Rob Bennett to the Morningstar.com Site Administrator: “A Poster Named ‘Galeno’ [This Was Greaney's #1 Supporter on the Board] Put Forward Four Consecutive Posts Rejecting Out of Hand the Idea of Substantive Discussion and Putting Forward Threats of Physical Violence Against Me. One Was a Threat to Come to My House with a Baseball Bat to Kill My Wife and Children”

Yesterday’s blog entry reported on an e-mail that I sent to the Morningstar.com site administrator on April 18, 2006, relating to abusive posting by Mel Linduaer (co-author of the book “The Bogleheads Guide to Investing”). I sent a follow-up e-mail later that day. I will report tomorrow on the response that I received from Morningstar.

Mstar Casey:

This is my second response to your e-mail. The earlier response supplied the background facts. This post provides links.

Here is a link to a post put forward by Greaney (he posts as “Intercst.”):

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17762586&sort=postdate

Mark33 asked that the personal attacks stop and that a substantive discussion be permitted. A poster named “Galeno” (this was Greaney’s #1 supporter on the board) put forward four consecutive posts rejecting out of hand the idea of substantive discussion and putting forward threats of physical violence against me. One of these was a threat to come to my house with a baseball bat to kill my wife and children.

The posts making the threats were deleted, but there is a quote to one of the threats in the post linked above. The section quoted reads: ” No way! I, for one, am against any and all “substantive” discussions with or about brickhead (aka hocus). I want Jihad! I say let loose the dogs of personal attack. The nastier the better as far as I’m concerned.” Greaney put forward the post linked above, endorsing the threats.

Here is a link to a post in which Greaney reports that he has received an e-mail from Galeno saying that he was suspended from the board for putting up the posts that made the threats of violence. I did not report the threats. Some other community member obviously did so.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=17765010&sort=postdate

Greaney speaks in opposition to the suspension, implicitly endorsing the threats. This endorsement did far more harm to the board than did the actual threats, as Greaney was founder of the board and respected by a number of community members. A large number of our best posters left in the following months.

This is a link to a post by Prometheuss, another leading Greaney supporter. The post comments on a death threat put forward by Galeno and comments negatively on the fact that the death threat post was removed.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=18207722&sort=postdate

Prometheuss: “My comment on galeno’s post was pulled for ‘incivility’. First, I want to apologize to galeno if he took offense at my ‘rude or discourteous’ post. Saying, “You doctors should stick to your drugs and leave bullets to soldiers like me” was rude and demonstrated a lack of courtesy to galeno on my part. Anyway, I will try to cover the important points I was trying to make in a non-offensive way here. Most folks think they know a lot about guns from watching movies or TV, but things are a lot different in the real world….”

Please let me know if you have further question re this matter or need further examples of the nature of the problem that I was making reference to in the post that I put to the Morningstar board.

Rob

Comments

  1. Diversified Investor says

    So Rob, what action did Morningstar take – besides banning you – after they received your email?

  2. Rob says

    I’m posting Morningstar’s response tomorrow.

    They told me to consider their response a warning of a ban that might be to come.

    I was not banned until some later.

    Rob

  3. Drip Guy says

    Did I miss something?

    I saw no death threat, and no link to a death threat.

    I saw Rob here on the Plop, TALKING about some supposed threat… but I certianly have seen no post containing a death threat yet, other than the one Mr. Bennett himself has made.

  4. Rob says

    Buy-and-Holders hardly ever are able to “see” the death threats posted by other Buy-and-Holders, Drip Guy.

    This is one of many reasons why I oppose The Stock-Selling Industry’s relentless promotion of Get Rich Quick strategies.

    Get Rich Quick demeans us all. It not only destroys our portfolio values. It robs us of our souls.

    I wish you all good things, my long-time Goon friend.

