Gareth Vaughan on Tony Alexander & intergenerational housing warfare, dirty air, bubble blowing central banks, Donald Trump & Silvio Berlusconi, the Fed & bankers, Dilbert & more

Today's Top 10 comes from interest.co.nz's own Gareth Vaughan. This is his second Top 10. His first one is here.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comment stream below or via email to david.chaston@interest.co.nz.

And if you're interested in contributing the occasional Top 10 yourself, contact gareth.vaughan@interest.co.nz.

See all previous Top 10s here.

1) Donald Trump, "the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency."

Like a combination of something out of the Twilight Zone and a slow moving train crash, the US presidential election has been compelling viewing. Now, with the third and final debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton behind us, we're on the home straight as the clock ticks down towards the November 8 election. And Trump still has few friends in the media. Here's The Atlantic endorsing Clinton in just its third endorsement of a presidential candidate since it was founded in 1857. The other two endorsements were for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

It is, however, more of a denouncement of Trump.

We are impressed by many of the qualities of the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, even as we are exasperated by others, but we are mainly concerned with the Republican Party’s nominee, Donald J. Trump, who might be the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency. 

Hillary Rodham Clinton has more than earned, through her service to the country as first lady, as a senator from New York, and as secretary of state, the right to be taken seriously as a White House contender. She has flaws (some legitimately troubling, some exaggerated by her opponents), but she is among the most prepared candidates ever to seek the presidency. We are confident that she understands the role of the United States in the world; we have no doubt that she will apply herself assiduously to the problems confronting this country; and she has demonstrated an aptitude for analysis and hard work. 

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.

It's understandable that many Americans are fed up with their political establishment. But it's also hard to disagree with much of what The Atlantic says about Trump. Here's the withering conclusion.

But Trump is not a man of ideas. He is a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar. He is spectacularly unfit for office, and voters—the statesmen and thinkers of the ballot box—should act in defense of American democracy and elect his opponent.

2) "We’ve seen Donald Trump before - his name was Silvio Berlusconi."

The Guardian's John Foot argues the Trump phenomenon isn't as unique as many pundits are making out. In fact Foot reckons we've seen it all before with ex-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Nonetheless he argues even if Trump loses, things will never be the same in US politics again.

The parallels between Berlusconi and Trump are striking. Both are successful businessman who struggle with “murky” aspects linked to their companies – tax, accounting, offshore companies. Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud in 2013, which effectively put an end to his political career. But business success and huge wealth was part of his political appeal, as they are for Trump. Beyond wealth, Berlusconi, like Trump, always painted himself as an outsider, as anti-establishment, even when he was prime minister. And, like Trump, Berlusconi’s appeal was populist and linked to his individual “personality”.

The Berlusconi phenomenon shows that a post-truth politician can rise to power in one of the world’s strongest and richest countries. The lesson for America is that for far too long Berlusconi was treated as a joke and a clown. By the end, nobody was laughing. Twenty years of Berlusconi at the centre of the system had a deeply damaging impact on Italy’s body politic and democratic culture and the wounds are by no means healed. Win or lose, Trump has shifted the terms of political discourse, campaigning and organisation. As with the Berlusconi era, things will never be the same again.

3) Tony Alexander and intergenerational housing warfare.

In his weekly overview BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander has waded into the debate over intergenerational housing market warfare. Alexander sometimes likes to take swipes at other un-named pundits in his overview and he has done just that this week. He kicks off saying "some people have postulated a war between the generations centred around the housing market."

Whilst Alexander expresses sympathy for the plight of young people trying to get into the housing market, he mainly rides to the defence of baby boomers.

No Baby Boomer lobbied the government or Reserve Bank for interest rates to fall back to 1960s levels just as they are retiring. 

Older people have been building up savings for the past three or so decades anticipating moving their funds into boring conservative portfolios as they retire. They have been warned of the need to prepare for reduced entitlement to superannuation. They have planned to earn a good and steady income from term deposits, bonds, and blue chip stocks. But now as these people retire in droves they are finding that courtesy of the after-effects of the GFC, globalisation, and technology changes, sustained low inflation and debt aversion are locking interest rates in at low levels. They are facing returns half to one-third of what they were planning for. 

This is not what the Baby Boomers wanted. Ask them and they will tell you they are struggling to find yield and would love the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates instead of cutting them again most probably next month.

No one turning 65, he continues, voted for 3.5% deposit rates and higher local government rates bills. Both retirees and the young are blameless in the structural shift of residential property ownership, Alexander argues. Doubtless, there'll be split views on this...

Young buyers may not be aware of one of the more frequent questions asked of us economists in the past three decades. Namely, what will happen to house prices when all the Baby Boomers retire and sell their houses to live in small units? I attempted one answer to this during a Saturday in Westport back in about 1995 waiting to fly back to Wellington that evening having come off the Heaphy Track a couple of days earlier (and spending one night in beautiful Karamea).

In the Saturday edition of the Press I looked at all the asking prices for houses on the market and compared the average with the average price of newer units/ownership flats etc. on offer. The flats cost more. The argument that older people would free up cash and cause collapsing prices in a wave of house selling could not hold water.

