Monday, July 20, 2015

By Nancy Thorner – 

Congressional authorization for the Export-Import bank lapsed as of July 1, 2015. As a result, the bank cannot engage in new business, but it can continues to manage its existing loan portfolio. While closing Ex-Im will help to free the market and end corporate welfare, its advocates are still trying to reauthorize the bank.

Thanks mostly to intense opposition from a large faction of conservative Republicans, including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, who said the bank was a “waste of tax money” and “a form of corporate welfare”, the federally backed bank was left to expire at the end of June. Not surprising is that some Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and most Democrats, still support the bank’s return, arguing that it helps small businesses and supports U.S. jobs.

 

Linking Transportation Bill to Ex-Import

Now a good probability, and as predicted by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, senators plan to attach a provision to revive the Export-Import Bank to a transportation funding measure that is headed to the Senate floor. The transportation funding bill is a “must pass” measure that guarantees money for critical highway and infrastructure projects. It needs to clear Congress by the end of this month to prevent summer construction projects from grinding to a halt.

Even though Senate Majority Speaker McConnell (R.Ky.) doesn’t support the extension of the bank, he did strike a deal with Democrats on recently passed trade legislation that allowed a vote on extending the bank, which failed, while later agreeing to attach it to the transportation bill. Notwithstanding, some Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and most Democrats, support the bank’s return, arguing that it helps small businesses and supports U.S. jobs.

If and when the Senate passes the highway bill with the Export-Import Bank provision attached, the House will take it up.  But should the highway bill pass with the attachment, it has been reported that House conservative opposed to the bank will do everything in their power to split the two issues through a parliamentary maneuver, even if it means blocking the resolution to advance the measure and begin debate.

 

Why Ex-Imp bank should remain expired

There are currently 92 members of the House of Representatives who publicly oppose the Bank, as does every major Republican Presidential contender, as well as millions of Americans who have joined the fight against it.

Below are ten facts you should know about the Export-Import Bank that represent crony capitalism:

  • Boeing, GE, and Caterpillar received 87% of Ex-Im loan guarantees in FY13.
  • The Ex-Im Bank provides export financing for just 0.009 percent of America’s small businesses.
  • The vast majority of exporters—98 percent—do not receive assistance from the Ex-Im Bank.
  • Export financing doesn’t create new jobs, it merely redistributes jobs across America’s economy.
  • Among the top 10 buyers of Ex-Im exports, 5 are state-controlled and rake in millions of dollars from their own governments in addition to Ex-Im Bank subsidies.
  • There are 31 open corruption and fraud investigations into the bank.
  • The top beneficiaries of Ex-Im also have massive backlogs of orders, meaning jobs would not be lost when the bank expires.
  • Ex-Im subsidies benefit China, Venezuela, Cuba, and Russia. State-owned foreign airlines have received $16 billion in subsidized financing since 2009.
  • Taxpayers are on the hook for nearly $140 billion in the Ex-Im loan portfolio.
  • The companies advocating for the reauthorization of Ex-Im have admitted they do NOT actually need it.

What If Transportation Bill Is Toxic by Itself? 

As stated earlier in this article, the Highway Trust Fund’s authorization will expire on July 31. Long unsustainable, the trust fund contains large diversions for mass transportation and other wasteful projects. Congress is currently considering a 6 month, $11 billion bailout for the fund, but real reform is needed, not bailouts! Here is an excellent backgrounder on the Highway Trust Fund.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL06) have introduced the Transportation Empowerment Act (TEA) which would return control of highway decisions back to the states, thereby eliminating wasteful diversions and ensuring that highway dollars fund highways.

As stated in an article by Michael Sargent, a research assistant at Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, “Why We Can’t Have Nice Highways and Bridges”:

“Every American who buys gasoline pays 18.3 cents per gallon to the federal government’s Highway Trust Fund, which was created in 1956 to pay for the construction and maintenance of the interstate highway system.

But in recent years, the Highway Trust Fund has expanded to spend motorists’ tax dollars on things that have little to do with highways. For instance, the Transportation Alternative Program, created in 2012 to replace a variety of “transportation enhancement” programs and funded out of the Highway Trust Fund, siphons funding that otherwise would go to highway construction to a variety of projects that were traditionally in the hands of local government.”

 

Action to take: Call your Representatives and Senators and ask:

  • “Do you plan to vote in favor of bailing out the Highway Trust Fund at the end of July?
  • “If the Export-Import Bank reauthorization is attached, how will you plan on voting?”
  • Let them know that the Highway Trust Fund has little to do with highways and that the Ex-Import bank stands for crony capitalism.  The bill should be opposed.

Conservatives forced the Ex-Im Bank to shut down and prevented a long term bailout of the Highway Trust Fund last year. This is a critical fight and one that conservatives must win!


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Unknown

By Nancy Thorner – 

ComEd is in the process of installing 4,000,000 “Smart Meters” across the state of Illinois. Traditional analog electric meters are being replaced. Featured in Part 1 was a CUBFacts informational sheet on which CUB’s misleading statements were followed each time by an expert’s explanation.

The health effects and safety violations continue to be reported in the U.S. and in other nations. After reading this article, even the most skeptical individuals might come to a realization that Smart Meters are definitely NOT the innocent devices that the public has been told to accept.

 

Ronald M. Powell, Ph. D., revisited

One respected and knowledgeable professional already cited in Part 1, is Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D., who as a retired career U.S. Government scientist holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University.  During his Government career, Dr. Powell worked for the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

As a follow up on Part 1, Dr. Powell maintains:

Wherever these meters are installed, they threaten the health of all residents in the community, violate their privacy, increase the likelihood of hacking, decrease their personal security and safety, and threaten property values in the community. And Wireless Smart Meters do all of this without any persuasive evidence of any financial benefit to the customers. All of these consequences are important for consumers; but the health threat is particularly tragic. The biomedical research community has found adverse health effects from exposure to the RF/Microwave radiation emitted by wireless Smart Meters.

Note: Utility propaganda combines benefits of Smart Grid and Smart Meters together; don’t be fooled.  Much of Smart Grid is beneficial but Smart Meters cost a fortune, provide no net benefit for consumers and pose immediate and long-term threats to our health. NStar of Massachusetts states: “there is no rational basis for the implementation of AMI (Smart Meters).”

In other words, there are little, if any, benefits for the consumer and incalculable risks for residents and their families.

