Archive for January 2015

Watching out for corruption?

A member told us how paying his water rates reminded him of City Tatts.

He got his water rates bill from Sydney Water in the mail as usual. Along with the bill there was flyer with the usual sections on water quality, conservation and similar stuff.

There was also a a section titled: Watching out for corruption.

It said “We expect our staff and contractors to maintain high standards of ethical conduct in their dealings with you. If you have any reason to suspect that our staff or contractors have behaved in a fraudulent or corrupt way, please let us know. We’ll investigate all complaints.”

Mention of staff and contractors behaving in a fraudulent or corrupt way naturally made him think of City Tatts. He couldn’t help laughing when he thought how this would have to be modified for City Tatts. He felt that this policy would have an additional line at City Tatts “….. and you will be barred for life for making the complaint!”.

 

Save City Tatts Committee

Psychological Analysis of Patrick Campion

It was interesting to read the Club Corruption Vigilante’s analysis of City Tattersalls Club.

It reminded us of one member’s observations about Patrick Campion over a year ago.

Campion’s behaviour since he became chairman has always been a bit of a mystery, even to people who know him. In fact it has been so strange that they have wondered if he believes he will get a free apartment or some other benefit from his actions.

This member didn’t think so. His assessment of Campion was that he was such a weak and sensitive person that he couldn’t accept criticism. And in his mind any comments or suggestions from members that he should be doing something he was not doing was criticism. (Which means that he is totally unsuited to be the chairman of the Club, or of anything else for that matter.) So when he is told that he should do something about Guilfoyle before he ruins the Club his immediate kneejerk reaction is: “No, ypu’re wrong!” and to justify this idiotic response in his own mind he increases his support for Guilfoyle.

This leads him to say and do stupid things. For instance, when the Sydney Morning Herald questioned his decision to spend $50,000 on a holiday for the Committee and a few favoured employees, his instant kneejerk reaction was to defend the trip and offer many reasons why it was necessary. Three days later he cancelled it – because of adverse publicity. Another example was his total support for Guilfoyle after he discovered that Guilfoyle had taken $200,000 years before without the knowledge of the Committee.

The amazing thing is that his actions are not even in his own interest. This is a man who is willing to risk his career, his reputation and even going to jail rather than admit he’s wrong.

 

Save City Tatts Committee

Club Corruption Vigilante examines the psychology of CTC

HOW COME THEY KEEP GETTING AWAY WITH IT?

 

Reason Number 1: Falling for the Big Fib

It seems that people are wired to believe the statements of their esteemed leaders even when they destroy memory and remove any sense of reality. “Your Committee and Management is totally committed to securing the best possible outcome for members. That commitment has not and will not change”.

After so many years of downgrading the amenities and member benefits, why would any member believe such a statement?

At the very least one should ask if being committed actually means that they believe in something, and if they do, why not just say so. Being committed doesn’t specify what action will be taken. What outcomes are members given to compare, to decide on?

The above commitment cliche has lost all meaning through everyday political overuse and can now mean anything the writer needs to make of it. It is a cliche that may also be called a lie. It also insults the member’s intelligence.

The Committee and Management are committed, but the “Club and Mirvac” ….. after extensive negotiations could not align their objectives.

What were the Committee and Management doing while the “Club and Mirvac” were negotiating?

“Our Club will now work with property agent Colliers International” ….. will the Committee and Management be involved or will they be too busy with the creation and use of more glib, slippery cliches which hide the leaders true intentions?

In order to analyse the first reason of why they can get away with lies, let’s look at a quote from a master liar, a man who managed to get millions of his own people to die for his lies:

“In the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so, may be brought clearly to their minds, they will doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation”

Adolf Hitler in “Mein Kampf”

 

The Club members have been presented, on numerous occasions, with facts that prove the illegal actions of the management. Members that dared to present such facts were driven away from the club.

Why would the majority of members refuse facts?

Here are some possible reasons:

  • People get deeply attached to their beliefs, and form emotional attachments that get wrapped up in their personal identity and sense of morality, irrespective of the facts of the matter.
  • The sheer fact that the Committee and Management have been at the top of the pyramid for so long is a seemingly valid justification and belief in their honesty
  • The Club’s internal propaganda dumps a lot of information (that negates clear language as in the examples above) and members just regurgitate it.
  • Evidence suggests people are less likely to pay attention to facts within certain emotional states and social situations. As in intimate club meetings and dinners with nice wine. It is well known that fear (you will lose your club if we don’t lead) clouds a persons ability to understand facts.

