Two Cups of History : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

After another uneventful "critical" date, the beat goes on. As I read the forum (infrequently), I see a common attitude in the pessimists. They feel America is modern Rome, crumbling under the weight of immoral and decadent behavior. For many, Y2K is a straw (or bale) waiting to break the camel's back.

This attitude simply requires a complete lack of historical knowledge.

As I have mentioned to "a," America did not invent immoral behavior. The average American citizen has far more rights and protections (and a better standard of living) than earlier civilizations. Consider the example of slavery, an institution we took nearly a hundred years as a Republic to abolish. Ask an African-American family about the "good old days" of the antebellum south.

While modern society is far from perfect, to consider it grossly inferior to the past is romantic nostalgia. "Little House on the Prairie" does not reflect the experience of the average settler, though it seems a model for many posters on this forum... aside from shooting the occasional marauder.

Ask a real historian to speculate about life in a post-Apocalyptic world. Stack it against life in Europe during the early middle ages. Consider how stored rice and beans stack up against cholera, typhus or other inevitabilities of complete social breakdown. The pessimists seem to feel we are better served wringing out a subsistence living than languishing with plentiful food, excellent medical care, opportunities to study and learn, etc. Some seem almost anxious to face the brave new world.

Well, be careful what you wish for.


-- Mr. Decker (, September 09, 1999


Troll, or mere gasbag?


-- Liberty (, September 09, 1999.

I think you should read "The Fourth Turning".

-- MMireles (, September 09, 1999.

Civil polly.

BTW, I agree with you completely Mr. Decker. These are, indeed, the good old days.

-- Uncle Deedah (, September 09, 1999.

I vote for GASBAG!

-- Barf (You_Must_be@Joking.Here), September 09, 1999.

Also, The Fourth Turning is an excellent book. But that in no way negates the fact that we are living better than people ever have.

-- Uncle Deedah (, September 09, 1999.

You seem to take a pessimistic view of the pessimists. Many of us who are deeply concerned about Y2K would like nothing better than to wake up mid-year 2000 to a world that is practically identical to the one we inhabit today.

I have a degree in history, and I have no illusions about the "good old days." In fact, human beings have pretty consistently acted the same since recorded history began. All that has really changed is our ability to modify our natural environment to better serve our needs and desires for comfort, ease, stimulation, distraction, entertainment, invention, exploration. We have gotten much more educated; and with that, much more skillful. But psychological evolution seems to manifest mostly in individuals, not in collectives. As a whole, we seem much the same as ever. This is mirrored in the histories of societies and civilizations.

In a post-Apocalyptic world, suddenly largely stripped of its accumulated conveniences and efficiencies, I expect we would continue to see the full range of human possibilities displayed, from the sublime to the most brutal. Those who find the current power structure oppressive might find themselves wishing heartily for its restoration, given the likely choices that would first emerge from chaos.

Few seem to recognize that the founding fathers were elitists, with not much faith in the general populace - which is why they established a representative form of government rather than a participatory form. Those of superior abilities would define the course of civic life for those less gifted or competent. This elitism continues unabated today. TPTB - as ever in human history - take it upon themselves to run the show as they see fit, until they die off or are overthrown or whatever... and the whole drama starts up again.

So, Mr. Decker, some of us are on this Forum and making extensive preparations simply because we love our families, we cherish life, and we have the foresight to recognize imminent peril when we see it. It is not about politics, or religion, or even philosophy of life. It is much simpler than that. We want our world to continue, we want our children to live and grow and experience life. And we are deeply worried.

What is gained by stereotyping, creating "doomer" caricatures, sneering at our heartfelt concerns? We are all in this lifeboat together. A little respect would be welcome change.

-- (snoozin@no.more), September 09, 1999.




Wanna know why I think that? It's not because of the historical points you brought up, which were all correct. It's because of the way you paint all G.I.s with the same brush. There may well be some who wish for TEOTWAKI (and yes, I know GN is on record as such), but I would hazard a guess that the majority of people on this forum are praying we get by with just a temporary interruption in TWAWKI.

I've done my share of primitive camping, over the years. It was pretty groovy and all, for a weekend getaway, but the thought of life turning into one long primitive camping trip, frankly sucks out loud. I'm rather fond of running water and getting lights anytime I hit a switch, and lord knows I dearly love my computer. But you know what, reality does not always conveniently conform itself to what I want. Sometimes things happen that I am not in the least happy about. You know, s--t happens.

Do you honestly subscribe to the idea, that a person will only believe a thing will happen, because that person wants it to? Are you truly that narcissistic? I believe that at some point I may be in a car accident, hence I have insurance. Does that mean it's a reflection of some latent masochism, and that I secretly lust for the sound of screeching tires and busting glass?

Somehow I think you're not THAT deluded. Basically, I think you just wanna stir up garbage and try to make us all look silly

Therefore: Verdict - Troll

-- Bokonon (, September 09, 1999.

The pessimists seem to feel we are better served wringing out a subsistence living than languishing with plentiful food, excellent medical care, opportunities to study and learn, etc.

We pay a high price.......the loss of freedom.

-- tree (, September 09, 1999.

Mr. Decker is incapable of accepting that we are very probably headed for the worst period of turmoil this century. He stands behind his charts and statistics, as all good economists do, and attempts to wish away all the bogeymen. The bad code bogeyman. The overvalued stock bubble bogeyman. Etc. etc etc.

Never mind that software experts such as Yourdon and Hamasaki agree with most of the programmers on this forum that the end of our digital harmony is near. Never mind that Volker, Soros and Friedman have all but predicted another Great Depression. Mr. Decker will wish it away with his cocky attitude, large ego, and condescending remarks.

And yes, Ken, you are right on one count. Things are really great. At the moment.

-- a (a@a.a), September 09, 1999.

I have defended the "thoughtful" pessimists on this forum on more than one occasion. You, "Snoozin," may well be one. I also have defended the economic right of every American to spend money on preparations... or pink flamingos. In fact, you'll find I have provided sound answers to preparation questions... the most recent my recommendation of the Stihl 026 chainsaw. [To those interested, I find the Stihl heavier, but better constructed than the Husqvarna. In addition, the 026 is plenty of saw for the average person. The big saws like the 044 are best reserved for professional loggers.]

In fact, "Snoozin," if you read carefully you'll find I do not disparage pessimists... I question their ideas. I'll leave the ad homimen attacks to King of Spain, Will Continue, Andy, etc. I have defended my predictions... including my guess we'll have sharp recession caused by Y2K. Along the way, I have tried to explain the failing of using a mechanical analogy to describe our free market economy. (I think an organic model is more appropriate.) I've pointed out the inherent redundancies of capitalism and the "messy" and resiliant nature of our economy. I've explained marginal utility and why I think the gold standard is deader than disco. I've pointed out errors, large and small, in the pessimist's arguments. All in all, I think I've been a useful fellow.

As of September 9, I can still be convinced Y2K will be a catastrophe. It will, however, take arguments better than those forwarded here. It will certainly require more than a Norman Rockwell fantasy.


-- Mr. Decker (, September 09, 1999.

Snoozin No More,

"Those who find the current power structure oppressive might find themselves wishing heartily for its restoration, given the likely choices that would first emerge from chaos."

Amen. The most predatory usually dominate during times of chaos. It won't be "noble freedom fighters" who will rule; it'll be the next Ghengis Khan. There's some changes I'd love to see in our government. But TEOTWAWKI is not the way I want to see that happen.

-- Bokonon (, September 09, 1999.


I actually was raised on a self reliant ranch in Montana and still spend a solid week every year hunting in the high country. Self sufficiency is a myth... unless you've figured out how to perform your own surgery.

As I noted, all pessimists are not created equal. Some are less equal than others. (laughter) My opinions on Y2K are based on the available data. You simply choose to interpret the data differently than I do. The real arrogance is to feel anyone interpretation other than yours can be correct. And please, who (aside from the insane and the New Age folks) think their brain waves control the outcome of external events? You may look silly if we only have an economic downturn and you've emptied your retirement accounts (and taken the penalties), maxed your credit cards and moved to a remote location where you have no job (other than survival.) I'll look silly if the world ends. However we may look, I suggest your "preparations" may have limited influence on your ultimate survival if we truly move into a new dark age.

