Building has burned but no one cares

Discussion in 'Financial Cents' started by melbo, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member


    June 19, 2006

    Dialing 911

    Perhaps one of life’s greatest pleasures and passages occurs when children teach their parents to look at something in a different perspective. I experienced this event, just before Father’s Day no less, when my son Ross shared with me a thought of his.

    He said, "Dad, what would you do if a neighbor had a heart attack?" I told him I’d call 911 and attend to the neighbor as best I could until the EMS people arrived. He asked the same about a fire breaking out, or if I observed someone breaking into a home nearby. With slight variations, I answered these emergencies also involved calling 911. Knowing that I have labeled the recent developments in silver as an emergency and a crime in progress, he then asked me, "Why isn’t there a 911 you can call in that case?"

    We continued talking and it got me to thinking. One of the hallmarks of living in a civilized and lawful society is our assumption that when one dials 911 for a medical emergency, the EMS is going to arrive soon. Likewise for a fire or police emergency. We collectively pay significant taxes to maintain this safety infrastructure and dedicated men and women risk their lives daily to serve and protect us. If a 911 call is not responded to, there is, and should be, hell to pay by those responsible. If a false 911 call is made, the caller is, and should be, prosecuted in some way for abusing the system.

    Taken further, we have institutionalized our response to all known threats to the general safety and well being of our citizens. That is why we maintain our armed forces and government institutions to deal with everything from terrorists to natural disasters. Of course, we can find fault and take corrective measures when these institutions fail to measure up in execution, but certainly not to the point of advocating a complete dismantling of the Air Force, or FEMA, or the FBI, or the local Fire Department.

    The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is the police and fire department of the commodity futures market. They have an annual budget of over $100 million and are staffed with well over 500 employees. If you click on "about" on their web site ( the first thing you will read is the following –

    The mission of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is to protect market users and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to the sale of commodity and financial futures and options, and to foster open, competitive, and financially sound futures and option markets.

    Those are their words, not mine. I did not give them this mission, the US Congress did. I did not swear an oath to uphold the law and the Constitution, the CFTC did. I have not been charged with protecting the investing public from fraud, manipulation and abusive trading practices. The CFTC has been charged with, and has willfully accepted, that responsibility. Or al least, that is what they publicly proclaim.

    Imagine that your city or county just commissioned a state of the art fire or police department, costing tens of millions of dollars annually and staffed by hundreds of public servants. But instead of protecting and serving the citizens, it quickly became apparent that they never responded to fire or police emergencies. The 911 calls were received and recorded, just never acted upon. Buildings burned down and victims of crime were ignored. How long would that be tolerated?

    When you send a public warning to the chairman of the CFTC alleging a manipulation in a market, citing their own public data, that is their equivalent of a 911 call. Since the CFTC exists for this very purpose, it is reasonable to expect one of two things, namely, for them to act on the call or for them to chastise or punish you for making a false public allegation.

    The emergency phase in the silver market has now probably come and gone. The concentrated shorts appear to have flushed all margined long traders from the market that were possible to be liquidated. The building has burned down. Still no response from the CFTC. Unfortunately, this is standard procedure for the CFTC. To my knowledge, in the history of the CFTC, they have never interrupted a manipulation in progress. Never put out a fire, never stopped a crime in progress.

    I am coming to the opinion that the CFTC, just like a fire department that won’t respond to fire alarms, is doing more public harm than good by virtue of its very existence. It may be fostering the false security that someone is there to protect and that laws matter, when the opposite is true. By its inability or unwillingness to move against the manipulators, it is protecting them. If it were openly acknowledged that the CFTC was not there to protect the public, and was dismantled, the markets would adjust to that. At least we could save $100 million a year in taxes.

    I still feel it is important to prod the CFTC on the concentrated short position in COMEX silver. Over the past couple of weeks, I have written to the chairmen of the CFTC and the NYMEX/COMEX, as have many of you. I know this issue will be resolved, one way or another. Either the CFTC will take measures to end the concentration by the largest short traders, or they will be forced to explain why it isn’t the problem it appears to be.
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