Truth in Media Global Watch Bulletins

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TiM GW Bulletin 98/5-8

May 20, 1998

"Year 2000 Gurus" Springing Up Like Mushrooms After a Rainstorm

Debunking the Y2K and C2O FUD

Praying on Peoples' Ignorance: A Scam as Old as America


PHOENIX, May 20 - The Y2K FUD is on.  Big time.  As is the C2O.   Take cover!

 What's Y2K?  What's FUD?  What's C2O?

 Welcome to the arcane world of "Compugeeks."  One of the requirements for membership in this "exclusive club" of the Information Era's High Priests seems to be the member's ability to talk gibberish - to substitute incomprehensible compu-jargon for human languages.  Trust me.  I've been a (dissenting) member of the Compugeek Club for almost 30 years now.  And I have tried to reform it - evidently unsuccessfully - for at least the last two decades.

 Just the other day, for example, I attended an industry conference in which an IT (information technology) executive made a presentation on the "C2O" problem.

 "C2O?" I whispered in the ear of another executive who was seated next to me.   "What's that?"  In the back of my mind, I kept thinking that maybe the presenter had had his chemical formulae mixed up, and had erroneously typed C2O instead of CO2 (carbon dioxide).

 "It's 'chaos to order,' of course," this executive replied, looking at me with raised eyebrows, as if I were some sort of a country preacher who had not yet caught up to the Compugeek's High Priest language.  And he was right, of course.  Despite this writer's standing as a "global IT guru," I was a country bumpkin when it came to the C2O jargon.

 As for what kind of an "order" this company wanted to create from the Internet "chaos" - read FREEDOM - this writer could not help but recall that the Soviet Union, the Nazi Germany, or Imperial Japan, for example - were all very "orderly" places, at one time, anyway.  Until their urge to lead the world in the "C2O" direction blew up in their faces, as is likely to happen to the NWO (New World Order) architects, too. 

 As will the bankers/stockbrokers' similarly mystifying expressions with respect to junk bonds or derivatives, for example.  Or as are the honest-to-God-high-priests' sermons delivered in Latin, a language which has been dead for over a thousand years, but which is just as incomprehensible to most worshipers as are the Y2K, FUD or C2O acronyms. 

 What all these "high priests" of "high tech" or "high altars" have in common is relieving the gullible believers of their golden nest eggs.  Today's Wall Street birds of prey, reincarnated as Y2K, C2O or whatever other FUD banner they happen to appear under, are merely the high-tech mutations of the age-old "high priest" shysters. 

 Meanwhile, back at the ranch.... Y2K stands for the "Year 2000" problem.   Or the "Millennium Bug" as some of the more literate Compugeeks call it.  Come January 1, 2000, a two-digit solution for a four-digit problem will provide a whole new dimension to the ancient effort of trying to put a square peg into a round hole.

 FUD is an acronym for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt - a marketing approach which IBM perfected in the 1970s and in the early 1980s, when the Big Blue, rather than Microsoft, was being accused of monopolistic behavior.  First you create FUD, then you reach into your customers' pockets offering a Big Blue-invented relief from FUD.  Enter Y2K FUD...

 This writer had no intention of de-fudding (i.e., de-fumigating) the marketplace of the Millennium Bug when he walked into a roomful of people assembled on May 19 to hear a message by a self-proclaimed "Y2K guru," Jim Lord.  Lord (any similarities with God being purely coincidental), who has written a book on the Y2K problem, arrived embarrassingly late for his pontificating message. 

 The host and the sponsor of the meeting suggested that perhaps the Phoenix traffic were the reason?  Not at all, the "guru" replied.  It's just that he had been too busy promoting his book and the newsletter to another set of gullible prospective Y2K customers.

 As for Lord's message.  It sure did not sound like a Lord's prayer.  More like a Lord's ransom note.  Just like the Wall Street tactics sound these days: "Thee who enter this temple, leave all thy possessions behind."

 For over an hour, this former U.S. Navy officer proceeded to offer financial advice on how the silver-haired Americans (the latter being the majority of the audience) should deal with the Y2K problem.  Its many virtues notwithstanding, the Navy is not exactly known as a breeding ground for financial gurus.

 So, at the end of the Lord's presentation, this writer said that he was hoping that Jim Lord would agree that "fear is a powerful buying motivator."  And that Lord (the mortal before us, not God) stood to make a good deal of money by generating fear among the American populace.  But that, on the other hand, it was "irresponsible" to compare the Y2K problem with "seminal events," such as World War I and II, or with the Great Depression, as this fear-monger (Lord, not God) had just done. 

 After all, tens of millions of people died in WW I and WW II.  Are we to believe that the Millennium Bug would kill as many?  Yes, according to "Jim the Lord's" bombastic self-serving declaration. 

 Which is why this "backward country preacher" - your writer- yet one with columns in the global IT-"high priests'" media, spoke up.  Because the Y2K- alarmists' statements are often laced with greed.   In the end, Lord (not God) did agree with this writer's premise - that there is fine line between raising the awareness among the populace as to the Y2K problem, and that of unduly panicking people so as to help oneself to their wallets. 

 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.

 Of course, Y2K IS a real problem.  Several of this writer's corporate clients are engaged in fixing it - both internally, and for other corporations.  So we have first-hand information of the status, at least with respect to major companies and government.  The whole process is highly automated, likened to factory production, with machines fixing machines (i.e., software fixing software).  Yet, if you listen to some Y2K "experts," you'd get the impression that a bunch of programmers are debugging the code one line at a time.  No wonder one EDS executive said recently, "we've forgotten more than some of these 'y2k' "experts" know about the problem."

 Of course, the Y2K problem will cause some disruptions, especially in the government services and/or the military applications.  And, of course, it is prudent to take precautionary measures to minimize its effect on one's life.  But to characterize it as a seminal event like WW I or WW II is irresponsible.  This writer said that to Jim Lord to his face.

 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.

 By all means, make sure you won't be left at the altar, come Jan. 1, 2000.  But first peel off the Y2K "expert beards" and see if it hurts, before deciding if the self-proclaimed "gurus" are for real.  And then go about your Y2K business the same way you went about the S&L crisis.  With prudence and caution.  If you had played an ostrich then, chances are you'll be an ostrich this time around, too. 

 What's "S&L?"  Sorry, but this goes beyond the Compugeek Club's thesaurus.  If you don't know the answer to that question, only Lord (the real thing, not Jim Lord - the impostor) may be able to help you.  For, there's a shyster lurking everywhere when it comes to money.  And you can start by being beware of Most Of New York (MONY).   Now, there's an acronym you should not forget, though you may want to avoid it.

 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.

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Also, check out... "Election '98: Much Ado About Nothing""A Spoof on Goof: ABC Adds God to Its Editorial Lineup," "Taking a Little Bite Out of the 'Big Apple'", "Greenscam's Meriwether Bailout,"  "Wall Street's Conquest of America,"  "Yeltsin-IMF Deal: Feeding Drugs to Drug Addict", "Like Watergate, Cover-up Worse Than Original Crime," "Death Merchants 80; U.S. Taxpayers 19" , "The Great American Divide Widens", "Was Buchanan Robbed in Louisiana, Iowa, Arizona?"

Or Djurdjevic's WASHINGTON TIMES columns: "When Will Wall Street's Bubble Burst?""Russia, IMF, and Global House of Cards""Rekindling NATO to Fuel Cold War..." or his CHRONICLES column: "Wiping Out the Middle Class."