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Like in “Lost” manipulators keep pushing the button

In the classic TV drama “Lost,” certain occupants of the mysterious island were tasked with the job of punching a sequence of numbers into a computer every 108 minutes to avert an unknown catastrophe.

If the digits and “execute” command were not entered on time, it was believed that all hell would break loose on the island and perhaps even in the world.

It was indeed a transcendent, “life-or- death” task of epic importance ... and also a plot point and riveting element of suspense of a great TV drama.

I often think about this “punch the numbers” plotline when I look at the price actions of gold and silver.

Just as on the TV show, I’ve decided that some mysterious players in a real-world drama have decided that similar, recurring actions must be taken to avert world economic catastrophe.

Instead of punching the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42, the “Powers that Be” execute buy and sale orders on the paper futures exchanges. They take these steps, like clockwork, to ensure that the prices of gold and silver do not rise above a level that has been identified as a doomsday number.

Whatever happens in the world, the numbers MUST be punched, all in the name of protecting the U.S. dollar to prevent some kind of apocalyptic event.

Like on the TV show, no one knows for certain what will happen if the numbers are not punched. Just that it’s probably something awful, something you don’t want to find out.

Safest scenario, even if you are a little skeptical about your task, push the damn buttons. Best NOT to find out what might happen.

And so at least once a day - almost always around 8 a.m. CST, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes after lunch when the prices have bounced back up after being driven down at 8 - the paper traders execute their assigned task. They push their buttons. Again.

What some of us call price “manipulation” should more accurately be described as “price suppression” or “price containment.”

If the “numbers aren’t pushed” (if prices are not halted from rising and then pushed down), they might get out of control and who knows what will happen after this.

In the “Swan station” DHARMA initiative participants were trained and conditioned to enter the assigned numbers. In computer cubicles in New York, Chicago, London, Asia ... wherever, traders are similarly instructed to enter their orders when precious metals reach or approach a certain designated level.

Or so I’ve come to believe. Just like on the TV show, these actions occur like clockwork and on an almost daily basis.

I’ve written about this task several times, dubbing the initiative “Operation Destroy Sentiment (and Keep it Dead).”

To be effective, the operations must occur on a consistent basis and be repeated over and over again (not unlike a successful “branding” campaign in advertising where “frequency” is key).

No sabbatical is allowed for “the number punchers” as it is widely understood that precious metals sentiment could come back from the dead if a foot is removed from the throat of the beast/ nemesis (possible surging precious metal sentiment).

I’ve also decided that these necessary activities have been deemed an issue of “national security.” Thus, participants are freed from worries about legalities, or exposure from the activities of any fearless investigative journalist (if any such creature still exists).

Punching the buttons is even more important in times when one might expect precious metals to rise in price.

When bad economic news cannot be kept from being released or cannot be completely or plausibly spun into good news, the “number punchers” have to work extra hard to keep precious metal prices contained.

Bad jobs numbers, bad inflation numbers, wars starting, escalating or peculating ominously? Here’s where you earn your keep, young man. Punch those numbers extra hard.

See? No worries, World. Precious metals aren’t rising ... As you can clearly see, they are even falling!

Stocks up. Precious metals down. Economy still “recovering.” Status Quo - still status quo. No reason for the Man on the Street - already distracted by the latest Kardashian marriage or divorce - to be distracted by any macro economic topic.

Of course, this apathy and disinterest might change if precious metal prices suddenly surged skyward (and were not quickly knocked back down).

The geo-political break

Today I notice that silver prices are up over 1 percent. No doubt news of developments in the Iraqi civil war are consequential enough to overcome the daily price knock-down pattern (slope up before 8, then steeply down, then back up, then gradually back down until New York markets close.)

From time to time such geo-political events happen - in Iraq, in the Ukraine in Syria. But they pass soon enough.

Then it’s back to pushing the button.

Not every 108 minutes, but every 12 to 24 hours for sure.

The button pushers probably feel like they are doing God’s work, or at least Uncle Sam’s.

Everyone needs a good rationalization to assuage one’s conscience or justify their vocation and life activities. For today’s real-world button pushers, it’s all being done for the Greater Good. Or to stave off an apocalypse.

“What did you do today, honey?”

“Oh, I staved off economic Armageddon for another 24 hours. Same old same old.”

That there’s profit in controlling and essentially setting the price of precious metals is a nice bonus for cast members, their wives and kids.

We don’t know with 100 percent certainty who exactly is punching the buttons (how about 97-percent certainty?). But the evidence - just look at tomorrow’s and next Wednesday and Thursday’s and Friday’s price knock downs - strongly suggest that somebody is.

Whoever these people are they no doubt think they are saving the world. But they are probably only succeeding in helping blow it up.

My guess is that they think they know it all and can keep all the gears and levers working just right. In reality, they are probably completely lost and definitely terrified of what might happen if they fail in their assigned task.

So they’ll keep pushing the button. It’s all they know to do.

I know one thing. The truth - if we ever learn it - would make one hell of a TV show.


Bill Rice, Jr. is managing editor of The Montgomery (AL) Independent. He can be reached by email at

Bill Rice, Jr.

Managing Editor

The Montgomery Independent

334.265.7323 (office)

334.315.2583 (cell)

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