The Widdershins

Normalizing deviance…

Posted on: August 31, 2016

Good morning Widdershinners.  It’s a good day for the clamoring Yam to go to Mexico and share Trump Tower’s recipe for original taco bowls.  What could go wrong with today’s little field trip?Taco bowl 2

What I find fascinating is the Yam’s 4% favorability among Mexicans is 3% higher than his favorability among African Americans in THIS country.  Heavy is the head of the King Birther when birth certificates come to roost; or something like that.

In any event, all of that mishegas is for another day. Today my friends, I want to geek out.

A sociological construct has been niggling at my “brains”. The construct, “normalization of deviance,” is primarily aimed at organizational and industrial cultures, but I believe it has a great deal of utility in this psychotic election season.  First, the definition of “normalization of deviance”:

The gradual process through which unacceptable practice or standards become acceptable. As the deviant behavior is repeated without catastrophic results, it becomes the social norm for the organization.

ChallengerThis theorem was promulgated after the Challenger disaster to explain how NASA and Morton-Thiokol ignored the danger that was repeatedly presented in the O-ring design data. There are other interesting examples such as a museum heist of $500 million, the sinking of the Costa Concordia, and countless errors in health care decisions. Only after the resultant catastrophe does the causal deviance become apparent.

My thesis is this:  For the last thirty years we have been exposed to a series of increasingly unacceptable practices. These practices are culminating in this catastrophic election. Without sounding too “Chicken Little’ish”, we can ill-afford to sit idly by until the inevitable catastrophe shocks us into ostracizing those who exceed the bounds of political propriety.

It’s not that I doubt Hillary’s success in November.  I do not. It is the unmitigated assault upon what used to be normal and acceptable political behavior that has seemed to disappear during this silly season. We can’t afford to allow this normalized deviance to paralyze another presidential term.

For instance, when has a major party nominated a candidate who has been fact-checked as failing to tell the truth over 90% of the time without paying a political price for it?Two ways

When has it ever been acceptable for a presidential candidate to refuse to release tax returns?

When has an “A” rated charity providing life-saving drugs to 11.5 million humans been a greater potential for conflict of interest than a six-time bankrupt businessperson who is in hock to foreign banks and Russian oligarchs? If you watched Face the Nation last Sunday you would be convinced that time is now since Hillary’s emails were mentioned 27 times and Trump’s tax returns were mentioned once.

When was it tolerable for a campaign surrogate to explain away the candidate’s mocking of a disabled reporter by saying, “He was only imitating a standard retard?”

When was it ethical for a news service to put out a knowingly false tweet promoting an upcoming story, acknowledge the falsehood, and then refuse to take down the lie declaring, “No regrets!”

When was it reasonable for a lousy third-rate writer who has made a career out of dogging the Clintons to publish an article with two negative paragraphs about Hillary and twenty-one paragraphs excoriating the clamorous Yam and conclude that Trump can’t be president, but there are eligible third parties for whom to vote?

DevianceWhen was it all right to name a hate-mongering, bigoted, conspiracy theorist from a fever swamp of lewdness as a campaign CEO and suffer no consequence for it?

And to manage the campaign, at the same time bring in the dragoness Komodo Kellyanne Conway, who is accepted by the press as the “normal” one.  This same Komodo Kellyanne is the very same person who criticized Hillary for not standing up to a “cheating husband,” advised her client “legitimate rape Todd Akin” to just stop talking about rape, who compared sexual preference to being a slut, and advised women that revulsion towards men in your life is “part and parcel of the feminist movement. If women want to be taken seriously in the workforce, looking feminine is a good place to start.”

This type of normalized deviance is being perpetrated upon the country by the media’s simple-minded, lazy affinity to the Holy Grail of false equivalency, the Manifesto of “both siderism”, and the New Testament of “fair and balanced”. For what is now laughably passing as political dialogue there is no comparison to what has been the norm.

