5 Lies, Distortions, and Absurdities, Wall Street Journal, Nov.25 & 26th, 2016

  1. The advent of fracking and new drilling techniques—the ability to tap untold reserves of oil and gas—represents a global paradigm shift that can reset America’s economy and foreign dealings. President Obama’s willful decision to ignore this was as if Bill Clinton had opted the country out of the internet revolution. (Kimberley Strassel, “Trump’s Environmental Reset”.)  This analogy is wrong on so many levels:
    in terms of environmental and energy policy:  environment-damaging fracking is completely different than the energy-efficient internet; you can’t build an entire foreign policy and economy around extraction industries; oil and gas reserves are a finite resource; even with energy from fracking, the US does not set energy prices and so is still enmeshed in the foreign oil markets; the US lacks the refining capacity to replace foreign oil imports with fracked oil and gas;
    in terms of overall impacts on human capital and possibility: the internet revolution is a change in fundamental social relations, in how we access and process information and form knowledge, in how we make political decisions, shop, hire people, plan our travel, and generally make our lives easier and more connected. Fracking and drilling represent the old world of competition, pollution, waste, sprawl, and economic nationalism. The internet is about a lot more than making money, consumption, or energy self-sufficiency.
  2. The Dept. of Education is a “wholly-owned subsidiary of the teachers unions and cultural left.” (editorial, “Betsey DeVos’s School Mission). Vouchers are the only way to save failing schools.
  3. The consequences of checks and balances are unbridled executive growth into every cranny of commerce and society, and a bystander Congress. We have lapsed into autopilot government, rife with corruption and seemingly immune to incremental electoral correction. (“A Trump-Ryan Constitutional Revival,” by Christopher DeMuth). Blaming the dysfunctional government on “unbridled executive growth”  overlooks or elides that, from the outset of the Obama administration, the GOP was not a “bystander” but an implacable obstacle to any change or any proposed Obama legislation. (For example, see comprehensive immigration reform, the 2011 Obama-Boehner debt reduction deal, more robust infrastructure spending, the nomination of Merrick Garland, etc.)
  4.  An obsession with ethnic composition weakens America.  (letter to the editor). This a a startling claim because until the advent of the Tea Party, America’s ethnic diversity and welcoming embrace of immigrants was considered one of our greatest strengths.
  5. Climate change is that it is part of a natural cycle, irrespective of human activity. Normal tidal variation explains current conditions–and the hard-core climate change theory is nothing more than the biggest fake news story ever. (“Shoreline Gentry Are Fake Climate Change Victims,” by Holman Jenkins.

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