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From: Tom Atlee
Subject: Koskinen comes out and says it
Date: Friday, July 30, 1999 11:05 PM

The bottom line... the problem... the opportunity... the fear that has transformation written all over it... the cat that's now out of the bag:

``If we get a couple hundred million Americans doing anything differently, we're going to create economic problems.''

-- John Koskinen in an interview with Associated Press
AP-NY-07-29-99 1651EDT

The lesson, of course, is obvious: Don't anyone do anything differently.

I fear you haven't seen anything yet, John. I just hope that most of the "different" things that people do will help make the world a better place.

Because future generations need lots of us to do lots of things differently.


Tom Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * Oakland, CA Critt

-- Critt Jarvis (, July 31, 1999


-- tag off (, July 31, 1999.


Yup, that's it in a nutshell. The decision was made many months ago. Don't rock the boat. When faced with the predicament of "you can pay me now, or pay me later" they opted for *later*. Some people are big on preventive maintenance, some go with fix-on-failure. The die is cast, and we see now how the powers-that-be intend to try to handle this.

-- Gordon (, July 31, 1999.

Gordon, I would make this one change to your comment.



-- Ray (, July 31, 1999.

bold off, italiacs off

-- duh (duh@duh.duh), July 31, 1999.


This is not the first time Mr. Koskinen has made remarks to this effect. Back in Feb or March, a reporter asked a series of reasonably intelligent questions, along the lines of "Mr. Koskinen, why would it be such a bad thing if American families slowly, gradually accumulated an extra week or two of food in their cupboard?"

The answer from Mr. Koskinen was approximately the following, "It's not a big deal if you want to buy an extra pound of beans. But can you imagine what would happen if 250 million people all tried to buy an extra pound of beans?"

This generated quite a lot of controversy (on one or two of these Forum threads, too, as I recall), but then it all died away. Koskinen's point, of course, was that a sudden spike in demand would overwhelm the supply chain; the reporter's point was that it could be spread out (and besides, not everyone likes beans!). In Feb 1999, this was still a somewhat relevant discussion, since the supply chain presumably still had some flexibility and spare capacity. In Jul 1999, in the midst of a drought, I'm not sure it's relevant at all any more.

The RGIs (those who REALLY get it) have finished their stockpiling; the GIs are planning to start any day now; the DGIs grudgingly acknowledge that it might be useful to have an extra can or two of soup, but are not about to admit that it could have anything to do with Y2K. And the DWGI's will never never never stockpile. Meanwhile, we're down to 153 days -- and if the latter three groups decide to modify their behavior in the coming months, Mr. Koskinen's prediction of "economic problems" may turn out to be the understatement of the year.


-- Ed Yourdon (, July 31, 1999.

Y2K: The Press and Preventing Panic, March 10, 1999

Partial Transcript

[Journalist introduces himself and asks a question]

Matthew Holme, Country Living Magazine. Are we actually creating panic if we tell people to start preparing now?

If they are going to stockpile food or something, if they buy an extra pound of beans every single week from now on, isn't that just helping the economy, rather than putting a great crush on things and taking things out of stock?

There is a supply now. There is no shortage. If people prepare gradually, then they're not going to have a problem.

[John Koskinen's answer]

Clearly, if people are going to accumulate anything, we'd do better if they start accumulating now and send that signal to the market.

But again, when you say everybody should get a pound of beans, you've got to understand if 200 million Americans all decide to go out and buy beans, I can guarantee there are not beans in the process to start accumulating it at that rate.

So the difficulty for all of this is trying to figure out what is the risk and what are the appropriate preparations to make sure that we can deal with them in advance.

I had a meeting with our pharmaceutical working group on Monday where we have the whole pharmaceutical industry -- the manufacturers, the wholesalers, retailers.

It's critical for us with them to work out what are the actual risks in that system, because it's a little like a seed. If we're going to make judgements about inventories and productions of prescription drugs, those have to be made now, in advance.

So it's not as simple as saying, well, everybody should start early and there won't be a problem. Because for a lot of things if you have 255 million people, it doesn't make any difference.

A hundred million people start doing it early and it's a problem early, rather than a problem late.

The real question is, people need to do what needs to be done as best we can determine.

[end of John Koskinen's answer to Matthew Holme]

-- mabel (, July 31, 1999.

NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission Briefing On Y2K

PRESENTERS: JOHN KOSKINEN, Chair, President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion

Thursday, February 11, 1999 19990211b.html



... That brings me to my request of the Commission and the staff and the industry. That is that our other major problem and risk in the United States will be overreaction by the public to the perception of what this problem could look like.

We are concerned that if a few people decide to change their economic behavior, it won't make a lot of difference, if even a reasonable number of people do that, but if 200 million Americans decide to do anything very differently all at one time, the system is not geared up to deal with that, and we could have a self-fulfilling prophesy where we have a major economic problem even though the systems basically are functioning appropriately. ...

[snip--to end]

-- Diane J. Squire (, July 31, 1999.

I think this completely explains the government's inaction, so don't be angry at them. There has been nothing they could do. That is, once they woke up and realized it is going to be bad. Even NOah couldn't get everyone out and he had a complete set of operating instructions.

-- Mara Wayne (, July 31, 1999.

"...and we could have a self-fulfilling prophesy where we have a major economic problem even though the systems basically are functioning appropriately.

and, so what is the ultimate circumstance we will be left with now?

One thing about Koskinen, he sure is consistant. The way I see it, the argument about self-fulfilling prophesy works both ways.

