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by Mark Maxwell Abushady, NYC


Investigating the “Smart” Grid
Big Pitcher Films

Produced and Directed
by Josh del Sol

We are living in a time of great fragmentation of our people, with accompanying, blatant corruption of, and collusion between, government and corporations on a massive scale. Every issue seems to polarize the public, with a net result of nothing being accomplished. This film, however, presents a topic with the capacity to bring together Democrat and Republican, Conservative and Liberal, the religious and secular. As such, it may herald, as is suggested by the film, the coming of a truly new age of energy production and power, while signaling the “last gasp” of the current energy paradigm.

Only a corporate action so wrong on so many levels could have the power to do this. Such is the case with the mandate of the installation of “smart” meters. These digital, electric, wireless devices, which communicate back to utility companies, are presented as capable of enhancing energy security, reducing greenhouse gases, improving urban air quality, and providing billions of dollars of benefits to the public. However, they also emit damaging amounts of radiation, have caused hundreds of house fires from explosions after being installed (or utilized to turn electric power off and on), have increased costs for customers (doubling and tripling charges in some cases without benefit TO the customer), and set the stage for a surveillance network in each and every home. Even further, as they are designed to track time of energy usage, they create the ability for utilities to implement differential pricing during peak periods of energy usage. They also add another layer of pulsed radio-frequency radiation in our homes.

And yet, the negatives go on. There is a wave of new, “smart technology” appliances, which, in connection with smart meters, will track customers’ habits and movements in the home, usage of energy and water, and potentially much more as homes are switched over to these appliances.

In some areas of the country where this mandate is occurring, moratoriums have been enacted on the installation of smart meters, given concerns of the residents. These concerns are fairly well documented in this film, with statements from lawyers, a former CIA director, doctors and researchers who show cellular changes which occur from the levels of radiation emitted from these devices.

Other, closely related issues are explored, including CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act), which legalizes the transferring of the customers’ data collected by utilities and corporations to the government. Thomas A. Drake, whistle blower and former Senior Executive of the National Security Agency (NSA) relates the following: “What you’re seeing is the establishment of a surveillant society…the establishment of a surveillance network.”

A look is given at the usefulness of fear in keeping protests to a minimum, and the influence of the current Energy Industry in suppressing alternative technologies. Notable is the statement that six of the seven world’s largest companies are in the oil and gas industry, and have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. A striking example of this directive is given by Spain, which has enacted a “solar tax” on those persons generating their own energy. This new tax would extend the average time it would take for solar panels to pay for themselves from eight to twenty-five years, according to the solar lobby in that country. “Dirty electricity”, caused by AC/DC converters, cell phone radiation (and its possible connection with the growing number of autistic children), transmitting antennas and associated “cancer clusters”, are other topics examined.

Thalidomide, DDT, smoking, asbestos, lead paint, PCB, Fen-phen, methylmercury… these, as the film cites, were once “extensively tested and safe” according to numerous governments around the world, yet caused the deaths or compromised the health “of untold millions.”

The problem with Smart meters, as one interviewee puts it, is that . . . “It’s that a device that is broadcasting and receiving wireless signals permanently (that) has been surreptitiously placed in your home, unnecessarily and without your permission and without proving itself scientifically. This is a test case for technological democracy . . .” Finally, instructions are given on how to resist having one of these meters installed in or on your home. This film is a call for everyone to to engage. As such, it is a must-see film.


Kroschel Films, in association with One Paw Productions
Written and Directed by Steve Kroschel
Music by Stuart Mitchell; performed by the Czech Filmharmonic Orchestra and Choir

Grounded is a visually beautiful film with a lush, symphonic score. The film attempts to demonstrate the vital importance of a connection with the earth . . . literally. Grounding, as used in this film, means to actually connect with the earth, either through direct skinto- earth contact, through a conductive material (such as leather-soled shoes – plastic won’t work) or through a grounding wire. The benefit is said to be in the taking up by the body of free electrons from the earth.

After hearing about grounding on an internet video show, nature photographer, filmmaker and wildlife specialist Steve Kroschel spends about 20 minutes lying naked, on the bare earth under his house, and finds that it significantly relieves his body aches and pains. He goes about researching this “grounding” phenomenon, while encouraging others in his town of Haines, Alaska to try it. In the process, we are introduced to researchers in the field of grounding. Most significant among these is Clint Ober, credited as the modern-day earthing discoverer.

The filmmaker is excited and enthusiastic about his subject matter and, as such, makes an entertaining film. As one who has unmistakably felt and benefited from spending many hours, gloveless, digging into the earth of my garden, I can attest that health benefits to mind and body undoubtedly ensue. However, where this film falls short is in its lack of follow through regarding the science. The film seems to be set up as a scientific inquiry/experiment, but little science is revealed. We see two vases of flowers, one grounded, one not, and see the flowers in the grounded vase last much longer. What we don’t see is how the vase is attached to the grounding wire.

We hear about electrons being soaked up by the body, and skeptics doubting the effects of grounding when surely a meter could be attached to the wire to measure the flow of electrons. Other folks in town join in, and are seen being handed a brown paper bag, but we never see what exactly is in the bag. We hear from the filmmaker that “If I had known about earthing years ago, the mother of my son would still be in this world.” Yet we are not told what she passed from.

The message of the filmmaker seems to be that grounding cures everything. That is a pretty tall order, given the chemicals, radiation, GMO’s, and more in our environment. Mr. Kroschel states that, in 2008, “. . . NASA announced the earth is linked to the sun by a network of magnetic portals,” without sharing what he believes this means with regard to the film’s subject. The science must be there, as Mr. Kroschel mentions Clint Ober as having published “over a dozen peerreviewed scientific studies.” This film would have benefitted from its inclusion.




Mark Maxwell Abushady Mark Maxwell Abushady is an actor, singer, designer and photographer based in New York City.