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What To Learn From The Social Justice Warrior Who Was Eaten By His Own Mob

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“Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling predicted back in the 1950s that we’d soon have a citizenry unable to think. Many of his screenplays warned of the specter of runaway mob psychology. Today it seems that’s exactly the sort of citizenry we’ve got.

Social media trolling drives mindless street theater, which drives more mindless social media trolling, and on and on. Most Americans aren’t taken in by it, but the illusions mob behavior promotes can wreak havoc even on reasonable people.

The mob mindset seems to be in hyper-drive. Consider a July 14 Quillette article, “I was the Mob until the Mob Came for Me,” written under a pseudonym due to the author’s reasonable fear of retribution. These days, “Barrett Wilson” delivers pizza and sushi to support his young family, a job he can’t afford to lose.

He explains: “I once had a well paid job in what might be described as the social justice industry. Then I upset the wrong person, and within a short window of time, I was considered too toxic for my employer’s taste. I was publicly shamed, mobbed, and reduced to a symbol of male privilege. I was cast out of my career and my professional community.”

Wilson confesses that he was once part of that mob, and as such, he fed the beast that did him in:

How did I become that person? It happened because it was exhilarating. Every time I would call someone racist or sexist, I would get a rush. That rush would then be reaffirmed and sustained by the stars, hearts, and thumbs-up that constitute the nickels and dimes of social media validation. The people giving me these stars, hearts, and thumbs-up were engaging in their own cynical game: A fear of being targeted by the mob induces us to signal publicly that we are part of it.

What should we make of Wilson’s amazing acknowledgement that people generally signal their compliance with the mob to avoid being targeted by it? Indeed, this is a very human defense mechanism, but it’s only temporary. Mob compliance is a vicious and deadly cycle. The only way to stop the cycle is to stop complying with the mob’s demands. Such refusal is an actual act of bravery.

What to make of Wilson saying he’d “get a rush” every time he smeared someone publicly? Again, a human behavior. Mob participants are spellbound by the addiction of fake adulation, being called “brave” when they collectively gang up on an individual. Doing so reflects emotional neediness and arrested development. This emotional immaturity is fed by a culture with an education system that does not value independent thought. But I digress.

So, the mob did to Wilson what mobs naturally do: turn on their own: “Then one day, suddenly, I was accused of some of the very transgressions I’d called out in others. I was guilty, of course: There’s no such thing as due process in this world. And once judgment has been rendered against you, the mob starts combing through your past, looking for similar transgressions that might have been missed at the time. I was now told that I’d been creating a toxic environment for years at my workplace; that I’d been making the space around me unsafe through micro-aggressions and macro-aggressions alike.”

Political Correctness Has Built a ‘Snitch Culture’

Wilson also describes the social justice industry, which thrives on political correctness, as “a surveillance culture, a snitch culture.” This description is very apt, especially if you recall last summer’s Twitter crusade by celebrity Lena Dunham. She encouraged people to eavesdrop on others’ private conversations to report something politically incorrect to authorities.

Dunham publicly celebrated getting two American Airlines employees investigated after she reported overhearing their conversation in an airport terminal. The employees allegedly engaged in what she called “transphobic” talk. Dunham was modelling the snitch culture so her followers could do same to anyone and everyone.

American Airlines cooperated by publicly agreeing to investigate the employees based on Dunham’s manufactured complaint. As it turned out, the airline claimed it didn’t have conclusive evidence. So, as far as we know, no employees lost their jobs as a result of that particular incident. But it all paves the way for the metastasis of a snitch culture.

That’s standard procedure today for all of the corporations that now operate under the rainbow-colored flag, which is to say just about all of them. As we can see from Wilson’s experience, it’s working so well that the mob can now turn on its own with impunity.

For every high-profile story of a shamed target who basically lost a job for the simple act of thinking or speaking thoughts the mob didn’t authorize—for example, Google engineer James Damore or former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich or Business Insider columnist Daniella Greenbaum—there are likely thousands of unknown Barrett Wilsons walking among us.

Some of them didn’t even know what they did or said to offend anybody. Their superiors wouldn’t even say who accused them. But they were no doubt hauled into a human resources department and told they didn’t have the correct values or attitudes for the organization. Next thing they knew, they were escorted to their desks to clear out of, say, a tech company like Microsoft, or the California State University system, or any number of banks or corporations or schools.

