Friday, March 11, 2016

Cruising the Web

I'll confess that I didn't get to watch all the debate. I fell asleep midway through. Sometimes having a full-time job catches up with my interest in politics. What struck me from the beginning was that there was a different tone to the debate because CNN wasn't so bound up in trying to set the candidates against each other. I've always disliked that aspect of the other debates in which Fox News particularly seemed to be trying to treat the candidates as pit dogs who needed to attack each other instead of stating their positions and letting the voters decide. Such a tone helps Donald Trump because he wasn't the pin cushion for Rubio and Cruz's criticisms. That helped all of the candidates seem more presidential though Trump's answers still often veer into the incomprehensible.

Here are some evaluations of the debate from around the web:

David French writes that with the candidates all on their best behavior, Trump wins.
So, naturally – with the limited exception of Ted Cruz – the candidates decided to be nice and pretend it was last October, the hopeful month when everyone thought the normal rules of politics applied, and the contenders could debate as if policy or facts actually mattered. How quaint.

The stink of defeat was in the air. Reince Priebus began the night with a plea for unity, and Trump soon followed suit. Rubio and Kasich debated as if they wanted to be remembered for losing with class and dignity. Cruz at times fought gamely, but Trump deflected his attacks by simply not taking the bait. He acted like a man who had the nomination already in hand.

In an ordinary election, Rubio delivered perhaps his best performance of the campaign, and Cruz was close behind. But this is no ordinary election. Trump was serene (though incomprehensible, nonsensical, and contradictory) throughout, and thus there was no need for his campaign manager to rush onto the stage to rescue his tottering boss. That means Trump wins, the field loses, and he rolls into March 15 without his competitors landing a single meaningful new blow.

Decorum won, and — for once — decorum was on Trump’s side. This was not a debate to turn the tide.

Harry Enten thinks that Rubio and Kasich made a mistake in playing it safe last night.
If you didn’t watch the debate, and you’re curious what happened, it was all a bit perplexing. There are 367 delegates at stake on Tuesday, or about 30 percent of the 1,237 necessary to clinch the Republican nomination. But you wouldn’t have had a clue watching tonight’s CNN debate. While previous debates had devolved into sharp disagreements and personal attacks, it took nearly 30 minutes for even a minor disagreement over policy to surface tonight. Ted Cruz made a few tepid attempts to test Donald Trump’s armor, but it was mostly a sedate affair unlikely to alter the status quo. And if your name isn’t Donald Trump, that’s bad....

The front-runner for the nomination, Trump, seemed so at ease during parts of the debate that he even mentioned how calm and civil everything seemed. Indeed, he rarely had to play defense. That doesn’t mean it was all golden for Trump. He took some shots on Cuba from Marco Rubio, his liberal positions on policy from Cruz and his statements on the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square from John Kasich. It’s just that given that Kasich and Rubio need wins next week to stay in the race, one would think Trump wouldn’t have been able to glide as much as he did.

Cruz, for his part, seemed perfectly satisfied with the direction of the campaign. Cruz knows that he is potentially just a few days away from Kasich and Rubio dropping out of the race. It stands to reason that he saw no reason to upset the applecart, lest it increase the chance that either Kasich or Rubio stick around and ruin his one-on-one against Trump.

Kasich, on the other hand, may have put together his most lively performance tonight. Of course, Kasich has traditionally been so calm that this isn’t really saying much. Still, he played for support from more moderate Republicans when talking about climate change and Islam. Kasich’s strategy of staying mostly positive may pay off next Tuesday, if the Ohio polls are to be believed. Maybe that’s why the other candidates decided to follow it?

One of those candidates was Rubio, who had been going quite negative the last two debates and lost ground in the polls. Gone was the squabbling with Trump. It may be too late for Rubio to score a victory in Florida, but he clearly didn’t want his final debate to be defined by personal attacks. The problem is that in failing to even levy much policy-based criticism, Rubio may have simply allowed Trump to coast to victory in the Sunshine State.

Jonathan Chait shares that same opinion.
The exchange that captured Thursday’s night Republican debate — possibly the final debate of the primary — came when Jake Tapper asked about the violence pervading Donald Trump’s campaign rallies. Tapper quoted Trump egging his supporters on to attack protestors, and indeed, Trump’s own campaign manager just accosted a female reporter the other day. Trump’s response was terrifying, a virtual confession of his own authoritarianism. The candidate who had called the peaceful Tiananmen Square protests a “riot,” and who insisted without evidence that protesters had initiated violence at his speeches, rationalized attacks as a response to his supporters’ anger at conditions in the country.