Now all the cable channels are competing for the eyes of the news addicted.  The meth heads of news junkies. The twenty-four hour, never change the channel, leave it on all day, typical Fox news demographic. To compete, the anonymous backroom bean-counting executives have proclaimed dumbed-down political analysis to include vacuous stooges who mouth pithy slogans heretofore only scribbled on restroom walls.Scottie Nell Hughes

It is now passable for bold-faced wing nuts who are little more than amoral talking point Dictaphones to act as political analysts?  For example, there’s Fire Marshall Bill look-alike Hugh Hewitt or my new favorite claymation bobblehead, Scottie Nell Hughes.  Ms. Hughes, a self-proclaimed journalist/patriot, is the new go-to for CNN after that unfortunate “words is confusing” incident with Katrina Pierson. To understand the depth of Ms. Hughes’ political insight you need go no further than her official C.V. listing as commendable honors:

At the young age of 12 her first reporting job was a Kids to Kids Reporter for WKRN-ABC Nashville. She went on to win the top High School Broadcaster Award for the state of Tennessee and the Broadcaster of the year for her college class 3 years in a row. She won the 2012 Blog Video of the Year by the National Bloggers Club at CPAC.

Bush Reagan

This lack of critical thinking and this slavish devotion to “both siderism” is moving us toward normalizing the deviance of three decades of baseless, fact-free media where delegitimizing the opposition was the only goal.  These tactics are not a two-way street.  Only one side plays by these rules.  And it is the side claiming to be swathed in the purity of patriotism and a Constitution none of us would recognize.

If only we could go back to the good old days where Republicans limited their deviance to the bedroom and the boardroom, we could indeed make American great, as well as normal, again.

What’s on your mind today?




46 Responses to "Normalizing deviance…"

Absolutely fantastic post Prolix.

At times, as I’ve sat watching the “newz” or the “tawk shows”, I’ve wondered: “How low, how despicable or how tawdry can they get?” I sometimes feel like it’s an intentional thing to keep pushing the envelope to see how far they can go, to see what it takes to get the viewers/readers to shout out “ENOUGH!”.

I have some more things to say but I have a friend who is in the hospital having a procedure done and I want to keep checking on that situation. I”ll be back later.

Thanks Fredster.

We can pretty much mark NC in the Hillary column for the fall. The Supreme Court ruled in a 4-4 decision (thank you McTurtle) not to take up a 4th Circuit challenge to the NC Voter ID law. That means that the 17 days of early voting will be reinstated, no restrictive ID requirement, same day registration, and other race based discrimination.

This is a great victory for voters and Hillary. It will also most likely change the NC senate seat.

Outstanding post, Prolix. Before this year, I didn’t think I could hate the msm or be more outraged by their false equivalency bs, but they have proved me wrong, and now we rarely turn on cable news. I used to be a regular newswatcher. In the 90s we liked CNN, In the aughts, we watched msnbs. All they are about now is lying to the public for ratings or clickbait. Really sad to see once great American journalism go completely down the toilet. . . to prop up Trump no less. Utterly disgusting. The msm have so much to answer for.

That’s great news about NC!

@3, you are absolutely right about the ratings and clickbait. That’s all it is and that is such a disservice to the country.

Last night was chocked full of examples of normalization of deviancy. In last night’s primaries, McCain’s, Rubio’s, and Wasserman-Shultz’s opponents and Alan Grayson all issued nasty, snarky, petulant statements in primary defeats. Right in keeping with normalizing the BerningBum’s deviance from issuing a classy concession speech.

Only after the resultant catastrophe does the casual deviance become apparent. Like standing around twiddling your thumbs while people in New Orleans need help – and no one is ever held accountable. Or ignoring intelligence warnings that terrorists plan to fly commercial airliners in to buildings – and no one is held accountable.

Awhile back, Hillary asked about Trump, “Where is the bottom?” We still don’t know. She needs to ask that question again in every speech.

@7, exactly.

That is a perfect question, “Where is the bottom?” I don’t think there is any low too low for the clamorous Yam or the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus types.

Is RWNJs sufficient to cover Tea Party/Freedom Caucus types?

@6 They’ll never learn. Weaver set it up so they could not coordinate with the Canova campaign.

Former Our Revolution staffers emphasize that they don’t fault Sanders for the way the organization has been managed. (Sanders has clarified that he will not be controlling or directing the organization.) Instead, many staffers who resigned blame Jeff Weaver, Sanders’s former campaign manager who was recently brought in to run Our Revolution, for the decision to operate the organization as a 501(c)(4).

