11.01.2011

Is it me or did we all just catch that? News Opinion


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News Opinion by:  Scott Hall

            Herman Cain, candidate, businessman, experienced leader and allegedly someone who sexually harassed two women a little over a decade ago.  This news story was first broke by Politico and has since become an obvious thorn for Mr. Cain to deal with.  As one of many citizens who get to catch those special interviews that help to clear the air about potential new leaders.  I wanted to help our readers also gain clarity on a few things that did catch a focused eye with an open mind.  I would first like to say that the interview that Robin Meade conducted with Mr. Cain was very thorough and very well done and CNN should follow her lead in critical thinking as she used very good logic in her line of questions.  These questions caused this reporter to watch very closely the language that Mr. Cain’s body reflected, not just his words and in my opinion, we need to continue to press this issue and not just let this fade away.


            During the interview, Mr. Cain stated he was unaware of a settlement being reached and in context, the word settlement would have reflected a legal agreement or court agreement that he himself stated he was not aware of it.  Later on in the interview, clearly Mr. Cain stated the settlement amount was something to the tune of 3 to 6 months’ severance pay.  Did you catch it too?  Mr. Cain said two different things in one interview about the same point, so the question. Which is correct? Was there or not a settlement? First I suppose we must do what Mr. Cain did not do, define “agreement” and “settlement”.  This is not being done to insult our readers intelligence or to go off on some tangent about “the way the law works”, it is however being done to help clear what this candidate did not clear. 

            When one enters into an agreement, a few things have to happen.  First, there must be more than one person as if we set up an agreement with only ourselves, how can we form a contract?  Aside from the silly, there must also be something to be agreed upon, by parties, some sort of lawful consideration or a quid pro quo if you will and then someone has to put the agreement into words. Finally, both parties must sign the agreement for it to be a legal binding obligation.  In short, agree on it, write it up, and sign it.  There are many forms of agreements, such as contracts as well as legal agreements, but in this particular case, the agreement was over someone claiming to be sexually harassed and settling a case.

            Settling a case could mean reaching a settlement for a variety of items however most deal in financial areas, which according to Mr. Cain would have reflected some sort of legal court binding thing.  If we want to truly want to split hairs, why not say a courtroom is just a room where legal talk happens. In that statement he is correct as here in the United States any settlement reached is retained by the court who oversaw the case.  Just in case further actions or issues come to justice about the particulars of it, which means, look for the court where it was held and one will find Mr. Cain’s case.  I had to actually check and did a law search for the term, settlement.  There were lots of different types and rather than “split hairs” I thought it best to generalize with the information I uncovered at free legal dictionary online.

            A settlement usually occurs because both parties agree that the long term costs of legal fees could outweigh what the case is worth.  A vast majority of legal cases are settled this way and most also direct subsequent financial directions or monetary amounts to be addressed as well as avoiding a trial or lengthy proceedings.  Okay, no more splitting hairs (yes I can see the lawyers lining up to hammer my definitions) just wanted to make sure we had a good feel for what the candidate says is two different items.  Breathe for a moment, as I am not intending to deliberately degrade Mr. Cain’s stance, I am just after the truth same as most voters who happen to hold character of candidate as an important deciding factor.  One minor detail in relation to our subject to contemplate.  At first he had no idea of the settlement amount, but yet had to confer with an attorney to help in handling the situation. We won’t mention he had to tell his wife either, whom most men know, women don’t forget potential infidelity even if it were hand gestures of height.

            Ponder for a moment as we take in some of the information, if you or I were to hire an attorney to handle a similar case, would it not be a good idea to stay on top of the events surrounding a potential lawsuit?  Who among the citizens of the world says, “Important attorney helping me out this is what is going on, you take care of it and don’t update me”.  At first if we listen to this candidate, we would have believed that he did do just that, but a bit later on in the interview, we hear reference to his “own personal lawyer”. I have to apologize at this point; I am confused, is Mr. Cain serious or joking? Most of the readers of this blog will recall we featured an article entitled “you lied to me about lying to me, you liar!” Mostly this article dealt with facial expressions and the tendency for us to involuntarily do things that reveal something is afoul here.  Mr. Cain did indeed reflect some of those expressions while talking about the “second case”.  Is it me or is he two for two?

            Upon his interview part where he was asked more personal questions, such as colon health where he survived cancer and other items, Mr. Cain was very relaxed and poised even somewhat smiling.  When we view the part of the interview where Ms. Meade applied logic to the same line as our readers when she showed the many interviews where he danced around the subject matter other than submitting that “he couldn’t remember it because it was so ridiculous”, the tension began to show.  Creases in the face became defined as aggravation showed up, then slightly off camera hand gestures animating his points in defense and at one point, not answering a direct question, but rather referring back to “this was something that happened 12 years ago and a lot has gone through my head since then.”  This reporter is wondering if what is going on in his mind is “how do I put this delicately so as to not further the damage to my campaign.”

            One would think in an era of change where a bit more truth and confidence of choice would be predominant, we could actually achieve something close.  We have “occupy” movements as well as pressure on the government to actually listen and correct things so we can all go back to work and living.  This message goes out to all of our candidates:  Don’t forget voters can hear your double talk and all they want is clarity.  As a public figure you should expect that information linked to your name will eventually come to light and if you have items such as this come to the forefront of your life, rather than say anything at all to verify or justify the information, why not just say, “I have no comment till I have had time to review the subject and at that time I will make a press statement or official statement” then just move on.

            As our readers look over this news opinion and have to decide whether or not this issue is worth debating, keep in mind, I agree with you.  I too am aware that, to quote a song, “people love it when you lose, they need dirty laundry” truthfully the only merit this story has is about the character of a candidate.  Whether the limelight on this came from a smear campaign or someone fed up with something, without its repercussions – i.e. the interview; we voters would not get to see both sides of what is actually going on.  Mr. Cain did in fact recues (resigned) himself from that position and something was either agreed upon or settled.  His name is on the documents, he should live up to the full front of its storm.  Please, no more splitting hairs as I understand it, the 99% have had enough of it as well I am sure so does the two women involved, but the Washington Post had no trouble releasing their names, but I digress.
For more on the interview, please view what CNN has posted online at www.cnn.com or find them on your local television provider.
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