The error could have been on the side of prudence with an economic downside, which is the fear TPTB have focused on. The economic downside was too difficult to consider so that is what we have witnessed, the protection of the economy.

If things get really bad TPTB have created their own self-fulfilling prophesy by not asking people to prepare. They've protected the economy with the downside being that they've put the lives of citizens on the line. The irony is that all they have done is sustain the bubble for a few more months and that the economy is slowing on it's own anyway.

Koskinen has worked this masterfully and that's really unfortunate.



-- Michael Taylor (, July 31, 1999.

Mara, sorry I have to disagree with you with regard to .gov not doing anything.

1). They have been aware of the y2k problem for a LONG time

2). They have also been aware of the Stock Market Bubble for a LONG time.

The medicine they would have had to serve up to the sheeple was totally unpalatable to them. Goodness knows, they might not have gotten reelected had they enfoced some draconian measures. They decided to "Let the Good Times Roll" and roll they did. Now the Piper is knocking on our door and the time has arrived for him to be paid.


-- Ray (, July 31, 1999.

Press Release
For Immediate Release
July 23, 1999

Local Communities Need to Be Prepared, Manage Resources Wisely, Says Koskinen new/072399PRLS.htm


"Local communities need to prepare for the possibility of Y2K-related failures that could place an added burden on public safety systems and personnel," said Koskinen. "Officials should be planning now so that they will have appropriate resources in place to deal with whatever surprises the date change may bring."

[snip--to end]

Translation: Its not our problem... its your problem.

See also...

July 23, 1999 new/072399round.htm

(Lame synopsis)

Just some interesting snips...

Presidents Council on Year 2000 Conversion -- Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
June 10, 1999 notes610.htm




The Chair thanked the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Transportation, and other agencies that collaborated to establish the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) working group. He explained that the GPS system time will roll over at midnight on August 21, 1999. On August 22, unless repaired, many GPS receivers may claim wrong locations in addition to incorrect dates. Recreational users of GPS receivers must be notified about the potential risk.



The Chair observed that public interest in Y2K appears to have reached a plateau. Awareness of Y2K now approaches ninety percent. While concerns about potential national failures are declining, Y2K Community Conversations are being held to disseminate information at the local level. Public interest in Y2K is expected to grow this fall, particularly in light of upcoming dates of interest such as September 9, 1999 (9-9-99).




John Sepulveda asked about the Y2K readiness of the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. The Chair noted that senior Y2K staff members from all jurisdictions in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area joined with representatives from critical infrastructure providers (e.g., electric power, transportation, gas, telephone) in a productive discussion at the White House Conference Center on February 26, 1999. The metro-area group plans to reconvene on July 27, 1999.


Lt. Gen. Pete Kind, Ret., reported that the ICC will consist of a core staff and officials detailed from executive agencies who have expertise in management and technical areas important to Y2K. Council members are encouraged to nominate qualified individuals for ICC details or direct hire. The assignment will be July 1, 1999, through March 31, 2000. Lt. Gen. Kind provided an overview of the ICCs guiding principles. He emphasized that the ICCs success depends on people and information.

[snip--to end]

Other Council Meeting Notes


-- Diane J. Squire (, July 31, 1999.

Just interested in seeing were Kosky is at these daze...

21 June 1999
(Turnout a record for specific issue UN meeting)
By Judy Aita
USIA United Nations Correspondent



John Koskinen, chairman of the United States Year 2000 Conversion effort said that "there is not a single message that will apply to everyone."

He said that in the United States, the message has been that on basis of what is now known, at minimum people should prepare for this potential emergency in the same way they would prepare for a severe winter snow or ice storm -- stockpiling two or three days supply of food and water, flashlights and batteries. But, Koskinen warned, in some areas more might be required.

President Clinton's Council on Year 2000 Conversion is conducting a "national campaign of community conversations trying to get information on what is actually happening at the local levels," Koskinen said.

"Contingency planning does not mean systems are expected to fail," he said. "But since no one can guarantee that every system will function smoothly during the Year 2000 transition, it is prudent to have back-up plans. This is especially true for system work that is scheduled for completion late this year."

[snip--to end]

-- Diane J. Squire (, July 31, 1999.


How should people prepare for the Year 2000 transition?

The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion is advising people not to disrupt their lives because of the Year 2000 transition. There is no indication that there will be major national disruptions in key infrastructures such as electric power, telecommunications, banking, and transportation. Most local authorities are leading aggressive efforts to solve the problem.

However, the President's Council is telling people that it is always smart to be prepared for the possibility that anything-from storms to Y2K-related failures-could temporarily disrupt services at any time. As always, people should have batteries for flashlights and radios, have a three-day supply of water and non-perishable goods, and make sure that the gas tanks in their cars are never less than half full. The Y2K problem is also a reminder to people to take care of their billing, bank, and tax records. Having recent copies of records and statements on file at home makes good sense at any time.

The President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion is monitoring the situation, and will provide updated guidance to the public in the months ahead through its web page ( and free information line (1-888-USA-4-Y2K). In particular, if there is a need for specific, additional precautions, the President's Council will make sure this information is available promptly to the public.

It is also a good idea to ask your local government, your bank, your utility company, and the other organizations you rely upon what they are doing to be ready for the Year 2000. Additional precautions may be appropriate if you are not satisfied with the information you receive directly or through public announcements.


-- Linkmeister (, July 31, 1999.

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