Oh, it seems "a" has an opinion as well. You can Ravi Batra to your list of doomsayers... but even a depression is not the apocalypse many forum posters predict, n'est pas?


-- Mr. Decker (, September 09, 1999.

MR. DECKER: I could not agree more with your closing words,"be careful what you wish for." Those people that are not just planning for the upper end of the 0 - 10 scale, but because of other values that they harbor, are actually hoping it happens, are fools. I would suggest however that you not put all of those so planning into that category. In my opinion people such as Bigdog, Bokonon, Diane, Chris, Jerry B, and many others, have not demonstrated, with respect to Y2K, that their beliefs have become their desires.

I say this as someone who is "contingency" planning for up to an "8." If it were to be that bad, among all of the other emotions I would feel, experience an immense sadness and profound sense of loss.

Beyond an "8", while I can imagine the implications, I cannot imagine the remainder of my life. When I try to do so the use of logic, when applied to the premise, combined with my values, cause me something I am at a loss for words to describe.

Of course my reluctance to deal with it says nothing about whether or not it may occur. I shall shortly post an article wherein I articulate my reasons for my expectations ("5") and my reasons why it could conceivably be worse - though beyond "8" I cannot foresee..

Though we do not always agree I do so enjoy your posts. As an aside, do you plan to write any further articles on the market(s) - particularly your forecast on overall strategy as we close out the year and move into 2000?

With respect,

-- Dave Walden (, September 09, 1999.

Decker's insinuation, that those who store rice and beans are hoping for a catastrophe, is inane. Likewise his implied conclusion that a "9" or "10" in 2000 will be met with the same societal response that it might have in 1880 or 1950. We are a VERY different society now. Specifically, we are a fully-ripened welfare state, packed to the gills with people who think that the world owes them a living - or at least a soft landing. We're a country with no sense of decency, accountablity or standard of truthfullness (witness the behaviour of our chief office-holder). Granted, times of public greed, corruption and licentiousness have occured before - 1929 comes to mind...


-- Liberty (, September 09, 1999.

Mr. Decker: Thanks for your post and I do agree with it in part. While I am poli-sci major(intl. relations) my history expertise only covers from the Great Depression, WWII, Korean Police Action, Cuban Missile crises etc, etc(24 years military, 15 years private business). What got my attention was not the Y2K by itself but the possibility of it combined with the economy and terrorism. I don't like the odds of all three going away peaceably. I value my old age parents, my children and grandchildren too much(my wife said I had to put her in there somewhere!) NOT to prepare for at least a substantial period for some turbulence. As stated time and again by the more thoughtful on this site I'm not going to throw anything away I've bought. It is a win-win situation. I hope and pray you are right. I've seen what can happen in other countries and I must say I do not believe Americans are any smarter. Have you read Desmond Morris's book "The Naked Ape"?

-- Neil G.Lewis (, September 09, 1999.

Decker, perhaps to his embarassment, is nearly a doomer. Believing that Y2K will be THE cause or even a proximate cause of a serious recession in 2000 (cf Yardeni) puts him far to the pessimistic side of Flint or Hoff, very far.

But you have set up a straw-man with respect to the forum on two counts.

First, while many of us are certainly preparing warily and nervously for supply chain breakdowns, anyone with half a brain has realized WHILE doing so that our society is entirely unprepared for catastrophic breakdowns.

Even IF one wanted to return to the past (I know no one on the forum who has urged this, btw), it is impossible. At best, we are talking about stumbling for 'x' period of time into a dangerous future with a mix of old-time skills and a bunch of nearly-working machines and applications.

With respect to the ethical dimension, this is far more mixed. On the issue of race, this nation has made authentic progress, even relative to our own history. Compared to "earlier civilizations", we still have many "rights", yes. HOWEVER ----

Compared to earlier days within this Republic, it is certainly VERY arguable that we have surrendered many rights and that we are in the midst of a time of profound deceit and corruption that threatens to undo our remaining freedoms. I DO argue that. And I am not fatalistic about it, though I am, yes, pessimistic -- England in the 17th century was quite corrupt and experienced a tremendous renewal of national life in the 18th century.

It is true that Y2K may be a straw that breaks a CERTAIN camel's back, not the back of what America has represented, but the false back of a runaway global technologism that has not been well- stewarded by its keepers. That would not be a loss and might, if we're lucky, result in lessons learned that will stand our children and grandchildren in far better stead than ourselves -- even if TEOTWAWKI. Especially if TEOTWAWKI.

Man is a "technical" being, not least of all. Computers are here to stay and "computability" will be developed by our descendants beyond anything we can currently imagine. I hope I'm around to enjoy some of it.

If Y2K is catastrophic, you will probably have days or, perhaps, a week of "intelligence" warning based on all the work/analysis we've done on this forum, in which you can return to Montana and help your parents. Good luck.

-- BigDog (, September 09, 1999.

And BTW Deck, you're a serious asshole for implying that most of us here (who expect "only" a depression, I might add) are "wishing" for it to happen. Perhaps you are a dullard like Maria, who refers to me as "AAAA" and apparently cannot decipher my posting name from my fake email address. I am a, not AisA, who is indeed one of the 1% or less of doomers that wants to see a collapse.

-- a (a@a.a), September 09, 1999.


While I can only assume that you find any dialogue here to be unfair amidst overwhelming pessimism, I had once sincerely appreciated the daring, sincerity, and counterpoints that you and Flint brought to this forum. But I must now assume that the long fight has taken its toll. Otherwise, I must believe that you two never intended any good from the very beginning. Some would say this, I did not. Was I a willing dupe to be enthusiastic about a dialogue between two camps? For if I was a dupe, I will be a dupe no more. As the saying goes, shame on you if you fool me once. Shame on me if you fool me twice.

If I have not been duped by you, then, do not mistake derring do for courage. As for repartee before the engagement, it is a ridiculous arrogance. Such an arrogance suggests an insincerity and bad faith in the very possibility of coming together and laboring toward the mutual benefit of well formed opinions-- even though opinions may continue to differ. What is the intent of the counterpoint made with such derring do and/or ostentatious arrogances? How can I trust that what you say is meaningful if you do not fully share my contempt for lies, untruth? Do you also treat untruth as if it were merely a fly in the ointment?

After several hours of waiting for a reply, I will assume that Flint does not care much whether or not I hold him in low regard for his apparent indifference to whether or not our government deceives us. Our government may deceive us, it may be said that we have been deceived in the past, and we may be deceived again, but indifference to such deceits is in no way "adult." Such indifference may be clever, but cleverness is not a moral virtue; its ends are not necessarily a good (or evil). The Y2K technology problem is a serious matter, and cavalier and clever arguments do not help us to understand the risks.

Yes, another uneventful critical date! And what should this mean to me beyond a reassurance that I can try to finish up my preparations (or the beginnings of a smarter living, in your way of saying things) without worries. Well, if it were only uneventful critical dates that had came to pass, I now would downgrade my assessment of Y2K risks. Unfortunately, the Y2K bug has stuck closer to home. The migration to new accounting systems has effected me in the most personal way, it effects my vendors who I can not pay, and there is no relief in sight. No manual work around is attempted. Hand written checks? What's that!?

Is America a modern Rome that is crumbling under the great weight of immoral and decadent behavior? Is Y2K the straw (or bale) waiting to break the camel's back. Does this attitude reflect a complete lack of historical knowledge? These are mostly your words, Red. America has problems. Does the content of culture have any correlation to the health or collapse of a nation? I think this is a better question to ask. There is that risk that Y2K is the straw (or bale) that could break the camel's back, but we really don't know the camel's health. Economic well-being doesn't begin to fully adress that health, either.

