TO MR. DECKER: With respect, : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Thank you for the compliments.

Lest you believe that you inspire only hostility, rancor, and ridicule, consider the following aspect of the effect of your posts. How many other contributors to the TB2000 forum routinely create with their posts, the quantity of discourse that do yours? It is a virtual certainty that when you either start a line of thinking, or if you contribute to one started by others, then that particular thread is assured of longevity beyond what would otherwise have been expected.

From my perspective that fact alone bears consistent testimony to the power of your words

Though few of the "steady" contributors to the forum would acknowledge it, particularly those that are expecting the worst from Y2K, I believe many of them nonetheless harbor a grudging respect for you. From my perspective, thank you for the many, many, valuable insights and contributions to my own thinking, as well as for the several valuable "product/strategy" recommendations you have made throughout the months I have been visiting this forum. I, like everyone else on this forum, have found that I "look" and "listen" for the work of some contributors more so than I do others. When I think of my "A" list, together with BigDog, Stan, Flint, Yourdon, and several more, your moniker is near the top as well.

There are those that are considered to be influential "leaders" in the Y2K awareness community. From my perspective there are several of these people that I would shudder at the thought of "surviving" a "9" or "10" with. As Bokonon so correctly points out, it is the most predatory that usually dominate during times of chaos. There are those in the Y2K community that have demonstrated that they would indeed become "predatory" in the event their forecasts (desires) come to pass. While I certainly value whatever contributions they may have made to my own awareness/well being, I have no illusions where I might stand if they came to dominate the social landscape (such as it was).

My judgment tells me that it is not likely that you would become one so inclined.

Together with those that I have mentioned above, and many others that contribute to this forum, I look forward to your continuing perspective.

With respect

-- Dave Walden (, September 11, 1999


Dave Walden commented:

"There are those in the Y2K community that have demonstrated that they would indeed become "predatory" in the event their forecasts (desires) come to pass."

Dave, have you been imbibing this am?? Why would folks who have spent time and money to prepare for potential chaos be PREDATORY??

After you sober up PLEASE take time to read Congressman Horn's "Report Card" published yesterday (9/10/99). when you have read it once go back and read it again.

If you want to praise the annoited one (Decker) you can e-mail him on a daily basis until you feel better!!

Your Pal, Ray

-- Ray (, September 11, 1999.

Dave, I fear you judge Decker by the same good standards you yourself observe. One does not judge a dangerous pirhana by the standards of a better-mannered member of the species. There are ugly undercurrents to Decker's posts (nowadays not quite as subtle as before) which are designed to be deliberately provocative.

You comment on the large number of responses Decker's attracted by his posts. Would you be surprised about the number of corpuscles rushing to attack a germ? Decker counts and glorifies in the number of his replies and prints them out, never mind how many there are attacking either his views or his demeanor.

Attacking the messenger? First of all, many people on this forum believe most of his messages are of little value, that they consist mostly of attacks on the well-known and now clearly stated purpose of this forum. Second, when one walks into a crowded and happy neighborhood bar and restaurant, looks around and starts to criticize the decor, the house brand beer, the dress of the patrons, the conversation, the games available, the jukebox selections, and the way the bartender mixes the drinks, he should not whine about the insults he receives.

Decker is fond of referring to my comment about trolls and Brownshirts. In fact, the gist of my thought was, had the Brownshirts been thwarted in their hate activities when they were mere thugs and hooligans like the trolls, history might have been different, thus I supported the moderators deleting some posts. It was prompted by Decker's remark about jack-booted moderators of this forum. Decker knows full well what was intended but he mounted a vicious attack, saying I had insulted his dead relatives. By an odd coincidence, the long-time sidekick and partner in crime I often mention ("the Hungarian" who refers to me as "the Brit") is from a Hungarian Jewish family. Her uncle, who lives just outside Budapest, is a university professor and a noted authority on Hungarian gypsies. She knows about dead relatives and family friends in the death camps--and she can tell the difference between charlatans and good people. BigDog and Puddintame have met Elizabeth--they'll tell you in no uncertain terms you couldn't fool this woman for a minute. And I can tell you she would have no time for Decker.

Decker has refused to give any personal information about himself and I think that is for two reasons. The firts is because it would muddy the waters of the persona he has created. The second is because his specialty is to attack a weak spot in his victim--hence his remark (threat?) during a somewhat heated forum discussion to someone who was going to the Northern Virginia meeting that he wouldn't want that person's wife and family to witness any unpleasantness.

This is the person you are defending, Dave.

-- Old Git (, September 11, 1999.


When reading a post from someone like Decker (and this forum is full of "someones like Decker"), I find it necessary to sort out the difference between that person as an information source, and that person as a person.

As a data source decker is good. He is obviously well researched in his opinions. It is possible to take the same base data, and interpret it a lot of different ways and I think an open minded person always stays aware of those alternative interpretations.

My problem with Decker is his incessant tendency to take the example of a small minority of preparers and use that as representative of all preparers. I once posted that on a scale of -10 to +10, Gary North is a 0, because he has lots of good info, but he also is promoting a heavy agenda. To me, Decker is the same. he has something valid to say, but he is so obsessed with the agenda of making all preparers look like fools, that he shoots himself in the foot.

