NEWS ALERTgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
ABC News is doing a story tomorrow on Y2K "escapists." I wonder how they'll attempt to make those people look. Like NUTS perhaps?
-- zered (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 20, 1998
Its real lonely out here when you can see through there misinformation. I feel so alone , if it were not for all of the others out there who contrubute to this list , i would go mad
ron , I as you will all be waiting for the truth
-- Ronald C Cash (email@example.com), May 21, 1998.
I saw the news piece and I approved. It was credible and I reallly enjoyed a glimpse of North and Yourdon, my two heros in their new locations. The story focused on y2k and those who have extreme views that y2k will cause major problems.
Hey Ed, is there any land available where you are?
-- B Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 21, 1998.
I thought the ABC story was pretty balanced for the mainstream media. Overall, those who are aware of Y2K didn't learn much, but those who aren't MIGHT have gotten the impression that there's a fly somewhere in the ointment. Soon they're going to start smelling its stink...
-- Nabi Davidson (email@example.com), May 22, 1998.
Yes, the story did run on the May 21st edition of the "ABC News with Peter Jennings" national news program. The reporting was done by James Walker, who also put together ABC's first major Y2K story a couple months ago -- the one that opened with a video clip of a premature baby in a hospital, and the ominous news about Y2K problems in hospitals, etc., and which featured Ed Yardeni's comment on the possibility of a Y2K-induced recession.
The story behind last night's brief (2-3 minutes) news segment is interesting: Mr. Walker and his crew travelled to Missoula, MT to interview Steve Hock about the murkey Y2K disclosures that have been mandated by the SEC; then to northwestern Arkansas to chat with Gary North; then to northern New Mexico to talk to me. They spent nearly 3 hours with me, and taped enough material to fill the entire 30-minute news program; I assume they did the same with Hock and North, too. All of it was then boiled down to the few minutes of material you saw -- all in all, a very expensive and time-consuming activity on the network's part, in order to present a brief sound-bite to the general public.
For what it's worth, James Walker is very knowledgeable, very informed, very ethical and professional, and very determined to get the "real" story on Y2K in a form that can be presented to, and understood by, the general public. He has been all over the country, and has interviewed just about everyone you can imagine -- from Senators and Congressmen, to CEO's of corporations, to people like Gary North and Ed Yardeni and others who are voicing concerns about Y2K. On camera, he does his best to be scrupulously objective, neutral, and even-handed (so that viewers can make up their own minds), but on a personal level, I think he is fully convinced that there will be serious Y2K problems.
His biggest frustration, which other journalists share, is that they haven't yet found a "smoking gun" (to put it in Nixon-Watergate terms) which they can use to "prove" the seriousness of the Y2K problem to a non-technical audience that doesn't understand abstract issues about computer software. Everything they've got, so far, is "could be", "might be" kinds of warnings about Y2K problems. They hear that Y2K could be a serious problem at XYZ Corp, but when they interview the CEO of XYZ, they get stonewalled; they hear that various agencies of the US Federal Gov't are far behind schedule on Y2K repairs, but when they interview all of the official spokesmen, they get official statements of optimism and confidence that Y2K will be fixed in time. Those expressing concern -- e.g., Congressmen Horn and Morella, and Senators Bennett and Moynihan -- are unable to "prove," with 100% certainty that Y2K will cause a serious problem.
The TV people would love to find a "Deep Throat" source within a major company or government agency who could help them establish some credible proof of impending disaster, but their attempts thus far have been unsuccessful: most programmers are still scared of being fired or sued. I have a similar problem, and I'm sure that people like Peter de Jager and Bill Ulrich and Leon Kappelman and others do, too: we are privy to confidential information, which we've received only after signing tight non-disclosure agreements. We are ethically and legally constrained from discussing details, and we would be sued into oblivion if we did ...
I suggested to Mr. Walker that as long as the Y2K problems are confined to private corporations, and are relatively modest, the general public won't care. Even the big satellite problem of this week (the one that knocked out 90% of the pagers) occupied public attention for only a day or two; now it's history, replaced by the awful news of the school shooting in Oregon.
But if/when Y2K problems begin affecting the delivery of services from the government, THEN we'll see a reaction from the general public. I think there is a good chance of this occurring on April 1, 1999 -- for the simple reason that the State of New York, the government of Canada, and the government of Japan all begin their 1999-2000 fiscal year on that date. On July 1, 1999, another 46 states begin their 1999-2000 fiscal year; then there's Texas on September 1st, and the U.S. federal government (plus the states of Michigan and Alabama, I think) on October 1. If any one of these states fails to send out pension checks, or unemployment checks, or welfare checks, etc, then I think you'll see large mobs marching on the state capitol -- and the TV crews will be right there with them.
