Category Archives: U.S. Economy

Gold Continues To Defy Fed’s Attempt To Control The Price

Bloomberg News admitted that it is aware of the Fed’s “hidden” mandate to control the price of gold when it published an article last Sunday titled, “Yellen Can’t Halt Trump Gold Rally That Funds Bet Against” – Bloomberg/Yellen/Gold.

That title, combined with the content of the article, implied that the journalists and editors at Bloomberg are aware that the Fed actively manipulates the price of gold.  It’s hard to know if this admission was put forth intentionally or unwittingly. But the headline outright acknowledges that the Fed’s goal with respect to the price of gold is to prevent it from moving higher. The Fed’s current tool for this purpose is the “good cop/bad cop” routine played out on a daily basis between the Fed Governors who purport the need for more interest rate hikes and the Fed Heads who advocate waiting until the economy improves.

Lost in the smoke of Orwellian propaganda is the absurd notion that the two “rate hikes” were a mere quarter of a percentage point in magnitude.  This can hardly be described as “raising interest rates.”  It certainly is not even remotely close to the concept of “interest rate normalization,” whatever that is supposed to mean.   In mid-2007, about a year before the financial system nearly collapsed, the Fed Funds rate was 5.25%.   A little more than a year later it had been dropped to near zero.

If the financial analyst “Einsteins” define “rate normalization” as the 5.25% level in 2007, it will take about about 20 years using the speed of rate hikes by the Fed over the last two years.   On the other hand, going back to 1954, which is as far back as the Fed’s database takes us for the Fed funds rate, the median level for the Fed Funds rate is somewhere around 7%.   Is THAT level how one would define “normalized rates?”  You can do the math on how long it would take thereby to achieve “normalized interest rates” if 7% is the goal.

Since mid-December 2016, when gold appears to have bottomed out from the manipulated price “correction” that began in August, gold has been trading in defiance of the Fed’s attempts at price control.  Yesterday’s (Wednesday, Feb 22nd) trading action is point in case.  Gold was slammed for about $9 right after the paper trading market on the Comex floored commenced.  This is standard operating procedure.  But about 5 1/2 hours later, when the Fed released the minutes from its last meeting, gold spiked up and reclaimed the full $9 price take-down.    Today gold has soared another $16.

At the Shadow of Truth, we suspect both Yellen and the editorial staff at Bloomberg News are mumbling to themselves.  In today’s episode, we discuss the trading action in gold and the potential more interest rate hikes this year:

Toll Brothers Stock Jumps On Declining Revenues And Earnings

Toll Brothers reported its Fiscal Q1 earnings this morning.  Year over for the quarter: Revenues declined nearly 1%, operating income plunged 46.8%, net income dropped 4.1%.   Net income was boosted by the reliable accounting management technique of reducing the estimated GAAP “effective” tax rate, which enables any management to goal-seek a specific net income number.  In this case the goal is to “beat” the Street.  Margins were down across the board.

Oh ya, TOL pulled another stunt that homebuilders use to pump up GAAP net income:  it increased the amount of interest it capitalized by $6 million dollars. This has the effect of boosting operating income by $6 million compared to the same quarter last year because it reduces the amount of GAAP interest expense by the amount that was capitalized. It did this despite a drop in sales.   Its net income would have missed the Street by a suburban mile if it had just maintained the same rate of interest expense capitalized.

For this, the stock jumped up 6% this morning at the open.

The Company blamed the drop in operating income and margins on inventory write-downs.  But these have been occurring every quarter recently and will of course continue going forward.  That write-down only explains $4 million of the $44 million plunge in operating income.

There’s so much more going in TOL’s numbers which point to the continued economic deterioration in its business model.  I will be reviewing this further in this week’s issue of the Short Seller’s Journal, including which put options TOL I bought this morning.

Too many layoffs and store closure news to mention but I’ve realized that there are a lot of school-district (including teachers) layoffs and colleges, or even hospitals staff layoffs. CSX just posted 1000 management level position cuts – link.  By the way, thanks for the Short Seller’s journal, very informative. – note yesterday from a subscriber

Alan Greenspan Endorses The Gold Standard

In his remarkable essay, “Gold and Economic Freedom,” written in 1966, Alan Greenspan stated:

Under a gold standard, the amount of credit that an economy can support is determined by the economy’s tangible assets, since every credit instrument is ultimately a claim on some tangible asset. But government bonds are not backed by tangible wealth, only by the government’s promise to pay out of future tax revenues, and cannot easily be absorbed by the financial markets. A large volume of new government bonds can be sold to the public only at progressively higher interest rates. Thus, government deficit spending under a gold standard is severely limited. The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit.