“I don’t believe any rules were violated at this point,” Jeff Weaver said in an interview, though he noted that he “can’t attest to anything they did or didn’t do before I came on board here.” Weaver said one reason he had been brought in to help manage the organization was “to make sure things were done completely by the books here,” saying “there was less appreciation of that by people who were then here, who are no longer here.”

@7, that art heist is pretty interesting and amazing.

On March 18, 1990 the most sensational art heist in U.S. history occurred. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston let two thieves posing as police officers into the building at 1:24 AM which resulted in paintings and other works of art, including three Rembrandts and a Vermeer being stolen. The value of the haul was estimated at between $300 and $500 million. As of this writing, none of the art has been recovered.

The guard sitting at the security control desk was a then-23-year-old Berklee College of Music student. In an interview, he called the job “the most boring in the world” and admitted that he frequently arrived at work stoned on marijuana, although not on the morning in question. The guard at the desk said “ he decided to let them in because he felt compelled to obey a police officer’s demand”. The problem was he was breaking two major rules (1) Never allow anyone into the Gardner after hours who hadn’t been summoned by museum staff, and (2) never leave the security desk unattended.

Leadership at the Gardner was well aware of this appalling security weakness because a formal recommendation to move the entire security system into a control room accessible only to those with pass keys was submitted to the museum director the year before.

@9: Weaver said one reason he had been brought in to help manage the organization was “to make sure things were done completely by the books here,” saying “there was less appreciation of that by people who were then here, who are no longer here.”

By the books? Really? Like charging the $600k trip to Rome to the campaign? That’s “by the books”?

I hope some of those people who left speak out on that stuff.

@9, from the article. Oopsie!

Canova certainly sounds like a candidate who has been let down. He has publicly lamented the fact that Sanders hasn’t campaigned for him, despite hinting that he might. “The rule against me and my campaign having contact with Our Revolution and Senator Sanders did indeed make it more difficult to work with the group, and perhaps impeded our efforts to solicit assistance for my campaign,” Canova said when asked specifically about the organization. He added: “We were in the middle of selecting dates for Senator Sanders to campaign for me in South Florida when the 501(c)(4) status of Our Revolution prevented any meaningful communication, and the plans went nowhere.”

Another example of what Prolix is talking about, imho, is the example that GAgal mentioned yesterday with Mrs. Greenspan, Coulter and the questions about Huma Abedin’s personal problems. And then trying to tie those to the Clinton campaign. Give me a break!

Abedin’s personal problems have nothing to do with Hillary’s campaign for the Presidency. I really wish Mrs. Greenspan had had the courage to ask that of someone like Howard Dean, Paul Begala or James Carville. She would have been swatted down so fast her head would still be spinning. 👿

Have y’all seen what Kansas SOS Kobach is doing to suppress the vote, not just in Kansas, but across the country? This has got to stop.

This inherent bias results in an astonishing one in six Hispanics, one in seven Asian-Americans and one in nine African-Americans in Crosscheck states landing on the list. Was the program designed to target voters of color? “I’m a data guy,” Swedlund says. “I can’t tell you what the intent was. I can only tell you what the outcome is. And the outcome is discriminatory against minorities.”

@14, Kobach is a real zealot whose life mission is normalizing bigotry and prejudice. He’s an odious creature.

@7, “Where is the bottom?”

Yes, we would all really like to know.

@14: What a turd.

Joe Scarborough put this out? Wow.

@18, Wow! I wonder if he had to get NBC Standard and Practices sign-off on that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that. I still can’t stand Schmoe, but that is pretty amazing.

Great post, Prolix.

My daily hike went twice as fast today after I read it – spent the whole time hissing and spitting and muttering things like “But the Republican freakin candidate’s freakin WIFE posed nude and did porno scenes!!! In pictures going around the internet today!! Sanders -never- released his tax returns, but got to comb through every line item in the ten years’ returns his opponent honorably released and all the MSM did was back up every lie and distortion he based on those…grrr! arrrgh!…” One bonus – no encounters with bears or weirdos on those forest trails. For some reason, they just didn’t cross my path today.

Fantastic news about the Supremes decision to let the 4th Circuit’s decision stand. That court sure has changed completely over the last decade or so – thank goodness. Burr’s replacement (fingers crossed) is coming to a library near me and I can’t wait to cheer her on.