The Phenomenon of Psycho-Mob Metastasis

If mob behavior is the antithesis of mature thought processes, we should be able to see anti-thought behavior everywhere today. We most certainly do. The pack mindset leads people to harass others without provocation. Recall that the owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia threw White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and her family out of the restaurant because she didn’t agree with Sanders’ politics.

The mob also congregates with bullhorns in front of officials’ homes, such as Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s, telling them they shouldn’t be allowed to sleep. It loiters menacingly in front of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices, such as the one in Portland, Oregon, in a campaign that would lead to abolishing border control and law enforcement. It mindlessly riots. It encourages an adult to assault a kid wearing a Trump-supporting MAGA hat.

The mob mindset engages in ritual defamation, a procedure practiced by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Many corporations and tech giants rely on the SPLC as a means of policing and punishing independent thought under the guise of fighting “hate.” It’s the same mob mindset that inspired a gunman to open fire at the Washington office of the Family Research Council in 2012. It also inspired a gunman to attempt a mass assassination of Republican members of Congress at a baseball practice last year, seriously wounding Rep. Steve Scalise and two police officers.

Yet certain members of Congress continue to feed this mentality, most famously Maxine Waters, who rallied a personal mob and called for increased physical swarming of government officials at their homes, at gas stations, at restaurants. Everywhere.

Why Illegal Immigration Is a Centerpiece of Mob Action

It’s interesting here to note how calls to abolish ICE have become such a lynchpin of mob action recently. We needn’t wonder very hard about why rent-a-mob activity is being used to shut down law enforcement, particularly the enforcement of immigration laws. Mob psychology simply can’t sustain itself through logic or reason. After all, thoughtfulness in a society, which can only come about through free expression, is anathema to mob creation and activity.

Power elites who support and incite this sort of mass mobilization—otherwise known as “community organizing”—are forever invested in maintaining a dependent underclass. That’s pretty much the extent of immigration’s usefulness to them. Hence the enlisted social justice warrior mobs stridently and quite suddenly now emote about “children” and “family cohesion” and “American values.”

The anti-thought Left cannot win arguments on the merits, and certainly not with rule of law or due process. So it needs bodies, and gets them with bribes.

Please. All of a sudden, these people purport to care about children? Since when has the anti-thought camp in “progressive” American politics ever cared about a child’s need for both a mother and a father? About keeping families together? The answer is: Never.

The mob’s newfound interest in family cohesion at the Mexican border should be clear to anybody who can think it through: it’s a political ploy to use the kids as pawns in order to open the borders. The anti-thought Left cannot win arguments on the merits, and certainly not with rule of law or due process. So it needs bodies, and gets them with bribes: welfare, health care, and education subsidies.

The anti-thought Left cares as deeply about family separation as it cares about the emotional health of individuals like Barrett Wilson whom they enlist in their rent-a-mobs. If they cared about the emotional health of mob participants, they’d be interested in helping them develop means of independent thought rather than force-feeding them a diet of identity politics and ignorance in the schools. They’d have promoted family cohesion and happiness for children. Instead, they’ve addicted them to the emotional rush of “progressive” mob politics.

Family separation happens to be a centerpiece of so many so-called progressive policies that SJW mobs and their creators in the Democrat Party have been promoting for years. This includes, but is by no means limited to, family law—e.g., no-fault divorce, which forcibly separates kids from parents; medicine—e.g., Obamacare’s lower premiums for the divorced than for the married; education—e.g., teaching kids that their parents are bigots if they promote the cohesion of the organic family; and welfare policies—punishing mothers if fathers are present in the family.

In fact, the intentional breakdown of families has always been the crown jewel of such regressive policies because intact families have always been the bane of big government proponents. That has never changed since Karl Marx declared war on the family. Don’t expect it to change now.

Just Call Them On It

Most frustrating of all are the supposedly conservative leaders who actually listen to the rantings of the mob and try to earnestly explain that no, we conservatives are not like that at all. We actually do care about kids and families. Sigh. So when did we stop beating our wives? The mob can never be appeased, even if all of its demands are met.