Does serious concern for the health of the camel *require* that one is completely ignorant of history? I can't begin to imagine how many historians, scholars, and noble prize winners would be implicated by such impudence. If one sees the Y2K risks as the straw (or bale) that could potentially break the camel's back, are they also completely ignorant of history? Some may not know much history, others may know quite a bit about history. You are making ridiculous characterizations of the pessimists. There may be some who know more about history than you. Instead of characterizing each other, we should question more.

As for the Jim Crow days, I have heard a variety of opinions. Some say that morality and community were more alive back then... than they are today. Some are unsure if it is better today than then, now that the content of character is a brief line in a speech delivered long ago as opposed to something men and women pursue and possess. Of course, no one wants to go back to the days of slavery, but some people do wish they enjoyed the fellowship that their slave-ancestors once enjoyed. Yes, the end of slavery was an achievement. But racism continues and a hundred years and counting since the bloodied battles at Manasass.

While modern society has gained a great deal through technology, it has lost many of the principles that once guided this great nation and the principles that once guided a great people. Do material comforts and modern conveniences substitute for principles lost? Earlier in this century, the Frankfurt school boys saw this as a crisis. Not long ago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia for the same reason. The ugly American is uglier (less educated, unable to discuss serious ideas), thought Allan Bloom (a Platonist) before he died. Our graduate schools are the best in the world, but we have to import the students.

Can we have our cake and eat it too? I would hope that one day we can. I agree that a return to subsistence living is nothing to look forward to. We will need to trust in each other and cooperate to get through -- if things get bad. A sense that we are in this together as a people is an attitude that needs to grow in this forum. Anyway, I would like to write more but multiple surges are coming through the power lines right now and I don't know how long my surge protection can hold out. It sounds like a fax machine got fried. It made an awful bzzt! just now, and generally the fax machine just beeps. Is it still 09/09/99?

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, September 09, 1999.

Mr. D., And to think I was starting to miss you. Thanks for the reminder. New job working out?

-- Carlos (, September 09, 1999.

P.S. 'a's resort to inappropriate endearments for you, and all the other such insults that you normally suffer here, gives me regret that I have written on the same pages as they.

-- Stan Faryna (, September 09, 1999.

Stan: The two bloody battles at Manassas had absolutely nothing to do with abolishing slavery. They were fought solely because the Union invaded the Confederacy (and got their butts kicked both times). The war was fought over the question of secession, not the question of slavery.

-- cody (, September 09, 1999.

Gee think 'Red' ain't an ASSHOLE? Then I really feel sorry for ya. But that was one hell of a great post my man.

-- a (a@a.a), September 09, 1999.

Why are we being so divisive regarding the questions that have been raised here? People, can't we all try to just get along? "Decker is a troll." "No, Decker is a gasbag!" "No, he just writes this stuff to inflame, so he is a troll!" "But he never actually SAYS anything, its just noxious gas, so he is a GASBAG!!" "TROLL!" "GASBAG!"

Decker is BOTH -- an inflammatory troll AND a noxious gasbag.

-- King of Spain (, September 09, 1999.

My goodness, KoS, you make him sound like a hemorrhoid!

-- Old Git (, September 09, 1999.

I guess the testing is done. The surges and brownouts have stopped. Unfortunately, the fax machine is acting quirky.


I like much of what I have read of your writing on the other threads. Those arguments are intelligent, thoughtful, and persuasive. In other words, you have no need to endear yourself to Mr. Decker. Nor do you have to agree with him. I don't.

As we get deeper into the end game, I don't doubt that it's going to get loud and shrill in here, so let's remember the compact that many of us had made with Chuck. We can keep it civil for a little longer.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, September 09, 1999.

Old Git:

LOL! Don't forget the Prep "H"!

-- Randolph (, September 09, 1999.

Old Git said:

My goodness, KoS, you make him sound like a hemorrhoid!

Well hell, Git...I called him an 'asshole' and Stan called him 'Red', so what else was KoS to surmise?

(sorry Stan...I'll refrain now...)

-- a (a@a.a), September 10, 1999.

He loves us really.

The asshole can't stop himself - he simply HAS to return to plague us with his condecending bullshit.

-- Andy (, September 10, 1999.


Anywho... personally Ken,

Im rather attached to technology, my computer and running hot water. Would much rather see it continue... although with a business sustainability perspective, widely accepted pollution-free objectives, and a renewable community-oriented, goals approach to life and living on our shared, self-contained planetary eco-system.

As to reverting to any prior time period, well... weve been there, done that, got the T-shirts. Its more appropriate to our souls evolution to move forward, IMHO, rather than to revert ten steps. But... civilizations have usually given rise, to their own downfall, and I doubt that our time is filled with any more inherently intelligent humans. Certainly, we dont have a lock on wisdom. Of this age, or any other.

One wise simplicity, is to recognize Y2K = 2000 and not 1999... or even 9/9/99. A useful analogy, in visioning size and scope, is found in comparing a marble... to the moon. Orders of magnitude grander in total scale. Also, to imply that 4-9s appears uneventful, assumes you are omniscient or omnipresent. A tad arrogant of you, Ken.

It may seem a small thing, however, but the rest of the world will find out the actual scope of the Y2K problem and repercussions... next year. (At least that which cant be hidden). Go figure. Id even be willing to bet, most corporations, governments and individuals would have been delighted to find other uses for all the money theyve collectively spent in remediation, preparing and contingency planning for this... as yet... upcoming event. The fact that theyve spent so much on such a little date glitch might clue you to the seriousness of the situation. Or not... in your case.

The first six months of next year, will be the global acid test. And the first live end-to-end test occurs on Jan 1, 2000. To think otherwise, is just playing with semantics or exercising those ole mental gyrations... in offbalance mode. Truth will out... eventually. It usually does.

But, for now, it does rather look as if were on the slippery slope to 2000. Stay tuned... that next bump could be... most unexpected!


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 10, 1999.

Mr. Decker:

You sound an awful lot like a hack sci-fi writer named S.M. Sterling. Is you him?

-- CS Man (, September 10, 1999.


You sound like a pompous wind bag, a lot like "Winchester" from the "Mash" show, or Rush Limbaugh. You make an awful lot of assumptions about our attitudes toward our country, and from what I've been hearing you are way off base. If some of us seem angry toward our unscrupulous government it is because we love our country and we would like to see things get better, not worse. Go back to your history books now so you won't have to think about striving for a better future.

-- @ (@@@.@), September 10, 1999.

Thanks BigDog,

You're right on about Kenny.

Hey Ken,

Most here now know about your glorified childhood living in the great outdoors of Montana, and your training in economics and history and your T-bills, and your expectations of recession or depression.

Until you have a dependent who depends upon your actions for his or her survival, don't bother posting anymore. Nobody cares.

-- nothere nothere (, September 10, 1999.

With only a small interest in splitting hairs, Mr. Decker, I'll venture that the following is the requisite "complete lack of historical knowledge": "Ask an African-American family about the 'good old days' of the antebellum south."

Today's typical African-American knows about as little about the antebellum south as you apparently do. All any of you know is what you've seen on television or read in some revisionist history book.

As has been noted before, most slave traders were Yankee merchants who bought slaves from other Africans who sold their own people into bondage.

If you must erect a straw man, find a better example.

-- Vic (, September 10, 1999.

This thread was worth seeing Dave Walden, one of my favorite thoughtful pessimists. Even Dave can see the pessimistic moths attracted to the Y2K flame. (And thanks, Dave, for naming names.)

If you want specific market strategies, Dave, drop me an email. As I have said before on this forum, I took most of my profits in April and holding mostly T Bills. (Please note, absolutely none of my investments are buried in mason jars in the back yard.)

Again, anyone who feels modern America is the moral low point of western civilization has no meaningful knowledge of history. Period. Public corruption moves in cycles... but be reminded: We have never had a pristine government in this country. There has always been patronage, influence peddling, graft, pork barrel politics, etc. C'mon folks, even our mediocre public schools cover some of these points.

Big Dog, the real embarrassment is for the pessimists who have been amazed to find businesses and governments actually fixing Y2K problems. As I recall, a number of pessimists predicting the crumbling of civilization throughout '99 as we "realized" the code was broken? We're nearly to double digits and all's calm.

