Tinfoil Hat Ladies of Arizona Strike Back: ACC Commissioner Bob Stump Mocks Electro-Sensitive Woman on Twitter as Smart Meter Opposition Movement Swells Nationally

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PHOENIX, AZ- On December 12th, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) took testimony from members of the public and experts, eventually voting to charge the people of Arizona the amount of $50 up front (for those who do not have an existing analog) and $5/ month forever after, just to keep their safe analog meters.  You know–the kind that don’t catch fire and kill people?

Not Safe

Not Safe

Safe

Safe

Notable about the decision was the relatively low extortion fee compared to California and some other states (in Vermont smart meter “opt out” fees are prohibited by state law)– perhaps a sort of tacit acknowledgement of the serious safety problems with smart meters, and an indication that the smart grid debacle’s chickens are coming home to roost, particularly in light of the continuing fire-related recalls- the latest just a couple of weeks ago in Ontario.

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Arizona Corporation Commission Chair Bob Stump- ridiculing disabled people on twitter is fun!

But the most outrageous thing about the hearing was the childish response of the Chairman to a disabled women attending the hearing.

Warren Woodward of Sedona, AZ writes:

“About 30 people spoke at the recent “smart” meter meeting at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). For some reason, the ACC chairman, Bob Stump, has chosen to single out one of them for the benefit of his Twitter subscribers.

Not once but twice, Bob Stump has sent out “tweets” calling attention to Floris Freshman who spoke wearing a hat she made herself to shield her head from EMF.

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and

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No other person at the meeting received this attention from Stump. Why?

I think it’s a fair guess that Stump is taking delight in calling attention to Floris and her “bicycle helmet covered in aluminum” for the purpose of ridicule.

Floris told Stump during her testimony that she had suffered head trauma, and gave her reasons for wearing the hat. For that she gets singled out for public ridicule by the chairman of the ACC? How sick is that?”  (Read full article)

After the ACC’s decision, the Arizona Republic Published a ridiculous editorial stating:

“Everything the Arizona Corporation Commission needed to know about smart meters walked in on one woman’s head.

A Scottsdale woman wore a bicycle helmet to a recent hearing to decide whether Arizona Public Service could charge extra to customers who reject the smart meters, which transmit usage information so employees no longer have to go house to house. The helmet was covered in tin foil and patterned cloth, which the woman said protected her from radio frequencies.

An actual tinfoil hat could not be more symbolic of the crowd that is clamoring not only to keep the meters off their property, but to have them banned nationwide.

The meters pose a danger to human health, they claim, a message they spread via website to laptops connected to wireless networks and through calls on cell phones. The large contingent that drove to the hearing from Sedona and Prescott may have listened to their car radios on the way.

Smart meters are hardly the only source of radio waves passing through our homes and bodies. They’re not even a major source.

And yet the corporation commission not only humored these people, it took them seriously.

‘I suspect everyone up here who is not here to protest smart meters is sitting here thinking about their own health,” said Commissioner Gary Pierce, who noted he had checked to see if his grandchildren slept near one.’”

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 16.05.25Warren Woodward responds to the Commission decision:

“In the end, people wanting to avoid the harm of having their own personal microwave transmitting surveillance device must pay $5 per month. If they have a “smart” meter that needs changing out, that costs $50. It was never explained how someone opposite a bank of meters could avoid harm, or how people can avoid the harm of their neighbors’ “smart” meters. Oh, that’s right; “smart” meters are “not likely to harm” so no one has to worry.

Just in case though, take a tip from commissioner Pierce and move your bed.

Of course you’ll have to move it over 100 yards from the nearest “smart” meter because that’s the distance at which biological effects can still occur (see physicist Dr. Ronald M. Powell’s “Biological Effects from RF Radiation at Low-Intensity Exposure, based on the BioInitiative 2012 Report, and the Implications for Smart Meters and Smart Appliances”, here).”

The Republic’s Editorial triggered responses from the public:

“Go Tinfoil Hat Lady! Ratepayers never opted in for electronic meters or the extra communication equipment they house…..the Tinfoil Hat Lady brings this issue of safety concern to the forefront.”

