The Politics Of Resentment

It doesn’t take a genius–or even a person of above-average observational skill–to understand what motivates Donald Trump’s policy preferences. If Barack Obama was for it, he’s against it. His seething resentment of his predecessor is as painfully obvious as his disinterest in (and ignorance of) public policy, or his blatant cronyism.

Did Obama want to protect the environment? Well, then screw the environment.

This week, the Trump administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which, if finalized, would cast aside the commitment made by President Bush and President Obama to increase fuel economy and reduce pollution. In doing so, the administration is on a path that could needlessly upend a settled regulatory framework that has brought together disparate interests, delivered predictability to automakers, improved cars, and reduced pollution. As such, the proposed new rules run counter to what Ford, General Motors, and others across the industry have consistently advocated. In fact, industry and the state of California appear largely aligned on how to proceed in resetting fuel-efficiency standards, and the only missing player is the Trump administration, despite the president’s prior direction to his team to negotiate.

Scholars with The Brookings Institution have called for a “dialogue” on the proposed rule making. They emphasize three “key points”: the proposed changes break with the bipartisan history of the program; the proposal will hurt the auto industry; and the administration has relied upon a range of very questionable assumptions that defy common sense (um..what else is new?), in order to justify its proposal.

They also point out that none of the stakeholders involved support the administration’s initiative.

The U.S. auto industry represents 3.5 percent of U.S. GDP and is responsible for 7 million direct and indirect American jobs. Freezing the standards will undermine investments by auto manufacturers and their suppliers, harming the competitiveness of the industry going forward. Research shows that when standards are set at aggressive but attainable levels, they immediately spur technological innovation, catalyze competitiveness, and support jobs. For example, a report published last year by Indiana University looking at the impact of fuel-efficiency standards estimated that investment in innovation could increase jobs by between 200,000 and 375,000 in the year 2025, and add between $138 billion to $240 billion in GDP between 2017 and 2025.

The Brookings scholars also point out that challenging California’s authority under the Clean Air Act would needlessly destabilize the consistency created by a streamlined national program.

Of course, none of this matters to an incompetent and needy President who is not only ignorant of policy (and science, and economics, and….) but who is motivated primarily by resentment of Obama, who once embarrassed him at a Correspondent’s dinner to devastating  effect.

What is undoubtedly even more galling to a man who wears his bigotry like a badge is that Obama has the effrontery to be an immensely popular black man whose personal, intellectual and cultural superiority to Donald Trump is glaringly obvious. The one and only consistent thread in Trump’s “policy agenda” is destruction of the hated black guy’s legacy.

If that destruction requires despoiling the planet, well, so be it.


  1. You hit the nose on the head. I have long believed that Obama’s embarrassing the thin-skinned, tiny-handed orange man is at THE driving force behind Trump’s “policies.”
    But then I forget greed — maybe an even more powerful motivator for this stable genius?

  2. The Trump administration also argues that it becomes a safety issue,if a vehicle became more fuel efficient people would drive more putting them at risk.

  3. It is not only the fuel efficiency and reduced pollution regarding vehicle manufacturing at issue here; the dumping of waste products from manufacturers polluting the ground and ground water, which comes up as dew, which is absorbed by the air and clouds which move on an further pollute in the form or rain…beginning the entire procedure again. But that is an old lesson from long ago Science classes. We all remember sitting in gridlock traffic smelling the emission fumes from cars, trucks and buses…not only smoking caused lung cancer. We all understood, whether we acted on resolving the problem or not, the term “we are destroying the environment”. Even Charles Manson frequently declared “Man is raping the earth.”; of course he, like Freud turned everything to sex…not unlike our current president, his administration and Congress.

    “This week, the Trump administration issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) which, if finalized, would cast aside the commitment made by President Bush and President Obama to increase fuel economy and reduce pollution.”

    Isn’t Trump’s NPRM simply part of his determined effort to dismantle (deconstruct) the EPA entirely? Isn’t that determination all part of his determined effort to permit corporations and big business to run amok and reap profits at any cost to the public…including endangering our lives? ” Follow the money” has quickly become “FOLLOW THE MONEY” under this administration. His golf trips alone are draining our tax budget of millions which could be much better spent…is anyone following that money? The tentacles of Trump’s creature of the Washington, D.C., swamp is ensnaring all levels of government; the loss of America’s vehicle manufacturing as a stable source of economic support is gone, along with the improvements for fuel economy and lowering of pollution levels.

