To Know the People and Power


Welcome to Scire Populum et Potentiammy political commentary.  Feel free to comment on the material or send me suggestions.  Click on a title to expand the corresponding article.

  • Conversations with Activists II: The Sociologist Charles Derber (November 8, 2018) - Just before this week’s maddeningly tepid midterm elections, I had the pleasure of  interviewing the sociologist Charles Derber, professor at Boston College.  Charlie, along with his frequent co-author Yale Magrass, preserve and extend the sociological imagination, a tradition of the late C. Wright Mills.  Put simply by Mills, this framework compels an awareness of the […]
  • Conversations with Activists I: George Polisner and (October 18, 2018) - After a lengthy health sabbatical, I’m returning to blogging all things activism.  Though I’ve mostly recovered, the world remains imperiled by runaway climate change, nuclear proliferation, imperialism, racism, violence against women and people of color, and the rest of the regulars in the twenty-first century.  Though my progress is slow, great activists continue a great […]
  • A Return to Gainesville (June 20, 2018) - Returning to the issues of today has been overwhelming.  Last year, I suffered a health crisis nearly taking my life.  I’ve since returned to a better place, though I remain deficient.  So many issues are current and pressing, and it’s difficult to know where to begin.  The separation of children from their parents by Trump’s […]
  • War No More : A Book Review (September 12, 2017) - The Chalice of  War Recent events with respect to our so-called enemies abroad, including Donald Trump’s fruitless, impeachable knee-jerk bombing of Syria earlier this year, an act whose legal justifications rival the effectiveness and stated objectives in vacuousness, inflammatory posturing toward Iran in an incredibly dangerous perpetuation of Washington’s Iranian foreign policy over the past thirty […]
  • The Conservative Nanny State : A Book Review Part Six : Small Business, Taxation, Public versus Private, and Roots of Mythology (August 23, 2017) - In our concluding article analyzing Dean Baker’s The Conservative Nanny State, we touch on the role of the archetypal small business, taxation, and the persistent, seemingly immortal debate on private versus public infrastructure, all with respect to the pantheon of the mythology. Small Business Blight Baker argues that the small business occupies a unique, critical niche […]
  • The Conservative Nanny State : A Book Review Part Five : Richly Bankrupt and Terrific Torts (August 13, 2017) - In our penultimate article in the series on Dean Baker’s The Conservative Nanny State, we examine his discussion on bankruptcy, so-called tort reform, and “takings.” Bankruptcy : A Nanny State Protection for Me But Not You, But Where is Personal Responsibility? Bankruptcy has long been a feature of Anglo-American law, owing to creditors’ need for […]
  • Marking a Solemn Week in A Sea of Solemnity (August 10, 2017) - This week marks the seventy-second anniversary of an event showcasing both the ascent of the human species to the top of the evolutionary ladder and its descent into what could be the darkest and final chapter of our roughly 200,000 year run on this planet : the bombing of Japan by the United States with […]
  • The Conservative Nanny State : A Book Review Part Four : Demonized Unions and Glorified Patents (August 9, 2017) - Continuing our series analyzing Dean Baker’s The Conservative Nanny State, we’ll touch on a few key features quite effective in funneling wealth upward with no obvious systemic advantage : undercutting of collective bargaining and bestowal of monopoly status for intellectual property.  Baker argues, astutely, that neither of these features really make sense in a free market […]
  • The Conservative Nanny State : A Book Review Part Three : Myths of Corporations and Truths of the Federal Reserve (August 2, 2017) - Continuing our series of analysis on Dean Baker’s The Conservative Nanny State, we attempt to disrobe the corporation as the nanny state fraud it has become, and demystify the role of the Federal Reserve in profoundly affecting the livelihoods of low income earners. In the Beginning, God Created the Corporation… Baker offers quite a thoughtful analysis […]
  • The Conservative Nanny State : A Book Review Part Two : Job Protectionism and Differing Sets of Rules (August 1, 2017) - Continuing our discussion of Dean Baker’s The Conservative Nanny State, we’ll address a powerful function of the nanny state : job protectionism.  Conventional wisdom among the elite and intellectual sector is that though lower income earners face harsh competition because of a heightened labor supply (read : too many people vying for the same job), we […]
  • The Conservative Nanny State : A Book Review Part One : An Introduction (July 30, 2017) - In a series of posts, we’ll be analyzing and reviewing Dean Baker’s The Conservative Nanny State, an excellent discussion of the mythology of conservatives with respect to the government, corporations, and economics.  Instructive is how this mythology can apply in recent events, a review of which follows.  Donald Trump may serve an ideology of nothing more […]
  • The Spanish Pearl Part Five : Eisenhower and the Push-Pull of Intelligence (July 12, 2017) - We’re spending a good deal of time in the pivotal space of Cuba’s revolution of 1959 and the early days of Castro with good reason : the shallow villainy of Castro in Americana has persisted for the many decades spanning his autocratic rule, and though we shouldn’t condone violence and immorality by anyone, let alone […]