Greenspan of course went to become the front-man for the interminably corrupted Central Bank system, which is utilized as a wealth-confiscation and control mechanism for the elitists who control western Governments (Mayer Rotschild: “let me issue and control a nation’s currency and I care not who writes the laws”).

Interestingly, Greenspan is spending his final years coming clean about fiat currencies and the fractional banking system, as reviewed here in The Daily Coin:  LINK.   Most recently, in an interview with the World Gold Council’s “Gold Investor” publication, Greenspan fully endorses a return to the gold standard:

If the gold standard were in place today we would not have reached the situation in which we now find ourselves. We cannot afford to spend on infrastructure in the way that we should. The US sorely needs it, and it would pay for itself eventually in the form of a better economic environment (infrastructure)  LINK

We can only speculate the reasons why Greenspan has gone full circle back to his views expressed in his 1966 seminal essay about gold and is “coming clean” about economic systems based on fiat currencies rather than a gold standard.  But the fact that the former fiat money “Maestro” is now advocating the gold standard reinforces its validity.

In today’s episode of the Shadow of Truth,  we discuss the effort underway to discredit gold by the mainstream media using misinformation, disinformation and outright lies in the context of Greenspan’s stunning admissions:

Click on either image to learn more:

The U.S. Can Learn From India’s Move To Digital Currency?

In short, we can learn to not let it happen here.

In August, Obama’s Defense Secretary, Ashton Carter, appointed Jeff Bezos to the little-known and highly secretive Defense Innovation Advisory Board.  This for me confirmed that Bezos was an integral part of the Deep State, which I began to suspect when Amazon’s cloud computing division started receiving contracts from various Deep State divisions (like the CIA).    This “advisory” board is chaired by Googles Eric Schmidt.

This position dovetails nicely with Bezos’ ownership of the Washinton Post, which has been transformed into part of the Deep State’s program to proliferate propaganda – or “fake news.” Funded by the taxpayers, the work being done by this Board has intentionally been “kept under wraps,” as Business Insider describes.

After, all the Washington Post has been well respected  for decades as one of the primary “go-to” newspapers for domestic and international political news reporting.  Trusted as such, historically if a news item was reported by the WashPo, it had to be true, right?

Under Bezos’ control, and in the context that Bezos is part of the Deep State mechanism, the WashPo has become an Orwellian device in the “war on truth.”  In addition, Bezos can use the “power of the pen” as a powerful political weapon against politicians or Government bureaucrats who oppose the Establishment and the Deep State.

With that as a backdrop, the Washington Post published a curious report on the Indian Government’s of the removal of the most commonly used cash bills by the Indian populace titled, What The U.S. Can Learn From India’s Move Toward A Cashless Society.  The article goes on to describe all of these “benefits” but only casually mentions the huge economic disruption caused by the move.

Of course, these “benefits” all had to do with the implementation of technology which makes it easier for the Government to identify, track and ultimately control the individual. It should come as no surprise to us that, given the role Bezos plays as part of the Deep State, Bezos’ newspaper would be promoting the digital banking system.

A crucial fact not known by most is that the former Chairman of India’s Central Bank – the Reserve Bank of India – was appointed as the Vice Chairman of the BIS in 2015.  This fact calls into question the idea that digitizing India’s banking system was motivated by anything other than the western elitists’ goal of implementing totalitarianism.

While the WashPo did mention the disruption to India’s economy caused by the removal of the most common currency bills, the article did not mention the fact that the move temporarily undermined the population’s ability to buy gold during the country’s biggest seasonal gold buying period.  This latter effect was likely one of the primary motives behind the move and it underscores the control over India that can be exerted by the western elitists and their Central Banking cartel.

The bottom line is that India was used as “testing ground” for the western global elitists’ plan to digitize the global currency system. This will be used to exert Orwellian totalitarian control over the masses. It should come as no surprise that the wealthiest elitists like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos have been advocating a cashless banking system, backed by the “intellectual” support of “academics” like Harvard’s Larry Summers and Kenneth Rogoff.

