Anthony Watts has finally called for nominations to the board of his Open Atmospheric Society (archived here). His article is an excellent example of the Persecuted Victim turned Hero, as described in Recurrent Fury. The Persecuted Victim is one who self-identifies as the victim of an organised persecution. That allows them to present themselves as heroes.
From Recurrent Fury:
At least tacitly, people who hold conspiratorial views also perceive themselves as brave antagonists of the nefarious intentions of the conspiracy; that is, they are victims but also potential heros.
The timeline of the Open Atmospheric Society
This is a timeline of the Open Atmospheric Society:
May 2012 - Anthony Watts polled his readers, and 949 said they would join "a professional organization dedicated to offering an alternate to organizations like the American Meteorological Society etc?" (h/t Millicent)
- Willard A. Watts as President
- Jospeh (sic) D'Aleo as Treasurer and
- Lisa Smalley as Secretary
Persecuted by non-existent roadblocks
Anthony Watts claims that the delay was "because roadblocks get thrown in your way by people that don’t want skeptics to be recognized on any level. " He asserted that "Such is the case with the Open Atmospheric Society".
Except it didn't happen.
If you were wanting to read about roadblocks and the people who threw them, you'll be disappointed. He just made that bit up. In the very next sentence he admits that it didn't happen. There were no roadblocks and there were no roadblock throwers. Anthony takes all the credit for the lack of same. It's just an excuse given by Anthony himself for the secrecy he cloaked his open society in. He claims the roadblock throwers didn't come because of the secrecy, calling it "quiet mode", writing:
By operating in quiet mode, many of the critics who actively challenge such applications thought it was probably dead, and didn’t bother.What a clever hero Anthony is. By keeping it all under wraps he avoided any non-existent roadblocks being thrown by his imaginary persecutors.
Persecuted by President Obama and the IRS
Anthony then blamed President Obama and the IRS for throwing roadblocks. He wrote:
I’m sure many readers are well aware of the roadblocks that have been thrown at organizations that have applied for a 501(c)(3) status by the Obama administration and the Internal Revenue Service.
So Anthony wanted US taxpayers to subsidise his secretive open society and then blamed the President and the tax collector for putting roadblocks in his way.
Except they didn't.
From roadblocks to hoops
Next Anthony admits he just made that bit up, too. There was no horror story. He explains that:
...while this didn’t exactly qualify as a horror story, there were a few hoops that we had to jump through and many delays in the process.
Oh dear. In order to get the taxpayers to subsidise his secretive open society he had to meet some requirements. How awful. Surely President Obama and the IRS should have made it much easier for him. But no. They had the gall to insist that the organisation existed before they were prepared to allow the subsidy. They asked for proof that there were some members. That was why Anthony finally decided, two years and four months after registering his secretive open society on the quiet, to plead with his readers to join up. He explained:
Our initial application was rejected after several months because the Internal Revenue Service would not approve the 501(c)(3) status on projections alone (apparently models don’t cut it with them, only hard real numbers). We actually had to show that we had a membership and were operating.
Well, he couldn't show that it was operating because it wasn't. However he decided he'd better go out and try to round up some members. He wrote:
Therefore last year we had to solicit for membership ...
Lame excuses for secrecy
The question is, did he believe enough in his society to have kept it going if he couldn't get exemption from paying any tax? He wrote:
Therefore last year we had to solicit for membership and run the organization a few months essentially in “quiet mode”, while the IRS made their determinations.
He didn't "have to" run it in "quiet mode". He could have run it according to its name, in open mode, from the outset if he'd wanted to, and paid the measly sums owing in taxes (if any). The IRS would have been more likely to give it the nod from the beginning if he'd got things moving sooner. He obviously successfully faked it with the IRS, because he said that:
We actually had to show that we had a membership and were operatingExcept it hasn't started operating yet. It doesn't even have a board yet, let alone any journal or other membership activities.
Persecuted victim and hero sails solo in hostile waters
Anthony managed to dredge up a few members but his secretive society most certainly wasn't operating. And it still isn't. It was supposed to have a board in place within six months of its establishment. And its charter states, it was formally declared established on 1 July 2014. Yet he's only now calling for nominations - more than six months after the due date. No board and no membership committee either, which is also meant to be in place.
At least Anthony has now declared who is behind his secretive society. Brave hero Anthony Watts wrote that he appointed himself as acting director and was heroically navigating the "Red Sea of Tape" all on his lonesome:
This of course gave ammunition to critics who said that the organization was either dead from the start or was just a flash in the pan. Neither is the case, as acting director, I was simply navigating the Red Sea of Tape alone.
He continues to weave his conspiratorial web, writing about hostile climates:
I’m happy to report that the OAS has now received its official certification letter of 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service, and we can now conduct business just like any other tax exempt organization. It has been a long time coming, and given the ahem, hostile climate…
Well, he already and very quietly reported in June, that the OAS got its tax exempt status - several months after he actually got it (in April this year). This can't be described as anything but excuse-making for dragging his feet. And sure enough, here's his excuse, in full Persecuted Victim regalia:
I held my breath and waited a while, expecting some challenge to the status from somebody who trolls such approvals with a political intent, but no challenge came.Poor Anthony. No-one is persecuting him. It doesn't stop him from waving his victim card about though, does it.
