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Denver-based Telecom Qwest was recommended Thursday by CNBC host Jim Cramer on his Mad Money television program because it could gain from a U.S. government contract. He said that among telecommunications companies vying for the $20 billion contract, Qwest has the most to gain. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint Nextel also are bidding for the contract, which could grow to $68 billion and is the biggest U.S. telecommunications contract ever.,2777,DRMN_23910_5436903,00.html

Jim Cramer recently bragged in an interview about manipulating stock prices when he was a Wall Street trader, proving all too directly -- and stupidly, I might add -- that investment professionals profit off the backs of the naïve investing public.

Cramer is just admitting to a game every one on Wall Street knows: professional money managers use retail investors as pawns in their pursuit of high returns -- ridiculously so.

The question is whether Cramer and every other professional Wall Street investor should be faulted for using all the ammunition with which they are equipped -- market knowledge, sophisticated trading schemes, high technology and public relations -- or whether it's the stupid investors who are duped who should be chastised.

It takes two to trade. And on the other side of every one of Jim Cramer's trades is (or was) someone willing to take the opposite bet from him. These aren't the buy-and-hold investors who have money in 401(k)s we're talking about here. These are active traders who step on to the Wall Street game field and think they can outperform the pros.

Is it any wonder that Cramer showboats?

If you've ever listened to or seen one of Cramer's broadcasts you've heard the proverbial wingnut from Wisconsin yammering on about how his operation "charted" this stock or that by volume, futures activity, price level or some other technical analysis. These are people willingly stepping into the zone with highly trained and highly skilled investment professionals who live and breathe the market; and they play hardball.

Yet many dilettante investors see the show and think that they can play too. Only they play sans equipment and they get hurt.
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