There’s no question that subtle and gradual effort will be used to implement a cashless banking system in the U.S.   All the warning signs are flashing.  I also suspect that, at some point, the “national security” card will be pulled in persuading the masses that cash is the “currency of terrorists.”

Ben Franklin once warned, to paraphrase him, that if we give up some of our freedom in exchange for security, we will eventually end up with neither.   That is where we are headed unless there’s an effort to prevent the elimination and use of cash in our economic system.

U.S. Political Crisis Foments While China & India Devour Gold

The demand for gold in India and China so far this year has soared, a fact which is completely ignored by the western financial media. The ex-duty Indian gold import premiums (approximately $10 earlier this week) are quite remarkable, “as the need to import kilo bars only arises if Indian demand is not satisfied by Dore imports (which had a duty advantage of $15.52/oz this afternoon) and smuggled gold. Reports of apprehensions at Indian airports are continuing to appear, indicating that smuggling has in fact revived” – John Brimelow’s Gold Jottings, brimelowgoldjottings@gmail.com).

Brimelow also reported that 162 tonnes of gold were delivered into into Shanghai Gold Exchange on Monday this week, preceded by 79 tonnes on Friday. The Friday delivery is the largest by far that I’ve observed in watching this statistic over the last several years.

While the eastern hemisphere is busy converting fiat currency into physically delivered gold, the United States political system is becoming increasingly unstable and unpredictable, as the Trump White House, in an effort to repair the frayed relations with Russia, is under systematic attack from the Deep State.  Trump’s erratic leadership combined with the Deep State’s political terrorism will likely spark political and social chaos in the U.S.

The relentless buying strength of physical gold in the east along with the incipient instability of the U.S. are fundamental catalysts to drive the price of gold and silver a lot higher.  Furthermore, the emergence of accelerating price inflation thrown into the mix has the potential to create the “perfect storm” for higher precious metals prices.

In an earlier post I explain why now is the time to use the manipulated paper gold price take-downs as buying opportunities.  This viewpoint was vindicated during the two-day Fed Chairman staged Congressional propaganda event, which historically is a period  in which the banks slam the gold market with tonnes of paper gold in order to prevent the price of gold from signaling a message that conflicts with the economic and financial fairytale artfully spun by the Fed-head (or not so artfully, as it were, in Yellen’s case).

Gold was slammed nearly $20 just prior to and during Yellen’s hot air exhalation sessions on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The catalyst was a series of paper gold volume surges on the Comex in which the NY Fed and its agent bullion banks drop a payload of gold futures on both the Comex floor and into the CME Globex trading system, targeting the stop-losses set by hedge funds that are long gold contracts.  This detonates an avalanche of selling by momentum-chasing hedge fund algos.

Subsequent Yellen’s freak show on Capitol Hill, gold promptly defied the paper market deviance and shot up $21 to a new year-to-date high.  If the deteriorating economic fundamentals manage to chew through the safety-net that has been placed beneath the stock market, a real rush into gold – physical and derivative – will be triggered.   In the meantime, the nature of the precious metals trading has shifted from shorting rallies and covering those shorts on sell-offs to buying dips and selling rallies.   Eventually the hedge fund algos will be programmed to buy dips and aggressively buy rallies.  That’s when the real fun begins, especially in the junior mining stocks…

What Happens To Gold & Silver When Trump Attacks The Dollar?

Get prepared because we’re going to have the worst economic problems we’ve had in your lifetime or my lifetime. – Jim Rogers, Macro Outlook in the Trump Era – MacroVoices

Make no mistake, it’s going to get ugly at some point in 2017. Elijah Johnson at Silver Doctors invited me to discuss why I believe Trump’s policies, assuming he gets anything passed and implemented, will be phenomenal for gold. Another factor not being discounted or widely discussed is an acceleration in the rate of inflation over and above the ability of the Government’s CPI sausage grinder to mute actual price inflation in everyday consumables.

Demise Of The American Farmer Reflects The Demise Of The Middle Class

Too much debt, poor capital allocation decisions (McMansions, expensive leased cars, spending to “keep up with the Jones’) and declining disposable income.  It’s hitting the general middle class in America similarly to the way in which it is hitting the American family farmer.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article titled, “The Next American Farm Bust Is Upon Us” earlier this past week.  The bubble in farm land, just like the general real estate bubble, was precipitated by the Fed’s money printing and general easy money policies.  The cover story was that the policy was directed at stimulating economic activity.  But the actual result varies, with banks, corporations and ultra-wealth elitists benefiting to the detriment of the rest of the country.