People who intend harm usually know it at some level. They habitually project their intentions onto their perceived enemies.

There’s no point explaining anything to the anti-thought Left. People who intend harm usually know it at some level. They habitually project their intentions onto their perceived enemies. The mobs calling for abolishing ICE and border control use the charge of family separation because they are guilty of doing just that in just about every area of policy.

In like manner, garden-variety mob members who get a “rush” from smearing their perceived opponents are shifting their own sins onto others. Try asking them this: What makes you so perfect? So immune to ever doing anything bad? So pure as the driven snow? They’re always somehow above reproach for anything and everything. So perfect.

In the end, the people used to prop up mob behavior—whether appointed SJW flying monkeys or hard-luck immigrants themselves—are all expendable, as far as the progressive mob is concerned. As Wilson wrote, there is no due process in that world.

There comes a point when those who keep trying to give the anti-thought camp the benefit of the doubt have to face reality. By appeasing, we’re enabling. And that hurts everyone, including members of the mob like Wilson, who end up learning the hard way.

So, if the mob is ever firmly ensconced in power, know this: they are coming for you, no matter who you are.

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Ocasio-Cortez’s Factually Challenged Position On Israel Is Embarrassing

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How can someone know so little about a topic yet be so passionate about it? That’s what I kept asking myself while re-watching a clip of media darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez discussing Gaza and Israel.

After dramatically defeating Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, there was a rush to proclaim the young, dynamic socialist Ocasio-Cortez the future of the Democratic Party. Well, if she portends the future, then it’s worth taking her words seriously. Even if we overlook the fact that Ocasio-Cortez’s self-identified ideology has led to more suffering and death than any other in history, her propensity to embrace positions she knows absolutely nothing about is, well, curious.

This week on the new “Firing Line” on PBS — a program claiming to be a reboot of the famous debate show, where William Buckley once politely dismantled his guests’ weak arguments — Ocasio-Cortez was asked about Israel. A few months ago, she claimed that Israel Defense Forces was mass murdering civilians, and that Democrats should not silent on the crimes of Israel anymore.

Ocasio-Cortez: Well, yes, but I also think that what people are starting to see in the occupation of Palestine is just an increasing crisis of humanitarian conditions and that to me is just where I tend to come from on this issue.

Margaret Hoover: You use the term the “occupation of Palestine,” what did you mean by that?

Ocasio-Cortez: Oh, I think, what I meant is that the settlements that are increasing in some of these areas and places where Palestinians are experiencing difficulty in access to housing and homes.

Hoover: Do you think you can expand on that?

Ocasio-Cortez: Yeah I think … [laughing] I am not the expert on geo-politics on this issue. You now, for me, I’m a firm believer in finding a two-state solution in this issue. And I’m happy to sit down with leaders on both of these… for me, I just look at things through a human rights lens, and I may not use the right words– I know this is a very intense issue.

Hoover nods and smiles through Ocasio-Cortez’s string of barely coherent platitudes, without challenging her in any genuine way.

For one thing, there’s no such thing, nor has there ever been such a thing, as an Arab “Palestine.” There are a number of books Ocasio-Cortez could read about Arab history — or about the Turks or the Ottomans or the Jewish presence in Israel going back to 1500 BC, or even about situation that existed from 1947-1967 — but nowhere will she ever find a chapter on an independent Arab nation-state called “Palestine.” The idea itself is largely a post-World War II invention. You might hope that a Palestine will one day exist, but none has ever existed before.

Second, Ocasio-Cortez might not know this, but there are no “increasing settlements” in Gaza, the topic of the initial tweet Hoover was asking about, because there are no settlements in Gaza. In 2005, Israel conceded Gaza a large amount of autonomy, and with it the ability to conduct multi-party elections and live peacefully with its neighbors. In the process Israel dismantled all Israeli “settlements” in the Gaza Strip and expelled around 8,000 Jews who would have been massacred otherwise.

It’s debatable that Gaza can even be described as “occupied.” It was the Palestinians who decided to elect Hamas, and Hamas that decided to engage in the murder of its political opponents and then a suicidal struggle with Israel, rather than concern itself in any serious way with the humanitarian conditions of its own people.

