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Rose Blumkin: American Success Story

Rose Blumkin

The following is by Dick Kazan from his site http://www.kazantoday.com

The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.

Published on Tue Dec 13, 2005

Today, I’d like to tell you the remarkable story of Rose Blumkin, a Russian immigrant who never spent a day in school, arrived penniless and built the largest home furnishings store in the United States.

Blumkin was born to poverty in 1893. Her father was a Rabbi with little income and her mother worked long hours running a small grocery store to support the family of eight children. At the age of six, tiny Rose began working in the store to help her.

At 20, Rose married Isadore Blumkin, who was also poor. So they could have a better life, he went to the U.S. to get a start but before she could join him, World War 1 broke out and it would be three years before the couple could reunite.

In 1919, they settled in Omaha and struggled to get by. He ran a secondhand-clothing store and a pawnshop. Rose helped him with the clothing store and to supplement their modest income she used her basement to sell furniture. They learned English from their four children.

Rose knew first hand the difficult circumstances the vast number of poor and struggling people of the 1930’s endured and saw a business opportunity. Despite the Great Depression, she acted.

In 1937 Blumkin was nearly 44 years old but she borrowed $500 from her brother and opened a store in the basement of her husband’s shop. She called it the Nebraska Furniture Mart and her motto was, “Sell cheap, tell the truth, don’t cheat nobody.”

Blumkin’s business grew by offering merchandise at rock bottom prices. At times when she didn’t have enough inventory, she hauled her family’s own furniture into the store and sold it.

Her big competitors deeply resented her undercutting their prices and pressured manufacturers not to sell to her. This didn’t stop Mrs. B as she came to be called. She’d visit distant retailers and buy their excess inventories at sharply reduced prices, sometimes for pennies on the dollar.

As her store kept growing, Mrs. B, applied to the banks for credit but banks scoffed at her as an illiterate immigrant. She resented these “big shots” treating her this way as she had to operate from cash generated from selling her merchandise and from credit she got from her suppliers.

Despite this lack of liquidity, by working seven days a week, 10 hours a day, selling a high volume of furniture at very low prices, Mrs. B built her store into a success.

Something else also made it successful. Sometimes when a family needed furniture and didn’t have enough money, rather then let them leave disappointed, Mrs. B quietly cut the price for them. This was a nice thing to do but it was also wise of her because it built repeat trade as that family would return time and again and her business grew.

But in 1951 Mrs. B’s store suddenly hit the wall.

This happens to many fast growing businesses because cash may not come in quickly enough to cover the cost of a larger inventory or other expenses. Mrs. B got in a cash bind and couldn’t pay her suppliers.

Confronted with the loss of her business and all that she had worked so hard for, she took bold action. She rented Omaha’s City Auditorium, ran a massive sale, blew out $250,000 in inventory in three frantic days and paid off her suppliers.

After that, she operated strictly from cash as her store grew at a carefully measured pace into the largest home furnishings store in the United States, making her extremely successful.

Then one day in 1983, long-time customer and legendary investor Warren Buffett came into the store to see her. After wading his way through acres of bed-room sets, tables and chairs, lamps and rugs, he spotted Mrs. B.

Though she was nearly 90 years old, she remained a bundle of energy, using her electric scooter to zip up and down the aisles as she quoted prices and deliveries to customers, advised her staff and directed where and how to display merchandise.

Buffett had enormous respect for what Mrs. B had achieved and he wanted to buy the Nebraska Furniture Mart. He asked if she would consider selling it and when she said, “Yes,” he asked how much she wanted.

“$60 million,” replied Mrs. B. After a brief conversation, she agreed to sell 90%, with her family retaining 10% and they shook hands on the deal. Because of his respect for her integrity and her business acumen, he made this offer without auditing her books or inventory. Tax returns showed the business made $15 million a year pretax and that satisfied him.

Buffett had a one-page agreement prepared and Mrs. B, who could barely read English and did not write in it, made a mark at the bottom to signify her approval. A few days later, Buffett gave her a check for payment in full.

To close the sale, Mrs. B insisted that she remain the boss and continue to work seven days a week, 10 hours a day, as she had long done. Buffett hardily agreed and she remained active in business for the rest of her 104 years.

