Panama Papers

Iceland, among others, has been caught up in the data leak known as The Panama Papers. Mossack Fonseca, a tax firm in Panama, has been providing tax shelters via offshore accounts for possibly over 600 government figures in Iceland and some in other countries.

The nation watched as the show revealed that some 2 terrabytes of data—the largest leak of its kind in history—from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian offshore provider, has implicated powerful figures from around the world in the use of tax shelters, letterbox companies and offshore accounts to conceal or obfuscate their financial activities.

Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has already stepped down, but another from his Party has taken over and the people are not amused. They’re insisting not only on that the leading party be removed, but Parliament as well, and a new system of government be created. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in what has been seen as one of the few examples of a successful socialist government. Corruption just seems to be built into the system.

Members of government in England are also implicated, and David Cameron can’t seem to apologize quickly enough.

Christina Fernandez

It appears that Christian Fernandez, former President of Argentina, will finally have her day in court.

The decision follows testimony on Friday by businessman Leonardo Farina, who in a plea bargain implicated Fernandez and her late husband and former President Nestor Kirchner in a case related to money laundering and embezzling funds earmarked for public works.

Accusations of corruption followed her during her last days and it seems someone is finally giving information that can be used against her.

Christians in Turkey

Our allies in Turkey have siezed six churches in Diyarbakir.

But to the dismay of the city’s handful of Christian congregations, this includes all its Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches. Unlike the state-funded mosques, Turkey’s ancient church buildings – some of which pre-date Islam – have been managed, historically, by church foundations.

It seems as though Turkey wants to see how far they can push our relationship with them. As long as Obama is in office, I don’t expect any pushback whatsoever.

Merle Haggard

Dwight Yoakam on the Genius and Tragedy of Merle Haggard

A father mails a birthday present to a little girl and signs it, “Love from mama,” so the little girl won’t have to live the tragedy of knowing her mother forgot her birthday. That’s Merle Haggard. The love in that song, in that lyric, in that story. . . it eclipses anything I’ve ever come across.

Although Johnny Cash is the more well known country story teller, Merle Haggard is still my favorite. His story is also my story. My father came out to California’s central valley from Oklahoma in 1940 with whatever they could carry in their Model A Ford (at 35mph the entire way). My uncle also worked with Merle when they were young in Northern California.

That’s the WaterCooler for today. As always, it’s an Open Thread, so contribute whatever you like in the comments.