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Ron Kaye: The arrogance of power

November 13, 2011

In a world gone crazy, teetering on the brink of economic chaos, with thousands dying every day at the hands of rogue governments, wars being fought over precious natural resources and the young losing hope in the future, you have to wonder how smart meters became the No. 1 issue for so many.

Smart meters?

You know, the glass encased digital meters that have recently been installed outside your home or apartment in Burbank and Glendale and in much of California. These automated devices are supposed to help you manage your use of water and power to reduce your costs and conserve these precious resources to help make the planet greener.

Did you know those meters send out a continuous stream of radio signals to you and your utility — electro-magnetic radio frequency waves that can give you cancer and kill you? That they are just the power companies playing a dirty trick so that they can charge you a lot more money? That smart meters are a sinister invasion of our privacy, part of a “Big Brother” conspiracy that goes back decades to take control of your mind and the world?

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Those kinds of concerns brought nearly 170 people out to the Glendale Moose Lodge for most of three hours Thursday night to hear a panel of experts who are highly critical of the multi-billion-dollar rollout of smart meters in the state and across the nation and to share their own fears, concerns and experiences.

Some of those people talked about how they got terrible headaches and other symptoms almost immediately after smart meters were installed, how they've been suffering pain so severe they're sleeping in their cars.

Some have tried wrapping their heads in tin foil to deflect the electro-magnetic fields that inundate our bodies from every direction, from cell phones, from our own and our neighbors' wireless routers, from microwaves, TVs, computers and from all the other electrical devices that surround us.

And now smart meters send out their signals every hour of every day to relay devices and cell towers to computers at utility offices.

Are these people kooks, the 1% who think darkly about just about everything, living in fear, victims of future shock? Or are the 99% of us just so uninformed and passive that we are allowing this to go on without even asking a single question?

I am clearly among the ignorant 99%, which was why I accepted the invitation to moderate the Smart Meter Forum when event organizer Kiku Lani Iwata of Burbank Action called me.

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