    Again today there is a lengthy article in the Indianapolis Star; I haven’t read it entirely yet but it is again putting the Johnson County childhood cancer cluster in the news…big time. The EPA has been aware of the problem for decades and done nothing; meanwhile the number of rare cancers in children increases. How can this study, along with all others, continue as Trump guts the EPA?

    And why am I having to pay $1.99 per pound for tomatoes from Canada? Just askin’

  4. Yes, we are seeing the pathology of Trump’s Obama Derangement Syndrome manifest itself everywhere. It’s almost like watching a slow-motion train wreck as Trump’s astounding insanity dissembles into outright lunacy. Every day.

    This administration must be removed from office as soon as possible. Nations are beginning to feel isolated and vulnerable due to our madman’s “initiatives”. What if one of them grew so desperate that they would take terminal actions against him personally?

    We must repudiate EVERYTHING about Trump and Republicanism in November. VOTE BLUE!

  5. I side with better,but until its realdily available,who will invest in this?. we continue to rail against coal power plants,while we plug everything we need in… even cars….though we see coal as a dinosaur,natural gas is right there.. cheap, but why are we not in full swing to use it? fact, ive been involved with my local power palnt,it uses lignite coal,wet,dirty,and cheap. its buried about 90 feet deep,below hard dry clay,two viens,about 15 feet apart depending on area. big equipment needs to cut it out,three drag lines,that are electric,,and a bunch of equipment that all runs on diesel,the biggest cats and movers that can haul 175 ton of coal in one shot,and 300 ton units for reclamation work..whats the point? it uses 11000 gallons of diesel everyday.( i was a part time fueler for,this equipment). so,wheres the alternitives? im in trucking,39 years as a driver,8 as a mechanic,total career time , 46 years. now, i see a few CNG,compressed natural gas semis today,very few,and the truckstops that handle this cng,few,and far between. im not making a nagative statement,just a reality check we still have NO alternatives..but when the green party shows up to argue the issues,how did,they get there?and for what issue? investors are the highlite,but of course we gotta kiss thier butts,tax cuts,etc. few even reconize the seriousness of where we are today. climate change is happening,but,we also know,the changes made by man other then fosssil fuel issues,are just as damaging. the clearing rain forests,along the equiator,the rise in chinas growth,weather patterns,that have changed,along with ocean currents and temps.we can only encapsulate some much in our atmosphere,before it kills us..

  6. Following up on Jack Smith’s comments, looking at the geological history of the earth, climate change regularly occurs. The distinction in this Anthropocene period is, we will be the first species
    to create the conditions of our own extinction.

  7. John; thanks for another way of saying, “Global Warming”, “We are destroying the environment.” and “Man is raping the earth.”…your words cut to the very core of this decaying condition. A slow death by self-destruction. Thank you. And VOTE BLUE

  8. ‘Guilty on All Counts!’: In Historic Victory, Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million in Roundup Cancer Lawsuit.

    In an historic victory for those who have long sought to see agrochemical giant Monsanto held to account for the powerful company’s toxic and deadly legacy, a court in California on Friday found the corporation liable for damages suffered by a cancer patient who alleged his sickness was directly caused by exposure to the glyphosate-based herbicides, including the widely used weedkiller Roundup.

    The jury at San Francisco’s Superior Court of California deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weed killers. It awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.

    This verdict proves that when ordinary citizens, in this case a jury of 12, hear the facts about Monsanto’s products, and the lengths to which this company has gone to buy off scientists, deceive the public and influence government regulatory agencies, there is no confusion,” said Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s international director.

    “This is a company that has always put profits ahead of public safety, and today, Monsanto has finally been held accountable,” he added. “We hope that this is just the first of many defeats for Monsanto, and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will pull this product off the market immediately.”

    One other story:

    In a “major victory for public health,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on Thursday ruled the Trump administration illegally blocked a ban on chlorpyrifos—a pesticide linked to brain development delays in children and nervous systems issuesfor all people and animals exposed to it—and ordered that it be outlawed within 60 days.

