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Chroniclers of the current mania may enjoy the following couple of chain letters doing the rounds.
Talk about abrogation of responsibility for your own short-comings...

They're long but amusing...

E-mail 1

By Tom Martin
aka “Steve Tracy”
aka “Firebird_1965”

Today I want to come clean about something I feel very badly about. I
cannot undo some of the things I have done, but hopefully this message
will prevent other such occurrences in the future.

I am a paid basher.

Yes, it is true. Today is my last day at this company; I'm moving on
to a new job. But before I go, I want to explain a few things because
this just isn't right and I won't feel good about myself until I
expose this sham. It's hurt too many people and I don't want it on my
conscience anymore. I can no longer live with a lie.

I work for a company called Franklin, Andrews, Kramer & Edelstein in
Stamford, CT. Basically, it's a Boiler Room much like the one in the
movie of the same name. The idea behind my group is to bash the price
of a company's stock down low enough to where the group of investors
who retained our company's services can buy the stock
really cheap and perhaps even take it over all together.

There are approximately 70 people at the company divided into several
groups. My group, consisting of 5 people, is responsible for BIFS.
While I probably shouldn't give any names of anyone working here now,
what the heck, I'm leaving here, so what can they do – sue me? Ha! I
can tell you that GUTTWRENCH was part of my group until he left last
week, as was Richardphx. Others who have been part of this include
bashers like Epiphonics and Simontaz. You may be interested to know
that some hypsters, such as Amato7 and BIFWATCHER, have also been part
of the scam (more on that later).

There are several companies engaged in the bashing business – ours is
not the only one. However, I can tell you that not every basher in
here is a paid basher. Having done this for two years, I can usually
tell who is a paid basher and who is merely someone having a little
fun. While unpaid bashers have a different motive than someone like
me, they can be unwilling accomplices to helping me achieve my
ultimate goal and they also spread rumor and confusion throughout a
room, which also helps me.

What is that goal? Well, I am merely a cog in a much larger machine,
so my bosses never really explained the big picture to me, but I'd say
essentially, GUTTWRENCH was right. There are several companies who are
quite familiar with SWOMI and who are deathly afraid of it.

There are three types of bashers here at Franklin, Andrews, Kramer &
Advanced, Intermediate and Beginner. An Advanced-level basher (also
known as a Silver Tongued Devil) would spread false or misleading
information about the company. They would deal in facts, countering
every longs post with articles, news reports and opinion surveys that
gave a negative impression about the company.

An Intermediate-level basher (also known as a Serpent) would try to
weasel their way into the confidence of longs and create doubt using
rumor or innuendo.

Finally, a Beginner-level basher (also known as a Pitchfork) would
attempt to create confusion in the room by distracting other posters
with satire, name calling and pointless arguments. The idea was to
make sure no serious discussion of the stock could take place. A
Pitchfork was usually a basher, but not always. Sometimes, we
would throw in a hypster Pitchfork such as Amato7 or BIFSWATCHER to
create the illusion of an argument going on. What was really funny (in
a perverse way, I guess) was that Amato7 and I sat next to each other,
laughing the whole time.

I was a Pitchfork. I was paid a base wage of $12 an hour for my
services. I was given a $1 bonus for every post over 100 per day as
well as a monthly bonus of $100 for every penny the stock had dropped
from the previous month. I was also paid a bonus for bashing on
weekends. While this may not sound like much, I made a decent, though

dishonorable, paycheck.

Each of us sat in a small half-cubicle in a cluster with our
teammates. Each group
(usually five people) was made of three beginners (two who would bash
and one who would hype), one intermediate and one advanced level
basher. Occasionally for some of the hotter stocks, one of the
beginners would be replaced by an intermediate depending on how much
the stock was rising. BIFS was a low-level stock, meaning it
got the 3-1-1 configuration. Somehow, I get the feeling that JPACK2
may have worked for a basher company or knows someone who does because
the “Basher Handbook” he occasionally posts is
eerily similar to the one we actually use. While not a word-for-word
match, I'd say it is about 90 percent the same. We do have certain
rules that we follow.

