NHNE Y2K Report 4
Sunday, November 29, 1998
& Consumer Protection
for Spiritual Seekers"
NHNE Y2K Report 4
Sunday, November 29, 1998
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AN EXTRAORDINARY OPPORTUNITY
"The Y2K bug provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to ask ourselves
the profound questions which have been buried by our wealth and our
technology. It is a time for us to ask what we really value and how
we can preserve the ecological systems on which all life depends. It
is a wonderful time to be alive."
--- Robert Theobald, economist and futurist
U.S. Banks Raise Estimates for Y2K Costs
Flaws Found in Y2K Conversions
Good News in Springfield
Company Sued for Failing to Fix Millennium Bug
To the Ramparts!
747 Jet Has 16,000 Chips
Comdex & The Bug
U.S. Savings Rate Goes Negative
FROM THE FOUNDER & PUBLISHER:
Have We Overreacted?
Y2K Informant Site Debuts
Real-World Contingency Plans
U.S. Government Gets A "D"...Again
Y2K Failure Rate Predictions
Computer Manufacturers Fail Y2K Compliance Test
The Vulnerability of "Fractional Reserve Banking"
"Digital Titanic" Could Sink Stock Investors
FDIC Creates Black Hole
Water Treatment Facilities in Trouble
Utility Back-up Plan Important
Poll: Where Is Y2K?
Concern Over Year 2000 Films
Does Gary North Have A Hidden Agenda?
I Am Because We Are
The Five Stages of Y2K Awareness
Nine Questions for Public Officials
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF Y2K:
Y2K Joke Contest
The Real Doomsday Scenario
U.S. BANKS RAISE ESTIMATES FOR Y2K COSTS
(Sources: Y2KSUPPLY.COM, 11/19/98; Rick Brooks, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
via MSNBC, 11/19/98)
The cost of upgrading computers to cope with the Year 2000 bug is proving
to be much higher for U.S. banks than expected. Here are the increases
(in millions) among six of the largest banks in the U.S. as recorded
in recent quarterly reports to THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
(previous estimate in brackets): BANK ONE, $350 ($315); BANKAMERICA,
$550 ($500); BANKERS TRUST, $260-220 ($180-230); CHASE MANHATTAN, $363
($300); J.P. MORGAN, $300 ($250); WELLS FARGO, $300 ($273). Some analysts
say that part of the reason the cost has risen is that banks have underestimated
the sheer size of the problem. Some Y2K repair programmers are making
$400/hour as desperate managers attempt to put out Y2K fires by smothering
them with dollar bills. BankAmerica, for instance, has identified nearly
24,000 separate business operations that may need to be fixed. In addition,
banks not only have to reprogram their own computers, they have to make
sure many of their corporate clients are addressing the problem. Regulators
have been pressing banks for months to assess the potential credit risk
of borrowers who aren't prepared. (JG)
FLAWS FOUND IN Y2K CONVERSIONS
(Source: Christopher Price and Avi Machlis, FINANCIAL TIMES/THE JOURNAL
11/20/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
Checks by some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. and Europe have
revealed serious flaws in systems already rendered Y2K compliant. For
example, UNISYS, the U.S. computer systems and services group, has uncovered
problems with more than 20 of Britain's top 100 listed companies. "Some
of the issues we found would have taken their systems down," said David
Palmester, Year 2000 Program Manager. "The quality of testing they have
undertaken is very worrying." CRYSTAL SYSTEMS SOLUTIONS, an Israeli
information technology group, confirmed, "In several cases we found
date issues were either missed, not converted or converted wrongly....One
mistake in one program can cause a major problem to a business." The
emergence of evidence that much Y2K compliance work already undertaken
may not have solved the problems adds further concern to governments
attempting to contain the situation. (JG)
GOOD NEWS IN SPRINGFIELD
(Source: Y2KSUPPLY.COM, 11/20/98)
City Utilities (CU) has just completed a successful 10-day test of its
Y2K readiness at its Southwest Power Station in Springfield, Missouri.
125 major components were examined and tested to verify they will function
properly when the clock rolls over to the new century. While a few minor
problems were identified, the testing indicated that the combustion
and turbine control systems should continue to work correctly. The tests
were performed by an outside contractor. The report was accompanied
by the following disclaimer from CU: "We have taken responsible steps,
at great cost, in fulfillment of our commitment to provide excellent
service without disruption on January 1, 2000, and beyond....In spite
of all our efforts, City Utilities depends on goods and services supplied
by others and since potential Y2K problems are complicated and widespread,
CU cannot guarantee there will be no disruption due to the Year 2000
COMPANY SUED FOR FAILING TO FIX MILLENNIUM BUG
(Source: Stan Bailey, BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 11/19/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
In what is the first of its kind in Alabama, a computer services company
has been sued for failing to get rid of the millennium bug. In filing
the suit against EQUITRAC CORP., Montgomery lawyer Jere Beasley commented,
"We have filed this lawsuit...to make sure that these corporations don't
try to use the Year 2000 problem to profit from their mistakes at the
expense of small businesses and consumers." Equitrac failed to honor
its maintenance agreement with a number of Alabama companies and has
refused to correct the Y2K problem without additional fees, the suit
TO THE RAMPARTS!
