Saturday, 22 February 2014 22:39
Real Public Science & Ecology Update! Feb 23/14
ISIS – Institute of Science in Society
Announcing Science in Society #61 - Spring 2014
Reclaiming Science for the Public Good
From the Editors - Politically Correct Science for the Masses
Real democracy does not just mean the right to vote. People must also have access to the information they need to make an informed choice; that’s why scientists must be free to tell the truth and express their views accordingly on scientific issues.
Shaping science to politics
When US scientists produced a report warning that the current level of greenhouse gas emissions would almost certainly lead to unsustainable climate change, the Bush administration did not simply ignore their findings. Instead, they changed the report to make it appear that the scientists’ conclusions supported the administration’s policy of doing nothing to reduce carbon emissions ( Scientific Integrity in Washington, SiS 49, ). That was not just a bit of political spin; it was a fundamental denial of democracy. Fortunately, the true picture on climate change could not be suppressed for long. The research had involved scientists in different countries and the results could not be concealed even by a body as powerful as the US government.
At the time, the episode may have looked like yet another excess of an administration notorious for relying more on faith and instinct than on reality . Now, however, more governments seem inclined towards policy-based evidence. We can see this in many fields, especially in supporting how effective government policies have been [4, 5], but it is in science that it is most marked.
In other areas, both the government and the public accept that there is a great deal of subjectivity and scope for differences of opinion, as for example, in economics. So a government does not have to be too concerned if there are economists, even highly prestigious ones, who disagree with its policies. As long as the government can find some other economists on its side, and it is pretty much bound to, it can claim to be following the best economic advice.
In contrast, most people think of science as objective and reliable. People who talk about science to the public do often acknowledge that all scientific knowledge is provisional. After all, Newtonian physics was eventually superseded. But this kind of uncertainty has little direct bearing on the decisions governments take. There may be some practical issues about which there is still some uncertainty, but that’s seen as a matter of not yet having all the evidence, rather than there being more than one legitimate view.
If a policy can be claimed to be based on science, it acquires a privileged status. Anyone who disagrees is treated like the crank who claims to have designed a perpetual motion machine. The same applies to feeding the world without genetically modified crops or keeping the lights on without nuclear power.
Hence, to accept that there are legitimate doubts about the science is much harder than to acknowledge that some reputable economists disagree with the direction of government policy.
That’s why governments are so anxious that what is accepted as science is in line with what they want to do. They tend to appoint as advisers people who will produce the advice they want to hear. Indeed, the advisers may be connected more or less closely with the special interests that lobbied for the policy in the first place. And once the governments have got the advice, they want the matter closed. Scientists are expected to fall in line, like ministers are supposed to accept cabinet responsibility, and support in public whatever has been agreed, regardless of their own opinion on the matter.
Thus Ian Boyd, Scientific Adviser to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), writes that the “voice of science” should be heard through advisory committees and “embedded advisers” such as himself . It is interesting that he describes himself as embedded, a word generally used to describe a war correspondent who is attached to a military unit and can go only where the army allows him to go and report only what the army allows him to report.
Above all, he argues, scientists should not be the “voice of dissent” in the public arena. Once the government has decided what the science is, scientists should not disagree with it in public. This may remind you of the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church in the 17th century. Once it had decided that the Earth was the centre of the universe, it was not for a mere scientist like Galileo to insist that it is merely one of a number of planets in orbit around the Sun. At least, he was not to say it in public, which is why the Inquisition sentenced him to house arrest for life.
The foresight coordinator in the bureau of European policy advisers to the President of the European Commission makes much the same point, though in more measured language : “To enable more-understandable, evidence based policies, we must rely more on science from the outset. Once a consensus is achieved, scientific evidence is less up for debate.”
In the US, soon after Obama became President in 2009, the White House sent a memorandum to heads of government departments and agencies requiring them to produce policies for scientific integrity . The process is still not complete. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), 22 departments and agencies have produced either draft or final policies . Of these, the UCS considers only 6 to clearly promote scientific integrity, 5 to require more work, and 11 are either inadequate or not yet finalised, generally with no indication as to when they will be. Worryingly, among the agencies with unsatisfactory codes are Education, Energy, Overseas Aid and Agriculture.
One agency that has not produced a code is the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). In 2012, the FWS brought pressure on a scientist not to appear on a television programme reporting on deformities in fish caused by selenium pollution in rivers in Idaho . Things may have improved since the days of George W. Bush, but not by as much as scientists had hoped.
In Canada, the Conservative Harper government is drastically reducing environmental regulations and monitoring; the latest example is the removal in November 2013 of much of the protection from many freshwater fish and their habitats . To make it easier to push this through, scientists in the government departments and agencies that deal with the environment are being prevented from speaking to the media about their work, even on matters not directly related to government policies. A Natural Resources geologist, for example, was denied permission to talk to the media about a paper he had published in Nature on a flood that had occurred in northern Canada 13 000 years ago . Canadian government scientists attending a recent Polar meeting in Montreal were told by email that if they were approached by a journalist, they should hand over a business card and make an appointment to discuss the science in the presence of a minder.
This worldwide trend in silencing scientists for political ends is extremely worrying. It is a grave threat to both the advancement of science and to democracy, as it effectively curtails people’s access to real information that is potentially vital for their safety and well-being, and based on which they can exercise their rights as voters. It is also an intolerable restriction on the freedom of individual scientists to speak as both scientists and ordinary citizens.
The scientists’ role in policy making is to present the scientific facts and uncertainties as best they can so that society can decide on the best way forward. In practice, of course, it is governments that take decisions, but in democracies the public must be able to hold them to account, and we cannot do that if we do not know what those facts and uncertainties are.
Scientific advice given to governments must be available to the public. What is more, we must be allowed to see the advice as it came from the scientists, not in a version that has been doctored to support a policy. This is not an especially radical proposal; reports of the select committees of the UK parliament already include all the evidence that was submitted to them.
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 21:51
Who Owns Organics Now & Toxic Foods ? Feb 19/14
Cdsapi’s Add Comment: 150+ years ago, the first Rockefeller Corporate mogul, the founder of Standard Oil and the Chemical Empire, John D. Rockefeller, enunciated as his central “business philosophy” that “Tolerating Competition” was the “Unforgiveable Sin”.
His strategy was short and simple: “I will BUY you out”, and if you resist, “I will WIPE you out”.
150 years ago, most of agriculture was essentially organic. The term “organic” was later designated to differentiate between farming Naturally and the developing agricultural monstrosity that was morphing farming into “corporate-controlled, industrialized, chemicalized, agribusiness factory farming entretprises.”. –
Nature, natural. and Organic farming was soon to become the “Intolerable Competitive Thorn” in the side of Corporate Agribusiness. It is that intolerable “control group” that demonstrates the “health benefit effects” of naturally produced foods and the “Health-destruction effects” of Toxic, chemically and pathologically contaminated foods, produced through industrialized Corporate-owned Factory Farming Agribusiness.
The Corporate Solution: - using the power and leverage of accumulated Wealth that they had plundered - “We will buy you out” - and if you little local organic producers persist in being the pesky nuisance (that the public increasingly demands and supports) - “We will wipe you out”.
The following diagram illustrates just how far advanced this strategy of eliminating the “organic competition” has been implemented.
It is ironic that the supposedly most advanced nation on the planet has permitted the destruction of healthy food production and replaced it with the promotion of Toxic food in the hands of ruthless Corporations, that protect their secrecy under the umbrella of “Proprietary Privilege and Confidentiality”., with enough Wealth To Purchase Everything - the land, the government, the judiciary, academia, research, medicine, the media, labor, the educational system, advertising, entertainment (the brainwashing institutions)…... And once they have “bought out the competition” the definition and conditions of Organic are conveniently changed - to a definition that is an abomination, to include all that should have remained “excluded” – like pesticides, GMOs. etc..
