Another fall for Firstenberg

The New Mexico state court of appeals has ruled against Arthur Firstenberg’s ongoing electromagnetic legal crusade against his neighbor, Raphaela Monribot.

Read the Santa Fe Reporter article.

Read science writer George Johnson’s takedown in the NY Times: When Science is Lost in a Legal Maze. The lede:

In a saner world, where science and the law meshed more precisely, a case like Firstenberg v. Monribot would have been dead on arrival in court. But that is not what happened.

Earlier this month, five years after the lawsuit was filed, the New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that Arthur Firstenberg, an outspoken opponent of wireless technology, could not seek $1.43 million in damages from his neighbor, Raphaela Monribot, for damaging his health by using her iPhone and a Wi-Fi connection

Download the court’s opinion.

Firstenberg’s $85,000 Frivolous Folly

The legal fees caused by the latest financial fiasco perpetrated by the shameless, electrically-sensitive, and (apparently) trust-funded Arthur Firstenberg have saddled his latest legal victims with an $85,000 bill.

Let’s hope this dents his own electrically-sensitive backside.

And let’s remember that he’s been at this cellular crusade since 1996, from New York City to California to Santa Fe. But as long as he continues to get favorable press from the leaderless Santa Fe New Mexican, he’ll probably hang around. That’s too bad because the man obviously some kind of professional help, and he apparently needs it not manana.

Download (PDF, 137KB)

The Electrically-Sensitive Trail of Arthur Firstenberg

Updated March 24, 2015

 

Down goes Firstenberg …

Bless her heart.

District Judge Sarah M. Singleton tolerated about as much as she could from the electrically-sensitized Arthur Firstenberg, to include writing a term paper on the pertinent research, until she couldn’t stand no more.

Today she denied Firstenberg’s legal team’s attempt to put their selected “expert witnesses” on the stand, in effect calling them out as charlatans and outside the bounds of what passes for “science.” Ruling that Firstenberg the Plaintiff therefore could not present a credible case, she smacked him down with a summary judgment for the defendants.

Thank you, Judge Singleton. Maybe Ms. Monribot and Ms. Leith can now call their friends and celebrate. iPhone 5’s for all!

Download (PDF, 286KB)

Firstenberg refuses psychological testing

On August 30, Judge Sarah M. Singleton smacked down Santa Fe’s Pied Piper for the Electromagnetic Paranoid, Arthur Firstenberg, in an Order Imposing Discovery Sanctions.

The judge’s findings reflect a pretty clear frustration with Firstenberg’s refusal to comly with mandated psychological testing to determine if his alleged physical reactions to electromagnetic radiation in the form of his neighbor’s iPhone calls are psychologically-induced rather than physiological (bold my emphasis):

 

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:

1. The Court disallows testimony at trial about any testing of Plaintiff for symptoms associated with EMF exposure, including intentional, accidental or anecdotal testing or reporting of symptoms determined afterward to be the result of exposure.

2. The Court makes a finding that Plaintiff cannot discern or discriminate the effects of anxiety caused by a testing situation or of the presence of electromagnetic stimulus.

3. The Court makes a finding that Plaintiff cannot reliably detect the presence or absence of electromagnetic stimulus.

 

I’m no attorney, but as I read this, Judge Singleton has, with respect to Firstenberg’s claims of electromagnetic sensitivity, ordered him to shut up based on his refusal to put up.

Here’s the full Order.

Download (PDF, 192KB)

Wactivists oppose 4G in Santa Fe

Once again, the fearful fringe of WiFi opposition activists (“Wactivists”) in Santa Fe, led by the pied piper of public propaganda pablum Arthur Firstenberg, are obstructing technological progress. See Tom Sharpe’s New cell-tower plan meets resistance in the New Mexican.

The most important aspect of the tactics used by the Wactivists is this:

Several people in the audience, including Santa Fe’s best-known wireless foe, Arthur Firstenberg, made reference to possible health effects of electromagnetic frequencies.

But [city planner Dan] Esquibel quickly cut off those comments, noting that health effects of cellphone facilities are the domain of the Federal Communications Commission, and municipalities can’t consider these arguments.

The Wactivists have learned how to manipulate the political game. They keep playing the “possible health effects” card (which Firstenberg has dealt since 1996, regardless of the technology involved, from New York to California to Santa Fe) even though:

  1. legally, the FCC is the only agency that can render judgments regarding safety issues (as Esquibel objected); and
  2. scientifically, there is no basis for the Wactivists fears, save for a few crackpot fringe “studies” that are self-referentially referenced within the movement of anti-electromagnetic zealots.