(Source: Thomas Hoffman, COMPUTERWORLD, 11/23/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
Increasingly, companies like SEARS and PRUDENTIAL are establishing Y2K
"war rooms" to track company progress in such areas as testing and supplier
readiness. In some cases, the war rooms, furnished with videoconferencing
equipment and computer-generated maps, will also help project teams
monitor regional power outages and other localized operations. Sears
has experience with "command centers," which they use during the Christmas
season each year; but their Y2K operation will last over a year, complete
with walkie-talkies in case the phones go out. Prudential's Y2K director
Irene Dec had planned to spend the rollover period in the Caribbean,
but will now instead remain in Prudential's operations command center
in New Jersey to monitor the company's millennium rollover. (JG)
747 JET HAS 16,000 CHIPS
(Source: Ed Meagher, Y2KTODAY, 11/16/98 via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND
At the Y2K GLOBAL SUMMIT in London in October, the Y2K director for
a major international airline spoke about how complex and costly it
was to retrofit their fleet of aircraft. However, he assured everyone
his fleet would be Y2K ready or they wouldn't fly. In an off-hand remark,
he happened to mention that there was a significant variation in chip
configurations and software versions between individual aircraft, even
those of the same model and vintage. They also said that, due to the
fact that no two planes are built exactly alike, there cannot be a cookie-cutter
approach to the Y2K fix -- each aircraft has to be dealt with as a separate
system. For the record, a Boeing 747-400 jet, which takes almost a year
to build at a cost of well over $100 million, has over 16,000 embedded
COMDEX & THE BUG
(Source: MSNBC, 11/17/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
"Y2K won't be the end of the world," is the word at this year's COMDEX
in Las Vegas, billed as the largest computer trade show in the world.
According to an MSNBC reporter who conducted an informal poll, the general
attitude of people in the know about computers is: "Management realizes
it has to be done. We're working on it. It'll be done. We're not too
U.S. SAVINGS RATE GOES NEGATIVE
(Source: REUTERS, 11/2/98)
For the first time in 65 years, the savings rate of U.S. consumers plunged
to a negative level, as Americans spent heartily despite only modest
growth in their paychecks. The U.S. COMMERCE DEPARTMENT reported that
while U.S. personal spending jumped 0.5 percent in September, the savings
rate -- that portion of after-tax dollars left over after spending --
fell to -0.2 percent -- the first negative monthly savings rate since
the department began reporting the figures on a monthly basis. Responding
to the news, Gary North, Y2K analyst, predicted: "Next year, a Y2K panic
will force massive reductions in personal thrift, i.e., investments
in electronic promises to pay. Money will start chasing durable goods
that will provide safety in a breakdown." (JG)
FROM THE FOUNDER & PUBLISHER:
HAVE WE OVERREACTED?
[The ONLINE NOETIC NETWORK (ONN) recently ran a series of articles
and letters on Y2K. Joel Metzger, the creator of ONN, wondered aloud
if Y2K was being blown out of proportion by the same "New Age fringe
crowd" that had over-dramatized various world-shaking events in the
past that came to nothing. Since NHNE has tracked and debunked many
such sources, I thought it might be helpful to explain to the ONN readership
how and why NHNE is taking Y2K so seriously. What follows are excerpts
from my letter. DS]
This past July, NHNE published a special report entitled "The Millennium
Time Bomb." Personally, I expected the Y2K "scare" to be just another
apocalyptic scenario with no basis in reality. However, once we began
to seriously investigate it, we were stunned to discover just how serious
the problem was and how many mainstream, credible sources were sounding
In response to the Y2K threat, we immediately put our normal work on
hold and turned all of our time, attention and resources to tracking,
reporting on, and helping inform and prepare our readership (now 1,200
people strong). We organized a team of researchers to track Y2K issues
online, created a "best of the best" Y2K website to database the most
accurate and credible information we came across, and then began organizing
our local community of Sedona, Arizona. In the meantime, we have been
busy building alliances with others on and offline who have been aggressively
tracking Y2K, are publishing this weekly online Y2K report, and are
about to launch a weekly television program that will be broadcast locally
and distributed to interested members of our mailing list.
There are two reasons why we have directed so much of our attention
to Y2K: we want to be sure our network of like-minded seekers have the
information and resources they need to make a graceful passage through
whatever mischief Y2K causes; we feel that the Y2K crisis is a significant
part of the personal and collective transformation process that many
of us have long sensed and have been attempting to respond to.
Many of the more radical elements we've been tracking, believe that
Y2K is going to be the end of the world as we know it. While mainstream
sources don't go this far, they are concerned about the volatile combination
of forces that are converging on the Year 2000 and being energized by
I think we are going to need all the wisdom, insight, resources, and
support we can get to navigate the turbulent rapids ahead. Y2K may well
be the line that marks the end of one age and the beginning of another,
and provides those of us who are interested with the opportunity to
calm fears and chart new courses of thought and action.