 

Making a Strong Case Against Smart Meters

The following is cited in a document by Dr. Powell, “The Health Argument for Replacing Wireless Smart Meters with a Safe Metering Technology”, which makes a strong case against the use of wireless Smart Meters:

Some of the biological effects of exposure to RF radiation can be readily sensed (the “symptoms”).  Other biological effects cannot be readily sensed, at least not until an advanced state of harm has been reached.  Unfortunately, you can be harmed by the latter even when you are free of the ‘symptoms.'” . . . literature reviews indicate that some groups of individuals are at especially high risk of harm from exposure to RF radiation:  pregnant women and their unborn children, very young children, teenagers, men of reproductive age, seniors, and anyone with a chronic health condition. 

Every resident in a community is irradiated by every Wireless Smart Meter in that community, just to varying degrees. Each Wireless Smart Meter near to a given resident produces more radiation in his home than each Wireless Smart Meter farther away. (This is because exposure drops off with distance.) But there are so many more Wireless Smart Meters that are farther away that, together, they count, too. For example, in my community there are 14,000 Wireless Smart Meters installed on our homes. Together, they issue an average of 140 million pulses of RF radiation every day, up to a maximum of 2.7 billion pulses per day. There is now no place in our community where a resident can go where he is not near to many Wireless Smart Meters and within reach of so many more Wireless Smart Meters that are farther away.

Consider the health impact from 4,000,000 Smart Meters issuing pulses of RF radiation each day, forever. If you live in Illinois in the territory serviced by ComEd, this is what you can expect. In addition, RF radiation exposures add together. Many small exposures from Smart Meter emissions can add up to a significant amount of exposure which is cumulative, building up over time.

An additional fact worth noting: “The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) a part of the World Health Organization has classified wireless devices including Smart Meters as a Class 2B Carcinogen.” There are many health professionals (some from the original IARC committee) who think enough evidence exists now to have Smart Meters classified as a 2A probable Carcinogen. Either way, that makes this the first time in history that a possible Carcinogen has been mandated on ALL homes and buildings being serviced by an electric utility.

Dr. Powell has written this very important article, The Impact of Wireless Technology on Our Childrenwhich was published on Sept. 14, 2014. It is extremely timely, as more and more children are being subjected to the RF/microwave radiation from wireless devices. However, those devices are voluntary and can be switched off when not in use. By contrast, Smart Meters are mandatory and can never be turned off.

While the health consequences of exposure to RF/microwave radiation are vitally important to people of all ages, those consequences are especially serious for children. They are the most vulnerable to harm, they will have to live the longest with the harm, and they are not yet in a position to defend themselves.

This risk is well documented in the archival published literature from the international biomedical research community, certainly more than enough to evoke the Precautionary Principle to protect our children.

Dr. David O. Carpenter, edited updated 2012 BioIniative Report

Another Smart Meter expert is Dr. David O. Carpenter. He is Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health. Dr. Carpenter received his MD degree from Harvard Medical School, has more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, and testified at the President’s Council on Cancer. He is known in professional circles all over the world for his view that Smart Meters represent a real threat to the health of utility customers.  He was the leader of a group of 45 doctors and scientists who signed the “Toronto Statement” warning of the dangers of Smart Meters in 2012.  Dr. Carpenter edited the original (2007) and the updated 2012 BioIniative Report comprised of a review of 1,800 peer-reviewed studies indicating harm from RF/microwave radiation at levels far below FCC guidelines.

From the BioInitiative Report Update:  

Sometimes, science does not keep pace with new environmental exposures and the deployment runs ahead of knowledge of health risks. That is the case for Electromagnetic Fields and RF radiation in the BioInitiative report. The report underscores the critical need to face difficult questions, make mid-course corrections, try to repair the damage already done in this generation, and to think about protecting future generations. As there is now much more evidence of risks to health, the status quo is not acceptable in light of the evidence for harm.”

Significant statements by Dr. Carpenter include:

With Smart Meters:  The first cause of harm is the pulse modulation of the microwave radio carrier. My concern is that Smart Meters use multiple very high intensity pulses. The pulses are very brief, but they are extremely high intensity. There is a building body of evidence that these transients with several rises and falls, especially at high intensity, are much more dangerous than a steady sine wave which is what you think of with Electromagnetic Fields.

There are an enormous number of reports of people becoming ill after a Smart Meter was installed on their house, and that is because there is something particularly harmful about the high intensity pulses. Smart meters will adversely impact about 5% of the population almost immediately following installation, and are likely to cause cancers or neurological illnesses in the long run for a much larger share of the public.

There is no evidence that anyone is immune to the cancer risk from wireless. We do not yet know the causes of cancer although we know a lot about cancer. Some argue that the associations that we see in human health studies between exposure to RF radiation and elevated risk of cancer should be ignored simply because we do not know all of the mechanisms. That is totally inappropriate because not knowing all the mechanisms is also true for smoking and lung cancer, true for environmental exposures to chemicals, and true for various cancers that arise.

Dr. Carpenter goes on to say that as a nation, “We should be regulating on the basis of those that are most vulnerable. And by far, infants and children are the most vulnerable.”

 

Other Experts on Smart Meter Research: Dr. Martin Blank and Dr. Magda Havas Along with Dr. Ronald Powell and Dr. David Carpenter is Dr. Martin Blank introducing The International EMF Scientist Appeal signed by 190 scientists from 39 nations. These scientists have collectively published over 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on the biological or health effects from RF radiation. Dr. Blank has had over 30 years of experience conducting EMF research at Columbia University and is a past president of the International Bioelectromagnetics Society. Dr. Blank gives a compelling explanation of the major health crisis we are facing due to increasing levels of environmental pollution from growing and expanding EMF sources.

While viewing the video, consider the added RF radiation exposure that will blanket Illinois from the installation of 4,000,000 Smart Meters. And be cognizant of the fact that CUB and ComEd are using propaganda to fool you into believing that Smart Meters are necessary, beneficial, and safe.

The following quote is from Dr. Magda Havas, Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University. Dr. Havas received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and completed Post-Doctoral research at Cornell University:

What do you do when you see a disaster looming and those who have the power to prevent it refuse to listen, when those with a financial interest attack by producing false information and twisting the truth, and then attempt to discredit those who are sounding the alarm?

 

What do you do when you see the time bomb ticking and those who can defuse it refuse to act? If Smart Meters are placed on every home, they will then contribute significantly to our exposure and this is both unwise and unsafe. This is where we are today with Smart Meters that have proven to be harmful to our health and the environment.