    Rob

  5. Drip Guy says

    Apparently the authorities as well as the the lawyers you supposedly went to are Goons too, then Rob, since no one but you ever seems to have seen anything even close to resembling a physical threat towards you or the fam — something I must admit that I frankly find astounding, given the general nature of discourse on the web (and the nut-quotient) combined with your own special talent and unique flair for inflaming people you have never even met over the last decade.

    Quite the legacy you leave the children to learn of, Rob.

  6. Rob says

    Many have seen it, Drip Guy.

    The ones who speak out are banned. The ones who silence themselves are not banned. Do the math and figure out what sorts of comments re this matter you are more likely to see at boards owned by people who see another quick buck to be made by promoting Buy-and-Hold strategies one more day or one more month or one more year.

    The Buy-and-Holders achieved an amazing breakthrough when they put forward the idea of rooting one’s strategies in the academic research. Once we do that, we can never again be tricked by those pushing Get Rich Quick strategies. We are in that sense the luckiest group of investors who ever inhabited Planet Earth.

    But what happens if the first-draft effort at developing a research-backed strategy is done at a time when all the research is not yet completed? In that case, we have two choices as a society when the new research comes in. We can adopt the new research and continue moving forward in our quest to become ever more effective investors. Or we can adopt a Social Taboo against honest posting on the new research and thereby continue for a time promoting and following the research-discredited ideas.

    There’s no reason why that second choice cannot seem to work for awhile. But there’s a very good reason why it cannot continue to work indefinitely. The research of the past 30 years shows that Buy-and-Hold will always in the long run cause losses so huge as to bring on an economic crisis. There has never in 140 years been an exception and there never can be one.

    I vote for permitting honest posting. Doing that takes us from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression to the strongest period of economic growth we have ever experienced.

    You vote for ever larger helpings of hate and anger and contempt and abuse.

    For so long as many of us are too afraid or ashamed or compromised or ignorant to accept that it was the relentless promotion of the purest and most dangerous GRQ strategy ever concocted by the human mind that caused the economic crisis, the hate and anger and contempt and abuse dished out by the Buy-and-Holders will escalate.

    Then, one day, some influential person will decide that he or she has seen enough and he or she will make a public statement that will free all of us to disassociate ourselves from you Goons in every possible way. I will pray for you on that day, my old Goon friend. I obviously do not approve of the behavior you have evidenced over the past 10 years. But I also like to think that I am not the sort of person who would ever wish on any fellow human (and you possess some humanity beneath your Goonishness, I am certain) what you will find yourself being put through on that day and on every day that follows that day for many years to come.

    The hand of kindness is extended to you, Goon friend. If the consensus is that you should receive a 30-year prison sentence, I will be putting forward words arguing that it should only be 25 years. If the consensus is that you should receive a 25-year prison sentence, I will be putting forward words arguing that it should be 20 years. Vengence is nowheresville. We have an economy to rebuild. We should be focused on all the wonderful insights we have developed together over the course of the past 10 years, not on what happens to the Goons.

    I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors. Goon friend.

    Rob

  7. Rob says

    How many dared to blow the whistle on Sandusky when it would have done some good for his victims to do so?

    Lots of people put forward brave words today and say they surely would have spoken out if they had been in a postion to do the right thing.

    But in the real world, how many stepped up to the plate? How many were willing to see their careers destroyed by the Penn State Machine?

    I think it would be fair to say that the Wall Street Machine has 500 times the wealth and power of the Penn State Machine.

    It doesn’t follow that there will never come a day when influential people will speak out. We have people in this county who risked their lives in wars to protect our system of government from destruction. Those sorts of people will speak out when the Buy-and-Hold Crisis becomes the Buy-and-Hold Depression.

    People are in the process of working up their nerve, Goon friend.

    You will have your prison term yet and I think it would be fair to say that it will be a long one. Please try to be patient. These things take time to work themselves out.

    My best wishes to you and yours.

    Rob

  8. Rob says

    Quite the legacy you leave the children to learn of, Rob.

    I think it would be fair to say that a $500 million settlement payment will go a long way to covering their college tuition expenses, even at today’s prices, Drip Guy.