With Love & Best Wishes,
Y2K INFORMANT SITE DEBUTS
(Source: Y2K WIRE, 11/5/98)
LANTUS SYSTEMS has announced the launch of Y2K INFORMANT, an extensive
resource center for businesses and concerned individuals seeking Year
2000 news, information, and corporate-preparedness reports. Besides
the extensive amount of free Year 2000 information offered on the site,
Y2K Informant provides four subscription-based, Year 2000 News and Report
products (Acrobat Reader is required). These products range from a database
product containing corporate Year 2000 preparedness reports ($495 a
year) to a Year 2000 news and opinions guide ($5.95 a year). (JG)
(Source: THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)
With more than 70 titles, the YEAR2000.COM BOOK STORE is a good source
of the latest Year 2000 books. The best-sellers for October are:
1. "The Y2K Personal Survival Plan Handbook 1," Michael Annis
1. (tie) "Time Bomb 2000; What the Year 2000 Computer Crisis Means to
You!" Edward & Jennifer Yourdon
3. "Finding and Fixing Your Year 2000 Problem," Jesse Feiler
4. "Y2K The Millennium Bug: A Balanced Christian Approach," Shaunti
Many of the in-stock books in the Year2000.com Book Store are offered
at 20 percent off through an association with AMAZON.COM.
If you would like to support NHNE, you can order the above books (and
others like them) through our Amazon.com link:
NHNE Amazon.com Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect-home/newheavenneweart
Year2000.com Link: http://www.year2000.com/y2kbooks.html
REAL-WORLD CONTINGENCY PLAN
(Source: Y2KSUPPLY.COM, 11/19/98)
Here's a free contingency plan for the real world from the folks at
Y2KNEWSWIRE.COM. If you want a rational approach to getting prepared
for Y2K, follow the "Minimum Plan." If you think Y2K is the end of the
world, then the "Worst Case Plan" would be more to your liking.
U.S. GOVERNMENT GETS A "D"...AGAIN
(Source: Jim Abrams, ASSOCIATED PRESS/DETROIT NEWS, 11/23/98 via SANGER'S
REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.), Chairman of the HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON
GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT, INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY, has given the U.S.
federal government a "D" for its overall progress in fighting the millennium
bug. "The picture is a gloomy one," said Rep. Horn, as he warned of
possible breakdowns in the Medicare payments system, electrical blackouts
and telecommunications havoc if the problem isn't fixed. The overall
rating is the same he gave the government in August.
Here are a sampling of grades for specific government departments:
Small Business Administration: A Social Security Administration: A National
Science Foundation: A Defense Department: D- Department of Justice:
F Department of Energy: F Health and Human Services: F Department of
Not only are these grades very bad, they are also based on self reporting
and not independently verified. Despite the possibility that certain
departments could have painted a rosier picture than was in fact the
case, Horn noted that at its current rate, the Department of State would
not have all its systems fixed until 2034.
White House point man, John Koskinen of THE YEAR 2000 COUNCIL, countered
the bad news by saying that federal agencies are now making significant
strides and major systems should be "on track" by the end of 1999. He
said the real problem is with local governments, small companies and
foreign countries "that are at square one." (JG)
Rep. Horn's Report: http://www.house.gov/reform/gmit/y2k/index.htm
Y2K FAILURE RATE PREDICTIONS
(Sources: David Legard, ONLINE NEWS, 11/12/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF
Y2K NEWS REPORTS; Original Report published 10/7/98)
The GARTNERGROUP has released a new batch of failure-rate predictions:
- Level 1 (15 percent): Australia, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Denmark,
Holland, Ireland, Israel, Switzerland, Sweden, U.K., U.S.
- Level 2 (33 percent): Brazil, Chile, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy,
Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea,
- Level 3 (50 percent): Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, Colombia,
Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, Guatemala, India, Japan, Jordan, Kenya,
Kuwait, Malaysia, North Korea, Poland, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, South
Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Yugoslavia.
- Level 4 (66 percent): Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia,
Chad, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Indonesia,
Kenya, Laos, Lithuania, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan,
Philippines, Romania, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, Thailand, Uruguay, Vietnam,
- Level 1 (15 percent): Insurance, Investment services, Banking, Pharmaceuticals,
- Level 2 (33 percent): Heavy Equipment, Aerospace, Medical Equipment,
Software, Semiconductors, Telecom, Retail, Discrete Manufacturing, Publishing,
- Level 3 (50 percent): Chemical Processing, Transportation, Power,
Natural Gas, Water, Oil, Law Practices, Medical Practices, Construction,
Transportation, Pulp & Paper, Ocean Shipping, Hospitality, Broadcast
News, Television, Law Enforcement
- Level 4 (66 percent): Education, Healthcare, Government Agencies,
Farming & Agriculture, Food processing, Municipal Services.