Speaking of slippery wordsmithing, I don't know of people on the forum "urging" a return to the past... but there is a clear current of nostalgia for the Norman Rockwell America (as if it really existed). It seems we were far better in those halcyon when a husband could beat his wife, children and dog... when we watched our friends and family die from diseases now easily curable. Through the rose-colored glasses of the pessimists, there was no American communist movement in the 1930s (every American was a conservative). Politicians were honest (What Teapot Dome scandal?)

You may feel you have less rights, but ask your wife how she feels about the right to vote... unlike the early days of the Republic. Ask your African-American friends how they feel about the late 1700s and early 1800s. Ask the Native Americans about the thrilling 1800s. Or talk to a blue collar worker about work safety regulations that didn't exist 100 years ago... or child labor laws. Read "The Jungle" lately, Russ. A hot dog at the old ball game is much safer now than in days past.

"a," "Spain," and "Andy," please remember... you are always cordially invited to insult me in person. Until then, just remember I chuckle at your insults and Internet-protected bravado.


Do you expect "dialogue" with the forum bullies? Do you expect Russ, Ray, etc. to have a sudden epiphany? How much meangingful dialogue have you read on this forum during the past few months? Give me a break, Stan. My original thread is quite simple. If you think 1990s America sucks, try any another civilization during any other decade in history. Then let's compare notes. Unlike you, Stan, I have lived a self-reliant, agrarian lifestyle. Let me tell you about the idyllic romance of calving at 3:00 a.m. in a frozen slushy creek bottom... or the delight hours of picking stones from pasture land or fencing or bucking hay bales or watching your cattle die from disease. And this was WITH the benefits of modern technology.

On your government comments... do I approve of deceit? Of course not. Am a surprised? No. No matter the form of government, there has always been deceit. Power corrupts, Stan. Call me biased, but I think we have less corruption in an open society with a free press. Until man as a species becomes more moral... we are doomed to have governments full of fallible human beings. When we catch them, we should punish them. We also should guard against the notion we'll ever catch them all or that we'll ever have a ethically perfect government.

Unlike many forum participants, Stan, I have taken Y2K seriously enough to cover more than my own ass. I'm currently working to ensure the impacts are minor, at least in this small corner of the world.

If you want an honest response, Stan, I think you are one of the folks secretly thrilled with all the Y2K preparation. I don't think you're looking for an honest debate on the impacts. In my opinion, you made up your mind a long time ago. You are now one of our preparation wardens.

You also know well enough not to use personal examples to make a global argument. If you slip on a banana peel, are you going to advocate a ban on the fruit for reasons of public safety? Study history, Stan, and then make your determination if this country has ever lived up to its ideals. Facts, Stan. Are we less educated than in 1800? Are we less committed to charity?

Here's my point, plain and simple. Some of the folks on this forum are so enamoured of the past, they secretly hope Y2K knocks the government down, lays waste the "welfare state" and out of the ashes... will come the New Republic. That's an agenda, friend, and it's worth discussing... whether you like how I present it or not.


-- Mr. Decker (, September 10, 1999.

Please note, absolutely none of my investments are buried in mason jars in the back yard.

[Some people, especially those young people just starting out, cannot afford investments and have only a small amount of cash to see them through emergencies. They cannot afford to leave it in savings where it might not be available when they want it. I know if I had the money I would put it into investments. Only a small number of the posters on this forum say they are hiding large amounts of cash.]

Again, anyone who feels modern America is the moral low point of western civilization has no meaningful knowledge of history. Period.

[I do not think this is a true picture of people on this forum. Those who think the US has reached a moral low point do not think such has never happened, they feel that these days we have more knowledge and intelligence and should KNOW BETTER than to be so stupid and corrupt. They know there are similar things in history but they think these days things should be a lot better than they are. To give the impression that they are ignorant is not right. There are some who want the whole thing to fall down, but they are not the majority.]

Big Dog, the real embarrassment is for the pessimists who have been amazed to find businesses and governments actually fixing Y2K problems.

[Again, you are talking about a small minority. Over and over I see people saying they would be very happy and relieved not to have to deal with the disruptions Y2K might cause. I don't believe they are lying.] It seems we were far better in those halcyon when a husband could beat his wife, children and dog... when we watched our friends and family die from diseases now easily curable. SNIP.

[You have listed a long list of negative things about living in the past. I have not seen anyone on this forum supporting wife, children or dog beating, or fatal diseases or any of the other negative things you mentioned. Of course people like that we don't have those things any more and they don't want to go back to them. They are just amazed that we can't do away with more bad things, which you would think would not be so hard to do.]

How much meangingful dialogue have you read on this forum during the past few months? Give me a break, Stan.

[I have read a lot of meaningful information here. It may not be clever debate as you would find in some Ivy league college but I know it has been meaningful to very many people, judging from replies. Just because you don't find it meaningful doesn't mean nobody does, or should.]

I have lived a self-reliant, agrarian lifestyle. Let me tell you about. SNIP.

[This does not make you a better (or worse) person than anyone else on this forum. You just come from a different perspective. We have all had some sort of very hard times and we all agree it's no fun. You may be better prepared for surviving hardship than some others but that does not mean you know better or feel more than anyone else. In fact I think you might have been badly affected by your early life and you are angry about it.] Until man as a species becomes more moral... we are doomed to have governments full of fallible human beings.

[That is true. Some people, maybe most, don't understand why with all the knowledge and insite we have available to us we're not more moral and less corrupt.] Unlike many forum participants, Stan, I have taken Y2K seriously enough to cover more than my own ass. I'm currently working to ensure the impacts are minor, at least in this small corner of the world.

[This statement is not true. Many forum participants are providing for others and working in their communities to help lessen the effects. Your holier than thou comment about your new job is very pompous. If you had spent all the past months truely working in the community instead of criticizing and putting down just about everyone who posts here, you would have an accomplishment to be proud of. As it is you have only three months to get anything done. Good luck.]

If you want an honest response, Stan, I think you are one of the folks secretly thrilled with all the Y2K preparation.

[And you say WE are all pessimists and cynics. Haha. Mr. Faryna has done more to help people in the last month than you have done in all the time you've been speechifying on this forum. To say Stan is thrilled about all the Y2k preparation is a big insult to somebody who's helped as many people as you've insulted, which is a big number]

I don't think you're looking for an honest debate on the impacts.

[What do you mean, honest debate? This is a place for people who want to know how to deal with Y2k, people who think there will be some problems, not people who have asked you if there will be problems. There may be small probems, there may be large, we want opinions on the possible effects, not whether there will be any.]

Here's my point, plain and simple. Some of the folks on this forum are so enamoured of the past, they secretly hope Y2K knocks the government down, lays waste the "welfare state" and out of the ashes... will come the New Republic. That's an agenda, friend, and it's worth discussing... whether you like how I present it or not.

[There you go again. SOME of the folks on this forum may want what you say, but it's not the big majority. We are all individual people here and you cannot see us all as clones. If you want to discuss and debate these things that you say are your main point then you should find a forum where the main focus is such, not this forum. You have spent far too much time putting us all in the same category and downing us all and even I can see we are all very different personalities. You cannot say King of Spain and Invar are the same, you cannot say Mr. Faryna and a are the same, etc. For a 36 year old who spent a lot of time shut up in the Navy you sure think you know everything. You've got a lot of gaps in your information and understanding, and where it concerns how people think is the biggest gap. There are a lot of very good people on this forum, like Mr. Faryna, who have helped many, many people including me, something you have never done. You have only tried to make me feel like an ignorant and stupid person but you have not succeeded!!!]

-- Not ignorant (no@mail.thanks), September 10, 1999.

Hi, Deck.

You sound different.

Like your heart grew a size or something.

-- lisa (, September 10, 1999.

Here's two sample post by S.M. Stirling--who by way the sounds a whole lot like Mr. Decker:

Re: Juarez, Kentucky OK, I suppose _somebody_ has to inject some economic rationality, not to say historical perspective, into this keffufle. Hasn't anyone here read "The Jungle" or for that matter, Dickens' "Hard Times"? Or a little history?

