Friday, January 19, 2018

And so we get this missive from the ARRL's President on the Board of Director's imbroglio

Rick Roderick, K5UR, has been kind enough to notice that the natives are restless. Or, as he puts it, we are listening to "...an organized misinformation campaign. It is being orchestrated by a group of hams, some of whom are well-intentioned but have been misled." I'll assume I'm in that later category, just to be nice.

I'm not going to address Pres. Roderick's statements on the pending Bylaws changes. I've read a bit about them and I'll admit being concerned, but I haven't delved into the subject deeply enough to develop an opinion. I'm going to stick to the Board of Directors' (from here on to be known as the "BOD") recent changes to the BOD's Code of Conduct.

Pres. Roderick states that "The principal suggestion is that ARRL operates under some “cloak of secrecy.” The criticism is unfair and undeserved." While that may currently be true, the new Code is written in such a way that abuse is baked in. In the "Standards of Conduct" section, under "6. Confidentiality", subpart "c", there is the following statement:
c. A Board member may not, in disclosing anything about the Board’s deliberations,
discuss or disclose the votes of the Board or of individual Board members (including his/
her own) unless the Board has previously made the votes public. Nor shall any Board
member falsely characterize the positions, policies or decisions of the Board or the points
of view taken by any member of the Board with respect to them. 
If you read it quickly and don't parse it carefully, it sounds fine. Don't disclose information about votes publicly unless the ARRL has already made the information public. Here it is again, with the part I feel is problematic highlighted:
c. A Board member may not, in disclosing anything about the Board’s deliberations,
discuss or disclose the votes of the Board or of individual Board members (including his/
her own) unless the Board has previously made the votes public
. Nor shall any Board
member falsely characterize the positions, policies or decisions of the Board or the points
of view taken by any member of the Board with respect to them. 
So here is how I see this working if the ARRL wants to clamp down on information. If they don't make any of the votes public, no director can do so, even if he wishes to make his/her vote on the issue public. Instant cone of silence as long as the directors go along with it. And if they don't--they're out of there, as the League has already made very clear. Yes, I believe the abuse is starting.

I also find the entirety of "7. Public Statements" to be problematic. It is simply written far too broadly. This is the part of the Code used to hang N6AA. As written, it allows the Board of Directors to be judge, jury and executioner. The accused has little recourse if the judge and jury are stacked. It's awfully easy to claim that someone didn't give enough notice that they were speaking for themselves, and pretty difficult to prove you did. What is the standard, after all?

"9. Relation with Staff" paragraph "e" also troubles me. "Board members should never conduct independent investigations...." But I suppose that, under "5. Relations Among Board Members" you're only allowed to report wrong-doing by other Board members, it's cool. The possible damage is limited. Not.

Pres. Roderick states that "When it [speaking of the Code of Conduct] was adopted by the Board a year ago, it was posted for ARRL members to read." So it was, if anyone noticed. I have to wonder how many members did. And if they did, what of it? By that time, it was passed. Any damage was done.

Overall, I consider the letter to be content free. It reads well and sounds great--but it actually addresses nothing. At most it restates and amplifies the League's existing positions. I view it as nothing more than an attempt to buy time and hope that it all blows over.

As this trundles on, I grow less and less likely to renew my ARRL membership. Despite the things they have historically done for radio amateurs, it seems that times are a changin' and we amateurs may be taking a back seat. It's happened in other advocacy groups. Any of you gunnies reading this will surely remember the bad old days when the NRA's leadership pretty much ignored the members and decided they wanted to be Washington Insiders, much to the damage to our Second Amendment rights. I don't want to see that here, but I'm growing more and more afraid that is exactly what I'm seeing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Those who fail to learn from history

Even though I lately worked for one, I'm really learning to hate universities. By and large, they seem to have become bastions of the worst that leftism has to offer.

This morning, this came floating in over the transom. It's a Wired Magazine article, entitled "Meet The Antifa's Secret Weapon Against Right-Wing Extremists".

As you read the article, you find that the secret weapon wasn't quite so secret. A leftist Elon University computer science professor has taken it upon herself to maintain a database she populates with the names of those she deems to be "dangerous right-wingers". She shares information this with groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and other "selected activists she trusts" so that they can take action as they see appropriate. Wired thinks this is all wonderful.

Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.

The Nazis had a list of all the gun owners and of all Jews. Stalin has lists of every class of person, every skill. The Khmer Rouge had lists of the intellectuals, the teachers, the local officials. Being on these lists didn't end well for these people. Previous generations in the US have fought against our government to keep it from having such lists and from accessing such seemingly innocuous lists such as what books we check out from a library or what videos we watch. If I can judge from the picture in the article, the generation following mine has forgotten all those things. If history is any lesson, they will relearn it the hard way.

Michael Bane has often noted on his podcast that the other side hates us and several times he has said they want to see us dead. I have hoped that it wasn't quite so bad as the latter, but it really looks like I'm wrong. Barring a miracle, we are, as a nation, sliding down the slippery slope toward civil war. Hot heads, extremists and simple fools on all sides will ensure that it happens. People like Dr. Megan Squire of Elon University are going to see to it, sure of the rightness of their actions. When it comes, they will be the first to celebrate. As the destruction escalates, they will party harder. And when they are lead to their turn at the wall, or the block, or the guillotine, they will cry out about the injustice of it all, sure that they were right, that this is some horrible cosmic mistake and that history will vindicate them.

It won't. It never does. They've forgotten that lesson, too.

Friday, January 12, 2018

You should have this book

(Via SurvivalBlog)

The 3rd edition of the Survival and Austere Medicine book is available for free download (click on the cover art). Add this to your library.

Post-TEOTWAWKI disease

One of the things that Doomer Porn usually doesn't consider is the realistic nuts and bolts of how various aspects of the world will work after some Big Thing happens and The World Changes Forever. I'm all for a willing suspension of disbelief to allow a story to move along, but when you ask me to give up the good sense I was born with, that's a bit much.

One of the most common objections I have to many multi-volume doomer series is the lack of outbreaks of common and once-common diseases in the aftermath of the Big Thing. As I've noted before, I really don't expect to see these ravening hordes of starving refugees roaming the countryside, because most of them will be dead in 30 days from fun things like water-borne disease. Face it, most people have never been in the Boy Scouts and they haven't learned not to shit in their water supply. They're going to hit the road looking to make their way to Farmer Bob's where they just know there is food and they'll run out of those 4 bottles of Deer Park they were so proud they remembered about mid-afternoon on Day 1. By mid-afternoon on Day 2 they will be in agony from thirst, and that creek they spot will look so...wet. They won't know where it comes from or what might be in it besides H2O and they won't care. Glug, glug, glug.

Somewhere around Day 5-7 they won't care about anything, because they'll be dead from something or other. Whether it's chemical or biological makes no difference, dead is dead. Saint Peter is going to be putting on extra shifts, because I expect this to be happening all over.

A writer for SurvivalBlog has written a two part (Part 1 and Part 2) on the various diseases that can be expected to make a comeback in the event of an Event. Interesting reading for those of us with this particular turn of mind.

You do have effective water filtration gear in those preps, now don't you?

Monday, January 08, 2018

What if you gave a firearms sting and nobody came?

Well, you'd look like Democrat Senators Cummings, Warren and Schatz for a start.

The Senators, all from what we gunnies would call "less free" states, comissioned the study in an attempt to duplicate an alleged study by Michael Bloomberg (Fascist, NY) and allegations by the ATF-EIEIO "...which claimed that “anonymity of the internet makes it an ideal means for prohibited individuals to obtain illegal firearms.”

The "study", conducted by the Government Accounting Office showed that:

But the GAO revealed that their 72 attempts outside of the dark web were all “unsuccessful.”

“Private sellers on Surface Web gun forums and in classified ads were unwilling to sell a firearm to our agents that self-identified as being prohibited from possessing a firearm,” the GAO reported, noting that in their “72 attempts ... 56 sellers refused to complete a transaction once we revealed that either the shipping address was across state lines or that we were prohibited by law from owning firearms.” In the other cases, the investigators' website was frozen or they encountered suspected scammers. 

On the dark web, GAO agents successfully purchased two guns illegally, as the serial numbers on the weapons were “obliterated” and “shipped across state lines.” But in the attempt to purchase, the GAO agents “did not disclose any information indicating they were prohibited from possessing a firearm.”

