Is Resistance Futile?

The Trump administration’s one area of consistency is its determination to lay waste to large areas of American government. Consumer protections have been hollowed out; the Department of Education favors for-profit private schools over the needs of public ones; public lands are being exploited and despoiled; the Department of Justice has been turned into a Presidential lapdog; and decades of diplomacy have been upended.

But arguably, the greatest damage has been to environmental regulation, as the administration has waged a relentless war on science and the EPA. Now, according to the Guardian, at least some scientists are fighting back.

An advisory panel of air pollution scientists disbanded by the Trump administration plans to continue their work with or without the US government.

The researchers – from a group that reviewed the latest studies about how tiny particles of air pollution from fossil fuels make people sick – will assemble next month, a year from the day they were fired.

They’ll gather in the same hotel in Washington DC and even have the same former staffer running the public meeting.

A spokesperson for the group said that Trump’s EPA has significantly weakened its science review process, and that the group intended to meet “as a public service” and  “tap our expertise and develop advice which we will share with EPA.”

It’s a noble effort. But…they are fighting people in a position to do substantial harm.

The Trump administration is accused by at least half a dozen whistleblowers of muzzling climate and pollution science.

The air pollution experts follow in the footsteps of a separate group that reassembled to call for the government to better prepare for climate disasters. Their advice will come as EPA conducts a scheduled review of its standards for particle pollution, the tiny specks that enter the lungs and cause breathing and heart problems that can kill.

Gretchen Goldman, research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, called the regulation the “holy grail” for industry, and she said that’s why the Trump administration wants to weaken it by the end of 2020, before a new president might enter the White House.

Trump officials evidently plan to argue that particle pollution isn’t as bad as previously thought. That would allow the administration to accede to industry arguments and roll back environmental and health protections.

Trump’s EPA ended the particulate matter advisory board nearly a year ago. The agency also replaced many of the academic scientists on a broader science panel with scientists from industry and conservative states.

Earlier this month, EPA chief Andrew Wheeler selected a new group of “non-member consultants” to assist that panel with work on both particle pollution and smog. About half of the new consultants are linked with industry. Their recommendations to the panel will happen behind the scenes, rather than in public meetings.

“Behind the scenes,” environmental protections are being gutted, and respected, non-ideological scientists are being replaced by industry hacks.

Kudos to the scientists who are fighting back by meeting–at their own expense– in defiance of the administration’s willingness to fatten the bottom lines of fossil fuel companies at the expense of the people who breathe polluted air. It is a valiant effort to hold the EPA accountable to its mission, but it’s unlikely to persuade the bottom-feeders who currently run the agency, and whose “mission” is to render it toothless.

Unless the 2020 election returns governance to people who actually believe in governing rather than looting, resistance is probably futile.


  1. Resistance by those manufacturers who protected the environment because it was safer for humanity didn’t need the EPA regulations. Those who grudgingly followed the regulations which Trump has repealed are being sorely tested; do they save money or do they continue to protect the environment and humanity? Those who never followed regulations and have been allowed for decades to continue their destructive polluting of the environment will continue to do so until and unless they are stopped.

    Trump’s repeal of EPA regulations was NOT in the form of a law to ignore them; one overt example is the recycle bins parked at curbs for pickup every 2 weeks continues, and the bins continue to be full, some to overflowing. This is one form of resistance with the decision left to individual citizens to vote or not to vote.

    “Is Resistance Futile?” This question tests the conscience of CEOs of all corporations who make the ultimate decisions regarding Climate Change and Global Warming and pollution of the environment. But when you get down to where the cheese binds; it is the individual voters who are the deciding factor. Do they/we want a continuation and escalation of what we have watched what the Trump administration has done to the country over just the past 2 – 3 weeks or do we want to act for self preservation and a safer world for our children and grandchildren? The answer to Sheila’s question today comes down to a personal choice for and by each of us.