Success Tip of the Week:As Rose Blumkin showed us, a lack of a formal education need not prevent business success. The key for her and for any of us is to have passion for what we do and to be alert so that we absorb the crucial knowledge around us.

St. (Padre) Pio’s Prayer to Jesus

I found this most beautiful prayer that I am sharing with you:

O my Jesus, give me Your strength when my weak nature rebels against the distress and suffering of this life of exile, and enable me to accept everything with serenity and peace.

With my whole strength I cling to Your merits, Your sufferings, Your expiation, and Your tears, so that I may be able to cooperate with You in the work of salvation.

Give me strength to fly from sin, the only cause of Your agony, Your sweat of blood and Your death. Destroy in me all that displeases You and fill my heart with the fire of Your holy love and all Your sufferings.

Clasp me tenderly, firmly, close to You that I may never leave You alone in Your cruel passion.

I ask only for a place of rest in Your heart. My desire is to share in Your agony and be beside You in the garden.

May my soul be inebriated by Your love and nourished with the bread of Your sorrow. Amen.

Smartphones Are Debasing Society

image

The following appeared on Henry Makow’s excellent site:

http://henrymakow.com/2015/03/smartphones-have-debased-society.html

Thanks to smartphones, people are always
distracted. They are not interacting with people
or places in the moment. Baby boomers like
David Douthit have banished them from their lives.

by David Scott Douthit
(henrymakow.com)

Everywhere, people seem to be glued to their smartphones. I was at one of my son’s baseball games. My ex-wife and my daughter were in the bleachers behind home plate. Neither one saw any of the game, as they were both busy texting the entire game. My son hit his first home run. After the game he asked his Mom if she saw it. She answered, “Saw what?”

I tried the smartphone thing around ten years ago. The problem was people kept calling me up. They would call when I was walking the dog. They would call when I was taking a nap. They would call and expect me to call them back immediately, and get mad when I didn’t. The smart phone was much more an inconvenience, than convenience. I threw it away, and have not had one since.

My wife and I had to put a sign on our front door that reads “Turn that bleeping smartphonr off!” because her kids kept coming over to make phone calls, or at least that is the way it seemed. It was aggravating when a visitor comes over and just had to “take this call” or that call after call. Or, they would be sitting on the couch looking at the smart phone and texting. You get schizophrenic trying to converse with someone who is some place else mentally all the time.

HEALTH DANGERS

Then there is the matter of electromagnetic radiation waves emitted from the smart phone into the users brain.

There is ample evidence smartphones cause brain tumors, as well as a host of other maladies. I make it a point to tell all my family and friends about that risk. It is usually dismissed with a, “So what? Everybody dies sometime.”

Although my son has a smartphone, I do not allow him to put it up next to his brain, or carry it in his pocket next to his testicles. Organ tissue is much more sensitive than muscle or bone. My boy is only seventeen, but I would like him to use his brain, and father some grand kids someday.

This generation will be stunted. They have conceded their cognitive ability to computers and cell phones. It appears this has enabled them to argue and bicker with people non-stop. The smartphone is a extension of their sour attitude. Grammar and good manners are gone.

This generation has no morals. The breakdown of morality has a lot to do with rise of technology. You would think technology would not have affect morality, but it has enabled the wolves among us to be more wolf-like. Guys brag about bedding hundreds of women. They attribute the ability to meet more women to modern technology.

Most modern men have absolutely no standards. The only standard they have is their ability to use other people. The exact inverse of the Golden Rule.

I also try to stay off the computer. I have to admit, it is addictive. The pixels excite the brain in a drug-like fashion. I have spent too much time on the computer in the past. It didn’t make me any happier or wiser.

Knowledge and wisdom are two different things. Knowledge is accumulated information. Wisdom is the ability to know the right way to use it. Wisdom is gained by negotiating difficult situations, crises, real life moral dilemmas. Time spent on the computer is not real life experience. I think I will go for a walk and exercise some wisdom and my legs.


Also by David Douthit- MD Pill Pushers-A Personal Story
————————— The AIDS Hoax
Also by David Douthit- The AIDS Hoax——————— Gulf War Troops Got vaccine Containing Nerve Gas

Makow comment- And David doesn’t even get into the surveillance aspects.