In the meantime, if you have any "smoking gun" information, or if you know any "Deep Throat" contacts, please let me know (use an anonymous email, if you want, which you can obtain through hotmail or juno or any of the other freebie email services), and I will help put you in touch directly with Mr. Walker at ABC. I trust Mr. Walker, and intend to do the same myself, with whatever appropriate information I come across.
-- Ed Yourdon (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 22, 1998.
Dear Dr. Yourdon:
Your posting left me with one glaring thought. Not about you so much, but about Dr. North. The good Dr. is seemingly convinced, and has convinced so many others that it is the EOTWAWKI. If he is in possession of "Deep Throat" information, and is afraid of revealing it because he might get sued, in a world where he assures us will be just a shred of civilization, he has lost all credability. The idea that people could possibly save thousands or millions of lives but don't because of a possible law suit is disgusting. History is full of stories of men who have died to save their fellow man. I have not heard of one who didn't save his fellow man because he was afraid of a law suit.
-- Bill Solorzano (email@example.com), May 22, 1998.
"Your posting left me with one glaring thought. Not about you so much, but about Dr. North. The good Dr. is seemingly convinced, and has convinced so many others that it is the EOTWAWKI. If he is in possession of "Deep Throat" information, and is afraid of revealing it because he might get sued, in a world where he assures us will be just a shred of civilization, he has lost all credability. The idea that people could possibly save thousands or millions of lives but don't because of a possible law suit is disgusting. History is full of stories of men who have died to save their fellow man. I have not heard of one who didn't save his fellow man because he was afraid of a law suit. "
You say "If he [Dr. North] is in possession of "Deep Throat" information, and is afraid of revealing it because he might get sued, in a world where he assures us will be just a shred of civilization, he has lost all credability" A sentence that starts with "if". Then you go on to paint Dr. North a very dark shade of black as if your "if" were true. Do you have any evidence that it is? If not, I think you owe Dr. North an apology.
Now, if you want to say "one" instead of "Dr. North", and if you will qualify your condition to include the case where "one" is not bound by non-disclosure contracts, I would agree with you fully. But as your comment is now, I think it is based, as the lawyers say, on facts not in evidence. Unless, of course you can produce evidence to sustain your character assination (in which case it would not be character assination).
-- George Valentine (GeorgeValentine@usa.net), May 22, 1998.
To Mr. Yourdon:
I respect you very much, I learned about Y2K by listening to Gary North's Firestorm Chat tape series and reading his forums. But you are the person that convinced me that Y2K is going to be serious.
However, in regard to finding the "Y2K smoking gun" as being the holy grail of Y2K mass media awareness, I do not share your view point. The phrase, "there is nothing too big, nor too obvious, that can not be sucessfully ignored" comes to mind, sounds like something Mark Twain or H.L. Mencken would have said.
If a person goes to http://www.year2000.com/y2karticles.html or http://www.garynorth.com/y2k/latest.cfm and reads a dozen articles, I don't expect them to be convinced. If they read 100 articles, they still might be skeptical. However, by the time they read their 1,000th article they really should have a good general notion that something's afoot.
"A word to the wise is sufficient" the corollary to this is that "an encyclopedia or an entire library to the foolish isn't enough". I think that North's Y2K analogy to the disbelief of Japan's invasion of SE Asia in 1940 is appropriate. http://www.garynorth.com/y2k/Detail.CFM?Links__ID-1553
uh..... you are kidding, right? If not, notaclue kind of sums it up. Same idea to you, if North's passionate pleading doesn't work, or Yourdon's iron logic of past exeriances doesn't work, what makes you think that one little smoking gun is going to work?
Let's say that somebody DOES get a smoking gun. It get's reported. Out comes the usual suspects, "this is an isolated incident", "others haven't comfirmed this", "..has been denied by A, B, C, D, E, F,....", "the person that broke the news is under suspicion of...", "is being sued by", "authorities refuted...", "the consensus is that", "other industries are not subject to ", et cetra ad infinatum.
Can you tell me why in a world where blantantly obvious falsehoods such as global warming, ozone holes, HIV causes AIDS, or current Federal budget surplus are actually reported by the main stream media as being TRUE, that they would report a truth about Y2K?
