Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
Jacob ran your column for years, but now he’s too scared. Obviously something changed. You seem to be trying hard not to mention Sammy Soda.
Sammy’s abusiveness and my responses to it obviously are what brought about the change. I certainly don’t say different.
Some of Sammy’s comments were just obvious garbage. My standard response to those was to say: “My best and warmest wishes to you and yours, Sammy.” I don’t think that those comments and responses caused any problem. My sense is that Jacob is pretty darn tolerant of abusive comments (I see them appear at other places at the site). And he obviously would not have any problem with me offering my best wishes to someone who posted at the site. So I don’t think those interactions caused any problems.
I believe that the ones that caused a problem were the ones where you Goons would ask about who will be going to prison after this all comes out or about Wade Pfau being intimidated and agreeing to stop posting his honest views about safe withdrawal rates and about Bogle supporting you Goons and other items along those lines. You Goons put forward those comments as part of an effort to force Jacob to take action.
If Jacob ignores my responses letting people know about criminal activity, he could be sued for doing so. The lawsuits would lack merit. But the Wall Street Con Men have lots of money and lots of motivation to keep this stuff from coming out and people with lots of money can bring lawsuits whether there is merit to them or not. Those lawsuits can cause lots of problems for people who are doing nothing wrong but who go ahead and do good things even after being warned by the wrongdoers that there will be a price to pay for “crossing” them.
It is my belief that something like that happened. I cannot give details any more than I can give details re precisely what threats were made to persuade Wade Pfau to flip. But something was said and whatever was said scared Jacob and here we are. We have seen this same general pattern repeat over and over again over the course of the past 13 years. This is what Goons do. And this is what Wall Street Con Men encourage Goons to do.
I obviously knew what was going on when you Goons first started putting up comments of that nature. I could have taken a pass and just ignored those comments or wrote “I wish you all good things” in response to them. If I did that, I would still have the column today. I loved writing the column. And I knew I was taking a risk of having the column cancelled by giving the responses that I did. So I gave some consideration to playing it the other way. I elected to respond to those comments or questions honestly. I said the things that permitted you to go to Jacob with threats of lawsuits.
I don’t regret it. I regret losing the column. I didn’t write about those super-sensitive issues in the column entries themselves because I didn’t want to see the column cancelled. But the reality here is that those questions were important questions. Buy-and-Hold was discredited by the peer-reviewed research in this field 34 years ago. Investors understand this. I have had many middle-class investors tell me that they see that Valuation-Informed Indexing makes perfect sense. They say that their reluctance to buy into it is that they cannot figure out why all the experts don’t endorse it given how much sense it makes. People need an explanation of why experts in this field continue to endorse Buy-and-Hold 34 years after Shiler published his “revolutionary” research showing that there is precisely zero chance that it could ever work for even a single long-term investor either in this solar system or in some far distant one.
So people need to know about the financial fraud stuff.
The financial fraud stuff depresses people. And it scares people. People hate it when I talk about that stuff. So my inclination is to limit my discussion of it to the greatest extent possible when I am posting somewhere other than at this site. But, when you Goons force the matter, I don’t think it is right to duck it. You are raising real questions. Wade Pfau loves Valuation-Informed Indexing. He thinks it is the future. He fully gets it that the Old School SWR studies need to be corrected. He was the first person to write to the authors of the Trinity study requesting a correction. But Wade is a father and he wants to be able to put food on the table for his family. And so he agreed to stop posting honestly and to stop publishing honest research so that he could appease the Wall Street Con Men and you Goons. That’s the story here. That’s how the Wall Street Con Men have been able to keep this cover-up going for 34 years –through intimidation. They put forward hints that they will destroy the careers of those who insist on their right to post honestly and those of us who possess a desire to post honestly self-censor ourselves to preserve out abilities to feed our families.
The questions are real. It all needs to come out. We need a ten-part series on the front page of the New York Times. Once we see the ten-part series, none of us will be afraid anymore. We all will be posting honestly every day like it is the most natural thing in the world. That’s the place where we all want to be. Including Bogle. Including you Goons.
How do we get there?
Someone has to tell the true and full story.
There’s no other way.
I think it would be fair to say that I have been elected.
So, when you Goons leave me with no other choice, I go there.
I don’t regret going there. I regret the result of my doing so. But the questions you raised in those posts were real and I see it as my job to respond honestly to those sorts of questions when asked. All of the fraud stuff needs to get out. It will all come to an end when it gets out. When those of us who want to post honestly react in fear, we make matters worse. Perhaps not for ourselves but certainly for the country we love. If ten of us worked up the courage to show complete honesty re these matters, we could bring Buy-and-Hold down in little time. But it does take courage to get the ball rolling. It’s hard to be one of the ones posting honestly when there are not yet nine others protecting your back.
Sammy killed the column with those questions. I responded knowing what the result might be. I concluded that I wouldn’t be doing my job if I failed to respond to those questions. I did the right thing, Jacob got scared and the column died.
These things happen in this mixed-up world of ours from time to time. I am like everyone else. I would like to bring the nasty stuff to a full and complete stop. Where I am different is that I see clearly that we can never bring it to a full and complete stop by ducking the hard questions That hasn’t worked for 34 years running. We need to address these matters, bring them out into the open. When it means that we lose columns that we love writing, we have to accept that that is the price we are going to have to pay to bring this Buy-and-Hold Crisis to an end. There is no other way to get the job done.
I love my country. That’s the bottom line. I loved my column at the ValueWalk.com site that I wrote for six years. But I love my country more. When you Goons forced me to choose between the two, I chose my country. I believe strongly that I made the right choice.
I hope that helps a bit.