EMFguru #11-96,The OK Corral and EMF

Oct 1996

Hi everybody:

Remember the OK Corral?? When it was sent to the group last June we were about half the number of members we now are. (133 in 21 countries.)

Because guru is about to send an "updating" message on the OK Corral ... we are re-sending the original below.

You might be interested to know that no message we have ever sent has generated as many responses as did "The OK Corral and EMF."

Also. because our "update" will deal with the situation on Connecticut Avenue in Joplin, Missouri, we recommend that you revisit the "Prudent Avoidance" (EMFguru #10-96) message on the web-page. Guru and others have had a busy summer there.

To: Multiple recipients of list <emf-l@mail.llion.org>
Subject: The OK Corral and EMF (Dated June 1996.)

Hi everybody:

We are now 74 in number and we are in 15 countries.

This message will be a bit of a change of pace. Sometime ago, guru closed one of his messages saying: "Mike Royko would have said it better, but they pay him more."

Some of you have asked, "Who is Mike Royko?" He is a syndicated newspaper columnist in Chicago. His columns appear all across the U.S. in various newspapers. He is the guru's "favorite." He writes neither pro-Republican nor pro-Democrat. He is good at pinpointing the hypocrisies of both. He has a knack for seeing the inconsistencies and flaws of the American society through the eyes of "Joe six-pack." We quote below a portion of his most recent column. At the end, guru will have a few remarks to add.


"We know that television is the most powerful of all political tools. Clinton was born into the TV age. He knows when to be softly serious, when to grin and chuckle, when to be bold and play the statesman, when to feel our pain and when to whip off a crisp commander-in-chief salute.

"He would make a masterful daytime talk show host, possibly the equal of Geraldo or Oprah.

"In contrast, Dole was already a grown man and a heroic war casualty before TV began shrinking the national brain. He has never bothered to learn the art of the 10 second bite.

"If anything should have delighted the Clinton backers, it is a couple of non-traditional political polls that were widely reported.

"One asked who would people trust to baby-sit their kids. The other asked which candidate they would ask to choose the toppings for their pizza. Clinton easily outdistanced Dole in both polls.

"These silly polls were brought to my attention by an angry Dole supporter who said: "Why doesn't someone do a poll in which they ask people this question: 'Who would you ask to walk down to the OK Corral with you -- Clinton, the slick draft dodger, or Bob Dole, the pain-wracked World War II combat soldier'?"

[Note: For our non-U.S. members, the OK Corral lives in American legend as the most famous gun-fight of the legendary 'American West.' The good guys -- Wyatt Earp and his brothers with Doc Holiday -- wiped out the bad guys -- the town bullies of old Tombstone, the Clantons. Yes ... that's Clanton, not Clinton.] Back to Mike Royko's column.

"Nice try, but a poll that asked such a question would be inconclusive.

"That's because this is 1996, and most of the answers would be something like:

"I'm not asking anybody to go there with me because I have no intention of walking down to the OK Corral. It is not my fight, and I'm not going to get involved. And if anyone tries to involve me, they will hear from my lawyer."


Mike Royko may have us figured about right when he depicts today's American "TV culture" value system as he does in the above column. And he certainly has noted a deep difference between the characters of the two presidential candidates.

America today: "I have no intention of walking down to the OK Corral. It is not my fight, and I'm not going to get involved."

It is a very different America than the America of Bob Dole's young adulthood. That was an America that idealistically sent its best sons all over the world to fight for freedom, first in Europe, then the Philippines and the Pacific rim. Bob Dole was one of them.

Just a few years later, responding to the same idealistic impulses, America sent her sons to fight for freedom in Korea and then in Viet-Nam. (Yes, we thought we WERE fighting for freedom in Viet-Nam.) Bob Dole, by this time was lying in a hospital bed from which he would eventually arise and start his climb to the Presidency. So, he didn't make it to Korea or Viet-Nam. But the guru did.

How much America has lost ... that innocent idealism that repeatedly sent her sons to fight for freedom ... that produced at least two generations of voters who believed that when there is a bunch of bullies to be fought at the OK Corral ... well ... the nation should just "strap on that shootin' iron" and go take care of it.

