What do these messages have in common?

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Clinton: No National Problems

Koskinen: No national problems, but maybe some local ones. General national advice: Prepare for a long winter/holiday weekend. Water and food, beer and pretzels, whatever.

Bennett: No national problems. Find out what the situation is where you live.

Dodd: Odds of national problems are the same as aliens landing.

Summary of above: Problems overseas. No national problems in U.S.

What do all of these messages have in common? Could it be that they are absolutely required--in the national interest--to say this in order to send a message to the world,(including folks like Osama Bin-Hiding, etc.) that the USA will be strong, so dont even think about messing with us?

From a global perspective, what else could they possibly say?

-- (somewhere@in.america), November 12, 1999


Hmmmm...that the national leadership is clueless, terrified, or malevolent?

-- Ludi (ludi@rollin.com), November 12, 1999.

Good point, assuming that these people are 'blowing smoke.'

If that is not the case, the best thing they could do would be to back up their assertions with facts, examples, and other forms of irrefutable proof, as opposed to meaningless generalizations.

Given that these people have access to some of the best spin doctors in the business (who would give them the same advice), it is hard to believe that they are doing anything other than blowing smoke.

-- Midas (midas_mulligan_2000@yahoo.com), November 12, 1999.

The commonality is that it is the official "we are ready because the government did its job" mantra. When things go bad, and they will, this will be the basis for the governments denial. It will be the fault of the doomers, the hoarders, the terrorists, the cyberterrorists, the chinese or the Republicans. In short, ANYBODY but Bill. The ONLY thing BILL takes the blame for, and appologizes for, are things he had nothing to do with, such as slavery. On the flip side, Bill has said Y2K is fixed and that it is the greatest challenge that faced the country since WWII. If things go well (doubtful) he will take the credit even though he has only spoke on the subject twice in the last 3 years, including the one a few days ago. Taking credit for others work and assigning blame to others when he screws or screws up was his double major in college.

-- smfdoc (smfdoc@aol.com), November 12, 1999.

What the messages have in common is that they are all lies.

-- (its@coming.soon), November 12, 1999.

This is exactly the same tired line as the UK government is taking: we are fine, we've spent yaddada zillion pounds on Y2K, all is well, go back to sleep.

But, they say, always remember: Johnny Foreigner can't be trusted. We might see some *small* problems due to AbroadLand not taking it seriously. They don't mention WHICH countries, of course.

This is from the official Action2000 booklet, being sent out now to every household in the UK. Note that they are keen to pre-emptively blame Johnny Foreigner in areas that don't effect most people and which are obvious even to Joe Blow that we are relying on Johnny, i.e. air travel. But they are very, very careful to not put the thought in Joe's head that the UK's food and banking is utterly dependent on AbroadLand.

I suspect it will be the same everywhere. We're all AbroadLand to someone, we're all Johnny Foreigners. It's sad, and frustrating, and it angers me because it will work. Joe Blow WILL blame the Arabs, the Chinese, even the Russians when/if it goes pear shaped. Sad, sad, sad.

-- Colin MacDonald (roborogerborg@yahoo.com), November 12, 1999.

How can you tell if a politician is lying?

Their lips are moving.

Even if they are telling us 100% truths, the problem is they have lied so much in the past, who would believe them anyway? A sad commentary about where we have progressed to. Being elected isn't about going to Washington to serve the country, it's self serving. Put in a five year term limit and see how many of these free-loaders will still want to "serve the country?" My guess is, not many.

"You can't handle the truth." This is what they really believe.

-- Bill (bill@tinfoil.com), November 12, 1999.

I was reminded of this surprising article from the BOSTON GLOBE recently. Note the highlighted assessment - an amazing statement to see in a mainline paper...

[reproduced for fair use educational and discussion purposes]

Y2K: Will it be panic or picnic?

By Alex Beam, Globe Columnist, 10/15/99

Last week, Newton residents received a bright yellow flier from City Hall titled ''What to Do to Prepare for the Year 2000.'' It suggested stocking up on gasoline, cash, food, and firewood, and laying in a two-week supply of prescription medicine. For those of you with portable generators, disconnect them from your home electrical system. The people responsible for pumping water into Newton homes suggest you ''store drinkable water in empty soda bottles.'' How very reassuring.