That being said, though, I do appreciate your ability to see that someone of an opposing viewpoint is not necessarily the devil, out to corrupt us. As someone once said, "Reasonable men can and do disagree" (gotta track down who to attribute that quote to, one of these days). If more people would have that attitude, the quality of debate would probably go way up, around here.

Of course, if that happened, I'm not sure it would be near as much fun(G).

-- Bokonon (, September 11, 1999.

Thank you, Dave. We do not always agree, but you have earned my respect manyfold. The reason I unsettle SOME forum posters... I have a nose for logical inconsistencies. For example, at the Northern Virginia Y2K gathering many of the attendees were smoking heavily. Some of the same people who chastize me for a cavalier attitude routinely engage in a behavior that greatly increases the chances of serious illnesses and a shorter life. Now, I have no particular bone to pick with smokers... I simply suggest we all engage in risky behavior. I think SOME people overestimate the risk of Y2K much like many people overestimate the risk of shark attacks after watching Jaws. We become less sensitive to routine risks like freeway driving or smoking... and we sometimes have phobic reactions to the unfamiliar.

I pointed out the same inconsistency with the IEEE letter. If you read the letter carefully, the IEEE letter warns against the fallout of litigation. Of course, this presupposes a working legal system after the rollover.

The same reaction occured with my cross-posted essay about fixed position defense. The honest truth, most Y2K-prepared would be lambs to the slaughter against a well-armed aggressor force. This fatal lesson was learned more than once by frontier families. No matter how remote the location, with nearly 300 million people in the U.S. alone, it is difficult to imagine a place no one can find.

Again, this type of analysis is not received with open arms by SOME pessimists. I poke holes in the myth of self sufficiency, the myth of a Norman Rockwell America, the myth of a fragile economy full of incompetent enterprises, well... it's a long list.

I appreciate your intellectual honesty and integrity.

On the subject of integrity, Old Git, you'll get no free pass here. You compared the forum "trolls" to Nazi Brownshirts. It was an outrageous statement. The free exchange of ideas in an anonymous electronic environment to Nazi thugs destroying Jewish businesses and lives. Oh, and my comments about Virginia stand. As those who attended Virgina can attest, I am polite and generous in person. If one of our forum bullies had attended and engaged in poor behavior, I probably would have taken my leave. Please understand I am culturally handicapped by my background and rural upbringing. Should someone like Russ call me a "coward" in person, I might just poke a rather large finger in his chest and suggest he rethink his position. Men, honest men, have settled their differences for centuries in this time honored fashion. Since you are a woman, Git, we cannot exercise this particular form of dispute resolution. I simply tolerate your poor behavior.


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

Your Nazi brownshirt analogy is quite good, Old Git, with the charismatic, spell binding orator of a leader of the bunch being, of course, our very own Mr. Ken (the cockroach) Decker.

For anyone who has wavered in preparing for Y2K, due even partially to the pathetic bullshit posted by the obnoxious "Mr. Decker" troll, I urge you: time is short, the opportunity is still there, DO IT. You have very little to lose if Y2K turns out to be a big nothing. Don't be like the vast majority of Jews in Nazi Germany, who let precious time slip away until all their options of escape were closed. Be like the very few that saw what was coming, and escaped while there was still time to.

-- King of Spain (, September 11, 1999.


Try removing your head from ddeckers' ass, you will be able to see the light and breath much more easily - would you have tried to make friends with Goebbels too?

You are unbelievable man.

-- Andy (, September 11, 1999.

Thanks, KoS, but you need to give credit to Decker too for prompting the remark. He wrote on June 28 about the moderators and new forum guidelines to help deal with the then-heavy troll attacks: "Ah, our jackboots come into the light. Big Dodger [BigDog]and Dianne [sic] Squire, MBA. Who else is on the 'home team?' No 'heretics,' I presume. (laughter). . ."

-- Old Git (, September 11, 1999.

Old Git is a woman? [grin]

Sorry for the interruption, but I'd told Ashton a few days ago that I've read perhaps 100 posts by Old Git and STILL had no clue of gender. I guess I got here too late to see KOS ask OG to mudwrestle.

-- Anita (, September 11, 1999.

Mr. Decker, I have noticed on many of your posts that you seem to have a disdain for posters who you state are in some sense hiding behind fake names, e-mail addresses, etc. I am not sure if this is honest ignorance on your part or not, but in any case I would like to offer an explanation to hopefully help you and anyone else understand perhaps why this is.

This is, like it or not, a Y2K preparation forum. Many people, such as myself, are in the position of, on the one hand, wanting to offer help and encouragement to others preparing. On the other hand, we do not want to let everyone else in the world know that we have cash, gold, silver, stored food, guns, etc. Obviously, real names and e-mail addresses would make this easily traceable.

I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt here, and assume that you honestly had not considered this before. Otherwise, to encourage people to make themselves possible crime targets, would certainly be doing a great disservice.

-- Jack (, September 11, 1999.

I wrote this in a new thread, Contempt and Retirement. But thought that Dave Walden and others would enjoy seeing this excerpt here.



