Death and Profits: The Utility Protection Racket
By Michael Parenti
October 15, 2010 “Information Clearing House” — Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is a multi-billion-dollar privately owned, publicly regulated utility whose main function is to make enormous profits for its shareholders at great cost to ratepayers. I know this to be true; I’m one of the ratepayers.
Cartoon by Brian Narelle
Better than Bernard
The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) permits PG&E to charge rates that are 30 percent higher than the national average. PG&E’s shareholders enjoy a guaranteed 11.35 percent yearly return on equity. That’s slightly higher than the 11 percent that swindler Bernard Madoff pretended to offer his investment victims. After Madoff was exposed, his victims were chided for not having realized that no one pulls down an 11 percent return year after year on the stock market. But PG&E investors take in more than that every year. And unlike Madoff, the company’s earnings are for real, guaranteed at a fixed return devoid of risk.
PG&E enjoys a captive consumer market of fifteen million customers in northern and central California. The utility is a shining monument to state-supported monopoly capitalism. If costs rise, then so do customer rates (in order to guarantee the 11.35 percent return). PG&E carries a $17 million insurance premium and additional millions in insurance deductibles; these expenses too are picked up by its ratepayers.
If northern and central California’s gas and electric services were publicly owned (yes, socialism), there would be no 11.35 percent skim off the top going to rich investors, no fat salaries and bonuses and huge severance packages pocketed by top executives, no billions of dollars in private wealth to be traded on the stock market. Customer rates would probably be one-third to one-half lower than they are today. And gas pipelines would be in better repair.
Swiss take Wifi out of schools
Dr Magda Havas
October 21, 2010. While the rest of the world rushes onwards with the wireless revolution, Switzerland and the country’s largest telecom provider – SWISSCOM – have decided to light up the public school’s wired networks using fiber optics FOR FREE! But there is one catch – the schools must use LAN – local area networks. NO WiFi allowed. And this offer even includes pre-schoolers! Click here to read more about Swisscom’s offer.
We produced a short video that I hope will provide some insight as to why the Swiss government and Swisscom are so forward thinking in matters related to children’s health and education. After you watch the video – explore the links to the Swiss Office of Public Health website. No need to read between the lines, just pay attention to the bold text.
For more information and live links click here.
Dr Magda Havas
Cell-Phone Safety: What the FCC Didn’t Test
By Michael Scherer / Washington [Time Magazine]
Skeptics of the safety of cellular phones have seized upon these warnings as evidence that the ubiquitous devices may be exposing Americans to far more radiation than regulators measure. “Nobody is watching,” says Devra Davis, the author of a new book called Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family. “Is the law broken if something is so complicated that nobody notices?”
State Consumer Agency BLASTS CPUC- Calls for “Public Proceeding” on ‘Smart’ Meters
by Josh Hart
The California Public Utilities Commission’s own Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) last week blasted the appointed members of the Commission for failing to adequately investigate potentially lethal problems with PG&E’s ‘Smart’ Meter program. Saying that ‘there is clearly a high level of public concern’ about the health impacts of ‘smart’ meters, the DRA forcefully asserts that ‘the Commission would be remiss in its duty to ensure “safe and reliable” service if it did not solicit further evidence and perform an analysis.” (on health problems associated with RF emissions, the ignition potential of meters in proximity to natural gas lines, and electronic interference associated with ‘smart’ meters.)
The Division of Ratepayer Advocates is technically a part of the CPUC, “tasked by statute with obtaining the lowest possible rate for service consistent with reliable and safe service levels. In fulfilling this goal, DRA also advocates for customer and environmental protections.”
Marin County: meter plan not smart
by Nels Johnson – Marin IJ
Marin County supervisors, asserting that proceeding with a “smart meter” project is a dumb idea before health issues are reviewed, dispatched another letter asking the state Public Utilities Commission to suspend the program.
Supervisors said the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. program should await results of a study by the California Council on Science and Technology on whether standards for the meters protect health. Officials noted Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, requested the study, due later this year.
The state panel should review whether locating multiple meters near bedrooms, or near other radio wave devices, comply with standards, supervisors said, adding that those with health concerns should be given “alternative metering options.”
WiFi in schools proven dangerous
WiFi causes heart problems, headaches and other neurological disorders in children. Canadian Documentary exposes the truth. More info at http://www.magdahavas.com
You can’t see it but it’s everywhere. WiFi connects computers to the internet, no cords required. Now kids are using it in wireless classrooms across the country. But is it an invisible danger? Carolyn Jarvis investigates why some parents say WiFi in schools is making our kids sick.