Overall, Gartner believes that the Year 2000 problem won't cause the
global business meltdown that some analysts had earlier predicted, but
that it will cause a negative impact on the world economy that will
be felt for three to five years. One hopeful sign is that Year 2000-prepared
banks and large multinationals are beginning to put pressure on their
smaller business partners to become compliant, even to the extent of
removing them from preferred supplier lists if they don't comply. (JG)
Original GartnerGroup Report: http://gartner11.gartnerweb.com/public/static/aboutgg/pressrel/testimony
COMPUTER MANUFACTURERS FAIL Y2K COMPLIANCE TEST
(Source: Andreas Uiterwijk, FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK, 11/16/98 via Y2KSUPPLY.COM)
The issue of PC Year 2000 compliance is a sticky one. The PRESIDENT'S
COUNCIL ON YEAR 2000 CONVERSION doesn't specify whether a PC needs to
have a compliant BIOS or Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor/Real
Time Clock (CMOS/RTC); all it says is that the PC must "accurately process
date/time data...from, into and between the 20th and 21st centuries
and the years 1999 and 2000 and leap year calculations."
In a move that's sure to surprise Y2K skeptics who think all computers
purchased since 1995 should be Y2K-OK, FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK recently
conducted Year 2000 compliance tests on brand new 450 MHz Pentium II
PCs, and found that "the systems from COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP., MICRON
ELECTRONICS INC., HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. and GATEWAY INC. failed the CMOS/RTC
test." (Systems from INTERGRAPH FEDERAL SYSTEMS and SMAC DATA SYSTEMS
INC. passed all tests.)
CMOS runs the RTC, which gives time and date information to the BIOS.
The BIOS is a set of routines stored on a chip that handles all input
and output functions. Most motherboard CMOS chips are based on a 1984
IBM Corp. AT specification, which allowed for a 99-year calendar clock.
This two-digit calendar is the culprit causing PCs to fail more demanding
Year 2000 compliance tests. When the CMOS/RTC reaches Year 99, it rolls
over to "00." This makes the computer believe it's 1900 and not 2000.
However, in most newer PCs the BIOS has been programmed to automatically
convert a "00" date to a 2000 date where appropriate. Because most software
programs make calls to the system BIOS to get time and date information,
this fix will solve the Year 2000 problem for most users. However, some
applications get their time and date information directly from the computer's
CMOS/RTC. These programs will fail unless the CMOS/RTC has been updated
for Year 2000 compliance.
The implication of state-of-the art brand name computers failing the
Y2K compliance tests is staggering. If you are in the market for a new
PC, you should consider the systems that passed the more stringent CMOS/RTC
tests. Also, be sure to ask your PC vendor whether they support a four-digit
clock in the CMOS/RTC, rather than a two-digit clock. (JG)
THE VULNERABILITY OF "FRACTIONAL RESERVE BANKING"
(Source: Y2KSUPPLY.COM, 11/23/98, 11/20/98)
The American banking industry is now running public-relations advertisements
in an attempt to convince people that "bankers are good." However, the
ads fail to mention the one problem common to all banks: your money
simply isn't there. For this reason, most people familiar with Y2K and
the details of fractional reserve banking are planning on taking out
two weeks' to a month's worth of cash. This worries bankers -- if enough
people demand their cash, the banks will be unable to comply.
In the past, this wouldn't have been a problem since banks kept a much
larger reserve ratio in their vaults -- over 20 percent at times. That
way, they dramatically reduced the risk of bank runs. But today's banks
are far more aggressive, shaving reserves down to 1.25 percent so that
more money can be loaned out and invested in highly-leveraged derivatives.
It's no surprise that many in the banking industry are urging depositors
to not demand their own money.
Ignoring Year 2000 warnings could be very bad for the banking business.
"If we can't do wire transfers, if we can't process checks, if we can't
open our vault doors, if we can't issue loans, it would basically stop
business as a whole," said Becky Manning, Vice President and Director
of Marketing/Business Development for EAST COUNTY BANK. Not only that:
Bank vaults might not open if their computer-controlled locks don't
recognize the new year, which means people won't be able to get to safety
deposit boxes and banks will run out of cash to give customers. The
Y2K glitch also could result in miscalculations of interest and payments
owed on loans and mortgages.
Y2KNEWSWIRE believes in requiring banks to act responsibly; i.e. printing
more cash and increasing their level of reserves to a minimum level
of 5 percent. Wonder what should you do with your money? Y2KNEWSWIRE
suggests you fill out their petition, look at their real-world contingency
plan and decide for yourself. (JG)
Y2KNEWSWIRE petition: http://www.y2knewswire.com/bankpetition.htm
Y2KNEWSWIRE contingency plan: http://www.y2knewswire.com/plan.htm
"DIGITAL TITANIC" COULD SINK STOCK INVESTORS
(Source: Jonathan Chevreau, NATIONAL POST, 11/4/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW
OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
Mutual fund managers are only now waking up to the potential effect
of Y2K on equity investments. Perhaps because Y2K seems so absurdly
trivial, many mutual fund managers and financial advisors have dismissed
it as of no consequence. However, the BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL SETTLEMENTS
has declared Y2K "potentially the biggest challenge ever faced by the
financial industry." Wayne Lang, an investment analyst with the EQUION
GROUP and self-described "worried optimist," has been studying the problem
and has devised a radical plan to overhaul both his own and his clients'
portfolios. It consists of five stages involving diminished stock market
exposure and increasing liquidity depending on the behavior of the market:
- Defense Level 1: moving from 100 percent pure equity funds to primarily
- Defense Level 2: 40 percent bonds and the rest in balanced funds.