  2. The air we breathe, the food we eat…killing us slowly?
    Clean air, water, food are necessities of life, I will never understand the shortsighted vision of “those” people: have they no offspring to consider?
    Many years ago I was unfortunate to inhale the residue from the thin film coating on spacecraft windows, a safe product when in use, not so safe when scrubbed off the manufacturing equipment in which it was applied. Breathing is an issue for me at times of heavy pollution, smoke, even dry days.
    These days, with this political mess, it seems our country will be filled with unhealthy people.

  3. The only way to reverse all of this damage is to turn the Senate as well as the White House blue and to leave the House in Democrats’ hands. I get more anxious every day about our chance of doing that, because I don’t believe we can recover from 8 years of 45 and Mitch McConnell. I know there are some Mercutios out there who insist that both sides are too corrupt to govern, but we need to face the reality that there may not be anything left to govern if we don’t stop the Republicans.

  4. “Industry hacks” have been running D.C. for decades. Once again, they were warned at Davos that global populism was reaching the point of a large scale mass protest.

    We see it everywhere.

    Climate change has the face of Greta Thunberg energizing the youth across the globe. They’ve even gone as far as suing the Federal government. Expect more of this because the younger generation sees climate change consequences negatively impacting their future. They also know that capitalism IS the problem. It’s unsustainable in the USA and globally.

    What will be interesting to see is how the UAW strikers vote on the contract offered up behind closed doors by UAW/Management. Here we clearly have a corrupt union working behind the scenes to screw over the workers who pay them to represent their best interests.

    When unionized workers get screwed over by “industry hacks” you know our economic systems are corrupted to the core. Workers have been facing the negative effects of Neoliberalism for decades while CEO pay and dividends are being funneled up to Wall Street.

    It’s a Ponzi scheme carried out against workers since our inception. The “industry hacks” are sent from Wall Street to D.C. with checks and written instructions. The lawmakers collect the checks and create the bills/policies. Sometimes the bills are already written out by corporate lawyers so all the politicos have to do is sign their names on them (ALEC).

    The states controlled by industry cannot have the EPA making stronger laws that ‘trump’ the states. ALEC also has boiler plated laws/policies which are used by 23-24 states, including Indiana.

    We already have an “asthma alley” in Southwestern Indiana due to the four super coal-burning plants. Young and elderly Hoosiers are negatively impacted the worst because they breathe faster. The sad thing is the same area almost without fail elects Republican officials who are in the pockets of the coal industry. They are literally electing officials who are destroying their quality of life, if not killing them.


  5. “Is resistance futile?” Only those who are looking for an easy way out of making the needed sacrifices necessary to save our country could ask this question. What if the men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1775 thought it was futile to resist King George?

  6. I do not agree that all unions are corrupt. I also note that there have always been corrupting influences in history (Brute, Judas, Madoff et al), and while my note does not excuse such conduct, it does rightly discriminate between the corrupt and those who are not corrupted, who do their jobs, pay their bills and their taxes, raise their kids and in general comport themselves to the mores and morals of their limited span on earth.

    Resistance to Trump’s “deconstruction of the administrative state” and the acts of other dictators is not only not futile but absolutely necessary if not only we but the planet and our progeny are to survive, and I think we should use our limited time resisting his environmental and other destructive acts and those of such as Putin, Xi, Erdogan and other despots rather than lamenting past, current and even future wrongdoing patterns of others in ancient and modern history.

    You start from where you are, and today’s humans are starting from a sordid past of Mongols, Caesars, Hitlers, Trumps, and assorted other hooligans who have come to power along with corporate hooligans steeped in terminal greed. Our experiment in Athenian democracy was and is a noble one, one whose defense sent me to the South Pacific in WW II, and I do not propose to surrender its teetered remainder to anybody anywhere but rather propose to strengthen our democratic values, tattered as they may be since, after all, they have been tattered before and have recovered (Civil War, Great Depression etc.).

