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Read this First 1/10/2020

The Ukrainian plane that went down over Tehran appears to have been shot down by a missile or missiles. Video seems to show that. Iran's "Civil Aviation" chief is, "certain the plane was not hit by a missile." Hmmm.. Is he playing the "exact words game"??? "It was NOT hit by a missile.... it was a ROCKET" !!.. or is he afraid if he admits what is on the video that the IRGC will kill him?? .. The ONLY people that is good news for is Boeing. It means it WASN'T THEIR FAULT this time!!! .. If Iran shot down a plane of civilians by accident that is disgraceful. If people argue the "accident" was due to high alert brought on by the US attack in Iraq that killed Soleimani, it's hard to argue against that logic. The region is unstable. It's been unstable for centuries. It will REMAIN unstable as long as they have Religious based governments. There is no way around it.... and..

Canadian PM Trudeau announced that their intelligence and that of their allies points to Iran shooting down the Jet. There were many Canadians on that flight. Iran is saying, "if you have intelligence that proves and attack, share it with us. We do not agree" .. What would you do if you were Justin Trudeau? Do you bomb Iran? Drone attack? Or be "Canadian Nice" and say, "Sorry, did the plane get in the way of your missile?"

President Trump told a crowd in Ohio that he couldn't tell leading Democrats about his attack on the Iranian Terrorists because they would have leaked the plan.. He might be right. Im not sure about this whole "War Powers" argument going on.. I think I want our President to be able to act quickly and strike terrorists...but I want Congressional Approval for any long-term War situation. That sound good? Or am I missing something???

In Da Swamp: The House passed a resolution banning the President from using any force against Iran without Congressional Approval. This means exactly NOTHING. It's a non-binding resolution.. and we already KNOW House Democrats hate Trump. More wasted time.. Great!!! .. and...

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell said the Impeachment Hearings will start next week. So, either Nancy Pelosi will send over the Articles, or they will vote on them without her. The Senate makes the Rules of Procedure. Pelosi is powerless to do anything about it.. Pelosi says such a summary acquittal amounts to "Admitting Guilt". She looks like a fool. But, before you say she is TOTALLY Blowing it there are some in Washington that contend this is NOT about Trump. She is looking to keep Impeachment on the Front Page.. then have the GOP Senators up for election in Swing States have to explain why they "Let Trump Off". Not sure that is gonna work either .. ...and ...

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision and released $4 Billion for Border Wall Construction. Trump cheered and said the "Entire Wall is under Construction ... or Ready to Start!!" Uhh.. Ready to start? Care to attach a Timeline? Because, I am "Ready to start" my retirement.. but that's like 15 years off ...and...

The money TALKS .. Billionaire Tom Steyer's ad blitz has moved him up the polls and he has qualified for the Iowa Debates. If both Billionaires stay in the race they will likely spend a BILLION dollars combined of their own money on their campaigns. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Police are looking for a man that broke into a Taco Bell through the drive-thru window in the middle of the night. The entire event is on Video. He didn't steal money or anything, he made himself a bunch of Tacos then took a nap on the floor. ..and he isn't some "Broke Homeless guy"..he was wearing a hoodie and $300 Beats Headphones.. This one shouldn't be too hard to solve, right???.... Go down the list of former employees. (I mean would YOU know how to turn on the cookers and find the fake cheese and meat in the cooler?) If that doesn't work, go look in Emergency Rooms. If I ate a dozen Taco Bell tacos.. thats where I would be !!! ... and...

Ken Jennings wins another night on the Jeopardy GOAT Tournament. So, its 2 points Jennings, 1 point Holzhauer, and Brad has NONE.. It could all be over tonight unless Brad or James win... ..

SPORTS: You know.. the Sports section is tough this time of year for Ranting. College Football is over except for Monday's Final.. No one cares about regular season NHL or NBA games unless someone gets fined, injured or arrested, right??? ..that leaves.. NFL PLAYOFFS!!!!

NFL: Playoffs !! .. Minnesota at San Fran .. Tennessee at Baltimore .. Houston at KC and Seattle at Green Bay. Hmmm.. Ill go with San Fran.. Baltimore .. KC .. and I think Ill go with the Seattle upset in the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau..