As you say, I have met you face to face. And I find it disappointing that you are not comfortable to be yourself when you write online. Big Dog is himself here minus the big, warm smiles, much laughter, and a good hug. Sure, electronic communications are limited that way. But you are Red in person, Mr. Decker online. And Red doesn't have any of the pretense of a Mr. Decker. While Red seems to be an honorable, thoughtful, and decent man, Mr. Decker doesn't seems to be the same man. And he isn't. Mr. Decker is a character. He benefits from Red's experience, mind, and character, but he has none of these himself. Mr. Decker says what Red might never say or mean. Red is a real person.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

P.S. If you want to draw inferences and make public conclusions about some of the people at the picnic (myself included), go ahead. I don't think it gains you any advantage. One. It becomes more evident that winning an argument by any means is how you like to play it. Ruthless, in other words. Two. Inferences made about you as a real person and how this relates to your mind set might not be pretty. I wouldn't go there. Of course, I write this as I put another cigarette in my mouth and light it. Yes, we all have clay feet. And, especially, Mr. Decker.

-- Stan Faryna (, September 11, 1999.

Oh no, another pompous asswipe. You're almost as full of s**t as Decker is. Is that you Decker? Yeah, posting to yourself as "Dave Walden" to inflate your head even bigger. Be careful, it might pop!

-- @ (@@@.@), September 11, 1999.

It's sure not hard to stand head and shoulders above *this* crowd.

-- Flint (, September 11, 1999.

And who are you, Flint? Are you as contentious, confused, and conceited here (in words) as you are in your own skin?

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, September 11, 1999.

So now Flint considers himself in the ranks of those who are "above us". What's the matter you three, is it getting hard to keep up with the lengthy "discourse" and pretentious vocabulary of the psuedo- intellectuals over at the William F. Buckley Jr. chat room? Or is it just too crowded for your inflated heads?

-- @ (@@@.@), September 11, 1999.

Flint's giving up smoking... he's just "low" and pretending he's "high." (Though he IS even more crabby than he used to be).



See thread...

Two Cups of History (Decker) 001NdQ

See also...

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

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

Although I've never heard of a condescending attitude as a side effect of smoking cessation, I guess we can afford to cut Flint some slack, since his comments are usually more level-headed. Good luck with that Flint, hang in there.

As for Decker, Diane could you track to the server from which this post originated? I have a feeling it is the same as Decker's. If we can expose him this might deflate him for a while.

-- @ (@@@.@), September 11, 1999.


I'll go along with the contentious and conceited part. As for the confused, I'll have to leave that one with you.

Did you see that comment about politicians with constituent groups one of which knows 2+2=4, and the other claims 2+2=6, so the politician is willing to compromise on 2+2=5? Well, some things simply are NOT open to compromise. I think I'm right, but time can easly prove me wrong. If it does, perhaps I'll be less conceited. But if you're one of those who feels 5 is a good compromise, you get to keep the confusion, thank you.

-- Flint (, September 11, 1999.


Chew on a pencil or something. It may help. As for 2+2, it equals what it equals. And that would be 4. But this repartee of yours has become a cliche. Get some new tricks for your bag. As for confusion, I have yet to get an answer back from you regarding your potential confusions about right and wrong. So I'll give you a second chance to answer my questions.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

P.S. Your welcome.

-- Stan Faryna (, September 11, 1999.


So if I don't answer your questions to your satisfaction, I'm confused? Very creative, I'll give you that. I hope you make your mind up soon, so that I can be less confused [grin].

I guess I should point out that one can be undecided without being confused, and one can be utterly convinced and still be confused. I'd given you the benefit of the doubt that you understood that, but I make mistakes. Sorry.

-- Flint (, September 11, 1999.


You don't even attempt to answer my questions (or Big Dog's question). So you must be insincere when you suggest that I demand a satisfying answer. I don't quite see that as slippery; it borders on dishonest. How's that for shades of gray?! Like I said, you need some new tricks.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, September 11, 1999.


I have no idea what you want from me. I've tried to answer Big Dog, and he's acknowledged that. I look forward to a fruitful discussion with him. But if that would bore you, you are under no obligation to listen in. I think I understand what Big Dog is after. I don't know what you're after at all, other than to start attacking Decker and myself for reasons I can only guess at. And I did guess -- that you are being petulant at not being treated with the respect to which you would like to become accustomed.

Well, pout away. (Admitting it would be a bit more honest too [grin]).

-- Flint (, September 11, 1999.

AHEM!! Ref IP numbers.....NOT EVEN CLOSE!!


-- Chuck, a night driver (, September 11, 1999.


Am I beating up on you and the imaginary Mr. Decker? Poor you and poor him. These are just words, Flint. And the way you both are careless with words, I would think they don't have a bite on either you or him. But since you and he are so careless with words, I can take your cuts and repartees without shaking a fist at you two... or suggesting we have it out in the ring-- with or without gloves. But my cultural handicap, a deadly temper, does not get the better of me. I'm glad to hear that you are getting along with BigDog. I know it is hard for you, Flint, and the imaginary Mr. Decker to understand that all pessimists do not think alike. And I'm not sorry to disappoint you.

