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Read this First 05/22/2019

"Joe Biden is a fool with a very low IQ.  He is an imbecile lacking human qualities". You think I'm starting today's rant quoting President Trump, don't you?  NOPE. That was from Kim Jong UN, the President of the North Korea.  Biden insulted Kim Jong Un and Russian President Putin at a speech saying that Trump caters to dictators like them.  Biden seems to have a HUGE lead in the Democratic Primary but that boat may be sinking.  There seems to be mounting evidence that his son, Hunter, got paid A LOT of money from Foreign Countries while Joe was VP.  The "Ukraine" story was out there.  But, now it looks like Hunter's firm got big money from China. If the stories are true, and they look to be, it could end Biden's shot at the White House.  You think NBC will still "Cover" Biden's campaign?  Why do I ask such a seemingly silly question?  NBC's Chuck Todd said that they would "cover any candidates that are worthy" Of course, the right wing mob pounced on him, "Who decides who is "worthy", Chuck?  You and NBC?".  To be fair, I believe the context of Todd's statement was about having 25 Democratic candidates and choosing whom to report on.  You cannot cover them all equally.  Todd said if a smaller candidate "develops a following, we will cover them"Free and Fair Press, eh Chuck? Hmmmm.. I think the DNC set the rule you needed 65,000 signatures to be eligible for the debates.  I'd use that measuring stick, Chuck.  In other election-related news, the Nevada State Congress is the latest group to sign up to have the voices of their citizens silenced in Presidential Elections.  Those morons joined the "National Popular Vote Compact" which vows to give all of the State's electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote.  This gives away Nevada's voice in the election and hands it to NY, NJ, CT and California.  As stupid as this sounds, there are several states that have signed on and if Nevada's Governor signs this thing the "Compact" is at 195 of the 270 Electoral College votes needed.  Boy, I know the Democrats are mad that Trump won, but giving away your citizen's rights is NOT something an elected official should be doing..  Down in the SWAMP, the "Impeachment Debate" is boiling over with Speaker Nancy Pelosi trying to hold off the left wing of her party. Trump just keeps repeating the "Democrats do nothing by "Obstruct".  They aren't governing they are just attacking the President".  Pelosi is right, if she allows the Impeachment vote she plays right into Trump's hands. She CANNOT win that battle with a Republican Congress.  If they are trying to "Smear Trump's legacy" with an Impeachment they need to ask themselves, seriously: "Do you think he gives a crap?"  .. at a Rally in Pennsylvania, President Trump tried to take shots at leading Dem. Joe Biden.  Trump bellowed, "Biden deserted you PA!!!.  He deserted you when he got to the White House".  YAH!!! Can you believe that Biden?  Promising to Build a massive border wall to keep all those job stealing immigrants out..then building only like 2 miles?? uuhh.. oh..wait.Nevermind... I would like to commend CBS News.  President Trump joked about staying around for 4 or 5 terms.  Instead of the normal reporting in the swamp of, "Trump vows to become Dictator", CBS reported it as an "obvious joke".  Wow, keep that up CBS and you'll put me out of a job.  I thought I was the only one watching that understood sarcasm and comedy. (Actually, "attempted" comedy.  You're not that funny Donald) ..  Here's some comedy for you:  Boeing's stock rallied yesterday after it was reported that "Officials" think "a bird strike contributed to the crash in Ethiopia".  AHAHAHAH.. Oh Yeah.. SURE.. I mean, I KNOW that can be dangerous if a big bird gets in the engine.. but, It took TWO MONTHS to throw that possibility in there??  (Fair Disclosure: I own BA stock.. and I STILL don't believe that one) .. and..  He is STILL GOING. James Holzauer made it 24 straight on Jeopardy.  His total is almost $1.9 Million.  He is setting all kinds of records on his way to reach all time money leader Ken Jennings at just over $2.4 million.  Jennings said yesterday that he likes being the all time leader but he loves watching Holzauer.  Jennings says, "In the end, I'm a huge fan of the game like you.  Watching the streak is exciting".  Any of you believe that? .. SPORTS:  When is it NOT good to be "First" in Baseball?  When the category is: "Fastest Team to give up 100 Home Runs in a season" . The Baltimore Orioles set the record yesterday against the NY Yankees.  Geez, its not even Memorial Day, yet.  I guess that's good if you're seats are behind the outfield wall.  More chances to catch a ball, Right?? ..  NHL:  The San Jose Sharks were missing three of their best scorers last night and lost 5-1 to the Blues. (Check the rant from two weeks ago. Raj called the Boston/St Louis Final)... NBA: Toronto beats Milwaukee 120-102 to tie the series 2-2.  The winner will go on to lose to Golden State in five games.. Most people are finding this out here in the rant.. because they are NOT watching.  NBA ratings are down a Whopping 48%!!!  Blame it on video games if you want, but I think its the "No Lebron" thing..and ESPN President Jim Pitaro seems to have awaken from his 2 year bender on booze and drugs.  Pitaro says, "Our data shows that our viewers do not want us to cover politics.  We have instructed our sportscasters to stick to sports"  AHAHHAHHAA.. AHAHHAHA..  Really, JIM?? I have been saying this for TWO YEARS!!! (not taking all the credit.. MANY MANY others have, too).  I get politics EVERYWHERE. Sports is the refuge.. Watch a game or a Sportscenter for highlights and NOT THINK about the Swamp creatures.  Too bad it took a ratings crash and a loss of 15 million subscribers for you to WAKE UP ..  CELEBRIDIOTS:  SNL Comedian Colin Jost and actress Scarlett Johansson are engaged.  Would it be inappropriate for me to pull out a quote from Scarlett from a few years ago?  When she blew up her last marriage? (exact quote, look it up), "I don't think it's natural to be a monogamous person" . So Colin, get used to "Sharing"!!!.. oh.. sorry.. I forgot. HERE .  (I know if I mention her I'm supposed to SHOW her.. Now, cancel the hate email you were about to send me) .. and.. can someone out in LA do something interesting and newsworthy?  With most of the "Hollywood News" going on in Cannes, the only story that keeps going in LA is "Nipsey Hussle".  I mean, I'm not dissing him. He seems to have been a good citizen and member of the community.  But, he was shot two months ago and every day that's the "Lead".  By the way, Nipsey Hussle's alleged murderer was indicted by a Grand Jury, yesterday..  .. for those that chastised me for not including Margot Robbie in the "Winner of Cannes" contest I have TWO things to say, 1) Her movie just debuted, yesterday, and she wasn't AT the other stuff.. and 2) errrrr.. You're probably right.. HERE.. Note to Hollywood starlets:  You see how good she looks, "keeping it simple"??  Don't listen to those freaks that try to tell you "the plaid/leopardskin with frills and pastels are SO IN this year".  K.I.S.S and you up your chances of a Raj-Win !!..

