A Letter to Andy Raygreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Checking this thread again, I came across this letter to our old pal "Andy Ray". Well worth the read, I'd say.
Date: July 07, 1999 02:24 PM
Author: T. Lane Dexter (email@example.com)
Subject: Answer to Andy
I did write a reply to "Andy Ray," after he sent me another e-mail. I shared it with Helen a day ago, and she thought I should post it, depite its length. Poacher, I do not believe he's JM. Ask Helen to confirm this; she has also corresponded with JM. Since Andy was polite to me in his last e-mail, I was polite to him. Helen pointed me to other forums where they seldom bother to be polite to him any more. (His reference to posting may have meant mostly at other forums.) Since he revealed one other alias in confidence, I've X'd it out. I'll even leave his e-mail attached to the bottom. Here's my reply; you'll realize I wrote it on July 5th:
I think I like Xxxxxxxx better than Andy. If I wasn't too busy, I'd already have written a reply to "Andy."
I would likely have made a somewhat more brusque reply to "Andy," but your gracious words preclude that. Still, I wonder if your "Andy" post was designed to elicit strong responses.
I think the "Neo-luddite motives" and "snide arrogance" stuff was supposed to fire up the ones with tempers, and bring the oddballs out of the woodwork.
I know there are religious zealots who really want to see God do another Sodom and Gomorrah number on our "wicked" society. Still, I see this faction as a tiny minority. And even a Christian Millenialist like Gary North serves a function: He has done a lot to wake up people who might otherwise not have prepared.
Really, Andy/Xxxxxxxx, can you believe anyone in his right mind WANTS TEOTWAWKI? I have a lot of friends and relatives in Seattle. I don't want that city to experience a worst-case scenario. I think most of us want to be wrong about it being really bad. And I think many (but then it's human to want to think many agree with me) "survivalists" view the immediate future as a lot more than the "Y2K Bug." I see the actual computer problem as merely putting an approximate calendar to events that have already become unavoidable.
If we agree on my first sentence in the above paragraph, we have only to determine what percentage of us AREN'T in their right minds, eh? ;-)
I think most of us realize the end of this year and beginning of the next represents a big unknown. A few things we can be sure of: Ask 100 people about Y2K. If five say "we are taking our money out of the bank," you know financial collapse is certain; there is not that much (to cover 5% of deposits) cash extant. And FDIC can cover 1.25 to 1.4% of the deposits it insures. You don't even need to do that to realize we're overdue for a market implosion. Cost to earnings ratios are twice as bad as they were in October 1929.
If you wish, you can view this crash as a self-fulfilling prophecy, caused by the "Y2K nuts," but that doesn't make it any less real. Actually, the "Y2K nuts" have, at most, altered the date of the event very slightly. And, even without the Y2K issue, it was already unavoidable. A while back, James Dale Davidson and Lord Rees Mogg put out a book called "The Great Reckoning." You might want to take a look at it. I am no economist, but I'm sure we'll soon see the bubble burst.
As a Hydroelectric Operator, I am fairly sure we can keep most of the lights on in Seattle, most of the time. I am more concerned about the "emergency measures" our government may (will, to some extent) take when the panic starts. I have read E.O. #12919, and others. I know that, on paper, the Constitution and Bill of Rights no longer has any authority. On paper, "they" can do ANYTHING. In reality, all rulers, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Nixon, Lincoln, Alexander the Great, ALL of them -- are limited only by "what they can get away with."
Do not confuse "anti-government sentiment" in the US and UK with the preparedness movement. They sometimes coincide, but I believe they stem from different sources. Certainly, we presently suffer under a far more oppressive government than that which led to the Boston Tea Party (over a 3% tax) and the American Revolution. Ever talk with Randy Weaver and his daughter, Sara? They have reason to be disenchanted with our government, and they certainly are not alone.