Related articles

Thorner: Beware of propaganda to quell inconvenient truths about Smart Meters – Part 1

Technorati Tags: Com Ed, Illinois Review, Smart Meters

Friday, July 17, 2015

Thorner: White House Conference on Aging abuses elders by ignoring injustice

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By Nancy Thorner – 

Several weeks ago Tom Field, a 25-year advocate of legal reforms for the elderly and for fixing what is a broken elder care system, reached out to me via a phone call from his home in Mantor, Ohio, to inquire whether I was interested in pursuing the topic in light of the upcoming 5th White House Conference on Aging scheduled for Monday, July 13, held once every decade since 1961. Field’s overture was initiated upon his reading of my July 9, 2011 article titled, “Allegations of Alleged Corruption and Abuse in the Probate Court Level in Cook County, IL.” 

A positive response at the time to Tom Fields prompted me to write the following two articles, both of which were published at Illinois Review Article 1:  “Thorner:  Elder Justice Act under Obamacare fails seniors – Part 1” and  Article 2: “Thorner: White House Conference on Aging:  Will Elder Justice be addressed sufficiently?”

Having initially expressed doubt that anything worthwhile would be realized from the conference, it  became apparent that the question I addressed in the second article, “Will Elder Justice be addressed sufficiently?,” was deserving of a big, fat zero, an opinion verified when Tom Fields shared this post-conference email:

This tweet sum up much of what can be reported about the conference: Shame on #WHCOA and its Elder Justice Panel for refusing to address abuse by legal professionals and professional guardians

Post Conference Disappointment and Anger

It can be concluded from other post-conference e-mail reports that Tom Fields and others did their best before the July 13th WHCOA, and during the conference itself, to address the current rampant abuse by legal professional guardians.  Mr. Fields, wishing he could have applauded the conference for doing so, instead encountered a conference that never touched upon the topic, the same having occurred in nearly every other such forum conducted by the administration’s government. They include the Elder Justice Coordinating Council that was created by the Elder Justice Act (and mentioned during the conference); the Administration on Aging (and its parent, Health and Human Services); and the U.S. Senate’s Special Committee on Aging.

As Mr. Fields wrote in one of his e-mails:

“Not only did the WHCOA refuse to address such abuse, but it impeded efforts by myself and others from doing so.  How?  First by demanding that I stop circulating a handout at the regional forum which I attended, and second by refusing to share tweets which I and others sent during the conference.”

In that the conference could and should have tried to help advocates like Tom Fields network with other advocates, it didn’t accomplish this. Instead, it pushed its own agenda, one which deliberately ignored the issue identified by the tweet noted above, further exemplified by this 3-minute ABC News video presented on-line, which the conference refused to play and discuss.

As the video is a mere three minutes long, it is inexcusable that three minutes wasn’t allotted during the 50-minute Elder Justice Panel in a conference that lasted 7+ hours. Had the video been played, it would have demonstrated how current laws, including APS laws, failed to prevent a stroke victim from being taken advantage of in a hospital emergency room.

Why these laws failed in this case is discussed in this short, 2-page PDF file. The emphasis there is on the lack of a very simple mechanism, one based upon a checklist, needed in such settings to alert affected family members and authorities.  It would seem that no scam should be simpler to prevent than one which take place in the emergency room of a hospital, yet our government and professional associations have repeatedly proven themselves unequal to this task.

As to the history of the 3-minute video presented on-line by ABC News, it was initially posted by Tom Field at his own website in the aftermath of how his own father was similarly taken advantage of by a lawyer 25 years ago in a hospital just hours before he died of cancer, as testified by the doctor who had started him on a morphine drip and Do Not Resuscitate order.

The doctor’s testimony is summarized here; it is also reproduced in full beginning at this site and linked there to the other evidence, including the testimony of the defendant and others involved in this incident, including several attorneys.  A brief summary of all this and more can be seen here.

 

Fields not alone in observing WHCOA indifference toward Elder Care and Reform

Tom Fields wasn’t the only individual who had post-conference feelings of disappointment and angry because the WHCOA’s Elder Justice Panel didn’t mention the rampant abuse by professional guardians and the probate system.  After all, this was an issue addressed prior to the conference!  Comments by Fields and others can be found here as displayed by the WHCOA, along with its Elder Justice Policy Brief.

An acquaintance of Tom Fields, who asked to remain anonymous, expressed these concerns after watching the entire White House Conference on Aging:

I was likewise disappointed/angry that the elder justice panel did not mention abuse by professional guardians and the probate system. The suggestions provided by the panel on how the banking industry and others could address financial abuse were unrealistic.

Although the monograph on elder financial abuse developed by the WHCOA cited a family member as being the number one cause of financial abuse of an elder, the panel did not address how to handle this problem. Better trained prosecutors is a start, but won’t help in the case of guardianships, as it is all after the fact. Further, if a family member tries to intervene and stop financial abuse, the probate judges, not wanting to take the time to sort things out, take the easy way out by appointing a professional guardian.

Elderly Guardianship Situation is a Disaster

Excellent insight was shared by Sam Sugar, M.D. with Thorner about the current Abusive Probate Guardianship situation via a telephone interview which Dr. Sugar willingly consented to on Wednesday, July 15.  Dr. Sugar, like Tom Fields, was an active participant in pre-conference activity and likewise followed closely the entire July 13th WHCOA event.

Sam J. Sugar, M.D. PC, heads “Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship” with members in 25 states.  His former position was as Attending Physician at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Doral Florida.  Prior to that he was Medical Director at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Evanston, Illinois.  Dr. Sugar graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the Florida Medial Society.  He retired from active practice in 2013.

Per our conversation:  Dr. Sugar attended a Private Watch Party as the event was unfolding at the White House.  After tweeting the WHCOA dozens of times, Dr. Sugar concluded that the WHCOA was simply a political PR stunt, clarified when a woman speaking at the event noted how the same problems that existed 10 years ago still exist.  In fact, offered Dr. Sugar, the situation is much worse today. Noted was how the elderly guardianship situation is a disaster. With massive number of cases where the same “playbook” of litigation, medicate, isolate, take the estate is used by greedy lawyers and guardians. The cases predictably end up where both family and the elderly ward are losers.

According to Dr. Sugar, no one knows for sure how many wards there are nationally, but government estimates range between 1-1/2 and 3 million.  Sugar places the responsibility for this rampant copy-cat abuse, neglect, and exploitation at the footstep of the state judiciaries. Among the worst states for judicial guardianship abuse are:  Texas, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida.  As stated by Dr. Sugar:  “What is happening is an outright theft of an individual’s entire estate under ‘color of law.’”  Furthermore, “the failure to protect elders is generated by the willingness of jurists to allow the weaponization of state laws.”