First Comment from Dan:

I’ve lived with dial phone ‘land lines’, sending letters by postman, and writing checks. “New” isn’t always better; it’s a always a trade-off. Switching from land line telephone to ‘smartphone’ exchanges one set of inconveniences for another, more complicated set.

At the moment people remain concerned mainly about the loss of privacy [1] that goes with storing every byte of information about you on these GPS tracking, hand held chipset.

But you’ll get over that. Now that they’ve got you hooked on ‘convenience’ , heavily invested into it (iPhones ain’t cheap), and visually dependent upon digitally processed images do recognize what you’re seeing on that little screen as ‘real’, privacy will become less important. – See more at: http://henrymakow.com/2015/03/smartphones-have-debased-society.html#sthash.S4TX7ugM.dpuf

Words to live by

words of wisdom

H/t FOTM’s Trail Dust!

~Éowyn

Canada May Allow Euthanizing Patients and Harvesting Their Organs

International Wesley J. Smith Mar 19, 2015 | 12:25PM Ottawa, Canada LIFE NEWS

In my very first anti-euthanasia article, published by Newsweek in 1993, I warned that legalizing assisted suicide would lead to “organ harvesting as a plum to society.”

That dark prophesy has come true in Netherlands and Belgium, aimed specifically at people with “good organs,” such as MS patients and those with mental illnesses.

And now Canada? From the Ottawa Citizen story:

As the nation awaits legalized doctor-assisted death, the transplant community is grappling with a potential new source of life-saving organs — offered by patients who have chosen to die. Some surgeons say every effort should be made to respect the dying wishes of people seeking assisted death, once the Supreme Court of Canada ruling comes into effect next year, including the desire to donate their organs.

But the prospect of combining two separate requests — doctor-assisted suicide and organ donation — is creating profound unease for others. Some worry those contemplating assisted suicide might feel a societal pressure to carry through with the act so that others might live, or that it could undermine struggling efforts to increase Canada’s mediocre donor rate.

It should be more than unease. It should be implacable opposition!

I can think of nothing more dangerous than to allow a despairing disabled, mentally ill, or dying patient believe their deaths would have greater value than their lives.

picassistedsuicide18

Oh, maybe one: If society comes to accept that premise.

Anyone who asks for euthanasia or assisted suicide should be ineligible to be organ donors to prevent the siren song of utilitarianism from luring people onto the rocks of hastened death.

LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.

Texas attorney general: U.S. is heading toward a constitutional crisis because of Obama flouting Congress and courts

Ken Paxton

In an interview on Fox News yesterday, Ken Paxton, the attorney general of the State of Texas, was asked whether America is heading toward “a constitutional crisis” because of Obama’s total disregard for Congress and now the courts. (The segment begins at the 2:55 mark in the Fox News video, here.)

Paxton replied:

“I think we are. If you think about what’s going on here — the President is violating federal law, the U.S. Constitution, which is going past what Congress is supposed to be doing, and now we’ve got the administration in court not being forthcoming about they’re supposed to be forthcoming about. We definitely have a huge issue here related to whether the Obama administration is going to follow the Constitution, and then once they get into court, whether they’re going to tell the truth.”

Paxton’s stunning remark was precipitated by Obama’s latest “F-you” to the court, specifically to Andrew Hanen, the federal judge who is single-handedly doing the job of the useless Congress by standing up to Obama’s reckless amnesty.

Judge Andrew Hanen

Judge Andrew Hanen

On Feb. 16, 2015, U.S. District Judge Hanen issued a preliminary injunction to temporarily block Obama’s amnesty so as to give a coalition of 26 states the time they need to pursue a lawsuit to permanently stop the amnesty orders. If the implementation of Obama’s amnesty were not blocked, Hanen reasons, the 26 states will “suffer irreparable harm in this case” because once the millions of illegals obtain amnesty, “the genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle.” (See “Federal judge stops Obama’s executive amnesty for illegals”)

At issue are two executive memoranda signed by Obama last November:

  1. The first memorandum expands eligibility for Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which halts deportations and allows work permits for certain undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.
  2. The second executive memo, known as DAPA, would extend similar benefits to the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents.

