Well now that I’ve finished screaming at the wind like a senile old man, it’s time to move on to some more important topics.
Water cooler talk across the country this morning was dominated by the insane finish in Monday night’s NCAA championship game between North Carolina and Villanova.
After a gravity-defying, double-clutch three-pointer by North Carolina’s Marcus Paige, Villanova flawlessly pulled off a set play with under five seconds remaining to win the game, courtesy of a buzzer-beating three-point shot by junior Kris Jenkins.
It was the first buzzer-beating shot to end the NCAA’s biggest game in 33 years, and the first on a three-pointer.
And that’s just crazy. Every single boy in America has shot on the basketball hoop in the driveway of their childhood home, counting down in their head and imagining they’re taking the last-second shot in the country’s biggest game.
To actually be able to sink it must be a surreal, dreamlike feeling. For one moment, the little boy in all of us lived vicariously through that final shot in Monday night’s game.
You know what else every little boy dreams of? Opening their own offshore bank account because they’re so filthy rich and powerful that they don’t even feel the need to pay taxes.
Well, plenty of those people are coming out off the woodwork too, thanks to what is being described as the biggest data leak in world history.
By now you’ve probably all heard of the Panama Papers, and either were interested enough to do a light Google search, or just don’t care at all.
Basically, they are 11.5 million documens of offshore banking activity conducted by famous celebrities, athletes, politicians — implicating the likes of Vladimir Putin and the U.K.’s David Cameron — and other important figures through a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca.
The papers were leaked by an unnamed whistleblower to a German newspaper, who then shared them with hundreds of journalists.
Now, having an offshore bank account is not illegal in of itself, but it’s commonly done for the purposes of facilitating tax evasion or money laundering.
So if you’re just a rich person whose doing this, then god bless you. You figured out a way to sidestep laws and maximize your wealth, even if it’s at the expense of the middle class, who are legitimately paying their taxes.
But if you’re an elected official of a nation, and you’re involved in shady offshore dealings — that’s not good. Secret bank accounts are not the telltale sign of an honest politician.
And that’s what led to the demise of the first victim of the Panama Papers, Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugson, who resigned on Tuesday.
The Icelandic people protested the last couple of days after it was revealed that Gunnlaugson co-owned a shell company that, like most of Iceland’s people and businesses, went bankrupt after the country’s three major banks failed and the economy collapsed.
The shell company, called Wintris Inc., has since claimed more than $4 million dollars owed from Iceland’s banks — the very same institutions Gunnlaugson helped negotiate the recovery of following the 2008 recession, meaning he had a conflict of interest that he never disclosed.
No major Americans have been outed in the Panama Papers — yet. But, oh boy, they’re coming. Don’t you worry.
It remains to be seen what the overall fallout is going to be of this historic leak. But undoubtedly this is a win for truth. A win for journalism. A win for transparency and a win for anti-corruption. And Edward Snowden approves.
Until then, it’s just nice to see Iceland back in the news for the first time since their junior national hockey team lost in the championship game in D2: The Mighty Ducks, which undoubtedly, was the biggest sporting event of national intrigue since Villanova vs. North Carolina.
Don’t fact check that.