A friend and colleague of mine who happens to be a wheat farmer shared with me his real life experience with trying to compete against the Monsanto-driven corporate farms in this country.  He’s working to move the production of his farm from wheat to industrial hemp but will need legislative help in his State to accomplish this:

Where some farmers get in trouble is spending too much for new equipment, and/or not fertilizing enough (or at all)… and/or not being good farmers in general.

For farmers carrying a high debt load, it’s challenging right now. Prices for wheat and corn will rebound eventually, but I’m not sure these grains are the best crops for farmers to grow going forward.

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, with Canada and the US tied for #2. Russia is also increasing their corn production (non-GMO) to be competitive with American farmers. Although demand for wheat and corn will never go away, these reasons are why I’m bearish on grain farming… and bullish on industrial hemp.

That’s why I’m cautiously optimistic about the industrial hemp bill becoming law in my State this year (fingers crossed).

Make no mistake, the plight of the farmer parallels that of the general middle class.  While some portion of the middle class is doing the proverbial celebratory end zone dance right now over the few thousands in paper profits they are making in the greatest stock bubble in U.S. history.   Most if not all of them will hang around too long and watch paper profits turn into paper losses when this historic equity bubble pops.

Meanwhile the Establishment elitists are coming out of the woodwork and warning the proletariat to take their profits out of the market and run, like these comments from James Tisch, CEO of Loews Corp, Tisch family scion, member of the Council on Foreign Relations and former director of the NY Fed.  In reference to the average retail investor.

In addition to Tisch, several other Establishment elitists have issued warnings, including Bill Gross, Larry Fink, Ray Dalio, George Soros and Sam Zell.   As my good friend and colleague, John Titus of Best Evidence Videos has said presciently:

One of the rules by which the elite aristocrats abide is they consider it rude to not issue a warning before they do something bad to us. They’re like criminals with manners. In other words, it’s gauche to flush the toilet while the serfs are taking a shower without giving a “heads up.”

 

Rare Honesty From A Corporate CEO

In my view, the mood of these markets is in stark contrast with the many unknown from our current economic and political landscape, both here and abroad. For me, it’s a major disconnect, and it concerns me.  – James Tisch, Loews CEO (call transcript sourced from from Seeking Alpha)

James Tisch shared some extraordinarily candid observations about the financial markets on Loews Corp’s Q4 earnings conference call on Monday.   I say “extraordinary” because I do not believe I have ever heard, in well over 30 years of capital markets experience, any corporate CEO – or any corporate officer – ever speak honestly about the condition of the financial markets.

With regard to the amount of capital and credit made available by the Fed:

In the credit markets, spreads on the high yield securities are approaching historically tight levels, while key credit metrics such as leverage and coverage ratios are showing signs of weakening. The leverage loan market has been overrun by such massive inflows of capital that you could probably get loan to buy a fleet of zeppelins at this point in time.

That statement references the flood cheap capital made available by the Fed that has facilitated the greatest mis-allocation of capital since Greenspan inflated the tech bubble and Bernanke inflated the housing/mortgage bubble.

The merger market is being driven by large pools of private and corporate buyers, the wave of private capital combined with the abundance of available leverage at remarkably low rates has enabled private equity firms to pay big prices for companies that haven’t already been gobbled up by strategic buyers.

That statement is quite remarkable.  Thinly veiled in diplomatic finesse, Tisch essentially acknowledges that the private equity investors have fomented a massive M&A bubble and are significantly overpaying for acquisitions.

And the coup de grace:

In my opinion, the markets are priced for perfection, and they have been that way for quite some time, complacency reign supreme. However, my experience has shown me that this state of affairs won’t go on indefinitely.

In short, the market is historically overvalued and it will not end well for those who continue to hold long positions in the stock market.

In 2000 Greenspan has created a tech bubble which he said he could not see.  In late 2007 there was a housing and mortgage bubble, the existence of which Bernanke denied.  And now there’s an “everything” bubble, to which Yellen is role-playing Hellen Keller.