The relevance of this now is that completely contrary to the argument housing doom-mongers have been running for three decades now the ageing population is actually boosting housing demand, not cutting it (in terms of bedroom counts). Older people are buying houses for yield, and to help finance a retirement likely to last considerably longer than previously thought due to health, medical and lifestyle advances.

4) "One day, the house of cards will collapse.”

You can always rely on The Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard to cut to the chase. And here he is doing so again with a write up of an interview with Professor Otmar Issing, the European Central Bank's first chief economist and, as Ambrose puts it, "a towering figure in the construction of the single currency."

Prof Issing said the euro has been betrayed by politics, lamenting that the experiment went wrong from the beginning and has since degenerated into a fiscal free-for-all that once again masks the festering pathologies.

“Realistically, it will be a case of muddling through, struggling from one crisis to the next. It is difficult to forecast how long this will continue for, but it cannot go on endlessly," he told the journal Central Banking in a remarkable deconstruction of the project. 

The comments are a reminder that the eurozone has not overcome its structural incoherence. A beguiling combination of cheap oil, a cheap euro, quantitative easing and less fiscal austerity have disguised this, but the short-term effects are already fading. 

Naturally the ECB does not escape intact. 

The central bank already holds over €1 trillion of bonds bought at "artificially low" or negative yields, implying huge paper losses once interest rates rise again. "An exit from the QE policy is more and more difficult, as the consequences potentially could be disastrous," he said.

"The decline in the quality of eligible collateral is a grave problem. The ECB is now buying corporate bonds that are close to junk, and the haircuts can barely deal with a one-notch credit downgrade. The reputational risk of such actions by a central bank would have been unthinkable in the past," he said.

5) An estimated 92% of the world's 7.5 billion people are breathing dirty air.

Against the backdrop of our regular fresh record net gains from migration, I often wonder to what extent stories like this one encourage people to want to move to New Zealand. The World Health Organization estimates 92% of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds safety limits. The swathes of the world coloured yellow, orange, red and purple in the map below means air quality there breaches WHO limits. In this context, New Zealand in the bottom left looks a pretty good place to be.

The WHO’s latest research is its most detailed to date on outdoor air pollution by country. It shows around 3 million deaths globally are linked to pollution from vehicles, power generation and industry. 

However, indoor air pollution caused by smoke from cooking stoves or fires can be just as deadly, the WHO says. Together, outdoor and indoor air pollution were associated with the deaths of an estimated 6.5 million people worldwide in 2012. That’s 11.6% of all global deaths – more than the number of people killed by HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and road injuries combined. 

The maps, based on data from satellites, air transport models and ground station monitors, show levels of particulate matter, such as sulphate, nitrates and black carbon.

6) Beholden to bankers who don't represent the public?

The US Federal Reserve has come under huge scrutiny this year. There has been politically motivated criticism from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, and anger from those like economist John Mauldin over the Fed's "massive monetary policy error."  And now the "historically opaque process of choosing district Fed presidents" is under fire, Reuters reports.

The latest critique came this week when Fed Up, a labor-affiliated coalition pushing for reforms, said it was "disappointing" that Nicole Taylor, a black woman and dean of community engagement and diversity at Stanford University whose term as director at the San Francisco Fed soon expires, would be succeeded on the board by Sanford Michelman, a white man who is co-founder of law firm Michelman & Robinson LLP. 

"It's definitely a step back in terms of what I'd like to see on our board. We're working actively to build representation of women and minorities," John Williams, president of the San Francisco Fed, said on Wednesday in response to reporters' questions, noting the decision was made by private banks in his district.

And of course, even the tentacles of the vampire squid can be seen.

After the Philadelphia, Dallas and Minneapolis Fed banks last year all chose as presidents men with past ties to Goldman Sachs, the Atlanta Fed hosted a public webcast this month and said it seeks a "diverse set of candidates" for its new chief, raising hopes it would name the first black or Latino Fed president in the central bank's 103-year history. 

"It's not just because we want to go and say we're diverse," Loretta Mester, Cleveland Fed president, said at a meeting with workers a day after her bank launched online applications for the public to recommend directors and advisers. "It's about getting different view points that are very helpful to us in ... thinking about the economy and understanding the trends." 

The regional Fed presidents have rotating votes on policy, except for the head of the New York Fed who has a permanent voting role. Unlike Fed governors who are selected by the White House and approved by the Senate, the presidents are chosen by their district directors, half of whom are themselves picked by private local banks that technically own the Fed banks. 

Critics say the dizzying structure leaves the Fed beholden to bankers who do not represent the public, and they point out that 11 of 12 district presidents are white while 10 are men.

7) Forever blowing bubbles. 

On the subject of central banks, the world's biggest ones have bulked up their balance sheets this year at the fastest pace since 2011's European debt crisis, Bloomberg reports. Surprise, surprise, against this backdrop we have asset bubbles in stocks, bonds and property grow.

The 10 largest lenders now own assets totaling $21.4 trillion, a 10 percent increase from the end of last year, data collected by Bloomberg show. Their combined holdings grew by 3 percent or less in both 2015 and 2014.