 

Reason Number 2: The Urge to Defend Bad Systems

From the mysterious destruction and predictable property deals in many clubs in Sydney, the bust of the housing bubble and mortgage meltdown, to Bernie Madoff and Jerry Sandusky in the US, to political candidates and war campaigns, it seems not a week goes by before another story of corruption and scandal breaks. And, very predictably, the following questions always seem to follow:

“How could they get away with this?”

“Why didn’t someone say or do anything about it?”

 

Here are some of the possible reasons:

  • Psychological process of defending the status quo, scientifically called “system justification”, could be to blame. Obviously, the reasons why there is a scientific name to this process is the simple fact that human behaviour is studied in depth and used by the good and the bad guys.
  • People need to believe that the systems they believe are legitimate. But this can cause bias and very dangerous blind spots when it comes to the issue of corruption in these systems. According to the research, four particular situations significantly increased the likelihood that system justification would occur:
  1. When a threat to the system occurred (the club debt cannot be serviced)
  2. When one is dependent on the system (Members need the club, the Committee needs their status and benefits)
  3. When there is no potential escape from the system (Could the Committee be blackmailed into compliance?)
  4. When one has low personal control of their lives

 

When we’re threatened we defend ourselves – and our systems. This may be the reason why the presenting of facts, by some excommunicated members, actually works in favour of the current Club leaders; an outside attack consolidates their power.

The research on system justification should not be overwhelming or demoralising. If anything it can really help to enlighten those who are frustrated when people don’t rise up in what would seem their own best interests. The awareness of this psychological tendency is in all of us and it is also the first step in trying to minimise it’s impact. Awareness is critical if one hopes to meaningfully change systems.

Whenever new information is presented, more members will understand the process activated by the select few in order to destroy the club.

 

Reason Number 3: Assuming that the Committee and Management are “like us”

People in power may have traits that are linked to criminal behaviour:

  • Vanderbilt researchers have found that the brains of psychopaths have a dopamine abnormality which creates a drive for rewards at any cost, and causes them to ignore risks (the CEO taking $200,000 may be a good example).
  • The research uncovers the role of the brain’s reward system in psychopathy and opens a new area of study for understanding what drives these individuals.

 

David Zald, associate professor of psychology and psychiatry and co-author of the study, said “These individuals appear to have such a strong draw to reward – to the carrot – that it overwhelms the sense of risk or concern about the stick.” “It’s not just that they don’t appreciate the potential threat, but that the anticipation or motivation for reward overwhelms those concerns.”

Has anyone tested the heads of the CTC ivory tower for this dopamine abnormality?

 

Reason Number 4: The Struggle to Defend Our Beliefs

This need to defend our beliefs must be clearly understood, by members fighting for the history and possible future of CTC:

  • When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.
  • Once something is added to your collection of beliefs, you protect it from harm. You do it instinctively and unconsciously when confronted with attitude-inconsistent information. Coming or going, you stick to your beliefs instead of questioning them. When someone tries to correct you, tries to dilute your misconceptions, it backfires and strengthens them instead. Over time, the backfire effect helps make you less sceptical of those things which allow you to continue seeing your beliefs and attitudes as true and proper.

More members will need to be aware of the facts, but they are blinded by this “backfire” effect. The facts will need to be be presented over and over again as it is very difficult for anyone to really listen to evidence which contradicts our beliefs. But unless we learn how to grit out teeth and do so, we will forever be victims to the divide and conquer game of the people in charge of the future of CTC.

 

Reason Number 5: Our brains assume that we can tell truth from fiction

The interesting thing is that we have this ability, but only if we are in a position to ask questions and observe the effects of words and actions. If CTC members could be constantly close to our esteemed CTC leader, just for a day, I mean really close, so close that they could hear the private meetings, his created myths about commitment would be less powerful, as real action would be observed. No matter how nice the leader talked, members would immediately see what he was DOING.

If we believe in their propaganda, in a few cliche riddled speeches, in occasional smiles and in their sacred proclamations, we will never get to the truth.

Let us not forget that, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.

Members of City Tattersalls Club must do their own thinking if they wish to save their club.

 

Club Corruption Vigilante