Panera Bread stock is a text-book example of the insanity in the stock market right now. PNRA announced earnings yesterday and “beat” the Street.  But here’s a synopsis of its numbers:

System-wide same store sales increased just .7%.  Franchise SSS dropped 1.4%. Franchised stores are 55% of the store base. Operating margin dropped 40 basis points. Net income in Q4 dropped $22.8 million from $24.7 million in 2015. Company bought back nearly $400 million in stock during 2016. It just issued another $200 million in debt. If it wasn’t buying back shares, it would not have needed to issue that debt. The share buybacks make the EPS look better but the net income of operations fell quarter over quarter and year over year.  That’s how PNRA “beat:” financial engineering because its net income declined quarter over quarter (2016 vs. 2015) and year over year.  – excerpt from an email exchange with a Short Seller’s Journal subscriber

For that, PNRA stock is up 8.4% today.  A $4 million year over year drop in net income has generated a $400 million one-day jump in PNRA’s market cap. This stock is trading at 38x trailing income as its ability to generate profits.  No wonder insiders are selling stock more quickly than passengers jumped off the Titanic.

I look at dozens of companies every week and insiders are furiously shoveling their shares into the market at well over 90% of these companies.  They all understand the same problem in the capital markets to which Tisch addressed.  In that latter regard, it was as refreshing as it was unique to come across an insider who was honest.

IRD To Mitch McConnell: Exactly Who Is The Thug?

The NY Post reported that Senate Republican “leader,” Mitch McConnell called Vladimir Putin a “thug” in response to DJT’s interview on 60 minutes.   It’s hard for the U.S. Deep State to hide the U.S. military build-up in the NATO countries surrounding Russia’s borders. This includes the takeover, in effect, of Ukraine by the Obama Government.   I think we can all agree that NATO is a de facto “shell” for U.S. military operations.   With that in mind, I pulled the interesting graphic to the right, with some edits from me (click to enlarge) from an article written by an options trader who also posts commentary on Zerohedge.

The U.S. has been literally flooding the NATO countries surrounding Russia’s borders with offensive military assets.  Recently the U.S. deployed tanks and special forces personnel in Poland.  A week later, the U.S. deployed 900 marines in Norway – the first time since World War Two that foreign troops have been allowed to be stationed in Norway, which is a NATO member.

So Mitch, looking at the actions the graphic above and interpreting the actions of the U.S. Department of Defense, who exactly is the “thug?”

A Preposterous Jobs Report And Preposterous AMZN Earnings

On a trailing twelve month quarterly basis, AMZN’s operating income growth has plunged from 30.2% in Q2 2015 to just 3.6% in Q4 2016.  This is a stunning drop in growth considering that AMZN’s stock is trading at 92x operating income and 134x net income. That’s before accounting manipulations are stripped away.

The fake news abounds.  It’s seeping from cracks in every part of the U.S. system.  It’s one of the hallmarks of a collapsing economic and social system and, even worse, the onslaught of totalitarianism.   Orwell’s vision was stunningly prophetic.  Of course, he was simply reconstituting history and warning us about the lessons which everyone seems to forget.

The latest non-farm payroll report, the data for which is compiled by the Census Bureau and manufactured into fake news by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wants us to believe that the economy produced 227,000 jobs in January.  If you look at the “not seasonally adjusted” employment numbers, the number of people employed dropped by 1.25 million.

This is in an economy in which retail and auto sales plunged in January, which means retailers and domestic OEM’s cut back on employment – two major sources of employment in the economy.

In fact, according to the BLS fake news jobs report, “retail trade” was largest component of job “adds” in January. This is quite interesting given that retailers have been dumping employees en masse plus big box and mall anchor concepts like Macy’s are shuttering stores by the 100’s.  In short, that statistic is simply not credible nor supported by the facts. By the same token, auto manufacturers have been cutting shifts and shuttering production lines, as dealer inventories are ballooning and used car prices are plummeting, with a flood of low-mileage, well-maintained leased cars coming off lease.

The BLS is making the claim that “construction” was the 2nd largest category of job adds in January.  No way.  An apartment building and commercial real estate glut has formed. The default rate on CMBS (commercial mortgage-backed securities) is climbing as loans mature and borrowers are unable to repay or refi them – LINK.  Furthermore, the issuance of CMBS in 2016 was the lowest in the last 4 years.  If commercial r/e loans are not being sourced and therefore projects are slowing down, how can construction employment increase?