How much is $21.4 trillion? It’s 29 percent of the size of the world economy as of the end of 2015, double what it was in mid-September 2008, when Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s collapse sparked the global financial crisis. It’s a third of the combined market capitalization of every stock in the world and almost half the value of all debt in Bloomberg’s global bond index.

8) China overtakes the US to become the world's biggest oil importer.

Here's another great chart from Bloomberg showing China over taking the United States to become the world's biggest oil importer. China's crude oil imports rose to a record 8.08 million barrels a day in September, an 18% annual increase.

9) Which profession is among the winners from Brexit? Why lawyers, of course, Bloomberg points out.

This really shouldn't come as a surprise. Cue jokes about snouts in troughs and feeding frenzies...

In the four months since Britain voted to leave the European Union, the pound has plummeted, home prices are down, and banks have threatened to move jobs from the U.K. One business, though, is thriving and poised for a very profitable 2017: peddling advice. Extricating the U.K. from 40 years of European integration will be one of the most complex legal and regulatory exercises ever, which is why demand for legal and consulting services is surging.

“The panic is starting to set in,” says Miriam Gonzalez, co-chair of the international trade and government regulation practice at law firm Dechert. “Those who have a lot of interests at stake need to do work now.”

The financial advisory/professional services firms are in on the action too. But if it's banks who they'll be gouging...

Happily for lawyers, the sector with the biggest challenges also has the deepest pockets: finance. Today, banks in the U.K. can sell their products and services anywhere in the EU, thanks to the bloc’s “passport” for financial services. JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup have all warned they may need to move operations elsewhere if those privileges are taken away. The costs of a shift to the continent shouldn’t be underestimated, says Simon Gleeson, a partner at Clifford Chance in London. “If a regulator sees a bank wanting to move into its jurisdiction, it will say, ‘I want the management, the capital, and the systems for that business where I can see them,’ ” he says.

10) Eighteen on the trot?

I'm heading to Eden Park tonight to watch the All Blacks seek their 18th consecutive test match victory in the dead rubber Bledisloe Cup match against the Wallabies. I'll be accompanied by a a very excited six year-old attending his first All Blacks game. A victory would set a new record of consecutive wins by a so-called tier one rugby nation. I'm hoping for a result similar to last year's pre-World Cup Eden Park thumping of the Aussies (see video below). Incidentally, the best winning streak by any country's national rugby team is the 24 straight wins recorded by Cyprus between 2008 and 2014. The details of the Cypriot winning streak are here.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.

101 Comments

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Wouldn't it be funny if the USA elected Trump simply as a rejection of the mass media.

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Hillary is better qualified to govern, because she is steeped in the system that government has been for the last several decades, which has screwed up everything in the world. It is funny that in this same article they are bemoaning bankers tied to Goldman becoming Fed Presidents, but are happy with Hillary continuing the rot in the governing process.

Yes - the media have the appearance of backing Hillary - she appears the front runner so they are not risking the famous "Clintons do not Forget or Forgive"

The US elections are a total Hobson´s choice. Or as Henry Ford once said "you can have any colour you want as long as its black". Clinton represents the pro globalisation deep state politicofinancial complex that's financialised the economy, offshored all the jobs and destroyed the middle class. If I was and American I´'d vote for Trump. To hell with what Noam Chomsky says. Really interesting to see how the Herald newspaper in NZ fell into line dismissing Sanders flooding the airways with Trump during democrat nomination, once Trump served his purpose as a distraction he was turned upon.

In a perfect world, globalization would be fantastic. Sadly, it is far from a perfect world.

That's part of the attraction to Trump. The MSM are shilling Clinton day in day out and will slander Trump with buzz words (racist, xenophobic) at every opportunity - see the first point in this article. You will almost always see a bunch of buzz words when talking about Trump rather than just attacking him on one front.

Having Trump elected will be a huge Middle finger to the corrupt status quo. That in its self is what a portion of people will.be voting for imo

I found my own personal loathing for Trump watching the documentary "You've Been Trumped" PRIOR to this election circus. What a pity not everyone managed to see it earlier, you might then understand what it is you are "supporting".
He is a thoroughly horrible man.

If you spent half that time doing your own research on Clinton you wouldn't be supporting her.

I believe PocketAces is a woman with a bad attitude toward pale, stale, males. Please correct me if I am wrong. At least Trump and Putin are not stale!

Putin is not completely stale, but he holds his current status by way of strong arm tactics, he is not, however, a believer of freedom of speech or association and has a very bad attitude toward homosexuals. He has manipulated the Russian political system to retain power, you do know that, don't you? Trump is just a fool, Putin will walk all over him, and Trump will not be able to stomach that. Trump would happily take the world to war to save face.
Being able to read human nature is not the exclusive preserve of females, by the way.

I am not necessarily a Clinton supporter but do see her as the pick of those two. I would have preferred to have seen Bernie Sanders where Clinton is, and in that case, Trump would not even register.