I don't follow in BigDog's steps; I don't take his lead. Otherwise, I would have written off the imaginary Mr. Decker a long time ago. But I'm glad for you, again, that he is willing to work with you on what little you have given. I like to think of it this way: BigDog is trained in the possibility of ideas, I am trained in the precision of ideas. One is not better than the other. But I am less forgiving when it comes to serious questions and answers. I am even more unforgiving when sincerity is demanded and cleverness is the reaction. Do you have shifty, beady eyes? [grin] I once thought you were a rational guy, but now I see a lawyer-like creature who can not answer yes or no.

Is it wrong to lie? Yes or no? Is intentionally misleading someone wrong? Yes or no? Is it wrong for the government do wrong? Yes or no? Why can't you answer these simple questions, Flint? I can answer your questions (that you pose elsewhere) quite easily and it won't take a dissertation to do it. On the other hand, I can write a dissertation or two on those answers-- if you can get an appropriate grant that will cover my expenses during my research and writing. But before you get my short answers to your questions, I'd like answers to all questions that I have put to you. Your answers would be a show of good faith -- whether or not I respect you after I hear your answers is something else.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

P.S. If you have another cutsy reply, don't expect that I'll take you seriously again.

-- Stan Faryna (, September 11, 1999.

Re: Before you type another cutesy reply, let's call it a day, Flint.


Get some rest. I'm taking the dog out for a walk. Tomorrow, I take her to show. So I probably won't be here to continue this immediately. What you say in the other thread, Contempt and Retirement, in regard to the anwsers I want is satisfying to me. Well said, mostly. You've really made a break through here, and I do have sympathy for you with regard to the rough handling you get.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, September 11, 1999.


I'll give you my best answers. I don't expect you to agree with them, but I'm not trying to be clever or duck your questions either.

[Is it wrong to lie? Yes or no?]

Usually. If I were to meet you and find you (say) unsightfully fat, should I say so? If I pretend otherwise and say nothing, am I being properly diplomatic, or is this a lie because I'm deliberately creating a false impression? Are the stories we tell children of Santa Claus lies? Is the surgeon obligated to detail the possible problems you'll have if he screws up? Or to tell you how often he screws up?

If my boss asks me how long this project is going to take, I produce an estimate. OK, if my estimate falls within the range of possibility, is it a lie if I carefully estimate toward the optimistic end? As a practical matter, how much time is worth my spending (and my boss reading) to cover every possible source of speedup or delay that can theoretically be encountered? If it turns out later that I underestimated the time required, did I lie?

Short answer -- lies should be avoided as a matter of policy. There are exceptions. Even saints make them.

[Is intentionally misleading someone wrong? Yes or no?]

Short answer -- NO. Better answer - usually. Do you intend this to be the same question or a different one? Since you wouldn't ask the same question twice, I deduce that you do NOT consider it a lie to mislead intentionally. Else, it would have been the same question rephrased, right? So I interpret it in this light -- that by lying you mean telling a known, deliberate falsehood. And by intentionally misleading, you mean saying something that isn't false, but that encourages your listener to come to the wrong conclusion. Kind of like, perhaps, saying organization X won't complete their remediation on time, and letting your audience conclude that organization X will become nonfunctional, and NOT correcting this mistake?

I admit I have found many of the doomie arguments on this forum misleading, and I've come to know some of the perpretrators well enough to know that this is intentional. But *they* don't consider it wrong, since it *tricks* less knowledgeable people into preparing, and is therefore a Good Thing. So in their eyes, deliberately misleading people is OK if it's done for their own good.

Maybe "their own good" isn't a good enough reason for a saint. It's good enough for me provided (of course) that *I* get to define *your* own good. And it's certainly good enough for most of the people here.

[Is it wrong for the government do wrong? Yes or no?]

This is tautological, Stan. It's wrong to do wrong by definition. Do you mean is it wrong for the government to do things they keep secret, and deny when asked? If that's your question, I must answer in the negative. The public tends to be extremely hypocritical. During prohibition, the public didn't vote *themselves* dry, they voted the undesirables dry, which wasn't them, of course. Look at the grief Clinton has undergone for being a womanizer. I forget what percentage of married men were faithful their whole lives according to various experts (Hite, Kinsey, Masters&Johnson, etc.) but it was very small. People are more than willing to condemn others for what they do themselves. And politicians have learned from practice throughout history that if you make a mistake and admit it, the voters will hang you. If you make a mistake and deny it, no matter how blatently obvious your lie, those who agree with your policies will gladly look the other way. You *must* lie.

What I'm leading up to is, you simply cannot conduct the business of government in the open. If you tried, then even the simplest things would be reduced to either a bloodbath or total gridlock. To govern effectively (for better or worse, it's the truth) you say nice things to pacify the majority, and then you do what needs to be done. And if your judgment was poor, maybe you get replaced (if you can't bury your mistakes one way or another). Government is amoral by nature, expediency is all. That's the nature of the beast.

I hope that's what you're looking for?

-- Flint (, September 11, 1999.

Still steaming, Flint? [ROFL]

-- Stan Faryna (, 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.

You are not a Jedi yet Flint.

-- Will (, September 12, 1999.