- Defense Level 3: a mix of 60 percent bonds and 40 percent balanced
- Defense Level 4: moving entirely to treasury bills and bonds.
- Defense Level 5: desperate measures that he feels will probably not
In June, Ed Yardeni, chief economist for New York-based DEUTSCHE BANK
SECURITIES has predicted a 70 percent probability of a "deflationary
recession" saying, "The stock market is going to figure this thing out."
Like Mr. Lang, Mr. Yardeni puts his emphasis on cash and bonds. Because
institutional investors must always be invested in stocks, his allocation
for pension plans is 50 percent stock, 40 percent bonds and 10 percent
cash. But for individual investors, Mr. Yardeni suggests a far more
defensive 25 percent cash, 40 percent bonds, 15 percent stocks and 20
percent in speculative investments, including hedges.
The small investor still seems oblivious to the Y2K threat, based on
the mid-October buying frenzy sparked by the second consecutive 0.25
percent drop in interest rates. Even so, comparisons to 1929 are becoming
more frequent in financial circles. The big difference is that, in the
case of Y2K, the deadline is immovable.
The urgency was underscored by the CANADIAN SECURITIES ADMINISTRATORS,
which held a 'summit' for capital markets participants in October. For
the first time, the ONTARIO SECURITIES COMMISSION (OSC) has invoked
the Securities Act to create a "National Instrument" on Y2K that sets
quarterly deadlines for all securities firms to report their progress
in testing their Y2K systems. The OSC warns "there is a substantial
risk of material harm to investors and the integrity of the capital
Investors hate uncertainty and that makes a still-overvalued stock market
a dangerously risky proposition. By 1999, saturation media coverage
of this issue will make investors more nervous still. This is hardly
needed with a fragile global economy already on tenterhooks over the
Asian crisis, the depression in Japan and the U.S. hedge fund panic.
It's clear that governments are torn between the need to create a sense
of urgency and their reluctance to trigger a panic. In this context,
it's fascinating to reflect that Mr. Greenspan, who can trigger stock
market routs or rallies with a single sentence, is intimately familiar
with the problem: in the '60s, he was one of the computer programmers
who helped create the problem in the first place. (JG)
FDIC CREATES BLACK HOLE
(Source: Spencer Ante, WIRED NEWS DAILY, 11/20/98, thanks to Bruce Fraser)
Stan Callahan, Y2K Project Manager for the AMARILLO NATIONAL BANK (ANB),
says he should have thought twice before filling out the Year 2000 survey.
ANB was the only bank in Amarillo, Texas, that responded to the Y2K
readiness questionnaire, and for their efforts was rewarded with a "low"
level of progress -- one of only 54 banks to receive such a rating out
of 1,500 nationwide. The survey was conducted by WEISS, a Florida-based
financial ratings firm, which gave "low" ratings to banks that reported
that 25 percent or less of their systems were Y2K compliant on June
30, 1998. However, no ratings were assigned to banks which didn't respond.
"We got a bum rap," complains Callahan, who says his bank is well on
its way to preparing its computers for the Year 2000.
This issue raises one of the most difficult aspects of the Year 2000
problem: current government regulations prohibit savings associations
from releasing the federal Year 2000 ratings of banks -- ratings based
on a thorough audit by an independent FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION
(FDIC) examiner. The FDIC has concerns that if the ratings are made
public, "uninformed users...may place undue reliance on them or misinterpret
them." Critics say that smacks of paternalism, and that the real rationale
for the ban is that a low government rating could put a bank out of
business. The prohibition creates a black hole that is often filled
with biased information such as the Weiss report.
In lieu of the federal Y2K grades, regulators are encouraging banks
to go directly to the public with information on the status of their
Y2K remediation efforts. Additional Y2K information can be found through
the SECURITY AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION's Year 2000 disclosure requirements
for publicly-traded companies. (JG)
WATER TREATMENT FACILITIES IN TROUBLE
(Source: Y2KSUPPLY.COM, 11/19/98)
Keeping in mind that most "self-reported" survey results paint a more
optimistic picture than is usually justified, read some of the results
of a new survey by the AMERICAN WATER WORKS ASSOCIATION:
- 97 percent of water treatment facilities use computers. - 36 percent
have no formal plans for addressing Y2K. - 42 percent have not even
finished their Y2K assessment stage. - 78 percent have not completed
Year 2000 remediation efforts. - 25 percent said they didn't need to
modify anything. - 74 percent have not assessed the Y2K compliance of
their suppliers. - 77 percent have no contingency plans.
According to Y2KSUPPLY.COM analysts, the results indicate a shocking
lack of seriousness on Year 2000 issues. When 77 percent of water utilities
have no contingency plans, 78 percent haven't completed repairs, and
36 percent have no plans whatsoever, you have a problem on your hands.