Normally, appeal to federal agencies would be a potential remedy to abuse from a state for, as an example, failure to provide due process. However, because of the “Probate Court Exception” federal courts cannot intervene and there is no remedy from the federal government and apparently, no interest in one either. Vulnerable elders and their families have been totally abandoned by their governments.

In that Dr. Sugar’s organization, Americans Against Abuse of Probate Guardianship” is not a wealthy organization, it could not afford the entry fee for a seat at the table of the WHCOA, although an attempt was made for representation.  Their website is filled with stories and information from victims around America.

 

National AAAPG Teleconference on Tuesday, July 21

Dr. Sam Sugar’s organization, “Americans against Abusive Probate Guardianship” is sponsoring a National Teleconference on Tuesday, July 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  The conference can be accessed from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can also dial in using your phone, but your computer is the preferred method of participation. United States : +1 (571) 317-3112  Access Code is:  502-285-845.

As stated by Dr. Sugar in his National AAAPG Teleconference invitation:

We need to identify key individuals in every State who will take leadership roles in our fight to stop the abuse. We need to develop a broad base of national support to be able to activate and encourage media coverage and create solid plans for lobbying for statutes we will recommend. In short, we need you to stand with us to protect our elders and ourselves.

Found here is a youtube presentation of the full 7+ hours of the WHCOA.   

 
Illinois Review:

Technorati Tags: elder abuse, Illinois Review, White House Conference on Aging

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Unknown

By Nancy Thorner – 

In the likelihood that the smart meter issue is new to you or that you have been convinced that smart meters are non-threatening and offer benefits to the public, fasten your seat belts for you are to be taken on a disturbing adventure into the nature of “Smart Meters.”

ComEd plans to install approximately four million Smart Meters on homes and businesses across northern Illinois by the end of 2018, with one million wireless Smart Meters having been installed already. This Installation Schedule can help you determine when you can expect to have a Smart Meter installed.

Expert Reveals the TruthIf you care about health, including the health of your own family, and about the cost of health care in Illinois, do consider comments made by Dr. Ronald Powell, Ph.D., a retired career U.S. Government scientist who holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University.  During his government career, he worked for the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  According to Dr. Powell:

Electric power companies [ComEd] made a dreadful mistake when they elected to install Wireless Smart Meters to measure electrical power. Wherever these meters are installed, they threaten the health of all residents in the community, violate their privacy, increase the likelihood of hacking, decrease their personal security and safety, and threaten property values in the community. And Wireless Smart Meters do all of this without any persuasive evidence of any financial benefit to the customers.

All of these consequences are important for consumers; but the health threat is particularly tragic. The biomedical research community has found adverse health effects from exposure to the RF/Microwave radiation emitted by wireless Smart Meters. 

In a phone conversation between Dr. Powell and a colleague of Thorner, who is a Smart Meter expert, Dr. Powell made these poignant comments about Smart Meters and the health issue:

The RF/Microwave radiation from Wireless Smart Meters is particularly threatening to health because that radiation is so persistent and so powerful. [Com Ed and other] power companies like to fool the public by saying, ‘Look these Smart Meters just transmit 6 times a day.’ Well, that is just misleading. That may be how many times they transmit your data, but they are a relay station for all the other Smart Meters in the neighborhood. And they all interact with each other and send each other timing signals and all kinds of stuff. And that means that they are extremely busy.  California court documents, describing Wireless Smart Meters indicate that each of these meters issues its pulses of RF radiation, on average 10,000 times per day, and up to a maximum 190,000 times per day, 24/7, forever.  Furthermore, the power level of each pulse is about 1,000 milliwatts, placing Wireless Smart Meters among the most powerful RF radiators likely to be present in a residential environment. 

What also has to be factored in is that for Smart Meters to function there are collectors, routers, and the additional wireless network that sends the collected data to the utility. These components are very powerful as well, and add to the cumulative exposure that a Smart Meter network generates.

With regard to the CUB (Citizens Utility Board) fact sheet of July, 2014, which can be viewed here, it is not out-of-line to question the integrity of the sources that were consulted to assemble the CUB Fact Sheet, which appears to be primarily pro-ComEd propaganda.

This CUB statement seen under “factors which impact public health” is especially egregious:  “In addition, there has been no conclusive evidence of any damaging ‘non-thermal’ effects produced by the RF used in…digital smart meters.”

The statement was soundly refuted below by Dr. Ronald Powell, whose outstanding work will be further discussed in Part 2, along with that of Dr. David O. Carpenter, M.D.

“There is no convincing evidence of harm from RF/microwave radiation. That is totally, and tragically false.  Further adding:  “And tragically, ignoring this problem can easily by the mistake of a lifetime, leading to profound regret.”

 

CUBFacts sheet:  fact checking for misleading statement 

As a way to point out the many misleading statement appearing on the CUBFacts Smart Meter information sheet that is being presented to the public as true and factual, the CUBFacts sheet was edited accordingly:   What is in bold was taken directly from CUBFacts, followed each time by an Author’s explanation of what really is!

 

CUB: What are smart meters?

 

What the experts say: Smart Meters are billing mechanisms which ComEd will use to facilitate “Time-of-Use” pricing. These digital meters are complex, temperamental electrical computers. Smart Meters gather much more data than analog meters. Data is transmitted wirelessly through Radio Frequency (RF) Microwaves which “hop” from meter to meter and on to their designated collector. In addition to measurement data, Smart Meters send or receive network messages around the clock.

 

CUB: How do digital meters use radio frequency?  “Digital meters communicate…periodically transmitting real-time customer energy-usage information.”

 

What the experts say: The reality is that the utilities are headed towards true “real-time” transmissions, which means always transmitting.

 

CUB:  This information can help the utility company better manage the power grid 

 

Experts’ explanation: That statement ignores the reality that smart meters are totally unnecessary to achieve a smart grid. Even Massachusetts’ largest utility claimed in Feb 2014 that there is “no rational basis for Smart Meters” and “Smart Meters do not reduce the number of outages.”

 

CUB:  (Smart meter data is) “helping them (customers) to better control costs” 

 

Experts’ explanation: Meta-studies of smart meter pilots have shown that only a very small percentage of customers will actually save money. In fact, in many places where smart meters are installed, customer bills increase, often dramatically.

 

CUB:  PG&E estimates a typical digital meter communicates…as little as one minute a day.

