Why John Koskinen puts a happy face on his public announcements with an explanation of what he is trying to do behjind the scenes based on information obtained by a person who has interviewed him. The link is

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as follows: .

If the link does not work, it is on Kitco 05-31-1999 17:15. The article explains that Mr. K is saying what he is told to say and is attempting to fix the problems. The writer uses the analogy of a stadium filled with people where there are several electrical shorts around the perimeter. You do not announce over the loudspeaker that there could be a fire and risk a panic. You attempt to fix the shorts and warn the people near the danger areas so that they can vacate the area in an orderly manner. It is well worth the read.

-- Tom (notstupid@wow.gom), May 31, 1999


Having just scanned KITCO, a better link or descriptive direction might be helpful. C

-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), May 31, 1999.

I'll try again. Kitco is http://www.kitcomm.com/cgi-bin/comments/gold/display_short.cgi Scroll down to 17:15 and you have it.

-- Tom (notstupid@wow.gom), June 01, 1999.


Need to go to May 31 (yesterday) 17:15 military time selection. Hope I got this right Tom.

Date: Mon May 31 1999 17:15 sharefin (Email chatter) ID#284255: - My name is Andy van Roon, and I'd like to enter the 'national John Koskinen conversation' as a board member of the grass roots Y2K group Nashville Prep 2000, founded by Nell Levin with Dan Strimer, and as the producer of a documentary on Y2K titled, the Y2K Family Survival Guide hosted by Leonard Nimoy. The process of creating our documentary/home video has provided us with a comprehensive array of perspectives from around the country, including key entities in Washington D.C. such as Senator Bennett, Congressman Steve Horn [creator of the Y2K Report Card for federal agencies and departments], Lee Holcomb of NASA, and John Koskinen. I agree with both, essentially opposite, positions supported by Mick Winter and Tom Atlee, yet may offer an additional perspective to somewhat fuse the two, since I had occasion to personally interview Mr. Koskinen at the White House.

After dialoguing with Mr. Koskinen both on and off camera, I came away with the distinct impression that he was executing a mandate thoroughly worked out by a group at a higher level of authority than his own, that is, that he is publicly holding the line on a policy that was determined by closed door sessions with a number of other significant minds at the White House rather than being the 'Supreme Czarlike' entity that is calling absolutely all USA shots regarding Y2K. I therefore feel he is often inappropriately targeted, because in one respect it is more a case of shooting the messenger.

At the risk of re-stating what many have possibly been observing for months, my personal feeling and logics on why President Clinton and Vice President Gore have been deliberately silent on the issue are because 1] it is a situation that is utterly unique in the history of humankind; 2] that no one knows exactly how to deal with such a world-wide historically unique and potentially catastrophic phenomenon; 3] that it can only be an educated gamble regarding whether a large-scale public campaign surrounding Y2K will do more harm than good; 4] that, because it is a gamble which could go either way, White House policy is to work as hard as it can behind the scenes to assess and fix or otherwise mitigate Y2K problems, while 5] simultaneously avoiding the risk of being blamed for any sort of panic-driven meltdown - thus the throwing of a warm blanket over the public. I am not in any way endorsing or condemning the White House approach, just trying to analyze their reasoning.

My comparative reading of Mr. Koskinen both on and off camera is that, wearing the hat of Y2K manager, he is in complete charge of all the behind-the-scenes activity - in a very profound way - while, as public spokesperson, he's restricted by White House-determined policy to keep the public in an unalarmed state. Because he seems required by policy to throw this warm blanket, he has unfortunately been forced to use the 'right rhetoric' of "driving to the facts" and "being as forthcoming with the American people as possible," while juxtaposing language that is indeed deliberately designed to disable mechanisms which might generate public alarm. This might make him seem disingenuous at times, even though I don't think that is his intention, yet I think Mr. Koskinen is "willing to take the public hit," so to speak, in order to carry out the internally-determined mandate - i.e., he was tapped by the President of the United States to do a job, and he's going to do what the Commander in Chief asks him to do. In this sense I think he is simply acting rather as a loyal soldier of White House policy, whether that policy may turn out to be good or not so good in the long run.

In total, I believe the White House to be very concerned behind closed doors, which is why they have Mr. Koskinen working very hard behind the scenes while straining to hold a calm face on the surface. I do not think this official approach will change. And unfortunately, I think that if we were in the White House with countless scenarios and projections before us as to possible Y2K outcomes, and saddled with the responsibility for possible public panic and the widespread negative effects that could result, we might find ourselves deciding to do exactly the same thing, not only because an aggressive public campaign might prove disastrous, but because there are so many alternative scenarios that we'd find ourselves short-circuiting on the possibilities - i.e. we might just plain choke.