Water is essential to life. Without water, a city will crumble into
an urban poverty zone within days. (JG)
UTILITY BACK-UP PLAN IMPORTANT
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS, 10/28/98 via Y2KTODAY)
In October, representatives of utilities from across Iowa were told
by the IOWA UTILITIES BOARD that utility companies which have made their
systems Y2K compliant still have to plan for troubles from systems over
which they have no control. For example, a phone company has to make
sure it has electricity; an electric company may have gas heat; a gas
company may use phone lines to monitor delivery. Time is running out
says Iowa Utilities Board Chairman Allan Thoms: "We can't wait. We can't
grant you an extension in this process. We can't give you another week."
The problem is complicated by the fact that while a utility can check
all of its own systems, a test that includes suppliers' systems is next
to impossible. For example, an electric company and phone company cannot
run simultaneous tests, so they will not know for sure until midnight
on December 31, 1999, how everything will work out.
"We're probably going to have to go into this with pieces tested but
not all...at the same time," says Bob Newell of the NORTH AMERICAN ELECTRIC
RELIABILITY COUNCIL. "We can't get assurances from our vendors that
everything is fixed, and test everything in every mode possible." JG)
POLL: WHERE IS Y2K?
(Source: BUSINESS WIRE,11/16/98 via SANGER'S REVIEW OF Y2K NEWS REPORTS)
In a recent online poll, DELL COMPUTER CORPORATION asked 1,000 information
technology (IT) professionals which IT issues kept them awake at night.
Here are their top three reasons for insomnia:
1. Increasing complexity and loss of accountability in service and support.
2. Internet privacy and security issues. (27 percent)
3. Ever-increasing demands of network bandwidth. (25 percent)
And where is Y2K? A distant eleventh place (20 percent)! [Now there's
a reason to stay awake at night! JG]
CONCERN OVER YEAR 2000 FILMS
(Source: COMPUTER WEEKLY NEWS, 11/19/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION
CENTER; THE SUNDAY TIMES, 11/22/98)
Year 2000 experts are worried that films based on the millennium bug
will cause widespread panic across the world. According to Y2K analyst
Gary North, "It's almost like showing the original 'Airport' movies...on
a plane you...know will have serious mechanical failure problems..."
But Stu Zicherman, a Hollywood screenwriter, argues that the millennium
bug has all the ingredients to make a great suspense film: "This is
the greatest ticking clock ever...one of the few deadlines in the history
of the world that you can't push back."
There are a number of Y2K movies currently in the Hollywood pipeline.
For example, WARNER BROS. "Y2K - The Movie," slated for release by the
fall of 1999, features Hollywood star Chris O'Donnell (Robin from "Batman")
as a computer programmer who discovers dangerous information while working
on a corporation's software as the millennium deadline approaches. Canadian
Year-2000 guru, Peter de Jager, who is assisting in the production,
claims the film company is acting "responsibly" towards the bug: "This
is not an Armageddon-type film."
But, de Jager describes other film studios which depict the problem
being solved in one evening by a single "magic bullet", as worrying.
He fears the media, which he claims has paid little attention to the
Year 2000 bug before, will pick up on the movies and trigger a panic.
One studio is working on a script involving a Boeing 747 with system
failure crashing into the Empire State Building. (JG)
DOES GARY NORTH HAVE A HIDDEN AGENDA?
By James Gregory
Gary North is one of the best-known Y2K analysts, making speeches around
the country and publishing his doomsday commentaries on a popular website
called "Gary North's Y2K Links and Forums." The core of his message
is: "The Year 2000 will bring fear and panic. You have 400 days to store
food, fuel and cash." To support this belief, North makes the following
argument: Computers run the world's infrastructure which includes phone
networks, electrical power, banking and the military. When 2000 gets
here, Y2K will cause the computers to shut down or malfunction, in turn
causing worldwide economic collapse and chaos.
What North fails to mention on his Y2K website is anything about his
religious ideology -- "Christian Reconstructionism" -- which he defines
in his book "Backward Christian Soldiers" as "a recently-articulated
philosophy which argues that it is the moral obligation of Christians
to recapture every institution for Jesus Christ." In short, he calls
for the end of democratic pluralism and the rise of a church-run state.
North predicts that Y2K will result in the collapse of the federal government,
forcing power to return to the local level. Churches and volunteer organizations
will respond by filling the gaps.
Since 1974, North has also published newsletters to disseminate his
far-right Christian beliefs. In them, he promotes "Christian Economics"
and has often predicted the end of civilization. North makes his position
very clear in the following edited selections taken from his most recent
issue of the INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN ECONOMICS (ICE) newsletter:
"The most widespread crisis of all now threatens us: It adds up the
judgment matching the sins of the era, beginning with legalized abortion:
35 to 50 billion a year, worldwide. 'Therefore saith the Lord, the mighty
One of Israel: I will avenge me of mine enemies. And I will turn my
hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross. Zion shall be redeemed
with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.' (Isaiah 1:24-27)"
"There are probably a larger percentage of dedicated Christians who
see the implications of Y2K than we find in the general population:
possibly 1 percent as compared to .01 percent. The magnitude of the
coming collapse will give the churches an advantage: they can explain
what happened in terms of meaning in history, i.e., the covenantal judgment
of God (Deut. 8:17-20)."