@21, Pat, please cheer a little louder than you normally would and say it’s from me. Just think how the world will change when we get a new Second Amendment case or a related case to Citizen United! It will be a grand and glorious day!

@21 Pat, there’s a lot to said about spitting – literally. I remember being so disgusted by something, I walked out on the deck and spit over the rail. OMG! Who knew? I felt so much better. Then I did it again! Even better! By the third time I was laughing, so it worked for me. 🙂

Well. Maybe this country isn’t going to hell in a hand basket after all.

The Gallup numbers, showing improving self-assessments of blacks’ quality of life, reflect this. They also show that, contrary to some perceptions that white Americans have been losing out, Obama-era gains aren’t limited to just one racial or ethnic group. Gallup notes that Obama’s second term “shows an improvement in whites’ life evaluations — particularly those of white Republicans.” In a previous 2013-2015 Gallup survey, about 55 percent of white Republicans were thriving, up from 51 percent in the 2011-2012 survey.

@22 Will do, Prolix. I will -so- love it if NC gets to be part of the Senate flip.

@23 Ha! GaGal, sounds like a great non-violent, victimless way to work off media generated steam. Next time I’m subjected to their non-stop idiocy, I’ll have to give it a try. (I was doing the more feline version – some clawing in there, too)

PDXPat said: One bonus – no encounters with bears or weirdos on those forest trails. For some reason, they just didn’t cross my path today.

LOL! I’m sure your expressions indicated “no messing around with me today!”.

GAgal: What Pat said @25. Sounds like a good stress reliever.

CNN keeps diving for the bottomless “bottom” along with Trump.

Yes it’s Wolf Blitzer. Yes Lanny starts with a lame joke. Watch it anyway.

I could handle listening to the clip @28, 29: not so much.

@26 Well, Fredster, people did keep telling me to make noise if I didn’t want to run into bears – they weren’t specific as to type, but it sure worked!

(We really have had a plague of the critters here recently so I’ve been reading up on what people have done to defend themselves – everything from boxing (really!) to grabbing their tongues to siccing a cat on them. I think I can add spitting on them after my next hike)

Yeah, that was my warning. The rest of it was a pretty good dressing down on Wolf. I don’t see that often.

@32 GaGal, it was so soothing hearing Wolfie finally shamed into taking a station break and then shut down, in spite of all his Trump parroting, rude interruptions and talking over his guest. I wish there were more Lanny Davises, on more stations.

@32 & 33: Well I guess I’ll have to give it another shot. I just didn’t think I could handle anymore “emal, blah-blah, blha-blah-blah.

Oh dear Lord, it’s 5:30 a.m. CDT. See y’all later!

This post was even more outstanding than usual. This phrase is exactly on target.

Let’s not forget the other component to.the way the media treats Hillary: sexism. It’s not just equivalency that causes them to act as though these are two candidates that are equally qualified. It’s pure misogyny that makes them cover her as though everything she does is because of her massive character flaws. Lannie Davis was on CNN the other day, and Wolf Blitzer asked him negative questions only. The way it sounded, Hillary had just eaten a few babies and bathed in their blood.

Oh haha, I didn’t realize that clip had been posted! GAGal, yes, Lanny did a great job.

I watched the entire clip at 29. Good for Lanny!

As our beloved chat would say, “The Dark Times are over!”. Tonight there are pro football exhibition games and a couple of college games. YAY!!

@39: Enjoy the games, Fredster!

@40: Thank ye! I’ll be giving the “clicker” a work out tonight. 😆

Trump pays a penalty to the IRS for giving a political contribution to Bondi from his foundation. If that weren’t enough they tried to hide it behind other organizations.

The improper donation, a $25,000 gift from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, was made in 2013. At the time, Attorney General Pam Bondi was considering whether to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University. She decided not to pursue the case.

@42: Watching her on tv after the Pulse shootings I wanted to slap her toothless on several occasions. Just awful.

Good article by Mr. Pundit over at his site on Trump’s speech(?) in Phoenix.

@44 I have wrestled with a drunk who was trying to set me on fire because he thought my legs were too hairy (they’re not).


Leg hairiness is apparently in the eye of the beholder. 😆

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