Truth in Media Global Watch Bulletins

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TiM GW Bulletin 2000/1-1

Jan. 1, 2000

The New Millennium Arrived with a Whimper, Not a Big Bang

The Bug That Didn't Bite

Except Some Pocketbooks - $100 Billion to $600 Billion Estimated Y2K Cost; Also, See Our Short Y2K Spoof Bug That Does Bite...

FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONA       Topic: GLOBAL AFFAIRS


Also, check out: "Toward a New Multipolar World of the 21st Century"

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PHOENIX, New Year's Day 2000 - The power is on. City tap water is flowing. Airplanes are flying. Cash registers are ringing. ATMs are handing out cash. TV and radio stations are broadcasting. The Internet is humming. Birds are chirping...

In short, the feared Y2K Big Bang turned out to be a whimper. The only news story in the Valley of the Sun on this first day of the New Millennium is that Jan. 1 marks the 100th consecutive day without rain. That's how deep one has to scrape on New Year's Day to come up with a worthy news item in Phoenix.

So we get on the phone and call our friends from around the U.S. and the world. First bit of good telco news: The dial tone is also on. Then we connect… Australia, Russia, England, China, Serbia… Different cities, different countries, different continents - same story The Y2K bug is AWOL.

The dreaded Millennium Bug that didn't bite. Except some people's pocketbooks. And egos. No wonder the first day of the Third Millennium (at least according to computer calendars - see the NOTE at the end) also brought out some apologists among the government Y2K bugbusters who defended the $100 billion to $600 which the U.S. has spent on defanging the Millennium Bug.

As for the private Y2K doomsayers, don't hold your breath expecting an apology from them. The shysters, or benevolent fools, take your pick, are probably too busy counting the money they took from millions of gullible victims. And waiting for the banks to open on Monday, so they could deposit the winnings of their con.

As we said in a May 20, 1998 editorial, "Debunking the Y2K and C2O FUD":

"Scams like that are as old as America. Or mankind. In their late 1990s edition, they are being foisted as the Y2K syndrome. Or FUD... Or whatever... So beware of the Y2K, C2O, CIA, IBM, NSA or other three-letter acronyms."

Whereupon we added:

"…Our primary motivation in writing on the Y2K subject was to warn people who are not close to the computer industry not to fall for fear-mongering of self-serving gloom and doom 'prophets.' And to approach the Y2K problem with prudence, not panic."

Well, you should have seen a ton of e-mail protests which landed in our e-mail box following the publication of the preceding editorial! And not only from the relative ignoramuses when it comes to computers. One of these days, we may add some of them to our Memorial to the Immemorial Fool.

Meanwhile, they reminded of three quotes attributed to three great minds from the Second Millennium:

"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

(Albert Einstein)

"Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."

(Thomas Gray)

"All truth passes through three stages . First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident."

(Arthur Schopenhauer)

To the three great thinkers of the Second Millennium, we say "thank you!" - on this first day of the Third Millennium.

Thanks to visionaries like these, we have held fast to our convictions, and have resisted the urge to bolt and join the madding crowds. We hope that those of you who have joined us in refusing to join the Y2K hysteria, will also join us in offering our thanks to Messieurs Einstein, Gray and Schopenhauer.

How Much Did We Spend?

And how much money did this writer and his family spend on Y2K precautions and preparations, some of our friends and (wider) family asked? (since they knew we were in the information technology business).

Not one red cent!

Not one cent on one jug of water. Not one cent on one extra can of food. Not one cent on one extra tank of gas. Not one cent for one extra wad of cash…

Here's, for example, an excerpt from our pre-Y2K correspondence with a friend from France, about whom we were worried because of the two powerful wind storms in late December (which caused a heck of a lot more trouble than the Y2K bug):

"Glad to hear it - that you got off so lightly scarred by the bad storm. Guess this was your 'Y2K warm-up?' Hope the 'Big Bang' is kinder to you...

As for ourselves, we have not spent a red cent (as they say here in the U.S.) on any of the Y2K gizmos. When my hairdresser asked me the other day if we were at least going to do something about our fresh water supply, I replied 'No!'

'But everybody says we should have at least 3-5 day's supplies on hand,' she pleaded wistfully.

'The fools and shysters say that. Our dogs have survived on chlorinated pool water for several decades now. And I fail to see why we would need to spend money and contribute to the Evian company's shareholders' welfare if we can just mimic our dogs.' (of course, the comment wasn't meant as permanent dietary recommendation; only a dire emergency solution which was preferable to spending money on something which is God-given, such as water. Rainwater would have also done for the same purpose).

I think she got the message, however reluctantly. For, in the next breath, she told me about 'some real weird customers we have around here.' Who are 'buying up guns and ammo supplies,' she added.