I don't support her, it's just I have even less regard for Trump, he is a complete idiot. The USA is in the last throws of its days as A #1 in the world, and the two people currently running for president illustrate this perfectly. Trump is not the beginning of something better, he is the end of it all.
I am extremely disappointed that the first female POTUS will be Clinton and would much have preferred someone like Elizabeth Warren to have been it.
Tough times are ahead, probably war, regardless of who is POTUS. You are clutching at straws thinking Donald Trump will Lone Ranger like save the day. Truth is, we are probably just overdue for another big cull of us. I wish we could avoid it, I do not see the world being run by a bunch of narcissistic, megalomaniac men is going to prevent it.
The only people that could prevent us going down the slippery slope are people who do NOT have large egos, whose driving force is not their own glory, they are not Vla Vla Vlad Putin, or Donald Trumpelstiltskin, or Kim Jong Un or any other of the hardliners around the world, those sorts have always led us to conflict. The saviours look more like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the latter of those two is the one who is taking it to the big boys.

Trump is saying borders should be secured and (therefore ) others are a threat. Hillary runs the other way.
I think they are the two basic paradigms.

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Niether Trump or Clinton are fit to be President.We all know abo.
ut Trumps many flaws because it's shoved down our throat daily by the many forms of media.Below are why i think Clinton shouldn't be President.
1.Her involvement in the Whitewater scandal.
15 people were charged of 40 crimes mainly involving money,but not the Clintons.
Many were granted full pardons by Slick Willie beforet he left office.
2.Her support for Senator Robert Bryd one of the most racist Americans you would find.
3.Her support of the removal of the GLASS STEAGALL act which led to the GFC.
4.NAFTA no need to say more.

5.Her deleting of over 30000 emails which she said were private therefore denying the FBI the chance to prove her wrong.
6.The Clinton Foundation.Only 5% has actually gone to charity.
Her daughter is paid 1.2 million per year by the Clinton Foundation
7.Her connection with Wall Street,already Wall street are expecting Wall street to rise on a Clinton victory..
.
This is only a few of her flaws and only my opinion.

Did you see the comment that the Russians want to monitor the US elections to make sure they are not rigged. Hard to say if the story is true, but it is bloody funny regardless.

United States bars Russian monitors from presidential polls – elections commission

So the Americans feel they can monitor other people's elections but no one can monitor theirs?

True, the lack of a better alternative does not make Hillary qualified to become President. But America is screwed either way and the world will pay the price, I think.

Just as I suspected, you got this "information" from a Trump website! 

#6 was the the easy sign. The Foundation's IR990 says something quite different to what you googled from "Information Liberation". You need to cover superficial searching better than that. The original detail is easy to find if you are not blinkered. The Clinton Foundation raised US$338 mln in 2014 (the last audited and filed returns. Their 2015 returns are online but the audit is not yet completed.) Of that, the specific programs they support got $217.7 mln. That means admin & fundraising cost $31.6 mln. They added $88.4 mln to reserves because the money came in faster than expected. By any measure, admin&fundraising is 12.6%, not 94.4% their political rivals claim. The big lie has always been seductive to demagogues.

#2 is just a part truth. The real truth requires a bit of thinking. I lived in the US during his conversion. He was a savvy senator from W VA. He was a Klan member in early life. In fact he even filibustered against the Civil Rights Act. But when it was passed, be was confident and smart enough to realised his previous positions were wrong, and completely changed his view. I remember it well (1982). You couldn't help but be impressed with the honest self reassessment. Even after this transition, he continued to win reelection in W VA - which early on, was quite an achievement. You should try googleing "the greatest mistake I ever made"; you will do doubt find him quoted. A politician who changes his mind as radically as this is rare, and to be respected on an issue like this. The current listing of this support by Clinton is nothing by a smear intended to convince others who are too lazy to see past the easy 144 characters.

Similar on other points. I am not defending Clinton (who I agree is flawed), but pushing back on the cheap shots that blindly come from the Trump camp.

After further research i accept your points regarding #2 & #6 and admit that i shouldn't have accepted what i read as gospel.According to what i have since read 89% was given to charity and Bryd did renounce his kkk past.
However on the other points i stand by what i wrote even though they are only opinions.
Head on chopping block once again.

Hey David, let us not mention "Pay to Play" Shshshshsh don't let the people know

And apparently $7m of that 338m the Clintons get comes from NZ taxpayers! According to Leighton Smith, JoKey gets Internal Affairs to pay them each year.

#3. I don't think it is helpful to refer to intergenerational warfare. The problem is a flawed narrative. But the day of reckoning gets closer as the unearned income returns on credit bubble inflated asset prices close toward zero. Only when they got to zero across all asset classes will the narrative change.

#5. Makes the fact I own the worlds first zero emission combustion technology look a little more important.

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America is not, if it has ever been, a democracy. It is an oligarchy. Just because the people vote does not mean you have a democracy. Voting in such circumstances is a sop. The last straw on the camels back was when the Supreme Court said a person or company could give any amount of money to a political party. In other words you can buy a Government. Personally I hope that Donald Trump does get in if only to stir up the status quo. At least he doesn't promise eternal war.

Yes, the true choice for Americans this year is between Status Quo and Status No.