"Christian activists must do their best to pin the tail of total responsibility
for this failure on the humanists. They deserve it. They have occupied
the seats of power. They promised wealth for all. They promised that
men could become rich without thanking God or obeying His law. They
promised greater per capita wealth by killing babies. If Y2K hits with
the force that I think it will, it will be payback time. The best way
to pay back power religionists is to remove power from them. They belong
in the back of the bus. It's God's bus."
"I have a solution. But to provide it, I must restructure ICE's ministry.
I believe in my Y2K scenario enough to shut down ICE's book publishing
operation, which has been the main reason for ICE's existence since
1980. ICE will publish just two more books: 'Inheritance and Dominion:
An Economic Commentary on Deuteronomy,' and 'The Gospel of Covenantal
Wealth: An Economic Commentary on Matthew.' I do this not to bury ICE,
but to save it. It is time for the plant to die, so that the seeds might
live. This is deed evangelism."
"It is during the rebuilding phase that [ICE's books] will prove
useful to survivors who have decided that Christians must get to the
front of the bus next time, preferably behind the driver's wheel. No
matter how bad things get, the survivors will want schools for their
children. That's where Christian Reconstructionists have a huge advantage.
We are not afraid to say that Christianity must structure every institution,
including education. At that time, Christians must replace today's teachers,
in every school, in every field. ICE's books are ideal for high school
"Join the Reconstruction Committee. Buy some books. Prepare for exercising
leadership the future. If not you, then who? If not the Bible, then
While North's strong religious views have caused many to question his
objectivity concerning Y2K, North is still widely regarded as one of
the best, most-informed sources of Y2K information on the Net (as it
evidenced by how many stories in the NHNE Y2K Report trace back to North's
website). Writes Y2K author, speaker, and Westergaard Columnist Jim
Lord: "Gary North...has done more to raise awareness of the Year 2000
Computing Crisis than any other Y2K maven. For 'Y2K Maniacs,' his website
(www.garynorth.com) is one of the two or three 'must visit daily' locations
on the Internet."
(Source: Gary North, INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN ECONOMICS, 11/6/98)
I AM BECAUSE WE ARE
(Source: Eric Utne, UTNE Y2K ACTION GUIDE, via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS
[The next three articles are taken from the Y2K ACTION GUIDE published
by the UTNE READER -- an outstanding and well-balanced analysis of Y2K
issues. We at NHNE strongly recommend that you visit the Table of Contents
at <http://www.utne.com/y2k/> and read through all the full-length
By the time you read this there will be little more than a year to prepare
for what I have come to believe will be the social equivalent of a worldwide
earthquake. The exact date and time of this earthquake is already known
-- the stroke of midnight, December 31, 1999. What we don't know is
where the earthquake will fall on the Richter scale. Will it just be
a little hiccup, barely noticeable as the world wakes up on the morning
of January 1, 2000, as some knowledgeable people of goodwill predict?
Or will it be cataclysmic, causing genuine hardship to millions around
the world, as increasing numbers of others are now saying?
We have come to believe those who say that the world's energy, transportation,
food, banking and communications systems, and other basic infrastructure
are so thoroughly dependent on interlinked computer networks and embedded
computer chips that there is no way we can fix all of them in time to
avoid some disruption. We hope they are wrong, and that we look foolish
when Y2K passes.
NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO reported in October 1998 that a Harris Poll of
Silicon Valley computer programmers and engineers found that over 60
percent of them anticipate "serious impacts" as a result of Y2K, 62
percent will avoid air travel at the turn of the century; 20 percent
of them plan to withdraw ALL their money from their savings accounts;
and one in 12 plans to move to safer quarters before January 1, 2000.
On October 15, 1998, The NEW YORK TIMES reported that "10 percent of
the nation's top executives are stockpiling canned goods, buying generators
and even purchasing hand guns," because they are concerned that "the
nation's computer infrastructure will go on the fritz." Senator Robert
Bennett, Chairman of the Senate's SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON THE YEAR 2000
PROBLEM, said recently, "It's clear we can't solve the whole problem.
Pay attention to the things that are vulnerable in your life and make
As we prepare for Y2K, something surprising and unexpected and quite
wonderful is going to happen....Possibly for the first time in our lives,
we will begin to know what it means to live in real community....Y2K
is the excuse we've been waiting for to stop making so many compromises
in how we know we should, and want to, live our lives. Y2K is our opportunity
to stop our polluting and wasteful practices, and start living more
sustainable, environmentally-friendly lives. Y2K...can lead to discussions
that begin to knit webs of affiliation, care, and mutual support. Y2K
can bring a family feeling throughout the community.
Perhaps, through the conversations started among neighbors because of
Y2K, some day our children will come to know the experience of community
conveyed by this common phrase of the Xhosa people of southern Africa:
"I am because WE are." (JG)
THE FIVE STAGES OF Y2K AWARENESS
(Source: Gordon Davidson & Corinne McLaughlin, UTNE Y2K ACTION GUIDE,
via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)
Just as people go through distinct psychological stages upon learning
that they have a terminal illness, Gordon Davidson and Corinne McLaughlin
have identified different stages when people try to come to terms with
1. Denial: "How bad can it be? I don't even use a computer!"
2. Anger: "How did they get us into this mess? What else aren't they
3. Fear: "I've got to stock up!"
4. Depression/Panic: "There's nothing I can do to adequately prepare.
5. Acceptance/Cooperation: "It's going to happen. What can we do as
a community to make the best of it?"
