What We’re Following: The Fallout From the Panama Papers
More than 100 politicians and officials from over 50 countries have been implicated in news reports about secret offshore finances based on a massive leak of classified information. Their actions are not necessarily criminal; creating an offshore shell company is legal, and anyone with an Internet connection and a few thousand dollars can do it. But Mossack Fonseca, the Panama-based law firm where the documents originated, and others like it provide the expertise that allows their clients to stay just on the right side of the law.
Mitigating the Migration Crisis: European officials released new proposals that would ease some of the burden on Greece and Italy, the countries under the most strain by the influx of migrants and refugees from the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere. Europe’s refugee policy has been in tatters since rates of migration soared last summer, and disagreement among European Union member states has hampered attempts at any large-scale regulations.
Hello, Wisconsin: Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders prevailed in the Wisconsin primaries last night, but they still trail Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the number of delegates required to secure the presidential nomination for their parties. Meanwhile, it’s not too late for anti-Trump Republicans—or Trump himself, should he lose the nomination—to launch a serious third-party run.
“If it turns out that what you really have to do is go to college and make sure your roommate is the next Mark Zuckerberg in order to get ahead … that doesn’t work.” —Kevin Leicht, a sociologist
“It’s a groundbreaking work, but Freudenthal’s book is the most boring I have ever read. Logarithm tables are cool compared to it.” —Yvan Dutil, an astrophysicist, on a 1960 book about communicating with extraterrestrials
“If you want to incorporate, fine. You pay the fee. Nevada doesn’t investigate, so why should I?” —Robert Harris, a Nevadan who helps people avoid taxes
Yoni Applebaum on the Andrew Jackson supporters who, over a century ago, set the pattern for Donald Trump’s success:
“Borderers”—who hailed from northern Ireland, Scotland, and northern England—brought with them a distinctive culture. The constant conflict, insecurity, and poverty of the borderlands led their inhabitants to stress sharply differentiated gender roles, to prize aggressiveness, and to disdain weakness. Strong familial loyalty was matched with a clannish suspicion of outsiders. The settlers took these attitudes with them to Appalachia, [historian David Hackett Fischer] argued, where they were reinforced, and in some measure altered, by harsh conditions along the frontier. …
Borderers adhered to a distinctive conception of natural liberty, which put the individual’s right to pursue his private interests at its core. … Politicians won support from Borderers by promising to make their nation great again—and to make it theirs. They stood within a distinctive cultural tradition—one that shaped their appeal within one region of the country, even as it limited its reach. And any of these descriptions of their style could be applied, with no changes whatsoever, to the current Republican frontrunner. Donald Trump is their direct heir.
Readers raised by Jehovah’s Witnesses are debating the practice of shunning people who choose to leave the church. One, who chose not to be baptized, writes:
Only if you are baptized can you be disfellowshipped. Baptism is not a requirement in the church nor is it a choice one can frivolously make. … For one to act as though they were shocked by their disfellowshipping and the subsequent behavior of baptized family and friends is like one being surprised that their spouse has divorced them and doesn’t wish to communicate after cheating. They chose to make a lifelong vow and broke it, fully aware of the potential consequences. No one forced them to be baptized; it was their own free will and choice. Again, without that choice, they would not have been in a position to be disfellowshipped in the first place.
But another reader, who was baptized at 14, objects:
She presumes that the commitment to baptism is a free one, and that the consequences of breaking the commitment are thus chosen. … What if your experience of the world is completely filtered through Watchtower-shaped lenses? … I wanted to fit in, please my parents, and do what I thought would save me. I was bright, highly adept at acting as though I believed everything I ought to—so adept that I fooled not only the elders and my parents, but myself.
I’ve been “inactive” for over a decade, and the reason I’m not disfellowshipped is because I refuse to subject myself to the “judicial” procedures your reader describes. If I were to become disfellowshipped, I know that my parents and brother would probably stop talking to me, and my mother has said as much. So, I remain in a limbo, which I don’t mind at all, considering that I think the entire process is abused and abusive.