On the one hand, Newton's response seems alarmist. Cambridge and Boston, for instance, have focused their Y2K preparedness outreach on senior citizens' forums, operating under the theory that oldsters might be the first to drain their bank accounts in the face of a perceived crisis. On the other hand - who knows? ''It's the ultimate in not knowing where we are,'' says Richard Landes, director of Boston University's Millennial Studies Center. ''There's stuff we know we don't know, and stuff we don't know we don't know.''

For the record, Landes isn't hoarding - yet.

Government has a devilish choice: to openly discuss the possibility that some services may be interrupted, and panic the citizenry, or clam up and hope for the best. The first option risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. If too many people decide to ''stockpile'' cash or stocks, for instance, that could create problems in the financial markets.

The federal government has chosen option two: Clam up and keep fingers crossed. The CIA just weighed in with its opinion that the Y2K crisis will be most acute in faraway lands, like Russia, Ukraine, China, Egypt, India, and Indonesia. The Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem helpfully suggests that ''a couple of extra cans of food'' will get Americans through the Dec. 31 changeover.

Likewise, the White House has adopted a ''see no evil'' policy on Y2K matters. The Clinton administration's Y2K czar, John Koskinen, is Pennsylvania Avenue's invisible man. (True to form, Koskinen sneaked in and out of Boston this week with no one noticing.) ''The president's failure to take adequate actions now to encourage the public to take adequate preparations and to minimize the impacts of Y2K and the embedded systems crisis will cost the nation and the world dearly,'' according to George Washington University professor Paula Gordon, author of a study called ''The Year 2000 and the Embedded System Crisis.''

Gordon quantifies the potential Y2K disruptions on a scale of 1 to 10, and believes that government inaction has created a risk range between 5 (mild recession; isolated supply/infrastructure problems; runs on banks) and 9 (supply/infrastructure collapse; widespread disruptions; martial law). Landes is more sanguine about the events of December 31: ''There's a 5 percent chance this could be very serious,'' he says. ''We're counting on it not being serious.''

In a few days, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency will come up with a publicity campaign to heighten citizen awareness of 1999-2000 conversion issues. In a nutshell, MEMA plans to push preparedness - stock up as if for a winter storm - and ''let the people know what state government has been doing to eliminate the possibility of anything bad happening,'' according to spokesman Peter Judge. Like everyone I spoke with, Judge emphasized the uncertainties surrounding Y2K: ''The only thing we really know about this is the date.''


-- John Whitley (jwhitley@inforamp.net), November 12, 1999.

King Midas hit the nail on the head. Sorry KOS.

-- FLAME AWAY (BLehman202@aol.com), November 12, 1999.

Ah... I see.

We're all "Johnny Foreigners" in an "AbroadLand."

Robert Heinlein might "get it."

What do these messages have in common?

Very... "strange."



-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), November 13, 1999.

Politicians are paid liars. Say what you will about Clinton, Koskinen, Dodd, etc. lacking leadership, but it would be no different if it were George Bush or George Washington, they are ALL paid to conceal the truth, or at least to say it in such a diplomatic manner so as not to startle anyone.

Some of our highest military leaders are paranoid bastards, but they have done a pretty good job of keeping this country from being invaded. National Security is always given the highest priority over everything else, and it doesn't matter what Clinton would like to tell us, he is just a puppet spokesperson on this issue. The military leaders tell him what he can and cannot say in order to preserve the National Security. In their eyes, nothing that they could warn us about could be anywhere near as bad as what would happen if they actually warned us. Banking problems, food and gasoline shortages, etc. are all things that they plan to deal with when they happen, but they will not be able to respond properly to panic, rioting, and anarchy.

You are correct in that they continue to focus on the word "National" in their statements, for two reasons. First, because as you said, this sends the message to would-be foreign attackers that we are prepared to deal with them. Secondly, this is a way of responding to American citizens without mentioning the "Local" situation, which is probably going to be unpleasant to say the least. After all, what exactly does "National" mean when you are talking about Y2K disruptions WITHIN the country? It is meaningless, when you consider that there could be thousands of disruptions within all 50 states, but this would still not be considered a "National" problem. Just clever diplomatic semantics, that's all it is. But anyone who is stupid enough to sit around and wait for the president to tell them what to do deserves to die anyway IMO.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), November 13, 1999.

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