    “Children, farmworkers, rural families, and science are all huge winners today,” responded Kristin Schafer, executive director of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) North America. “The court affirmed that EPA’s job is to protect public health, not industry profits.”

    While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlawed household use of the chemical in 2000, citing concerns about children’s health, it has resisted a ban to stop farmers from spraying chlorpyrifos on crops—which PAN and other pesticide critics have demanded for more than a decade.

  9. Trump hatred of Obama plus greed are poor bases for policy determinations, especially when done against a background of terminal narcissism and a headline hunting instinct for recognition to be known and (hopefully) adored by the masses. The man is ill, and he is getting worse as his Otherworld understanding and conduct and those of our real world collide. I think he is literally in his own world some of the time, a world in which lying is not lying but merely an alternative view of reality, where what you want something or somebody to be is really what they are, where facts are what you want them to be etc. To reiterate, the man is ill, and as the noose tightens, getting worse, long past 25th time.

  10. Monotonous,

    When do we stop using the corporation’s name for decisions made as in “Monsanto’s decision”? When do we start using the names of the members of the board of directors instead? They made those decisions. They had full knowledge of what they were doing and the effects it would have on other human beings. Their chemists knew, and I would bet that their lawyers knew too. None of them will be fined however, when they should all be indicted and tried under criminal statues for assault and battery of some kind. No, I’m not angry as I remember the day I tried to stop the *^(*&* farmer next door from spraying on a windy day (my vegetable garden down wind of him) and he yelling, “Lady, it ain’t poison; it’s Roundup!”

  11. I agree with all of the comments. But there is another aspect to Trump’s attack on the CAFE standards: it helps the foreign competition who realized that most consumers want vehicles with improved fuel efficiency. He keeps moving the US further behind the rest of the industrialized world and further undermines our status as a world leader.

  12. daleb – Good Point. We can now add Trump’s edict which means stiffer competition for our domestic auto industry which, along with accelerating automation and higher costs for domestic cars resulting from his tariffs (per GM – 25% higher), will decimate the industry. Thanks, Don, and a special thanks to the big time fossil fuel contributors to Republican candidates, all of whom seem oblivious to the human requirement of breathing. We the unemployed and breathless, thank you for making America great again.

  13. Dewayne Johnson is the name of the man in the Roundup case posted above. Johnson, 46, applied Roundup weedkiller 20 to 30 times per year while working as a groundskeeper for a school district near San Francisco, his attorneys said. On bad days, Johnson is too crippled to speak. Lesions cover as much as 80% of his body.

    It would be ideal if we could get the Big Box Stores to pull Roundup off the shelves. Stop selling poison.

    I really have to question why a School System would see the need to apply Roundup to their grounds. So the School System applies poison to their grounds, exposing school employees and children to this toxic. You wonder how many Homeowners Associations apply Roundup to their common areas???

    Maybe we can take the small steps by demanding that our School Systems not use Roundup or other pesticides and herbicides on their grounds.

  14. With great respect to all of you, we have to all get past cataloguing the various threats to our democracy that we already know about and perhaps start thinking about things that we don’t know about or are not focused on that could be even greater threats. Apparently, while we are all distracted by that things are obvious and covered extensively by our media in its various forms, there is a move underfoot, thanks to the Koch brothers through their puppets at ALEC that involves calling a constitutional convention where they have already secured 28 of the 34 signatories that are necessary for such a convention to occur. Their agenda, apparently, is spelled out in a book that was mentioned to me by a friend entitled The Liberty Amendments which would radically change our constitution and add what these already deeply deranged far rightists want much of which is centered around the ever popular balanced budget amendment that’s been talked about for years which would do away with potentially a great number of the social programs that most Americans depend on for their livelihood in regard to meeting their health care and their retirement to keep the massive tax cuts for the ultra-rich in place and balance the budget around them. There are no doubt other insidious aspects to this and I mention this book only as a heads up because I have not yet read it myself but intend to do so.

    So, while we are thoroughly distracted by the circus that we observe every day there are very, very rich people conniving and manipulating things behind the scenes to radically alter American society and our constitutional structure to suit them as if they have the right to do so which they clearly do not. A great deal of this will apparently hinge on Judge Kavanagh been confirmed as an associate justice of the SCOTUS who has ideas on the powers of the Executive Branch that are obviously radical departures from what the founding fathers intended and what has been practiced for the last 242 years. While the clown in chief prances like a demented circus act every day the cold hard realities of what is being done and is being done behind the scenes continues with our attention being elsewhere and it’s all on purpose.

