Monday, December 1, 2008

How I Topsy-turvied the European Banking System

How I Almost Single-handedly Topsy-turvied the
European Banking System
and Grew to be the Most Hated Individual at Bahnhofstrasse 45
in Zürich, Switzerland...

Jean-Paul Sartre, my “spiritual” father and one of my most appreciated philosophical mentors, once speculated that Life is absurd. The more I advance in age, the more I find myself chuckling at the ridiculousness of human nature and the members of this species which never fail to provide me with oodles to laugh at and even cry for. And my twenty-one years in the north of Northamerica, my one year in the south of Southeast Asia, my eight years in the south of Northamerica, my eight years in the north of Southamerica, and now my twenty-five years in the south of Europe, have altogether given me an astonishing perspective of my favourite object of learning.

Remember the early months of 2001 when the DotComBubble was hissing its eventual demise, and thousands upon thousands of pensioners, investors, stockholders, and whomever were being apportioned a trauma that could somehow be contrasted with the heinous aerial attacks that were to come in September? Remember the panicking? Was there some sort of association between these two devastating occurrences? Had the DotComBubble been fed a bunch of funny money/laundered money/dirty money to such an enormous extent that stock exchanges all over the world had no choice but to halt the 1929-like insanity which was threatening the very survival of the Capitalistic System? Were the assaults in New York and Washington some kind of fluke vendetta and not the workings of a well-entrenched “terrorist organization” bent on conquering the world?

Very shortly after the horrendous acts of violence perpetrated on 11 September 2001 on one of the most prestigious pillars of the Capitalistic System and the biggest bunker in the world, Bush I, ex-Skull & Boner, ex-Congressman, ex-ambassador to China, ex-CIA director, ex-ambassador to the United Nations, ex-President of the United States, appeared on one of right-wing Italian Silvio Berlusconi’s television news programs (telegiornale), and hugging the diehard demagogue, let us know that SB was Bush I’s friend, quod erat demonstrandum, a chum of the United States of America. SB gloated and bloated. Bush I, the first stupid one and father of the second stupid one, Bush II, strained his smiles. After that, off he went.

The next day, the Corriere della Sera reported that the night before Bush I, on a private jet, had flown from Milano to—you guessed it!—Lugano, Switzerland, one of the most-visited pirates’ coves for secret banking in Europe and that pet place of moneyed, naughty Italian business people.

Miraculously inspired, I put 2 + 2 together and came up with 4. I did not, as thousands upon thousands of untrustworthy Italian businessmen and businesswomen did, put 2 + 2 together to come up with 7 or 11! The United States’ government realized from the start that it had to trace the sources of this shattering paroxysm in the Capitalistic System, and Swiss bankers were “softened” to be “persuaded” to empty their bags with the goods (secret bank account numbers and figures)—and all of them! Not only would a huge investigation begin to smoke out the executors of the 9-11 tragedy, a more considerable attempt was to be made in order to stall a possible collapse of Milton Friedman’s most prized fantasy. Much was at stake, and we all know that no holds were barred. The United States’ reaction was so vulgar, one had to construe that something more dangerous was going on—even more perilous than the causes and effects of the heartbreaking deaths of three thousand people in The Big Apple. The post-9/11 vocalizations by Bush II were filled with venom and revenge, and partially revealed to the whole world the spiteful instincts of the once somewhat respected nation. Later, actions would speak louder than words.

Italy, as usual, laid silent, almost asleep. No one picked up on the connection between the Bush I squeeze on SB and the minutely-printed blurb about the air travelling of Bush I to Schweiz. In fact, at the time I reminded myself that Italians read less newspapers than the citizens of any other country in Europe, and fifty percent of the homes in The Boot, the focolare domestico of Dante Alighieri, possesses not one book! How could Italian businessmen and businesswomen be hip to the extraordinary shakings up in process at the time? Someone had to tell them. Somebody had to reveal to them the sudden enlightenment that had befallen me from out of the blue. I volunteered.

I try to be noble. It is not easy. I have performed many acts of nobility in my life, and I am as proud as punch about them. It would not be thorny for me to be dignified at the drop of a hat. I am used to being so. My idea was simply this: To inform the off guard Italian business moguls, sono furbi, of the threat to their patrimonies, and rather than become a “co-conspirator” to their acts of profound stupidity, I would impress them with the fact that in returning their moolah to the Republic of Italy they would enjoy sleepy nights, contribute to the efficacy of their nation’s economic reputation, and help to instil in their fellow countrymen the sense that—as JFK (Ted Sorensen!) would have said—they should ask not what their country could do for them, but what they could do for their country. Wishful thinking. (When I told this story to chief accountant Giuseppe Rovelli, on trial for his alleged participation in Italy’s infamous PARMALAT scandal, his eyes bulged and, before he had changed the subject, GR flashed a very wry smile my way!) One day I feel like Robin Hood! Another day I feel like Zorro! I have never had so much fun! My dear reader, don’t you envy me?

As they say in the Suisse Alps, a “snowball effect” ensued and rather than following my advice, the characters who had indicated to me that they had secret accounts in Svizzera and those that I had suspected had, started transferring their goodies not to Italian depositories, but shifted them to other furtive bays located both in Europe and around the world. I was truly disappointed. The billions and billions of these thousands and thousands of unlawful hoarders were to remain ex patria and would never see the light of their just beginnings. What is worse, the connivers passed the word to their compatriots in the four corners of the globe—birds of a feather flock together!—and an enormous “transmission hemorrhage,” a “run” as they used to say, afflicted banks, mostly Swiss, throughout Europe and the world. (Have you ever seen the Alka-Seltzer complexion of Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank?) All of this…Enough! Enough!! Enough!!! Stop! Stop!! Stop!!!

Will someone please nominate me for
the “£$%&/^ Nobel Prize for Economics
and get it over with!

Authored by Anthony St. John in Calenzano, Italy
The Ides of March

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