 

Experts’ explanation: That same PG&E, under oath in court, had to admit that smart meters, on average, transmit 10,000 times per day, and as often as 190,000 times per day. That means from once every 9 seconds up to two times per second.

 

CUB:  At 10 feet away…a digital meter…emits 300 times less RF than a typical cell phone.  

 

Experts’ explanation:  Richard Tell, in a report for Vermont, found that at the same distance, a smart meter and a cell phone transmit the same amount of RF. And since the amount falls off with distance, 10 feet is an intentionally misleading measurement.

 

Is radio frequency dangerous?

 

CUB: The devices’ (smart meters) RF levels…fall far below Federal Communication Commission FCC) safety standards—typically 70 times less.

 

Experts’ explanation:  The existing FCC “safety guidelines” were set based on studies up through 1985. The types of RF exposures common today did not exist in 1985. To protect public health, the 2007 BioInitiative Report recommends a safety standard that is less than 1/1000th of the FCC limit (0.1 uW/cm2 vs 600 uW/cm2).

 

CUB: Exposure to very high levels of RF radiation, warms body tissue, producing a ‘thermal effect’ that can be harmful. But the lower levels of RF utilized by digital meters and other household devices have not been shown to produce this ‘thermal effect’. In its 2011 report,…the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) writes that wireless smart meters…result in much smaller levels of RF exposure than many existing common household electronic devices, particularly cell phones and microwave ovens.

 

Experts’ explanation: CCST was asked by several politicians to answer two questions about smart meter safety. Their limited analysis did not answer those questions. The CCST report was heavily based on an Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) report. EPRI is an electric utility industry association. The data used for both cell phones and microwave ovens were extremely inflated. Based on a recent Swedish study, the average cell phone power is one milliwatt, not the 250 milliwatts claimed in the CCST document.  So the average power density exposure AT THE HEAD is one 250th of the CCST value of 5000, or 20 uW/cm2. Compare that to the CCST value of 40 uW/cm2 at 3 feet from a smart meter. For these reasons, the CCST report was heavily criticized by scientists from around the world.

 

CUB: In addition, there has been no conclusive evidence of any damaging ‘non-thermal’ effects produced by the RF used in…digital smart meters. 

 

Experts’ explanation:  The American Academy of Environmental Medicine states in its article, “The Evidence is Irrefutable”:  The peer-reviewed, scientific literature demonstrates the correlation between EMF/RF exposure and neurological, cardiac, and pulmonary disease as well as reproductive disorders, immune dysfunction, cancer and other health conditions.”

 

CUB:  When utilities become more efficient…they rely less on power created by coal plants that have been linked to significant health problems.  

 

Experts’ explanation: The implied claim here is that using digital meters supposedly reduces energy use which in turn will reduce the number of coal plants, which “have been linked to significant health problems.” Meta studies of the impact of smart meters on energy usage showed that only a small percentage of the population is able to reduce their usage and the sustainable reduction for that small group was only 3%. Furthermore, the greatest usage reduction is from the purchase of high efficiency appliances and programmable thermostats.

Also, this section fails to consider the increased health care costs due to the health effects of RF from the wireless smart meters. In a mesh network, messages are passed from meter to meter using RF until a collector is reached. The collector uses RF to communicate with the utility through a network of wireless routers, creating three layers of ‘Electrosmog’. Humans can be affected by the RF from a meter 100 yards away (one football field). In a typical residential neighborhood many neighbor’s meters are within 300 feet. The meters emit RF, on average, once every 9 seconds (per testimony from California Utility, PG&E). So residents may be subjected to the transmissions of 10-15 meters, or as much as 20-30 transmissions PER SECOND, all day long. With no respite (particularly at night), a mesh network will have a huge detrimental effect on residents’ health.

 

CUB: Will the utility have more control over my power usage and shutting my power off?

 

Experts’ explanation: A major concern not addressed here is that the utility will now be able to turn off a customer’s power without first visiting the customer premises, to determine whether there are very young children, disabled or sickly residents who will be adversely affected by the complete loss of power. Also, software control of power shutoff sets the stage for human error, disgruntled employees or hackers to turn off power to one or more customers.

 

Summary

 

1.  CUB:   Like many common household items…baby monitor, garage door opener– digital meters emit low levels of electromagnetic energy, called radio frequency, or RF.   

 

Experts’ explanation:  By design the list of “common” items leaves off those with the higher RF exposure: cell phones, wireless laptops and microwave ovens. The proper name for RF is radio frequency radiation, or RFR. It is microwave radiation. Also by design, the meter is called a “digital meter” in an intentional effort to disguise the fact that CUB is referring to a Wireless Smart Meter.

 

2.  CUB:  The RF levels emitted by a digital meter…are well within FCC safety guidelines, and are much lower than many household items, including a microwave and cell phones.

 

Experts’ explanation:  Legal does not equal safety. The RF levels can exceed FCC guidelines in areas with multiple transmitters and a highly reflective environment. Cell phone and microwave exposures can be compared to a smart meter, but a customer can choose to limit or eliminate their use. In contrast, smart meters in a mesh network emit almost constantly 24/7 and are being forced on consumers.

 

3.  CUB: … there is no conclusive scientific evidence that suggests RF from a digital meter poses a health risk. 

 

Experts’ explanation: There is abundant evidence that RF is a probable carcinogen, and many studies (over 3000 in the 2 BioInitiative Reports) are suggestive of various other types of health damage. There are no studies proving smart meters are safe. There is no safe level of RF radiation for children.

For additional factual information on the ComEd Radiofrequency Fact Sheet, see here.

 

Part 2: The writings, reports, and testimonies of Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D. and David O. Carpenter, M.D. will be reviewed and presented in light of their stellar reputations and expertise on the issue of Smart Meters that extends back to 2010.  As the title of Part 2 suggests: Shouldn’t experts triumph over a corporation’s attempt to fool the public?

Monday, July 13, 2015

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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Dold_Bob

By Nancy Thorner – 

Conservatives are still reeling over the bad decision by the Supreme Court on June 26th, 2015, to redefine marriage, which the Constitution does not give the court authority to do.

Because of the complexity of the marriage decision, a long haul commitment will be necessary, for what was being addressed by the states through the democratic process has now been shut down by five unelected judges who have declared the gay marriage conversation and controversy close.

The situation is similar to what took place after the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.  However, after 42 years the pro-life movement is still alive, as Roe was unable to change the truth about unborn children or the Constitution. Most hearkening is that support for the pro-life position is growing, especially among young people, due, in part, to ultrasound.