“Man is the only species that knowingly destroys and discards Life’s Essentials, engineers and finances its own destruction, and does so in the name of “Economic Necessity”.
“ACTIONS are ATTITUDES in MOTIONS”
If we do not like the Actions, we have to look at the Attitudes that have produced them.
That means changing our “attitudinal paradigm”. No! Money must not give a “select wealthy few” that right to enslave the rest of humanity and to “slow-kill” them with Toxic Foods..
As long as money remains a “Commodity” rather than a facilitators of exchange, and “Making Money” takes priority over “Protecting the Life’s Essentials”, the Rockefeller Corporate Strategy will flourish unimpeded. “We will buy you out’ or “We will wipe you out’. – but we will be destroyed you as Competition ;
Unless WE put a halt to this legalistically-protected “economic criminality”, true organic farming will suffer the fate of the dodo-bird and the passenger pigeon that were incrementally ”picked off” to disappear into the oblivion of history.
If it is “healthy food” that we want - then it is the “production of healthy food” that we must protect.
W must never permit a Bill Gates and a Rockefeller, or a George Soros or the Koch Brothers, or Carlyle or Walmart - on the basis of their accumulated Wealth – to become and determine our Governance.
Just consider this: every animal has its “economy” – it consists of procuring and having what it needs. And none of them have “money” to determine their survival. Only mankind allows the sacrifice of Survival in order to make Fiat Money, to be used as the Lever of Power and Control over populations and their environment - the new slave masters of World Governance.
comment by cdsapi - Citizens Demand Scientific, Academic, Political (and Media) Integrity.
Please pass on this diagram!
----- Original Message -----
From: The Cornucopia Institute
To: Sent: Thursday, February 13, 2014 5:12 PM
Subject: Who Owns Organic Now? New Info Graphic Tracks the Corporate Takeover of Organics…
Who Owns Organic Now?
New Info Graphic Tracks the Corporate Takeover of Organics…
Prominent Info Graphic Decoding Corporate Ownership in Organics Updated
http://www.cornucopia.org/2014/02/owns-organic-now-new-info-graphic-tracks-corporate-takeover-organics/ Click on the image above to link to a larger version of the info graphic
In 1995 there were 81 independent organic processing companies in the United States. A decade later, Big Food had gobbled up all but 15 of them.
Corporate consolidation of the food system has been largely hidden from consumers. That’s changing, thanks to tools such as Philip H. Howard’s widely circulated “Who Owns Organic?” infographic. Originally published in 2003, the chart provides a snapshot of the structure of the organic industry, showing the acquisitions and alliances of the top 100 food processors in North America. The chart empowers consumers to see at a glance which companies dominate the organic marketplace.
The Cornucopia Institute has been proud to feature Dr. Howard's work and help supply information helping the Michigan State University researcher keep abreast of the shifting ownership environment in the organic industry.
Dr. Phil Howard, an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State, is responsible for the creation and updating of the organic food business chart. He teaches in the University’s Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies program.
Dr. Howard released an update of the chart on February 13. It is posted prominently on the right-hand margin at www.cornucopia.org.
Major changes since the last version (May 2013) include WhiteWave’s December 2013 acquisition of Earthbound Farm, the nation’s largest organic produce supplier, for $600 million, said Howard. Additionally, Coca-Cola acquired a 10% stake in Green Mountain Coffee for $1.25 billion, and Bimbo Bakeries (Mexico) purchased Canada Bread from Maple Leaf Foods (Canada) for $1.7 billion.
The chart shows that many iconic organic brands are owned by the titans of junk food, processed food and sugary beverages—the same corporations that spent millions to defeat GMO labeling initiatives in California and Washington. General Mills (which owns Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, and LaraBar), Coca-Cola (Honest Tea, Odwalla), J.M. Smucker (R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic), and many other corporate owners of organic brands contributed big bucks to deny citizens’ right to know what is in their food.
“Consumers who want food companies that embody more of the original organic ideals would do well to seek out products from independent organic firms,” Howard advises. “Given the very uneven playing field they are competing in, independent organic processors are unlikely to survive without such support.”
Tools such as Howard’s infographic and The Cornucopia Institute’s scorecards rating organic brands of dairy, eggs, soy foods and breakfast cereals empower consumers to make those choices. The updated chart and scorecards are available for download at www.cornucopia.org.
Howard has created additional infographics and network animations on the wine, beer, soft drink, coffee and seed industries, as well as on foodborne illnesses and the structure of the food system (www.msu.edu/~howardp/index.html).
Having trouble viewing this? Click here for a web version.
The Cornucopia Institute
is a nonprofit organization engaged in research and educational activities supporting the ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture. Through research and investigations on agricultural and food issues, The Cornucopia Institute provides needed information to family farmers, consumers, stakeholders involved in the good food movement, and the media.
P.O. Box 126 Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827
TEL: 608-625-2000 | FAX: 866-861-2214 | www.cornucopia.org
The Price of TOXIC FOOD
Inge's Added Comment: Wednesday's program on Coast-to-Coast AM was excellent,
Here is a brief summary. If you have access to their archives, this program is worth listening to.
Dr. Abram Hofer summed this up in one short sentence, many years ago.
"If man made it, don't eat it."
He made the astute observation that "our taste buds can kill us" - and are killing us".
In other words - avoid manipulated (GMOs) and processed foods.
The Corporations reap wealth - and we reap destruction of our health.
Nature gives us everything our bodies need. - eat "naturally" with "gratitude".
Learn from the WIDSOM inherent in Nature - but regretfully, woefully absent in our infatuation with the "superiority of human (unwise)-intelligence".
Coast to Coast AM
February 13, 2014
On Wednesday's show, nutritionist and biochemist Ted Broer discussed
the long term dangers of eating toxic foods,
sold to us by multinational corporations.
He outlined ten items that he believes it is especially important to avoid in order to maintain good health:
1) High fat meats such as bacon and hot dogs, which contain sodium nitrates – especially processed meats
2) Aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in diet drinks and other products
3) Margarine, and products that contain transfat (use organic butter instead)
4) Shellfish, generally contains too much contamination
5) Junk foods (like Twinkies), and products with high fructose corn syrup
6) Soy products, tend to increase estrogen levels
7) Fluoridated and chlorinated water, act as endocrine disruptors
8) High fat dairy products, and non-organic dairy (have bovine growth hormones)
9) Coffee, elevates harmful cortisol levels
10) Alcohol, habitual or daily use causes problems
Broer also highlighted various other dangers:
-- chemtrails are putting aluminum and barium into our atmosphere,
- immunizations (especially those that contain squalene or thimerosal) are associated with increased cases of autism,
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 22:00
Saturday, 15 February 2014 21:28
Illegal Hydro Fees BC & USA! Feb 16/14
Subject: update 2014-02-09 Interveners' last submissions to BCUC re. Hydro fees
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2014 23:55:30 -0800
1) On Feb. 7 the interveners submitted to BCUC their final arguments against BC Hydro’s “meter choices” (aka opt out fees) proposal. There are some excellent ones that can be read at http://www.bcuc.com/ApplicationView.aspx?ApplicationId=417 under “Arguments”. BC Hydro has until next Friday to submit their response, and then it will be up to BCUC to deliberate and to reach a decision. Then BCUC will have to decide if it’s going to pay attention to all the ideas, suggestions and concerns raised by the interveners and those who cared enough to submit letters of interest and concern, to do what it’s mandated to do by legislation – to safeguard our welfare – or if it will bow down to a government which has ignored our civil rights.