First, we have to develop a character and stay within that character
in order to build a
“following.” My character, “Firebird_1965,” was a sarcastic, obnoxious
supporter of free speech, but only when it came to bashers.

Next, we had to follow certain guidelines on what we could say. We
were urged to have an “answer” to every long's question, but we were
to frame that answer in a way that ridiculed the questioner for asking
such a question. However, we were never to use profanity or vulgarity
because that would cause people to ignore us. We were to make fun of
people, but in a civil way. The idea was to get “play,” i.e. –
reaction from other posters. The more play we got, the more the room
would be disrupted. Ignored posters get no play. One exception would
be the hypster – since they were “defending” the stock against our
onslaught, they got a little more leeway. People would side with the
hypster because they thought he was real since he appeared to be on
their side, but was really on ours, setting us up to disrupt the room.
Padelcars is quite good at this and gets paid very well.

I've worked on BIFS for about three months now. In addition to the
Firebird_1965 alias, I've used a few others on the BIFS and several
other boards as well. I stuck with Firebird_1965 because it was the
one that got the most play from other posters.

In closing, I feel absolutely terrible about this. It's just awful how
I've been part of a scam designed to cheat honest, hard-working people
out of their investments all for the
benefit of a few wealthy people who already have enough money to last
a lifetime. These greedy people MUST be stopped. That's why I'm
posting this before I leave. I want to make up for some of the damage
I've done. I can't live with this lie anymore. You can't imagine how
hard it is to look at myself in the mirror each morning knowing my job
is to cheat and lie.

I have to go now, I'm too broken up to continue. I hope this
confession can make up for my sordid deeds; I would urge everyone who
reads this to copy and repost it as many times as you can. Only by
shining the light of truth can we drive these rats back into the
darkness from whence they came. Believe me, they don't want publicity.

With fervent remorse,

Tom Martin

E-mail 2

LEARNING is a process and an evolution. Learning is not all fluff. Learning is a process of awareness and unfolding development; one must be willing to work at it though.
A year ago when I asked broker friends of mine if the internet message boards will have any affect on a stock. They ALL laughed at me and said those idiots having an affect on a stock !
A truth:

Well I asked those same friends this last week, and the answer from all YES! message boards and "shorts"(some) can manipulate with lies, and deceit.

Now think about that, you have elderly that invest and find their way to the message boards only to see false posts about "SEC Violations" and "Class action suits" or you have a Yuppie with a kid to put in college going to these message boards only to see posts by 15-20 (probably 5 or 6 under alias) "pack of shorts" posting the same false stuff about SEC Violations or lawsuits or "there's bad news coming out" ....what do you think they will do ?

It's easier to sell the stock and put the money into the bank for nervous people like the elderly and the Yuppie who needs college funds. THAT'S WHO THE PACK OF SHORTS PRAY ON AND DEPEND ON. They bet on a stock to go down-not up! Understand? And they have just as much money and risk as you. But they have the edge of fear, lies, falsehoods to post and pray on the nervous. Longs don't have that.

Watch the board for stocks with no potential. They never have any bashers. Bashers only go after stocks that are going upwards or have excellent potential to go up. Bashers get left behind, so they want to bring the price down to be able to get in at a great price.

Lesson 2:
BASHERS ALWAYS BRING UP OLD NEWS THAT YOU HAVE HEARD MANY TIMES. New startup companies always have a few bits of bad news. The basher will post this over and over again. The stupid basher will try to make the old news a bit fresher to try to fool you.

Lesson 3:
BASHERS POST MANY TIMES A DAY. They try to wear you out. They comment on everything, every other post, and can answer every question. THEY KNOW IT ALL! There is no positive comment they won't bash. They try to control the board. True longs may have to address the bashers or they will appear to the newbies as being the people with all the information.
Lesson 4:
BASHERS WILL LIE TO YOUR FACE. Never trust a basher. The truth on startup companies is that many mistakes are made and losses happen. The basher will try to make you believe all startup companies make a profit, release financials every quarter and all aspects of the business run smoothly. THIS IS NOT TRUE. THE BASHERS LIE TO YOU. Startup companies can go years without profits, financials and good business, this is the nature of the beast.

