Panama Papers, Paradise Papers Pandora Papers and No Prosecutions


What is it with the magic letter ‘P?’ Perhaps it’s the fashionable letter these days for ‘collections of corruption,’ which would suggest an alternative ‘C.’

It all matters little in the scheme of things

The Panama Papers (11.5 million leaked documents or 2.6 terabytes of data) shook the world in April of 2016.

But that was the cruel and evil financial world of five years ago. Surely heads would fall, empires be exposed to litigation and loopholes be plastered over. Where’s a plasterer when you need one?

What actually fell was Mossack Fonseca, the financial firm that enabled this quiet little shady cove of convenience. Its clients fled, it quickly slipped beneath the waters of obfuscation, and everyone counted their profits as new entities took over old responsibilities.

Then came the Paradise Papers, the major leak of a year later, promising

“a major global collaboration reveals secrets from one of the world’s most prestigious offshore law firms, a specialized trust company and 19 company registries in secrecy jurisdictions.”

Wow. What a difference a year makes. Someone finally closing in on how the rich and famous maintain their wealth and fame.

Hmmm… Actually, the rich and famous, along with the corrupt and infamous, shrugged their famous and infamous shoulders and moved on.

So, now we have the real deal

Yep, third time a charm. Almost as exciting as a baseball game in the ninth inning, with two out, the tying run on second base and a pinch-hitter at bat.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has come to bat and is staring down the monied world’s ace pitcher, with a count of 3 balls and 2 strikes. The crowd is hushed and breathless. The pitch is on its way.

Will it be terror in the hearts of the legally advantaged, but morally questionable? Will a base-hit bring in the winning run for honesty and fair play? The batter crouches, and sets his shoulder.

He swings

…and misses. Strike three. He’s out. Game over.

A Chicago-Cubs baseball team moment

My hometown Chicago Cubs waited 108 years before they finally clinched a World Series win in 2016.

I grew up a Cub fan. For decade upon decade, I heard the same refrain…maybe next year. But next year never seemed to come and we paid our money to go to Wrigley Field and watch whoever came to town that week kick the Cubbie’s asses. It was, after all, a sunny afternoon and Wrigley Field was (and still pretty much is) the loveliest baseball venue in America.

Yet it happened. And, remarkably, it happened in my lifetime. Tough to measure the time between wins in lifetimes, but 108 years certainly fills the definition.

In the 2016 World Series of Baseball, the Chicago Cubs played the Cleveland Indians. Metaphorically, when has an Indian ever had trouble beating any kind of cub? A Cub is a baby, right?

Magically, this best-of-seven game contest went all the way to Game Seven, tied three and three. In one of the most dramatic games I’ve ever watched, the Cubs clinched the win in the 10th inning.

Is it finally the 10th inning for global wealth inequality?

Who knows? But America was behind in the early innings (Panama Papers) and still lagging after eight (Paradise Papers). Yet if America’s favorite losers, the Chicago Cubs, could tie the score in the 9th, and send the World Series to extra innings—and win–anything is possible.

It’s been 108 years and more since American labor moved out of the shadows and formed a middle class, only to lose their hard-won advantage in the aftermath of the Reagan presidency and a passion for globalization.

Will we step up to the plate with the Pandora Papers?

I would guess not, but I’d be delighted to be proven wrong.

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