'Well, it takes all kinds,' I tried to put her at ease. 'I would buy a gun and ammo if I intended to protect myself from someone who wanted to shoot me, not just because a clock's long arm goes past the 12-hour sign. That's deja vu stuff. It happens twice a day every day. If I were to buy that many guns, I wouldn't know what to do with them.'

I am not sure who she thought in the end was more weird - myself or that gun freak.

Anyway, Happy New Year!"

And we have certainly not spent any money on drastic ideas, such as changing one's lifestyle, which were being recommended in early 1998, for example, by some self-serving doomsayers, such as Jim Lord, for example. And which were being lapped up by gullible audiences.

This Jim Lord, a former federal government employee, who had written a book on the Y2K doomsday, moved to Arizona from the Washington area, implying that he practiced what he preached.

But when we saw who attended his Phoenix May 1998 lecture (besides yours truly and the person who invited him), it was mostly some well-to-do, silver-hair or balding retirees. So this (Jim) Lord (not to be confused with the Lord who said long ago that "love of money is the root of all evil"), seems to have actually followed the money to the Valley of the Sun, while preaching a Y2K change in lifestyle. Which is what we also pointed out in that May 1998 editorial

"See ya on Jan. 1, Y2K - by which time the C2O may have replaced the FUD. Or not... Either way, Jim will not be the name of the Lord."

Nor was this "computer guru" the only Y2K doomsayer. Look at what the self-professed "Y2K expert," Gary North, for example, said at his Web site, in a Home Page he said he had removed on Oct. 20, 1999:

"We've got a problem. It may be the biggest problem that the modern world has ever faced. I think it is. At 12 midnight on January 1, 2000 (a Saturday morning), most of the world's mainframe computers will either shut down or begin spewing out bad data. Most of the world's desktop computers will also start spewing out bad data.

Tens of millions -- possibly hundreds of millions -- of pre-programmed computer chips will begin to shut down the systems they automatically control.

This will create a nightmare for every area of life, in every region of the industrialized world.

It's called the year 2000 problem. It's also called the millennium bug, y2k, and (misspelled), the millenium time bomb. Millennium or millenium it doesn't matter how we spell it; this bomb isn't going away."

Well, North at least got one thing right in the above diatribe. January 1, 2000 is a Saturday. North then adds in his Links and Forums section:

"It took me from early 1992 until late 1996 to come to grips emotionally with the Year 2000 Problem. You had better be a lot faster on the uptake than I was. We're running out of time. I don't mean that society is running out of time to fix this problem. Society has already run out of time for that. There are not enough programmers to fix it. The technical problems cannot be fixed on a system-wide basis.

The Millennium Bug will hit in 2000, no matter what those in authority decide to do now. As a system, the world economy is now beyond the point of no return.

So, when I say 'we,' I mean you and I as individuals. We are running out of time as individuals to evade the falling dominoes.

I maintain that the y2k problem is systemic. It cannot be fixed. The interconnections are too many. A noncompliant computer will spread bad data and re-corrupt a compliant computer."

Ever seen a more dramatic sound of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt)? Even the Big Blue's CEOs of the 1970s and 1980s, whose company's practices gave birth to the term FUD, might have been proud. Not since those IBM antitrust decades has so much BS been dispensed in so few lines!

Yet some of our readers regarded Gary North as some sort of a demi-God, judging by their correspondence and defense of his doomsaying. Which is a sad example of how easily even well educated people can be manipulated in a dumbed-down, over-hyped society.

But whether the U.S. Y2K price tag was $100 billion, as some estimate, or $600 billion on the upside, it has certainly produced some tangible benefits, and not only to the doomsayers. Computer and IT services companies also benefited. As did the consumers.

Virtually every major system in has been checked out. Older ones have been chucked and replaced. This wouldn't have happened under normal circumstances, when most programmers are up to their necks in alligators.

So the world is a lot safer and better today, thanks to the Millennium Bug, including all the hype which came with it.

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A "P.S" - Jan. 3: Since the Y2K bug failed to bite, the U.S. banks are flush with extra cash which the Federal Reserve had printed for them. How much extra cash? A net total of $80 billion was provide by the Fed to the regional banks during the fourth quarter alone, according to the Wall Street Journal. Compare that to some $23 billion in the same period in 1998.

