Riddle Me This, Stephan Roach

Stephan Roach has another piece out defending Beijing’s protectionist currency policy. He says that we shouldn’t “blame” the Chinese for our problems, and should rather be:

“…encouraging households to save income…”

But that just begs the question: If Stephan Roach wants Joe Sixpack to save more, why did economists like him design a trading system that sent Joe’s job to China in the first place?

Note to Stephan Roach: It’s hard to save money when you don’t have any income!

Instead of trying to level the playing field, Roach thinks that the US:

“…needs to refocus the US-China trade agenda toward expanded market access…”

And that begs another question: Why wasn’t access to Chinese markets designed into the trading system by economists like Stephan Roach?

Could it be because the multinationals and their lobbyists who wrote the legislation were only interested in getting their sweatshops set up as quickly as possible?

In a free market, the renminbi would strengthen. Chinese imports would become more expensive, multinational sweatshop profits would fall, production would shift back to the USA, and Joe Sixpack would finally be able to feed his children again.

Is that the correct policy to follow? Well we only need to ask two questions to discover the answer:

Do we have an unemployment problem?

Yes; indeed we do.

Do we have a corporate profits problem?

Not hardly. Not at all, in fact.

So, obviously the pendulum of trade policy should swing back in the direction which benefits the whole of the USA, rather than Beijing and the multinationals.

There is a lot more that I could say here, but it really isn’t necessary. Globalism is dying, and the American version of France’s Marine La Pen is on her way.

I don’t know who she is, but trust me…

She is coming.


See also: “What is Stephan Roach Smoking?


How to Update the Android GUI From a Timer

If you found this post via a Google search, chances are that your Android app just crashed after you added an innocent-looking timer. You probably got this error:

android.view.ViewRootImpl$CalledFromWrongThreadException: Only the original thread that created a view hierarchy can touch its views.

You may have also found people saying that you can’t use a timer to update the GUI. Seems odd, right? Why would Google make a timer and then not let you use it for hardly anything?

Well, those people are wrong. While you can’t update the GUI directly from your timer, you can do so with a few little tweaks.

The error above happens because Android doesn’t want other threads, such as your timer, messing with its GUI. So, what you need to do is politely ask Android to make the update for you. To do that, you need to add a handler and a runnable. Android will monitor the handler for a signal from your timer. When it gets the signal, it will run the code in the runnable. It sounds complicated, but it amounts to only a few lines of code.

First, move the code that updates the GUI out of your timer and into a runnable. A runnable is a mechanism where one thread can tell another thread to run a block of code. In this example, there is one line of code which sets the TextView tv to the value of the global variable i:

final Runnable myRunnable = new Runnable() {
   public void run() {
      tv.setText(String.valueOf(i));
   }
};

Creating a handler is very simple:

final Handler myHandler = new Handler();

And in the timer, we pass the runnable to the handler:

private void UpdateGUI() {
   i++;
   //tv.setText(String.valueOf(i)); //This causes a runtime error.
   myHandler.post(myRunnable);
}

As an example, I took the Android “Hello World” app, and modified it into a counter that updates once per second:

public class HelloActivity extends Activity {
   int i=0;
   TextView tv;
   final Handler myHandler = new Handler();

   @Override
   public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
      super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
      setContentView(R.layout.main);

      tv=(TextView) findViewById(R.id.tv1);

      Timer myTimer = new Timer();
      myTimer.schedule(new TimerTask() {
         @Override
         public void run() {UpdateGUI();}
      }, 0, 1000);

   }

   private void UpdateGUI() {
      i++;
      //tv.setText(String.valueOf(i));
      myHandler.post(myRunnable);
   }

   final Runnable myRunnable = new Runnable() {
      public void run() {
         tv.setText(String.valueOf(i));
      }
   };
}

Will Being on TV Boost Your Alexa Rank?