GOLF: Colin Morikawa leads the Sony with and amazing -5 round in the 40 mph wind that left most golfers over par...

NCAA Football: Championship Game Monday Night and LSU is a 6 point Favorite over Clemson. They are great.. but that sounds like a lot...

NHL: Nashville Goalie Pekka Rinne becomes the 12th goalie in the NHL to score a goal. The Chicago Blackhawks were down by a goal late in the game and pulled their goal tender. Pekka Rinne took a loose puck and fired it down the ice into the net. GOAL !!!!!!

Shout out to 15 year old rising tennis star Coco Gauff. Her father/coach was giving her a pep talk that was picked up on a live ESPN mic. She was calling out her dad for "Cursing in public" when he said, "damn". Coco: "Dad, people are listening. You don't have to curse." Dad: "Damn isn't a curse, honey." Coco: "To some people it is .. " HAHAHAH.. how great is SHE !!??!!!

CELEBRIDIOTS: CATFIGHT !!!! The Claws are OUT over the "MEG-XIT" .. Princess Kate Middleton turned 38 yesterday and Meghan and Harry responded to the Official announcement on Social Media with good wishes.. then got SLAMMED. They crushed Markle as a selfish b*tch that "Clearly doesn't care because you overshadowed her day with your announcement..just like when you had to announce your pregnancy on Princess Eugenies wedding day" OUCH.. It may cool down after a while but WOW are people angry with Markle across the pond.. and..

MORE CATFIGHT !!! Singer R Kelly's "Girlfriends" are having actual fights. It appears that one of them (Azriel Clary) is considering working with the Feds. She wants to be exonerated of everything she may have done... and is concerned about the NDA she signed with Kelly's "People". Hmmm.. Does an NDA cover illegal activity? If she admits she was 13 when she had sex with Kelly could that violate an NDA? ..and...

I cannot figure this one out.. Is it great to be born beautiful and get paid to stand around wearing clothes (What some call, "Modeling") or does it stink that every time you go out in public you have to spend three hours getting ready.??. (because if you don't then there are pictures of your splotchy face and bad hair all over the internet). Which is it? Charlotte McKinney has to do this HERE to go to the store. You should have seen her .. Hair, make-up, nails.. accessorize.. which Bag? the short Gucci or longer Louis Vuitton... "does this skirt make my butt look big?" .. (Of course I said no.. Im not STUPID.. I didn't want to get hit by the bag) .. "does my thong show through this skirt" (No, honey.. It can't .. you're not wearing one..).. she took two hours making me pull off her boots so she could try others on.. .. "Dark Brown or black?? .. 3 inch heel or four inch?.. Which goes better with my glasses??" I swear .. if Friday wasn't Naked Twister night I'd kick her out of my house, TODAY !!!

Selena Gomez is releasing her new album, "Rare" and says that she loves her fans so much that she just wants to "grab them by the face and tell them how loved they are" .. That's not where you grab ME, Selena.. but that's a different conversation.. HERE . ....

The Labor Department's closely watched monthly employment report this morning could buttress the Fed's assessment that both the economy and monetary policy are in a "good place." U.S. stock futures are pointing to more records (Dow 29K?) ahead of the data, which is expected to show nonfarm payrolls increasing by 164,000 in December, a near 50-year low unemployment rate of 3.5%, along with modest wage gains. The pace of hiring remains more than enough to keep the longest economic expansion in U.S. history on track despite a deepening downturn in manufacturing and unsettled trade disputes.

Speaking of a crowded labor market, Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) is reportedly offering a $100K per year salary for manager-level positions at select Taco Bell locations in the Midwest and Northeast. The development is just one of many examples of the wage inflation pressure being felt in parts of the restaurant sector. That wildcard is part of the 2020 earnings matrix across the fast food industry, which for decades had been seen as offering the quintessential low-wage job. Go deeper: 'Yum Brands' Big, New, Growth 'Habit'' by J.G. Collins.

A new trove of internal messages released by Boeing (NYSE:BA) will add to the hurdles of David Calhoun, a longtime board member who will take over as CEO next week. "This airplane (737 MAX) is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys," said one company pilot in 2016, while another employee asks: "Would you put your family on a MAX simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn't." Perhaps most notable among the communications are efforts to avoid simulator training - an expensive and time consuming process - which helped make the 737 MAX Boeing's best-selling jetliner. Go deeper: Read all the emails here.