Tony Alexander is far more dangerous than Donald Trump.

What are you on?
What harm does Tony Alexander do, whereas Donald Trump is a loose canon.

TA argues that immigration doesn't affect house prices (he came out against the Savings Working Group ). Consistently he sides with the Banking/property sector interests.

Man you need to lighten up and get a sense of humour.
Having said that, I was half serious.
TA has pumped and pumped this bubble and has offered little in the way of constructive solutions.
Along with all the other ponzi backers, I would say he is quite dangerous, given the social and economic harm this bubble is causing.
If this bubble pops, him and all his ponzi backing mates would be viewed retrospectively as very dangerous...

May be Trump and Putin can get together and put an end to the war in the world ? Opportunity that is going to be missed ?

And you may have this comment stream here all to yourself and others who cheerlead for the Putin-&-Trump team. Dissenting opinion will be silenced by their operatives in the background. Be careful what you wish for. (This site is continuously tested by hacks that originate in Vlad's backyard. Every day we would also get 10-15 'people' who want to register to comment with a .ru email address. Putin+Trump is a very dark prospect indeed. You don't know how lucky you are with what we have now. You cross the line, there's no going back.)

There will be no Trump + Putin, both are narcissists. Narcissists do not share well, especially the limelight.
It is suspected that the Dems did their own bit to see to it Trump was the Republican candidate, as they saw him as an easy beat. I find that quite believable, but, the next question that arises is, if the Dems wanted him as GoP candidate, then why does Putin want him to become president?
Think about it, just a little bit, people.

I suspect that hacking attempts would be universal across many websites in New Zealand and not just limited to this website. The propaganda war is universal these days from an international level, a national level and then down to corporate and then an individual level (many New Zealand businesses are run on "mateship" - the problem is many of our leaders I wouldn't follow any where or trust to sit the right way on the lavatory).

Yep, I have been hacked twice from .ru in the past year. Changed my platform to get out of the mire.

Becareful mate. You must be in possession of some super secret information that the soviets require. They probably deployed their nerdiest 14 year old pimple faced hackers to take your site down...scary what Putin will do.

Well I employed an expat Russian to help me out. Indications are my site, and more so my email address, is used by spammers to look ligitimate and get past google. The ideas are not stored on the website so can't be stolen, but are in fact publicly available through a patent search.

Spammers use my original xtra.co.nz email address in the same way. Hate it.

Careful David, the bogeyman will get you if you don't watch out.

.

Trump as Knight of Ni? Not quite how I envision him. I see him more as a (T)rumpelstiltskin, reason for which will become clear when he loses the race.

'The Atlantic' has absolutely no credibility if it calls Trump "a liar" when quite clearly Hillary should be in jail and could easily end up there if Trump is elected and justice prevails. 'The Atlantic' - just another American media whore.

You say

"Here's The Atlantic endorsing Clinton in just its third endorsement of a presidential candidate since it was founded in 1857. The other two endorsements were for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and Lyndon Johnson in 1964."

Oh, i see, so the roll of the media is not to report news but to report opinion, Who'd of Thunk

That's just it, they haven't been reported any negative 'news' on Hillary at all. Seen any quotes or questions on the wikileaks e mails in the main stream media? I don't think so.

Everyone should get behind Trump. He is the last hope for Western Civilization.

Repent the end of the world is nigh......

No he isn't, Putin is supporting him, for crying out loud. Wood, trees.

Putin? Don't you mean Hitler? I mean isn't everyone under 5 foot 9 a Napoleon anyway?

I'd heard a rumour Hitler was dead

No, I'm afraid he is fully operational.

In spirit, in the likes of Trump

Putin has been great for Russia. We need manly men back in charge of things.

Men have been stuffing things up since forever, time the women had a shot at it.
Manly men, Trump????? You have got to be kidding, he is absolutely nothing of the sort, unless cowardice is counted as manly - Vietnam. If I were asked to paint a picture of what a soft white underbelly looked like, I reckon it would look a bit like Trump.

Only men have walked on the moon.

That just proves what a bunch of selfish pricks we are. Having said that, that was then, this is now, were we still walking on the moon, women would be doing it. Sorry, but the days of everything being done from the male point of view must draw to a close, unless of course you are an Daesh sympathizer, their views may be more in acordance with yours.

Lots of women passed the tests, and in many ways were best suited, but that wouldn't do at all in 1959, so Pres Eisenhower laid down a few rules to specfically exclude them from the running. Notably the 'military test pilot' requirement. Couldn't take a fair competition, have to rig the game.

This desire to drop to your knees before Putin would be better kept sequestered in the privacy of your psyche. Just for reasons of good taste and decorum.

#3 He’s defending the Boomers? Follow the money. They vote for it.
Working hard? Pay tax. Sit on a house? No tax.
CGT is unelectable in house-rush NZ.
More immigrant workers to keep wages low and property high, using Population Ponzi to pay for the pension scheme. With full NIMBYism.
Student loans for devalued work.
Unaffordable housing vs massive untaxed gains.