    Please take good care of yourself.

    Rob

  9. Diversified Investor says

    “They told me to consider their response a warning of a ban that might be to come.”

    So I take it that Morningstar couldn’t find the death threats in the links you provided?

  10. What says

    Well, clearly Casey was the subject of goon threats so he wasn’t able to help rob in his courageous quest to post long winded monologues on the Internet.

    The goon conspiracy is vast and reaches the highest levels of society.

    Uhhhh, right.

  11. Rob says

    So I take it that Morningstar couldn’t find the death threats in the links you provided?

    They obviously did find them, Diversified. I mentioned above that they threatened to ban me. Why would there be a cover-up if there had been no death threats in the first place?

    Rob

  12. Rob says

    The goon conspiracy is vast and reaches the highest levels of society.

    Stocks were priced at three times fair value in 2000, What. How could that be if this didn’t reach to the highest levels of society?

    To price something improperly is fraud, no? In 2000, every stock portfolio in the United States was priced at three times its fair value. That’s fraud on a scale that has never before been seen in the history of Planet Earth.

    That’s why it has been hard for us as a society to deal with this. We all are at least vaguely aware of the problem. But we are all also ashamed of our behavior in participating in the millions of tiny acts of fraud that over time accumulated into the largest case of financial fraud ever seen in the history of Planet Earth. So we duck the issue. We rationalize. We wait for someone else to “do something” about the economic crisis.

    The only thing to do is to solve the problem. And we cannot solve it without working up the courage to talk about it. And there is no one other than us to do the talking. We are the problem. Either we as a people agree to learn together how stock investing works in the real world as revealed by the last 30 years of academic research or we watch our economic system collapse. There are no others to save us. It’s only us.

    I wish you all good things, What.

    Rob

  13. Rob says

    Uhhhh, right.

    My ideal weight is 200 pounds (I’m 6’3”.) I hadn’t weighed myself for about five years until I did about three months ago and came in at 258. (As of yesterday I am down to 240).

    If you had told me five years ago that someday I would weigh 258, I would have said what you say here — “Uhhhh, right.” That seems impossible. But I did something that MADE it possible.

    I stopped weighing myself.

    Once I did that, my capacity for self-deception skyrocketed. I could tell myself all kinds of lies about how three more cookies are not going to matter so long as I never stepped on a scale and learned the objective reality. Had I stepped on a scale, I might have learned four years ago that I needed to lose 20 pounds. I knew that I didn’t want to see what the scale said. So I stopped looking. And I got myself into circumstances in which I needed to lose 60 pounds, not 20 pounds.

    That’s what we did when we embraced Buy-and-Hold. Buy-and-Hold is the “Never Step on a Scale Again” approach to stock investing. Buy-and-Holders have no ideas what their portfolios are worth because they don’t bother to make valuation adjustments.

    Why do they not do this? Because they like to eat cookies without considering the consequences just as much as all the rest of us. The problem with not stepping on a scale for years is that one day you look up and see that you have created a problem so big that it is going to take an economic crisis to straighten things out.

    We can step on the scale or we can refuse to step on the scale.

    If we don’t step on the scale, we die.

    I am the guy saying to step on the scale. So you and the other Buy-and-Holders hate me with a burning passion.

    So be it. I love you guys and I don’t want to see you die.

    I cannot force you to step on the scale, What. There’s no law that says you have to pay attention to a word I say.

    But neither is there a law saying that you can stop me from telling my Buy-and-Hold friends that they very much need to step on a scale. So I am going to keep on doing it.

    I hope that someday you will thank me.

    If you don’t, you don’t. Even if you don’t, I’ll be able to say when you die that I gave it my best shot.

    We all have to be able to live with ourselves. I cannot live with myself if I lie to my friends about the numbers they use to plan their retirements.

    So I suppose that you are going to have to go on hating me with a burning passion.

    I don’t hate you. I think of you as a friend. I wish you all good things. But get on that scale, you big dummy!

    Rob

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