The reality is that when ignorance and bullying reign, and those who suffer medical conditions are singled out for public ridicule by state officials, no one is safe.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 16.12.47And, if we allow current deployment of smart grid, smart meter, smart city and “internet of things” technologies to continue unabated in a fog of denial that non-thermal health and environmental damage is not occurring, we may wake up one day to discover that we are all Floris Freshman, clutching the aluminum foil to our pounding, zapped heads, beseeching our friends, families, doctors and politicians to listen to our pleas.

I’ve been there, and believe me it’s no fun.  And believe it or not, a tin foil hat actually provided some fleeting, temporary relief from the piercing headaches in my temple caused by (what one comes to realize is) the microwave madness otherwise known as “modern life.”

We are all “tin foil hat ladies.”  After all, we all inhabit “electro-sensitive” bodies that are highly reactive to even low levels of artificial electromagnetic fields.   When technocratic ideology and an irrational fixation on imposing unnecessary, costly and dangerous technology rules the day, and those with brain trauma are singled out by our public officials as a way to suppress a threatening truth, it’s time to resist.  Fight back.

We demand BOB STUMP RESIGN from his post at the ACC — to start.

Tin Foil HatAnd the time is ripe for a tin foil hat lady movement…..

After all, we wear ours with pride :)

 

p.s. Arizona residents  like Warren Woodward and Pat Ferre are appealing the ACC decision. You can read more about it here and on page 9 of The Noise and watch the ACC meeting below.

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Posted in Arizona, Citizen rebellion, Democracy, Electro-Hyper-Sensitivity, legal issues, radio-frequency radiation, Smart Grid | 4 Comments

“Technophobia”

Posted in Electro-Hyper-Sensitivity | 4 Comments

Stop Smart Meters! Nominated for 2014 Luddite Award—VOTE!

FrameBreaking-1812

Luddites breaking machines in England circa 1812

By Josh Hart MSc, Director,                             Stop Smart Meters!

 

“Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate’er it touches; and obedience
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame, A mechanized automaton.”

-Percy Shelley, Queen Mab (iii, 175-180)


 Update 2/11/15:  Stop Smart Meters! came in third behind US states regulating Tesla sales and the NRA’s opposition to “smart guns.”  We demand a recount!  We refuse to concede defeat to cars and guns! 

How anyone can claim the mantle of science and progress while ignoring peer-reviewed, published scientific evidence of DNA Breaks, Cancer, Electro-hyper-sensitivity is just beyond us.  We need appropriate technology where health and safety is #1 – not an afterthought.


We are very excited to announce that StopSmartMeters.org has been nominated for the 1st Annual 2014 Luddite Awards given out by a DC industry thinktank called the ITIF: “Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.”

We are number 5 on their unranked list, along with the NRA, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the states of New York, Virginia and Nevada!

Robert D. Atkinson, President of ITIF

Robert D. Atkinson, President of ITIF

The ITIF, which promotes “smart ideas for the innovation economy,” claims that smart meters are a big improvement, and they bemoan the fact that:

“Efforts to derail smart meter expansion…(have) been led by “Stop Smart Meters” (SSM), an organization committed to “advocacy, media outreach, and direct action network providing activism consultation and advice to dozens of local groups sprouting up who are fighting the wireless ‘smart’ meter assault” and to “defend your (old) analog meter.”

Why would we embrace a term like “Luddite” that is likely intended to ridicule and insult? In common usage, calling someone a “Luddite” has been used to imply irrational aversion to new technology, a kind of primitivism. But who were the original Luddites and what were they really fighting against?

Who were the Luddites?

We did a little research and it turns out that the original ”machine wreckers” who were most active in 1811-1812 in England, termed Luddites after their mythical leader King Ned Ludd, were not opposed to new technology because they were afraid of it—that is a stale industry narrative two centuries old.

From review of historical documents, a more accurate picture emerges. The Luddite rebellion appears to have been primarily a response to harm brought to communities through the undemocratic and destructive way in which new technology was deployed.

Sound familiar?

Nichols Fox, in her book Against the Machine: Hidden Luddite Tradition in Literature, Art, and Individual Lives, states:

“The Luddites…didn’t shun machines or technology out of hand. Instead, they ‘[favored] a thoughtful use of appropriate technologies that [did] not damage the relationships we hold dear,’ especially those with the natural world.”