Congratulations! With this statement:

"What I'm leading up to is, you simply cannot conduct the business of government in the open. If you tried, then even the simplest things would be reduced to either a bloodbath or total gridlock. To govern effectively (for better or worse, it's the truth) you say nice things to pacify the majority, and then you do what needs to be done. And if your judgment was poor, maybe you get replaced (if you can't bury your mistakes one way or another). Government is amoral by nature, expediency is all. That's the nature of the beast".

... you have won the Machiavellian Award, coveted by "realist" politicians around the globe! Your prize is an all-expense-paid vacation to spend the Millennium Rollover in Rome, Italy! Courtesy of Virgin Airlines, of course!

Personally speaking, I believe that the purpose of elected officials of our government (USA) is to represent the interests of those who elected them. By definition, elected officials must be held to higher standards; that it the covenant that goes along with such granted power. The fact that transgressions occured in the past is never an excuse for ignoring ongoing abuses. A lie to protect one's own power base can in no way be considered on the same moral plain as telling a lie to protect someone's feelings (telling your daughter she is beautiful, especially if she is not, for example).

Protecting secrets for reasons of national security are a different class. Only a fool would believe that providing an advantage to a potential enemy is in our nation's best interests. The problem lies in the use of the "national security" cloak to cover elected (and appointed) officials' power base, at the expense of those who elected them. Therein lies the greatest potential for abuse. It is an arrogance in the extreme for one to assume that what is good for the preservation of whatever current regime must be good for the nation. This was Machiavelli's greatest error.

-- Spindoc' (, September 12, 1999.


I suggest you revisit "The Prince" if you wish to understand what Machiavelli was talking about. But government is amoral.

No, I wasn't talking about protecting a power base. In any case, history tells us that's best done with an army, rather than with duplicity. What I was talking about matches your description quite well -- the government should act in the interests of its constituents. The distinction I made, that you did not, is that the constituents don't always express their interests honestly. In many politically important (hell, crucial) matters, what each constituent wants is a special favor. Everyone is looking for advantage, and hoping to get it through the political process. Why do you think DC has a million lobbyists?

You could run for office on a platform of applehood and mother pie, and catch hell from the population growth people on one side, and the cherry lobby on the other! And once elected, the fact is that you simply cannot take any action without conferring favor on one group at the expense of another (which might include everyone else).

Now, you might argue that the greatest good for the greatest number cannot be achieved by acting in the interests of a tiny minority, however vocal that minority might be. And in theory that sounds good. But in practice people are less abstract. The y2k-preparation fanatics are a tiny minority right now. So to apply our high-minded principle, it would be wrong to act in their interests and against the interests of everyone else. Except of course those comprising that minority don't see it that way! They want government to do *their* bidding because they *know* they are in the RIGHT, and people NEED to prepare whether they realize it or not. And the government should TAKE ACTION and SAY so and LEAD and blah blah blah.

Of course, the right-to-lifers are making the same argument, and so are the right-to-choice people. And so are the gun control people. And so are the save-the-whale people. EVERY splinter group considers itself privy to some special insight which, if only the damn politicians would cooperate, would lead to *everyone* being better off.

So the politicians, not willing to lose votes, assures all these groups that they are heard, and that they may be right, and that their concerns will be borne in mind etc. And then the government does what needs to be done in their own eyes. Except now and then they blink and do things like prohibition and other victimless-crime moralistic do-gooder stuff, and we get to live with the organized crime and other evils such do-gooder stuff always seems to lead to, forever after.

So OK, governments ARE amoral. What I'm trying to say is that to govern effectively (and well), they NEED to be amoral. Like it or not.

-- Flint (, September 12, 1999.

And Flint - with your endless crapola, you'd be the perfect polly tician...

The end justifies the means...

Oh yessssss!

-- Andy (, September 12, 1999.

...governments ARE amoral. govern effectively (and well), they NEED to be amoral. -- Flint

WOW, Flint! Amazable!

That has GOT to be the slimiest, slipperiest excuse for inhumanity Ive ever read from you, Flint. You need a serious time-out. Thats plain sick... and disgusting!

Im sure former and current despots and despoilers of all time... Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, Slobodan Milosevic, etc. ... would agree with you.

Ick. In a word.


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 12, 1999.

Wow! Denial in flying colors!

Diane, I've suspected you live in fantasyland, and now I'm sure. But this isn't MY problem. You may have absolutely no clue what government does or how it works, but your attitude militates against ever getting a clue.

And you also provide me with a bit of insight as to how doomies actually "think". Start with a mistake based on wishful thinking, and then wish *real, real hard* and at least you can convince yourself you're right.

But many people feel just like you do. They don't understand government, and project impossible expectations on it, and those expectations aren't met, and then they blame government for not meeting them.

I read where someone reworded the first 10 amendments (the bill of rights) and then went door to door to a few thousand doors, asking people if they'd approve of such policies. Almost nobody recognized that these were the bill of rights, and almost nobody approved of them. Indeed, the majority were violently against any such notions! Of course, the bill of rights protects their right to such attitudes and ignorance, but this is too subtle a point for the moralistas.

So if the government did what the people wanted, rather than what's right, we'd have lost everything. The government, to work well, must *recognize* that the people are stupid, and do the right thing despite the people. It's always been this way. We are all very lucky you don't moderate our lives, lest we be subjected to the fad of the day for our own good.