According to the article, none of the Senators were available to comment on the study. Probably busy wiping egg off their faces.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

More on the ARRL and the Board of Directors' Code of Conduct

It's weird how things work. I had looked earlier this week for more information on the subject of the ARRL's new Board of Directors' Code of Conduct (originally noted here), because I was curious if anything else had surfaced. I didn't find anything with a quick search, and honestly I wasn't surprised--the ARRL has made it obvious they don't want to discuss the subject.

So today I'm looking for something else on QRZ.com and what do I find? Yeah, more on the subject. There is a December 4, 2017 post noting a Ham Radio Now (Yes, I ought to subscribe, but there are only so many hours to listen to podcasts) on the subject of the Code of Conduct. I haven't listened to the entire thing yet; I've put it on pause to drop this post on the blog. So far, things are not being very complimentary for the League. I can't say I'm surprised.

From the QRZ post, it seems that the League is working on silencing opposition to this ill-conceived policy. This really ought to raise eyebrows among the membership, as it would tend to indicate, at least to me, that there is more at play than the stated goal of a need for a code of conduct.

There's still the better part of a year before I have to make a final decision, but it appears the ARRL is going to be assisting me in trimming the household budget a tiny bit this fall. According to numbers I've found, they have roughly 175,000 members. I wonder just how bad a, say, 10% drop in that number would hurt? It is winter time and the bands are deader than usual due to the solar minimum, so hams have time on their hands. Some organization will go a long way in a few months.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

I thought it was getting a mite crowded around here

(Via the Drudge Report)

For those who have been paying attention the past few years, this is interesting but not overly surprising news: people are leaving Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts in droves, while Idaho, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Vermont and several less free western states are picking them up.

Reasons? They're less expensive to live in, warmer climates, more jobs, and while the Daily Mail article would never note it, in the case of the states I named, more freedom. Idaho is the center of the Western Redoubt popularized by James Wesley, Rawles of SurvivalBlog, Vermont has long been a bastion of individual freedom (and is next door to New Hampshire, home of the Free State Project) and North and South Carolina have both seen major advances in personal freedom and friendlier business climates in recent years. (Howling gored liberals, however, have went up significantly in volume. I view it as a cost of progress.)

I don't think that it's a coincidence that the states with large population outflows suffer from Democratic leadership, large and apparently intractable public pension underfunding issues and high personal, property and business taxes. Despite the pretty commercials, these states, with high taxes, old infrastructure and unionized workforces, are simply more difficult to do business in that states with lower taxes, newer or recently upgraded infrastructure, non-unionized workforces and for some, warmer weather.

The downside for states like my home state of North Carolina is that success brings some of the problems suffered by those states. In areas like Charlotte and the Research Triangle Park area, immigrants from these states bring their Democrat voting patterns, love of taxpayer-funded services, and the demands on infrastructure that a growing population makes. I won't sugar-coat it, I don't like the demographic shifts that have taken place in my state in the last 35 years. I often feel like a stranger here.

While I live in an area that hasn't yet suffered too much from the changes, I can see them hovering on the horizon, especially if we maintain a good economy.  While that is something I think is open to question in the short run, in the long run, we will have a good economy, and my AO will change. That is a function of our location. We're in the wrong place, near too many transportation routes, too many resources, too nice a climate, too many highly educated people (Hollywood lies about the South, you know).

Living in the area that is the historical stomping grounds of Daniel Boone, I seem to somehow have picked up by osmosis that legendary man's distaste for crowded places, although he and I have differing definitions of  "crowded". Still I have no interest in living in a suburb of some new metroplex, let alone a new metroplex itself. However, given my situation, I may find myself with few options.

It may not be all bad. There is something to be said for the delights of civilization--more restaurants, more and more varied entertainment, maybe professional baseball. Higher population density oddly enough brings an appreciation of green spaces, so parks, bike paths, hiking trails and so on become more important in people's minds.

It's going to be interesting to watch this develop as I as sit here and get older. My kids will play some small part in how this plays out, as will my putative grandchildren. But unlike ol' Dan'l, I doubt that I'll be packing up and moving west if the change doesn't suit me.