It would simply be completely out of character for the mass media to report something accurately and honestly on any topic that is technical and can have negative impact politically.
-- R. Watt (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 22, 1998.
I have choosen to defend my position in this ng because I seem to have disturbed a lot of people. Most of them have responded privately.
To begin with, even our finest "Gurus" admit that they don't know what is going to happen. Except for Dr. North. Yourdon, Yardeni, et al allow that this may result in a deep recession and beyond.
Since it is at best difficult to communicate with Dr. North, I would like to know if the good Dr. has ever in his past career, espoused any other "Apocolyptic" cause.
If he has, were the other causes faulty? Was he wrong then but right now?
Does anyone have the right to urge others to sell their homes and give up their lives because HE THINKS YOU SHOULD? (forgive the caps}
I think that y2k will be the greatest disaster to hit our global civilization. After I have informed you so, how dare I do more?
Much like OJ simpson, I live on a California pension and am "sue proof" Besides, there will be no legal redress after y2k anyway.
-- Bill Solorzano (email@example.com), May 22, 1998.
There are several problems with the "smoking gun" concept that any journalist would have to overcome, not just in convincing the public at large but in convincing his own producers/editors to let him run with the story in the first place.
1. There has to be *hard* proof that people are going to either die, have the basic services of modern civilization removed for more than a day or two or be poverty stricken. Without a high level of proof of events that catastrophic, I doubt that the issue is going to get more than the odd 3 minute story on any netowrk newscast, and how much real information on this subject is likely to be imparted in 3 minutes? Anybody got any such proof?
2. Any credible journalist is going to require independent corroboration of evidence before running with a story like this. If it is proving this hard for them to find one source, imagine how hard it is going to be for them to find two or more!
3. The problem with the "Deep Throat" concept is that Deep Throat gave clues to Woodward and Bernstein that could be verified via other sources. Furthermore, he was giving information on things that had already happened, so there was a trail of evidence to follow. How are you rally going to prove that a computer system is going to fail until it actually does? Until the "TIME" comes, all we have to go on is conjecture and opinion, and that is harder to build a story on. Furthermore, untill the ka-ka hits the fan, the owners of the systems have that most sacred of political possesions: plausable deniability.
4. Even if a few "Deep Throats" do come forward, until the systems they are ratting on actually start to fail, the owners of those systems will likely be able to sucessfully disavow knowledge of any impending failures. Don't think it's possible? How many years did the tobacco companies claim they had no knowledge of the harmful effects of nicotene when in fact they knew full good and well it was highly addictive? A lot more than are left before Y2K.
I'm not saying that these problems can't be overcome for a determined journalist, just that it is a whole lot harder building a story on what might happen in the future than it is to build a story on what has already happened in the past.
-- Paul Neuhardt (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 22, 1998.
Do really believe there was a "Deep Throat"? It was a simple ploy to validate what the reporters wrote. To believe a deep throat intervention or source, one has to believe the very same journalists who, in my opinion, invented him. Perhaps you might want to buy a share or two of the great bridge that my father bought in Brooklyn when he first came to this country.
-- Bill Solorzano (email@example.com), May 22, 1998.
Let's all take a deep breath and read between the lines of Dr. Yourdon's above post. He clearly stated that he was privy to confidential news that points to severe problems. Secondly, he stated that he in no way could reveal in lieu of getting sued bigtime. Thirdly, his actions speak louder than his words. He moved immediately to Taos, N.M. I have been there. It is a long way to the Albq. airport Taos is a remote ski area. It is an artsy place, a place for new agers. But outside Taos is a lot of wilderness. I have been on the bridge that spans the Rio Grande and looked at miles of open country. It is not a place for stragglers, gypsys, or city dwellers. Mr. Yourdon knows something about y2k that he can't legally share. In one way I'd love to know what he knows, but I don't need to know to take action and prepare.
I appreciate what Ed said about James Walters. It is a breath of frest air to know there is an honest man in the mainstream media. It gives me hope that some in the media will not be part of the coverup.
Thanks Ed for your added comments above. You, North, and Cowlesare needed to give us a daily dose of reality. God bless and be bold. Times of crisis call for courage and integrity.
-- Bob Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 22, 1998.
I should clarify myself. While a single journalist might have impecable integrity, whether his network will give him free reign to tell the truth is another thing all together.
