Working the Refs

Even in my diehard days of watching baseball back in the 70s and early 80s, no amount of loyalty to my beloved Yankees would allow me to look away from the wrongdoing below.

That the game is governed by rules is part of its beauty — as with life when governed by conscience.

There was a time when it would be embarrassing for a ball player to feign being fouled on the level of theatrics in King James’ court.

You’d be laughed off the court for pulling stunts like that in my day. This man takes no pride in how he wins — and it’s increasingly rare to find people who do.

It’s all the more absurd when you consider that even with the hardest-hitting fouls back in the 80s — nobody flailed around like that in the impact.

The only way that so many levels of sham & stupidity could be so easily accepted — is that it was normalized little by little over time.

Ain’t that America

I play an aggressive game. I don’t flop. I’ve never been one of those guys

— Lebron James

His excuse is exactly in line with how we created a nation that has no shame:

It’s year one (of the [flopping] fine protocol), so you’re not just going to go cold turkey. . . . Guys have been accustomed to doing it for years, and it’s not even a bad thing. You’re just trying to get the advantage. Any way you can get the advantage over an opponent to help your team win, then so be it.


Any way you can get the advantage over an opponent” . . .

A lot of that goin’ around

This man takes no pride in how he wins — and neither do you.

Same goes for this blameless attitude below — that even with irrefutable evidence on video, he still threw up in his arms in disbelief.

Matters of world-altering consequence have been decided in such ways: Where it wasn’t about what was right, what was true, and what made sense — convictions were calculated entirely based on benefit to the team.

If you learned from it — at least that would be something, but America doesn’t roll that way.

How did our country come to abandon principle with such ease? It happened for the same reason that the likes of Lebron and A-Rod lost their way . . .


Decades of “working the refs” by people like these:

Just like it’s nothing new to go overboard a bit to draw the foul — how politicians and pundits worked the refs in the old days wasn’t as egregious as it is now.

The internet and the cable clans paved the way for the onslaught of the utterly absurd.

And the decades of conditioning that came before it — set the stage for people to work the refs as they were worked themselves. Now it’s mostly noise from the endless complaining of one grievance industry grinding against another.

Anything Goes in service of the cause — racing to win without a second of consideration for unintended consequences.

The mere mention of the book that gave me the idea about “working the refs” in a political context — could derail this discussion in some circles. I’m simply using a few quotes to frame an argument about deceptive language and its role in how we got here.

Anyone acting in good faith would be willing to factor for that information.

“Just Roll It Around Is All I Ask!”

Duvall’s nod of acknowledgement embodies an honor code in one’s willingness to listen. I love the idea of the journey you can take in that “roll” — that pausing even for a split-second can be life-altering.

And if you’ve got the guts to take that trip, you could be on your way to the top of the triangle:

As I wrote on The Yellow Brick Road — this is what working the refs looks like on the Left:

Does the Democratic Party have a history of manipulating racially-charged incidents? Undeniably! Has the left-leaning side of the cable clans increasingly accommodated Democrats over the years? Without question!

And here’s what it used to look like on the Right . . .

This book was published in 2003 — which might as well be 1903, in light of how far we have fallen:

[W]hile some conservatives actually believe their own grumbles, the smart ones don’t. They know mau-mauing the other side is a just a good way to get their ideas across — or perhaps to prevent the other side from getting a fair hearing for theirs. On occasion, honest conservatives admit this. Rich Bond, then the chair of the Republican Party, complained during the 1992 election, “I think we know who the media want to win this election — and I don’t think it’s George Bush.”

The very same Rich Bond also noted during the very same election, however, “There is some strategy to it [bashing the ‘liberal’ media] . . . . If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is ‘work the refs.’ Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack on the next one.”

I’ll add a few more quotes as we go along, but they all point to same demonstrably provable fact:

That you’re being played — and always have been.

Slapping #BlackLivesMatter on a website is not the mark of intelligent problem solving. It’s just jargon that jibes with Theodore Dalrymple’s quote below:

opinions lightly adopted but firmly held . . . forged from a combination of ignorance, dishonesty, and fashion

— Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass

“Armed only with skittles” is not a valid argument any more than “everybody believed Iraq had WMD.”

Speaking of that crowd . . .

Percentage of people peddling “everybody believed Iraq had WMD” — who couldn’t write a sound argument on the subject to save their lives:

The rotor speed required to separate uranium isotopes doesn’t care who’s president.

In order to maintain such speeds, material properties of centrifuges are as critical as it gets. You don’t need to interview a world-renowned nuclear scientist to figure that out — but I like to be thorough:

To this day on that topic, the Right tap dances to talking points in doubt-free delight — just like the Left skates right by uncomfortable realities in race-related issues.

The powers that be put a wrench to your brain to remove it from the equation — engineering your perception with childish lingo like “Democrat Party” and the hashtag hackery of #BlackLivesMatter.

Working the refs works

But is it really worth it?

Black Lives Matter, the removal of monuments, and Kaepernick’s kneeling — rolled out the red carpet for Trump. And the Right treating Bush like the Second Coming of Christ, set the stage for the rise of the Rock Star they spent the next 8 years railing against.