It's likely the final throw of the dice for a prime minister who has run out of options. Theresa May's proposal to give MPs a vote on whether to hold a second Brexit referendum if they approve her withdrawal agreement appears to have fallen flat on its face, as well as new guarantees for the Irish backstop and a "compromise" over a temporary customs union. The calls for her resignation are now getting louder, with sterling off another 0.3% to fresh lows of $1.2663 amid renewed risks of U.K. turmoil and uncertainty. May's Tory party is also bracing for defeat in tomorrow's European elections - a poll the U.K. wasn't meant to take part in, but has been forced to due to a delayed Brexit.

Trade anxiety is setting in again as the U.S. considers cutting off the flow of vital American technology to as many as five Chinese companies - including Hikvision - widening the dragnet beyond Huawei to include world leaders in video surveillance. DJIA futures are down 64 points on the news and shares in Shanghai closed 0.5% lower. Meanwhile, China's Xi Jinping called for a new "Long March," while ambassador Cui Tiankai commented on trade talks, saying the U.S. "changes its mind so often."

Minutes from the Fed's last meeting will be released this afternoon, but with four members of the board due to speak today, the broad strokes will likely already be known. Investors are eyeing how much consensus there was at the FOMC on Chair Jerome Powell's statement that there was no strong will to move rates in either direction. Eric Rosengren said yesterday that the downside risks to the U.S. economy are enough to convince him of the patience required on policy, while James Bullard announced overnight that the rate hike back in December may have "slightly overdone it."

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has sided with the FTC in an antitrust case, saying Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) "strangled competition" by charging unreasonably high royalties for its patents. She ordered Qualcomm to renegotiate licensing agreements with customers free of unfair tactics - such as threatening to cut off access to its chips - and said it can't sign exclusive supply agreements with smartphone makers like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which last month settled a lawsuit and agreed to continue paying licensing fees. The decision could challenge the company's business model and will require Qualcomm to submit to monitoring for the next seven years. QCOM -12%premarket.