I don't know how old you are (I'm 45), but think back a bit. In the space of a generation, we've gone from a relatively free country to a police state. Until I was about 14=, you could pretty much mail order any gun you wanted, up to and including a 20mm anti-tank rifle. If you needed to blast a road or shoot stumps, you went to the hardware store and bought a case of dynamite, caps, fuse, primacord, whatever you needed. You didn't drive down the road in fear that you might be interrogated, made to show "your papers," you and your vehicle searched, all by police who use "sobriety check" or "seatbelt check" as an excuse to troll for assets worth seizing. You didn't fear losing your property and bank account if a plant of Cannabis sativa grew on your back 40. You needn't fear ninja suited thugs smashing your door, destroying your house, terrorizing your family, killing your pets, all because either someone told the cops you might have drugs or someone called a BATF 800 hotline and said you had an illegal AK47 (which looks exactly like a legal MAK90). Funny thing, though: It was a healthier and (socially) safer society than that of 1999. Sure, we didn't all wear seatbelts, and medical science wasn't quite where it is today, but we had less crime, and a more moral society.
Trust me, or better yet, trust a few folks older and more experienced than I am. The anti-government sentiment is not entirely without cause. Last night, a man was driving through our scenic area with his wife. He pulled into a National Park Service campground, stopped his rig, looked around for a campsite, then walked around back of his pickup and pulled a beer out of the cooler. He took a pull on the cold beer, as they looked around to see if there were any open campsites. The campground Ranger freaked, called the police on his radio.
Soon, the State Trooper and the Deputy Sheriff were responding, "running code" for 10-15 miles on our busy highway, to the campground, after excited radio traffic to the Ranger to "detain them." Arriving and corraling our beer drinker, the intrepid lawmen then had the temerity to cancel the backup they had on standby, making bold to report, "...the situation is under control." The citizen, who walks with a cane and is on a number of strong medications due to prior crippling life-theatening injuries, was accused of being drunk, and made the mistake of showing some temper and refusing their breath test. He poured out the remaining half of the beer and told them the meds he took would make any sobriety test suspect.
Bad move. Our citizen was arrested. On his way to a holding cell, his wife driving their pickup behind the cops, the Deputy suddenly found a years-old warrant on a domestic beef, under the wife's maiden name. Now the wife is arrested, pickup left on roadside. Eventually, the citizen is cited, his driver's license destroyed, then dumped on the highway, nearly 40 miles from his vehicle. His wife is on the way to jail, though the citizen is not sure which jail.
I picked up the fellow, hitchhiking in our twisty canyon, as I was on my way to view a fireworks display. A somewhat "gimped up" guy, walking our canyon at night with a cane gets my attention. Turns out the Deputy had already been by to jeer at him a bit and remark that he'd made some progress. The citizen answered that he'd caught a ride part of the way, and asked if he could have a ride back to his truck and belongings. The Deputy said, "I'm not a taxi," and sped off. My wife and I hauled the gentleman the remaining 7 miles to his rig, whereupon the Deputy cruised by, pulled a U-turn and came back to hassle the guy a bit.
It probably helped that Sara and I were present, as we're longtime residents, I'm the local Fire Chief, and the presence of reliable witnesses tends to inhibit "Gestapo" action." After bugging the guy a bit, accusing him of having 12 other beers (he later showed us the 11 unopened beers in his cooler), the Deputy finally left him to sleep in the vehicle [he was not allowed to drive].
Sara and I discussed the gentleman's situation with him, and how/when he might get back home to Everett (108 miles away) and scare up a Public Defender for his wife. After regaling him with a few tales of the Deputy's other accomplishments (such as writing $213 worth of tickets to his next door neighbor, a career Highway Dept. employee, because the man crossed the highway on a 50cc putt-putt bike), we left the citizen there. As we parted, I could think of nothing to say to this gentleman after his lovely day of surprises, except "HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!" By the time this is all sorted out, the citizen and his wife will have had a great deal more misery added to their already difficult lives. The public will be no safer, but that harmless little man and his wife will harbor a bit more "anti-government sentiment." OH, and I'll bet he never again takes out a beer while his rig is parked along the road in a campground, instead of in a campsite. I doubt he'll make the mistake of going to a National Park campground again.
Trust me, Andy/Xxxx, this is just one small example among many; it happened to be fresh in my mind. I could fill a book, just drawing on the experiences of family and friends. If you aren't at least as old as I am, PLEASE talk to a lot of older people. And not just the ones in the cities. The history you gather will be worth your time.
And be careful not to "rush to judgment." It is very difficult to discern a wannabe revolutionary from a fellow who is discussing the possible necessity of shooting looters (even though he abhors the idea of taking life). I'm sure you can smoke a few radicals out of the woodwork, but the more you study this, the more you will realize we are headed for hard times.