Pensions: - has he used his spreadsheet to compare Boomer’s retirement prospects vs the younger generations? Won’t look pretty.
Yet National is still riding high in the polls despite these inequities.

At the end of the day BNZ and its employees want to sell big mortgages on inflating property to those that can afford them.

Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) is a supporter of Trump. Check out his twitter feed. You might be surprised at his commentary on the US elections. You might also be suprised at the threats and violence directed towards him from 'liberal' democrats. Apparently California is no longer safe for free speech.

Ok,I'm going to take a punt on what i see happening. I think the MSM are dismissing and misleading the actual interest in the 3rd party candidates of Jill Stien and Gary Johnson.

The media may love Hillary regardless of her actual record but I don't believe the great majority of the US citizens do. In fact.... the great majority hate her.
Trump is a boozo but many are/will vote for him because of one thing. They want the establishment to choke on itself, they want the smug status quo shaken up. For that reason and the one I mention above i think Trump is still in with a good chance
They claim Jill Stien is polling 2%, nah I don't believe it after the whole way the Bernie Sanders supporters got screwed over. She will get 5%+ I reckon
They are claiming Gary Johnson is polling 5%. I think less
For many Americans chaos is more palatable than Hillary. The fact she can barely nudge a guy like Trump should serve as a pre election warning.

Yip. Crazy times. Even a bloody green cartoon frog impacted this US elections. Idiocracy arrived much earlier.

Why they hate Trump

Trump Lays Out His Plan For First 100 Days In Office: Here Are The Highlights

1. "A Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress."
2. "A hiring freeze on all federal employees."
3. "A requirement that for every new federal regulation, 2 existing regulations must be eliminated."
4. "A 5-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government."
5. "A lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government."
6. "A complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections."

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-22/trump-lays-out-his-plan-first-1...

No wonder they hate him

1. That will pretty much make it impossible for young people to take active part in politics, it will revert to the control of the staid old white males whose primary goal is to control female fertility.
The rest, a few yeahs and a few nahs.

All part of Putins diabolical plan to restrict woman's rights.

Clearly you did not listen to the first question of the last debate.
Trump and Putin are pretty much cut from the same cloth. They will NOT share the limelight, they are both narcissists. I cannot believe what people seem not to be able to see what is right in front of their eyes in Trump. Must have spent too much time looking at numbers and calculations and missed out on the ability to read human nature. Unbelievable.

I see Trump for what he is. An ego driven billionaire clown. I also see what Hillary is. An ego driven corrupt war mongerer. I also see what you are. A Huffington post subscriber.

I see Trump as our glorious leader West and Putin as glorious leader East. It is absurd for PocketAces to claim that they will need to share any limelight as they will rule over entirely different parts of the planet.

Neither of them will be happy with part of the planet, they are megalomaniacs. They are never happy with only part of anything. Trump is an idiot, he cannot be a glorious anything, sounds to me like you need a reincarnation of Mao Tse Tung, actually, so badly do you crave dictatorship.

Does reading perhaps one Huffington Post article a month or so count as a subscriber, and why would that make me any worse than anyone who follows the Fox network?
I use my own ability to read people, not others.

You should treat the Huffington post as you would meth - "Not even once!"

I don't see why, especially as what I am likely to read has zilch to do with US politics.

It's a silly paper/site. It certainly caters for 1st year uni students, lesser educated liberal arts graduates, hipsters and cat lady's suffering from toxoplasmosis. If you insist on being a left leaning citizen then i encourage you to rather watch 'The real news' with Paul Jay. Good site.

Russia are simply defending their economic interests and borders against a very real threat to them. Imagine Russia sticking an 'alleged' missile 'defense' system right on the borders of the US in Canada and Mexico, or Cuba for that matter. What would the US reaction be?

Syria is a strategic economic country for Russia, as is Iran. Of course they are going to stop ILLEGAL Western intervention going any further!
NO ONE invited US and NATO nations to Syria, thus breaking many international laws and yet again the sovereignty of ANOTHER middle east nation.

Russia (via Putin) has an OBLIGATION and Right to defend the interests of their 140 million citizens who the West would be wise not to continue lying about and antagonising.

The US reign of power is coming to an end. We all know it. China and Russia will be big players in the decades to come. US are the ones falling apart at the expense of their own citizenry clinging desperately to remain top dog. They have become an abomination! The problem is they have lost much international respect for quite some time now. The Western media love to portray Putin like the devil ofcourse, they must drum up irrational fears among their own to justify the next war and the next huge secret military budget.

The world is changing ......with or without the west. Putin knows it.

Of course, I think you are completely wrong on this. Demographics foretells the long-term future. Russia is toast on this basis. It's population is aging fast, it is poor and getting worse, and very inward looking with a real chip on its shoulder (and dangerous). It will not be a player by 2100. Putin is a reactionary. he can make trouble but he can never win. Even he does not trust his own population.

Demographics also show us that China will get old before it gets wealthy. And they also have a special climate risk that will undermine them. By 2100 they will be well and truly a spent force.

Japan will also not be #3 economically any more, solely due to demographics.

Ditto Europe.