To quote you, "Does anyone have the right to urge others to sell their homes and give up their lives because HE THINKS YOU SHOULD? (forgive the caps}". YES! In theory yes, they do have the right. In the US its called the freedom of speech. In practice the US govt. is doing its best to make sure this right is destroyed, for the good of society, safety, for the children, etc. but there are some of us old codgers that think its still a good idea.
On Yardeni, he predicts deep depression? No, if you read his website he is predicting something akin to the 1973 recession. If he has changed his mind it has been since I've been on his website a few weeks back.
-- R. Watt (email@example.com), May 22, 1998.
You may or may not know that Mr. Yardini has openly stated that if y2k was not taken seriously by G-8, he would elevate his prediction for world wide recession from 60% to 80%. G-8 has placed y2k #25 on the agenda. #26 was the issue of, "where to have the next meeting" Lets get real.
-- Bill Solorzano (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 22, 1998.
The defense of your position is crumbling around you,you have given advice to persons about what they should do with our situation,but, does not listen to himself.you have to question yourself with your own family and still give advice to others about their family. Quote, "To begin with our finest Gurus admit that they don't know what is going to happen". You answer your own questions,since you know that our finest have not a clue what is going to happen,your answer was given to you,the day you read their first doubt. If they,do not know what is,should'nt you. Ed Yourdon,Gary North ,Ed Yardeni,out of these men,GN was the first to pass my way 4yrs ago.My attention was immediately aware of a sentence he had written on his site, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BELIEVE ME SEARCH FOR YOURSELF. At that moment I did not need his,or anyone else's help any longer why? I accepted his advice and searced on my own.I do not need GN,EY,EY,to tell me to prepare,I was aware of that,the moment I read his sentence,not his site.In the long run what you believe is what will give you your peace.Doubt is not a factor.Doubt causes,hesitation,in this situation,hesitation kills.
Albert Rosado S.I.N.Y
-- Albert Rosado (ARESURRECT@aol.com), May 23, 1998.
Dear fellow Luddites,
Your Deep Throat is the Year 2000 czar John Koskinen, who is reported in Federal Computer Week as saying that the funds ($5,500,000,000) already allocated to fixing the Federal Governments Millennium Bug problem is enough.
Thats more than enough. Koskinen told reporters. Koskinen (I am quoting again) acknowledged that he does not expect that the Federal Year 2000 problem will be entirely fixed by 2000. Federal officials are uncovering Year 2000 problems in other places, particularly in embedded computer chips used for everything from security systems to dam operations. (still quoting) But Koskinen said the government cannot predict how many computer systems may shut down on Jan. 1, 2000. (end quote)
Now class! Pay attention!! For those of you who have not taken Civics I before, I offer this irrefutable FACT: Bureaucrats mumble. Bureaucrats obfuscate. Bureaucrats dodge, bob and weave. They smile a lot. And, they never have enough money. Ever. Memorize that... there *will* be a test.
Bureaucrats tell the truth only when pushed to the wall. Bureaucrats tell the truth when they know the jig is up. They tell the truth when they are exhausted from the effort of trying to find some hope of survival and cant.
John Koskinen has the reputation of being a thorough and competent administrator, and while he has been on the job only a few months, it seems clear that he knows it doesnt matter how much money you might have to throw at this problem, there isnt enough *time*.
Your Government and mine, for better or worse, is in the veeerry deepest y2k do-do. I did not tell you that, John Koskinen did.
Any bets on when he will decide to go fishin? His predecessor did. Gross at IRS did. The three top honchos at DOD did.
Now, everybody take out your notebooks. Please prepare a 500 word essay showing why the Congress will think its a really swell idea to change over to a national sales tax.
-- B.T. Martin (email@example.com), May 26, 1998.
Bill, two items:
1. Has Gary North ever been involved with any "apocolyptic" causes before? Well, sort of. He is one of the leading voices of a ultra-fundamentalist movement called Christian Reconstruction, and has been for many years. To learn a little about the movement, try www.religioustolerance.org/reconstr.htm. There is a site out there that is *very* anti-CR, and it gives some of the scariest quotes from the materials that North (and others) have published over the years regarding their movements. Keep in mind that the creator of this site obviously has an axe to grind, but the URL is www.serve.com/thibodep/cr/cr.htm.
North is also the founder and head of The Institute For Christian Economics, through which he publishes books, newlsetters, etc. in support of his views. Most of these publications are available at www.freebooks.com. While not really "apocolyptic," reading some of this material has convinced me that North is, at least in part, engaging in some wishful thinking regarding Y2K. He has openly advocated the demise of the U.S. government for over 20 years and seems to have latched on to the Y2K issue as being the instrument of it's destruction. He makes a lot of good points here and there, but he also makes some real leaps between the facts as they are known and his conclusions. It seems to me that those leaps are based on what he wants to see happen more than on any evidence about what is going to happen. At least, that is my conclusion. Your milage may vary.