The fact that rich and powerful corporate interests were forcing new technologies that drastically altered the lives of whole communities—damaging relationships held dear without even consulting people—this was as repugnant to people back then as it is today.

Peter Linebaugh writes in Ned Ludd and Queen Mab: Machine Breaking Romanticism, and the Several Commons of 1811-12:

“When we speak about the destruction of “community” we must remember that this entailed complex kin patterns, forms of mutuality, and customs held in common. There is a material basis to community; together they constitute a commons.”

That community, or “commons,” was threatened (as it still is today) by private corporate interests. The Luddite movement of the early 19th century rose in response to a particularly brutal period during which the upper classes privatized (enclosed) previously common lands for their own benefit. These actions are known as the enclosures.

Linebaugh discusses the period leading up to the Luddite rebellions:

“The world was being enclosed, life was being closed off, people shut in. In 1795 before he was silenced by government the English Jacobin, John Thelwall, referred to “the inclosing system” which he defined as “that system of enclosure by which the rich monopolize to themselves the estates, rights, and possessions of the poor.

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The picturesque landscape of Britain is a result of enclosures of previously common land

Is it possible, as author Mike Davis asserts, that the Luddites were not “rebels against the future” as critics portray them, “but among the avant-garde of a planetary resistance movement against capitalist enclosures in the long struggle for a different future”?

Luddites were active in cities like Leeds, Manchester, and Sheffield, eventually taking sledgehammers to the weaving frames, which to them were symbols—and actual means—of oppression. Many were hanged and imprisoned for these deeds.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 08.43.58In taking direct action and smashing machines, the Luddites were not vandals—they were simply using the only means available to them to defend an artisan tradition, a community based lifestyle where textiles were produced in small workshops by independent, skilled workers.

Contrast the lives the Luddites were defending with the lives of workers after the arrival of factories and machines. According to Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations:

“The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations.. generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.”

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A dozen families removed smart meters from their homes in Dec. 2011 in Santa Cruz County, CA, leading to a statewide opt out (extortion) policy to require payment for keeping safe analogs.

For these reasons and others, the Luddite rebellion gained such a degree of popular support in England that “Lord Byron defending the Luddites, asked the legislators: ‘Can you commit a whole country to their own prisons?’”

By the same token, we would ask, “Can a utility disconnect an entire community for refusing smart meters—or opt out fees?”

The Truth About “Smart Grid”

The 21st century “smart grid,” characterized by monopoly coercion, increasing utility rates, tax diversion, damage to health and the environment, violations of privacy, structure fires and explosions, seizure and destruction of valuable public infrastructure, and (of course) deception about it all, has a great deal in common with these past abuses. And yet again, rich utility shareholders are reaping the benefits while the people pay a heavy price.

Of course we at Stop Smart Meters! don’t need an excuse to discuss the topic of smart meters and appropriate technology, but we are certainly grateful that ITIF has provided us with one. However, it would appear that an inaccurate portrayal of the Luddites is not the only thing that ITIF got wrong. For example, in their report they make a few questionable statements:

“Surprisingly, (Stop Smart Meters!) do not appear to oppose WiFi routers, despite the fact that they also give off radio-frequency energy. Perhaps they see WiFi as just too convenient and useful to oppose.”

If ITIF had spent any time reviewing our site and outreach materials, they would know that we discourage the use of any wireless technology when safer, wired alternatives exist. This is a thinly veiled attempt—a very common industry tactic—to paint their critics as hypocrites. They claim:

“According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, there is no scientific evidence that radio-frequency can cause cancer.”

The National Cancer Institute is part of the National Institutes of Health.  The NIH in 2011 found changes in brain glucose metabolism from radiofrequency cell phone radiation. ITIF conveniently “forgets” to mention that the World Health Organization—and an increasing number of professional bodies—say that radiation from smart meters (and cell phones and wi-fi routers) may cause cancer.

