Hit and Run No. CLXXXIII


As the subtext of Mark O.

Barton's Peach State short

squeeze quickly makes the

transition from "day-trading

massacre" to "real-life

Stepfather," you may find

yourself in need of a top-down

analysis. If so, tune in tomorrow

for our special team coverage of

the tragedy. In the meantime,

we'd sooner bring sound man

Mike on our next camping trip

than test the market's new

volatility. But an interview

with Tokyo Joe's Societe

Anonyme, the polyglot investment

guru whose advice for individual

investors has made him one of

the most sought-after bons

vivants in the world of finance,

helped dispel our fears. Joe

spoke with us from his vacation

spot in Milan:

Are you at all concerned for
your own safety?

Not really. I think there
are other people who are
more worried than I am,
because I've always been
straightforward. There are
other people who probably
prefer not to be named, but
they should be more worried
than I am.

Barton was doing
his trading at a trading room,
rather than from his home,
where he presumably wouldn't
have been able to find as many
victims. Do you think some of
the killing might have been
averted if he'd just been
trading from home with
RealTick software and
following your investing

I thought about him
quite a lot, and I think
his problem wasn't really
trading. It was something
besides trading. And even
though he used that as an
excuse, I don't think his
actions proceeded from what he
went through as a trading

Well he had lost a lot
of money, apparently….

How much did he lose? Did
they prove how much he lost?

According to Newsweek,
he lost $87,500 in June. And
Momentum Securities refused
to reopen his account because
he had to cover $100,000 on

So that just proves
the point that day trading's
not for everybody, doesn't it?

Well that's my next question:
Do you think people who are
potentially dangerous should
be day trading?

No, if you go to my Web site,
you'll see my post that 99
percent of new day traders lose
money their first month.
Besides, we're not really day
traders. If you look at our past
performance, we don't really go
for half points or quarter points
like these boiler rooms, where
they get a commission from the
trade. We go for a gain —
from two or three to maybe 50

Do you think there are
more people out there who
might be dangerous now that
the market's in trouble?

I'm sure there are, but it's my
job to make sure people don't
get hurt. That's why I've been
telling them to go into cash
for over a week now. I'm
telling people to sell everything.
I make no money by having people
trade. I'm not a brokerage.

What are you basing
your market advice on?

Momentum, the market
sentiment, the charts. Common
sense, basically.

When somebody goes crazy
like this…

I have no interest in this guy,
and I have no empathy for
him. I don't see why you're
doing this interview with me
in the first place. You should
talk to people like active traders,
those scam people in the chat rooms,
market makers who buy zillions
of shares and then pump it up
in the chat rooms. Talk to

So would there be less
physical danger if people were
investing more responsibly?

We're very responsible: That's
the point. The success of Tokyo
Joe's is because of that. That's
our advice — go into cash,
be defensive.

You mentioned market
sentiment. Does something like
this have any impact on market

Every August sucks. Experienced
people know that every August
sucks. All the market makers
go on holiday: They go to the
Hamptons. All of Europe shuts
down for one month. There's all
this window dressing coming up
end of the summer. You go cash,
especially after what happened
last year — Asia in July
and South America in October.
Rising oil prices, weakening
dollar, inflation worries …
you go cash! Why's it so hard?

What should I do at the end of

We always look ahead. We're
going to make some buys
after Labor Day, but nothing's
really happening until late
September or October. But I
think we're calming down from
the madness we've had over the
last three years.

Chairman Greenspan is
considering raising interest
rates again. Since that might
push some people over the edge,
should he take enraged day
traders into account before he
makes his decision?

How much can Mr. Greenspan
make it more clear? He talks
about the irrational exuberance
index. You had the biotech hype
10 years ago; you have Internet
hype now. It's going to become
more evaluation based. People
are going to want to know where
the beef is.

Would you see any way of
keeping crazy people from trading?