If it weren't for substantial climate risks, by 2100 the demographic winners would be India, and Nigeria. But climate will hamstring them badly. Brazil may well suffer the same fate, although southern Brazil/Argentina may well be on the rise.

Indonesia won't survive well in a changing climate. South Africa might.

So the only large economy with a positive demographic profile, and a climate chance to adapt satisfactorily, is the US. By 2100 it will still be a major player with a relatively young energetic population (provided Trump doesn't take hold).

Between the tropics it will be very tough, is my guess. Democracy doesn't stand a chance in this region. Choices will be made with increasing desperation. (Philippines?)

New Zealand will be a 2100 winner, although still minor. Our future looks relatively bright. But we need to stay liberal and open minded. (Alternate views will coalesce around conspiracy theories, just as they did between WWI and WWII.)

Demographics and climate have cast the die for the next 100 years. Almost impossible to break out of what is in store.

Interesting you should make a comment about China getting old before it will get wealthy - in an article the other day on Bloomberg, a Chinese couple were divorcing so they could buy another apartment because they saw it as a way to get rich, but they also believed that property prices will won't go down. Seems some beliefs transcend cultures.

China seems to bounce from one get rich quick scheme to another - stock market, commodities trading and now investment properties - doesn't seem very focused.

A lot of Chinese friends have explain how they invest. It is quite simple what ever is the flavour of the moment buy and as much as you can because if you get in first you will make it. As they have explained there will be millions of people invest after you pushing the price up,
Maybe it explains the boom bust cycles they go through

That explains a lot - but what does it mean for the Auckland housing market.

Talk of 2100 is optimistic looking how things are headed at the moment. Heading into the future though even super powers will require friends. Russia have good friends, another super power who is also a little sick of US policing the world. US? Not so many friends really. They are practically owned by China economically and so to are we headed down that road.
I understand your pro US exceptionalism view, but it's a dying out fast view that was concreted into a certain generation at that time. Those days are history. A great majority of the US now speak spanish and that will continue to grow along with certain customs and world views.

Good posts by you and Justice. I recall my social studies teacher in high school saying Russia has been invaded too many times so is primarily motivated in its defense. I think the point of view is still valid 30 years later.

India is definitely a dark horse, and the nation doesn't have much affinity for China. More gold in private hands than anyone else, industrial potential, and are a lot closer to middle east oil than most. The sign to watch for is if they start building a big navy.

Empires control the trade routes. For now that is the USA and no one comes close to challenging their fire power. Or more importantly no one has the capacity to gear up to match it. Perhaps China, but your outline their demographic problem becomes the highlight.

What you may have overlooked with Russia is energy. Demographics follows energy, and Russia still has plenty. My ex works for Chevron in the UK, and you should see what they are building and installing in Russia! And that economic link with Russia is perhaps a good reason to view the mainstream media beat up with suspicion.

I'm not sure what Chaston's assumption is about a demographic win. You win if your population grows ? Nah, I can't see it. You win if the numbers bulge at the younger end? Nah. Thats a recipe for disaster. The world is only so big, spherical, and no edge to fall off. Be standing room only.
Lets use individual wealth, relative equality, and Gross Domestic Happiness as better success measures.

You win if your population grows?

There are historical precedents for the opposite being true. The aftermath of the Black Death for example:

The great population loss brought favourable results to the surviving peasants in England and Western Europe. There was increased social mobility, as depopulation further eroded the peasants' already weakened obligations to remain on their traditional holdings. Feudalism never recovered. Land was plentiful, wages high, and serfdom had all but disappeared. It was possible to move about and rise higher in life. Younger sons and women especially benefited. As population growth resumed however, the peasants again faced deprivation and famine. Link
Emphasis mine.

Also the aftermath of WW2

Counting on demographic growth to solve your very minor woes, and achieving it by importing folk from failing and over-populated societies, seems a very lazy and thoughtless 'solution' steeped in peril.

David, very brave of you to predict 84 years into the future. Especially with a certain amount of certainty, perhaps arrogance.
To put things into perspective let us go back 84 years and see if it was possible to have envisioned today's world, 2016.
The year is 1932 and people are suffering from the great depression.
Could these people have foreseen
That they were only 7 years away from a world war?
Could they have imagined a nuclear bomb and that two of them would be dropped on Japan?
Could they have imagined the cold war and the Cuban missile crisis?
Could they have imagined men on the moon and the assassination of Kennedy?
Could they have imagined 9/11 and the war on terror?
Could they have imagined China rising to what it is today?
The world goes through many twists and turns
Could the British people back then have imagined the European Union?
Could they have imagined Britain loosing its super power status?
You base your predictions on two factors Global warming and Demographics.
Sure these will be part of shaping our future but so will many other factors.
There is also the monetary system and how we have abandoned the gold standard.
Could we have imagined today's derivatives market and the global debt?
Back in 1932 it took a while to organise an army and to kill a few thousand of your enemy. Today you can kill millions of your enemy within minutes.
Notice how i have not even mentioned technology changes and the impact this will have on the future.