Countries going through the initial stages of industrialization _always_ have horrific slums and brutal exploitation. The alternative is what happened to Ireland in the 19th century -- famine, mass death and depopulation. Take yer pick. The last falling-down-dead-in-the- streets famine in Sweden was only a hundred-odd years ago.

Why do Mexicans crowd into maquiladoras -- which, by the way, have been steadily moving up the manufacturing ladder from simple assembly to complex machining?

They don't do it because they're fools, or masochists, or simple country girls easily imposed on by Yanqui scuzebuckets.

They do it because the alternative -- starvation and unemployment in rural slums -- is worse. Try making a living by growing corn and beans on .3 acres of eroded mountainside for a while. Nobody wants to be a peasant. They all want to be middle-class urbanites, and more power to them.

Protesting about jobs being "exported" to developing countries means "keep then the inhuman filth and misery of preindustrial life forever". A backward country has to start somewhere. Even Britian, the first industrial country, got started by exporting textiles from monstrous factories stuffed with exploited women and children. Who were, nonetheless, eager to crowd in from the rural areas.

And trying to equalize wages across borders is another veiled attempt to prevent the developing countries from ever developing, just like tariffs. The best thing we can do for the Third World is consume our heads off, starting with the stuff they have to sell.

Unless a backward country can offer something to attract capital, it will never break out of the cycle of backwardness. It has to attract investment, preferrably aimed at export industries. (Attempts at national self-sufficiency are invariably disasters; North Korea is a prominent example. Something like 15% of the population there has starved to death in the last 18 months.)

Poor countries have high costs; their infrastructure and educational systems are poor too. To get their foot on the first rung of the ladder, they have to be able to offsett that with _something_. Usually, cheap labor.

Taiwan started out exporting cheap toys and textiles produced by sweated labor. Now they're exporting those jobs to inland parts of China, and making computers and turbines and machine-tools themselves. Bangladesh, meanwhile, is starting to export cheap clothing.

And as for the unemployed textile workers of Kentucky, poor babies! Rather be on welfare than pick tobacco. Hell, when I was a college student _I_ picked tobacco!

There's no such thing as job security; the only thing you can count on is that creative destruction will go on killing old jobs and making new ones. So keep light on your feet, and if the job dies -- do something else.

Europe, where they've been trying to protect yesterday's jobs, has chronic 12% unemployment -- 25% among young people.

The US has virtually no real unemployment; anyone who really wants a job (which implies willingness to move and switch occupations) can get one.


The Radical As Feudal Reactionary How often, in our culture, do radicals -- particularly the boho/artsy type -- turn out to be reactionaries in disguise! It's not new, of course; the first critique of modernity was by feudal reactionaries of the old type -- backwoods squires pretending to be horrified by the factories of the Industrial Revolution, while presiding over the millenial tyrannies of their own rural slums.

The traditon was taken up by Carlyle and Ruskin; William Morris put a quasi-Marxist gloss on it in his "News From Nowhere".

Thus patrician disdain for the sweaty, vulgar masses and their propensity to _consume_ and crowd into _our_ parks and beaches can be hidden, mystified, and its sadistic cruelty transformed into concern for humankind.

There aren't any more quaint villages, where one can get cheap _authentic_ handicrafts and interesting, _indigenous_ ceremonies, not to mention how hard it is to get good servants these days. The world is ending! Ah, yes. _A_ world is ending... but whose?

-- CS Man (, September 10, 1999.

Mr. Decker's pompous maunderings recall the immortal lines of Ambassador Shirley Temple Black:

"Be optimistic, Don't you be a grumpy; And when the road gets bumpy, Just smile, smile, smile and be happy. Don't wear a long face, It's never in style."


-- Liberty (, September 10, 1999.


Did I hurt your feelings? Poor you. Your reply is as enlightening as it was disappointing; it was all hot air, a contemptuous repartee, and not much struggling for some polite conversation. I know the score, now. And if dialogue is unlikely in your mind, why do you come to this forum to suffer the insults that await you? As you suggest, you do not come here seeking to participate in a dialogue on the risks associated with the Y2K technology problem. Need some attention? Think your intellect is unappreciated where you are? Andy may be right abou you, you seem to have an awful addiction to our "pessimism. On the other hand, your recent opinions are not interesting-- less thoughtful too.

You write:

"My original thread is quite simple. If you think 1990s America sucks, try any another civilization during any other decade in history. Then let's compare notes."

That's not all you wrote, Red. Let's revist your (polite?) statement:

"For many, Y2K is a straw (or bale) waiting to break the camel's back... This attitude simply requires a complete lack of historical knowledge."

Then, you get to your wild-eyed contentions. But, Red, what does this contention have to do with the Y2K technology problem? It will either be that bad or it won't. Read my words: I am hoping and guessing that it won't be so bad. Do I need to unpack that sentence further for you? So what does your argument seek to persuade the gentle reader? The aim is not to "compare notes," because as you suggest, no dialogue between the camps (pollys and pessimists) is possible here. Therefore, I must now suspect that your intentions here lack good faith and sincerity. Let's go back to your original contention; perhaps, we may discover your intentions for coming here through your own words and arguments.

You make three arguments. The first argument contends that pessimists are stupid, the second contends that there has better no better time than now, and the third contends that pessimists want to give up our modern conveniences and go back to the not so good old days. Here's what you do: you dismiss concern about the fragility of our republic as historical ignorance, then proceed to a thoughtless historical commentary. Assuming the disagreement with your cavalier commentary, you contemptuously assert that you understand our wide opinions, and that all the stupid pessimists want to give up the conveniences and privileges of modern life and society for the not so good old days.

Here let me attempt to diagram it for you: it's been a while since I have analyzed a statement with logic, so I may get it wrong. Nonetheless, Argument one: IF A+B, THEN C, where A is the pessimists, B is a concern that social break down is possible, and C is a "complete ignorance of history". Argument two: D>E where D is the here and now, E is the not so good old days. Argument three: ~(D>E)= C. Therefore A+B=~(D>E): in other words, you call us ignorant. Because you have called us ignorant, you can call us ignorant one more time. That is quite a stunning argument (not!) So much for good faith and sincerity. But did you ever come here with good faith and sincerity?

In your reply to me, you write:

"If you want an honest response, Stan, I think you are one of the folks secretly thrilled with all the Y2K preparation. I don't think you're looking for an honest debate on the impacts. In my opinion, you made up your mind a long time ago. You are now one of our preparation wardens."

Above that, you write:

"This thread was worth seeing Dave Walden, one of my favorite thoughtful pessimists."

Apparently, you now admit that you were insincere and that you have thought all along that I was never a thoughtful pessimist. However, you are on record as writing that I am a thoughtful pessimist. So if you didn't really mean it (that I am a thoughtful pessimist), then it is quite possible that there is no such thing as a truely thoughtful pessimist in your mind. Instead, we are all pessimists, all completely ignorant of history, all extremists who think that the world is going to end. But your dishonesty doesn't stop there. You have written that you are expecting a sharp global economic recession, but none of the failures will threaten any real risk to real people-- how convenient.

I have work to do. But I'll pick up where I leave... when I have time.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, September 10, 1999.


I bear no personal animus towards you. My earlier posts have been my honest comments, like them or not. I'm not here for affirmation nor am I a masochist. My intent has always been to engage in the Y2K discussion and challenge the fuzzy thinking I see on BOTH sides of the issue. As you well know, I have predicted serious economic impacts due to Y2K. I am fully aware of the technology problem... and have been delighted with the recent progress. The awareness and effort surrounding Y2K today might shock someone who's been sleeping since late 1998.

Of course, Stan, you seem more interested in taking my arguments out of context. After having read my work on this forum and met me in person, you know I do not contend ALL pessimists are stupid. There are some pessimists, however, making stupid arguments. As you could see from an objective reading of the forum, some posters are deeply biased by opinions completely unrelated to Y2K. Do you think Clinton should be spelled with a "K"? Do you think Y2K is related to some UN- led "New World Order?" Do you think the "Bilderbergs" secretly run the known universe? C'mon, Stan.

