So we have come to this. The political sinkhole into which we have sunk over the past two and half years is now the fault of the media.
One must now question the use of the $60 million that Finance Minister Larry Howai approved in August for National Security Minister, Jack Warner to update the country's surveillance capability.
One must ask whether such equipment was used to monitor the activities and personal life of Express journalist Asha Javeed, other journalists, and columnists of this paper.
One can also question further whether that surveillance equipment was used so that Attorney General Anand Ramlogan could have announced beforehand— ignoring the fact that his Government has hired some 30 journalists as PR personnel — that Maxie Cuffie, former head of the Government Information Services, will be a columnist at Trinidad Guardian.
The last week's attacks by Warner and Ramlogan not only carry nightmarish messages to the media and the country, but also possess the boomerang effect: (a) obvious signs of desperation (b) the reminder that media-attack strategies are always ill-fated (c) so too, has been the political future of persons who have used those strategies.
The Attorney General, in supporting Warner's earlier attack, accused the media of displaying a "Port of Spain focus", which does not reflect the political "pot-pouri" of Trinbago.
He called for a media self-analysis and introspection. Great idea, but the AG should be aware that, in psychology, critics of "introspection" have argued that it is not a true examination of a person's consciousness.
Introspection, therefore, is really a limited, retrospective glance back at events, which passed through a person's consciousness.
In fact, the AG, in calling for it, will find great discomfort with what a media introspection will reveal — when it glances back, over the past 30 months, since his Government has been in office.
To make it simple for both the AG and Minister Warner, introspection reveals a government, run by persons who promote neither a "Port of Spain focus" nor the larger national interest, but persons imprisoned in their "village mentality".
It is that mentality, operating in its own self-interest, that gave Trinidad and Tobago Clause 34, as a 50th anniversary Independence gift, or as the acting President said last week a "fundamentally flawed" clause, which is "a blot on our parliamentary system".
It also reveals that the Attorney General and ex-minister Volney — with Minister Warner singing in the chorus — have taken us to the lowest point of the political sink hole in the last 30 months.
The AG, in his defence, claims that all parliamentarians are to be blamed in this matter; he assumes no personal responsibility, only parliamentary, and collective Cabinet liability.
Responsibility for the Clause, he passes on to the ex-justice minister, whom, the country is now made aware, held responsibility for criminal matters.
So we have discovered that the Attorney General does not hold general responsibility for all of the State's legal matters.
The question now arises whether he should be addressed as a full "General", since he carries only part of the legal portfolio i.e. the Government has one "Attorney" for Civil matters, and another for Criminal matters. So is Mr Ramlogan really "the Attorney General?".
And what of the Opposition and Independent Senators, who were given assurances by the "two Attorneys General" in the Parliament that legislation would not be proclaimed until there was the supporting legal infrastructure?
Frankly, for relief from it all, last week I sought amusement in HL Mencken's essay on "Politics Above Principle". Mencken, a journalist, critic, and scholar on American English, was called the "Sage of Baltimore". His razor-edged satire is required reading.
"After damning politicians up hill and down the dale for many years as rogues and vagabonds, frauds and scoundrels, I sometimes suspect that, like everyone else, I often expect too much of them," he wrote.
He admitted that though "faith and confidence" were foreign to his nature, he infrequently found himself "looking to them to be diligent, candid and honest".
But "plainly enough that is too large an order", after one realises how they got into office.
They seldom get there by merit alone. Sometimes, "it happens only by some kind of miracle….simply their power to impress and enchant the intellectually-underprivileged".
I thought that was the "political gimmicks and misdirection" that former ambassador Therese Baptiste-Cornelis now feels free to warn us about.
The talent to impress, Menckin wrote, carries "a certain austere and sorry respectability…obviously not identical with a capacity for the intricate problems of statecraft".
Such problems demand "a high degree of technical proficiency" and "an adamantine integrity" because "the temptations of a public official are almost cruel, as those of a glamour girl, or a dipsomaniac", Menckin wrote.
Caught in moments of relief, I still found myself drifting back to Finance Minister Howai, who by now is probably asking himself: Why did I?
Today, we will turn to him and his budget, momentarily — but will that get us out of the sink hole?
• Keith Subero, a former Express news editor, has since followed a
career in communication