Ethics experts say President-elect Donald Trump must divest from his businesses to avoid conflicts of interest. “There are hard ethical questions in life, and this is not one of them,” says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, who has written that “Trump’s Conflicts of Interest are Unprecedented in American History.” Also with us in San Francisco is Aaron Glantz, senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, where his latest investigation is headlined “Trump’s Indonesia hotel deals hint at his form of foreign relations.” Here is a direct video link.
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We look at two of Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks: Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary and Wilbur Ross for commerce secretary. Mnuchin has deep ties on Wall Street, including working as a partner for Goldman Sachs, and his hedge fund played a role in the housing crisis after it scooped up the failing California bank IndyMac in 2008. Trump’s commerce secretary pick, Wilbur Ross, is a billionaire private equity investor who specializes in flipping bankrupt companies for profit, often buying the U.S. companies at low prices and then selling them to overseas investors. He and his companies have sometimes shipped jobs and factories overseas—practices Donald Trump has railed against. We are joined by David Dayen, whose recent article for The Nation is “Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin—Profiteers of the Great Foreclosure Machine—Go to Washington.” Here is a direct video link.
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We discovered this BBC documentary series on Netflix recently and have found it worthwhile. Not only does it offer insight on how popular substances were discovered and evolved to wide proliferation, but also on the social impacts, brain chemistry, and role in the history of colonialism and global trade. Here is a direct video link for the first episode on Whiskey. Other shows cover tobacco, opium, sugar and more. Quite illuminating!
In looking at the history of Scottish blended Whisky Brian Cox visits a Master Blender to concoct the his perfect blend of Whisky.
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Danielle was a guest today on Talk Digital Network talking about recent developments in the world economy and markets. You can listen to an audio clip of the segment here.
Blast from the past: the idea of banning smoking inside public buildings was considered absurd and impossible for decades. But then it was slowly acknowledged that smokers were harming the health of others by continuing in this practice. Burning fossil fuels is indoor smoking on a global scale. Those who want to keep doing it and block smarter policies are degrading the environment and harming the health and viability of everyone else. This is a key reason that change to non-emitting, alternative energy is inevitable. The enormous cost savings, increased efficiency and productivity, are the other glaringly obvious reasons to evolve.
Here is a direct video link to a TV report on the evolution of public sentiment on smoking indoors from 1973 to 2007.
“The oil industry says this is the safer way, but that doesn’t mean this is safe,” says Stover. “Property is damaged. People are killed. There is no way to safely transport fossil fuels.”
Below is a time lapse map of fatalities resulting from pipeline incidents between 1986 and 2016. Incidents with fatalities accounted for 372 of all significant 9,006 pipeline related incidents that have occurred over the last twenty years. Red dots indicate incidents that resulted in fatalities and black dots indicate incidents without fatalities that could be geolocated
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For a few years I have been warning that higher education costs have escalated uncontrollably as wages for the masses have flat lined. As with autos and housing, the stop gap that enabled prices to vault well beyond income and productive utility, has been the availability of credit underwritten by the government and often packaged into securities sold by Wall Street.
Not surprisingly, a growing number of students are now defaulting on these loans because they have insufficient income to make the payments. In the process, investors are facing mounting risk in the so called “AAA bonds” that securitized these loans. See: $40 Billion of AAA loans at risk of becoming junk. With $1.3 trillion+ in student loans now outstanding, risk-repricing here is just getting started and the ramifications will be widely felt.
Here again, policies and practices that have grossly enriched administrators and corporations running this self-imploding financial model, are leaving our economy weakened in the process, with consumers struggling under crushing debt. Alert to older folks: this is also holding young people back from forming households and starting families, and buying all that expensive real estate that Baby Boomers are hoping to off-load.
Another Ponzi-like financial fiasco that ends up enriching a few at the front end of the origination process, at the expense of everything else. These self-destructive models must end. Costs need to move back down in line with incomes to be sustainable. Adding even more debt, to sustain unreasonable prices, only makes the costs even greater in the end.
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“An explosive critique about the investment industry: provocative and well worth reading.” Financial Post
“Juggling Dynamite, #1 pick for best new books about money and markets.” Money Sense
“Park manages to not only explain finances well for the average person, she also manages to entertain and educate, while cutting through the clutter of information she knows every investor faces.” Toronto Sun