2) The US is experiencing difference types of attacks on the grid, some physical, some via computers. The physical ones probably will be immediately identifiable but the computer/viral attacks could already have been set in motion, waiting to hit the grid at some time in the future. An international grid like the one we are being forced to join, will mean we will suffer the consequences of the attack even if it occurs in the US.
3) Interference with wireless devices is a major concern and problem. The manager in this article is not quite correct about the signalling. The transmitter that sends data signals to the collectors is the one that maintains the mesh grid, not the zigbee. Hydro and Fortis say this sends signals only 4-6 times a day, which it might (although this can be controlled remotely to increase as data is desired) but they don’t tell us that they signal as often as several times a minute to keep the grid stable. It uses frequencies in the 900Mhz range which is common for many devices, including medical ones.
The real danger of "smart meters" by smga3000 - Rancho Santa Margarita Patch - February 08, 2014:
4) In a pilot project in Massachusetts, people are seeing their bills double. Some amazingly candid admissions in this article. One is how time of use works: http://www.telegram.com/article/20140209/NEWS/302099987/1237 From the comments, many are not happy with this!
“For example, the grid becomes strained when people come home from work between 5 and 6 p.m., turn up the electric heat or air conditioning, switch on their big screen televisions, preheat their ovens for dinner and then start a load of laundry or plug in their electric car for the night.
The new pricing options will change though, encouraging people to wait until 9 p.m. to put in that laundry or to run the dishwasher, because it will be only about 5 cents per kilowatt hour, rather than 7.3 cents, said JP Knauss, principal engineer for the project. Those pricing levels are not yet solidified.
There will also be times when the utility can call for critical pricing, where the cost per kilowatt hour will be about 68 cents. Those critical price points will span up to eight hours and will only be on regular business days, generally on hot summer days when people crank up their air conditioners or fans and the grid is most at risk for blackouts.”
5) Some of the computing/networking groups are starting to speak out, finally, about the spying potential of these stupid meters.
6) A Nova Scotia man built a $300 solar furnace.
7) A few months ago I circulated this excellent film, but it is so good and we have many new members, so I am recommending it again. It’s 90 min. long, and, IMHO, it’s time well spent. Its name is “Resonance”.
Good advice http://www.bclocalnews.com/opinion/letters/244354901.html
Subject: update 2014-02-10 Billing Alert: Hydro producing huge bills.
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 22:31:49 -0800
1) Alert: I am getting emails from many people who are getting huge bills from Hydro. Some are estimates and everyone should compare billed consumption figures with your meter – whether an analog or a smeter. Others are finding that their meters have not been read for close to a year, and Hydro is saying they owe huge “catch up” bills. Whether this is legal or not, I do not know, but I suspect part of this could be Hydro’s dirty tricks, harassment and intimidation while wondering how much is due to pure incompetence. In either case, Hydro must be confronted – have the high estimated bill corrected. With the huge “catch up” bill, demand a reasonable payment option. Our lawyer believes there is an appeal process available. I will check with the BCUC about this and will report what they tell me .
For sure, complaints should be sent to the BCUC and the provincial ombudsman (copied to me please. I am keeping track of these in case there is any legal action).
2) I just learned that Feb. 11 is an international day of protest against surveillance. I do regret not knowing earlier that Canada was participating so that perhaps we could participate. Please consider passing word, putting a flyer on your window, sending this to friends. And please write BC Privacy Commissioner Denham at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Our silence is unacceptable as we are now vulnerable to both indiscriminate data collection and warrantless surveillance,” says Ontario Privacy Commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian.
"The ‘fight’ is planned for just one day, but more and more it seems there’s an ongoing battle being waged. On one side, international digital rights organizations, citizen lobby groups, global media companies and other supporters of online freedom and open media access. On the other, the forces of Internet control, mass surveillance and state security. Government agencies like the NSA and CSEC among others.
A day of action, protest and remembrance is planned for Tuesday, February 11th — it’s called The Day We Fight Back."
3) “Cybercrime is booming; it is an estimated $100 billion industry in the United States and shows no signs of slowing down.” New software is being developed to fight it, but it will be expensive. And this will be never ending. As soon as one program is protected, the cybercriminals will find a new way to get in.
Timothy Schoechle has warned about the dangers of having one huge grid, where a virus or an attack could bring darkness to every home and business. He recommends small, local programs. His article is very interesting, and he can be heard on audio talking about his vision for a safer, cleaner, wired grid.
Authored by a veteran communications technology expert, in collaboration with the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy, “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid” offers a roadmap to a truly decentralised electricity grid capable of integrating “distributed” power generation and renewal energy sources without the privacy, security, reliability, economic or potential public health impacts of our present 20th century centralised and wasteful utility infrastructure investment approach. Report:
The following audio recordings feature “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid” author, Timothy Schoechle, PhD; Camilla Rees, MBA, overseer of this initiative on behalf of the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy; new energy visionary, Duncan Campbell, author of the report’s Foreword, and host of Living Dialogues; and James S. Turner, Chairman of the National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy and also Chairman of Citizens for Health.
Quadrilogue pt 1 http://www.gettingsmarteraboutthesmartgrid.org/audio/SMART%20GRID%20QUADRILOGUE%20-%20PART%201%20-%20Rees-Campbell-Schoechle-Turner.mp3
Quadrilogue pt 2 http://www.gettingsmarteraboutthesmartgrid.org/audio/SMART%20GRID%20QUADRILOGUE%20-%20PART%202%20-%20Rees-Campbell-Schoechle-Turner.mp3
Audio Rees & Schoechle http://www.gettingsmarteraboutthesmartgrid.org/audio/Smart_Grid_Dialogue_Tim_Schoechle_shrunk-1.mp3 - See more at: http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/getting-smarter-about-the-smart-grid-dr-tim-schoechle-national-institute-for-science-law-public-policy/#sthash.MJEtUIhm.dpuf
4) Yet another place where the smeter program is failing to fulfill its promise to reduce rates and to save energy.
5) Opposition to Ontario Hydro One and its smeter program is growing. Here is a website where we can keep up what is happening – perhaps as a model for what we should be doing here.
http://www.brokenhydro.ca/# A provincial elected official has been speaking out, and applauds the Ombudsman for the investigation into Hydro’s billing practices. Hopefully one of ours will speak up and join with us in our fight for fairness, honesty, and respect of our civil rights,
6) Interference is yet another problem that will become more and more apparent as the “dumb” grid goes live. Interesting comment in this article: Learn more about smart meters - The Daily Times - January 24, 2014:
John Dize - January 28 - I am a Ham Radio operator and ever since the town of Crisfield has been smothered in smart meters, the noise and RFI has been unbearable. Delmarva Power has been to my house and cannot find anything wrong.. But the noise is in every radio I have am-fm, VHF, UHF all of them. These are dangerous radio waves and the people in our town should be aware of what is happening. Pepco has a specialist in this field, but have failed to have him come here.
I urge every person who is having interference on their tv, radio, or any electrical device to contact DPL or Public Service Commisson to have this investigated. these emissons can be harmful.
An intervenor’s submission that is not on the BCUC site yet. It is an excellent document, as are many of your submissions.
To: BC Utilities Commission <Commission.Secretary@bcuc.com>;
Sent: February 08, 2014
Subject: Intervenor submission re Meter Choices Program
There are so many questions that remain entirely unanswered after months of carefully and moderately expressed information requests, that an impartial observer might conclude that the decision makers of BC Hydro would prefer to be simply immune to any meaningful oversight of their actions. In view of that situation that has arisen, perhaps the following comments, respectfully submitted to the Panel, can be regarded as a reasonable remonstrance on the part of one voice among a great many that have written to express their sense of profound unease and concern at what is underway on the part of our public utility.