-- Flint (, September 12, 1999.


You've got your knickers twisted, your socks on backwards, and your priorities offbalance, IMHO. Not to mention being awfully quick to mislabel... with condescension.

You said... "NEED to be amoral," Flint.

I don't remotely disagree that governments often ARE amoral... but NEED to be?

You've lost it, Flint. And this isn't even worth arguing about.

Have a relaxing Sunday Flint, and try to recall what this day is for.


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 12, 1999.

It has NOT always been this way.

When an infinitely worse situation than Y2K was upon a country, this is what one politican said.

Speech given by Winston Churchill First Speech to House of Commons as Prime Minister May 13, 1940

On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. When he met his Cabinet on May 13 he told them that "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." He repeated that phrase later in the day when he asked the House of Commons for a vote of confidence in his new all-party government. The response of Labour was heart-warming; the Conservative reaction was luke-warm. They still really wanted Neville Chamberlain. For the first time, the people had hope but Churchill commented to General Ismay: "Poor people, poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long time."

"It must be remembered that we are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history, that we are in action at many other points in Norway and in Holland, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean, that the air battle is continuous and that many preparations, have to be made here at home. In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make allowance, all allowance, for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, "Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength."

Excerpt of Speech given by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons as the The Battle of Britain Begins June 18, 1940

Churchill delivered this speech to the House of Commons, and then broadcast it over the BBC to reassure the nation, the Commonwealth and the United States that the fate of France would not befall Britain.

"We do not know what will happen in France or whether the French Resistance will be prolonged The French Government will be throwing away great opportunities if they do not continue the War in accordance with their Treaty obligations, from which we have not felt able to release them. The House will have read the historic declaration in whichwe have proclaimed our willingness at the darkest hour in French history to conclude a union of common citizenship in this struggle. However matters may go in Francewe in this island and in the British Empire will never lose our sense of comradeship with the French people. If we are now called upon to endure what they have been suffering, we shall emulate their courage, and if final victory rewards our toils, they shall share the gains, aye, and freedom shall be restored to all. We abate nothing of our just demands: not one jot or one tittle do we recede. Czech, Pole, Norwegians, Dutch and Belgians have joined their causes to our own. All these shall be restored."

"What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. but if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the light of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour."

-- Old Git (, September 12, 1999.


I'm not arguing with you. Effective government is amoral. Not *immoral*, amoral. This is a requirement. This is simple fact. No argument at all.

And to Old Git, you misunderstand as well. If moral action is what's needed to get the job done, moral action is what's used. Whatever works. Sometimes it's expedient to be moral, sometimes it isn't. But expedience is an *effective* government's sole code.

Given all of history to use as examples, why is this so hard to accept?

-- Flint (, September 12, 1999.


Are you trying to climb up to that *knee level* of the imaginary Mr. Decker's contempt? [laughing] I don't know who made you a Dee Cee insider, but you are very much mistaken. No one on and around the hill would touch you with a ten foot pole. And I don't say that to hurt your feelings, but the way you foam at the mouth-- your words describe you like the foam hanging off a mad dog's chops. And if you go about abusing people like you do Diane with such unthoughtful impudence, my sympathies for your rough handling are sincerely misplaced. If you don't even try to get what she's trying to say, why do you bother with this forum? I take it that you are not just still steaming-- you are seething.

You may or may not know your Machiavelli. Did you know Dante's Divine Comedy was his favorite reading? It in his pocket wherever he went. Nicci also wrote sermons. Yes, he believed in God. I have a feeling he now regrets what he wrote-- especially in the hands of fellows like you. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad you're all for the Bill of Rights. But go back and read the Declaration of Independence, again. And I don't understand why I keep having to send you back to do your reading twice. Perhaps, you need a copy of Mortimer Adler's classic, How to Read a Book. It would save us a great deal of time and embarassment, if you could read something and not be referred back for more reading.

For your convenience and benefit, I include the excellent political philosophy that is expressed therein. And as you read it, do keep in mind that no where does it advocate the evils that you now advocate. If you need me to explain a precise term that you may ordinarily want to ignore as some kind of romantic fuzziness, don't hesitate to ask.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..."

-- Stan Faryna (, September 12, 1999.

"Given all of history to use as examples, why is this so hard to accept?" -- Flint

Uhhh, we can't "accept" because of PRINCIPLE maybe? Doing WHAT IS RIGHT, perhaps? Because it is THE HONEST THING TO DO. For starters.

Actually, Flint, forget what we said about going back to smoking, stay on the wagon. Your true colors are now showing, and it better to see what we are dealing with.

Disappointedly yours,

-- King of Spain (, September 12, 1999.


You write:

"Effective government is amoral. Not *immoral*, amoral. This is a requirement. This is simple fact. No argument at all."

Talk about a *closing of an American mind*! Bloom must have had you in mind. Though you in your ignorance of politics talk about things which you don't understand, I will point you a way out of the tiny chambers of your opinion (and Jefferson would have the same advice for you). First read, Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. Then, Aristotle's Politics. That's just a beginning, mind you, but it is as good a place to start as any other.

With increasing boredom, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, September 12, 1999.