Then again, maybe Ocasio-Cortez is just conflating Gaza with the West Bank, and believes in the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the latter area. Perhaps she believes, like Hamas, that Israel itself is a “settlement”? Ocasio-Cortez says she supports Israel’s “right to exist,” but perhaps one day she can clarify what that means to her.

Ocasio-Cortez might also be unaware that it’s not only Israel that implements sanctions against Gaza — because, after all, every time it loosens them, the first thing Hamas does is import weapons — but Egypt and the internationally recognized Palestinian authority of the West Bank. They all impose sanctions against Gaza because Gaza isn’t merely the home of a terror organization, it allies with other terror organizations around the world and Iran (but I repeat myself).

Worst of all, though, after admitting she really doesn’t know anything about the situation, Ocasio-Cortez still argues that what the IDF did to thousands of violent rioters, who attempted to bum rush the border and attack civilians on the other side, was no different than a domestic police force massacring peaceful protesters in the United States.

The lens through which I saw this incident as an activist, as an organizer — 60 people were killed in Ferguson, Missouri, 60 people were killed in the South Bronx, unarmed, 60 people were killed in Puerto Rico — I just look at that incident … just as an incident, and to me it would just be completely unacceptable if that happened on our shores.

We know that Hamas was using civilians as human shields and cannon fodder, and the resulting death tolls as propaganda. We know that many of the most dramatic instances of Israeli violence, including a young child dying at the riots, were more examples of Hamas playing the Western media. We know that at least 20 of those shot by IDF snipers were members of the military wing of Hamas, which is to say the terror wing.

The problem with seeing things through the lens of an “activist” or an “organizer” first is that you’re enticed to take positions that align with your preconceived ideological notions about oppression and “colonizers” rather than the facts. Then again, reflexively anti-Israel and anti-Semitic positions are becoming standard among the activist Left that Ocasio-Cortez aligns herself with. So it’s not really surprising to see socialists embrace it. But is it the future position of the Democratic Party?

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Should Harley-Davidson Be Worried About Trump's Threats?

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It's bad enough that Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) is being targeted for retribution by the European Union because of the tariffs imposed on imported steel and aluminum by President Trump, but its decision to move some production overseas to get around the steep duties has angered the president, who has promised to punish the bike maker for its actions.

The question is, should investors worry that Trump will actually turn his rhetoric into policy? Probably not.

Image source: Getty Images.

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Maybe Trump *is* a big baby, like British Socialists claim? Trump is also giving more proof that Free Trade is the right thing to do as protectionism hurts everyone.
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The $15 Minimum Wage Is Wreaking Havoc On New York City Dining

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The “Victory for New York Families” legislative package Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed more than two years ago has been devastating for New York City. They force businesses to offer mandatory paid family leave and pay every employee at least $15 per hour.

This minimum wage spike has forced several New York City businesses to shutter their doors and will claim many more victims soon. Businesses must meet the $15 wage by the end of 2018, the culmination of mandatory increment increases that began in 2016. Restaurants where staff earn tips are subject to a $5 per hour tip credit, but must pay $10 per hour. That is nearly double the 2014 minimum wage of $8 with a $3 tip credit.

For many businesses, this egregious law is not just an inconvenience, it is simply unaffordable. The most recent victim is long-time staple, The Coffee Shop, a tremendously popular Union Square bar and café favored by many celebrities.

A $15 Minimum Wage Means Fewer Job Opportunities

In explaining his decision to close following 28 years of high-volume business, owner Charles Milite told the New York Post, “The times have changed in our industry. The rents are very high and now the minimum wage is going up and we have a huge number of employees.”

Milite employs about 150 people at his breakfast, lunch, and dinner operation, which also puts him over the Affordable Care Act’s costly mandate that establishments with 50 or more employees provide health insurance.

The Coffee Shop is part of The Gotham City Restaurant Group, which also owns Flats Fix, the former employer of socialist darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The 28-year-old Democratic congressional candidate recently told The New York Times that many of her fellow restaurant workers were uninsured, inspiring her to run for office.

It seems a questionable claim, in light of the size of her former employer. Perhaps she should have encouraged her colleagues to demand the health care they were entitled to, rather than use them as an excuse to promote her dangerous platform of eliminating private insurance in favor of government-provided “Medicare for All.”