One question after another has been either brushed off with a spurious answer that did not address the question asked, or it has been pretended that a previous answer to a previous question somehow was also an adequate response to the actual question asked. In many further cases, BC Hydro has claimed ignorance of the practices of other utilities, other drivers, other jurisdictions. It has claimed that many relevant questions that have been posed universally fall outside of what it is able to answer, for so many different causes from confidentiality of commercial contract arrangements, to confidentiality of the Cabinet, to having no reliable information available, to "choosing" not to obtain requested factual material, to baldly stating "BCH will not be doing so-and-so...", even that (in essence): 'it will be more convenient for us not to provide that information'. The stalling, stone-walling and obfuscation has obviously achieved much of what was intended, seemingly.
For, apparently, after all these thousands of words, thousands of pages of material, thousands of letters written pointing out the glaring holes of logic, process, decency, accountability and reasonableness; and additionally of the harm that will be caused to health, to privacy, to accuracy of metering, to economic efficiency, to safety, to democracy, by this process of force-feeding a questionable technology down the throats of a largely unwilling populace, where have we arrived at? Remarkably, as if there were nothing to be learned from all this expressed concern and expended energy, it seems that the "elephant in the room" may still not be acknowledged.
As best as can be discerned, the BCUC has rarely if ever received so great a number of submissions from the public, almost without exception unequivocally opposed to what is being imposed upon them. This situation it seems is unique. That fact alone demands a recognition that this is no ordinary run-of-the-mill, dollars and cents challenge that has been placed at the doorstep of the Commission - rather it goes to the heart of the question of whether the Commission will find itself able to step up to fulfil its appointed obligation not solely in a narrowly prescribed legalistic sense, but rather in the spirit and the intent of the legislation that enabled and empowered it: with a mandate to balance and offset the power and influence of a giant corporate entity, a monopoly utility that is for most customers without option or alternative, driven and directed by a government willing to use its position to sidestep any closer examination of the ramifications of their current pet project. The willingness has clearly been shown, to try to shut down even the regulator, from being able to effectively regulate.
There are significant issues that presently face the BCUC, because a fair and reasonable handling of the central questions is required by the public of British Columbia, these many thousands of customers who are watching the current proceedings to see whether fairness and reasonableness will figure in the way that their actual clearly-expressed choices and priorities are responded to, by the regulators charged with ensuring fairness and reason in the system. If ever a circumstance were to arrive in which the BCUC were unwilling to deliver a judgement that the mandate of "fairness and reasonableness" required in a clear and logical fashion, then there really would emerge a very considerable problem for the people of this province. As has been expressed on so many sides, the vital function that BCUC performs cannot be permitted to decay into a rubber-stamping of edicts delivered from discussions behind closed doors, without oversight, without balance, without public discussion, without input from an informed electorate and an effective political opposition.
Yet there remains the Direction, and the requirement by this government that in fact nothing else must even be discussed, let alone decided upon by BCUC, save for the solitary question of "a small amount of money, or a larger amount of money". Everything else is supposedly off the table for discussion. Yet quite obviously, it is not. There still remain those tricky and uncomfortable issues that can only with courage and genuine independence be addressed within the constraints of Direction No. 4 -- issues, namely, that require of BCUC a decision that is truly and meaningfully both "Fair" and "Reasonable", and that would be judged by any arm's length observer as diligently adhering to those two entirely non-trivial concepts.
Can it really be that BC Hydro has actually acquired the power to force microwave transmitters into every residential and business property in the province, whether the owner of that property agrees or not? Can it really be that a set of actions so closely approximating to the dictionary definitions of "bullying", "cajolery", "coercion" and "extortion" as has been charged by the thousands of customers who have been exposed to the behaviours, will now simply be normalized as "how BC Hydro conducts its business"? Further, that installers who lie, deceive, mislead, pressure and coerce, are all justified in their behaviour because after all, the only thing that actually matters here is that BC Hydro gets its way? When did this kind of treatment become acceptable in British Columbia? Is it the intention of all parties involved in this process to simply wash their hands of any responsibility for what has been going on? We can all find examples in history of governments that just said "Do as we tell you". And we know full well that in due course, Justice stepped in to say to those same government functionaries "Being ordered to do something that may cause harm to a person, is not sufficient excuse for an individual to be innocent of causing harm. 'I was just following orders' will still get you hanged". This issue of smart meters and the need for a program that provides an opt-out (solely) for those who were able to protect their analogue meter, has at its core the certain knowledge by a great many of us that there is indeed harm that is being caused. That harm cannot be simply rationalised away, merely because it proves inconvenient to a set of profit projections.
A new sense of balance and fairness is called for at this point, a willingness to recognize that the accounting that BCH has so far brought to the table is fundamentally skewed out of all conscionable recognition. BCH can superficially make their figures add up, but they fail massively in making their logic add up. That fact stands out a mile to anyone who reads the material.
Why, one might ask, does every suggestion (such as an already existing self-read program) that would reduce the total costs for those in the Meter Choices Program seem to be impossible, according to BC Hydro, for them to include in the program? Meanwhile every conceivable item that would needlessly pad and inflate the costs for Meter Choice Program participants is presented as being both essential and unavoidable by BC Hydro (from unwarranted ExpressPost to absurdly excessive numbers of theft-prevention devices). It seems that even the Minister responsible, Bill Bennett, recognized with sufficient foresight the likelihood of BC Hydro attempting these actions, to cause him to bring it to the attention of the public. Will we see BCUC make a sincere and motivated attempt to separate the actual and minimal true costs of the program from the frankly laughable lists of expenses that BC Hydro would have us believe "have" to be covered? Many customers (and even present meter-readers etc) have provided details showing that the costs are realistically in terms of cents, not dollars. This disparity cannot be permitted to just float past the Commission unchallenged and uncorrected.
The utility insists that it has to read every meter not less than every two months. So why are we hearing from one customer after another that it has routinely been many months since anyone read their meter? BCH insists that a self-read program would not reduce costs and would not be accurate, not reliable, not manageable. Yet every time that I and a great many other BC Hydro customers report our current meter readings to BCH's customer service reps, they seem to have no problem with accepting them and acting on them. This is, after all, not a notional, "proposed" idea for meter reading - for a sizable number of customers this is how their meter routinely has been read, in some cases for years and years.
After receiving a bill some time ago that had Hydro's estimates (due to them not reading meters) showing an amount so absurdly inflated beyond what the meter itself was indicating, my subsequent phoned-in self-reads led to BC Hydro's next bill reducing the amount charged by a factor so great that even after consuming an extra two months of electricity, there was still a credit amount showing. How can the utility get away with persuading anyone that their methods work and are reliable, when the entire BC Hydro billing system is so obviously in sporadic disarray? Even the online accounts system is currently disabled, it is reported. To claim that the system BCH is proposing for us all is reliable and necessary is simply and undeniably NOT supported by the facts, as attested to by the reported experiences of hundreds of BC Hydro's customers.
Previously, these systems worked with such a high degree of efficiency that they were either a) treated as any other commercial enterprise does, as a normal business expense, not separately charged, or b) covered by a small (small!) charge on the regular bill. If a supposedly more efficient system cannot absorb even the costs that were previously dealt with in a routine fashion, then where are the much-touted and apparently invisible advantages, and why do they nevertheless add up to steeper increases in rates forecast, than we have seen for many years? These are such obvious questions, are they not?
For a great many Hydro customers, the answers are not to be found in heaping additional financial burden on those segments of the BCH customer base who are already coping with health problems from the technology. Yet that is exactly what BCH's proposals demand. A realistic and grounded assessment would see BCUC set the monthly fee for retaining an analogue meter at the absolute minimum level that is still permissible by Direction No. 4. Since that is the range of movement to which the Commission has been restrained, and the justifications for a modest fee are both many and indisputable, would that not be as reasonable a course of action as any other? What else is it within the power of the Commission and the scope of Direction No 4 to enact in its decision, that will respond in any meaningful way to the widespread sense of resolute and aggrieved injustice in those 20,000 analogue meter hold-outs and the more than a thousand Letters of Complaint/Comment arising from the behaviours, actions and coercion of the utility? If other remedies there be in addition to the most modest of MCP charges, then please, we urge you sincerely to make use of them also.
