Y2K- Contradictions
Between The Lines
By Mike Adams
(Part Three of a Five-Part Series)
Those who argue that Y2K is "no big deal" base their arguments on a vast array of contradictions, logic gaps and self-deluding definitions. These contradictions, while not always obvious at first, are easy to spot when you know what you're looking for. For example, consider the contradictions in the belief systems of individuals I call "Y2K Deniers."
In my numerous discussions with individuals following this belief system, I've found they share two common traits: first, they are anti-doomsday believers, meaning they automatically discount any prediction of "bad times." Second, they display unwavering belief in the "authorities." Those authorities might be scientists, politicians, company leaders, reporters on CNN and so on. But Deniers entirely miss the fact that these beliefs are contradictory. This contradiction can be easily demonstrated in the following way.
Suppose I told a Y2K Denier that some non-mainstream inventors had created a solid-state technology device that produces "free" energy. The Y2K Denier will usually snort something similar to, "Right. If there was anything to that, today's scientists would already know it." In this way, the Y2K Denier essentially claims that today's scientists embody the apex of energy science. Mankind will apparently never rise above the burning of fossil fuels.
I reply, "So you're saying that when we run out of fossil fuels in about forty years, civilization will collapse due to lack of energy?" The Y2K Denier, now invoking his "no-doomsday" beliefs, will crack back, "No, dummy. Of course they'll come up with something else before then!"
Such contradictions are common with Y2K Deniers. Take the missed-deadline contradiction, for example. In early 1998, Y2K Deniers agreed with the White House that everybody would be 100% Y2K-compliant by, at the latest, December 31, 1998. That would leave "a full year for testing."
If you were to ask a Y2K Denier, in 1998, about this testing period, he would usually reply, "Yes, the full year for testing ensures that we have plenty of time to get everything right. This full year guarantees we'll have no Y2K problems."
But when the deadline was universally missed - and when the March, June and September 1999 deadlines were subsequently missed - the Deniers changed their explanation. "A full year of testing isn't necessary at all," they now say. "All we need is a full month."
Other contradictions abound. For example, the original explanation that "Companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Y2K remediation; therefore, it will be fixed" soon gave way to the reality that companies had grossly underestimated the costs of their Y2K repairs. Thus, the Y2K dollar appropriations, by themselves, were indications that the organizations in question did not really have an understanding of the magnitude of these projects.
Here's another contradiction held by Y2K Deniers: "Companies will fix Y2K because it is in their interests to do so." This logic attempts to equate intentions with results. But then those same Deniers claim that small organizations are the only ones that will fail to reach full compliance. I wonder: why is it that, according to Y2K Deniers, this apparent law of the universe called "desired intentions always lead to desired results" only applies to Fortune 500 firms and not to sole proprietorships? This is as absurd as saying gravity only affects rich people. If it's a natural law of the universe, it should be - by definition - universal.
As it turns out, there is no such universal law. This explanation by Y2K Deniers is merely another convenient contradiction designed to explain away their faulty belief system and deflect blame from large companies and organizations.
Here's yet another contradiction: if large organizations are the only ones who will be compliant, why are they the primary stockpilers of backup supplies?
The pharmaceutical industry, for example, is admittedly stockpiling large quantities of drugs while simultaneously urging the public not to. Electric utility companies are stockpiling mountains of fuel (coal) while telling the public not to. And police departments around the country are buying up record numbers of shotguns while telling the public they won't need guns for Y2K. In every case, it's the same contradiction: "We need this stuff for Y2K, but you don't."
Bank regulators play the contradiction game, too. Federal regulators say 98 percent of U.S. banks are "Y2K ready" but won't identify the 2 percent that aren't. That's like saying, "Everybody is ready but anybody might not be." It's like playing Russian Roulette with your deposits.
Just the term "Y2K ready" is a contradiction, by the way. The phrase - which implies a state of full compliance - actually means the systems are not fully compliant. "Y2K ready" means an organization believes it is able to handle the inevitable failures that will occur. "Y2K ready" means having some kind of contingency plan that theoretically will allow the organization to continue conducting business. "Y2K ready" really means "we are not fully compliant with the Year 2000." Otherwise, they would use the phrase "Y2K compliant."
Y2K publicity efforts are filled with inherent contradictions. Take the North American Electric Reliability Council's "Y2K drills," for example. These drills were heralded as some kind of "industry-wide" test of the Y2K compliance of electric utilities. That was the public explanation, and that's what the press reported. But upon closer inspection, it turns out the drill didn't test electrical generation or distribution in any form whatsoever! In fact, this drill tested nothing but the backup communications systems of electric utilities. In some facilities, this was nothing more complex than a couple of guys chatting on walkie talkies. They say, "Can you hear me?" "Yes, I can hear you!" "Good, tell NERC we're Y2K ready!"
Perhaps the greatest contradictions appearwhen we examine the differences between companies' public relations statements and their federally filed SEC reports. For a real-world example of this, let's look at Texaco. On its corporate web site, Texaco says, "When people at Texaco discuss the rollover to the Year 2000, the message is always the same: at Texaco, it's going to be business as usual."
But Texaco's SEC statements paint a very different picture. In Texaco's most recent SEC filing, we learn that "Y2K failures, if not corrected on a timely basis or otherwise mitigated by our contingency plans, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, liquidity and overall financial condition. Factors that could affect our ability to be Year 2000 compliant by the end of 1999 include: the failure of our customers, suppliers, governmental entities and others to achieve compliance and the inaccuracy of certifications received from them; our inability to identify and remediate every possible problem; and a shortage of necessary programmers, hardware and software."
This text, of course, doesn't appear anywhere in the more publicly available Texaco Year 2000 Disclosure. Texaco isn't alone in this strategy, however. It's the same story throughout corporate America: the public statements explain that Y2K is no big deal while the federally mandated SEC disclosures point out that Y2K could, in fact, bankrupt the company. So which statement should we believe?
(A rare exception to this is NIKE, which states, right on its web site, news that most companies wouldn't dare publish: "A substantial majority of our significant suppliers and customers have not responded to our surveys, have not provided assurance of their Year 2000 readiness, or have not responded with sufficient detail for us to determine their Year 2000 readiness.")
The White House, of course, encourages this Y2K contradiction game by complimenting contingency plans of businesses while ridiculing the contingency plans of individuals. Through some twisted invocation of selective logic that has yet to be questioned by a single journalist in the popular press, the White House congratulates businesses, industry and government departments for stockpiling supplies while insisting that individuals who pursue the same Y2K risk-reduction strategy are wackos and extremists.
What's good for the People, it appears, is no longer good for the country. And by all means, unless you want to be called an "extremist," be sure that you take absolutely no action whatsoever to prepare for Y2K.
On January 20, 1961, President Kennedy challenged Americans to "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country."
Thirty-eight years later, Clinton's politically correct Y2K version sounds like this: "Ask not what Y2K will do to you, but ask what you ought not to do for your country."
Mike Adams is the editor of Y2K Newswire