It Costs a Lot to Be Here. Let’s Make It More Expensive

New York’s minimum wage regulations came partially as a response to the constantly inflating cost of living, which actually affects businesses more profoundly than it does employees. Residential leases are protected by a fair amount of regulation, but commercial leases are not.

Many businesses find themselves unable to renew at the end of a five- or ten-year lease because the landlord wants a far more lucrative agreement. Property owners often prefer to sit on vacant spaces awaiting optimal lease agreements, which has led to a recent spike in unoccupied storefronts. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio even suggested penalizing property owners for the vacancies to help get lessees into the spaces faster.

Seattle and San Francisco led New York only slightly in achieving a $15 per hour minimum pay rate, with predictably bad results for those they were intended to help. As Erielle Davidson discussed in these pages last year, instead of increasing the livelihood of the lowest-paid employees, the rate increase forced many employers to terminate staff to stay afloat because it dramatically spiked the costs of operating a business.

Understaffed businesses face myriad other problems from wage mandates. Training hours for unskilled labor must be limited or eliminated, overtime is out of the question, and the number staff must be kept under 50 to avoid paying the high cost of a group health-care package. The end result is hurting the very people the public is promised these mandates will help.

High-Labor Restaurants Hardest Hit

Of all affected businesses, restaurants are at the greatest risk of losing their ability to operate under the strain of crushing financial demands. They run at the highest day-to-day operational costs of any business, partly because they must employ more people to run efficiently. In cities like New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco, even a restaurant that has great visibility and lots of traffic cannot keep up with erratic rent increases and minimum wage doubling.

When the minimum wage for tipped workers was much lower, employees sourced most of their income from guest gratuities, so restaurants were able to staff more people and provided ample training to create a highly skilled team. The skills employees gained through training and experience then increased their value to bargain for future, better-paying jobs.

Management-level employees, who earn a salary, are not subject to overtime rate protections, and minimum wage hikes cause restaurants to use them in place of their expensive hourly subordinates. Despite their additional skills and qualifications, managers of most restaurants subject to a $15 minimum hourly wage stay stagnant at their minimum annual compensation of $58,000. Thus, as I know well from holding one of those positions, responsibilities formerly relegated to hourly staff become managers’ duties. They are thus frequently required to wait tables or bartend atop their managerial duties, all while handing any earned gratuity to the staff.

For now, the $5 tip credit provides a small comfort to restaurants, but as in DC, there is a strong push to have the credit removed in the deeply misguided name of “fair pay.” Eventually, minimum wage laws and other prohibitive regulations will cause the world-renowned restaurant life in cities like New York, DC, and San Francisco to cease to exist. The staff skill levels will drop, the number of servers and bartenders will never be enough, and the only survivors will be fast-casual chains with low overhead and deep pockets.

New York’s new look will be vacant storefronts between an occasional Pret-a-Manger or the public restroom formerly known as Starbucks. But don’t worry. That charming, downtown studio apartment will still run about $5,000 per month for the privilege of proximity to all that culture.

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hehe... "the public restroom formerly known as Starbucks."
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Elon Musk’s Thai Cave Rescue Grandstanding Explains What’s Wrong with Tesla

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I held back on criticizing Elon Musk about his Thai cave rescue grandstanding because he claimed the rescuers encouraged him to help, even though his solution came after divers were already pulling the boys out of the cave. I figured, who knows? Maybe it was true. Maybe he really was trying to help, and the obsessive publicity-seeking that surrounded his effort was just a habitual reflex.

But then another Musk reflex kicked in: getting really sore and thin-skinned about criticism and lashing back about it on Twitter. So I figure if he’s so willing to dish out criticism of everybody else, he deserves to get some of it back.

To recap, you’ve probably heard about the enormous rescue effort for the 12 boys on a Thai youth soccer team and their coach, who were on an outing to explore a system of caves and trapped by rising flood waters when the summer rains came a month early. Finding the boys and getting them out safely took an astonishing effort by Thai Navy SEALs and an elite team of mostly British cave divers.