Thursday, 13 February 2014 22:29
EMF Dangers Feb 14/14
EMFs & Dirty Electricity
The Link Between Wireless Radiation and a Host of Serious Illnesses
by Frank Clegg
Contact your City Council: demand a safer wireless policy from any candidate you wish to endorse
The longtime president of Microsoft Canada is now our country’s leading advocate for wireless radiation safety. Vitality invited high tech leader Frank Clegg, now CEO of the new non-profit organization, Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST), to update our readers on what Canada is (or is not) doing to protect your health, and what you can do in this election year to protect yourself and your children.
Here is a report on his research and conclusions.
It has been three years since the World Health Organization shocked the medical community by warning that exposure to microwave radiation from wireless devices might increase our cancer risk. If the same elite cancer specialists were to meet again today, the warning would be upgraded from a “possible carcinogen” to a “probable carcinogen.” That is according to Professor Emeritus Anthony Miller, of the University of Toronto, who was speaking recently to Toronto’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. (1)
Since 2011, governments around the world have alerted their populations to approach wireless devices with caution.
In Belgium, it will soon be illegal to sell or market “kiddie-phones”, mobile phones that are specially designed for children. (2)
In France, the government “recommends limiting the population’s exposure to radiofrequencies – in particular from mobile phones – especially for children and intensive users.” (3)
In India, both the State of Rajasthan and the City of Mumbai have passed laws prohibiting the placement of cellular antennae on the roofs of hospitals and schools and in playgrounds because they are “hazardous to life.” (4)
Lawmakers across our globe are developing safety rules. Similar to the global trend in laws around seat belts, lawn-pesticides, second hand smoke and tanning beds, these laws are designed to protect the public from emerging technologies that eventually reveal emerging evidence of potential harm. Many people are unaware that wireless devices use microwaves, the same as your microwave oven. So your cordless phone, Wi-Fi, smart meter and the cell tower outside your window are effectively functioning as low-level, constantly-emitting, microwave transmitters.
In Canada, various levels of government are largely ignoring the warning from the W.H.O. and are instead hiding behind “Safety Code 6,” (5) an archaic federal guideline that is allowing Canada’s globally envied health care system to ignore our biggest modern health threat.
The Link Between Wireless Radiation and Illness
Since I helped found Canadians For Safe Technology (www.C4ST.org), I have personally met too many people who are suffering from over-exposure to wireless radiation. Cancer isn’t the only risk.
About 10 years ago Bill Townsend, a former radio talk show host who now works at Humber College, was the father of a sick family. His very young son had been in surgery for his tonsils, and his even younger son had been diagnosed with adenoid swelling that was resulting in a lack of sleep. His wife had chronic skin rashes that had progressed to her face and also suffered dizziness. When his wife’s doctor found she had the same adenoid swelling as their son, he scheduled both Bill’s son and his wife for surgery on the same day.
Bill became suspicious when he started to get sinus swelling himself. So he conducted an internet search and found information linking Wi-Fi to sudden onset chronic health problems including heart irregularity, headaches, nausea, poor sleep, as well as skin rashes and sinus swelling.
Bill then realized there was a direct link between his family’s health decline and the installation of a Wi-Fi router in his house. He made a simple decision to turn off the Wi-Fi, and instead hardwire all computers in his home. His wife and son’s symptoms reversed so quickly that on the day before surgery their doctor gave them both a clean bill of health and cancelled both operations. Bill’s own symptoms also quickly disappeared.
In every story I hear, the hidden cost of so much wireless radiation in our lives is being borne by our provincial healthcare system. The provinces are blindly following the federal government’s outdated Safety Code 6 – even though Safety Code 6 is only a guideline for federal buildings. No one knows how many people are sick or will become sick from this radiation, but scientists estimate about 3% of people have an immediate reaction. That means about one million Canadians. Many others – about 20% of people – will develop symptoms over time, like Bill Townsend did. These people have what Doctors call electrosensitivity or ES.
Increasing Rates of Electrosensitivity
Electrosensitivity is not like an allergy you are born with; it is an illness that builds up over increased time and radiation exposure. Just as we cannot yet explain why some individuals will die from second-hand smoke and others can live a long life smoking 2 packs a day, we cannot explain why some individuals react to wireless radiation. But with more and more cell towers and smart meters crowding into our living spaces, with Wi-Fi in buses, schools, trains, offices and hotels, people who are sensitive now struggle to work, travel and support their families.
Women’s College Hospital in Toronto has an environmental health clinic that has seen its waiting list balloon to over 6 months for patients struggling with electrosensitivity.
Health Canada is dangerously behind other countries in recognizing electrosensitivity. It is disturbing to note that Health Canada historically did recognize that some people get sick from microwave radiation. But in the last “update” of the Safety Code in 2009, the only significant change was to delete the single sentence that read:
“Certain members of the general public may be more susceptible to harm from RF and microwave exposure.”
This acknowledgement that some people are susceptible to harm from wireless radiation had been part of the safety code for more than a decade. It vanished about the same time Wi-Fi was rolled out into all schools and offices. (6)
That is in stark contrast with Sweden, where electrosensitivity is an officially recognized impairment. Some hospitals have built special rooms with very low wireless radiation so that people who are sensitive can get medical care. (7)
In 2012, the Austrian Medical Association also adopted guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of illness caused by wireless radiation. (8) Austria’s checklist for physicians lists the following symptoms: sleep problems, fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy, restlessness, heart palpitations, blood pressure problems, muscle and joint pain, headaches, depression, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, anxiety, urinary urgency, anomia (difficulty finding words), dizziness, tinnitus and sensations of pressure in the head and the ears, tightness in chest, hyperactivity, irritability, noise sensitivity, burning sensation in the eyes and skin conditions.
I encourage everyone who is reading this with unexplained chronic health problems – including disturbed sleep – to turn off every wireless device in their home for a week. Write down what happens. Here’s what to do:
The Tech Exec’s 5-Step Guide to Wireless Safety
1. CELL PHONES:
a) Keep cell phones away from your head (use the speaker or airtube earbuds; not bluetooth) and out of your pocket, bras, or clothing.
b) Don’t sleep with an active cell phone near you. Use airplane mode only. It keeps the phone functions on, but blocks incoming/outgoing calls and text.
c) Children should not be near a connected cell phone or tablet device. Cell phones and tablets should not be used as toys.
d) Forward your phone to your landline when at home.
2. CORDLESS PHONES: Remove all cordless phones. If you must have them, keep them away from high use areas and bedrooms and put them on a timer or turn them off every night. The base-station is the heaviest emitter of radiation, more than the hand-held phone.
3. WI-FI: Remove the Wi-Fi in your home. If you cannot remove it, turn it off when not in use, minimally put it on a timer or turn it off every night. Make sure it is not where someone is exposed all day, such as a bedroom or study.
4. BABY MONITORS: Never place a wireless baby monitor (video or audio) by your child’s bed. Use a wired monitor. Mothers, do not carry the monitor near your body.
5. SMART METERS: If possible, opt out of any smart meter installations for hydro or water. If not possible, try to have it placed away from bedrooms or other high use area, or consider the use of a protective screen.
It’s worth noting that even the manufacturers won’t declare their products “SAFE.” The presidents of Bell, Rogers, Telus, or any cell phone maker will not declare publicly that their products are safe. In the U.S., the spokesman for the wireless industry association, Dane Snowden, is on record as testifying to the State Legislature of Vermont: “Industry has not said once – not once – that cell phones are safe. The federal government …has said it is safe.”