Seems like an easy question, right? Well, let’s take a look at a test case. In March 2012, Josh Brown of The Reformed Broker had his book “Backstage Wall Street” published, and it generated a lot of buzz in the financial media.

Suddenly, everywhere you looked, there was Josh on financial TV and radio, including CNBC’s “Fast Money” show. I imagine that Josh was promoting his book more than his website during these appearances, however I was surprised to see that his Alexa rank did not improve. Here is the chart from my Rank-O-Matic app:

This reminds me of Steve Martin’s comments about how TV appearances did nothing for him during his early career. Viewers just didn’t jump up and race to the record store to buy his comedy CD’s.

This is good news for anonymous bloggers who might be feeling like they are missing out on TV-generated web traffic.

What could one do to drive more traffic from a TV appearance? I don’t know, but maybe saying something wild like this would work: “I have a picture of a caged extraterrestrial on my website right now. Go look at it.”

Read it Here First: Crushing the Middle Class is Official Policy

As my readers know, I have been arguing that the American middle class has been deliberately targeted for liquidation via offshoring, mass immigration, union busting, etc. I have also said that American presidents don’t have any say in this policy; that they follow orders handed down by the multinationals. Why else would President Obama bring in one million legal immigrants per year when high unemployment is his biggest problem? Here’s a quote from me back on October 4, 2009:

“That, after all, is THE PLAN: outsource as many US jobs as possible, replace expensive American workers with cheap foreign workers, foreign lands boom while Corporate Amerika’s CEO’s buy private jets.”

Well, guess what? Geopolitical expert George Friedman just wrote the same thing in his latest book, “The Next Decade: Empire and Republic in a Changing World”:

“…the best US strategy is to appear to be doing everything possible to stop the movement of immigrants while making certain that these efforts fail. This has been the American strategy on illegal immigrants for many years. …Given the forces interested in maintaining the status quo, any president who took the steps needed to stop illegal immigration would rapidly lose power.”

Friedman can’t really spell out who “the forces” are because many of them are his clients at Stratfor.com, but we can read between lines, can we not?

Now that someone like Friedman has published the concept, the chattering classes may chatter about it openly. They couldn’t accept it from me, a mere blogger. That is just the way of intellectual sheep. Nevertheless, now that it is out in the open, perhaps progress can be made.

Speaking of the devil…

The Indian body-shop company Infosys is being investigated for visa fraud. I wonder if the Obama administration will follow Friedman’s Machiavellian prescription in this case: make a big show of doing something, but not actually do anything at all to change the larger policy.

Reading through the New York Times story, you have to wonder: how is Infosys any different than the Italian Mafia? The mafia smuggles Mexicans across the boarder in the back of trucks. Then they put them to work on badly-paid construction jobs, and don’t withhold taxes from their pay.

Infosys smuggles in Indians via visa-fraud, puts them to work on badly-paid IT jobs, pays them under the table, and issues death threats to whistle-blowers.

At its heart, globalization is a criminal operation, robbing not only the middle class of its income, but also the US Treasury of its tax revenue, both indirectly, and directly in the case of the Indian Mafia.

And lest you think that we need these workers, guess again. See Robert Oak’s piece here.

This quote from the Times article is very interesting:

“…the rules governing B-1 visas are so complex that skilled immigration lawyers can disagree on them.”

Is this what George Friedman was talking about? An example of our government appearing to do something about the problem, but in reality doing nothing at all? Making fungible laws to be shaped as needed? It will be interesting to see how the judge rules.

Here is a CBS News story on the case:

Continue reading on my Immigration Charts page.

Nailed It: Dow Plunges to My 12735 Target

On Sunday, I predicted that the March 6th low of 12,735 was in play. Here’s the chart that I posted:

The market didn’t waste any time fulfilling my vision, whooshing down on Monday and Tuesday. Here’s what the chart looks like now:

Not bad, huh?