Somehow your strategies don’t strike me as sound.

And don’t get me started on the folly for the ages in creating “Black Lives Matter” with the first black president in White House.

Nice work!

And even William Kristol, without a doubt the most influential Republican/neoconservative publicist in America, has come clean on this issue. “I admit it,” he told a reporter. “The liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures.”

Preach responsibility and take none . . .

But I know the neighborhood
And talk is cheap when the story is good
And the tales grow taller on down the line . . .

That the SCLM were biased against the administration of Ronald Reagan is an article of faith among Republicans. Yet James Baker, perhaps the most media-savvy of them, owned up to the fact that any such complaint was decidedly misplaced. “There were days and times and events we might have had some complaints [but] on balance I don’t think we had anything to complain about.

When Lebron flails about in his pathetic performance — he shows his lack of respect for the game. You’d be laughed off the court for pulling stunts like that in my day.

But toward the end of my time at Purdue, I saw a disturbing trend in pick-up basketball — as traveling became increasingly acceptable.

I never got on board

I’ll never forget the day I called traveling on myself at a crucial point in the game. My team took issue with that, so I walked off the court saying . . .

If that’s the way you wanna win, you can do it without me

I applied the same principle to the Florida election fiasco of 2000. I just wanted the right thing to be done — whether it served my interests or not was irrelevant. That sense of fairness is so foreign that I might as well be speaking another language.

Such choices are exactly what Eric Fromm is talking about below:

The longer we continue to make the wrong decisions, the more our heart hardens; the more often we make the right decisions, the more our heart softens — or better perhaps, comes alive . . .

“I’ve gotten balanced coverage, and broad coverage — all we could have asked. For heaven sakes, we kid about the ‘liberal media,’ but every Republican on earth does that,” [Patrick Buchanan] cheerfully confessed during the 1996 campaign.

That was seemingly a lifetime ago. Now the cable clans are shit shovelers in a culture where Crap is King.

You don’t really need to find out what’s goin’ on
You don’t really wanna know just how far it’s gone
Just leave well enough alone
Eat your dirty laundry . . .

We can do “The Innuendo”, we can dance and sing
When it’s said and done, we haven’t told you a thing
We all know that crap is king

An objective observer can cut through all that to ascertain the truth.

Ulterior motives don’t change the truth when untrustworthy sources occasionally tell it.

The left-leaning side of this charade was gunning to topple Trump from day one, but their poisonous purpose is not an argument against the truth they told. Same goes for Fox trying to bring down Obama — the Right was right on the money at times.

What I think of these spin doctors is one thing — weighing their information on the merits is another.

Under the Gutter Games of Government > Media: Then & Now menu — you’ll find When Media Made Waves and Mouthpiece for Administrations (short clips that show a striking contrast between the past and present).


In 1805, John Adams wrote the following in a letter to Benjamin Rush, a friend and fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence:

Our electioneering racers have started for the prize. Such a whipping and spurring and huzzaing! Oh what rare sport it will be! Through thick and thin, through mire and dirt, through bogs and fens and sloughs, dashing and splashing and crying out, the devil take the hindmost. How long will it be possible that honor, truth, or virtue should be respected among a people who are engaged in such a quick and perpetual succession of such profligate collisions and conflicts?

John Adams

I fear that in every assembly, members will obtain an influence by noise not sense. By meanness, not greatness. By ignorance, not learning. By contracted hearts, not large souls. . .

— John Adams letter to James Warren, 22 April 1776

I’m not a fan of anything that makes it easier for people to summarily dismiss an opposing point of view. That’s a surefire way to develop bad habits.

This nation needs an attitude adjustment — so we can start working on these habits:


The best part about Bohemian Rhapsody is that it led to my discovery of this magnificent song that follows. I hate that I missed out on this thought-provoking gem all these years, but it’s been a blast to enjoy something new that’s decades old.

Wouldn’t it be something if exchanging ideas was like sharing songs.

Just as I’m moved by music, I find the power of influence to be magical: That you can think one thing, take new information into account, and think another.

It’s fantastic

As I wrote in 2005: There’s nothing more edifying than taking a trip to another point of view.

In the year of ’39
Assembled here the volunteers
In the days when lands were few
Here the ship sailed out into the blue and sunny morn
Sweetest sight ever seen

And the night followed day
And the storytellers say
That the score brave souls inside
For many a lonely day
Sailed across the milky seas
Ne’er looked back, never feared, never cried

Don’t you hear my call?
Though you’re many years away
Don’t you hear me calling you?

Lara walked along the tracks following a path worn by pilgrims and then turned into the fields. Here she stopped and, closing her eyes, took a deep breath of the flower-scented air of the broad expanse around her. It was dearer to her than her kin, better than a lover, wiser than a book. For a moment she rediscovered the purpose of her life.

She was here on earth to grasp the meaning of its wild enchantment and to call each thing by its right name, or, if this were not within her power, to give birth out of love for life to successors who would do it in her place.

― Doctor Zhivago (referenced in Into the Wild)

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