Bored or not, you are wrong. Who was it who said that you open your mind to let in the truth. THEN you close it.

It happens that I hold advanced degrees in politics and bureaucracy, and have worked in government. But I wasn't brainwashed into what I know by a demented educational system [grin], I only needed to read all the books you mentioned and about a thousand others, and think about them, and think about what I saw around me, and think about how all that material applied to history as we know it (and the little bit of history written by the losers). And repeat this for years. That's all it took.

So yes indeed, I regard your (and Diane's) concepts of politics the way Decker regards the knowledge of economics displayed here. There is a critical mass you need to reach, before you can realize how very little you really know. While I have a great deal left to learn, it's obvious to me that you haven't reached this critical mass.

You can either dismiss me and treasure your ignorance, or you can call me again when you really know anything. Doesn't matter to me. But I suggest you don't ask questions whose answers you cannot grasp. "Let not ambition mock thy useful toil."

-- Flint (, September 12, 1999.


I prefer the company on this side, thank you. I'm glad you can poo poo the greatest minds in human history and some of the greatest men and women too-- and the good people on this forum. I didn't realize you were the smartest fellow in all of human history. You have my most insincere apologies.

Laughing loudly! Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, September 12, 1999.

Thanks Old Git,

here's another favourite Churchill quote...

"If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time--a tremendous whack."

For the third time Flint, you are an amoral SOB.

Hey, but like ddecker, I saw through you, as you know, long long ago.

Perhaps the great man was also thinking of you and ddecker, the gruesome twosome, when he penned this...

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else."

-- Andy (, September 12, 1999.


So long as you don't confuse the many brilliant treatises by brilliant people about how government *ought* to work, with the way that an effective bureaucracy actually *does* work, I'm glad to go along with you. In practice, principles are one arrow in the quiver, uses when appropriate. And certainly people of principle can bemoan the irrelevance of ethics to effective government (except when useful, of course). I regret it myself. I also regret that the poor are always with us, and that death and taxes cannot be escaped. But these things remain sublimely unaffected by the sheer sincerity of your regret or mine.

Maybe the main problem you're having is that I can recognize the truth and the facts no matter how much I dislike them. Maybe if I click my heels together 3 times governments will become moral. But I doubt it.

-- Flint (, September 12, 1999.

P.S. If you can't read little threads well, what makes you think I believe you can read a thousand books well? For God's sake, you can't even finish one small stanza of a now obscure poem by a now obscure english poet.

Let not ambition mock their useful toil,

Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;

Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile

The short and simple annals of the poor.

-- Stan Faryna (, September 12, 1999.


Thanks for finishing that for me.

-- Flint (, September 12, 1999.

"Flint has the gift of compressing the largest amount of words into the smallest amount of thoughts."

-- Andy (, September 12, 1999.

Dorothy (err, Flint),

You go girl! Click your heels and you too can write as contemptuously as the imaginary Mr. Decker. Myself, I'm still waiting for you to put up the entirety of that obscure poem you mentioned. How does it begin? As for effectiveness, I remain sure that the ends do not justify the means. As for what goes on, I know how things happen, but just because something happens does not make it necessary or ok. There lies your error and some of our difference.

Laughing loudly! Stan Faryna

"Let the ears of a guilty people tingle with truth, and seventy millions sigh for the righteousness which exalteth nations, in this drear day when human brotherhood is mockery and a snare."

-- Stan Faryna (, September 12, 1999.

The world according to Flint:

"Distorting progress reports is not lying. Its just deliberately misleading"

"Governments need to be amoral"

"The effects of Y2K will be insignificant"

Yep. That about sums it up.

-- a (a@a.a), September 12, 1999.


Ultimately, there are no ends. There's only process, just means, going on forever.

-- Flint (, September 12, 1999.

Stan: Ultimately, there are no ends. There's only Flint, just Flint, going on forever.

-- Andy (, September 12, 1999.

What would an American President say? Roosevelt had this much to say:

"... it remains true that absolute honesty is what Cromwell would have called a "fundamental" of healthy political life. We can afford to differ on the currency, the tariff, and foreign policy; but we cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure."

"Honesty is not so much a credit as an absolute prerequisite to efficient service to the public..."

"We need absolute honesty in public life; and we shall not get it until we remember that truth-telling must go hand in hand with it..."

- Theodore Roosevelt, The Strenuous Life.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, September 12, 1999.


I fear that you are right. Well, please do have at Flint. I'm off to walk the dog again. And I don't plan on returning to the computer. There's preps to do!

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, September 12, 1999.

"The whole art of government consists in being honest."

Thomas Jefferson 'Works, VI, 186'

-- Wilferd (, September 12, 1999.

This is more than just an analysis of Flint's off the wall BS that he continually spouts. This is really disturbing, because it really goes to the heart of some people's credibility.

Many, many times we have had threads that discussed the potential danger of embedded chips. There were two people who always consistently assured us that, from a purely objective technical point of view, Y2K problems simply were not there to worry about. Those two people were Paul Davis and Flint.