Just as pro-life advocates persevered after Roe, those who are committed to the truth about marriage — an exclusive union of man and woman — must work to restore our constitutional authority to foster a marriage policy that serves the common good and which reflects the truth.

Granted, such citizen activism might seem like a tall order, even by those who view gay marriage with disfavor, but not to do so allows the judicial usurpation of politics to go uncontested

Five steps to take in wake of bad gay marriage decision

Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation, in his editorial of July 1, “What Do We Do Now”, suggested the five steps outlined below that ordinary citizens might take in the wake of the bad decision by the Supremes that sanctioned gay marriage in every state.   It must never be forgotten that there is strength in numbers to effect positive change.

1)  Elections have consequences: “You can’t afford to sit out this next election. It is very likely that the court will soon take a religious liberty case deciding whether citizens who do not believe in same-sex marriage will have their constitutional rights protected.”

2)  Policy also matters:  “We The People, and our elected representatives in Congress and state legislatures, can make policy that prohibits the government from violating our rights. This is why the First Amendment Defense Act is so vitally important.”

3)  States also matter:  “If you are concerned about faith-based adoption agencies shutting down, or bakers and florists and photographers being fined thousands of dollars simply for declining to celebrate a same-sex wedding, then you need to also be concerned about state and local policy.”

4)  Ideas also matter:  “The judicial redefinition of marriage has no basis in our Constitution, but it didn’t come out of thin air. For the last 50 years, we have not done enough to combat the faulty liberal ideology that has wreaked havoc on America’s families.”

5)  Our lives also matter:  “Even if government policy tells a lie about marriage for a time, we must refuse to believe the lie when it comes to how we live our lives and what we teach our children.”

Most Americans say “yes” to the idea of a tolerant, pluralistic nation with a peaceful coexistence.  But is it right to allow ideologues and activists to sow their seeds of disharmony by having the government coerce those with whom they disagree?  We must work together to protect these cherished American values.  As stated by Jim DeMint:

“It is important that all Americans should remain free to believe and act in the public square based on their beliefs about marriage without fear of government penalty. After all, protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience does not infringe on anyone’s sexual freedoms.”

Importance of First Amendment Defense Act

The First Amendment Defense Act is one way of achieving civil peace even amid disagreement. To protect pluralism and the rights of all Americans, of whatever faith they may practice, this act is good policy.  Liberals committed to tolerance should embrace it.

The First Amendment Defense Act (H.R. 2802), introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), “would prevent the federal government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. That protection would extend to tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, contracting and grants.”

Unfortunately, the need for this legislation is real. The Obama administration’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli admitted during Supreme Court oral arguments that religious schools may lose their tax-exempt status for continuing to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman if the Supreme Court redefines marriage.

Those involved in the wedding industry, including photographers, florists, and reception hosts have been hauled into court for declining to use their artistic talents to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies. And faith-based adoption agencies in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. have been forced to end foster care and adoption services rather than abandon their belief that children do best with a married mother and father.

To be clear, the First Amendment Defense Act simply protects religious liberty and the rights of conscience. Americans are free to live and love how they choose and everyone should respect the intrinsic dignity of all human beings. The bill simply affirms that the federal government respects the rights of individuals, businesses, and organizations that wish to act in accordance with their beliefs about marriage, without taking away federally funded benefits or services from anyone.

Representative Dold, if committed to tolerance, must embrace H.R. 2802

With this in mind, as a constituent of Representative Bob Dold (R-10th), my question to Congressman Dold is why he has not joined 70 of his colleagues in the House who are co-sponsoring the First Amendment Defense Act (HR 2802-114)?  Illinois’s own, Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) at 34% is a sponsor.  Robert Dold at 22% should be!

Even though Representative Dold was one of five House members who supported the President’s view in  calling on the Supreme Court to extend same-sex marriage nationwide, he should find it unacceptable for the  the federal government to discriminate against any individual or group based on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman.

If a constituent of Representative Dold, let him hear from you.  His D.C. office number is 202-225-4835.   If  your own U.S. representative in not on the list of House co-sponsors of HR 2802-114, let him or her know and get them on board.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

Monday, July 06, 2015

O-ELDERLY-EYE-facebook

By Nancy Thorner – 

A few weeks ago, Tom Field, a 25-year advocate of legal reforms as they apply to the elderly, reached out to Nancy Thorner via a phone call from Mentor, Ohio, to ascertain whether Thorner had further interest in pursuing the issue after reading an article emailed to him and others that Thorner had written on July 9, 2011 titled, “Allegations of Alleged Corruption and Abuse at the Probate Court Level in Cook County, IL.”

What prompted Tom Fields to devote 25 years as an elder care/abuse advocate were the circumstances that surrounded his dad’s death in Florida. Read here the story Fields wrote about this tragic happening.

As background to understanding what exists at the present time to deal with elder care and its abuse, it is necessary to know what laws have been enacted and the reach and application of these laws.

The Elder Justice Act of 2010

The Elder Justice Act was enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, on March 23, 2010. The Office of Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services manages the operation, administration, and assessment of elder abuse prevention, legal assistance development, and pension counseling programs. The act itself applies to long term care providers who have received at least $10,000 during the previous year in federal funds.  As can be noted below, under the statute assisted living facilities do not qualify as long term care providers.

  • Nursing facilities
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Inpatient hospice units
  • Intermediate care facilities for mentally disabled

After Thorner’s cursory reading of The Elder Justice Act, it sounded quite acceptable, at least in its written form, but further research indicated that it was a mistake to have focused exclusively on the written word. In doing so overlooked was what the Act doesn’t do.

Further research revealed that funding for the Elder Justice Act is allocated by the Older Americans Act (OAA), established in 1965 in response to concern by policymakers about a lack of community social services for older persons.  Amended numerous times since 1965, the original OAA legislation established authority for grants to States for community planning and social services, research and development projects, and personnel training in the field of aging. Now days the OAA is considered to be the major vehicle for the organization and delivery of social and nutrition services to the aging through APS (Adult Protective Services).

Regarding funding, in FY 2014 less than $9 million or 0.5 percent of total OAA funding went to the APS for the prevention and detection of elder abuse.  It is Adult Protective Services (APS) that provides services to insure the safety and well-being of elders and adults with disabilities who are in danger of being mistreated or neglected, are unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm, and have no one to assist them.  In most states, APS caseworkers are the first responders to report abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults.