Lax Federal Guideline Is a Danger to Public Health
This is perhaps the most critical point in the discussion. Our lax federal guideline needs to be rigorously updated. Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 which governs the safety of cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi, smart meters and microwave ovens has not been significantly updated since the 1970s, long before Wi-Fi was invented or cell phones were sold.
But even manufacturers discreetly warn of possible health problems – in their fine print. This warning comes with the Apple IPad2: (9)
“You can further limit your exposure by limiting the amount of time using iPad in wireless mode, since time is a factor in how much exposure a person receives, and by placing more distance between your body and iPad since exposure level drops off dramatically with distance.”
The packaging with i-Phone5 states: “Carry i-Phone at least 10 mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at, or below, the as-tested levels.”
(To find these warnings, you have to hunt for them. Go to Settings – General – About – Legal – RF Exposure)
Blackberry warns users to keep their phones an inch away from any part of their body whenever it’s turned on, “including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers.” (10)
For men, keeping your cell phone in a trouser pocket in talk mode may impair fertility. (11) Putting a Wi-Fi-enabled computer on your lap has also been shown to alter sperm motility.
Wi-Fi Linked to ADHD, Learning Disorders
A recent study demonstrated that pregnant women should be careful about their use of cell phones.
Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, chief of reproductive endocrinology and infertility for Yale Medical Group says, “We have shown that behavioral problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by cell phone exposure in the womb. The rise in behavioral disorders in human children may be in part due to fetal cellular telephone irradiation exposure.” (12)
Children are especially vulnerable since their skulls are thinner and certain tissues of a child’s head, including the bone marrow and the eye, absorb significantly more energy than those in an adult head. (13) A highly regarded study from 2011 showed that radiation from a cell phone penetrated 10% of an adult head, whereas it penetrated the skull of a five year old 70%. (14)
I am discouraged to see School Boards such as Peel encourage students to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). The campaign was designed by the tech industry and sold to school Boards as part of their international sales campaign “21’st Century Learning.” (15)
In fact, a prestigious group of medical doctors who specialize in treating disease caused by toxins in the environment wrote to the Peel Board. The letter from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) to the director of the Peel District school board strongly advised the Board to turn off the Wi-Fi, and instead wire computers into ethernet cables in the classroom, in order to avoid “a widespread public health hazard that the medical system is not yet prepared to address.” (16)
Science suggests that exposure to constant wireless radiation impairs learning.
One of the most succinct letters I have read on the subject was written by Dr. Martha Herbert of the Harvard School of Medicine. As one of the world’s leading autism experts, she wrote to the Los Angeles School Board discouraging the installation of Wi-Fi, explaining that wireless radiation “from Wi-Fi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember, and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function. This will make it harder for some children to learn, particularly those who are already having problems in the first place.” (17)
However, as with pesticides, when the federal government lags behind, there are local initiatives that can make a difference. With lawn pesticides, the movement began in 1991 when a small town council in Hudson, Quebec, voted to outlaw the use of pesticides for “cosmetic control.” Today there are bans in more than 100 municipalities (including Toronto) and two provinces.
Local Initiatives to Protect the Public from Wi-Fi Radiation
With wireless radiation there are also some notable local initiatives:
The Saanich District School Board on Vancouver Island has banned Wi-Fi in elementary schools due to the uncertainty around children’s health. Also in B.C., the Kootenay Lakes school district voted to maintain one school without Wi-Fi in order to provide a safe haven for students who are obviously sensitive to the microwave radiation.
Last fall in Guelph, the City Council voted to request that Industry Canada stop all construction of new cell towers until Safety Code 6 is updated to reflect all health risks from overexposure to microwaves. (18) Similar requests from Thorold and Oakville earlier in the year have been ignored.
Last December, the City of Toronto voted to maintain its “Prudent Avoidance” policy recommending people and civic bodies keep radiation levels from cell towers 100 times safer than the federal Safety Code 6 minimums.
Here’s what you can do to make Canada’s hi-tech landscape healthier:
Help us Change Safety Code 6.
Health Canada has contracted the Royal Society of Canada (as it does every few years) to “update” Safety Code 6. The current panel is very conflicted. The Chair, Daniel Krewski, has already resigned after the Canadian Medical Association Journal published an exposé showing conflict of interest. (19) Two other scientists have resigned. There remain four of eight members with conflicts that should exclude them. Details are on our website www.C4st.org. (20)
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 22:18
Monsanto RU & Disease Feb 12/14
By Dr. Mercola
Last year, groundbreaking research was published suggesting that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup, might be "a crucially important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions."
If you missed it, please take the time to listen to Jeff Smith's interview with one of the authors of that research, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, reposted above. The lead author and researcher on this groundbreaking study was Anthony Samsel.
They spray nearly one BILLION pounds of Roundup every year for conventional crop production, but genetically engineered (GE) crops see some of the heaviest use, as so-called Roundup Ready crops are designed to withstand otherwise lethal doses of this chemical.
Tests published last year also showed that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies,1 while yet a third study revealed the chemical has estrogenic properties and drive breast cancer proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range.2
Now, research published in the International Journal of Toxicology3 in January adds even more fuel to the fire, as it reveals that glyphosate-based formulations like Roundup pose a threat to human health through cytotoxicity and oxidative effects. Such formulations were also found to be lethal to human liver cells.
You may think you are safe if you only eat organic produce but nothing could be further from the truth as most of the glyphosate contaminated crops are fed to animals. This means you also need to get organic meat and eggs. Also, beware you CANNOT wash glyphosate off your produce as it is actively integrated into every cell in the plant and impossible to wash off.
Commercial Formulations of Glyphosate Threaten Human Health
The researchers found that while glyphosate and its amino acid metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in isolation appears to be non-toxic to human cells, toxicity does become a concern when glyphosate is added to other ingredients found in commercial formulations.
It's also well worth noting that the featured study assessed the effects of glyphosate-based formulations on human cells at dilutions that are far below normal agricultural applications. As reported by the featured article by GreenMedInfo.com:4
"The researchers discovered that while glyphosate and its amino acid metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), showed little to no observable toxic effects in isolation, a glyphosate-based formulation containing adjuvants produced a variety of adverse effects on cellular oxidative balance, including the following signs of oxidative stress:
- Increases in reactive oxygen species
- Increases in nitrotyrosine formation
- Increases in superoxide dismutase activity
- Increases in glutathione levels
The glyphosate formulation studied also triggered two 'death proteins' in human cells known as caspase 3/7, inducing pathways that activate programmed cell death (apoptosis), a clear sign of significant toxicity."
According to the authors:
"These results confirm that G [glyphosate] formulations have adjuvants working together with the active ingredient and causing toxic effects that are not seen with acid glyphosate...
Altogether, these results challenge the establishment of guidance values such as the acceptable daily intake of glyphosate, when these are mostly based on a long term in vivo test of glyphosate alone.
Since pesticides are always used with adjuvants that could change their toxicity, the necessity to assess their whole formulations as mixtures becomes obvious. This challenges the concept of active principle of pesticides for non-target species."
Glyphosate in Isolation Preferentially Targets Beneficial Bacteria
Please note that in my earlier interviews with Dr. Don Huber, who is one of the most prominent scientific experts in plant toxicology, he firmly believe glyphosate is FAR more toxic and dangerous than DDT.
Previous research also shows that glyphosate alone wreaks havoc on soil and gut bacteria, so while glyphosate in isolation may not be able to kill your liver cells, it has been shown to wreak havoc on the beneficial bacteria that are absolutely critical to your overall health. Your gut bacteria (opposed to other human cells) are a key component of glyphosate's primary mechanism of harm, as microbes have the same pathway used by glyphosate to kill weeds.