    This is no time to bow to modern day Mongols and Nazis; it is rather a time to stand up for the most precious asset we in this country hold in common – our democracy. I didn’t spend time in the South Pacific in defense of political theories or the political futures of FDR or Truman; I spent it in defense of democracy against the forces of fascism, and here I am 75 years later ready to resist fascism – from within. Never thought I’d see the day.

  7. It makes one wonder why someone would want to burn down the only home may have in this universe? At least, as far as we know, LOL because even if they had an indication of another class M planet, we couldn’t get there anyway!

    It’s kind of like a person who commits suicide to show how stupid everyone else is, I’ve never understood that, that person would never know how anyone reacted to their death. We can look at history, and we can truly say, men have a difficult time governing themselves. Constant wars are one example, and the manipulation of religion to suit their own desires, is another.

    I remember when I started working for the major electrical utility that I retired from, I started in a coal plant. It was dirty and nasty. All of the insulation was asbestos, next door was John’s Manville, with mountains of asbestos ground into a sandy texture. And of course from grinding the asbestos there was plenty of powder, micro particulates. I still remember, a really great guy, Jimmy Ingram, an excellent boxer and a really excellent boss. He came to work one morning, started coughing in the parking lot, he could not stop, he ruptured arteries in his lungs and bled to death right there.

    Jimmy not only had black lung, from all of the coal dust, he also had white lung or mesothelioma/asbestosis from all of the asbestos dust in the plant from the insulation and John’s Manville next door. I worked hard to get out of that plant, and ended up going into lineman’s school 2 years later. For me the damage was done in just 2 years, I have COPD, or about 50% lung function. Fortunately I was a runner for years, so my lung capacity was above average. If not for that, I’d be walking around with an oxygen bottle.

    When we would dump the coal trains as they would come in almost every day, there would be a cloud of black dust that would waft over the harbor and cover the sailboats with a black film. All of the people that worked out in the fuel handling department, had breathing problems. The company never admitted to a problem, until very recently. They didn’t provide masks, although, they did supply eye goggles. They didn’t care if you cough your lungs up, as long as you could see to keep working. There were piles of dead animals, deer, beaver, squirrels, crows, and fish (trout and salmon) we would go out with the four-wheel-drive picker, and remove all of the carcasses put them into dumpsters.

    Johnson outboards polluted the lake, (Lake Michigan) with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals, it’s still polluted, Johnson outboards went out of business, so now the public has to pay to clean it up. Milwaukee Wisconsin still does not have ponds to catch overflow during storms, basically waste water storage. So when we have large rain events which have been happening quite often the past decade or so, raw sewage gets dumped into Lake Michigan where everybody gets their drinking water. Not a pleasant picture by any stretch.

    So, mankind is not a very good steward of this planet, and a lot of damage has and is being done, a continuous disregard for the only home we have! We already could be past the point of no return, and then you have the mental picture of Donald Trump playing his fiddle while the planet burns. I don’t think money will be much good at that point.

  8. Capitalists have been fighting against deregulations since…..well, the invention of capitalism. In Rachel Maddow’s new book, “Blowout”, she underlines how, after the discovery of commercial oil production in 1859, the oil and gas industrialists from around the world have been using their acquired wealth to bludgeon governments and the law to their own will. It’s about the money.

  9. One of the unfortunate aspects of our situation is that there are so many things crashing now around us that it’s easy to lose focus on the problem and panic.

    We have one problem. It was our 2016 elections where the combination of entertainment media authoritarians, Republican power brokers and Putin invaded our country and without shots fired occupied our central government buildings.

    The only real solution is the 2020 election combined with rule of law and our Constitution.

  10. There is an interesting existential question buried (pardon the pun) in all of this. Trump and his climate deniers are not quite as dumb as they seem. They know that what they are doing is dooming the planet and all living species. They theorize that rich people will have it better at the end of days and that if their luck holds, they may be able to ride it out. But even their best-case scenario involves isolation, deprivation, destruction of their beloved capitalism, a barely inhabitable environment and possibly payback from their surviving victims.

