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NY Times Screws the Pooch, by Clancy Sigal

     Tax Shelter definition: “a financial arrangement made to avoid or minimize taxes”.
Simple story: a year ago a whistleblower “John Doe” dumped 11 million stolen documents onto
a German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung.  The paper, unable to cope, appealed
for help to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that believes in “radical sharing”. 
ICIJ fed the files to any news site willing to work with it,over 100 reporters in 70 countries.
Briefly, those stolen files, larger than Wikileaks and Snowden combined, expose 214,000
offshore companies listed by their accomplice, a shady Panamanian-based law firm,
Mossack Fonseca, that include the identities of shareholders and directors of said offshore companies. 
“Offshore” means not in your own country.  You fly off to hold one meeting in a sunny
British Virgin Island and bob’s your uncle you’re tax free.
It’s estimated that around 8 per cent of global wealth is held offshore, roughly $7.6 trillion.
That is equal to 10 per cent of the entire value of goods and services produced each year
in the global economy.  Serious money.
The Panama Papers reveal what we always suspected.  That there’s hardly a “world leader”
or dictator, business leader or celebrity in any country who does not hide his usually crime-got money
in a tax-avoiding shell cubbyhole in places like Cayman, Seychelles or the Bahamas, any tiny
back of beyond whose officials are bribed to sign saying you’re domiciled there.
The tax-avoidance scandal – that is, money robbed from us poor suckers who do pay taxes – has been
covered for years by the British Private Eye  – but no one else was interested.
Until now.
Close your eyes, throw a dart at a wall map of the world and it will hit a nation whose president or
prime minister or best friend or relative or movie star/sports figure (Jackie Chan, Messi) has robbed
their own people blind by hiding their income where the tax man can’t get to it.   Russia, England,
China, most of the Middle East and Latin America – who have I forgotten?  (See list below.)
What’s most painful is that in poor countries like Pakistan, where many people work for a dollar a day,
the prime minister secretly shovels Lord-knows-how-much into an island shell.
The Icelandic prime minister, caught with his money pants down, just resigned.  Britain’s Conservative
prime minister David Cameron once called such evade/avoiders “corrupt, criminals and money launderers.” 
He should know, since his dad, a tax evasion expert, is caught in the Panama headlights.  (Cameron huffed
to a reporter it’s a “private matter”.)
Last month the charity Oxfam estimated that the UK Treasury loses £5 billion a year to tax havens. 
This at a time when young doctors are striking because the National Health is underfunded,
and the government has moved to cut disability benefits. 
When the Panama news broke you could find it in the McClatchy newspapers and even Forbes and
Bloomberg Business News.  And even Al  Jazeera, owned by Qatar whose former prime minister and emir
also are implicated.
But not, immediately, by the NY Times, part owned by the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. 
The “paper of record” was (and is) suspiciously slow to pick up and headline huge news that elsewhere is a
front page global scoop.  The Times did not (or refused to) work with the Investigative Reporters Consortium
and therefore was “not aware” the story was coming.  Ooo, sleepyheads.  Implausibly a top NYT
editor harrumphs about the incredible delay, “We have a serious obligation to make sense of this
as best we can, evaluate it and put it in context.”  Meaning, we dropped the ball and you can guess why.
One guess is that the paper’s anointed candidate Hillary Clinton is the very embodiment of the “global elite”
that hides its money from us.  She and Obama helped push through the Panama “Free Trade Deal”
that makes tax evasion easy as pie - while Bernie Sanders strongly opposed it as a license for crooks. 
Watch this space.
Hundreds of NYT readers have written to complain a few with sub cancellations.
I’m an addicted NYT subscriber because I like to know what the professional class of liberal powers-that-be is saying,
and because of its occasional deep-down-digging story and overall technical competence.
On Iraq the Times was Dick Cheney’s mouthpiece.  In the current presidential campaign their coverage
has been brazenly pro-Hilary, anti-Bernie and anti-Trump for all the wrong reasons.
The “good grey lady” is constipated by a mind-set not unlike Hillary’s.  It’s not corrupt or dishonest
in the usual way, just arthritic from long years of leaning in to whatever Establishment is in power.
There are many other news venues.  What’s yours?  Suggestions, please. (In today's LA Times reporter
Matt Pearce does a good job of putting it in a nutshell.)