Since that time, Paul Davis, in addition to his bizarre and irrational statements that "a" has documented repeatedly, has turned out to be the "brains" behing the "Gary North Is A Big Fat Idiot" forum, something that he did NOT bother to mention during the time that he actively posted here. One can hardly believe that he was in any position to give objective technical opinion regarding Y2K.

And now, Flint has as good as admitted that if THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS, then there is no reason to feel bound by any set of ethics, honesty, or truthfulness. Like with Paul Davis, his credibility as a disinterested technicrat giving first hand information on the danger of embedded chips and YK2, is completely called into question.

-- King of Spain (, September 12, 1999.


If we start electing embedded chips, you might have a real concern [grin]. If you read what I wrote with an eye to understanding rather than attacking, you'll see that I am trying to describe what government *does*. How it works. I'm not expressing approval, anymore than a crime reporter for a newspaper is expressing approval of crime. Your argument is missing all its cylinders, I'm afraid.

And I enjoy those quotes too. Government relies on faith and confidence even more than banking does. No effort should be spared convincing the public that the government is honest, anymore than effort should be spared convincing the public their money is perfectly safe in the bank. It's the same principle.

-- Flint (, September 12, 1999.

Words to remember...

...Whenever darkness appears to fall, and when dark amoral people, believing they are  outside or beyond the moral order or a particular code of morals can no loger hide their true, murky, and immoral colors, which directly conflict with generally or traditionally held moral principles just KNOW...

The truth is incontrovertible.

Panic may resent it,
ignorance may deride it,
malice may distort it,
but there it is.

-- Winston Churchill

Nuf said.


-- Diane J. Squire (, September 12, 1999. said above:

"The government, to work well, must *recognize* that the people are stupid, and do the right thing despite the people."

with that utterance you lost ALL credibility with me (not that that will matter much to you, i'd suppose....after all, i'm one of those "stupid" people)

our govt is supposed to be "representive" of those "stupid" people.....yet, by your statement, you seem to have placed government ABOVE those stupid people.....the we-need-a-mommie syndrome.....

if the govt is SO superior......then why do we have all of the problems that continue to plague our nation today? (yes....i know that our country, the US, has much to offer, and i'd rather be living here than anywhere else......but you'll have to admit that things COULD be handled better!......AND that in the countries in which things are handled worse, their governments lean more toward YOUR way of thinking)

i'm not saying that YOU personally are.......but your statement above IS "pure liberal puke".....and i always consider the source

-- andrea (, September 12, 1999.

Flint said

No effort should be spared convincing the public [that] their money is perfectly safe in the bank.

And people should be encouraged to leave their money in the stock market, right Flint? Regardless of risk. Right Flint?

-- a (a@a.a), September 12, 1999.

I've often wondered who's payroll Flint was on.

At least now we all now know he's on ***somebody's*** payroll.

Probably ddeckers'.

-- Andy (, September 12, 1999.


A little study of history will show that even the US didn't start out the way you envision it. The vote (until the Civil War) was restricted to white, landowning males. Indeed, only about 5% of the total population (counting children, women and slaves) were eligible to vote on the Constitution. As I recall, about 3% of the US population voted in favor, and 2% against. The reset were ineligible.

The electoral college is vestigial today, but it was important back then. Even these white male landowners (the "responsible" people) weren't trusted to vote for President directly. Instead they voted for 'electors', who were basically good old boys to make sure that the will of the people wasn't "irresponsible", meaning the people didn't try to elect someone the college members considered unsuitable. The people (white, male, landowning people) were still being protected from themselves.

I think you'd need to ask 'a' about what's happened to our previously wonderful country since direct election by women and minorities has been in fashion [grin].

Today, such buffers between the public will and the practice of governance are not so institutionalized. But the deals being cut that make the difference, are NOT being cut where the public can watch them, on the floor of Congress or on C-Span. They are cut well out of the public eye, among people also out of the public eye. In a sense, it's always worked this way. It's not by accident that the public ought not to watch sausage or law being made. And in practice, the public isn't allowed to watch law being made.

But the law is one thing. We have 535 people making it. The bureaucracy is quite another. For every law, there are a thousand regulations, which nominally define the law in practice. And *nobody* in the general public gets to see those made, again except for the final grandstanding and rubber stamping process. And there are 3 million bureaucrats at the Federal level alone interpreting this incredible body of regulations, traditions, favors, quid pro quos, and the like. The general public has no direct input into this process. If the process is outrageous enough (like the IRS abuses), then another law gets passed (meaning another deal got cut in the back rooms), and interpreted into a new body of regulations, and a few scapegoats are booted out, and except in rare circumstances nothing much changes.

In practice, you can't please everyone. Most of the time, you can't even please a majority. Imagine trying to describe a y2k impact that would please a majority of the people on this forum! So you try to decide what really needs to be done, and then decide how best to go about it, and then if you're lucky you can get it to happen and convince the public that it's what they asked for in the first place. Some of the worst political bungles in our history have resulted from trying to do what the public demanded, common sense be damned. LOOK at what the "war on drugs" has cost everyone! But that's what the people wanted, and it didn't get killed as being much worse than the problem, in some back room. We went and did it, and it's been an ill wind ever since.

So it's another case of being careful what you ask for, especially if the government is full of rookies. They just might listen.

-- Flint (, September 12, 1999.

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