You needn't be a great student of economics to realize these things are cyclical in nature. We are overdue for the next "banking panic" (FDR coined the term "Depression," as being more politically acceptable). The rest of the world is already there, and we can't prop them up much longer. We are headed for hard times.
You needn't be a great student of history and politics to realize the cyclical nature of governments, from oppression to rebellion, to freedom, to oppression, to rebellion, to either worse oppression or temporary freedom... etc, etc. Right now, we suffer a government that is in many ways more oppressive than that of King George. I recently saw a document offered with "would you sign this?" as heading. It would definitely qualify as treasonous, should you sign it, yet I soon realized it was an accurate paraphrasing of the Declaration of Independence into modern English. How much more pressure will society take? You might enjoy Thomas W. Chittum's "Civil War II," about the coming breakup of America. Interesting data he has accumulated, even if you don't buy his conclusions. We are headed for hard times.
You needn't be a great student of computers, software, and our increasingly cybernated society, to conclude that the Y2K bug, if it is 1/10 as disruptive as many predict, will indeed have far reaching effects on our "just-in-time-delivery" world. Last month, we came to work and (literally) smelled trouble. We took an 80 Megawatt generator and its 48+ year old, 4,000 amp, 11,000 volt Air Circuit Breaker out of service just hours before it would have failed and blown itself all over the plant. We repaired that ACB in the same day, using spare parts with inspection tags dated 3/7/57; we saved the utility a great deal of very expensive downtime. Due to punitive inventory taxes, that will not happen again. We are headed for hard times.
You needn't be a great student of ecology and the carrying capacity of Planet Earth to realize there are more people on Earth than ever before, and more hungry people. If you even watch the news, you realize that relatively tiny climatic shifts have disastrous effects on crops and human habitations. Our resources are being grossly mismanaged. Global warming is not scientifically proven at all, but we are headed for hard times.
You needn't be much of a student of sociology and human nature to realize we live in a much more urbanized and much more specialized society than that of 40-50 years ago. More and more, we see people who are virtually useless outside their narrow field of specialization. There are people all over who cannot drive a nail, change a tire, build a fire, field dress game, or even shoot a rifle or mend a sock. I have seen and assisted a couple who were "stranded," simply because it was dark and their headlights had quit working. Yes, the vehicle possessed electrical energy, wire and functional light bulbs; its occupants lacked the functional skills to deal with a simple switch failure. If you are at least middle aged, you have some idea what television and mass entertainment has done to our culture. The "cold warriors" of the past were not only stocked up, prepared to survive an "infrastructure collapse" that could come from many causes. They were mentally far better prepared to survive and adhere to certain moral standards of behavior. If today's fragile and complex society hits even a few snags, we are headed for hard times.
If you follow the geopolitical situation at all, you know there are far more nations with nuclear and biological weapons than ever before. You also know there are more people, in more nations, with good reasons to hate the U.S.A. than ever before. I'm sure you are aware that the bankrupt (former) USSR has lost track of many nuclear weapons, ranging from missile warheads to "suitcase nukes," nearly as good as the ones we built as far back as the 60's and 70's. I cannot predict the day or the place, but we are headed for hard times.
You can't prove nothing will happen, and I can't prove a catastrophe will happen; it's an unknown to both of us. Oh, we can consider the financial crash a mathematical certainty, but there are too many variables to predict how things will shape up in 2000. Personally, I consider it likely we'll see greater "social unrest" than we've seen in 135 years.
I certainly don't claim to be a genius who has figured it out, only an uneducated backwoods guy who looks around and reads a bit. There are a great many indications that we are headed for SOMETHING. Making preparations is only prudent; all Americans should be prepared for an infrastructure collapse, be it earthquake, flood, hurricane, Y2K, or even war. I am doing my 2000 grocery shopping now, my 2000 tool shopping now, etc. Do your next year's shopping now; put together a useful library; try to learn some useful skills. Assume you may not go to the store for a year or so. If nothing happens, you have made your life more interesting, and you won't have to go to the store as often for a while.
I saw Jim Lord on a local (Seattle Area) Sunday evening talk show called Town Meeting. The subject was Y2K, and most of the panel was made up of spokespersons from electrical utilities, water dept., banks, etc. As time for a "final word" came around, all the professional Pollyannas (and that well describes the perpetually smiling blonde lady from a local bank) said one after another, "72 hours food and water is all you need." Jim came last; he said, "If they're wrong about 72 hours, a lot of people will die. If I'm wrong aabout six months, you can donate to a food bank or have a party. It doesn't cost you much to prepare."