  • The Spanish Pearl Part Four : Batista, Castro, Eisenhower, and the Laying off of Cuba (July 11, 2017) - We concluded previously with a discussion of mounting economic tensions in Cuba as American protectionism further imperiled an already gluttonous over-production of cane sugar, damaging demand and thus widening the income gap among Cubans.   A fascinating position paper by Jose Alvarez, professor at the department of food and resource economics, describes in greater detail […]
  • The Spanish Pearl Part Three : Sugary Sweet Good Neighbor Policy But Hardly ‘Golden Years’ (June 27, 2017) - Continuing with our discussion of Cuba, American dominance throughout the island was palpable through the 1920s.  Nonetheless, trade deficits and the stock market crash of 1929 left the United States grasping for protectionism in the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, ending economic reciprocity as America’s business elites struggled to tread water amidst a wrecked, failed pseudo-laissez faire economic […]
  • Why the Democrats Keep Losing (June 22, 2017) - Donald Trump is arguably the most disliked president in the history of modern polling, according to Five-Thirty-Eight.  Haphazard, mean-spirited (even by Trump’s own admission) healthcare proposals, blatantly racist travel bans, and the growing Russia scandal leave Trump in a very weak bargaining position with respect to Congress.  Or perhaps the intention is to distract with whatever […]
  • The Spanish Pearl Part Two : Americana and Independence (June 19, 2017) - Continuing our discussion of Cuba, American influence was observable as early as 1805 when President Thomas Jefferson dispatched emissaries to for negotiation.  Secretary of State (later President) John Quincy Adams articulated in 1823 the ripe-fruit theory, namely [t]here are laws of political as well as physical gravitation; and if an apple severed by its native […]
  • The Spanish Pearl Part One: Trump’s Gambit (June 18, 2017) - Donald Trump, with modest pomp and circumstance from American media, honored a campaign promise this week in reversing the Obama administration’s 2014 decision to begin normalization of relations with Cuba, surrounded by a militant cadre of Republicans hankering to hurtle us back to the good old days of the Cuban missile crisis.  From a New […]
  • Cap Contritely in Hand for the Environment (June 6, 2017) - A few days ago, Donald Trump predictably announced his unilateral decision to toss aside the Paris accord, an agreement which in of itself probably fails to adequately address the existential threat of ecological catastrophe.  It’s worth remembering that the agreement is non-binding, essentially expecting each signatory to commit to, well, whatever to which that signatory […]
  • Austerity : A Propagandist’s Weapon (May 30, 2017) - Investigating the federal budget blueprint promoted by the Trump administration of late certainly wouldn’t suggest candidate Trump had even the slightest populist inclinations, to say nothing of promising universal healthcare and a more relaxed student loan schedule.  Serious policy analysis from various agencies and organizations declare his budget to be a sharp, deep kick to […]
  • Trump : Symptom or Cause? (May 24, 2017) - The major news in recent weeks has featured prominently the ongoing investigation into Russia’s manipulation of last year’s presidential election, the possible complicity of Trump’s campaign in said manipulation, and Trump’s repeated snafus, contradictions, and rather astonishingly public twitter meltdowns. With so much ground to cover, it can be a bit difficult to decide where […]
  • Book Review : The Submerged State (April 7, 2017) - Donald Trump’s spectacular healthcare debacle in the past month generated a remarkably improbable coalition of opponents, heralding the haphazardness, the callousness, and the sheer incompetence of both the conman and his cowardly rank-and-file. The laughable so-called freedom caucus objected because the replacement for the Affordable Care Act would still offer help to anyone at all; […]
  • Solidarity and Vision (January 20, 2017) - Today is a solemn day for the world: in what purports to be the freest democracy of all time and a model for the blessings of liberty to the rest of the teeming rabble, a con man assumes the most powerful position in human history after campaigning on a platform of white populism, hatred, mockery, and child-like antics while losing […]
  • A Perfect Storm: All Isn’t Lost Part Three (December 13, 2016) - In the previous articles we examined how Trump came to power and the potential consequences of his rule.  As current events unfold, we learn more about the kind of administration we’ll likely see.  For instance, Trump’s decision to place the EPA in the hands of Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma and fervent climate science […]
  • A Perfect Storm : Kleptocracy and Disingenuous Populism Part Two (December 3, 2016) - As mentioned earlier, Donald Trump’s electoral success relied critically on an outsider’s populist appeal to white disenchanted working class Americans, many of whom dislike him personally but found no other viable alternative.  Do they stand to gain anything?  His cabinet choices seem to belie the message, as each selection represents unprecedented wealth and privilege in […]
  • A Perfect Storm : The Rise of Donald Trump Part One (November 26, 2016) - Donald Trump’s apparent electoral victory two weeks ago stunned both supporters and opponents, as the preponderance of pundits and analysts assumed that even the much maligned, frustratingly incremental, uncharismatic, scandal-dogged Hillary Clinton couldn’t lose the election to an anti-science, narcissistic, vengeful, vulgar, greedy billionaire with a penchant for fomenting hate for immigrants, Muslims, and people […]
  • Inaugural Article : Why Activism Now? (November 14, 2016) - This is the excerpt for your very first post.