How about we listen to Cicero?

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By Wendy Binnie

In trying to assess what’s really happening not only in Washington but around the country, it’s important to look at the manufactured “buzz.” 

And often that means looking at the comments and remarks that don’t make it into the news or are buried on page 18 of Saturday’s New York Times.

It is troubling that the Attorney General has not seriously addressed the many violations of the law sanctioned by the Bush White House.

The AG chose as his first case the “unfair” trial of the Senior Senator from Alaska, despite his reputation for defrauding the taxpayer, and his confession.

Were the AG’s actions a signal that the Obama White House is seeking to curry favor with the right wing?

There is a pattern being formed here that is proving more than worrisome. There is concern among many that justice won’t be done, especially where it concerns the right wing. And it will be left for Congress to pursue investigations where the Democrats choose to go with their pursuit of justice, if anywhere. 

Low profiling issues like torture, habeas corpus, Posse Comitatus, privacy invasions, and using Justice as a vehicle for pursuing political cases seem right on the top; yet there seems to be little enthusiasm for recalibrating democracy and the law at this time despite the fact that it is so desperately needed. This is troublesome. 

Right now that is seen by judicial experts as a lost opportunity that transfers the guilt for inaction back to the shoulders of the people.

Moreover, it reinforces a kind of precedent that most assuredly will come back to haunt us.

We should keep in mind, if justice is to be restored, now is the time; there is a statute of limitations.

Another troubling issue is the PR effort of the oil companies to look “green.”

They are bending over backwards to claim that they are totally committed to alternative energy; except this isn’t the truth.

Observers could say that this falls into the area of deceptive practices.

Upon closer examination, it is revealed that virtually all of the majors have returned to their primary business, pursuing new sources of traditional oil.

What they are putting out in copy and their PR pieces is mainly designed to win the word battle with the public and gain support.

This is not only misleading, it is in opposition to what the government is trying to accomplish and treats the President’s pronouncements as temporary and irrelevant to their real purpose.

Not unlike the automobile industry in years gone by, the oil business is simply pursuing what it perceives as its own self-interest, which is definitely not in sync with the mood of the people.

Perhaps exposing the truth here would change the mix and cause the public to rise up and show their displeasure with their purchasing power.

There is one bit of good news. It appears that Barbara Boxer is considering starting an investigation into the NSA’s program that clearly violated privacy regulations without court order.

Hopefully, it is a beginning and may energize our Congress to do the things they were elected for and engage in pursuing the public good, rather than just mouthing their commitment to this or that.

For all too many of those who represent us, making speeches and getting re-elected has taken precedence over corrective measures. We need to change that sloppy mindset. In these uncertain times, when the party of “no” continues to see things upside down, it is good that there is something to cling to no matter how tenuous. And in the imponderable corner, one must be stunned by the ability of the so-called Republican Party to consider itself relevant with its ‘numbers-missing’ budget proposals.

(Sounds like an Abbot and Costello routine.)

Constant rehashing of old suggestions that never worked before, at least not for the common good, and their failure to find meaningful causes and worthwhile serious leadership is starting to be laughable and it shouldn’t.

We do need a viable other party.

It is beginning to look like the Sarah/Rush wing will continue to go on ad infinitum! Maybe it IS time for a new party to rise from the ashes.

Looking back at the past 38 years, the U.S. has never learned any lessons whatsoever. Capitalism worked in this country for many, many years.

Then Republicans took over.

With tax cuts and deregulation, corporate America’s creed of greed became unfettered, rampant and the age of mergers, downsizing, off- shoring and globalism took over with the aim of controlling world-wide commerce.

Factory after factory moved to third-world countries, for cheap labor with no benefits. More and more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, which strived for more and more riches, at the expense of American workers are more disgraceful than ever. Unions, which helped create the middle class in America, were decimated. Though unions must start to take some responsibility for the crashing economy caused by their greed, too. Today, with huge budget and trade deficits, the U.S. corporations are keeping millions of workers employed in foreign countries while good jobs have been rapidly disappearing from these shores for decades. As a result, workers in this country have lost ground against inflation due to stagnant wages. Medical and dental plans, retirement plans, decent wages and benefits along with increasing hours worked has significantly reduced the quality of life for American workers. More family members are working and still personal debt increases.

The elderly could see fewer benefits in Social Security and Medicare, and they shouldn’t, no matter what certain pundits say.

These programs are entitlements which were paid for by the recipients during their working lives: that’s why throwing Health Care into the mix should be no problem. Think of the billions saved by cutting out the insurance middle-men!

Now, some economists see a light at the end of a murky tunnel and a return to prosperity.

It will take a complete change in our system to begin to turn the country around. It could result in rebellion and revolution down the road otherwise.

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." — Cicero, 55 B.C.

As I was saying …

Wendy England Binnie a novelist and op/ed columnist lives In Oak Trace Villas.