I do contend that modern America is far preferable to all alternatives that come to mind. While we have serious problems, the average American lives better than a millionaire at the turn of last century. You pick a period of history you think is better than 1999 America, and we can go head to head.

As to your characterization of my third argument... I think some pessimists secretly hope Y2K will end the Sodom of modern America. I think Gary North is one of these people. Again, Stan, try an objective read of the forum. I remember the reaction to Bonnie Camp's well-written essay. The visions of canned fruit had forum posters in tears. If you cannot see the nostalgia current in the forum, you simply are not looking.

As far as the Republic... we have a bloody Civil War, a Great Depression, the Cold War and many other trials under our collective belt. Fragile? Hardly.

Since you like diagramming, try this:

1. Some pessimists feel America has declined substantially. 2. This opinion seems based on sentiment rather than a factual analysis of available economic and sociological data, e.g. expected life span, income level, buying power, distribution of income, availability of medical care, availability of transportation, average home size, civil liberties, education level, etc. 3. If the available data indicate modern Americans enjoy a higher standard of living, holding an opinion to the contrary is due to:

a. lack of knowledge of the data (ignorance) b. knowledge and unwillingness to accept the data (denial) c. knowledge and deliberate mistatement of the data (deceit)

4. Therefore, unless you can provide data to suggest America is distinctly "worse" than in early eras, well... pick your conclusion. If you can provide data to support an alternative hypothesis... that America (or somewhere else) was really better than here and now, sally forth. Finally, the last time I provoked such a response, Russ had his underwear in a bunch over my posting on Debunker... a place where I defended the thoughtful pessimists on this forum. Because I praised Dave Walden does not connotate a criticism of you. Until now, you have been a reasonable person to deal with. I did not make the comment about your interest in preparation to provoke you. After reading your work and meeting you in person... I think you really fascinated with "preps." It's OK, Stan. Like I said in Virginia, lots of guys like "gear." You've made some good points... but do you still have an open mind? Don't you see some great signs around you... that we might be getting our hands around the problem? I'm willing to consider a catastrophe... are you willing to consider a nonevent. (And how willing are your compatriots?)

For the record, I'm glad you didn't sink to the "Russ level" and start throwing words like "moron," "coward," "liar," etc. Thanks.


-- Mr. Decker (, September 10, 1999.

Cheers to Mr. Decker who once again shows that the pessimists, religious zealots and doomers of y2k have no leg to stand on. All they can do is resort to personal attack.

I miss your posts on GNBFI. have you written it off? I don't like to wade through all the garbage dumped on you by this place, just so I can read your thoughts.

Anyway, good job of handling the pessimists.

-- Super Polly (, September 10, 1999.

I somehow get the impression that Decker's new job isn't working out quite the way he thought it might. He has spent a great deal of time and effort today participating in an exercise to prove to us once again just how big of a brain he has. Pity *that* isn't going well, either. It's as if he's lashing out here to prove something to himself. I'm not sure what, though. In my opinion, all he has done is reiterate that he is pompous and self absorbed.

Perhaps an overdue application of humility coupled with with some good old fashioned work (as opposed to replying to Internet BB forums while at work) might help.

-- Wilferd (, September 10, 1999.

Mr. Decker, two small things.

First small thing: Conscience... It seems there are no consciences any more.

"Why did you kill everyone in the house?" "Because they was home."

"I did not have sex with that woman..." - you know who

There are wars and rumors of war... but I won't go there.

Ken, do you like giving basically half of your pay to the government for basically nothing? I don't. Especially when it is unlawfully taken.

Second small thing: And regarding your 'any other time'??? The 1980's were better than now, if you want to nitpick. But then you were probably counting them as part of modern time.

Am I right???

scratchin' at the door...

The Dog

-- Dog (Desert, September 10, 1999.

Yikes! A Super Polly comment.

You'll be delighted, Wilferd, to learn I enjoy my current job. While I had a day off today, I've been averaging 9 p.m. as "quitting time." Of course, since I don't roll in until 8 a.m., I imagine you think I'm shirking. If it helps, I work through lunch. By the way, feel free to deliver a helping of humility...

Dog, I'll spare you the history lesson, but William J. Clinton did not invent sleaze... he didn't even meet the JFK standard. (Stack up Marilyn Monroe against Monica Lewinsky.)

As I've said before, I support local and limited government. Do I get "nothing" for my taxes? Of course not. While the government could give me more "bang for the buck" not all the money is wasted. In fact, government serves some important purposes. The good news, Dog, is that you can exercise your Constitutional right to participate in and change the system. Due to our social advances, Mrs. Dog can join you.

You're right in that I'd probably find it hard to distinguish between the 1980s and 1990s. The forum nostalgia is not for hair gel, Wall Street, "beemers," etc. (laughter)


-- Mr. Decker (, September 10, 1999.

Dear Mr. Decker:

How DARE you state that calling you names such as "moron", "coward", "liar", etc., are at the "Russ level"????!!! You know DAMN WELL that I have certainly called you all of those names, and a boatload of others, long before Russ even thought of such characteraneous defamation!!!!!

I DEMAND a retraction of your statement, and an admission that calling you such names should be considered to be at the "King of Spain level" ("KOS level" is ok, too). And also an apology, just on general principle.

Very truly yours,

-- King of Spain (, September 10, 1999.


I think the important distinction is, you have never once aspired above your proper station.

-- Flint (, September 10, 1999.

Dude, I inherited the job, and there is no upward career path. What do you expect??

-- King of Spain (, September 10, 1999.

I remember the reaction to Bonnie Camp's well-written essay. The visions of canned fruit had forum posters in tears

Ummm, tears?

Anyway, you are correct that it was a very thoughtful post, but I'll speak for myself and say that it was not visions of canned fruit that had me in "tears". No, it was the ideas expressed concerning self reliance, and responsibility for one's own actions that had me "blubbering". Ideals sadly lacking in today's "It's not my fault, my lawyer said so" society.

Some things have, indeed, gone downhill.

-- Uncle Deedah (, September 10, 1999.

Decker, you seem to pride yourself on being much more educated, 'enlightened', 'forward thinking', etc. than the majority of this forum's participants. I believe it has been a point of pride with you.

I certainly hope you have had the foresight to print off a selection of your responses/original questions for posterity; things to look back on several years from now. Not for the purpose of deciding who was 'right' and who was 'wrong', but rather, to allow you the opportunity to *see* how far you will have hopefully matured.

If you truly are intelligent, progressive, and ______(insert your choice of self-serving adjectives here), you *will* have matured, and your writings to this forum could show positive progress. Sort of like the 'before' and 'after' pictures one sees in self-improvement programs.

I was amused to learn you are as old as you are; your attitude contradicts this. Many people of your age have already learned that they, indeed, do *not* know it all.

Oh, and by the way, I've never equated the amount of time one puts into the job above the norm indicative of a better quality job being done. To the contrary; usually, if one is able and well-suited for the position, one can generally accomplish what one needs to in the normally allotted time.

-- Wilferd (, September 10, 1999.

Sorry, Spain, Russ was acting like a woman scorned long before you entered the scene. In truth, your invective has been rather... dull. It's the same old predictable profanity, knee jerk responses and mud wrestling references. I suppose I'm just used to a higher quality of insult.

Wilferd, let's compare writings... hmmm, how does March sound. When the country is still functioning, I'll give you every chance to review each of my posts in detail and point out my errors. In fact, I hope the pessimists crowd onto this forum in the first few months of 2000. I'll go with Flint's prediction... even the most gloomy of pessimists will announce they were right. The lack of problems? Must be a government conspiracy!


-- Mr. Decker (, September 10, 1999.


You crack me up - you are so full of yourself! I think I'd actually like to meet you in person so I could see what a pompous ass looks like. I bet you look just like that "Mr. Brain" guy that Leno does! But even though your head is big you only have the kind of smarts you read from a book. You are incapable of perceiving the truth in anything that isn't spelled out for you. Ha ha ha ha - you is funny!