Now the banks and the Fed face an unusual problem - how to drain all this extra cash from the U.S. bank vaults. The Fed will help banks reduce their cash assets by considering any requests to extend the hours at its regional banks to receive armored cars returning money from banks, the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, U.S. government bonds fell early today amid concern that with any Y2K-related computer problems averted, the Fed's policy-setting Open Market Committee will raise interest rates in an effort to cool the U.S. economy, the Bloomberg News Wire reported. Which promptly sent the stockmarket into a tailspin, after the early euphoria, especially on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

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NOTE: January 1, 2000 is actually NOT the first day of the Third Millennium, except for computer calendars. The end of the Second Millennium and the beginning of the Third will be reached on January 1, 2001. This date is based on the now globally recognized Gregorian calendar, the initial epoch of which was established by the sixth-century scholar Dionysius Exiguus, who was compiling a table of dates of Easter. Rather than starting with the year zero, years in this calendar begin with the date January 1, 1 Anno Domini (AD). Consequently, the next millennium does not begin until January 1, 2001 AD.

"Never have so many paid so much money to so few 'Y2K gurus' - for being so WRONG!"

A Short y2k-bug.jpg (7499 bytes)Spoof with a Bite

"What do I do with all those cans of tuna?"

Get a cat. Or donate tuna to a food bank (for homeless people, not cats).

"What do I do all that dried rice and beans?"

Soak them till they are all wet, just like the "Y2K gurus"who told you to buy them.  Then offer them to food bank kitchens which serve "All-American, All-Wet Guru" daily specials.

"What do I do with my unused gas-powered generator?"

Give it as a "soft money" donation to Bill and Hillary Clinton - our "all gas, no power" First Couple. Then Hillary can use it to power her hairdryer. Or to open her tuna cans. And Bill can have it the rest of the day - when he is all out of gas, all wet, or just wants to soak his beans in warm water.

"What do I do with all those plastic jugs full of water?"

Well, you can use them to soak your rice and beans.  Or they may be good for target practice? But we haven't tested this idea. So we do NOT recommend it to urban dwellers. Nor do we recommend it to people with rice and beans, but without guns or a sense of humor.  Still, some auxiliary benefits: (1) You won't have to ask us what to do with all that unused ammo; (2) You can help calm your Y2K-related ulcers by imagining the water jugs are your favorite "Y2K gurus."

"What do I do with all this extra cash I've withdrawn from my bank account?"

Send it back to the Fed, claiming it's "fools' gold." And ask (Alan) Greenspan if he'd be kind enough to exchange your greenbacks for an equivalent amount of real gold. Good luck!

"Is there a way of disposing all of my unwanted Y2K inventory at once?

Maybe. Call your stockbroker and ask for some post-Y2K Wall Street specials - now that the sky hasn't fallen in, and the bitterly disappointed stockmarket has. And then try to barter your tuna, rice, beans, water, guns, ammo, bottled water and cash for such post-Y2K stock "winners." Good luck! Again.

"Are all your above answers for real?"

And does a chicken have lips? Of course, they are for real. As are the Jay Leno or David Letterman spoofs. Especially since we cater to audiences who can tell Evian from Naive, even if the two NWO comedians can't. (Evian=Naive, spelled backward).

This spoofupdated.gif (168 bytes)Jan. 4, 2000

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Also, check out... The Bug That Didn't Bite, Death of the City, Cavorting with the Enemy (Albright), Toward a new Multipolar World in the New Millennium, Albright's State, Soros' Estate, NWO "Liberals" Cancel Christmas, Stitching Together the New World Order Flag, Chinese Embassy; Slovakia; bin Laden and Bosnia, Criminals Return to Scene of Their Crimes, "Buchanan Jumps GOP Ship," "Services-based Economy Means Cheaper Labor,"  Truth in Media Statement on the Kosovo War, "Wither Dayton, Sprout New War?", "On the Brink of Madness", "Tragic Deja Vu's," "Seven U.S. Senators Suggest Ouster of Milosevic", "Biting the Hand That Feeds You", "A Balkan Affairs Potpourri", "Put the U.N. Justice on Trial", "International Justice 'Progresses' from Kidnapping to Murder", "Milosevic: 'A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery'...", "Kosovo Lie Allowed to Stand", "New World Order's Inquisition in Bosnia", "Kosovo Heating Up""Decani Monastery Under Siege?", "Murder on Wall Street""Kosovo: 'Bosnia II', Serbia's Aztlan""What If the Shoe Were on the Other Foot?", "Serb WW II General Exhonerated by British Archives," "Green Interstate - Not Worth American Lives", "An American Hero or Actor of the Year?" (A June '95 TiM story) and/or "Clinton arme secrètement les musulmans bosniaques", "Kocevje: Tito's Greatest Crime?", "Perfidious Albion Strikes Again, Aided by Uncle Sam", "Lift the Sanctions, Now!" (1993)

Or Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns: "Chinese Dragon Wagging Macedonian Tail,"  "An Ugly Double Standard in Kosovo Conflict?", "NATO's Bullyboys", "Kosovo: Why Are We Involved?", and "Ginning Up Another Crisis"

Or Djurdjevic's NEW DAWN magazine columns: "Washington's Crisis Factory,"  and "A New Iron Curtain Over Europe"