Upcoming Commonwealth Club Program
On Thursday, November 18th, my organization, www.ElectromangeticHealth.org, is co-organizing a forum on “The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields” with the Commonwealth Club of California in San Francisco, sponsored by it’s Health and Medicine and Environment and Natural Resources Member Led Forums. The event runs from 11:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and includes lunch. I hope you will be able to attend and that you will share this announcement widely with your colleagues.
I very much hope to see you. We have experts from 5 countries presenting on the biological effects from electromagnetic fields and it is certain to be a very interesting afternoon. To have excellence in care, we really must start considering the importance of this pervasive environmental disruptor of biological systems and I highly encourage you to come and hear presentations of the science from leading experts.
All the best,
Contact: Emily Roberson
Media Relations, ElectromagneticHealth.org
or Camilla Rees
RSVPs to Commonwealth Club: 415-597-6705
Commonwealth Club of California To Host Program on
“The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields” from Cell Phones, Wireless Technologies and Smart Meters
Thursday, November 18th, 11:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
October 22, 2010, San Francisco, CA. The Commonwealth Club will host a half-day program on “The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields with leading international experts Thursday, November 18, 2010. Registration and complimentary light lunch start at 11:15 a.m.; program begins promptly at 12:00 p.m. Tickets $20 members, $32 non-members, $10 students (with ID). Register at Commonwealth Club 415-597-6705 or www.commonwealthclub.org
View Full Program Here
The landmark program at the nation’s premiere public affairs forum is being co-organized by ElectromagneticHealth.org, in association with Citizens for Health, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, Radiation Research Trust, the EMF Safety Alliance and the International EMF Alliance, and will be the largest public forum yet in the United States on the hazards of cell phones, wireless radiation and ‘Smart Meters’.
Is Smart Grid Really A Health Danger? Or are we talking much ado about very little?
The author Paul Mauldin is a former PG&E research director who predictably poopoos health, accuracy, security and privacy concerns about wireless smart grid components. But he does admit, “Of course, fiber optic cable can be used instead of wireless…” but dismisses it as “unacceptably expensive.” For whom? Trenching for cable creates jobs.
He ends with an ominous warning to the industry that should be taken as a great encouragement by activists: “We saw what organized [public] intervention did to nuclear power.“
All power to ‘organized intervention!” Would-be corporate tyrants like PG&E quake when what Henry Kissinger calls ‘the sleeping beast of public dissent’ awakens. [JH]
By Louis Slesins
October 20… “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public,” H.L. Mencken, the American journalist, famously said years ago. And so it continues today, not only in the U.S. but most everywhere else. The continuing EMF controversy, stimulated by three new books —Sam Milham’s
Dirty Electricity, Devra Davis’s Disconnect and Ann Gittleman’s Zapped, — has fueled the demand for quick fixes. (None of these authors recommends them.) Just about every day, someone contacts us, pitching a new product or, on the consumer side, asking if they do any good.
The gizmos promising protection include bracelets, pendants and headbands. Two of the best-known gizmos are BioPro and Q-Link, which have been around for years. They are really no different from all the others. That’s to say, they don’t work. The most charitable way to describe them would be as placebos, or more appropriately, very expensive placebos.
No Cellphone Liability Suits: court
The recurring question of whether cell phones pose health hazards must be sorted out by the Federal Communications Commission and not through products liability suits in court because Congress has designed a regulatory scheme that gives the FCC exclusive power to regulate all aspects of the cell phone industry.
That’s the central holding in a decision handed down Friday by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Farina v. Nokia.
The ruling is a major victory for cell phone manufacturers and service providers, and holds that consumers cannot be allowed to sue over possible biological hazards allegedly caused by cell phone radio emissions because such suits would interfere with the FCC’s exclusive power to regulate the industry.
Epidemiological Evidence for a Health Risk from Mobile Phone Base Stations
Vini G. Khurana, Lennart Hardell, Joris Everaert, Alicja Bortkiewicz, Michael Carlberg, Mikko Ahonen
Human populations are increasingly exposed to microwave/radiofrequency (RF) emissions from wireless communication technology, including mobilephones and their base stations. By searching PubMed, we identified a total of 10 epidemiological studies that assessed for putative health effects of mobile phone base stations. Seven of these studies explored the association between base station proximity and neurobehavioral
effects and three investigated cancer. We found that eight of the 10 studies reported increased prevalence of adverse neurobehavioral symptoms or cancer in populations living at distances < 500 meters from base stations. None of the studies reported exposure above accepted international guidelines, suggesting that current guidelines may be inadequate in protecting the health of human populations. We believe that comprehensive epidemiological studies of longterm mobile phone base station exposure are urgently required to more definitively understand its health
And finally: Check out the resources on RefuseSmartMeters.com