    I suggest, again very respectively, that each of us check into this to see what we can find for ourselves on it and to share. If this is indeed going on it could potentially make what the Russians have been doing into an also ran. My question all along, through all of this, continues to be how Americans raised and educated in this country and having had at least a rudimentary exposure to American civics could conceivably be so monstrous in their ideas regarding their own country and their own people. Obviously, a large part of this is through greed but for native born Americans to be of the mindset that they have the right to turn our country into a complete autocracy and destroy and virtually erase 242 years of freedom and have absolutely no qualms in doing so is absolutely horrifying.

  15. Agent Orange’s self centric overpowering ego has crib mates. His “base”. Those no more informed than he about public policy (or really, hardly anything useful) who observe his antics and think this man is my bro’. I hated that uppity n***r too. I hate educated people. I hate foreigners. I hate everybody who by contrast reveals how I have wasted my life, as did my folks, as do my friends. Nobody gonna tell me nothin’ ‘cept my entertainers always on my TV or my Unions, the NRA and GOP.

    As unions empowered labor so do the NRA and GOP entertainment empower and represent seething self anger and disappointment and hatred.

    OK. It’s a battle for the soul of the nation. Our country is in fact no longer a “Union” of like minded but otherwise diverse citizens. The Civil War has returned in every way except geographically and most (but not all) of the shooting.

    Wars are won by the last man standing and that situation has been thrust upon us as it has been so many others through history. Not of our choosing but also we have no choice but to accept our role.

    November will tell a lot about the relative magnitude of the “sides”. Of course 2016 did too but Vlad the Impaler found a cyber criminal way to even the sides to favor of incompetence and corruption, his style.

    Let’s have a do over with all of us awake now.

  16. Tom,

    “So, while we are thoroughly distracted by the circus that we observe every day there are very, very rich people conniving and manipulating things behind the scenes to radically alter American society and our constitutional structure to suit them as if they have the right to do so which they clearly do not.”

    As you know, I have been saying for a long time, we have to neutralize Koch; neither the established pro-democracy NGO’s, nor the Democratic Party can do it. We have to establish a new space to carry out that MISSION before November, at the latest. It will, necessarily, entail enlisting both Democrats and Independent voters. It can’t be cancelled.

    In any event, Vote Blue!

  17. Tom Lund,

    Excellent essay! There are three books, besides the ones I wrote, that go straight to your points.

    Hedges, Chris, “The Death of the Liberal Class”
    Klein, Naomi, “Shock Doctrine”
    Mayer, Jane, “Dark Money”
    Turner, Vernon “Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status”
    Turner, Vernon “Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism”

    All of these “required reading” books are available on They also have all been cited on this blog.

  18. Tom Lund @ 11:45 am – I believe this what you are writing about:

    The Biggest Threat to Our Democracy That You Haven’t Heard Of by Robert Reich.
    “The biggest threat to our democracy that nobody is talking about is the real possibility of a rogue Constitutional convention – empowering extremists to radically reshape the Constitution, our laws, and our country.

    If just a few more states sign on to what’s called an “Article V convention” for a balanced budget amendment, there’s no limit to the damage they might do.

    Let me explain.

    There are 2 ways to amend the United States Constitution: One way – the way we’ve passed every amendment since the Bill of Rights – is for two-thirds of the House and two-thirds of the Senate to vote for a proposed amendment, and then have it ratified by at least three quarters of the states – now 38 in number.

    But there’s a second way to amend the Constitution. Two thirds of the states may demand that Congress form a constitutional convention to propose amendments.

    Once such a constitutional convention is convened, there are no rules to limit or constrain what comes next.”
    My own opinion, which I have expressed many times on this blog, is the Russian interference in the elections is a total distraction from the “Legal” interference, by the 1%, Pacs, Superpacs and lobbyists engage in everyday to influence our elected representatives.

    Just think about the “New Constitution” the Koch Bros, Goldman Sachs and Pastor Pence among others would write.

    If President Agent Orange his family and other enablers get tripped up, it will be for money laundering and tax evasion.