What’s next? Well, if I told you the future every day, that would ruin the surprise for you. Right? But here are some things to think about:

The fact that the Dow plunged below its March 6th low is bearish factor. Some of the dip buyers who resided there a month go have gone AWOL. But the market reacted very well to Alcoa’s earnings report after the bell. As I write this, the Dow futures are up 50 points from their 4 o’clock close.

On the short-term time-frame, the market is oversold, and it appears that we have a bullish catalyst in the form of Alcoa. So, perhaps the market will advance on Wednesday. However, volume exploded on Tuesday, so bulls need to root, if not pray, for high-volume buying going forward. If a stampede of dip-buyers don’t rush in, then the buying might be the work of shorts covering up and taking profits. And that increases the odds that the bounce will be a mere retracement.

Dow Rectangle Pattern Targets 12735

During the past few weeks, the Dow has been trading in a rectangular range about 300 points high. On the hourly chart below, I have outlined the range with red lines. (Click chart to enlarge):

The futures have already broken out of that range, and stocks will certainly follow on Monday. To find the downside target, we subtract the height of the rectangle from the lower bound of the range. And that brings us to the March 6th low of 12735.

The last time that the market plunged after “not creating enough jobs” was on September 2, 2011. The next day, I criticized the panicky selling in “Companies Add Jobs for 18th Straight Month – Investors Jump Out Windows“. And while I was right that the expansion/bull market wasn’t over, the market did languish for a few weeks. On this chart, the red arrows point to that seemingly “bad” jobs report:

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the bulls will get off easy again this time, with only one month of chastisement. However, another important event occurred last September: Mitt Romney said that, if elected, he would not re-appoint Ben Bernanke. And so, while Doug Kass says “the liquidity rally is over”, a certain Mr. Bernanke may have other ideas on the subject.

Do Blog Comments Help Your Website’s Alexa Rank?

Yes, it appears that they do indeed. And we have an excellent case study to look at. On February 19, 2012, ace technologist Dave Winer shut off the comments on his blog. (See his “No Comment” post).

On that day, Mr. Winer’s Alexa rank stood at 39,669. Since then his site has dropped down to #46,655. Here is a chart from my Rank-O-Matic app. The red arrow marks the spot where the comment section was closed:

Dave Winer's Alexa Rank

I’m sure that Dave has better things to do than worry about his Alexa rank. However, back in February, he was feuding with Robert Scoble, and Scoble’s site has an Alexa Rank of 51,843. Will Dave be irked if his Alexa rank drops below Scoble’s?

In any case, having a comments section seems to be a good way to boost your Alexa rank. And letting the idiots run wild probably helps too. If you are irritated by dumb comments, and take pleasure in smiting the idiots, then you are at a disadvantage to your less-discriminating competitors – as far as your Alexa rank goes.

Note: I know Mr. Winer’s Alexa ranks because I have been building a list of top technology bloggers, and have a number of daily ranks stored in my Rank-O-Matic database. I will be publishing that list soon.

StockCharts.com Overtakes TheStreet.com

The Top Investing Websites page has been updated. Stock Charts has jumped over The Street to take the #10 spot, and is nipping at Zero Hedge’s heels. The home of perpetual Armageddon dropped another 62 ranks over the past month. Stock Charts has 700-some ranks to go to catch Zero Hedge, and that’s a lot of real-estate at this level. Godspeed, Stock Charts, godspeed.

Of course, if your site drops, it’s not always your fault. For example, if your site is down recently, one of the ranks you lost may be due to codecademy.com racing by you. The site is ranked at 5,102, and teaches newbies how to write code. That’s right; there’s a coding craze going on. Strange, but true. Who could have ever predicted such a thing? Certainly not us coders who know how not-fun it really is when you do it for a living.

The moral of the story is that you can be doing everything right on your site, but still be surpassed by new sites riding a new craze. It’s your relative ranking within your industry group that counts.

There were no other ranking changes amongst the top sites. The next most-significant change was Mish dropping to #27, having been topped by Elliott Wave International.