This was the chance for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich to make the case to the television audience what a great many conservatives believe: that Trump is not just an outlandish Republican candidate but a dangerously illiberal one. They were being handed on a silver platter the case that Trump is a singular danger not only to their party but the country.

Instead they simply echoed Trump’s message. People are angry. President Obama is a menace to freedom. Police are wonderful. And that was it.

What made this response all the more baffling is that Trump was clearly hoping to pull off just the kind of debate that transpired. He was more subdued, less outlandish, and far, far nicer than he has appeared in any previous debate. He was boring. His opening and closing statements sounded — unusually for him — as though he had practiced them. He appealed to party unity. He sought to rise above his competitors not by belittling them, as usual, but through magnanimity.

Jonah Goldberg was struck at what might have been if the field had been this small all year long. We might have seen a different sort of Donald Trump and that one is...rather boring.
Lots of commentators noted that none of the debaters went hard after Trump. Cruz was the most pointed, to be sure. But we know what Cruz is capable of, and he brought none of the heat. There are lots of theories as to why this was the case, the most obvious is that direct attacks on Trump seem to backfire. As I wrote the other day, Trump is allowed to be a vulgar know-nothing cretin and everyone says, “Oh that’s just Trump being Trump.” But if anyone else behaves in a Trump-like fashion voters are horrified by how undignified such behavior is. It’s sort of like Joe Biden. Stupid comments are priced into his persona. He could say, “the failure rate of underwear elastic is our most pressing national crisis” and people will say, “Oh that Joe.” Tonight, Trump said that he’s more pro-Israel than anybody (he was the Grand Marshall in a parade! A PARADE!) but it’s important to tell the Palestinians he’s neutral so he can cut a deal (apparently the Palestinians don’t have access to CNN). He said GDP was “zero” for the last two quarters. He basically said the violence at his rallies was entirely the fault of the big “dudes” who showed up. Or something. And no one cares, because no one cares that Trump has no place on the stage.

Megan McCardle has been noting for months that Trump is a lousy debater, but a great attention-getter. I have to wonder: If the field had been this small all year, would Trump be the frontrunner? I don’t think so. He’s benefited from the fact that there was no time to provide substance. Now that he’s pivoting to what passes for a presidential pose, Trump was rather boring and lame. But that is probably what the moment requires now. If we’d seen “presidential” Trump from day one, particularly in a smaller field, I suspect the country would have been spared the corrupting mess before us now.
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Rich Lowry thinks that Rubio was great last night and it won't make a bit of difference.
You wouldn’t change a syllable of what Rubio said. It was a nearly perfect performance from beginning to end. The problem he has is when you’ve adopted such different strategies and personas from one debate to another it raises questions about your reliability and whether you really know who you are. Still, he probably helped himself, but he needs a miracle to pull out Florida.

Trump was vacuous and incoherent at times, repeatedly falling back on his assurance that he will cut good deals. But he hit his core themes on trade, Islam, and special interest money. He had a more elevated and unifying tone–at least as elevated and unifying as he gets–and had a large hand in making the debate a more civil, serious affair by avoiding his usual theatrics. His ability to dictate the terms and tone of the Republican campaign continues to be extraordinary.

Ramesh Ponnuru hits the nail on the head with his characterization of what Trump is promising.
“We’ll do all the things the Democrats are trying to do, but we’ll do it better”: That was for a long time the conservative parody of the way a certain kind of Republican campaigned. No, conservatives said: We needed a change in direction, a different philosophy, a government that stopped trying to do some things altogether.

Donald Trump doesn’t generally make that kind of ideological critique of current government policy. Instead he promises, sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly, to run the government better. Tonight he said he would stick with the outlines of Obama’s Cuba policy, but drive a harder bargain. He would try to make an Israeli-Palestinian deal, as presidents of both parties generally try to do, but he’ll succeed. Social Security will be saved, primarily by rooting out “waste, fraud, and abuse.”

