Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the Goon Central board:
Tell me Rob, what’s ethical about disclosing the contents of private emails sent to you against the wishes of the sender? Wade is not ashamed of anything he said in any of those e-mails, Yip. He is very, very PROUD of the work he did. Nothing could be more clear. He communicates this clearly over and over and over again.
He is AFRAID. He has financial responsibility for two small children. He knows how ruthless the Wall Street Mafia is. He doesn’t feel that he can afford to lose his job. That’s all.
And Wade is not the only one. Bogle has made clear in a number of his comments that he would like to feel free to post honestly. Swedroe would like to post honestly. Burnszzz would like to post honestly. Bernsteinzz would like to post honestly. Morningstar wants to permit honestzzz posting at its discussion boards. So does Motley Fool. So does the Early Retirement Forum. There are hundreds of bloggers who would like to be doing honest work. There are hundreds of personal finance journalists who would like to be doing honest work. There are tens of thousands of investment advisors who would like to be doing honest work.
How do you suggest that we make this happen?
So long as everyone is afraid, nothing good can happen. The Buy-and-Hold Mafia can cut us all off one by one.
Once a group of us stands together and INSISTS on our right to post honestly, we are all safe. There is not a thing that the Buy-and-Hold Mafia can do to us once we work up the courage to stand together.
We gain that courage by knowing that there are lots of others out there who want to see minimal ethical standards apply in this field, just as they do in every other field.
I did not intend to write reports on Wade’s e-mails when we were working on the research. There was no news value in them. The news value was in the research we produced together. That research changes the history of investing analysis. We showed millions of middle-class investors how to reduce the risk of stock investing by 70 percent. That’s Nobel-prize-quality stuff.
You committed felonies to keep that research from getting out to the millions of middle-class people who desperately need to know about it. Jack Bogle indicated that he is fine with that. That’s financial fraud. And not an ordinary case of it either. That’s the greatest act of financial fraud ever committed in the history of the United States.
Your felonies make Wade’s e-mails news. Your 11-year cover-up of the errors in the Old School SWR studies is the biggest economic and political story of any of our lifetimes. In that context, Wade’s e-mails become news.
All that said, I was careful about how I reported on what Wade said in the e-mails. I did not post the entire texts of the e-mails. I used quotes from Wade only when they were needed to tell the story effectively. I gave Wade the ability to control to a large extent how the story would be told. I posted every word he wrote to me in response to the posts on the e-mails and I collected all his responses in a single article so that people could easily gain access to any responses from him. I told him that I would be happy to run responses from him on every single e-mail if that is what he wanted. I told him that I would run the full texts of the e-mails if that is what he wanted (he asked that I do that in only one case and I followed his instructions).
I did not violate Wade’s privacy. He does not have a right to demand that I not provide the authorities evidence of multiple felonies when they are committed. And these are not ordinary felonies. These are felonies that caused the biggest economic crisis in U.S. history. These are felonies that have caused tens of thousands of businesses to fail and that have put millions of people out of work. These felonies have caused great political friction both from the left (the Occupy Wall Street movement) and from the right (the Tea Party movement). These felonies are likely to put us in the Second Great Depression in not too much more time. This is serious stuff, Yip.
Wade is embarrassed about the reports on the e-mails for only one reason — because he joined the cover-up and committed felonies in support of it himself. He doesn’t gain some magical right to have his felonies remain secret just because much of the evidence for his involvement is contained in e-mails to me.
It is my JOB to report on this story. I of course need to be fair to Wade in my reports. I have been fair to Wade in my reports.
And, to the extent that it was possible to avoid using Wade’s words in my reports, I think it made sense as a matter of charity to honor his wishes that I do that. I did indeed honor his wishes.
I would be committing a felony myself if I were to fail to report on the story. A journalist who knows about a story of this magnitude and who fails to report on it because some of those who committed the felonies are friends of his is himself participating in a cover-up.
No thanks. Find someone else.
I have reported the story. I will continue to report the story. I will always make every effort possible to be kind to those involved. But it is not only those who have committed felonies who matter here. There are millions of middle-class people whose hopes for retirement have been destroyed by this 11-year cover-up. Those people matter too. I need to balance their rights to learn what the last 32 years of peer-reviewed research tells us about what works in stock investing with Wade Pfau’s rights to keep personal things personal.
It’s not a personal matter anymore once you take acts that put the future of the country you live in in great jeopardy. My understanding is that Wade is currently a citizen of the United States. There are responsibilities that go with being a citizen of this country. One of Wade’s responsibilities was to report to the authorities the threats that were made to shut him up and to demand that those making the threats and those supporting those who made the threats be put in prison for their crimes. There are REASONS why the behavior you have engaged in is criminal behavior under the laws of the United States. The people of this nation adopted those laws as PROTECTION against people like you.
Wade has nothing to be ashamed of EXCEPT for his dealings with you Goons and his dealings with the Wall Street Con Men, Yip. That’s the bottom line here. If he wants to start feeling good about himself again, he needs to return to behaving ethically in the execution of his responsibilities as an academic researcher. If he feels that that is impossible given the realities that apply today, he needs to find another way of making a living. No one has the right to lend support to the sorts of individuals who have posted in “defense” of Mel Linduaer and John Greaney and their 11-year cover-up of the errors made in the Old School safe withdrawal rate studies.
I naturally hope that my good friend Wade enjoys all the best that this life has to offer a person.
I naturally wish the same for you, Yip.
Rob the Patriot and the Good Friend of Wade Pfau (a Fellow Who Has a Desire to Do the Right Thing for His Country Himself But Who Is at the Moment Too Afraid of What the Buy-and-Hold Mafia Would Do to Him)
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