Lesson 5:
The bashers know YOU CAN'T VERIFY THEIR STATEMENTS. That's why they make the statements they do.

Lesson 6:
The bashers PLAY ON YOUR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE. They can lie about information and you couldn't know the difference (unless you have done your assessment of the company and know the truth and facts).

Lesson 7:
Bashers play on your lack of patience. YOU have held a stock for a while. You knew it will be a big stock someday, but the BASHER CAN GET TO YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE TIRED OF WAITING FOR YOUR GAIN. That's when the basher is best. You are tired. You have forgotten the goal for the stock was to hold it for one year. The basher is bothersome, so you dump it on a bad day. Some others also dump. Then you get mad for your loss and return to let everyone know how mad you are. Then you turn into a basher as well. THE BASHER HAS WON, AND GAINED A NEW PARTNER, TOO.

Lesson 8:
BRING THE PRICE DOWN. That is the basher's job. The truth is not important. Lies are the norm. Post continuously on the board every day. They are trying to hit the newbies visiting the board. They are trying to wear out the longs on the board. They do whatever it takes to wear the longs out.

Lesson 9:
BASHERS WILL TRY TO CREAT DOUBT AND GET YOU TO RESEARCH ITEMS THAT THEY KNOW WILL LEAD TO THE CREATION OF DOUBT IN YOU AND IN OTHER STOCKHOLDERS. A typical trick of an advanced basher is to propose that there is a potential "problem" because "we" don't have the facts on a particular subject. The basher dares someone in the group to find out the answer to the question. The basher already knows the answer; the basher already knows what will be found. The power of this tactic is that the basher is now in control of the actions of the stockholders; the basher has you, the stockholder doing HIS/HER due diligence and when you, the stockholder come back to the group with a questionalbe finding then the basher gains credibility. What to do??? Solution??? Well, I think it's important to find answers but on your own terms. I actually pick up the phone and call the company and talk to the investor relations person or the CEO until I get a satisfactory answer. The problem here is that the advanced basher has you doing his bidding and his work; you have essentially joined his ranks. So, develop your own little Due Diligence package and answer questions by placing the information into the package and referring all new investors to read the answers to questions raised in the Investor Information package but DON'T GET INTO A CONVERSATION WITH THE BASHER REGARDING THE TOPIC. THAT IS WHERE YOU LOSE. DON'T CONVERSE WITH THE BASHER; ANSWER INDIRECTLY; DON'T USE THE BASHERS NAME; DON'T GET INTO A PERSONALITY CONTEST.

A BASHERS HANDBOOK: know the enemy who wishes to steal your money!

Do not underestimate a bashers influence on a stock. The Pro's are good at what they do and what they do is profit from your losses. Below is their "hand-book" so to speak. Learn from it or donate your money to those who make an organized plan to steal your money!
1. Be annonymous
2. Use 10% fact. 90% suggestion. The facts will lend credibility to your suggestions.
3. Let others help you learn about the stock. Build rapport and a support base before initiating your bashing routine. 4. Enter w/ humor and reply to all who reply to you.
5. Use multiple ISP's, handles and aliases.
6. Use two (2) or more aliases to simulate a discussion.
7. Do not start with an all out slam of the stock. Build to it.
8. Identify your foes (hypsters) and the boards "guru" Use them to your advantage. Lead them do not follow their lead.
9. Only bash until the tide/momentum turns. Let doubt carry it the rest of the way.
10. Give the appearance of being open minded.
11. Be bold in your statements. People follow strength.
12. Write headlines in caps with catchy statements.
13. Pour it on as your position gains momentum. Not your personality.
14. Don't worry about being labeled a "basher". Newbies won't know your history.
15. When identified put up a brief fight, then back off. Return in an hour unless your foe is a weak in reasoning powers.
16. Your goal is to limit the momentum of the run. Not to tank the company or create a plunge in the stock; be subtle and consistent.
17. Kill the dreams of profits, not the company or the stock.
18. Use questions to create critical thinking. Statements to reinforce facts.
20. Encourage people to call the company. 99% won't. They'll take your word for claims made. If they do call you can always find something that is inaccurate in how they report their findings.
21. Discourage people for taking the companies word for anything. Encourage them to call the company. They won't out of laziness.
22. If the companies history/PR's are negative constantly point to that. Compile a list of this data prior to beginning your efforts.
23. If the price rises blame it on the hype or the PR, temporary mass reaction, the market, etc. Anything but the stock itself.
24. If other posters share your concerns, play on that and share theirs too.
25. Always cite low volume, even when it's not.
26. Three or four aliases can dominate a board and wear down the longs.
27. Bait the hypsters into personal debates putting their focus/efforts on you and not the stock or facts. Divert thier attention from facts. Show them the facts from a "different angle."
28. Promote other stocks that would-be investors can turn to instead of the one your bashing.
30. Do not fall for challenges on the "values" of what you are doing, it's a game and you are playing it with your own rules.