At the tail end, in sailed Silicon Valley entrepreneur and serial grandstander Musk, who took to Twitter to publicize his makeshift submarine pod—supposedly made out of SpaceX rocket parts, because there’s got to be a publicity tie-in to one of his businesses—which arrived when it was no longer needed. But to Musk’s legion of fanboys, he was just as big a part of the rescue as the people who actually did it.

Musk couldn’t show some modesty and recognize that the story wasn’t about him. He had to dismiss the opinion of the local Thai official who ran the rescue operation and said his pod would have been impractical. Then early Sunday, diver Vern Unsworth dismissed Musk’s effort as “just a PR stunt,” so Musk took to Twitter to repeatedly insult Unsworth, sniffing that in his own tour of the caves, he “never saw this British expat guy.”

This was supposed to make Unsworth seem like an uninformed observer. But given that Unsworth has spent the past six years in Thailand exploring the Tham Luang cave system and was crucial to the rescue operation at every point, the fact that Musk doesn’t know who he is makes Musk seem uninformed. This is a good reminder to billionaires and politicians: when they give you the “VIP tour” of an important project, they’re not necessarily showing you everything important. They’re just trying to find a polite way to keep you out of the way.

Zeynep Tufekci points out that one of the lessons of this fiasco, for Silicon Valley’s would-be “visonaries,” is to respect the different forms of expertise in other fields.

The Silicon Valley model for doing things is a mix of can-do optimism, a faith that expertise in one domain can be transferred seamlessly to another and a preference for rapid, flashy, high-profile action. But what got the kids and their coach out of the cave was a different model: a slower, more methodical, more narrowly specialized approach to problems, one that has turned many risky enterprises into safe endeavors—commercial airline travel, for example, or rock climbing, both of which have extensive protocols and safety procedures that have taken years to develop.

This ‘safety culture’ model is neither stilted nor uncreative. On the contrary, deep expertise, lengthy training and the ability to learn from experience (and to incorporate the lessons of those experiences into future practices) is a valuable form of ingenuity.

There are also some big lessons for Silicon Valley itself, lessons that might help explain some of the problems Musk has been having with his own company, the electric car maker Tesla.

1. Sometimes, Established Experts Actually Know Something

People who are experts in a specialized field—like, say, cave-diving—generally are not idiots and don’t need a Silicon Valley guy to come swooping in to say, “Well, actually, here’s how you really do it.” In fact, a big emerging story from the cave rescue is the crucial decision of Thai officials to hand control to a team of foreign cave divers after one of their Navy SEALs died during part of the rescue mission.

Even highly trained SEALs don’t know all of the challenges specific to the dangerous specialty of diving in caves, where oxygen supplies have to be managed with extra care because it is impossible to surface if anything goes wrong. The rescue wouldn’t have succeeded if not for a small group of enthusiasts who spent many years developing this expertise.

As one of the divers explained, “We were just using a very unique skill set, which we normally use for our own interests.” (This was his case for why they are not heroes. It didn’t find it convincing.)

Similarly, there are people out in the world whose “unique skill set” is building factories to produce large numbers of automobiles. The consequences of this expertise are not life and death for individuals, but they can be life and death for companies, and these experts have learned from decades of experience, failed experiments, and intense competition.

So sailing in with a plan to build a super-automated car factory that will make everybody else obsolete? It’s probably not going to work, as Musk has discovered at Tesla, where his “automated” factory now employs more people to make fewer cars than when it was owned by Toyota.

2. There’s a Reason People Stick with the Tried and True

Too much of Silicon Valley has grown up in the era of the app economy, where innovation takes less detailed knowledge (because there is no established way of doing anything to begin with), and most of all where the stakes are relatively low. Your app fails, and your customer is out a few dollars and just switches to a competitor’s app. In the entrepreneurial culture of Silicon Valley, where start-ups are expected to fail and there’s little lasting stigma, you can just move on to the next long-shot idea.

But in high-stakes situations, people want to use technology that is known and proven in tens of thousands of hours of use, not something you bodged together in two days and tested in a swimming pool. They’re not going to use it, because they’re specialists with a lot of experience, and this is outside their experience. They don’t know if it will go wrong or how to fix it when it does.

In an emergency, when someone’s life is on the line and they’re already pushing things beyond the normal limits, taking on your untested invention is just too great a risk. The Thai rescuers would have had to be very desperate to even consider using it.