  19. Conservatives call for constitutional intervention last seen 230 years ago
    Lawmakers push for ‘constitutional convention’ to restrict federal government – and it’s not as far fetched as it sounds.

    It’s been more than 230 years since America’s last constitutional convention, but there is growing confidence in some conservative circles that the next one is right around the corner – and could spell disaster for entitlement programs like medicare and social security, as well court decisions like Roe v Wade.

    “I think we’re three or four years away,” said the former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn on Friday, speaking at the annual convention for American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) – a powerful rightwing organization that links corporate lobbyists with state lawmakers from across the country.

    Coburn, a veteran Republican lawmaker, now works as a senior adviser for the advocacy group Convention of States, which seeks to use a little known clause in article V of the US constitution to call a constitutional convention for new amendments to dramatically restrict the power of the federal government.

    “We’re in a battle for the future of our country,” Coburn told the assembly of mostly conservative state lawmakers meeting in New Orleans. “We’re either going to become a socialist, Marxist country like western Europe, or we’re going to be free. As far as me and my family and my guns, I’m going to be free.”

    Convention of States, with Alec’s support, is one of three prominent conservative groups pushing for a new constitutional convention.
    One thing should be glaring clear, never underestimate the power of the Koch Bros.

  20. Monotonous,

    “One thing should be glaring clear, never underestimate the power of the Koch Bros.”

    Unfortunately, we’ve been doing, exactly, the opposite for a long, long, time. It’s akin to MASS POLITICAL SUICIDE.

  21. Connie Latas 6:37am

    “this stable genius?”
    Connie, do you mean the jackass in the stable stall, the one with all the fetid muck making America stink again?

  22. Tom Lund at 11:45am

    ” there is a move underfoot, thanks to the Koch brothers through their puppets at ALEC that involves calling a constitutional convention where they have already secured 28 of the 34 signatories that are necessary for such a convention to occur.”

    Though there is fatal risk, there could be some benefit to a constitutional convention. Conscientious delegates could work on a proposal to remove the archaic Second Amendment, for example – – that would certainly backfire on the Koch Brothers, wouldn’t it?

  23. Forget a constitutional convention while we still have so many RED states. It’s an exercise in futility with GOP governors and legislatures.
    VOTE BLUE in November and In 2020. It’s a start.

  24. Tom and Vernon,

    Add: Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains.

    She was also on Bill Mahr a week or so ago.

  25. ML,

    This quote from Coburn clearly shows how full of shit this “movement” is. He tries to sound like a true believer, but he’s just another Republican corporate whore: “We’re in a battle for the future of our country,” Coburn told the assembly of mostly conservative state lawmakers meeting in New Orleans. “We’re either going to become a socialist, Marxist country like western Europe, or we’re going to be free. As far as me and my family and my guns, I’m going to be free.”

    Last time I looked, Western Europe WAS free. They were also democracies with elected officials at most levels of government. It is the United States that is lurching toward outright fascism with idiots like Coburn leading the way.

  26. Republicans have multiple paths to power.

    Propaganda, conspiracy theory, scapegoats, lies, incompetence, and corruption are among them.

  27. Many thanks to Marv, Vernon, John, ML & OMG!!

    I have heard of some of these and will check them and the rest of them out. I’m up to my eyeballs doing unrelated research but will, of course, squeeze them in. I sure miss Chris Hedges and Marv, I will definitely vote BLUE. We are in for the fight of our lives and we have to win!!

  28. Tom,

    “We are in for the fight of our lives and we have to win!!

    It will be a fight,hopefully peaceful; and we will WIN with the PURPLE TSUNAMI. Vote BLUE!

  29. For what it’s worth, Alasdair MacIntyre noted that Friedrich Nietzsche is “the moral philosopher of the present age.”

    One of Nietzsche’s key concepts is ‘ressentiment’ which is negative, reactive and based on the pain of inferiority (he does not deny the actual inferiority). It is essentially oppositional, negative, and destructive.

    Perhaps we need to develop a strong definition of what community is about, and how we can act to include everyone, without making losers of them. That may be at the heart of this problem. Such an option neither exists nor has it been proposed. It could be a winning ticket if presented properly. It might diminish support for people like Trump.

Comments are closed.