Advanced Basher: Will join the message board early and actually "pump" the stock with positives; this basher is very intelligent, has the facts of the company, actually helps longs with Due Diligence and generally gets the confidence of the stockholders. Then, when the stock hits their price, the tone will change and they will start asking longs to check into this and check into that. The seeds of doubt are being planted. This basher will then start using all the tactics listed on this page to create seeds of doubt. ALWAYS LOOK AT THE PROFILE OF A PERSON YOU SUSPECT. ASK WHAT STOCKS THEY'VE "SUPPORTED" IN THE PAST AND CHECK OUT THE MESSAGE BOARD. An honest person will have a positive track record that can be followed. I strongly believe that a contrarian view is needed but this person is out to steal your money and does it by deception and creates fear after gaining confidence! BEWARE, this is the most clever basher and the hardest to spot.

Grade A Basher:
Posts lots of old news, responds to all positive posts with a negative side. Never responds to being called a basher, never posts on another board. Can spend up to 80 hours a week bashing a stock.

Grade B Basher:
Very good way with words, always claims to be your "friend" taking the positive poster into confidence, never posts on another board, spends about 60 hours a week.

Grade C Basher:
Spends less time than the others but is somewhat effective and gets a C grade due to getting excited when bashers rules say not to get excited, spends about 40 hours a week.

Grade D Basher:
Needs to learn the basics about being convincing when making a negative statement. Spends a good amount of time working the stock, maybe 20 hours a week.

Grade F Basher:
A complete idiot, most readers are not convinced he knows anything about stocks in general. The type that says a stock "sucks", but gives no rationale, shows up every so often but no regular schedule.

WHY BASH?: MONEY (the usual reason), SPORT, ENTERTAINMENT. Some bashers are compelled to bash because they are inherently a part of the dark side of life so they must do it. It's a sad fact but never the less, a fact. It's life so you must learn how to deal with it or become a victim

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No. of Recommendations: 2
One thing that seems to have been carved out from the orginal as it has made its rounds is the very last line:

"and if you believe this... lol"

Here's the original:

Still, it is an amazing commentary on the lack of personal responsibility that people take in regard to their investments. Pretty telling that the board this came from has over 220,000 posts, and the stock is currently priced at $0.31.

Then again, since the stock is priced so low, it MUST be a steal, right? Mebbe I need to reread the five-step program.

Fool on-
Bill Mann

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One thing that seems to have been carved out from the orginal as it has made its rounds is the very last line:
"and if you believe this... lol"

Thanks Bill - notice the initials of the firm the poster works for as well - FAKE. What is amazing is how often this post is cropping up on UK bulletin boards and brandished at anyone who dares make a reasonable attempt at evaluating a .com (surprisingly estimating it 10 times overvalued, whatever...) I mean why are we even looking at the company boards if we don't own the stock , right? We must be paid bashers too.

To be honest all manias and crashes have ended up with a witch-hunt for potential culprits. The South-Sea bubble was a great example of this. This is just the modern version- but if enough people say "Me too!" things can get pretty ugly. Enough rambling for now.

Please vote.

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No. of Recommendations: 4
One thing I find amusing is that both letters go into the "levels" of bashers. Bashers get promoted from Class C to Class B, from "Pitchfork" to "Serpent" to "Silver-tongued Devil."

With 80,000 experience points (Grand Master of Bashers), does one gain the ability of Quivering PALM?
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