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.