Jim Geraghty agrees that the debate won't change much because it won't generate any buzz. Having a calmer, more substantive debate doesn't grab people's attention.
Trump clearly wanted to be more “presidential” this week, and generally demonstrated a quitter, “kindler, gentler” tone. He opened and closed with his best argument – no matter what you think of me, you want and need my voters checking the box for Republicans in November. In between, he was his typical train wreck, with some interesting wrinkles. He said that when he said the Chinese crackdown in Tiananmen Square was a show of strength, he didn’t mean it was a good thing. He clearly had no idea about the details of Cuba policy, talking in circles about how he would insist upon a “good deal.” He insisted the violence at his rallies is all spurred by “bad dudes” who come in to cause trouble, and quickly tried to change the subject to saluting the police. He hates Common Core, and spoke about charter schools as if they were some new idea. After a while, you start to ask, “what is the point of asking questions to a pathological liar who doesn’t know any details?”

Did Rubio have a good debate? Yeah, but he’s had good debates most of these nights except New Hampshire, and we see where that’s gotten him. People will remember and quote the “I’m not interested in being politically correct, I’m interested in being correct” line for a long time. Maybe Rubio wins Florida on Tuesday and it’s a new lease on campaign life. If not, this is his authentic, non-insulting self, his closing impression on the national audience.

John Kasich had a genuine good moment, expressing incredulity to Trump’s answer on Tiananmen Square. Beyond that, he seems to be cruising along just perfectly on his selected course to be President of Ohio.

Then there’s Ted Cruz, the man widely believed to be the last, best option for derailing Trump from getting the Republican presidential nomination. The Texas senator had a perfectly fine night, with a terrific moment where he observed voters making pledges to support Donald Trump at his rallies and noting that in America, the candidates should be making pledges to support the voters. Cruz has his head on straight, the right values in his heart, and the man preps like a samurai. But is that going to be enough, one-on-one, against the human hurricane that is Trump?

Jonathan Last thinks that it was a mistake to lay off Trump.
It was an . . . interesting . . . strategy.

The conventional wisdom for the last two weeks has become that Rubio hurt himself by going hard negative on Trump. Certainly, Rubio has underperformed and looks to be mortally wounded. But was that the result of him fighting Trump with Trump? Or just the natural conclusion to Rubio's foundational problem: He did not eliminate Bush and Kasich when he needed to in New Hampshire. It took an extra week and a half to get Bush out of the race and Kasich has been allowed to linger, completely uncontested, growing his tiny base.

This deprived Rubio of the time he needed to accelerate and the result is that his campaign stalled out in a mostly-foreseeable manner while Cruz did what he needed to in the SEC states.

And the truth is that the hard-neg debate attacks on Trump did coincide with two big developments: Trump's delegate momentum not only didn't increase, the way it normally does for frontrunners—it actually slowed down. And for the first time since November, another candidate was able to close on him in national polls.

Maybe this was just coincidental. But maybe not.

Whatever the case, with the March 15 contests just five days out, Cruz and Rubio decided to change tactics.

They were not ineffective. In traditional political terms, you would have thought that Rubio's deconstruction of Trump on issues such as Obama's Cuba deal, or how trade and tariffs work, were devastating. Or that Cruz's contention that "if you have a candidate who has been funding liberal Democrats and funding the Washington establishment, it's very hard to imagine how suddenly this candidate is going to take on Washington."

There was even some news broken in the debate: Trump admitted that his proposed 45 percent tariffs are only a threat and not meant to be implemented. He suddenly reversed his stance on Syria and ISIS as being not an American problem by saying that "we have to knock them out fast" and that "I'm hearing numbers of 20,000 to 30,000" American ground troops will be needed. Also, he described the 1989 student protests in Tiananmen Square as a "riot."

And in response to this—and scores of other outright falsehoods from Trump—Cruz and Rubio had no sharp criticisms. They were above the fray and unwilling to get dragged into the mud and whatever other metaphor you'd like to use. And maybe voters will really respect and support that.

Another interpretation is that it looked like capitulation. And if treating Trump like a normal political actor didn't work for the first eight months of the campaign, it's unlikely to start working now.

We'll see. Maybe Kasich holds Ohio on Tuesday and Cruz takes big chunks of Missouri, Illinois, and North Carolina. But as tonight's debate wrapped up, Trump looked much happier than he did after the last two donnybrooks.

