I never made it to Zurich but met up with Steve Bannon through the miracle of technology, thanks to my hosts at the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche, who gave him my telephone number. He rang at a civilised time and we had a very cosy chat for an hour or so. I don’t know how it was done, and don’t ask me for details, but I could see him and apparently he could see me too. The first things I said were that I was 100 per cent heterosexual and what a pity it was that I had to be initiated into this technology while talking to a man — a man I much admire but a man none the less. ‘That makes two of us,’ answered the great one, ‘and we used to go out with the same girl....’ Like a gent, he never mentioned her name, and I didn’t ask.
The reason all this was done electronically was that I had turned into a hydrocephalus. My head ballooned to twice its normal size after I collided with a hard place while showing off skiing without a helmet. Head injuries at my age are a bore, though it’s the brain cell loss that concerns me, and to hell with the looks. But back to Steve Bannon and what he had to say.
Basically, the populist movement differs in each country, as it should. According to Steve, central banks are in the business of debasing currencies as the business and political class are debasing citizenship, making us slaves. He compared the new serfdom to the situation pre-French Revolution, with Google, Amazon and Facebook living it up in Versailles and urging us to eat cake. The Time’s Up movement he likened to the French Revolution. What will save us from the ogres, according to Steve, is the new currency. This I found very interesting.
I understand currencies as well as I comprehend modern technology, i.e., not at all. But I am still capable of not thinking of women long enough to concentrate, and here is what I learned: entrepreneurs are now selling their own virtual currencies to raise money for software that they say they are building. In return for real money, investors receive digital tokens, similar to bitcoin. These coin offerings rose out of nowhere last year to become a popular way for start-ups to raise tens of millions of dollars. That leaves bankers out of the loop, and entrepreneurs free to practise free enterprise. Steve Bannon is all for it, and I am also behind it, however little I understand, which is very, very little. But it makes sense — the freeing of the serfs, that is — so I’m all for it. Apparently, there are already eight virtual currencies worth more than €6.6 billion, and all the bitcoins in the world are worth around $185 billion. Caramba, as they say in Mexico.
A parallel currency can create liquidity and help small Italian and Greek companies, which the EU has hogtied to the euro, overcome the credit crunch. A parallel currency would also slowly break the chokehold of the European Central Bank and Berlin, a fact that Brussels views as anathema. Yanis Varoufakis, who briefly served the Greek turncoat and sellout Tsipras as finance minister, advocated something similar until Tsipras was ordered by Brussels to get rid of the pest. Which he did, immediately after saluting. Steve and I had a good laugh about this. Bannon has a blue-collar background and three daughters, two of whom vote Democrat. One went to West Point and served in Iraq. He served in the US Navy and graduated from Harvard. He is a rumpled good American, and reminded me of those good men in the movie The Deer Hunter.
God protect us from the illuminati was Steve’s message. The poor, the workers and the middle class did not cause the 2008 meltdown; the elite bankers were the cause, and not a single banker paid a single penny as a penalty, says Steve. Berlusconi was the first populist to come to power and he did so for the same reason Trump did years later: voters were fed up with a governing elite that were out of touch and corrupt. European elites believe that the very concept of borders should not exist. Basically, it all has to do with sovereignty and the people’s wish not to be told how to live by Brussels. I asked him about my number one politician in the whole wide world, Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister. Steve agreed that he is numero uno.
We finally turned to the Donald. Bannon was very complimentary, touching upon policy rather than personal quirks and Michael Wolff-like gossip. After all, he knows the man very well and inside-out. The exporting of Chinese goods gutted midwest American manufacturing, and free trade with totalitarian states makes for only one loser, Uncle Sam. Basically, Trump had to happen. He also said that unless America stops waging wars around the world, only the elites will profit and the rest will continue to suffer. Amen, said I. ‘The problems of sub-Saharan Africa cannot be solved by taxing the middle and working class. Unelected government officials in Brussels have been rejected because of the immigrant and refugee policies over which they’ve presided. The European Central Bank can veto national economic legislation. Hence the revolt.’
I will be meeting Steve next week in New York. We might work out something to save the world from the clutches of the greedy ones. I’ll keep you posted.