See also “Obama has issued more executive orders than any U.S. president in history.

Combined, DACA and DAPA could affect as many as 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally. Some estimates are as high as 10 to 12 million illegals.

4 days after Judge Hanen’s order blocking the implementation of Obama’s amnesty, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would seek an emergency stay of the judge‘s injunction. (See “Obama emergency order to restart amnesty in defiance of federal judge Hanen”)

Hanen responded by denying the DOJ’s request. So the federal government has asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to lift Hanen’s injunction while the case is appealed.

Obama vs. Hanen

 

The latest tussle between Judge Hanen and Obama took place last Thursday, March 19, 2015.

As reported by FoxNews, at a Texas hearing on Obama’s amnesty executive actions, Judge Hanen sharply scolded a DOJ attorney — that the administration had misled Hanen on a key part of the program, for which Hanen fell “like an idiot.” Hanen said he could order sanctions against the administration if he finds the DOJ indeed had misrepresented the facts.

At issue is whether the DOJ had misled the judge into believing that a plank of the Obama amnesty program would not go forward before he made the Feb. 16 ruling to temporarily halt it. The program is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that gives deportation reprieves (i.e., effective amnesty) to thousands of young illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as “minors.” The problem is that even before Hanen’s ruling on Feb. 16 to block DACA’s implementation, federal officials had already given 3-year reprieves and work permits to more than 108,000 illegal aliens.

Kathleen Hartnett Associate White House Counsel Kathleen Hartnett, a Harvard Law grad like Obama, successfully worked on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

At the Thursday hearing, Hanen chided DOJ attorney Kathleen Hartnett for telling him at a January hearing before the Feb. 16 injunction was issued that nothing would be happening with regard to DACA until Feb. 18.

“Like an idiot I believed that,” Hanen said.

A flustered Hartnett repeatedly apologized to Hanen for any confusion related to how the reprieves and work permits were granted. “We strive to be as candid as possible. It truly became clear to us there was confusion on this point,” she said.

“Can I trust what the president says? That’s a yes or no question,” Hanen asked.

“Yes your honor,” Hartnett replied.

The coalition of 26 states have asked that Hanen consider issuing sanctions against the Obama administration because, in the words of the coalition’s lead attorney Angela Colmenero (who is also a lawyer with the Texas Attorney General’s Office), DOJ attorneys had made “representations (that) proved not to be true or at a minimum less than forthcoming.”

Obama’s DOJ lawyer Hartnett insists “There is absolutely no basis for sanctions here. The government is absolutely trying to do the right thing.”

Hanen said he would issue a ruling “promptly” on what action, if any, he will take against the Justice Department.

See also:

~Éowyn

PG&E Suggested “Prozac” for Those Injured by Smart Meters– SCE Schemed Higher Fees to Force Smart Meters on the Poor

Written by

New e-mails brought to light between Pacific Gas and Elec­tric (PG&E), South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Edi­son (SCE), and the Cal­i­for­nia Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion (CPUC) reveal the extent of cor­rup­tion and back­room deal­ing that have char­ac­ter­ized the state’s smart meter pro­gram. E-mails reveal that for­mer CPUC Pres­i­dent Michael Peevey was aware of health prob­lems caused by smart meters early on in the pro­gram. Com­mis­sion­ers and staff expe­ri­enced over­charg­ing and elec­tronic inter­fer­ence issues with smart meters on their homes. Mean­while, util­i­ties schemed with reg­u­la­tors behind the scenes to raise opt-out fees to force peo­ple in poverty to stick with the unpop­u­lar meters and prop up the fail­ing multi-billion dol­lar smart grid pro­gram in Cal­i­for­nia.