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Gitmo is not the recruiting argument that Obama claims it is. But the prisoners he's released from Gitmo sure are.
For the first time, the number of released Gitmo detainees who have re-engaged in terrorism has climbed above 30%, and the rate has been growing steadily under a president bent on emptying the entire prison.

In fact, terrorist recidivists released by the president doubled from six to 12 in the six months through January, according to data released Tuesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They include Guantanamo alumnus Hamed Abderrahaman Ahmed, who was arrested by Spanish authorities last month and charged with running a recruiting network for ISIS.

The total number of ex-Gitmo detainees rejoining the jihad has grown to 204, the intelligence report reveals. Almost two-thirds remain at large.

U.S. intelligence doesn’t track all Gitmo transfers, so even more detainees may have rejoined terrorist groups without the Pentagon’s knowledge.

The number of detainees who have returned to the battlefield has grown significantly since President Obama took office promising his antiwar base he would shutter the U.S. military prison in Cuba.

Obama has been releasing terrorists at a frightening clip, based on the flimsiest of excuses. His handpicked parole board has rubber-stamped even Osama bin Laden bodyguards based on their defense lawyers’ claims they need to care for their sick mothers. Or that they plan to give up the jihad for “milk and honey” farms in the Middle East.

Obama insists he has to transfer out the remaining 91 detainees and close Gitmo because it’s a “recruiting tool” for the enemy and costs too much to run. But his plan for transferring detainees to the U.S. costs a whopping $305 million a year, not including a “transition cost” of another $475 million.

“All sites would require significant security upgrades to cells, construction of or upgrades to medical facilities, additional surveillance equipment and sensitive compartmented information facilities for classified work,” the report states. “All sites would also require the added construction or modification of buildings to create office spaces and a secure courtroom.”

So Obama is dissembling when he says he’s doing this to save taxpayers money. In fact, he’s selling the public a bill of goods.

Max Boot thinks that Obama would make the perfect prime minister of a Scandinavian country.

It's so ironic that liberals always seem to be for protecting the rights of the accused except when those accused are young men accused of rape on college campuses. Then due process flies out the window. The Georgia state legislature is making some small changes to guarantee the accused a bit more protection. We'll see how the left greets the idea that the accused should actually be informed of what they are accused of and have the right to an attorney throughout the process although that attorney can't directly question witnesses.
I see Obama as another Jesper Berg, the fictional prime minister of Norway in the great TV series “Occupied” (viewable on Netflix), another handsome, intelligent politician who is also transfixed by the threat of global warming and is nonchalant when the Russians start to invade his country in order to seize its oil production. (Berg had tried to shut down the entire oil industry because he thought it contributed to global warming.)

Like Berg, Obama doesn’t seem unduly disturbed by evidence of Russia’s nefarious designs. He says of Vladimir Putin: “He understands that Russia’s overall position in the world is significantly diminished. And the fact that he invades Crimea or is trying to prop up Assad doesn’t suddenly make him a player. You don’t see him in any of these meetings out here helping to shape the agenda. For that matter, there’s not a G20 meeting where the Russians set the agenda around any of the issues that are important.”

This is almost a caricature of the Scandinavian mindset which holds that the only thing that matters is multilateral meetings at forums like the United Nations or the G20. Putin doesn’t seem to have gotten that memo. He may not be “helping to shape the agenda” at international talkfests, but he is shaping the agenda on the ground with his ferocious aggression which has left the United States and our allies reeling.

When it comes to stopping Russia, Obama adopts a defeatist mindset. “The fact is that Ukraine, which is a non-NATO country, is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what we do,” he told Goldberg, and then proceeded to offer one of his trademark straw man arguments: “Now, if there is somebody in this town that would claim that we would consider going to war with Russia over Crimea and eastern Ukraine, they should speak up and be very clear about it.”

....When Obama does act, he prefers to “lead from behind,” as one of his aides described the Libya intervention. Now that Libya has turned into a “shit storm” — the words that Obama uses privately, according to Goldberg — Obama is eager to deflect blame from the United States. “When I go back, and I ask myself what went wrong,” Obama said, “there’s room for criticism, because I had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up.”

