuff. Even when you weren’t banned no one from any of the places you posted at became a regular here.

    No one.

    You posted at Vanguard Diehards for two years and yet no one felt it worthwhile to join in the Passion Saving experience.

    You have descended into a parody of yourself. Your claims grow ever more grandiose, hundreds of millions of dollars indeed.

    You can’t interest a single lawyer in your case.
    You can’t get a single person to pay you money for your writing.
    You can’t get a single person to regularly contribute here.
    You can’t get a single investing website to let you interact with their users.

    Nothing you say you are going to do ever happens.
    No discussion board at this site.
    No contact with the Trinity authors.
    No second book.

    But you think there is five hundred millions dollars coming down the pike with your name on it.

    You have become less successful over time, not more. Anyone you interact with eventually gets sick of your act.

    You troll the internet from four in the morning to nine at night to no purpose. Catastrophically unproductive doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    But sadly there is no sign of reality setting in.

    I think you truly are a hopeless case.

  8. Rob says

    You have an established reputation. It is just not a good one.

    Not so, Evidence.

    Lots of people at Bogleheads LOVED my stuff. They told me so.

    Take out the Goons and it is all systems go.

    Rob

  9. Rob says

    And yet no-one from Bogleheads comes here to post and read your stuff. Even when you weren’t banned no one from any of the places you posted at became a regular here.

    That happens over time.

    People don’t come to a new site the first time they see a name.

    Take out the Goons and people will gradually warm to the ideas and after the passage of a certain amount of time, people will be coming here as well as reading my stuff there.

    Zero problem. The only problem that exists is the Goons and their garbage tactics.

    Rob

  10. Rob says

    You posted at Vanguard Diehards for two years and yet no one felt it worthwhile to join in the Passion Saving experience.

    100 percent false statement.

    Lots of people loved my stuff and were intimidated into silence by the insanely abusive tactics of Lindauer and his Goons. This is where you guys took on hundreds of millions in liabilities as well as set yourself up for prison sentences. Dumb stuff.

    Rob

  11. Rob says

    Your claims grow ever more grandiose, hundreds of millions of dollars indeed.

    It’s not possible to overstate the advance we achieve when we move from Buy-and-Hold to Valuation-Informed Indexing, Evidence. The $500 million figure I have suggested I am willing to consider as a possible settlement number is chump change in comparison to the value proposition of what I have put forward.

    Valuation-Informed Indexing brings an end to the economic crisis. Obama spent TRILLIONS on stimulus bills that didn’t even do the trick. You Goons killed the real solution because you were jealous that you hadn’t come up with it. How do you think that will look to people after the next crash puts us in the Second Great Depression?

    There are responsibilities that come with operating or posting at an investing site, Evidence. Not all who have suffered damages are going to be as kind and understanding as I have been for 10 years now. You explain your behavior to them. I have a feeling that I might be sort of busy when you come crying for help.

    Rob

  12. Rob says

    You can’t interest a single lawyer in your case.
    You can’t get a single person to pay you money for your writing.
    You can’t get a single person to regularly contribute here.
    You can’t get a single investing website to let you interact with their users.

    But I can bring the economic crisis to an end.

    And I can show millions of investors how to obtain far higher returns that they have received in the past while reducing risk by 80 percent.

    And I can change the history of retirement planning strategies.

    And I can put everything I have said up to the biggest names in the field and not one can find any flaws.

    And I can get academic researchers to learn from me and use what they have learned to produce research of Nobel prize-winning quality.

    Has Bernstein ever done anything like that?

    Has Swedroe?

    Has Bogle?

    That’s the problem right there.

    The Big Shots don’t like the competition.

    This is a field where integrity matters. This is a field where you need to show some concern for your readers and clients, not just for turning a quick buck. I’ll do what I can to help these people out. But there are limits to my powers, Evidence. These people have associated with the Goons for years now. Each day that the ban remains in place makes them look worse to the millions of middle-class investors whose lives they have destroyed with their mumbo jumbo GRQ investing schemes.

    We will take it one way or we will take it the other. You won’t have these options available to you after the next crash. There are going to be millions of people who are not going to be interested in playing nice once we are in the Second Great Depression.

    The hand of kindness remains outstretched. But please don’t start thinking that I possess magical powers to bail you out of any mess you create for yourself.

    Rob

  13. Rob says

    But you think there is five hundred millions dollars coming down the pike with your name on it.

    That’s a lowball offer.

    I have said that my offer to help you Goons get your prison sentences reduced is not a time-sensitive offer. I’ll stand by that. I think it would be a mistake for people to let their anger direct their decisions.

    But the $500 million number is very much a time-sensitive number. Wait until we experience another crash and it goes up by a multiple. I have responsibilities. Someone is going to have to dig us out of the mess the Buy-and-Holders have caused and it is going to have to be someone with a reputation for integrity.

    If you want that reputation for integrity helping “your side” out of a big mess, you’ll get it. But you will obviously not get it for free. Wait until the price goes up and the price goes up. That’s on you. If it plays out that way, that’s your doing, not mine.

    I’m kind and I’m generous. Please don’t mistake my kindness and generosity for foolishness, my Goon friend.

    Rob

  14. Rob says

    You have become less successful over time, not more.

    Good point.

    Even Wade Pfau said so.

    After you Goons threatened to get him fired from his job for the “crime” of posting honestly on safe withdrawal rates.

    Bernie Madoff lives in a jail cell today, Evidence. He thought financial fraud was a big joke too.

    Do what you want. I care about the millions of people whose lives you have destroyed. I will stay true to them before I will debase myself and betray them to cut a “deal” with the likes of you.

    My best wishes to you and yours.

    Rob

  15. Rob says

    Catastrophically unproductive doesn’t even begin to describe it.

    Says the fellow who hangs out with Mel Lindauer and John Greaney.

    Rob

  16. Rob says

    I think you truly are a hopeless case.

    If the “hope” is that someday I will agree to post dishonestly on the safe withdrawal rate, I think it would be fair to say that you are beginning to see the light, Goon friend.

    Rob

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