Andy/Xxxx, I sincerely hope you are right and I'm wrong; I'd like to read your planned book. Still, we both should realize that if I'm right, you very well may be dead. I know I have no guarantees, but I want to maximize my chances.
I could go on in this vein, but it's late and you get the idea.
All the Best,
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." --Robert A. Heinlein
-- Hardliner (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 17, 1999
I don't understand the big deal over being prepared. As a boy scout I was taught to be prepared. In the military I was taught to be prepared. Now as just an ordinary citizen I go out and buy goods to last my family for a few years and I'm a nut case. As we lose more rights in this country and around the world, we become more and more dissatisfied with our government and our corporate capitalism. With GM losing 4.9 billion on their law suit I believe that the people are fighting back. The thing that gets me is that some judge will come back in on an appeal and reduce this to a couple of million. The people speak and some beauracrat comes in a spits in the face of the people. I still believe we have the greatest nation on this planet. However, that doesn't mean I will stand by and watch it go in the toilet. I fought for this country. Invested my time and energy to keep us all free. Now, tell me what was I doing. Making a haven for fat cat politicians and lobbists to play. For some jerk to put a dollar value on human life. No, my friends what I fought for was freedom and rights. However, these are going by the way side because it is not profitable to have the common man to have rights. You see if you have rights you have power. If you have power you are dangerous and uncontrolable. If you are dangerous and uncontrolable we can't make money from your life crushing, back breaking labor. If we can't make money from your life crushing, back breaking labor, what good are you. However, if you are at the bottom, any work looks good. If any work looks good, you won't expect much in a wage. If you won't expect much in a wage, the corporation makes more profit. If the corporation makes a profit then the stock holder is paid a dividen. If the stock holder is paid a dividen the he does not have to work. Who benefits? Everyone? This is economics. This is not what the bil of rights or the constitution were founded on. What we did was left these two documents at the Smithsonian and went about to create a business bill of rights called, "Get him before he gets me or before he gets in the way". Until we get back to basics, of "do unto others," "the faith of a mustard seed," "ask and yea shall have, seek and yea shall find," and "the ten commandments", we will be heading for the end of the world as we know it. All the world looked at us with respect when these two documents were created. Now, they hate us. They call us hypocrites. It all works because of the words "these uninalyable rights". These rights all have value. However, our own government does not place value to them. They take your rights to do as you wish with your land and call it police power. They take your right to bear arms and call it police power. Where did it say except under police power. I believe it is stated that we are get get just compensation for our land. Tell that to the guy who lost his property because some kid was smoking dope is his back yard, who he didn't know. This list goes on and on. I agree, but we have a right that we can still use. The right to vote. Let get rid of these followers and get some leaders.
-- Dean A. Stone I (email@example.com), July 18, 1999.
Hardliner, I had just about given up on this forum, when I came across this. Thanks for the find. Keep searching: some of us will listen.
-- Spidey (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 18, 1999.
"With GM losing 4.9 billion on their law suit I believe that the people are fighting back. The thing that gets me is that some judge will come back in on an appeal and reduce this to a couple of million. The people speak and some beauracrat comes in a spits in the face of the people. "
Come on now Mr. Stone. How can giving $4.9 billion to a small group of individuals possibly be considered fair? An award of such an obscene amount indicates precisely what's WRONG with our legal system.
Our courts have become casinos; if you're injured badly enough you get a chance at the Big Spin, millions or even billions of dollars that you never earned, stolen from someone's else's pockets. Meanwhile companies like GM strive even harder to move their operations overseas. Guess who the real losers are (not the lawyers, certainly not the CEO's.).
-- they (email@example.com), July 18, 1999.
When considering the amount of damages awarded in any particular case, it is important to know what part was compensatory> damages and what part (if any) was punitive damages.
Compensatory damages must be reasonable and related to reality.
Punitive damages may be any amount that the court considers just, to punish the defendant, although sometimes punitive damages will be defined by law. One common such definition is triple the amount of any compensatory damages awarded.
-- Hardliner (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 18, 1999.
-- Hardliner (email@example.com), July 18, 1999.