The situation facing the White House would not be too dissimilar to being in a football stadium with 90,000 fans where the stadium management discovers a series of electrical shorts and consequent fires around the perimeter of the stadium, any one of which might burn the stadium to the ground and take a significant part of the crowd with it. The strategic sequence is to try to stop the source of the electrical problems, then put out some of the fires while they're still containable, then, if necessary, gradually move out blocks of the crowd closest to whatever fires may occur. The last thing management wants to do, or should do, is blare on the loudspeakers to everyone that there are a number of fires occuring everywhere in the building that will soon burn the house down. The trampling might kill more people than whatever fire might break out.

However, having observed all of the above, and in particular, that White House policy on Y2K as voiced through John Koskinen is not likely to change, I think it's just getting too damn late to banter endlessly back and forth about who's not doing what they ought to be doing. It's too late in the Y2K curve to do anything at this point but organize clear, simple, effective plans of action to distribute practical information to the American public about how to prepare for whatever may occur. I think the bottom line is that we, the people, need to take it to the rest of the people regarding Y2K awareness and preparation. In Nashville, middle America, we've planned on doing this via establishing a very simple Y2K Prep Sheet which indicates how to prepare for Y2K, then have large and small meetings which distribute this very simple information. This Y2K Prep Sheet is copyable, and can be re-distributed over and over again. We are planning on a general meeting which would invite community leaders of all types, who would be presented with these Y2K prep sheets, which they could in turn copy, then hold their own meetings to their respective constituencies, and pass out tens or hundreds of the Y2K prep sheets. This model could easily work around the country over the next several months.

Let's face it folks, relative to the 40-to-50 year arc of Y2K, we are in the endgame of this phenomenon, and need to clear the way for nothing but preparation and contigency planning. Via our documentary, after having surveyed various Y2K situations and requirements across the country that are idiosyncratic to different localities, it's become clear, at least to us, that it's now a waste of whatever time we have left and whatever resources we have available in the months remaining to expect the U.S. government or John Koskinen to change their universalized approach; and that we need to take the information directly to the people all across this country via a simple strategy to distribute easy-to-understand Y2K prep material that can be replicated and re-disbursed via individuals, families, and community groups. This can be achieved by creating the Y2K Prep Sheet - perhaps with national input and refinement - and distributing it via e-mail to all parts of the country, where it can be copied and printed out and re-distributed by individuals and/or community organizers in large cities and small towns across America over the next seven months. Such a campaign to just distribute a simple sheet of preparedness information will become a de facto Y2K awareness campaign. We're doing it in Nashville. It can be done across America.

Thanks for listening.

Andy van Roon

-- Lilly (homesteader145@yahoo.com), June 01, 1999.


Thanks Mr. Kosko [sic] for deciding for US what we need to know and when. I think a BETTER analogy would be along the lines of:

70,000 people in the stadium for a game on Sunday. On the following thursday, an earthquake of 7.0 will hit. It may OR MAY NOT destroy the stadium. But everybody would have time to get out.

I'm not good at metaphors, but Kosko seems to have a time dilation problem.


-- Jollyprez (jolly@prez.com), June 01, 1999.

Thanks Lilly,

Andy sent that around today on the [civicprep] list over at Steve Davis's Coalition 2000 site.

Sounds about right. Especially when you compare Koskinen's Y2K comments to an international video-conference crowd, versus a domestic audience, when he speaks to them about the U.S. situation.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), June 01, 1999.

If you haven't seen it yet, you might want to check out fhe following site -- its content seems in line with your conclusions:

Naval Warfare College

-- Ron Schwarz (rs@clubvb.com.delete.this), June 01, 1999.

Well, folks. THis is EXACTLY what I suggested on another thread, when I described how we handle the possibility of a severe storm coming off the lake at either our Fourth of July Fireworks or at the Indy Car Race at Burke Lakefront.

Now, I AM concerned.


-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), June 01, 1999.

The question becomes timing - this process may have been valid 12-16 months ago - when almost all of the problems could have been "felt" able to be resolved in time. that is, in early 1998, there was no specific evidence that the mah=jority of companies and agencies would finish in time to to a large amount of "live: testing and contingency planning.

Now, however -its becoming clear that perhaps a majority of agencies, maybe even a majority of businesses won't be ready - that calls for a different level of individual prep.

The government can't take care of what's left over - its too large a problem.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), June 01, 1999.

BTW this is the specific URL for Andy van Roon's post.

Some weekend conversation is consistent with his take on Gov. policy--

Over the weekend in Cincinnati I spoke with a friend of mine who's well aware of Y2K's potentials for mischief. This past week he encountered a systems programmer heavily involved in Y2K remediation for a major utility, who is acquainted with several others of his trade in the area. In their conversation this guy told my friend that the rosy claims of successful remediation made by the firms these fellows are working with, including his own, are simply false. Yeah, I know, it' s only hearsay. What else is new.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), June 02, 1999.

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