What a shocker — when the United States refused to act decisively to support a post-Qaddafi government, the Europeans didn’t step up. This should have been expected by anyone who is remotely familiar with the post-1945 history of the Western alliance, but Obama was apparently so invested in his multilateral fantasies that he was blind-sided by European indolence.
At other times when dealing with Israel, Obama is at his most arrogantly patronizing.
Predictably, Obama is even more scathing when it comes to Israel, which, unlike Saudi Arabia, is a democratic country that respects human rights. It will surprise no one who has followed closely this administration’s foreign policy that Obama blames Prime Minister Netanyahu for the failure to achieve a peace treaty, giving a pass to the leaders of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority who refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state or even to condemn terrorism against Israel. According to Goldberg: “Obama has long believed that Netanyahu could bring about a two-state solution that would protect Israel’s status as a Jewish-majority democracy, but is too fearful and politically paralyzed to do so.” If Obama has stern words for Mahmoud Abbas and the leaders of Hamas — who are the actual obstacles to peace — Goldberg does not record them.

In some ways, the most amazing part of Goldberg’s article is his account of how Obama, who had essentially no exposure to the Middle East before becoming president in 2009, had the temerity to lecture Netanyahu, who has lived in the region his entire life. After Netayanhu tried to explain Israeli thinking to Obama, the president curtly cut him off: “Bibi, you have to understand something,” he said. “I’m the African American son of a single mother, and I live here, in this house. I live in the White House. I managed to get elected president of the United States. You think I don’t understand what you’re talking about, but I do.”

It is harder to find a better encapsulation of Obama’s overweening arrogance: He thinks that his life story, which has nothing to do with the Middle East, gives him a greater understanding of the subject than the prime minister of Israel possesses.
Boot is absolutely correct. Obama's foreign policy has been truly "cringe-worthy."

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It seems very clear that Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, did indeed grab a female reporter from Breibart, Michelle Fields, who asked Trump a question about his position on affirmative action and almost threw her to the ground. Politico has heard an audio tape of the confrontation which includes the comments of the Washington Post reporter, Ben Terris, who witnessed the event. The irony is that Breitbart has become almost a mouthpiece for the Trump campaign. And, of course, Breitbart has had a muted response to the whole incident and is even casting doubt on their own reporter instead of defending her and going after Trump's thug of a campaign manager.
On Thursday morning, Breitbart writer Patrick Howley publicly voiced doubts about Fields’s story, demanding that she publish video from the incident and asserting that he’s never been physically abused while covering Trump’s campaign. The conservative media outlet took a stand, suspended him indefinitely for his “inappropriate” remarks about a colleague. Several hours later, the Trump campaign released a statement calling Fields’s accusations “entirely false,” and bashed the reporter as having a history of “exaggerating incidents.” In response, Fields tweeted a photo of her arm with visible bruises—“I guess these just magically appeared on me,” she snarked.
And Trump had a typical response that ignored the facts.
Donald Trump defended himself Thursday night against charges that his tough campaign talk encourages rally-goers to become violent with protesters who aren't Trump fans.

'I certainly do not condone that at all,' Trump said during a debate in Miami.

But he said that while some of his supporters 'have anger' at the government 'that's unbelievable,' it's often the left-wing activists who start the melees.

'We have some protesters who are bad dudes. They have done bad things,' he said.

'They are swinging, they are really dangerous, and they get in there and they start hitting people, and we had a couple big strong, powerful guys doing damage to people.'

'It's not me' who's manhandling the troublemakers, he insisted. 'It's usually the municipal government and the police.'
Well, except when it's his own campaign manager.

What have we come to when a Trump campaign official is basically protected by both his candidate and the organization of the reporter after assaulting a reporter?

As Michael Gerson writes, Trump is the man that the Founding Fathers feared could use demagoguery to capture the support of the people.
Trump is the guy your Founding Fathers warned you about. “The question is not ‘Why Trump now?’ ” argues constitutional scholar Matthew J. Franck, “but rather ‘Why not a Trump before now?’ Perhaps some residual self-respect on the part of primary voters has driven them, up to now, to seek experience, knowledge of public policy, character, and responsibility in their candidates. The Trump phenomenon suggests that in a significant proportion of the (nominally) Republican electorate, this self-respect has decayed considerably.”

With the theory of a presidential nominee as a wrecking ball, we have reached the culmination of the founders’ fears: Democracy is producing a genuine threat to the American form of self-government. Trump imagines leadership as pure act, freed from reflection and restraint. He has expressed disdain for religious and ethnic minorities. He has proposed restrictions on press freedom and threatened political enemies with retribution. He offers himself as the embodiment of the national will, driven by an intuitive vision of greatness. None of this is hidden.

