These different national experiences will be reflected through elections, creating more tensions of the kind we have already seen between Germany and Greece. Eventually something will give, but that process may take a long time. “There is a great deal of ruin in a nation,” said Adam Smith. Given the extraordinary achievements of the 70 years since 1945, and the memories and hopes still invested in the European project, there is a lot of ruin still left in our continent.
“We are deeply concerned by the Venezuelan government’s efforts to escalate intimidation of its political opponents,” he added.
Venezuela called home its charge d’affaires in Washington for consultations, and Maduro accused Obama of a “colossal mistake” and “imperialist arrogance” similar to his predecessors Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.
Capital controls are actually pretty common. Right now, they're being used in Argentina, Venezuela, Ukraine, Iceland (it's been six years already), India, and China, to name a few. Even Russia recently instituted "soft capital controls," by instructing a number of state-owned exporters to sell their foreign currency reserves to help support the ruble.
But given the problems being faced by the European Union's southern members, some of those could well be next to take such drastic measures.
The US government and its various agencies – with the IRS certainly in the lead – are desperately trying to keep their wealthy taxpayers in check, putting offshore constructions under their regulatory microscope in hope of maximizing tax revenues. This hunt for tax cheats has been loudly publicized and employed to create the impression that every offshore account must be a scam.
Russia’s Endgame In Ukraine (jdargis)
More than a year after the crisis began in eastern Ukraine, Russia remains undeterred in its goal of keeping Ukraine from moving closer to the West. Russia has backed the violent separatist uprising and taken a pivotal role in the talks about Ukraine’s future.
Insurance companies are also probably contributing to those changes. To reduce costs, more have switched to products that either charge customers higher deductibles and co-payments for their care or that limit the number of doctors and hospitals they can see. The health care reform law, known popularly as Obamacare, may also be playing a supporting role by encouraging more efficient care, though most of its cost-saving programs are still small and relatively new.
How Debt Has Caught Up With U.S. Shale (Evan K.)
Whiting Petroleum is the latest victim of the flawed U.S. shale play business model. The shale and tight oil play model is based on large-scale acreage acquisition at any price and massive over-production to satisfy growth targets. In Whiting’s case, it also involved debt-based acquisition of Kodiak Oil and Gas, another large Bakken player. The $3.8 billion deal closed in December 2014 when WTI oil prices averaged $66 per barrel, down from $106 per barrel in June. Whiting’s demise shows that location isn’t everything. The company is looking for a buyer despite having a premium position in the Bakken Shale play in North Dakota. Whiting discovered the Sanish Field in 2006 that began the Bakken-Three Forks play and that has been the centerpiece of activity for the past several years. The map below shows Bakken commercial areas at $45 WTI oil price based on an average well EUR (estimated ultimate recovery) of 650,000 barrels of oil equivalent.
Mass Government Surveillance Is No Joke (jdargis)
Before Congress calms down enough to let go of Section 215, there should be a real debate about mass surveillance’s documented tendency to lead to a more anxious and submissive citizenry. But even getting at what Section 215 is used for is harder than it should be right now, because the FBI is hiding a legally required report on that very topic.
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