Should this lack of APS funding be a legitimate excuse for ignoring elderly abuse?  Increased APS funding, which seems to be the government’s solution to solving all of its problems, is not needed to correct the failure of our laws to establish a mechanism that will alert authorities to deplorable and heart-wrenching situation, nor will increased APS funding ensure that authorities will respond correctly to situations involving elderly abuse.

Defining Elder Care Abuse

Although the true prevalence of elder abuse is unknown primarily due to lack of consensus regarding the definition, the failure to follow through with action that either causes harm or places older adults at risk of harm, or within harm’s way, are systematic of abuse situation.  Abuse may take the form of physical, mental, emotional, and/or financial.

Much material exists about the exploitation of adults by professional guardians.  As already noted, one of the articles Thorner wrote in 2011 prompted Tom Fields to reach out to her.  Her article, “Abuse and Corruption Rampant in Probate Court of Cook County, IL”, exposed the wide spread corruption in the Chicago Probate Court System. Thorner details how a judge removed the power of attorney from a daughter who was caring for her elderly mother.  With a court appointed custodian, over time the daughter’s elderly mother’s funds were depleted in a process that involved a corrupt judicial system in which the presiding judge, a court-appointed power of attorney, and a compliant nursing facility all colluded to propagate the elder abuse scheme.  The husband of the elderly mother’s daughter, who wasn’t even allowed to visit her mother in the nursing home after her custodianship was removed, set up this website to note and expose other situations involving elderly abuse and judicial corruption.

Tom Fields’ video as a powerful example of elderly abuse

The elderly abuse in this video was shared by Tom Fields and addresses the need for legislation to prevent the financial exploitation of the elderly. The scene is from a 3-minute video recorded in a hospital’s emergency room.  The ABC News Broadcast of the video can be viewed here, as part of an online report that was presented by ABC on elder abuse.

The elderly patient in the video has just suffered a massive stroke. The attorney is presenting the patient a will to sign. The attorney is recording the video in order to present it as evidence that the patient’s condition is not being financially exploited. In fact, the video ended up being key evidence that resulted in the attorney being disbarred and indicted on criminal charge.

Accordingly, the video reflects a situation that happens all too often when the validity of the ward’s POAs (Power of Attorneys) is challenged and ignored. It matters not whether the issues involved are simple or complicated, if lawmakers are derelict in doing what is expected of them to prevent the cognitive impairments of the elderly from being exploited.  Additional abusive guardianship situations can be viewed here.

Little more is required than (1) a simple checklist which identifies the most obvious situations, such as the one recorded by the video; (2) a law which requires authorities and/or affected family members to be notified in those situations; and (3) a script for authorities to follow that ensures they interview the subject in a manner which meets forensic standards that prevent interested parties from biasing or otherwise interfering with the interview.

The moral arising from Tom Fields’ video is as follows:  No scam should be simpler to prevent than one which take place in the emergency room of a hospital, yet our government and professional associations have repeatedly proven themselves unequal to this task. .

Questions addressing elements of federal laws that facilitate rather than stem exploitationNeither the Elder Justice Act, nor any other laws now in place, can be counted upon to reliably prevent or remedy the kinds of scams many are experiencing at the hands of legal professionals to prevent financial exploitation while attending to their elderly loved ones or friends with cognitive impairments

As to the video itself, it provides the context for the following rather lengthy list of questions posed by Tom Fields which address elements of federal laws which not only facilitate the exploitation of cognitively-impaired older adults, but which also are responsible for its under-reporting. Fifteen of the questions have been noted here.Check here for the remaining eight questions.

1) Does the video provide any REASONS FOR SUSPECTING that this victim was being financially exploited?

2) Does the video suggest that the LAWYER WAS AWARE that someone might reasonably suspect that this victim was being taken advantage of?

3) Did MANDATORY REPORTING LAWS protect this victim against being taken advantage of?

4) Did ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICE LAWS protect this victim against being taken advantage of?

5) Did GUARDIANSHIP LAWS protect this victim against being taken advantage of?

6) Did the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) protect this victim against being taken advantage of?

7) Did the OAA (Older Americans Act) protect this victim against being taken advantage of?

8) COULD OUR LEGISLATURE include in our mandatory reporting laws a provision that would require mandatory reporters to report circumstances such as these?

9) SHOULD OUR MANDATORY REPORTING LAWS INCLUDE a provision that would require mandatory reporters to report circumstances such as these?

10) TO WHOM SHOULD OUR MANDATORY REPORTING LAWS REQUIRE NOTIFICATION in situations such as this one? A representative of the hospital, such as its risk manager or patient ombudsman? Adult Protective Services? Law enforcement? Affected family members? At least one of the above? All the above?

11) SOME STATES DEFINE “EXPLOITATION” as the unlawful or improper act of a caretaker. SHOULD THESE STATES AMEND THEIR CODE so as to include the unlawful or improper acts of others, as do the statutes of other states, including Florida, as well as the Older Americans Act?

12) DO OUR LAWS REQUIRE A MEDICAL EXAMINATION of the subject in order to establish the validity of a will, trust, deed, POA or other significant document that is executed in a situation like this?

13) SHOULD OUR LAWS REQUIRE a medical examination of the subject in order to establish the validity of an important document that is executed in a situation like this?

14) WOULD A MEDICAL EXAMINATION of the subject suffice to establish the validity of an important document that is executed in a situation like this?

15) CAN SOMEONE WHO IS MENTALLY COMPETENT still be defrauded or unduly influenced into executing an important document in a situation like this?

Severe cognitive impairment vs. mild

Both the government and professional associations, including the American Bar Association and the Investor Protection Trust (IPT), could and should do a lot more to prevent scams by implementing the recommendations of the American Medical Association and others, but none do, despite awareness of what they need to do.

To the contrary they ignore the needs which arise when an elderly individual suffers from “severe” cognitive impairment — such as was depicted in the 3-minute video — in contrast to “mild” cognitive impairment which is characterized by Investor Protection Trust as mild cognitive impairment occurring in seniors who can perform most daily functions, but have trouble or become confused with others, such as following their medicine regimen and managing their finances.

Part 2 will discuss the negligence and fraud which plagues our court system and has destroyed confidence in not only our legal system. but also more generally in our government, as well as proposed legal reforms.
Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Elder-abuse

By Nancy Thorner – 

As noted in Part 1, Tom Fields of Mentor, Ohio, as a 25-year advocate for legal reforms to fix the broken elder care system, provided links and documents for me to focus attention on the issue of Elder Justice.  At the same time, Mr. Fields alerted me to the upcoming White House Conference on Aging which should serve as a venue to discuss Elder Care Justice and the remedies and reforms so urgently needed to fix a failing system.