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Wow! Washington Post sports reporter Sally Jenkins has a devastating column outlining how the NFL's attorney, Paul Clement, outright misled the Second Circuit appeals court in his appearance last week examining whether the NFL's penalty against Tom Brady should be reinstated. This is rather amazing since Clement is a very respected appellate attorney who was formerly a solicitor general. But Jenkins lays out very clear evidence that Clement's characterization of the evidence was dishonest and that he is under a professional obligation to let the court know that what he said was false.
He is professionally obliged to admit that he was (surely unwittingly) sucked through the looking glass into the deceitful universe of Goodell’s NFL, in which the commissioner habitually makes up facts in disciplinary cases to suit himself and consolidate his powers.

Ever since last week’s oral arguments late Thursday, there has been a growing chorus among legal observers of the case that Clement made factual misstatements. New York Law School professor Robert Blecker, who filed an amicus brief, noticed it, and so did Houston attorney and legal blogger Stephanie Stradley, who tweeted, “Candor to the court means you are not to mislead,” and noted that judges can sanction if they are angry. The usual process is to correct the record with a letter to the court once he’s alerted to his misstatements; if Clement does not, Blecker intends to.
Read her article laying out the various lies that Clement told the court about the NFL's characterization of Brady's conduct and testimony. It's absolutely clear that Clement was repeating NFL lies that have since been debunked. I'm sure that Brady's lawyers will also be on top of this. And those lies should be more evidence of the NFL's bias in dealing with Brady.
The entire subject of the Second Circuit appeal is whether Goodell and the NFL treated Brady honestly and reasonably in arbitration. Obviously, they did not.

Arbitration is a rough form of justice. By definition it’s meant to be more informal and expeditious, and to keep small complaints from cluttering up the courts. The deeply experienced judges of the Second Circuit have far more important matters to decide than the petty scope of Goodell’s arbitrator powers under collective bargaining. As Judge Parker remarked, “This is arbitration. It’s casual. It’s sometimes even down and dirty.”

But Parker probably regrets the last part of that sentence. One of the very narrow grounds on which judges must overturn arbitration is if the process was in fact “dirty.” Judges intervene if there is evident dishonesty, partiality, bias or fraud.

This case was dishonest from the start. It was dishonest when the NFL leaked false numbers about the deflation level of the Patriots’ balls and never corrected the record. It was dishonest when the league employed Exponent, a junk science firm with a record of bending research on second-hand smoke and asbestos to suit clients. It was dishonest when the Wells Report published Exponent’s faulty measurements and omitted clear evidence that the footballs in question were most likely deflated by the cold weather and rain. It was dishonest when the NFL ignored an outcry from the mainstream scientific community — including engineers at Carnegie Mellon, the University of Chicago, Rockefeller University and MIT — that Exponent’s shoddy methods didn’t add up. MIT engineer John Leonard has demonstrated that the Indianapolis Colts’ balls were as much out of range as the Patriots’ and calls it “an open and shut case” that there was no tampering.

No matter how “down and dirty” arbitration is, no employer or arbiter can be allowed to manufacture evidence and make up false testimony against an employee. While arbitration is necessarily more “casual” than federal law, the people who submit to it shouldn’t have to surrender their American citizenship and enter a dictator’s netherworld, either.

This whole process is smeared with dirt.

The NFL must not be permitted to misstate facts to a court with impunity. The league’s own lawyer Dan Nash was forced to admit in the last round in District Court that there probably shouldn’t have been an arbitration in the first place. Judge Richard Berman asked Nash, “Is there any direct evidence linking Mr. Brady to tampering?”

“No, there is not such direct evidence,” Nash replied.

An excellent example of candor before the court — and in this case, a rare one.

Somewhere underneath all of this mess is the fundamental fact that there is no evidence the balls were ever deflated. None. Every question about process must ultimately go to that. Over and over again, other courts have found Goodell not credible in disciplinary cases, because he takes rash actions and then is too vain to admit a mistake. The Second Circuit should be aware that he’s not credible in this instance either. Clement is professionally obligated to correct the record on the misstatements Goodell led him into. He owes the court that candor.