12 sites have been added to list this month, bringing the total to 149. Sites added are:

Bruce Krasting
Crossing Wall Street
Dragonfly Capital
Howard Lindzon
Investing With Options
Paul Kedrosky
Points and Figures
Raymond James
Stock Market Mentor
TheArmoTrader
The Stock Sage
Todd Sullivan’s Value Plays

Tyler Durden, Financial Terrorist Psychopath, Part 2

Tyler Durden’s vision for America:

Fight Club was released in 1999, two years before September 11th. The movie certainly would have had a different ending if it had come out after 9/11. Tyler Durden didn’t blow up the buildings of credit-card companies in the novel. So, the scriptwriters crazied him up quite a bit for the film.

But make no mistake, even in the milder novel, Tyler Durden is a full-blown terrorist psychopath. And in some ways, the novel is more gruesome. For example, in the movie, we see Durden urinating in the soup. But in the novel, we learn that Durden puts his penis into the soup (Kindle 1160):

“The tomato soup must still be hot because the crooked thing Tyler tucks back in his pants is boiled pink as a jumbo prawn.”

Nice, huh? And he’s not above using biological weapons either (Kindle 1152):

“Then I hear one of the doctors, lawyers, whatever, say how a hepatitis bug can live on stainless steel for six months…I asked the doctor where we could get our hands on some of these hepatitis bugs…”

And he’s very creative when it comes to inventing new types of bombs, like his “lightbulb bomb.” (Kindle 2733). And at Kindle 2746, there is a recipe for homemade napalm.

In the novel and the movie, Tyler Durden invents bare-knuckle fighting. But in reality, Fight Club is a rip-off of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Fight Club the novel was published in 1996, a couple of years after UFC #1, which took place in 1993.

In my original post, published on April 1st (ha, ha), I said that I would provide links for the quotes. Well, you can just copy and paste them into Google to see that they are real. Here is the list, going from top-to-bottom:

  1. Fight Club the novel – Kindle Location 3098
  2. Fight Club the movie – 2:10:05
  3. Fight Club the novel – Kindle Location 1785
  4. Fight Club the novel – Kindle Location 1769
  5. Fight Club the novel – Kindle Location 1043
  6. Fight Club the novel – Kindle Location 2045

Note: If you liked the movie, you will like the novel. Author Chuck Palahniuk packs it with all kinds of seriously crazy stuff.

Note: In the novel, Tyler Durden doesn’t preach “economic equilibrium”. Like I said, they crazied him up for the movie!

This concludes my literary critique of “Fight Club”. Hope you enjoyed it.

Tyler Durden is Financial Terrorist Psychopath

Below are some Tyler Durden quotes that I have collected. Durden is a proponent of “returning to economic equilibrium” which means that civilization can only be saved by first causing its collapse via financial terrorism.

“We’re going to break up civilization so we can make something better out of the world.”

“It’s getting exciting now…we will view the collapse of financial history. One step closer to economic equilibrium.”

“This was the goal…The complete and right-away destruction of civilization.”

“Picture yourself planting radishes and seed potatoes on the fifteenth green of a forgotten golf course. You’ll hunt elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center.”

The resulting mayhem, suffering, and slaughter is a necessary sacrifice in the name of “equilibrium” – even a religious sacrament:

“It was right to kill all those people. Open your eyes…Think about the animals used in product testing. Think about the monkeys shot into space. Without their death, their pain, without their sacrifice, we would have nothing.”

“We are God’s middle children with no special place in history and no special attention. Unless we get God’s attention, we have no hope of damnation or Redemption. Which is worse? Hell or nothing? Only if we’re caught and punished can we be saved. Burn the Louvre, and wipe your ass with the Mona Lisa. This way at least, God would know your names.”

Funny thing about Tyler Durden and Osama bin Laden – they have/had the same goal: destroying America.

I have links to all of these quotes, and will post them in Part 2 of this story.