The issue of glyphosate toxicity—whether in isolation or in formulation—implicates genetically engineered foods as being potentially far more hazardous to your health than less contaminated crops, and is indeed a significant reason for opting for organically-grown foods.
Labeling GMOs could help you select products that are less likely to have heavy contamination, although you'd also avoid many other hazardous chemicals used in conventional farming by opting for products labeled 100% organic.
There's also the environmental angle, as glyphosate also effectively kills beneficial soil microbes and damages the fertility of the soil. Glyphosate is in fact patented as an antibiotic, and killing bacteria is the main function of such drugs. It's also a potent chelator, which prevents valuable minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, and zinc from being utilized by the plant.
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 22:16
Hydro Corruption Feb 12/14
Dr. David Carpenter MD, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and a physician who has worked in the area of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and public health
Dr. David Carpenter MD, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and a physician who has worked in the area of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and public health for over 18 years, has a few choice words for power companies that are forcing smart meters down the throats of their customers all over the United States.
Dr. Carpenter adamantly insists that there is no evidence whatsoever that smart meters are in any way safe for human beings. He goes on to say that there is, in fact, ample evidence that demonstrates “convincingly and consistently” that exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) at elevated levels for long periods of time increases the risk of cancer, damages the nervous system, and adversely affects the reproductive organs.
Dr. Carpenter says that an informed person should demand that they be allowed to keep their analog meter.
- See more at: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/harvard-medical-doctor-warns-against-smart-meters/#sthash.ZnEN1iHs.dpuf
Ombudsman Complaints about Smart Meters!
1) Hydro One in Ontario has been treating its customers as an ATM just as BC Hydro is doing, with inflated estimated bills, arrogant responses to billing complaints, delayed billing resulting in huge bills. The Ontario Ombudsman is investigating billing practice and time of use. I encourage everyone who is having similar problems to write to BCUC Patrick.email@example.com and our ombudsman. Complaints to the ombudsman are made by completing the form at https://www.ombudsman.bc.ca/how-to-make-a-complaint/online-complaint-form It wouldn’t hurt to copy some politicians, when you write to BCUC e.g. Energy critic John Horgan John.Horgan.MLA@leg.bc.ca, your MLA, and others. If you would copy me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “complaint” in the subject line, I will gather them – perhaps these will be handy at the BCUC hearing or at some other time. I wrote to the ombudsman today. The comments I made on the complaint form are below.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Ontario+ombudsman+probe+Hydro+smart+meters/9465092/story.html Many interesting comments
2) Initially Hydro was installing ITRON collectors to transmit data to/from smeters to cell transmitters. These collectors had 2 transmitters. After having installed all 1800 across the province, Hydro replaced them with Cisco collectors that have up to 8 transmitters. When we asked why and how the additional 6 transmitters would be used, we were told “we have no plans!” Well, once again Hydro lied. Cisco has big plans for using the grid for multiple transmissions. Could we be having our homes used to transmit data for other businesses in addition to Hydro? E.g. wifi, cell phone service? One statement in this article will concern many and I think demands investigation:
“It’s taken a couple of years to get this flagship Cisco IPv6 mesh network up and running. But as it lights up Itron’s smart meters, it can also start connecting to other distribution grid devices, Davis explained. One of the first, he said, will be a grid sensor called LineWatch, built by QinetiQ, a U.K.-based defense technology company better known for its work on fighter planes, unmanned military robots and military cybersecurity projects than for smart grid. QinetiQ, like Itron, has embedded Cisco’s technology in its grid hardware”
And BC Hydro is one of its prime customers, as is Fortis.- http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/cisco-adds-distribution-automation-to-its-grid-network
3) I have discovered that all fires or electrical “incidents” must be reported by electricians and Hydro/Fortis to the BC Safety Authority. Individuals who were victims in the event can obtain copies of the reports from the BC Safety Authority. There are offices all over the province and the contact info. can be found at http://safetyauthority.ca/contact/regional-contacts I hope that any of you who had appliances or electronics damaged, or who suffered fires or overheating, etc. due to having a smeter (or possibly due to having one) will get a copy and share it with me at email@example.com with “BCSA report” on the subject line.
4) Non smeter. Wi-fi has been shown by many studies to be harmful due to the RF. Despite this, provincial medical officers such as Dr. Perry Kendall, are encouraging schools to install wi-fi for internet connection even when the school already is connected via the extremely efficient and safe fiber optic cable. Many corporate supporters and IT people sell the idea of wi-fi saying it is needed for a 21st century education and presenting wi-fi as the newest technology. Neither is true. We all know that wifi offers students no advantage beyond the convenience of students being able to carry their laptops around. And there is a real 21st century technology called Li-fi, where fiber optics are used to send the internet signal via visible light. This technology needs to be tested to make sure there are no side effects but initial reports are that li-fi is much safer than the RF emitting wi-fi currently used.
A terrific letter published by a member in the Peace Arch News: http://www.peacearchnews.com/opinion/letters/243415311.html
A copy of the statement I completed at the ombudsman complaint site:
As Director of the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters I am getting many emails from people who are experiencing poor billing practices by BC Hydro. Meters are not being read for 8-12 months at a time resulting in bills being based on estimated usage. Often the usage estimated is many times higher than the homeowner has ever used in a similar period. This can result in significant overpayment for an extended period -- free use of customers' money.
Or else no bills are sent for several months and then huge bills are sent, with payment due within a very short time. Hydro is often refusing to accept phoned in readings to adjust bills, and people are treated with disdain, told to pay or lose their power. This is causing financial hardship for many.
This is exactly what is happening in Ontario and the ombudsman there will be undertaking an audit, which was just announced.
I will be encouraging people to send you information about their billing problems with BC Hydro, and ask that you initiate an investigation into BC Hydro's actions. Should you require more information, I would be happy to help in any way.
Subject: Unknown charge on bill . Refusing payment of LEGACY METER CHARGE
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 22:21:08 -0800
Attention COMMISSION SECRETARY . On the reverse of the Hydro meter bill there is an explanation of all their Charges ~ EXCEPT LEGACY METER CHARGE . we HAVE THE STANDARD METER WE HAVE ALWAYS HAD and it has been extremely satisfactory.
. For your information we have refused the new, Faulty radiation so called “SMART” meter for health reasons on our home. BC Hydro is well aware of this. There is too much evidence that their radiation is seriously suspect in its long term effect on humans especially children. Out decision is based on” the Precautionary principle” that no reliable proof has been shown that they are safe, as they have not even been tested for an UNDERWRITING (ULC) or CSA approval.
We are participating in the class action suit in this matter . Other copies of this memo will be mailed to others as deemed appropriate.
Subject: Update 2014-02-05 SPECIAL UPDATE RE. INVASION OF OUR PRIVACY BY SMETERS AND GRID
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2014 23:38:01 -0800
1) "Take Back Your Power’ Wins Transformational Film of the Year Award
SEATTLE, Washington (February 5, 2014) — The hard-hitting documentary ‘Take Back Your Power’ has been named winner of the AwareGuide Transformational Film of the Year. The crowd-funded film exposes in-home surveillance issues, customer billing corruption, potential health risks and other problems associated with utilites’ plans for upgrading to a centralized “smart” energy grid. It finished atop the list of 33 worldwide finalists along with ‘The Ghosts In Our Machine’, co-winner of the award . . .
“This is a victory for a growing majority who want to restore sanity to the roles played by technology and government,” said Josh del Sol, producer and director . . .”