It is essential that people become informed about Y2K as rapidly as
possible. This gives them time to work through the psychological process
and reach the stage of acceptance needed to work together, share resources,
and build a stable society. Businesses also need time to gear up to
meet new demands for canned goods, wood stoves, bottled water and other
People are not waiting for political leaders to take action. Over a
hundred community preparedness groups, along with churches, foundations
and other organizations, have already sprung up around the country to
prepare their communities for the likely impact of widespread systemic
disruptions. Those who have been working their entire lives for political,
social and cultural change realize Y2K's potential for transformation;
a common response among this group is: "This is what I came here for."
Even if there are breakdowns in infrastructure, the seeds that are being
planted are likely to see exponential growth. As people develop new
ways to organize themselves, mobilize their personal resources and contribute
to community-preparedness efforts, they will feel more confident that
they can survive this Y2K crisis, and perhaps even flourish. (JG)
9 QUESTIONS FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS
(Source: Tom Atlee, Gordon Davidson & Margo King, UTNE Y2K ACTION
GUIDE, via GARY NORTH'S Y2K LINKS AND FORUMS)
Politicians and officials at all levels need to be educated about what
has to be done to prepare for potential Year 2000 disruptions. UTNE
MAGAZINE's "Y2K Action Guide" offers the following questions to raise
the profile of Y2K in political dialogue:
1. What will you do to make it easier for citizens to get real information
about how companies, utilities and agencies are doing in their preparations
2. What will you do to prevent widespread panic and dangerous runs on
banks and stores, without impeding people's ability to prepare for Y2K?
3. What could you do to make sure that small businesses are well prepared?
4. What will you do to ensure that electricity does not fail in January
5. What would you do to ease racial and class differences during the
period of intense stress associated with Y2K?
6. What do you propose to do to protect the environment from Y2K-related
7. What would you do to ensure we have adequate health care in January
8. What will you do to get the media to give us the useful information,
inspirational stories and good guidance we need to get our communities
ready for the Year 2000?
9. What will you do to ensure that the basic, vital infrastructure we
all depend on will continue to function well come the Year 2000?
Utne urges its readers to use these questions and share them with others
in order to trigger community-oriented public dialogue and public policy
on Y2K. (JG)
THE LIGHTER SIDE
Y2K JOKE CONTEST
(Source: COMPUTER WEEKLY, 11/19/98 via THE YEAR 2000 INFORMATION CENTER)
Year 2000 expert, Peter de Jager is running a competition to find the
funniest Year 2000 joke. Here is a sample of some of the entries he's
received so far:
Q: How many Year 2000 programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None! It's not broken yet.
Q: What would be the ultimate revenge against Al Gore's inaction on
the Year 2000? A: Electing him.
Q: How do you convince managers the Year 2000 is a risk? A: Give them
$1,000 and have them bet on "00" at a roulette table.
Think you can you do better? Send your entries to "email@example.com".
First prize is a donation of $2,500 to the charity of your choice; there
are two $1,000 second prizes, and three $500 third prizes as well. (JG)
THE REAL DOOMSDAY SCENARIO
(Source: Charlotte Raven, THE U.K. GUARDIAN, 11/19/98 via THE YEAR 2000
"How serious is the threat presented by [the millennium bug]?"
wonders Charlotte Raven, columnist for the U.K. GUARDIAN. Here are some
comments from her recent article in the GUARDIAN:
"On one hand, there's the doomsday scenario: the clock strikes 12, the
computers don't know what they're doing and we're back in the Middle
Ages. In this worst-case projection, the whole infrastructure collapses
and the country, as a consequence, dissolves into civil disorder.
"[Then there is] scenario two: the clock strikes 12, we hold
our breath and nothing happens. Instead of being all weird and different,
the beginning of the new millennium is tediously familiar: traffic is
flowing smoothly, heart monitors are bleeping conscientiously and no
one is looting [Wal-Mart]. A terrible sense of ennui grips a
nation that has been on tenterhooks awaiting liberation from the present....Today
will be like yesterday and all the days before.
"Pre-millennial tension (PMT) is not, as is commonly thought, a fear
of the unknown. Instead, it's a fear of the known -- the dreadful, sinking
suspicion that the alien invasion won't come. This idea that nothing
will change is as potent and horrendous as any fin-de-siècle
fantasy of cultural implosion....This decade is only made tolerable
by the thought that it will all soon be over
"In the past few years, culture has slowed down to the point where it
is almost stationary....Like workers at the end of a long day, we are
spending these last productive hours filing our nails and clock watching.
There's no point in starting anything, we think, there are only a few
minutes left....Things that should have happened haven't, as every decision
is delayed. We long for something to happen so badly that we don't even
care what it is. We'd greet the four horsemen happily before we'd accept
another Spice Girls single.
"Never mind bugs and anarchy; the real doomsday scenario for the millennium
is that tomorrow will be just like today." (JG)
Copyright 1998 by NewHeavenNewEarth
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