Emergencies are not the only high-stakes situation. The other is putting a roof on a house, where you’re asking the homeowner to spend tens of thousands of dollars to safeguard the value of the entire house. Are you going to be excited to use Tesla’s shiny new solar roof tiles? Probably not.

Musk might make a lot of claims about how tough they are and how long a warranty he’s going to offer on them. But people in the building industry want to know how the product has lasted in actual use over 30 years. They want to know how long it will be before Musk’s laminated glass tiles develop fine hairline cracks and leak, causing angry homeowners to call them up and demand a repair. They want to know if his money-losing company is still going to be around ten years from now, when it’s time to make good on the warranty.

I remember watching a plumber remove a tankless water heater—they were all the rage about 15 years ago—only to discover that it was warrantied by a company that had gone out of business when the fad didn’t last. That happens to you once, and you’re going to be leery about jumping on the next bandwagon. Better off going with the cheaper asphalt shingles that you’ve been using with no problem for decades.

3. Publicity Is Less Important than Results

Getting lots of positive publicity and commanding the loyalty of an army of online fanboys is not as important as actually getting the job done. When Musk was posting videos of his makeshift tiny submarine, he got lots of positive feedback from people who had never heard of Vern Unsworth, or Rick Stanton, or John Volanthen, or any of the other divers—but these were the men who were actually pulling boys out of the caves.

Similarly, how many people know who George Mitchell is? Hint: he is the “father of fracking.” He never had a Twitter account and doesn’t get glowing profiles in the tech media, but he has done more than anyone else—far more than Musk—to revolutionize energy technology (and even to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, if you care about that sort of thing).

This leads us to the last, most obvious lesson.

4. Fighting On Twitter Is Not the Best Way to Run Anything

That’s a lesson with wide application outside Silicon Valley. Let’s just say there is more than one very stable genius who needs to put down his phone and pay more attention to his job.

Robert Tracinski is a senior writer for The Federalist. His work can also be found at The Tracinski Letter.

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Trump Is Right: Mueller’s Latest Indictment Suggests He’s Conducting A Witch Hunt

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On Friday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller returned a multi-count indictment charging 13 Russians and three companies with crimes related to hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s computers and seeking to use the information to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. When the news broke, pundits quickly used Mueller’s latest charges to chastise Trump for claiming the special counsel investigation is a “witch hunt.”

The New York Times claimed “[t]he 37-page indictment — handed up by a federal grand jury in Washington — amounted to a detailed rebuttal of Mr. Trump, who has sowed doubts that Russia interfered in the election and dismissed questions about its meddling as ‘fake news.’” CNN’s Jake Tapper and Josh Campbell used the criminal indictment to counter Trump’s “witch hunt” charge.

Tapper tweeted: “New Mueller indictments come just hours after POTUS called the Mueller probe, again, a ‘witch hunt,’” while Campbell quipped, “What do we call a Witch Hunt that actually leads us to witches?” The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Zweig soon joined the clique, adding a dose of humor: “Oh, *now* I understand. It’s a ‘-vich’ hunt!”

Zweig’s tweet was amusing, but represents a media pile-on in feigning confusion over the “witch hunt” Trump complained about. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway pointed out their folly, replying: “Well, in Salem Witch Hunt 200 people were accused, 20 were executed, 5 died in prison. As you well know, ‘witch hunt’ refers not to finding bad Russians but to media/intel campaign of suggesting Trump is a ‘Salem witch’ who treasonously colluded with Russians to steal election.”

Chuck Ross of the Daily Caller, concurred, noting “Trump critics have done an excellent job of blurring the lines on this.”

Trump keeps reiterating this point, but to no avail. In February, he stressed, “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” rather, “[t]he Russian ‘hoax’ was that the trump campaign colluded with Russia—it never did!” The media responded, not by reporting that Trump has conceded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, but by “fact checking” the president’s claim that he never said Russia did not meddle. The New York Times catalogued Trump’s comments dating back to June 2016.

Of course, Trump shares some blame, given his 2016 comments and continued media-baiting with tweets he knows the press will misrepresent, such as his June 28 one: “Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with Meddling in our Election! Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t Shady James Comey and the now disgraced FBI agents take and closely examine it? Why isn’t Hillary/Russia being looked at? So many questions, so much corruption!”