2) The invasion of our privacy through the smart meter program, even without the activation of the zigbee (which will increase the amount of detailed data dramatically), is something the government and Hydro are denying. Our civil rights are being ignored . This article explains what is happening and how. Our class action lawsuit pertains to this invasion of our privacy and trampling of our charter right to live in our homes safe from intrusion. I think this article is important enough to warrant the devotion of an entire update.
I hope you will share this with friends, your MLAs and the media, and write your concerns to Privacy Commissioner Denham at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Please note that the legal references applies to US law, that may or may not be similar to Canadian law.)
How Smart Meters Invade Individual Privacy - SkyVision Solutions:
Although many people claim that smart meters invade their privacy, it is unclear as to whether a compelling argument has yet been fully made that properly articulates an invasion of privacy assertion in a way that is understandable or convincing enough to persuade a sufficient number of legislators, governmental officials, court judges, or hearing officers. It is the purpose of this website posting to help formulate such a message.
The principal privacy and security concerns surrounding installation of residential smart meters are (1) smart meters will reveal the activities of people inside of a home by measuring their electricity, gas, or water usage frequently over time, and (2) that inadequate cyber security measures surrounding the digital transmission of smart meter data will expose it to misuse by authorized and unauthorized users of the data.
More specifically, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a non-profit group, has listed on its website the following potential privacy consequences of smart grid and smart meter systems:
Let us highlight just one item from the above list which has received little or no prior attention, “Tracking Behavior of Renters/Leasers.” When a different individual owns and pays the utilities other than the resident, such as in the case of a rental unit, apartment subletting, leasing, and so on, the landlord or property owner will likely have “authorized” and easy access to the smart meter data through a utility online portal website. The renter’s electricity, gas, and possibly water usage patterns and behavior could be monitored in near real-time. Hypothetically, a landlord could use information obtained from smart meter data to determine whether the tenant has broken a lease provision or for other more malicious purposes. The utility would likely claim that it has no concern or control over such activities, yet the utility is installing the technology that allows this avenue of privacy invasion to occur. [For a discussion describing the context of each item on the above list, refer to the following link: Potential Privacy Impacts.]
Although utilities largely dismiss the above privacy and security concerns when voiced by consumers, the author of this document asserts that smart meters do indeed represent an invasion of privacy that is unreasonable and unnecessary. Without quoting specific case law for purposes of this website posting, let it be said that the general legal criteria for demonstrating an invasion or privacy allegation consists of satisfying two discrete questions:
1. The first question relates to whether an individual, by his or her conduct, exhibits a subjective expectation of privacy, i.e., has the individual shown that he or she seeks to preserve something as private.
2. The second question pertains to whether the individual’s subjective expectation of privacy is one that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable, i.e., whether the individual’s privacy expectation, viewed objectively, is justifiable under the circumstances.
With regard to digital smart meters, the above criteria can be easily satisfied as shown in the paragraphs that follow.
Demonstrated Expectation for Privacy
Residential utility customers have a legitimate expectation to preserve individual and behavioral privacy with regard to energy-related or water consumption data collected by the utility. Credible government reports and security experts have explained that there are privacy concerns that the granular data collected by smart meters will reveal the activities of people inside of a home by measuring their usage frequently over time. Furthermore, there is deep concern that inadequate cyber security measures surrounding the digital transmission of smart meter data will expose such data to misuse by authorized and unauthorized users of the data. Residential utility customers have currently only surrendered a privacy interest to the extent necessary to account for monthly billing by the utility, unless otherwise explicitly granted. Normally, only one energy or water usage measurement per month is necessary for the billing process.
As an example, the figure below shows the type of information that can be gleaned from basic electrical power usage data from a smart meter without any special knowledge of appliance signatures, just intuitive observation of power consumption variations, which in turn infers human activity. Many people would prefer that this type of information not be available to other individuals or organizations under any circumstances.
Furthermore, with the help of software algorithms, much more information can be revealed from smart meter data. According to a 2009 report prepared for the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, entitled, “Smart Metering & Privacy: Existing Law and Competing Policies”:
“A remarkable number of electric appliances can be identified by their load signatures, and with impressive accuracy. Researchers have all but mastered identification of the larger common household appliances such as water heaters, well pumps, furnace blowers, refrigerators, and air conditioners, with recognition accuracies approaching perfection. Ongoing work focuses now on the myriad smaller electric devices around the home such as personal computers, laser printers, and [different types of] light bulbs.”
“High-resolution electricity usage profiles can expose individual behavior patterns through the identification of each specific appliance event within the household. Not just when a consumer is at home and when she is away, but further when she cooks dinner, watches TV, takes a shower.”
“More detailed information gathered by smart meters may expose consumers to more targeted and nefarious physical invasions, since it may be possible to glean such information from the meter data as when residents are away from home, …”
“What’s more, the sheer volume of the research and development in this area helps understand the field as a vector, one that points directly at more and more-detailed information collected concerning the activities of millions of people. While the motivations for this aggregation of data may be noble, the potential for serious privacy invasion is only growing, and so the need for care.”
Through the use of smart meters, utilities typically collect thousands of times more data than required to calculate a monthly bill and thus expose residents to unnecessary risks as described above.
Utilities and other smart grid advocates will sometimes make irrelevant and meaningless statements like:
1. “Smart meters only know how much power you are using, not specifically how you are using that power.” or,
2. “Smart meters do not record your personal activities.”
These are misleading, simplistic statements that avoid the issue. It is true that the smart meter is merely a conduit for collecting, storing, and transmitting energy-related usage data. Obviously, an inanimate object can’t “know” anything. That is not the issue. The issue relates to the incremental and granular type of data that is collected, stored, and transmitted by the meter to places where it can be intercepted, stored, and analyzed by others (real people) and software algorithms to be able to provide information about the usage patterns for individual appliances with a subsequent inference on the activities and occupancy of a home.
Smart meter data can be used by others either maliciously or inadvertently using existing or developing technology in an unauthorized fashion to infer types of activities or occupancy of a home for specific periods of time. It is also possible that such information can be sought for legal proceedings as evidence to prove or disprove certain propositions. For utilities or others to deny these legitimate concerns is evidence of obfuscation, essentially hiding the truth from the consumer.
Many residential utility customers simply do not wish to risk participation in such invasive technology as smart meters, i.e., they have exhibited an expectation to preserve behavioral privacy.
Expectation for Privacy is “Reasonable”
Viewed objectively, the expectation to preserve privacy as it relates to electrical, gas, or water usage data is reasonable for the following reasons:
1. In the United States, the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, PURPA Section 111(d), as amended by The Energy Policy Act of 2005, contains language that requires state utility commissions and unregulated utilities to consider whether it is appropriate for utilities to offer customers smart metering for those who request it. The legislative intent was always that smart metering was to be considered optional. Therefore, it is reasonable for people not be forced to accept a smart meter in order to meter activities for which they have no desire to participate and do not want to accept the risks involved with smart metering.
2. Consumer concerns are well founded; they are based upon credible sources of information including government reports and security experts. It is reasonable for individuals not to be forced to participate in a system which gathers more energy and water usage data than are required for billing purposes and which subjects them to higher privacy and security risks than traditional monthly meter reads.
3. Although most case law would support a conclusion that there is not a societal expectation for privacy of utility energy and water usage records (in the aggregate), current case law is not fully applicable to the new technology where granular data transmitted by digital smart meters can “reveal discrete information” about individual appliance use or home occupancies.
4. Given the “totality of the circumstances*,” in the case of smart meters collecting incremental and granular information, it is reasonable to consider the fact that the information is generated in the home, an area accorded specific textual protection in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It is also reasonable to consider the fact that residential utility customers have no practical alternative to obtain electric, gas, or water service from another source. [* The use of this expression has its origin in case law where it is stated that the totality of the circumstances will be carefully weighed when determining the legitimacy of a privacy expectation.]
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