On privacy:

“To be sure, these technologies do gather personal information on the usage of utilities (as do analog meters)…”

Analog meters report the total amount of electricity consumed during a month, while smart meters report granular data that has been demonstrated to reveal intimate details of life within a home.

“And by automating meter reader jobs, (the smart grid) boosts overall national productivity and living standards.”

Since when does abolishing thousands of good jobs with benefits that are essential to ensuring the safety of electric and gas networks boost “overall productivity and living standards”?

Living standards for whom? Productivity toward what end?

-3A Question of Appropriate Technology

Stop Smart Meters! and our thousands of supporters around the world are not opposed to new technologies.

What we are opposed to is dangerous, invasive technology being forced on communities and made ubiquitous without an independent review or even public consent.

Call us Luddites if you will (and please do!)…but in the United States in 2015, the utilities and the state Public Utilities Commissions who “regulate” them do not inspire us with confidence in their ability to vet new technology such as the smart grid. They just don’t.

Outgoing CPUC President and former Electric Co. Executive Michael Peevey

Former CPUC President and Electric Co. Executive Michael Peevey, now likely looking at felony charges for corruption for his close ties with PG&E over San Bruno and “smart meters”

One big reason? Former President of the California Public Utilities Commission Michael Peevey, who was responsible for smart meter proceedings at the PUC. This week his house was raided by law enforcement and computers and records seized in a state investigation into corruption. Agents also raided the home of Brian Cherry, one of the PG&E executives who spied on private e-mails from Stop Smart Meters! “insurgents” that were acquired by former PG&E Smart Meter Program Director William Devereaux using a false identity in 2010. (PG&E was later fined $390,000 by the CPUC though PUC’s own staff were also implicated in the scandal.)

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, felony corruption charges against Peevey related to the San Bruno explosion case are now likely.  Last night, a whole slew of e-mails were released under court order that show backroom dealings and “stories” being manufactured by PUC executives to justify high smart meter “opt out” extortion fees.

Clearly there are benefits to many technologies. But history shows clearly enough the harm as well, with the public being reassured at various times over the past 100 years that nuclear fallout, asbestos, DDT, x-rays, thalidomide, and now cell phones and smart meters are all perfectly safe. The dead bodies and deteriorated communities that litter history are the result of arrogant corporate yes men & women who take their political and spiritual guidance from paychecks rather than independent scientific inquiry, their conscience, and their community at large.

The Sierra Nevada in California, baking in January heat

The Sierra Nevada in California, baking in January heat

The Unanticipated Effects of Technology

The machines and worldview the Luddites fought against in the early 19th century have turned out to contain grim consequences for our long term safety and security on this planet. 2014 was the warmest on record. We have been battling mosquitoes and trudging through mud in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in January, sunbathing with not a flake of snow in sight, likely because of coal-powered technologies invented more than 200 years ago that spread around the world.  While Earth’s climate is being destabilized by a fossil fuel habit that our system can’t seem to kick, “smart meters” are now consuming a ton more energy—much of it from coal—exacerbating the very problem that industry claims the billions of our taxes were meant to address. Is it a surprise that more and more people are questioning (the blind use of) technology?

We are fortunate in that we have an advantage over the Luddites of the past. It’s not necessary to take a sledgehammer to a smart meter (though I know we’ve all been tempted!) or risk being hanged for your principles. Simply get together with your community, send your utility notices of non-consent and have the diabolical machines removed and replaced with an analog if they refuse. It’s really quite simple. And 100% legal.  Sure the outlaw utilities may try to disconnect your electricity (as they have done to us) but maybe we don’t need them after all, anyway.

Smart meters do have one convenient attribute–they can no longer cause fires, violate privacy, or damage your health if you simply deprive them of their power supply.

Of Analog and Digital

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The Wizard- I had it with me always when I was 12.

On a personal level, I find it quite ironic and amusing that I am publicly being labeled a Luddite. I grew up in the heart of Silicon Valley using Apple computers from age 4. My dad loved technology and taught me all the latest games and software. I had an electronic organizer—really a precursor to a smart phone—when I was 12. It was called the Wizard and I loved it. I kept it with me always. Likewise my cell phone that I used until early 2010 when I began to realize the health effects.