    And yet they continue. This is on track to be the first instance in recorded history where a species consciously chooses self-extermination over problem solving. How does a mind reach such a dismal and terminal point of dysfunction, of the total absence of empathy for and caring about its progeny, of such a profound absence of morality, and of choosing death over life?

    At its currently accelerated rate of progress, climate change will not grant us the time needed to explore this question in depth – at least not in the depth needed to do anything about it. If you wish for it all to be over, your wishes will soon be granted.

  11. Authoritarians disguise themselves as economically literate when in fact they are conservatives afraid to leave the rapidly receding past that entitled them.

    They to various degrees they philosophically follow “El Chapo”.

  12. Terry,

    “How does a mind reach such a dismal and terminal point of dysfunction, of the total absence of empathy for and caring about its progeny, of such a profound absence of morality, and of choosing death over life?”

    Through misguided self-interest. Good examples would be Nazi Germany and the U. S. after W.W. ll culminating with the likes of Donald Trump.

  13. Guided by the principals that were successful against less than 1%, American leadership has the “balls,” to think it can do the same toward upwards of 33% of the population.

    When talking about mass insanity, the U.S. “takes the cake.”

  14. Marv,

    Use your infinitely great ability and resources to look up “psychopathy” and acute narcissism. That will streamline everyone’s analysis. Unless, of course, they’re outdated.

  15. Vernon,

    No, “psychopathy and acute narcissism are not outdated. Might even be a better way of describing the situation with the use of fewer words. In any case, the situation has become abysmal.

    a-bys-mal adj. 1. of or like an abyss; NOT MEASURABLE 2. very bad; WRETCHED —a-bys’mal-ly adv.

    See: “Websters New World Dictionary”

  16. Actually, from a personal standpoint, Trump must be basking in his glory. Actually, he’s not doing so bad for someone who has no history of any emotional, intellectual, military or sports prowess.

    Can you believe this jerk still has his finger on the “button?”

  17. Marv,

    Thanks for the confirmation. Oh. And I DO know how to use a dictionary. I agree that this administration is blatantly lawless and wretched in every way.

  18. How can anyone with the lack of credentials obvious with Donald Trump still be in office? There can only be one explanation: INTELLIGENCE GAP.

  19. John S.

    We both understand that we can be destroyed by what we don’t see, whether from John’s Manville or the Southern Baptist Convention.

  20. Society now has to accept global government and mixed economies of capitalism and socialism as well as more local governments for regional issues.

    Those are consequences of our still growing population and technology.

    Capitalism will only serve us under these conditions:

    1. Use only in markets amenable to effective competition.

    2. Regulation to protect customers, workers, the environment, natural resources, the public, the government, supply chain partners, investors.

    3. Cost natural resources for long term sustainable value.

    4. Progressive wealth taxes to distribute back to wealth creators excess wealth redistributed up to wealth investors.

    5. Globally govern global corporations.

    For society to stabilize, every person needs to have much more effective strategies to resist seduction by advertising/fake news/propaganda/brainwashing by the pervasive entertainment media network we were sold.

    These are all necessary conditions to stop anthropogenic global warming before it overwhelms economies and civilization.

  21. Pete,

    This must be a no-can-do day for me. I can’t argue any of your logic and I can’t imagine how we implement any of your suggestions in today’s political climate and at the level of ignorance at which we are governing ourselves.

    Will Rogers nailed it when he wrote, “A fool and his money are soon elected.”

  22. It is not so much what President Trump is doing in New York State [residence for vote] and at D.C. for a 4-year term, like a liberal arts college, but what government workers are doing in Indiana with our natural Ohio Valley assets. As we know, alliances with other Humans are quite common as in every off-campus expedition to the University of Paris, for example to study English diplomatically.

    It seems a definite show of resistance for the delegates to be cooperating through all the channels to an inquiry into Impeachment conditions and hearings with career government workers. Partisan union membership is not the same as testing for positions a step at a time. You cannot be the first in a 50- State line of resistance to foreign rule or local colonization/condemnation by eminent domain without holding your fort/garrison/port/post.

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