Now -- if the polls are to be believed -- we prefer a draft dodger to a man who "strapped on the shootin' iron."

The EMF Connection...

But, you say, "The world has changed. It's silly today to talk as if we still lived in a world of bullies. There is no Hitler. No OK Corral."

Is there not???

Guru says that most every town in America has a bunch of bullies at least the equal of the Clantons. We have given those bullies a monopoly over one of our most desperately needed services -- electricity.

This monopoly, in turn, gives them enormous financial and political power.

In return, they are exploiting that power to impose upon an unwary public an EMF environmental health hazard of such proportions that it could easily dwarf any other yet to have been devised by mankind.

The utilities know ... about the risk which they are passing on to the public every time they run that new transmission line through that residential neighborhood. They have known at least since 1989 when the Texas courts made them move that transmission line away from that school in Houston.

In guru's state they are building that line on old 35 foot rights of way which were created more than half a century ago to carry the tiny little electric currents of the 1930s. If you look carefully, you are likely to see much the same in your state.

When the occasional informed property owner tries to halt -- or even slow down -- these new lines in residential neighborhoods, he or she is easily overwhelmed by all of the gross "bullying tactics" which the utility's enormous financial and political advantage can buy.

The typical property owner in these situations immediately finds that he/she can not even afford the expert witnesses that will be required to appear against the highly paid witnesses of the utilities. Much less all of the other costs. The Lawyers, the court, etc.

The utility -- knowing well its financial and political 'power' advantages over the landowners in these situations -- can be relied upon to follow a strategy of intimidation. By almost any calculation, the dollar advantage, alone, enjoyed by the utility in these litigation cases is on the order of a thousand to one against the property owner.

Many people assume that the property owner does not in fact face these costs because there are always plenty of "hungry" lawyers eager to take such a case on a "contingency" basis -- to receive perhaps as much as a third of the final settlement. Not true.

Certainly not true in the property damage cases because the potential final settlement is usually far too small to justify the heavy commitment of time and effort such cases require.

Where the value is there to justify that effort, one finds the utility much more ready to "settle out of court" in order to avoid the public exposure of the health hazard matters that would be revealed in a hard fought court case by a challenger having the resources to "match" the utility -- such as the landmark Houston case the guru often refers to. *Since that case, the utilities have not let any others like it be heard by a jury that would produce a public record.*

Where personal injury has occurred -- e.g., leukemia -- the potential settlements are higher, thus there may be more of a chance to find a lawyer who will "front end" the costs. But even in these situations, the financial advantage of the utilities is still on the order of at least ten to one. (One thing most Americans saw clearly in the O.J. Simpson trial ... is the importance of big money in our courts.)

No. As a matter of public policy ... litigation is not a good solution.

Intimidate, intimidate, intimidate ... that is the electric industry's grand strategy. It is calculated not only to work in the immediate case but it also frightens away many other landowners who may be less knowledgeable about the hazards, but who nevertheless sense that they are being exploited. Such a strategy -- up to this point -- has also had considerable to recommend it for its "PR" value.

(The exploitation of property owners who do nothing about the current threat to property values resulting from the EMF hazard will be completed some years hence when the public understanding of the EMF hazard is more widely known and these owners find that the government -- which has sheltered the utility bullying -- is not going to recompense them for the greatly reduced value of their land. If, indeed, they are able to sell it at all.)


Guru believes that what has just been described above is "bullying" in the grandest tradition ... far more so than those puny, unfortunate "roustabouts," the Clantons.

Call it "white collar" bullying if you like. That does not make it any more tolerable.

The utility "bullies" are not the only exploiters of the publics ignorance that is rampant in America today. Perhaps they are not even the worst ... but they are the ones the guru knows.

Perhaps for the same reason that he prefers Bob Dole ... he still believes in the America of the "war generations." He still believes in the spirit of the OK Corral. He believes that if America is going to live up to its promise and past strengths ... somebody has to stand up against the bullies.

Remember that set of "excuses" we used to run below the guru's signature line? One of them was: "Its your/her/his job, not mine."

Guru believes -- even today -- that is NOT America.

Guess you might say, "Guru has strapped on his shootin' iron ... and he has headed down to the OK Corral."


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