-- @ (@@@.@), September 10, 1999.

Mr. 'Personality',

You must've been thinking ahead to your response instead of reading what I wrote. I mentioned that it might be enlightening FOR *YOU* to look back on your current writings SEVERAL YEARS FROM NOW, not in the interest of proving who was 'right' and who was 'wrong', but as a touchstone of sorts -- you know -- like "Look how far I've come". Sigh....

I'm curious. What exactly do you *think* I believe is going to happen after the first of the year?

It's becoming more and more evident you aren't as smart as you would like for everyone to think.

-- Wilferd (, September 10, 1999.

Red Decker said to us redneckers:

Unlike many forum participants, Stan, I have taken Y2K seriously enough to cover more than my own ass. I'm currently working to ensure the impacts are minor, at least in this small corner of the world.

I'll be damned! My prediction outlined in The Evolution of Mr. Decker has come true! And one month early no less:

Oct 99 Mr. Decker is officially accepted as a "Get It" and his contributions aid in preparing the world for the dangers of the Year 2000 Problem. Better late than never Mr. Decker!

-- a (a@a.a), September 10, 1999.

"a", you are one heck of a smart guy!

-- King of Spain (, September 10, 1999.

Good one a!

Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahaha ha ha, made my day!!!

-- Andy (, September 11, 1999.

Children, children...

My opinion has not changed... although with all the positive news I should consider downgrading my recession prediction. Y2K will still ahve a strong negative economic impact... and we have structural flaws in the underlying economy including a speculative market bubble. Again, just plan to stay around after the rollover. Don't worry, 'a' or Spain... I don't expect an apology. Just try to explain why the lights are still on. It's those damn Bilderbergs again! Maybe they have a secret energy source they have concealed from us for years.

Oh, and I've always said... you want to meet me, drop an email. I'll send you an address.


-- Mr. Decker (, September 11, 1999.

Y2K will have negative impact, I agree w/ you. I also agree that the "good old days" weren't always so good. Y2K will never equal "Little House on the Prarie." All these things we are in agreement about.

I think, perhaps, you don't consider the idea of cascading systemic failures. If y2k (that is, the cumulative effects of computer + people problems) is bad, it could stress the macrosystem beyond repair, knocking it down for the count for at least a little while.

That is, consider the following simplistic example: (1) A makes B which makes C; (2) A requires C to make B; (3) C has a limited halflife and must be replenished continuously. If something like Y2k adds enough friction to the steps A-->B and B-->C, pretty soon there is no longer any C. What if C were something critical, like products from crude oil?

When do y2k problems hinder the ability to correct y2k (related) problems? At what point would stuff "snoball" out of control? I have no idea. Nevertheless, feedback mechanisms can produce sudden, radical changes, perturbing the previous equilibrium very very quickly. It is how things in nature like to work. Our economic and social models don't take into account unexpected, unprecedented, self-amplifying black holes like y2k. But it is precisely these "black holes" that change the course of history, because the old System gets to calcified and fossilized to notice or readily respond to them. Paradigm shifts happen. History repeats itself. We are not immune. Changes can change.

I suspect that the current simplistic economic models assume we will always be confident little consumers who like to spend-Spend-SPEND. Yeah, throw in a few parameters like interest rates, employment figures, and consumer price index and it's all simple, right?? Wrong.

Since our economy DEPENDS(!) on things running smoothly according to the short-sighted models, any deviation is not tolerated by the PTB because it's nothing less than subversion of the status quo. But the more reliant we become on such models (as per those that configure JIT plans), the more vulnerable we become to things that are beyond the scope of the model.

If anything, Y2k will teach many a lesson about pride and how it turns things into brittle fossils to be knocked over, blind-sighted by change.

-- coprolith (, September 11, 1999.

Positive news?

Humm... reading glasses anyone?


SEPTEMBER 10, 1999 . . . 13:05 EDT

Horn: Fed Y2K efforts lagging in key service programs


[Fair Use: For Educational/Research Purposes Only]

Despite the progress the Clinton administration has made with its Year 2000 efforts, the federal government remains critically behind in ensuring that federal services administered on the state-level will go uninterrupted next year.

During a press conference today on Capitol Hill, Rep. Stephen Horn (R- Calif.), chairman of the House Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee, gave the Clinton administration an overall grade of B-minus in his eighth report card, which assesses agencies' Year 2000 efforts. Last quarter, the administration also received a B- minus.

But for the first time in the history of his grading system, Horn graded the Year 2000 readiness of 43 major federal programs that provide services to millions of American citizens, including Medicare, child nutrition, food inspection and retired rail workers' benefits.

"Thirty-six programs remain at risk of failure when the clock ticks past midnight on Dec. 31," Horn said. "In many cases, the federal agency responsible for the program may be compliant, but its business partners -- state and local governments and the private sector -- who assist in delivering the service are not ready."

See also...

GMIT -- Sobcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology
Year 2000


September 10, 1999

PAGE ONE: Statement by Congressman Stephen Horn



For more than three years, our subcommittees have prodded agencies in the executive branch of the federal government to prepare their critical computer systems for the Year 2000. Now, only 112 days remain until Jan. 1, 2000  and the job is still not completed. Progress during this quarter, which ended on August 15, is discouraging. The flurry of activity we saw among federal agencies earlier this year has slowed to a snails pace.

"Today, we will present two sets of grades. As we have done on eight previous occasions, the first set of grades rates the 24 largest executive branch agencies on the progress they have made in preparing their mission-critical computer systems for the Year 2000. The second set of grades, which are new, will assess the Year 2000 readiness of the Federal Governments 43 high impact programs.

Mission Critical Systems

"The Social Security Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency say their mission-critical systems and related programs are nearly 100 percent ready to go. I commend these agencies and their managers for a job well done.

"Despite their stellar work, the overall federal government improved its compliance rate by a measly one percent during the last three months. This performance rate is simply not acceptable. Five percent of the governments most critical computer systems are still not upgraded for the Year 2000. Most of these systems are in the Defense Department, which accounts for 37 percent of all mission- critical systems in the executive branch.

"Again this quarter, the Defense Department revised its number of mission-critical systems, this time adding 333 systems to its total count. Defenses numbers are about as consistent as the stock market.

"I hope this fluctuation is not an indication that the department is still inventorying its systems, because time is running out. Within the next 112 days, these laggard agencies must complete the necessary computer fixes, fully test their systems, and have their business continuity and contingency plans in place. Only time will tell whether this goal can be achieved.

"I strongly urge all federal agencies to intensify their Year 2000 efforts, and continue testing and re-testing system changes, and business continuity and contingency plans.

High-impact programs

"When we released our last report card in June, we examined the Year 2000 readiness of the federal governments high impact programs. These programs were designated "high impact" by the presidents Office of Management and Budget after consultations with the departments and agencies.

"At the time, only two programs  Social Security Benefits and the National Weather Service  were Year 2000 ready.

"Agencies now report that seven programs are ready. These programs deal with disease monitoring, the National Crime Information Center, passport applications, veterans benefits and veterans health care.

"Although the number of these Year 2000-ready programs has nearly tripled during the last three months, 36 programs remain at risk of failure when the clock ticks past midnight on December 31. In many cases, the federal agency responsible for the program may be compliant, but its business partners  state and local governments, and the private sector  who assist in delivering the service are not ready.

"The federal government has made significant progress in upgrading its essential computer systems. But it is only one link in the broad and complex chain that provides federal services to the millions of American citizens who rely on them."

PAGE TWO: September 1999 Report Card (PDF Format)


PAGE THREE: September 1999 Score Sheet (PDF Format)


PAGE FOUR: How Grades Were Assigned (PDF Format)


PAGE FIVE: High Impact Federal Programs Year 2000 Readiness (PDF Format)

-- Diane J. Squire (, September 11, 1999.

Additional reading... for those who waded through this far...