While I condemn Apple’s human rights and chemical exposure record in China, promotion of iPads and phones to children (and 304604-apple-macbook-pro-13-inch-retina-display-topadults) without warnings of the health risks, and other corporate misdeeds, I have to admit I do love my Macbook!  It has allowed me to communicate via ethernet cable (with wi-fi and bluetooth switched off of course!) to other activists around the world, to document smart grid abuses by officials, edit video and network via social media.

That doesn’t mean that everything must become digital as proponents of the “Internet of Things” proclaim. There are some things in life where digital will never compete with the quality and authenticity of analog—and more people are realizing it.

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A safe, secured analog meter- behind bars

We love our LP player and would never trade it in for an iPod.  There is a place for both. Our analog landline telephone has the quality and reliability (and freedom from the stupid grid) that digital VOIP and wireless simply cannot attain.  Analog electric meters are built to last from metal and glass and reliable as hell. Same cannot be said for industry’s new offering, made of plastic so your private data can be transmitted through, but which unfortunately has the slightly inconvenient problem of melting and combusting when it gets hot.

ITIF and its Discontents

There are a couple of interesting things about reading through the ITIF’s awards nominations. First, the sense of isolation and frustration with a growing movement of people who are increasingly skeptical of false technological solutions (for very good reason!). Second is the acknowledgement that the same mindset of blindly forcing hazardous and ill thought out technology has infected food production, firearms, health care, publishing, transportation, tourism, and communications. Reasonable precautionary responses to such changes are slapped with the Luddite label, in order to marginalize them. That’s what organizations like the ITIF are for

To try to marginalize us so they can continue to force their technocratic agenda.

We’re the opposite. We stand for values like community, privacy, safety and choice. We stand for appropriate technology that benefits people and communities.

It’s not just smart meters we want to stop—it’s an entire worldview that says “we know better than you, and you will live the way we want you to—in a way that maximizes productivity—whether you like it or not.”

ITIF—and the interests they represent—argue that we should all just trust the corporate/ government complex to introduce new technologies that impact our lives without any public oversight or independent review—or really any discussion at all. After all, what would the public add to the discussion, on account of us being ignorant and all?

That literally is their attitude.

They want to separate the business of technological “advancement” from political debate—to be able to decide for us—even what goes on and in our homes. If we raise our voices in protest, as so many of us have done, we are called names and ridiculed.

Luddites. Tin foil hat lunatics, conspiracy theorists.

We here at Stop Smart Meters! have seen too many people injured by inappropriate and untested smart grid technology to be fooled by smart meter industry name-calling, propaganda and lies. Too many homes burned down, surveilled, radiated. The problems have grown so obvious and the public is becoming more aware every day that the system is either ignorant and uninformed or terribly ill, corrupt and psychotic.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 08.39.38 Either way: the system—and its smart meters—must go.

While we think the other nominees are also worthy of this prestigious award, we urge you to vote Stop Smart Meters! in the Great Battle of the Luddites!

Please spread the word by typewritten telegram, pony express, smoke signals, carrier pigeon, or—we suppose—the internet if you must :)

We’ll tweet it from our keyboards and trumpet on our website:

Luddite for Appropriate TechnologyNo Compromise in Defense of Our Communities!

Appropriate Technology Now!

We are Luddites and Proud!

Stop Smart Meters!

 

More insight into the Luddites and Appropriate Technology:

Smithsonian: What the Luddites Really Fought Against

Techno-Utopia and the Fate of the Earth: Why Technology Won’t Save the Planet’

The Luddites at 200

Posted in Britain, California, Changing a Meter, Citizen rebellion, Class Issues and Social Equality, Climate Change, CPUC, Democracy, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fires, health effects, landlines, neighborhood organizing, PG&E, radio-frequency radiation, Smart Grid, Washington DC, Wi-Fi, World Health Organization | 4 Comments

Maryland Woman Suffers Acute Radiation Exposure From Bank of Smart Meters on Her Condo Wall

Posted in Electro-Hyper-Sensitivity, health effects, Maryland, neighborhood organizing, Physicians, radio-frequency radiation, Smart Grid | Leave a comment

Jimmy Gonzalez: Cell Phones Cause Cancer

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