Yeah. Day trading firms should be
more honest. They should have more
strict screening procedures, more
responsible asset management in
terms of making sure the people
are as risk tolerant as they
claim to be. Ninety percent are
not. Some people even use credit
cards; some people even borrow off
their mortgages. It should not
be gambling.

Do you see a regulatory solution?
Should we pass NAFTA regulations
so that crazy people can't trade in
Mexico and Canada?

There should be more regulation. I
think the SEC is already going
toward more regulation. And
the market makers don't want
to have their business taken
away. It should be more

Should dangerous traders
occasionally be allowed to
win, say, $100,000 in cattle
futures to calm them down?

No, that's stupid. You're going
to have nuts in all sectors
of society. There were more
nuts in the post office, right?

But there's a great deal of
volatility in the day-trading

Only if you become a day
trader of the gambling kind.

Do you know what the "O"
stands for in Mark O. Barton?


Orrin. Do you think the
media keep calling him
Mark O. Barton to give his
name a Latin flavor?

I have no idea. All I know is
he was a nut case. He was not
a typical day trader.

What are you doing in

Every year I take a month, month-and-a-half
vacation in Europe. Play golf, relax.

Well enjoy your vacation.

Although Stanley Kubrick's Eyes

Wide Shut turned out to be a

painful, multihour-long dry

humping, it may well end up being the

most influential political film

since Wag the Dog. The fallout

from this one will likely be

less literally destructive than

the actual bombing of random

countries, but early indications

are that it isn't much prettier

to watch. Who can seriously

doubt that Hillary Clinton was

following CruiseKidman's lead in

fictively fucking her husband in

front of an audience during her

Talk magazine interview?

"It is love, isn't it?" asks

hard-hitting journalist Lucinda

Franks of the missus, who

replies,"Yes it is…. We have

love." Hillary's voyeuristic

chief of staff pipes in that she

has seen "physical passion" come

back into the lives of the First

Couple (roughly 5,000 hours of

Rivera Live, Hockenberry, and

Hannity & Colmes, along with two

boatloads of court documents and

a Barbara Walters interview with

'90s It Girl Monica Lewinsky,

suggest that physical passion

may never have left the

president's life). As with Eyes

Wide Shut — a movie that can

only be read as a failed,

multimillion-dollar attempt to

dispel rumors that Tom Cruise is

gay — the First Lady's sex

show is less than convincing (we

await Rudy Giuliani's testimony

that he, the true New

Yorker, bangs his on-again,

off-again second wife like

Reggie Jackson knocking homers

out of Yankee stadium). But we

are filled with millennial fear

and trembling that it marks the

beginning of a new age in

American politics, one in which

office-seekers, like movie

stars, feel a need to do

anything — even grind

through a Kubrickian "Me so

horny, love you long time"

routine — before we stuff

dollar bills in their G-strings.

No, it won't be pretty, but with

enough booze and self-delusion,

we may be able to kid ourselves

that it's the sort of très

sophisticated entertainment that

the French appreciate.

Family physicians have always

been wet blankets, but with the

American Academy of Pediatrics'

tough new rules on television

watching by the under-2 set, the

good docs might be going too

far. With its Orwellian ideas

about "development" and

"interaction with other people,"

the AAP is trying to put the

kibosh on one of the most

promising growth areas in

programming — TV for

toddlers. It's as if the

veterinarians had tried to shut

down TV for cats and dogs. But

just as Babyswim athletes and

French for Tots grads get the

full advantage of the tabula

rasa, we're confident that

babies who learn to change the

channel before they can change

diapers will have an

incalculable advantage over

their overprotected sluggard

peers. More ominously,

the AAP's plan to enlist

parents in limiting kids'

Internet usage does more than

just complicate educators'

love/hate relationship with the

information age. After all,

wouldn't prolonged exposure to

the Teletubbies Execution

Chamber do more to wean Junior

from the tube than another

lecture from Mom and Dad?

Nick Gillespie is editor-in-chief of reason. This story originally appeared in Suck, and can be viewed in that format here.