Smart meters, fear and the defense of ignorance
It is clear that no amount of logic or scientifically gathered information will sway the opponents of SCE’s implementation of smart meters in Ojai, so my opinion is not directed towards them but rather to those of you as yet undecided on this quirky, local issue. (“Smart meters: Ready or not, here they come!” News, 4/12)
The opposition’s argument consists of two basic components: first, that smart meters pose a threat to your health and safety; and second, that they are unnecessary and in fact benefit only SCE. Neither of these statements is patently true or false; however, a directed education is required to make an informed judgment, generally the case with all things technological, and also something in very short supply in this country today. Hence fear mongering, I’m afraid, and the vague feeling of undefined discomfort experienced when we must reluctantly turn to experts in matters we know little about.
I find that SCE’s Public Relations Department has done a poor job in its part of rolling out the smart meters. Its web pages provide little in the way of in-depth description, perhaps because it correctly views the smart meter as simply another member of the ever-burgeoning class of wireless devices in common use, which includes mobile phones, wireless routers, even baby monitors, and also because an in-depth technological exposition would be a near waste of resource upon a largely uneducated population. But that’s OK, since the vast majority of that population happily enjoys the benefits of the aforementioned radio frequency (RF) irradiators.
So the opposition claims there is no benefit to the single customer. This is not precisely true for users who wish to be so environmentally progressive that they will actually study a detailed usage report to determine when and how they could be utilizing less energy. But the smart meter network is mainly intended to assist SCE in its current and future due management of an entire grid, something that will benefit our society if not the single user.
The opposition also claims that you will be a victim of insufficient testing, suffering the deleterious effects of RF energy. This is the more tiresome and disturbingly ignorant part of the argument. This particular class of RF device has had the snot tested out of it and there is no acceptable evidence of inherent risk, and certainly not “clear danger.” A mobile phone makes a smart meter seem downright impotent in terms of RF energy emission; do you recall the brain cancer scare with the emergence of mobile phones? Well, how about 4.6 billion current subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2009?! And no society seems more devoted to public health and safety than the European community, where over 40 million smart meters have been installed. Sorry, but the opposition is empty-handed on science, and long on windy, frightening anecdotes.
At the end of the day, one begins to realize that the smart meter opponents have but a single issue, something I call “Mama, no!!” They are a small group of citizens who don’t like being told they have to do something, like adopt new technology. Any real traction their issue may gain will stem more from the fact that Ojai is a small and somewhat isolated town, rather than from the merits of their arguments. I encourage every member of our free society to exercise his or her voice, especially where it really matters, but not with shout-downs in meetings of city councils nor with “torch and pitchfork” demonstrations, but with civil and informed debate.
Well-intentioned gone wrong
The article regarding Alexander Johnson’s legalized extortion practices perfectly illustrates the dangers of using government compulsion to “solve” societal problems and “help” the less fortunate. (“Compliance gone wild,” Feature, 4/5) Maybe it can give political do-gooders and busybodies, and especially their useful idiot enablers who consider themselves “activists,” by calling for expansions of government power, an idea of why libertarians oppose this type of legislation. Those few of us who see freedom as preferable to authoritarianism don’t oppose legislation allegedly designed to “help” the disabled, women or minorities because we “hate” any of these groups of people, but because we know how these kind of “well-intended” laws always tend to produce exactly the kind of injustice the VCReporter article touched on.
How much time, effort, and resources have been wasted by localities and individual businesses trying to comply with ridiculous federal disability-equalizing regulations? How much money and productivity has been extorted from good, industrious, and innocent people by opportunists like Mr. Johnson and the ever-present leeching attorneys who represent these legal criminals? How many more effective, fair and productive ways to assist the disabled would exist, today, had the horrific ADA never been imposed?
Though I appreciated seeing this article in the VCR, the author did a kind of bait-and-switch by portraying Mr. Johnson’s actions as an “abuse” of the ADA when, in fact, it is the very existence of ADA itself which has spawned and encouraged abuse against innocent property owners. Contrary to popular beliefs, it isn’t necessary to sacrifice good people in order to “help” others — we also don’t need political/legal systems which enrich leeches at the expense of hard-working and honest people.
Rub me down
Re: Ventura: The new massage city (Slapshot — news, 4/5)
I can’t tell you how much I laughed and had a stupid grin on my face for the rest of the work day after reading your article. I read it while I was at lunch. What a pleasant gift. Everyone kept saying, “What is wrong with you?” I replied, “You have to read this.”
The truth about smart meters
The CCST report has been completely discredited as fraudulent junk science. Rather than being an independent, science-based study, the CCST largely cuts and pastes estimates from a brochure by the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry group. The EPRI estimates are incorrect in a number of regards.
Smart meters produce cumulative whole-body exposures far higher than cell phones or microwave ovens. Smart meters’ radiation exposure can be up to 160 times more than cell phones!
Daniel Hirsch, California radiation expert and UCSD instructor, criticizes the industry-influenced CCST report that incorrectly minimized smart meter risks, based on the widely distributed, industry-generated Tell Associates report. CCST is a partner with U.S. DOE (U.S. Department of Energy), funder and promoter of smart meters.
Blatant conservative hypocrisy
Last April 2011, Paul Moomjean spat out his biweekly crock about Earth Day being some kind of “pagan” holiday, one that would not be celebrated by Christians or Jews. This year he’s at it again, only trying to present environmental conservation as some sort of right wing ideal. Paul should just keep quiet about Earth Day. The Republican platform is about deregulation, drill baby drill, frack baby frack, cut that wood, lay that pipe, mine that coal … ditch the EPA …ditch standards … global warming is a hoax … and that every man is entitled to any amount of money he’s able to amass, no matter the consequences to “his” human worker bees or the planet.
Promising that huge profit-driven corporations will “police themselves” is exactly like the FOX tending the sheep. (Pun intended.) Beyond the obvious attempts to undo years of progress for environment protection the GOP and the right are damning the viability of renewable energy and vilifying anyone, including Obama, for trying to progress them. All the while insisting on continued tax breaks and incentives for the oil companies, who now post the greatest profits of ANY industry in history! Shut the hell up and own it, Mr. Moomjean and all your “conservative buddies.” You couldn’t care less about the environment if it gets in the way of any big-business profits. And using Walmart and McDonald’s as examples of “good job” creation is like praising Fukushima for helping control the population explosion or BP for lubricating the bottom of the gulf of Mexico.
If you really want to know…
A recent letter from Forrest Mize claimed (among his other semi-coherent, marginally sane ramblings and unsupported straw-man attacks on Democrats) that no one can claim any specific accomplishments for President Barack Obama. (“Those socialist liberals got us here,” Letters, 3/29)
Well, there are over 200. Whether you will see them as accomplishments is debatable. (After all, you seem to think that the “infallible” book upon which you base your faith prohibits abortion, when there is no specific mention of it. Sure, you could say “Thou shalt not kill” covers it, but the Old Testament God who prohibits killing in the Big Ten, COMMANDS it elsewhere in the Bible. In fact, the God of the Bible is kind of a sadistic, amoral jerk.)
You can find those accomplishments here:
I doubt you will ever go to that website, though, Mr. Mize. I’m sure you don’t want to disrupt your faith-based politics with something as meaningless as data or facts.