And the developing reports against Herman Cain are a perfect example.
Here is a 13 or 14 year old case (or cases). None of us, including those who have read or will read “the Settlement(s),” know or ever will know the facts. Has this story shed light on Herman Cain’s character? No. Has it shed light on the character of the accusing women? Yes. There are two possibilities. One is they have lied. The other is there is substance to their charges and, to use Governor Perry’s lingo, they can be bought for a few thousand dollars. Either way, the women suffer serious character deficiency.
If character were a commodity in barrels, these people would have empty barrels:
They represent thousands in media with empty barrels.
What we need here is the light of truth shining where we can see it and can benefit. Fortunately, Kurt Schlichter, writing in the New York Post Wednesday, gets it done. He brings the light of truth. Here is his piece. Go ahead; read it and benefit.
Facts are Optional
When you consider that, more than a decade ago, Herman Cain settled some unspecified sexual-harassment claims, you also need to consider that the only things you need to file a lawsuit are the filing fee and a printer. Facts are optional.
Maybe Cain did harass some employees. But the dirty little secret among lawyers that defend business people from lawsuits — and among those lawyers who bring them — is that an enormous percentage of such claims are frivolous, if not flat-out lies.
Concepts like “truth” and “justice” have little meaning in the world of big-money litigation. Thanks to ravenous plaintiffs’ lawyers empowered by the politicians they buy with campaign contributions, every business person is in the crosshairs.
Lawsuits are so expensive to defend that it makes good business sense to settle even the most frivolous cases. And businesses do.
TV and movies would have you believe that most lawsuits end up with a jury hearing the evidence and rendering a verdict. That almost never happens. Close to 97 percent of civil cases never see a courtroom. The vast majority settle, with the business paying good money to end the nightmare — money that could have gone to hiring struggling young people, buying new equipment or expanding.
And, as Herman Cain has learned, you never really can buy your peace. The accusers apparently signed nondisclosure agreements so that Cain and his company could put the accusations behind them. A lot of good that did. Whether it was the accusers or others who revealed the claims, the effort to buy peace now looks like wasted money.
In the world of sexual-harassment law, the accusations are bad enough. You’re guilty until proven innocent. The law is skewed toward the plaintiffs — it’s hard to get even the silliest charges tossed out, and even then it often costs upward of six figures to do so.
Businesses almost never collect their legal fees back after defeating frivolous claims, but a winning plaintiff usually does. And when the lawyer is working on a contingency, taking 40 percent or more of the haul and fronting the costs of the suit, there’s little incentive not to march down to the courthouse and file even the flimsiest case.
Even what constitutes “sexual harassment” has crossed from common sense into farce. In the 1970s, my mother was a lawyer who faced the real thing as one of the very few women in a testosterone-fueled district attorney’s office. Today, women are at or near parity with men in most every field, and are even ahead of them among entrants to the professions.
Yet where sexual-harassment law once protected women from being forced to be the playthings of crude lechers, it’s been transformed to enforcing a prim puritanism that drains the humor and humanity from the workplace. People are afraid to make an innocent joke or compliment a co-worker’s appearance for fear of crossing some unspoken line that will bring down the wrath of the human-resources department.
The effect on our politics is just as bad. It seems the interlude in which sexual-harassment claims were disregarded as meaningless ended when Bill Clinton left office and such allegations once again became a useful cudgel to bash conservatives.
So instead of talking about policies that might rescue the country from the disaster of Obamanomics, we will spend days or weeks hearing nothing but how, at some unspecified time, some unspecified people accused Cain of some unspecified things and resolved their unspecified claims for unspecified amounts.
Maybe he did do something wrong, but we may never learn his side beyond generic press releases. Cain probably can’t even discuss it — he himself might be bound by the nondisclosure agreements and to even offer his side of the story could breach them.
But don’t expect the media to explain that when they run footage of him repeating “no comment” to the barrage of questions he’s no doubt going to face. Cain is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t — and the liberal media is going to damn well enjoy harassing him.