For­mer CPUC Pres­i­dent Michael Peevey, who retired in Decem­ber and is cur­rently the sub­ject of a crim­i­nal probe by the U.S. Attor­ney and State Attor­ney Gen­eral who are inves­ti­gat­ing alle­ga­tions of bribery and cor­rup­tion, assured the pub­lic that the meters were accu­rate, were no fire haz­ard, and no threat to health. A dif­fer­ent pic­ture has emerged from ini­tial research into more than 65,000 e-mails and memos between CPUC and PG&E. Peevey wrote to PG&E in Sep­tem­ber of 2010 (empha­sis ours):

“The press cov­er­age was very good and helps PG&E big time, over­all, as well as other com­pa­nies, etc. One thought for the com­pany: If it were my deci­sion I would let any­one who wants to keep their old meter keep it, if they claim they suf­fer from EMF and/or related electronic-related ill­nesses… I would insti­tute such a pol­icy qui­etly and solely on an indi­vid­ual basis. There really are peo­ple who feel pain, etc., related to EMF,etc., and rather than have them become hys­ter­i­cal, etc., I would qui­etly leave them alone. Kick it around. And, it sounds like the com­pany may already have taken this step, based on a cou­ple of the com­ments at yesterday’s pub­lic hearing.”

Wellington Energy was one of the companies who profited handsomely from CPUC Corruption

Peevey says to PG&E, “if it were my deci­sion.” As Sandi Mau­rer of the EMF Safety Net­work has pointed out, being the Com­mis­sioner in charge of the smart meter opt out pro­ceed­ing, tech­ni­cally it was his deci­sion. But that does not appear to be where the true power lies accord­ing to this e-mail exchange. Appar­ently the “Com­pany” calls the shots and Com­mis­sion­ers obey. The “other com­pa­nies” Peevey refers to include GE, Lan­dis & Gyr, Sil­ver Spring Net­works, Welling­ton Energy, Ver­i­zon, Edel­man and others.

In another e-mail from 2010, Peevey’s Chief of Staff Carol Brown writes to PG&E:

“…so far I have done OK just lis­ten­ing to the sad tales of EMF poi­son­ing – and telling them thank you for bring­ing it to our atten­tion – and then not offer­ing them any solu­tion!!! I just wanted to have a resource in case!”

PG&E’s Brian Cherry

Brian Cherry, VP of Reg­u­la­tory Rela­tions at PG&E replies:

“Prozac might be a solution!”

PG&E’s solution to health problems caused by their smart meters: Prozac

Sug­gest­ing that peo­ple take phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to treat health prob­lems caused by the company’s meters is unspeak­ably arro­gant, dan­ger­ous, and cor­rupt. The only thing that has con­sis­tently helped peo­ple suf­fer­ing health effects from EMF has been the removal of smart meters and other nearby wire­less trans­mit­ters. And the util­i­ties knew it. But to offi­cially have smart meters removed, the CPUC under Peevey, required Cal­i­for­ni­ans to pay an upfront fee and monthly charge start­ing in May 2012.

Marzia Zafar, CPUC’s Head of Policy and Planning

In pub­lic, the util­i­ties and CPUC have jus­ti­fied the $75 ini­tially and $10/ month fees for ana­log meters (to have the same thing that cus­tomers have always had) by argu­ing that indi­vid­u­als should pay for the costs they cre­ate. In pri­vate how­ever, a dif­fer­ent story emerges. In e-mails between Cal­i­for­nia util­i­ties and Marzia Zafar, CPUC’s cur­rent Direc­tor of Pol­icy and Plan­ning, a 15 year util­ity indus­try employee includ­ing 4 years as a So Cal Gas lob­by­ist who was involved in the Bill Dev­ereaux Spy Scan­dal, Zafar tells her util­ity col­leagues:

“I think if there is not an ini­tial fee your esti­mate of 2% opt out goes out the door and you’ll have more like 20% or 50% opt out which will then make the whole project that we spent over $7 bil­lion on a com­plete and total waste.”

A Sept. 2011 demonstration outside the CPUC in San Francisco

Zafar is say­ing if they elim­i­nate the ini­tial opt out charge for ana­log meters, up to half of California’s elec­tric cus­tomers may refuse smart meters, given all the pub­lic­ity around safety and inac­cu­racy prob­lems, and that needs to be avoided at all costs – by ensur­ing fees remain unaf­ford­able. This e-mail demon­strates clearly that the opt out fee is intended not to “cover costs” but to sup­press choice, prop up a fail­ing and dan­ger­ous smart grid and penal­ize peo­ple for dis­obey­ing a forced, cor­po­rate and unde­mo­c­ra­tic deployment.

Mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult for those in poverty to opt out seemed to be a par­tic­u­lar pri­or­ity for South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Edi­son, Peevey’s for­mer employer. Many low-income cus­tomers live in apart­ment build­ings where banks of smart meters expose res­i­dents to high lev­els of pulsed RF radi­a­tion that the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion con­sid­ers a Class 2B Car­cino­gen. “CARE” is a reduced util­ity rate pro­gram for fam­i­lies liv­ing below the fed­eral poverty line. In Jan­u­ary 2012, Michael Hoover of SCE wrote to Zafar of CPUC and Cherry of PG&E:

“We need an up front fee that is sig­nif­i­cant, or a path to achieve that. This is espe­cially true for CARE cus­tomers. This is a big deal for us and I think the poten­tial for sig­nif­i­cant increases in opt out is rather large if the fee is set too low. Are we all on the same page?”

Could using finan­cial screws to force haz­ardous meters on those in poverty be too toxic even for Brian Cherry, who replies:

No”

Then Zafar, like a bully in the play­ground, chides Cherry for being soft:

“That’s because PG&E’s judg­ment is suspect…”

In Sept. 2011, CPUC’s Marzia Zafar was angry at PG&E for removing smart meters that were making a woman sick.

In Novem­ber of 2011, CPUC offi­cials inter­nally cir­cu­lated a press release from Stop Smart Meters! that made ref­er­ence to the fact that PG&E had recently replaced a smart meter with an ana­log on a woman’s house in Santa Cruz whose fam­ily was suf­fer­ing health impacts from the new microwave-emitting meter. Zafar rebukes PG&E and orders them to keep smart meters on homes, even after res­i­dents have demanded and given legal notice that they be removed, and even for those with physician’s let­ters or those suf­fer­ing so badly they could no longer occupy their homes (“this blog” is StopSmartMeters.org):

“See below. Please do not replace smart meters with ana­log meters; I’m assum­ing this blog is delu­sional and they’re lying. The Com­mis­sion will issue a (Pro­posed Deci­sion) some­time this month or early next month to con­sider an opt-out pro­gram; until such time you have the delay list.”

Smart meters were interfering with electronic equipment at the homes of CPUC staff we now know (and the homes of many others like this woman from Marin County, CA)

Despite Zafar’s hard line stance, it turns out she knew from per­sonal expe­ri­ence that there were seri­ous prob­lems with the meters. She wrote in Jan­u­ary 2011 to PG&E:

“I’m also copy­ing Cliff to this e-mail as I spoke with him this morn­ing; he came to my house :-). I have a smart meter and a motion light inter­fer­ence that is hope­fully now resolved.”

Accord­ing to the LA Times, when a smart meter was installed on for­mer CPUC Pres­i­dent Michael Peevey’s 3118 sq. foot sec­ond home in Sea Ranch on the Sonoma County coast (where Peevey and PG&E’s VP of Reg­u­la­tory Rela­tions Brian Cherry shared bot­tles of Johnny Walker Blue Label accord­ing to e-mails) Peevey’s bills went through the roof and he com­plained to PG&E in Novem­ber 2011:

“Please check some­thing out for me. Just had a “smart meter” installed at Sea Ranch. And, now I have the bill for the first month. Some­thing is screwy. The bill says we used 973 KWH ver­sus 438 for the same time period one year ago. Yet, there was no one at the house dur­ing the most recent 30 day period. Nor was there any­one there one year ago. Obvi­ously some­thing is wrong. I would like an explanation.”

SmartMeterMeltdown

Appar­ently Peevey wasn’t the only Com­mis­sioner who reported sig­nif­i­cant over­charg­ing. PG&E wrote in an e-mail that two com­mis­sion­ers in one night com­plained about inac­cu­ra­cies on their bills after smart meters were installed.

In Sep­tem­ber 2011, after a fire started in a smart metered elec­tri­cal panel in a Santa Rosa Mall, Cherry wrote to CPUC Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Paul Clanon. There was not the slight­est con­cern about whether the smart meters were actu­ally start­ing fires, or whether and how the CPUC and/ or PG&E should inves­ti­gate this poten­tially seri­ous pub­lic safety haz­ard. Instead the focus was on spin­ning the story in the media:

“We have also con­tacted sev­eral fire chiefs who are sym­pa­thetic and may com­ment on the most recent meter issue.”