Target (NYSE:TGT) is set to report first-quarter earnings before the bell, hoping to follow those of rival Walmart (NYSE:WMT), which yesterday showed pressure on margins easing thanks to greater sales of its in-house apparel and home brands, as well as private-label food options. Morgan Stanley earlier this month upgraded shares of Target, believing it was beyond “peak margin pain" and calling it a "survivor" in retail. The company also generated buzz this month around the launch of its limited-edition line with preppy apparel and accessories brand Vineyard Vines.

Saudi Arabia has agreed to purchase U.S. liquefied natural gas from Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE), marking a new strategic direction for the kingdom as it seeks to establish a footprint in the growing global market for the fuel, WSJreports. The transaction demonstrates how the U.S. energy boom is dramatically changing global trade. Historically, Saudi Arabia has been a major supplier of oil to the U.S., but due to the shale revolution, the Energy Department predicts America will become a net energy exporter in 2020.

Turkey has a little more than two weeks to decide whether to complete a multibillion-dollar deal for Russian S-400s as the U.S. offers to sell Ankara Raytheon's (NYSE:RTN) Patriot missile defense system, CNBC reports. At risk: If it goes through with the S-400 deal, Turkey faces removal from Lockheed Martin's (NYSE:LMT) F-35 program, forfeiture of 100 promised F-35 jets, imposition of U.S. sanctions and potential blowback from NATO. Turkey's lira has been sliding in part on concerns over the U.S. penalties, which would hit an economy already in recession after a currency crisis last year.

The calls for 737 MAX compensation are growing as China's three biggest airlines - Air China (OTCPK:AIRYY), China Southern (NYSE:ZNH) and China Eastern (NYSE:CEA) - requested payments from Boeing (NYSE:BA) for losses incurred by the grounding and delayed deliveries of 737 MAX. China was the first country to ground the jets globally after a crash in Ethiopia killed 157 people in March, in the second such incident for Boeing's newest aircraft. The compensation requests come as the FAA hosts global regulators in Dallas tomorrow to determine when the grounded 737 Max aircraft will return to the air.

Ford (NYSE:F) is working on a way to resolve what self-driving researchers refer to as "the last 50-foot problem," with a delivery robot called Digit, an android with two stork-like legs and arms capable of carrying a 40-pound load. The automaker would like to deploy Digit delivery robots as early as 2021, alongside the planned introduction of its autonomous vehicle fleets to ferry people and packages around the clock. "We're going to have an AV fleet out there, and my goal is to get robots to be able to be there and ready at the same time," said Craig Stephens, director of controls and automation in Ford's research and advanced engineering.

What else is happening...

Negative sentiment might be ahead for AT&T (NYSE:T), writes contributor BOOX Research, with 'Game Of Thrones' viewers at risk.

Southwest Airlines' (NYSE:LUV) mechanics dispute ends as American's (NASDAQ:AAL) heats up.

Avon (NYSE:AVP) +28% premarket after agreeing to all-stock deal from Natura (OTC:NUACF).

Wynn (NASDAQ:WYNNceases talks with MGM (NYSE:MGM) to sell $2.6B Massachusetts casino.

Walmart (WMT) makes first direct pitch to big corporate ad buyers.

Permian shale producer Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXDcuts workforce by 25%.

Tuesday's Key Earnings

AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) +5.6% improving market share. Home Depot (NYSE:HD) +0.3% beating estimates, reaffirming outlook. J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) -7% posting an EBITDA miss. Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) -12.3% lowering its 2019 forecast. Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) -9.3% AH missing on top and bottom lines. Pure Storage (NYSE:PSTG) -19.5% AH on wider loss, weak outlook. TJX Companies (NYSE:TJX) +0.6% topping expectations. Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) -6.2% AH following a margin sales miss.

Today's Markets 

In Asia, Japan +0.1%. Hong Kong +0.2%. China -0.5%. India +0.4%.  In Europe, at midday, London +0.5%. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt +0.3%.  Futures at 6:20, Dow -0.3%. S&P -0.3%. Nasdaq -0.4%. Crude -0.8% to $62.65. Gold flat at $1273.50. Bitcoin -0.3% to $7911.  Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 2.42%

Today's Economic Calendar


Roger “Raj”  Searing

"Raj Searing”, "Read this First", and “” are Trademarks of RRRAJ, LLC.  All Rights Reserved.


This RANT is intended SOLELY as Commentary and/or Social Criticism and is for ENTERTAINMENT.  Content in this RANT is based on PUBLICLY AVAILABLE INFORMATION and is purely the OPINION of the writer. It is NOT intended to be relied on.  Some of this information is garnered from well respected news sources and some is not. If you cannot tell that most of this rant is just my opinion and not real news then you are too stupid to be reading it and should stop before you hurt yourself! ..

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