2. Do I believe there really was a "Deep Throat?" Sure do. Many scandals, both in government and out of it, are revealed through the actions of informants, also known as whistleblowers, and in the case of the Post's Watergate coverage, known as "Deep Throat." Happens all the time.
-- Paul Neuhardt (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 26, 1998.
I would suggest that many correspondents *are* beginning to take the issue more seriously and are saying it as the industry sees it. Coverage may not be as widespread as it needs to be, but Joe six pack has limited capacity for it. After a while the available articles become repetitious and the law diminishing returns seems to apply, (but yes, after 1000s of articles there is reinforcement of belief*). Continued reading is really only necessary to seek out those snippets that together may constitute a smoking gun. This can take a lot of valuable time and therefore money, which can rarely be justified, unless so doing forms your main source of income or you do not need an one!
In addition the general public have limited room for manoeuvre; work and family commitments are work-a-day priorities until there are smoking guns. Around the world, there are only a limited number of hills to run to, and in any case it is logically (economically) implausible for the general public to all react like that. Life will have to continue in some fashion within the same urban centres that currently exist.
In many ways scary stories in the tabloids and general media may serve no purpose. The man in the street has only so much capacity to analyse the issue and beyond that they leave it to the establishment to solve. The issue really only needs to be aired and discussed within the educated press and within the trade, which to a large degree it is. For those that care to find out most of it is available somewhere on the web.
I realise that this view is a little right of centre, but I fully admit that I would be part of the relatively un-interested constituency if my business had expanded and become the focus of my energies. There is a case for informing the population at-large if and when there is clear and consensual evidence of potential failures in such areas as utilities and telecoms. Advice should then be given on how to prepare for the potential risks.
I suggest that we should then be looking not to the media for evidence but to our governments. They are admitting there is a problem, but as with many, saying that there is no foregone conclusion and no certainty of a catastrophe. For the clear evidence of a serious problem we should look for signs for contingency planning and disaster relief. (I believe this is actually happening in the UK but it is not being publicised). I know that the issue is viewed as a serious problem at the highest levels of UK government & civil service (via personal contact), but politicians are only just that, and have only limited capacity to take so many burning political issues seriously. I equally know that in spite of the best of intentions our Prime Minister is not so computer literate and would struggle to fully understand the true depth of the problem.
We must also be aware that it is not just the hacks that are not portraying the worst outcome as a certainty. In discussions with senior 'city' economics and investment analysts, who have good brains and better resources, I have found many sanguine views. Although they agree that there may be a small blip, they ultimately have great faith in human kind to pull-too and get the problem solved in the end. These people are paid large sums to investigate this issue in detail and our coming up with different conclusions!
This all being said, I agree that there is a shortage of hard evidence and certainly no corpses yet however there is certainly ammunition being bought and some guns being hired.
7 There are plenty of stories about system failures not relating to Y2K which demonstrate technologies fragility. 7 There are stories of utility companies and others who have done parallel and real live trials and found that their systems failed. (ie when the clock was wound forward). 7 There are examples of large organisations who started the compliancy process early who have found the problem significantly larger than first thought and that the embedded chips issue is an unknown. 7 Sufficient public and private funds have been budgeted world wide for even the most sceptical to realise that the issue is significant. 7 There are surveys which show a high level of concern within significant Y2K groups. 7 There seem to be regular reports of programmers and other technically aware people within the IT industry who are expecting the worse.
-- Patrick Coghill (email@example.com), May 28, 1998.
Re: Gary North and the apocalypse Unless there are two of him, North was one of the economic crash promoters of the Howard Ruff/Harry Browne genre back in the late 70s and 80s. I had an old book of his around at one time, but tossed it. He was predicting TEOTWAWKI coming from hyperinflation and Weimar Republic-style economic chaos. He dropped off the public radar screen in the mid-80s, along with Ruff and company. Not sure what he has done between then and now. Can anyone confirm/fill in the blanks? For someone whose name gets tossed around so much, GN doesn't seem to have a big bio.
-- J.D. Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 03, 1998.
North WAS wrong all those other times
....and IS right this time.
that is all.
-- ohmygodthat'sthefunkyshit! (email@example.com), September 20, 1998.