I think the basic premise of David's prediction is fine, although I agree Mike B that 84 years is just too far out really.
All things being equal, NZ probably will be still quite a good place in 2100.
But all things are often not equal.
What if, in the next 20-30 years:
- Wellington suffers a major earthquake
- the Alpine fault ruptures, taking with it much of the South Island's tourism infrastructure
I think David should factor in NZ's susceptibility to natural disasters. Also, we may not get as badly affected as other countries by climate change, but there are still some pretty nasty predictions for us too, which could quite badly affect agriculture

I does seem from the comments, even from David C, that people actually believe that the presidents and politicians rule. This could not be further from the truth.

In reality the oligarchs rule. Every country, without exception (yes even NZ) has its oligarchs and they rule.
The world works like this
No matter if you live in Russia or America, or wherever, the oligarchs of each nation divide the spoils between themselves.

From time to time the oligarchs have disagreements. To avoid confrontation, and things getting out of hand, they abide by their own established set of rules. When these rules break down, all hell breaks loose, and you end up with a situation like Ukraine, which is nothing more than an oligarchs war. Just as a dispute happened in Russia a few years back when one of their oligarchs disobeyed the rules.

Oligarchs work just like a Mafia organisation in that they defend their financial territory and even try to encroach on others territory.

On a global scale wars are oligarch wars. One nations oligarchs moving in on another nations oligarchs territory. A prime example is the middle east. American oligarchs are muscling in on the Iraqi oligarchs territory and claiming their spoils.

The situation between Russia and America is one in which the Russian oligarchs are prepared to defend their spoils at all costs.

The world is run by nothing more than a type of global Mafia organisations.

Many of us are hoping that Putin and Trump are challenging the oligarchs

In your dreams, oligarchy is what supports these dudes, Trump is one.

Perhaps but he is an oligarch that we can identify with. It was people like Trump that built the mighty West and we want such men back in the driver's seat. We have had enough of the lunatics driving the bus toward the precipice.

I have decided you are just winding everyone up, no-one could state was you just stated then suggest Trump is the answer. Utterly hilarious. An oligarch we can identify with?I don't think even you want to identify with stupidity. Thanks for the fun.

You cannot deny that Trump's popularity has exceeded all expectations so I don't understand why you would think this. People are passionate about Trump. Trump has created a movement. Trump is filling a void in people's lives. Not many politicians achieve the status of a diety. Some Indians actually worship him. Do a Google image search for Trump+god. He does actually represent something spiritual, like the return of a King. We haven't seen something like this for a very long time.

Better to have a blowhard as President who is under the blowtorch of media scrutiny than a crooked career politician who has the MSM establishment on a string.

I wonder what it is that all these Trumpanzees think it is that Trump will change the USA into?

The reality is its not about Trump. It's about screwing over the US establishment by ruining their plans of keeping the status quo, which was reinforced after the 2008 GFC at the expense of the many that now see Trump as their 'f-you' moment. They know Trump can't deliver on his promises. They also know Hillary cant either ! So they have nothing to lose in their eyes.

We prefer to be called 'Deplorables'.

I will reiterate, if these candidates were to play Presidential distraction again, they would be the two least likely to be chosen, out of a gaggle of baboons, high on crack.

A poor choice is no choice at all for any sane Nation to make, it is not a game plan, it is unfortunately...reality, we live in.

That it has taken months and months of discussion and formal machinations, to end up with this par, it just shows how gormless some voters are to even contemplate....following this totally bizarre and strange democracy ever again, for ever and ever Amen..

If this is the best America can afford to put up with, after 250 years, out of 350 million people, then not only are Americans poorly Governed, they deserve all they can damn well get.

If the World has to put up with their antics any more, someone must be in debt up to their eyeballs.

When the World had to bail out each other out after 2008 and are now even more trillions in debt on World Markets, after selling each other derivatives of all sorts and persuasions, I just cannot see where the stupidity will end.

But picking either one of these so-called Presidential Candidates, is just the beginning.

Kowtowing to a Nation in extremism, with one of these as a figurehead with nuclear weapons at their fingertips is about as nutty as a fruitcake as I want to get.

And you can quantify that tirade as being why I hate all Politicians in any country you care to name, as they are all tarred with the same brush.

As is the dis-United Nations, by the way. All talk, no action.

How did we get it so Wrong?. All these years.

I know...each one can be bought...at a discount....and the Rothschild and their children and their cohorts, must be so, so pleased, they created Fractional Reserve Banking...and the continually inflating debt, some have to put up with, for ever and ever...Amen..or is that ,,,Mamon..

I am not as nutty as I sound, I hope some one will finally wake up to the fact that repeatedly doing the wrong thing, does not, ever, ever make it right.

But then neither does voting in another Politician to perpetuate it.

That's it in a nutty shell.

As is the dis-United Nations, by the way. All talk, no action.

More wars?

The Washington Post is reporting the the whole world is now laughing at Donald Trump after a SNL skit'
I would suggest that the whole world is laughing at America ,as the leader of IRAN said.''The American people have a choice between BAD and WORSE.''

Watch this video:
Deplorables Unite

Even the most jaundiced old socialist would vote for Trump after watching this. Stirring stuff, I felt tears welling up. I'm watching it again!