And yet, by playing the simpleton’s fear card (much like the wholly discredited but still prevalent attempts to link autism with child vaccines), a small band of righteously well-meaning anti-technologists continues to dominate the publicity and public discussion surrounding wireless infrastructure.

“Our bodies, our Wi-Fi routers”

I don’t make this stuff up, I just pass it along …

A psychotherapist, Chellis Glendinning, offers her opinions about the validity of and threat of technology to the “electrically-sensitive” in this op-ed in the January 17th Santa Fe New Mexican: Our bodies, our Wi-Fi routers.

Interesting excerpt that is oh-so-typical of this ilk’s thought process and public manipulations:

 It strikes me that, as more WiMAX, smart meters and smartphones blanket us with more EMF, more people are experiencing untoward effects — without knowing why. Here are some of the symptoms:

  1. A sense of pressure on the chest, a grip-like clench about the heart
  2. Overstimulation of the nervous system leading to anxiety, sleeplessness, heart arrhythmia — or the opposite: depression, sluggishness, fatigue
  3. Headaches, loss of memory, “brain fog,” dizziness
  4. Flashes of light in the eyes, black floaters that appear like spider webs, insect legs, specks, etc.
  5. Ringing in the ears, hearing loss
  6. Hormonal imbalances, menstrual disorders
  7. Reduced immune functioning — with greater susceptibility to colds, allergies, influenza, etc.

Only space limits the number of “symptoms” that have been attributed to electrical sensitivities. As I noted earlier, virtually every typical human malady has been claimed by someone concerned about everyday levels of electromagnetic radiation, including (but not limited to):

headaches, dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, weakness, tremors, muscle spasms, numbness, tingling, altered reflexes, muscle and joint pain, leg/foot pain, flu-like symptoms, fever. More severe reactions can include seizures, paralysis, psychosis and stroke; Cardiac: palpitations, arrhythmias, pain or pressure in the chest, low or high blood pressure, slow or fast heart rate, shortness of breath; sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma; skin rash, itching, burning, and facial flushing; pain or burning in the eyes, pressure in/behind the eyes, deteriorating vision, floaters, and cataracts; digestive problems; abdominal pain; enlarged thyroid, testicular/ovarian pain; dryness of lips, tongue, mouth, eyes; great thirst; dehydration; nosebleeds, internal bleeding; altered sugar metabolism; immune abnormalities; redistribution of metals within the body; hair loss; pain in the teeth; deteriorating fillings; impaired sense of smell; ringing in the ears.

Arthur Firstenberg’s psychological state still unclear

On the same day that the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the city has invested $1 million in fiber optic infrastructure to bring Santa Fe’s wireless broadband capabilities into the 21st century, Tripp Jennings reports that the Arthur Firstenberg’s “turn off your iPhone, I feel sick” lawsuit against a neighbor “slogs on in court.”

District Judge Sarah Singleton had appointed a court-ordered psychologist, Dr. Ned Siegel, to work with both sides to ” come up with an agreed-upon protocol to test the hypothesis that Firstenberg was being harmed.” Not surprisingly, Firstenberg has so far not agreed to a ‘blind’ test protocol to determine if 1) he actually does respond to typical (low) levels of electromagnetic radiation, and if so, 2) to what degree?

Jennings noted that “Firstenberg is a part of a group that has tried unsuccessfully to push for a Santa Fe city policy against wireless.”

And Mark Oswald in the Albuquerque Journal North also filed a front page report, Judge Denies Wi-Fi Order. He noted what a nuisance Firstenberg has been to his neighbor, Raphaela Monribot, during the past 18 months:

(Judge) Singleton has rejected such an injunction request at least once previously – in April 2010 – and Monribot’s attorney Christopher Graeser said Firstenberg has now asked eight times since the litigation began that she be required to turn off her electronic devices.

So don’t be surprised if the tin-foil-hat-wearing Firstenbergers around town don’t start emitting more electrically-charged noise locally about the alleged dangers of all things electric.

See this recent article in something called the Earth Island Journal, Warning: High Frequency. The author, Christopher Ketcham, claims that Firstenberg is now living in “the wilderness”  to avoid exposure to electricity and radiation. And yet, as Trip Jennings notes about the actual legal proceedings:

On a different matter, Firstenberg came out the winner.

Firstenberg’s electric meter is on Leith’s property. At one point decades ago, the two homes were on the same piece of property, but the property was divided, said Joseph Romero, another of Manribot’s attorneys.

Firstenberg wanted the right to cross her property to turn his electricity off whenever he wanted. Singleton granted Firstenberg’s request.

“It’s a big physical relief,” Firstenberg said.