Contempt and Retirement (Stan Faryna--Response to Decker) 001OEm

Or a counterpoint...

TO MR. DECKER: With respect, (Dave Walden) 001OA8

-- Diane J. Squire (, September 11, 1999.

Y2K really annoys the insiders, the establishment, the Tri Lats-- because it's the only thing they can't control, & it threatens to cripple or destroy all their controls. They firmly control the mega- banks, global money system, mega-media, all major political parties (on both sides in every nation), & the multi-nationals. But Y2K snuck up on them, & they're mad & scared. They're desperately spending billions to try to "fix" it but they know it can't be totally fixed, perhaps not ever. It will also be a major setback for Big Brother, in all its aspects, from tax collection to bank rule to centralized bureaucracy & monitoring. As a result, the average person will get a lot of unexpected benefits from Y2K. Some are hoping for a worst-case scenario. "However painful, it's a worthwhile cost to regain individual freedom" they say, in essence. Freedom has never been free.

If U don't really feel Y2K is going to be a BIG DEAL, & if therefore it annoys or upsets U to read data reports from people who say it probably IS going to be a big deal, then don't bother to read this article. Skip on to the next one. Mostly, people aren't changing their minds, are decided re Y2K. If U are a new subscriber, U should read this so U see what we consider the critical/updated facts. Unless U get heavy/daily Y2K updated hard data (as we do) then it would be puzzling how U can decide either way--without all the new daily facts. But most people are deciding emotionally, not objectively, not factually. That's their option, even if subconscious. So, read on or not, as U choose.

For those few who are still reading (:-), here's the latest: Many are comforted to hear that govt & biz have Y2K "contingency plans." Instead, that glib phrase should scare them. Think about it! If all govt depts, banks, biz, military, airports, hospitals who claim they are Y2K- compliant (as most now claim) were really bug-resistant, why would they need vast contingency plans? "Contingency" isn't just a throwaway word; it means something, ie, what we'll do if our individual company/bureau/system breaks down.

They're spending massive money on contingency plans, which means they've little confidence in their claims they're fully Y2K- compliant. Some have thrown in the towel, admit they can't get compliant in time, & will rely mainly on contingency plans. At least they're honest. That can't be said for the blowhard bluffers who are hoping to con people they're foolproof. Fools, yes. Foolproof: unlikely. Only a minority submit to audits of their repair/test/compliance claims.

Many insiders admit they're far behind schedule & will be on a "fix- on-fault" basis in 2000, ie they'll fix/repair embedded chip/computer/system breakdowns if/as they occur. That means after trouble. The catch is: how do they get back up if the whole system is down? Bottom line: the world is one big web of contingency plans & fix-on-fault. Nobody is 100% safe/compliant, because it's impossible to attain. And that is fact, spoken by the world's leading engineering group. US Senate Y2K Report: "Y2K is not going to be just another 'bump in the road.' No, it's going to be one of the most serious & potentially devastating events the US has ever encountered." Govts tend to soft-pedal bad news, so that statement should be a wake-up call to many. Turn up your hearing aid!

The BIS (Bank for Int'l Settlements, Basel, Switzerland) is the central bank for all other central banks. Their Y2K view is not cheerful. In a fat report they say "some problems will be missed; new problems will be inadvertently introduced via the remediation process; even the best test programs may not detect all potential errors; uncertainty will remain up to & after Jan 1. In other words, it is inevitable there will be Y2K disruption, athough it's not possible to predict how serious or widespread this disruption will be."

So there U have it. Central banks will go into 2000 not knowing if these systems are fixed. They know most are not fixed, worldwide. Compare BIS language to your local bank's PR rubbish. The BIS report goes on in great detail. If U read it all U lose any shred of optimism. The general threat is a breakdown of the inter-bank payments system. And once down, how to get it back up? BIS says: Y2K is "unlike any other disruption problem where identical backup sites can be activated. But any uncorrected Y2K problem is likely to affect both sites so the backup would not be a contingency."

It gets worse. BIS, who says what neither private banks nor govt banks dare to say, reveals: "The inability of a major payment & settlement system to function smoothly, or have procedures for isolating problems, will intensify uncertainty/concern. In the extreme case, this could have repercussions throughout the global & domestic systems." Conclusion: the world economy is at acute risk. This is not some "doom/gloom" offbeat writer's view; it's the bluest of the blue chip banks. If your hair hasn't turned grey so far, read the following:

The BIS advises banks to get the home phone numbers of regulators & govt officials so they can be contacted at night or on weekends to discuss the prudence of "closing markets & declaring an emergency financial bank holiday." This is scarier than any Y2K newsletter writer (except Gary North) has dared to say. And it's the real thing! U see, if banks go down, there can be no stock/bond/property mkt, or any other mkt, except black mkts of course, using cash. And all this is separate from equal risks from no power, oil, water, & no phones/fax/e-mail. U don't like this? Does that mean it can't happen? Or can it happen even if U don't like it? Try to separate wish from reality. Author Dr.Edward Yardeni, chief economist/global investmnt strategist at Deutsche Banc-Alex Brown has come back from Y2K retirement & says: "Y2K summary: Most have eyes wide shut....My prediction for a global recession in 2000, at 70% odds remains...Stock mkt down 10-30% (that's 1-3000 DJIA pts). Recession major causes: breakdown in just-in-time manufacturing system, & in global oil industry. Y2K could cause another energy crisis." (I'm virtually sure of it--HS)

EY notes Y2K press coverage is childish, reports the good news press releases, make no comment, ask no questions. "Some frame Y2K as an all-or-nothing story. Either planes fall out of sky or nothing happens. None consider in between. Anyone who talks in between is lumped into the doomsday category & dismissed as far-fetched..Public is led to believe the casual assurances of the few means everyone will be ready. EY says: "Y2K will turn out to be the greatest story never told--- properly." Reporters squeeze answers out of politicians thought to be in hanky-panky, but never ask ONE question about any Y2K report by anyone in banks/govt/biz.

Jacquelyn Williams-Bridgers, US Inspector General,testified in Senate: Half of 161 nations assessed are reported at medium-to high- risk re Y2K failures in telecommunications, energy &/or transport. Her strong conclusion: "The global community is likely to experience varying degrees of Y2K-related failures in every sector, in every region, & at every economic level. The risk of disruption will likely extend to int'l trade, where a breakdown in any part of the global supply chain would have a serious impact on the US & world economies." Now, tell me dear readers, WHY doesn't TV & the press tell U this? My answer: the banks won't let them. Maybe U have a different answer?

As I reported before, the US State Dept will issue Y2K travel advice in Sept. 3 cheers to USSD for integrity in this regard. But it will shock a lot of people. The penny will finally drop. US govt Y2K topdog Koskinen says the US is considering evacuating US citizens from nations with widespread Y2K failures. Each ambassador will make that decision. More than a penny is dropping now. More like a silver dollar. I've only scratched the surface of all there is to report. What bothers me most is the nuclear power plant risks, a global risk, at least in the northern hemisphere. But I can't cover it all. And most people don't even want to hear it.

I'm optimistic that Y2K will paralyze most tax collecting computer systems to such an extent that govts will quickly switch from the income tax to a sales tax (the only fair system), which isn't computer complex & will allow govt to function, ie, bring in money, their 1st concern, 1 of the Holy Trinity of govts (the other 2: power & control).

Every credible Y2K writer accuses govts/banks/biz of lying about the problem & their readiness. But it is left to humourist Art Buchwald to wrap it up in a recent column that concluded: "Fibbing is what Y2K is all about." Many a sober truth is spoken in jest. If U don't take my Y2K advice, take advice from cartoon character Dennis the Menace, who recently told his mother: "We should be stocking up on cookies for Y2K." Make mine ginger snaps! :-)

Harry Schultz

-- Andy (, September 12, 1999.

Andy -

Must you re-post Mr Schultz's opinions on every thread?

-- Johnny Canuck (, September 12, 1999.

Yes Johnny

It's important and relevant to every thread

tough if you don't understand...

-- Andy (, September 12, 1999.

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