Next Monday, July 13, the White will host its 5th Conference on Aging, as it has once every decade since 1961, to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life of older Americans. As 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, the 2015 White House Conference on Aging is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs as well as to look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade.

Organizers of the July 13th conference have singled out the following four themes for consideration.

1)     Retirement Security

2)     Healthy Aging

3)     Long-Term Services and Supports

4)     Elder Justice

Each of the four themes have been addressed by the White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) in a series of policy briefs made available on-line.  The WHCOA has also invited public comment and published them on-line along with its briefs.  This comment contributed by Tom Fields on the subject of Elder Justice can be found at 6/10/2015 3:01:04 PM.  In the past the conference processes were determined by statute with the form and structure directed by Congress through legislation authorizing the Older Americans Act.  Of concern is that to date Congress has not reauthorized the Older Americans Act, and the pending bill does not include a statutory requirement or framework for the 2015 conference.

In an effort to engage with older Americans, their families, caregivers, leaders in the aging field and others on the key issues affecting older Americans, the White House Conference on Aging did launch a series of five regional forums to help provide input and ideas for its July Conference, co-sponsored with AARP and co-planned with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (a coalition of more than 70 of the nation’s leading organizations serving older Americans).

Tom Fields, as an attendee at the Cleveland regional forum, encouraged WHCOA organizers to address a checklist of the kind that he has proposed for use in clinical and other settings at his website . Fields further requested at the Cleveland regional forum that his 3-minute video be presented and discussed, which  ABC News presents online at this site and reports on here.

Why the need to address a checklist at WHCOS?

The American Medical Association in the past has recognized the need for a checklist in clinical settings.  More specifically, the AMA reported the following:

“Every clinical setting should have a protocol for the detection and assessment of elder mistreatment. This may be a narrative, a checklist, or some other type of standardized form that enables all providers in that practice setting to rapidly assess for elder mistreatment and document it in a way that allows physicians to look at patterns over time.” (Source: Diagnostic and Treatment Guidelines on Elder Abuse and Neglect, American Medical Association, 1992, pages 7-12)

The AMA in the same report offered the following advice:

“Clinicians do not have to prove that elder mistreatment has occurred; they need only document a reasonable cause to suspect that it has. “Reasonable cause” reporting can be as simple as stating that the patient seems to have health or personal problems and needs assistance, especially if the clinician suspects forms of abuse or neglect that are difficult to quantify.”

The AMA even had thoughts on how the interview should be conducted:

“The interview and examination of an elderly patient should always be conducted first, away from the caregiver or suspected abuser.”

As suggested by Tom Fields, a well written checklist would identify specific signs of severe cognitive impairment, any one of which should provide a mandatory reporter of abuse to suspect and then report an abusive situation.

The checklist’s criteria could be determined by victims as well as experienced professionals in the fields of medicine and law; nevertheless, it is victims and experienced medical professionals who can best identify conditions which suggest severe cognitive impairment to competent medical authority.

As to the objectives of the checklist, it would be to assist in identifying those conditions which should provide competent medical or legal authority — not necessarily both — a reason to suspect that the subject is suffering severe cognitive impairment, where severe cognitive impairment is the condition, which, either alone or in conjunction with physical impairment, prevents a subject from performing everyday activities without assistance.

Value of playing and discussing  3-minute video at WHCOA

As Elder Justice is one of the four themes selected for consideration by the conference, it is urgent that a positive response be directed toward elder abuse, which often involves the exploitation of an elder’s cognitive impairment.

Accordingly, the message sent by the 3-minute video cannot be denied or overlooked: No scam should be simpler to prevent and remedy than one which takes place in the emergency room of a hospital.

The above statement of fact should prompt WHCOA members and others to ask and seek answers to questions such as:

  • What would it cost to prevent such scams?
  • What have federal and state lawmakers done to prevent such scams?
  • What has the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging done to prevent such scams?
  • What have the American Bar Association, state bar associations, and local bar associations done to prevent such scams?
  • What have the Elder Justice Act and other laws done to prevent such scams?
  • What has the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau done to prevent such scams?

Scams involving financial exploitation are rampant

The scams most authorities focus on today involve the exploitation of elders suffering a mild cognitive impairment, which has been characterized by the Investor Protection Trust and others as a condition of seniors “who can perform most daily functions, but have trouble or become confused with others, like following their medicine regimen and managing their finances”

Financial abuse of the elderly is running rampant in the country and is growing as the population ages. Yet, there are few consistent national standards for what financial advisors, who deal with the money elderly people have worked a lifetime to save, should do when they suspect abuse. Input is being sought at the site noted on fraud against the elderly.

Professionals’ judgements contribute to both the prevalence of abuse and the ability to prevent and intervene.  As suggested in this study:  “Identifying and enhancing risk thresholds in the detection of elder financial abuse: a signal detection analysis of professionals’ decision making”, it is desirable to try and bring novice professionals’ judgmental risk thresholds to the level of competent professionals as quickly and effectively as possible.

It is quite telling that the exploitation of mild cognitive impairment has not changed from what it was back in 1939 when Fred Rodell, wrote in his book, “Woe Unto You Lawyers”: “The legal trade, in short, is nothing but a high-class racket. It is a racket far more lucrative and more powerful and hence more dangerous than any of those minor and much-publicized rackets

In Conclusion

The following question should be of concern to all senior citizens.  If government and professional organizations are not going to do what is necessary in order to protect you from being scammed while your cognitive abilities are “severely” impaired, are they really going to do what is necessary to protect you from being scammed if their cognitive abilities are only “mildly” impaired or not impaired at all?

Over three years ago, in 2012, Tom Fields submitted a 16-page document in response to a request for

information by the CFPB’s (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) on the financial security of older Americans.  So far the federal government has remained delinquent on the issues surrounding elder care.

With the White House Conference on Aging set for July 13, will the 5th conference accomplish anything of note to help prevent elder abuse scams?

Calls must be made to the White House and to elected legislators with a message reminding them that seniors are a powerful force in politics and society.  They deserve to be treated with dignity and should not be used as pawns by some in the legal profession as a means to enrich themselves financially from those who lack the cognitive ability to perceive what is happening, through devious means.

In Chicago and in many cities throughout the U.S., elder abuse scams happen with regularity in the Probate Courts, but justice is rarely served, as the fraud perpetrators are not apprehended.

Some supplementary reading material:

Part 1:  Thorner:  Elder Justice Act Under Obamacare Fails

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

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Friday, June 26, 2015

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