Restaurant sales are in freefall – a fact of which I have detailed meticulously in my Short Seller’s Journal – which means the standard plug used to goal-seek a specific employment number,  part-time waitresses and bartenders, is a fraud.  Moreover, with wage growth slowing down and real inflation wreaking havoc on non-discretionary expense items, it would seem highly improbable that “leisure and hospitality” would be the 3rd biggest contributor to the employment rolls.

In short, the Government employment report is once again not even remotely credible. But this should be expected.  First, the Census Bureau’s data collection apparatus not only is called into question constantly, but the CB has been caught submitting fraudulent data collection reports.  Some of the data collectors decide to take extra long lunches or visit the pot dispensaries in States where applicable and then submit fraudulent reports rather than conduct actual data collection.   Then the BLS takes the questionable data and pushes it through a seasonal adjustments and annual benchmark revision meat grinder. The data goes in as rat poison and comes out as nuclear waste.

As for Amazon…Amazon is the archetypal accounting fraud poster child.  Whether or  not you are willing to accept my analysis of their accounting practices, let ‘s look just at some surface indicators that AMZN is running off the rails to nirvana.   I wrote a comprehensive report on AMZN in which I drilled down to the core of AMZN’s highly misleading accounting practices.  The report is dated by a year but the “proof of concept” is still valid – maybe even more valid now than over the past 10 years.  I’ll send a copy to anyone who subscribes to the Short Seller’s Journal (I’ll send a copy to existing subscribers along with Sunday’s weekly issue).  You can subscribe here:  Short Seller’s Journal.

AMZN’s quarterly revenue growth rate has been slowing for several quarters.  Its revenue growth rate peaked in 2011 at 41%.   Since Q3 2015 to Q4 2016, the year over year quarterly growth rate has slowed from 30% to 24%.  This is despite the heady growth rate attributed to its cloud computing division (AWS – which I eviscerate in the AMZN report).   Operating income is worse.  Over the last 6 quarters, its year over year quarterly operating income growth has plunged from 84% to 13%. This excludes F/X effects, the application of which would make it worse.  Net income?  Forget net income.  By the time the numbers flow through AMZN’s waterfall of misleading accounting practices, the net income number is completely useless and highly manufactured.  I detail this fact in the AMZN report.

AMZN’s AWS segement (cloud computing) is highly touted by Wall Street snake-oil salesmen.  Don’t poison your view by looking at AMZN’s highly massaged and highly misleading earning presentation slide-show.  Go directly to the SEC-filed 8K/10Q, which itself is riddled with suspect accounting.

The growth of AWS has slowed considerably and will continue to do so.  Especially if Trump cuts back on Deep State funding, which is significant source of revenues for AMZN’s cloud computing services.  On a year over year quarterly revenue growth basis, AWS’ sales growth has gone from 82% in Q2 2015 to 47% in Q4 2016.  It’s been nearly cut in half.  It’s not a scale phenomenon either, as its Q4 revenues for AWS were $3.5 billion, which was just 8% of total revenues for the quarter.  I can remember when Wall St. stock jockeys were forecasting an explosion in AWS’s contribution to AMZN’s revenues and income.   But AWS sales have been running between 7% to 9.5% of total revenues since Q2 2015.  It was 8% of revenues in the latest quarter.

I will say that AWS produced 73.7% of AMZN’s operating income in Q4.  But that’s more a damnation of AMZN’s retail sales business, if anything.  With $1.255 billion in total operating income, that means AMZN generated just $329 million of operating income on $40.1 billion of retail sales.  That’s a “sweltering” 0.8% operating margin (zero point eight percent).   For comparison purposes, Walmart and Target generate an operating margin of about 5% on similar product sales.  So much for the argument that cyber-sales are more profitable than “brick and mortar.”

There’s a lot more analysis that I can present showing the misleading to fraudulent nature of AMZN’s financials, but that’s for subscribers.  Suffice it to say that the Free Cash Flow number presented by Jeff Bezos every quarter in his ridiculous slide presentation is completely fraudulent except for that fact that he discloses deep in the bowels of the AMZN 10Q – a place where Wall Street analysts never venture – that AMZN’s definition of “free cash flow” is not based on generally accepted accounting principles.