Predictably, and without forethought, the press pounced, reporting that “Trump sent out an early-morning tweet once more calling into question the conclusion of the US intelligence agencies that Russia was involved in the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails during the election.” That narrative quickly germinated in the Twittersphere, but as I pointed out at the time, Trump “DIDN’T say Russia had nothing to do with meddling! He said RUSSIA ‘says’ they didn’t AND Trump points to evidence Obama’s folks ignored that could PROVE Russia interference.”

Had the media paused even momentarily, they would have realized that the president’s reference to the DNC server refutes claims he was denying Russian interference in the election. But they didn’t. So instead the press handed Trump another example of fake news.

By intentionally treating Trump’s denial of colluding with Russia as a repudiation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the liberal media seeks to accomplish three goals, one silly and two significant. First, by painting the president as a “Russian interference denier,” the press attempts to make Trump look foolish, incompetent, or both. While this may be music to Manhattan, Main Street America has long ago tired of this tactic and writes it off as the fake news it is.

Conflating allegations that Trump colluded with Russia with evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election also serves two more nefarious purposes: One, it allows the media to ignore Trump’s true criticism of the special counsel’s investigation into his presidential campaign. Two, it allows the press to pretend evidence of Russian misconduct equates to proof that the Trump campaign was complicit in Russia’s interference in the election.

For instance, in Friday’s New York Times article on the indictment, after summarizing the special counsel’s charges, the newspaper of record pivoted to Trump: “Mr. Mueller has gathered extensive evidence of contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign: Mr. Trump’s eldest son met with a Russian lawyer in hopes of receiving political dirt on Mrs. Clinton; one adviser has admitted being tipped off in advance to Russian hacking of Democratic emails; another was in contact with a Twitter account used by Russian hackers; a federal judge found probable cause that a third adviser was an unlawful Russian agent. And the Trump campaign repeatedly and falsely denied any contacts with Russia. Whether any of that violated federal law is the weightiest question facing Mr. Mueller, and Friday’s indictment did not answer it.”

This passage alone deserves four Pinocchios. The “one adviser” refers to George Papadopoulos, but contrary to the Times’ claim, Papadopoulos denied advance knowledge of the Russian hack of the DNC emails. The federal judge finding “probable cause that a third adviser was an unlawful Russian agent”? That would be a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act judge, who issued a court order allowing the DOJ to conduct surveillance on Carter Page.

However, Page has not been charged with a crime, and the probable cause finding relied heavily on the now-debunked Christopher Steele dossier. Further, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is investigating potential abuse of the FISA process, and evidence continues to mount that the Obama administration and career DOJ and FBI employees wrongly surveilled Page.

Even ignoring these prevarications, the purpose of the article shines clear: to portray the recent indictment as evidence that Trump colluded with Russia. Yet, contrary to the mainstream media’s narrative, Friday’s indictment does not implicate Trump, but exonerate him.

Specifically, the indictment alleged Russian intel began its efforts to hack the DNC in March 2016, which was “before Super Tuesday II and the Florida/Ohio/Illinois primaries,” and thus before Trump became the presumptive nominee. Additionally, the indictment did not include any allegations that Trump campaign members colluded with the Russians.

Thus, while Mueller has brought more than 80 criminal charges against 20-plus people and three companies, as Andrew McCarthy quipped in response to the media misdirection: “There are 144 million more people in Russia who will never see the inside of an American courtroom. If Mueller indicts all of them, his stats will be *really* impressive . . . and there’ll still be no Trump espionage conspiracy against the election.”

This all goes to prove what Trump has been saying all along—that the special counsel’s investigation collusion between his campaign and Russia is a witch hunt.

The media may believe it is hurting Trump by continuing the Russia collusion charade, but it is not. The Left’s trial by ordeal will not destroy Trump, but it may well hurt our country and achieve Russia’s goal of sowing discord. Friday’s indictment of Russian nationals and Kremlin-linked companies should have united Americans in outrage over Russia’s attempts to influence our election, but instead a sideshow ensued, all to put Trump in his place.

What the press doesn’t realize, however, is that if it continues these efforts, Trump’s place will be the White House for another term.

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