Canada's Justin Trudeau, along with several other Western leaders, has accused Iran of unintentionally downing Flight PS752 with a surface-to-air missile, though the head of the country's national aviation department has denied those allegations. Iran has now invited the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board to take part in the investigation after initially stating it would not allow Boeing (BA) to take part in the probe or inspect the black boxes from the crash. U.S. officials have expressed concern about sending employees to Iran because of the heightened tensions, while their role could be limited by sanctions. Go deeper: Muilenburg's greatest strength and weakness was his optimism, quotes John Mason.

A new budget proposed by California Governor Gavin Newsom includes a plan to allow the state to contract with generic drug makers to provide medicines to all Californians. He believes that the government's purchasing power may be sufficient to cut drug prices to the state's 40M residents, almost 33% Medicaid enrollees. Newsom is also in favor of authorizing the California Department of Health Care Services to negotiate drug prices for international buyers, a situation that could potentially enable the state to achieve discounts on par with Canada.

Instead of setting a yearly challenge for himself as he has done annually for the past ten years, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg is predicting major developments over the next decade. "While I expect phones to still be our primary devices through most of this decade, at some point in the 2020s, we will get breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology," he wrote in a post. Other important themes Zuckerberg is forecasting are a private social platform, decentralizing opportunities and new forms of digital governance. Go deeper: Elazar Advisors says FB has multiple earnings drivers starting now.

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been building a business selling ads on its Fire streaming television platform, and now it wants to sell some ads for the first time on other streaming TV systems such as Apple TV and Xbox, WSJ reports. Publishers were told the company could fill ads at higher prices - as much as $40 per thousand impressions - than other third-party ad-selling platforms. Connected TV ad spending is expected to rise to nearly $8.9B this year, up from $6.9B in 2019, according to eMarketer. Go deeper: Kwan-Chen Ma stacks up Amazon against Facebook and Google.

Many are looking to carve out exemptions from California's new "gig worker" rule - which obligates companies to pay overtime, healthcare and workers' compensation - and one industry just scored a victory. Los Angeles Superior Court judge William Highberger has issued a temporary restraining order, saying AB5 does not apply to independent truck drivers because they are subject to federal statute. California is home to 450,000 contract workers, and roughly 70,000 of them are independent big-rig owner-operators.

Mercedes-Benz (OTCPK:DDAIF) successfully defended its title as the world's best-selling luxury-car brand in 2019, topping archrivals BMW (OTCPK:BAMXF) and Audi (OTCPK:AUDVF) for the fourth year in a row. The automaker's sales increased 1.3% to 2.34M vehicles, making it the highest annual sales volume in its history. "The record year underscores once more the strong demand for Mercedes-Benz vehicles, even amidst far-reaching changes in the mobility landscape," said Mercedes Chairman Ola Kaellenius.

Even with U.S. energy production at an all-time record, seven different U.S. refineries are on the block now, accounting for about 5% of U.S. crude oil processing capacity, according to data compiled by Reuters. The properties are having trouble finding bidders because of unfavorable locales, worries about falling margins, and the coming restart of nearby facilities in the Caribbean. There's also pressure from new international shipping fuel regulations, known as IMO 2020, and U.S. renewable fuels standards that require refineries to blend in biofuels.

What else is happening...

Grubhub (NYSE:GRUB) denies reports of sale; shares plunge.

Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) lands a $1 price target.

iPhone (NASDAQ:AAPL) sales in China up 18% in December.

Tough holiday season for J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP).

Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) names former DARPA director as CTO.

Boeing (BA) may have to lower 787 production rate - Air Lease.

Thursday's Key Earnings

Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) -6.5% on disappointing holiday sales.

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +0.5%. Hong Kong +0.3%. China -0.1%. India +0.4%. In Europe, at midday, London flat. Paris +0.1%. Frankfurt +0.3%. Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.4%. Crude -0.2% to $59.46. Gold -0.3% to $1549.30. Ten-year Treasury Yield flat at 1.86%

Today's Economic Calendar


Roger “Raj” Searing

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