Ready to roll - finally, sort of, if he gets a board
Now he needs to get some more members. He wrote:
Now that it has the needed status, hasn’t been challenged right after approval, and won’t become a personal tax liability for myself and Joe DeAleo who set up the idea with me, the organization is ready to roll and we can actively begin recruiting new members as well as setting up our Board of Directors.
Obviously he thinks it's a money-maker, or else why would he worry about tax liability? You only worry about that if you're going to make money. If it cost him money on balance, then he could declare it as a business expense and save some tax. I don't know of any not-for-profit organisation that gets tax exempt status before it starts, or before it has a governing body. It could be different in the USA of course, or maybe Anthony can claim a first on that score.
The board has to be elected by members - a minor detail. Anthony's been busy trying to persuade people to join. He wrote:
During the past year I have privately solicited a few people to be on the board of Directors, to help steer the organization. I have three applications in hand, but more are needed to fill out the seats on the board as described in The Charter.
Maybe he just expects that his three chosen people will be elected by members. He's now needing more people to put their hand up.
If you think I'm being too harsh and emphasising the conspiracist ideation too much, have a look at some of the "initial goals". I've prefaced them with the underlying denier conspiracy:
- Mainstream science is "politicized" - To provide an organization that offers an alternative to the highly politicized organizations that exist now.
- Poor little deniers are muzzled - To provide a voice for those who are not well represented now.
- Peer review is "politically-motivated interference" - To provide a scientific journal where publications can be made where no politically motivated peer review interference occurs. Papers must be replicable and pass on merit, not on a viewpoint.
- Evil lurks in every corner - To offer a safe place where ideas may be exchanged and examined without fear of retribution.
Remember, from the denier standpoint, they are allowed to defame scientists, screech "fraud" and "fakery" every time they come across some science that they regard as conflicting with their world view. In the mind of a WUWT denier, if they don't like the evidence and the explanation for what is observed, all they have to do is cry "politics". When they defame they call on "free speech" to protect them. And now they have yet another avenue for nurturing their conspiracies and allow them to bloom and grow in recursive fury. That is, if the secretive open society ever does get off the ground.
Join up, pay up
Oh, and Anthony wants more money from the poor sods who joined up from the beginning. And they haven't been members for 12 months yet. His first call was in September last year, and Anthony wants them to renew their membership already - though they've got nothing for it so far. He hasn't even got a governing body yet, let alone any much-touted journal. At the rate he's going, his members will be lucky to see a journal this side of 2020.
He breathed a sigh of relief and added an update:
thanks to new signups today, the OAS is well past 200 members now.Should be able to get a board from that lot, assuming he's got 200 full members and not just associate members.
From the WUWT comments
Say What? wants some real denier science:
July 20, 2015 at 8:21 am
I wish you good luck. I want to hear about real science based upon facts and reliable data. Something to counter the phony media science – like the EPA that doesn’t actually have any data on which to base its policies.
A C Osborn wistfully wishes for some capitalised Scientists, Engineers and Organisers:
July 20, 2015 at 8:32 am
Good luck, I hope you can get some real Scientists, Engineers and Organisers to join you.
It would be very refreshing to see some unbiased science.
Sensorman loves the Google (mis)-translation of Anthony's motto:
July 20, 2015 at 9:08 am
“verum in luce” – love it! Joined – hoping for good things to come…
John Shade is a teeny bit miffed at the lack of any communication, let alone open communication, from the openly secretive society. Turns out that "quiet mode" means no communication with members:
July 20, 2015 at 9:29 am
My membership was confirmed on 29th September 2014, and I have had no emails from the organisation since then. Some explanation of the, cough, hiatus would have been appreciated during the intervening months.
Bloke down the pub is more realistic than most:
July 20, 2015 at 10:05 am
Good luck, you’ll need it.
L. E. Joiner probably doesn't know that bigger and better got to OAS before Anthony - although one OAS went defunct a while back:
July 20, 2015 at 11:03 am
Also, make sure you lock up all the similar domain names and suffixes (.com, .org, .info, .net, .us, etc.) you can. You know the Climatists will be looking for ways to stick in needles and confuse the public.
Ted G is a proud WUWT conspiracy theorist:
July 20, 2015 at 10:52 am
This is sorely needed, given how the so called pillars of respect in the consensus climate community manipulate data, lie and cheat, The fraudsters do it all without shame or fear of repercussions, thanks for a great start.
References and further reading
Lewandowsky, Stephan, John Cook, Klaus Oberauer, Scott Brophy, Elisabeth A. Lloyd, and Michael Marriott. (2015). "Recurrent fury: Conspiratorial discourse in the blogosphere triggered by research on the role of conspiracist ideation in climate denial." Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 3 (1). doi: 10.5964/jspp.v3i1.443. (open access)
- OAS - The No-Name Society Hides its Light - September 2014
- Verum in obscuro no more: Is OAS, WUWT's secretive open society about to reveal itself to the world? - January 2015
- Another fail at WUWT? Where is the Open Atmospheric Society? - March 2015
- The secretive Open Atmospheric Society shows tentative signs of life @wattsupwiththat - June 2015