What exactly is meant by “sym­pa­thetic” given that hun­dreds of thou­sands of smart meters have now been recalled due to fire risk and peo­ple have lost their lives?

In Novem­ber 2013, PG&E was again scolded by Zafar after their call cen­ter staff advised a cus­tomer who had prob­lems with smart meters to (gasp!) con­tact the CPUC. Sid­ney Dietz of PG&E responds:

“We found the call, and indeed our customer-service rep­re­sen­ta­tive (CSR) advised, in error, the cus­tomer to call the CPUC. One of the man­agers con­tacted this par­tic­u­lar CSR and her super­vi­sor and made sure she under­stands the prob­lem, and we will be updat­ing the script to make it absolutely clear that we should not pass the prob­lem to the CPUC. This same man­ager is one of the train­ers for the CSRs (they train con­stantly), and will main­tain an empha­sis on not pass­ing the buck. As you know, the group at PG&E that works on com­plaints and speaks reg­u­larly with the CPUC com­plaints group under­stand that this is not the right way to han­dle cus­tomers, and works to get this kind of thing correct.”

Former CPUC President Loretta Lynch: “CPUC is a rogue agency”

The task of the Cal­i­for­nia Pub­lic Util­i­ties Commission’s Con­sumer Affairs Branch — accord­ing to the CPUC’s web­site – is to: “assist con­sumers in resolv­ing dis­putes with their util­ity com­pany.” Yet, Ms. Zafar chided PG&E for “pass­ing the prob­lem” when cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives sug­gested that peo­ple with smart meter prob­lems con­tact the CPUC. These e-mails con­firm what watch­dog groups have been claim­ing for years—that the CPUC lit­er­ally has become a satel­lite office for the investor owned util­ity and tele­com cor­po­ra­tions – a “rogue agency” as for­mer CPUC Pres­i­dent Loretta Lynch now refers to the agency she once led.

While CPUC offi­cials pri­vately grap­pled with prob­lems caused by smart meters at their own homes, pub­licly they denied these prob­lems existed despite thou­sands of com­plaints to the con­trary con­firm­ing these were sys­temic prob­lems. An unfair and extor­tion­ate opt out pol­icy was approved in vio­la­tion of the CA Pub­lic Util­ity Code, charg­ing cus­tomers hun­dreds of dol­lars a year to pro­tect their safety. Thou­sands still refuse to pay this extortion.

Those respon­si­ble for this crim­i­nal activ­ity should be pros­e­cuted to the fullest extent of the law, and the Cal­i­for­nia leg­is­la­ture needs to do its job and hold hear­ings to get to the bot­tom of these crim­i­nal rela­tion­ships that have cost Cal­i­for­ni­ans their lives. All redacted e-mails must imme­di­ately be made public.

Peevey and com­pany should be put behind bars.

Given the lies, reck­less­ness and betrayal of trust that has char­ac­ter­ized the forced smart meter deploy­ment, the extor­tion­ate opt out fee pol­icy should imme­di­ately be elim­i­nated and past fees that have been paid by ratepay­ers refunded with an apol­ogy. Exces­sive charges paid by util­ity cus­tomers based on inac­cu­rate smart meter read­ings must like­wise be refunded. A truly inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion into fires, health haz­ards, and the cal­i­bra­tion and accu­racy of smart meters must be car­ried out. Smart meters must be recalled and replaced with safe, electro­mechan­i­cal ana­log meters NOW. At the end of the day, human life is more impor­tant than pro­tect­ing this cor­rupt power struc­ture and the egos of PG&E and CPUC executives.

We mean it literally.

Spe­cial Thanks to the fol­low­ing groups for ongo­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive research efforts that have led to the dis­cov­ery of these e-mails. There will be more to come!

EMF Safety Net­work, Sebastopol, CA
Cen­ter for Elec­tros­mog Pre­ven­tion, La Mesa, CA
Eco­log­i­cal Options Net­work, Boli­nas, CA

Take a look at the slimy e-mails for your­self– it ain’t pretty. Drop us a line if you find some­thing juicy or incriminating.