Read the Earth Island Journal article to get a good idea of how the Firstenbergers think (or don’t) about electricity, wireless, and electromagentic radiation in general. Far from living in “the wilderness,” Firstenberg lives less than a mile from the Santa Fe Plaza and, rather than trying to avoid electricity, now has the privilege of turning it on and off to suit his … choice.

Santa Fe aims to upgrade Internet access, but …

Julie Ann Grimm writes in the Santa Fe New Mexican about the city’s decision to allocate $1 million toward a fiber optic infrastructure project. http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Local%20News/City-aims-to-upgrade-Internet-access .

Specifically:

The basic idea, according to Sean Moody, a city Economic Development Division project planner, is for the city to install the infrastructure for high-speed Internet — empty conduit and access points from the underground pipes to privately owned interconnection facilities. Those pipes can be filled with fiber optic cables by companies that want to start providing high-speed service. The intention is that such service could be made available at a more competitive price and in areas where it’s not even an option now.

But on the same day, the paper reports that Arthur Firstenberg’s electrically-charged lawsuit against his iPhone-using neighbor “slogs on” in district court.

Arthur Firstenberg now homeless in wilderness?

A new Google alert for “Arthur Firstenberg” popped up in my email this morning. It points to a Firstenberg reference in this undated, but apparently recently-penned, 4,457-word screed, “Warning: High Frequency.” The author is Christopher Ketcham. The host site is Earth Island Journal.

I cannot in good conscience provide a link to “Warning: High Frequency” without first providing my own warning about the unconstrained idiocy that’s so brilliantly conveyed throughout virtually every paragraph and every apocalyptic pull quote on this page.

But since the author, Christopher Ketcham, thoughtfully (for my purposes) consolidates his references to Santa Fe in one paragraph, I post it below in hopes that your curiosity may be assuaged and you’ll spare yourself a visit to Mr. Christopher Ketcham’s “Warning: High Frequency” article that undoubtedly reflects the journalistic standards of Earth Island Journal.

In recent years, I’ve gotten to know dozens of electrosensitives. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, I met a woman who had taken to wearing an aluminum foil hat. (This works – wrap a cell phone in foil and it will kill the signal.) I met a former world record-holding marathoner, a 54-year-old woman who had lived out of her car for eight years before settling down at a house ringed by mountains that she said protected the place from cell frequencies. I met people who said they no longer wanted to live because of their condition. Many of the people I talked to were accomplished professionals – writers, television producers, entrepreneurs. I met a scientist from Los Alamos National Laboratories named Bill Bruno whose employer had tried to fire him after he asked for protection from EMFs at the lab. I met a local librarian named Rebekah Azen who quit her job after being sickened by a newly installed wi-fi system at the library. I met a brilliant activist named Arthur Firstenberg, who had for several years published a newsletter, “No Place to Hide,” but who was now homeless, living out of the back of his car, sleeping in wilderness outside the city where he could escape the signals.

Of course, it’s often hard to demarcate where simply sloppy thinking yields to abject idiocy. I’ll focus here on Mr. Ketcham’s apparent misunderstandings and misattributions about my fellow Santa Feans. I’m not saying he’s completely wrong, I’m just saying:

  • If Arthur Firstenberg is or was indeed “now homeless, living out of the back of his car, sleeping in wilderness outside the city where he could escape the signals” … who’s paying his legal bills as he continues to pursue his well-publicized lawsuit against his iPhone-using neighbor? And has he indeed moved to the “wilderness” and out of his rental house that, in addition to being adjacent to the iPhone-using neighbor, is located less than a mile west of the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe?
  • Isn’t it Bill Bruno, the LANL employee, who’s the more famous of the tinfoil-hat-wearing group?
  • And on the subject of tin foil … the hat I understand, in principle if not physics. But the point of wrapping a cell phone in tin foil to kill the signal is … what, exactly? (Does the ON/OFF switch not also accomplish the same effect without resorting to inflicting more non-biodegradable material? See video below.)
  • Doesn’t a world record-holding marathoner, even a former one, have a name that would be worth noting? Of course, if the 54-year-old woman referenced actually did live in her car for eight years before figuring out she could move to the mountains, maybe she’s a bit publicity-shy.
  • I can’t help but wonder if the author’s repeated references to “I met” should be read literally … like, did he actually meet them in person … or did he “meet” them virtually, online,  through the numerous networks of fellow “electrosensitives” who prolifically promulgate and perpetuate the same old tired, discredited, self-nourishing “research” ? I ask, in all seriousness, because when I googled the “local librarian Rebekah Azen,” I found this notice  in the Greenfire Times that she died on October 20th. That seems an omission that, editorially-speaking, could have found a place somewhere amongst those 4,457 words.

Follow The Electrically-Sensitive Trail of Arthur Firstenberg here.