About 40 years ago Ford Aerospace was responding to a Department of Defense Request for Proposals. Our Palo Alto headquarters sent a proposal manager to guide that effort and one of the first things he did was to gather the resumes of the people being proposed to staff the contract if we won. He read those resumes, compared them to the qualifications requested by the solicitation, and called a meeting of the proposal team. He began that meeting by saying: “Gentlemen, we have our work cut out for us, because you are selling the government an empty wagon.” I recall that because he confirmed exactly what I was thinking.

Sadly, the world has long been full of what another mentor referred to as "feather merchants," the kind of folks who are long on rhetoric and so very short on delivery. Even more sadly, many of us are quite comfortable with knowingly consuming the empty words of feather merchants.

Consider Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. This stunningly unaccomplished woman was elected to a seat in Congress and now travels about the country prescribing a new economic system for the United States. Although she reportedly has a degree in economics from Boston University, she repeatedly confirms her lack of any subject matter knowledge. Most recently she "sold" the people of her district on demonstrating against the Amazon headquarters proposed for New York. She celebrated defeating one of the world's richest men, striking a blow against corporate greed and preventing the exploitation of workers who would be earning an average of $150,000.

That paying people that much would only drive up the cost of housing and transportation was part of her rationale. Furthermore, New York could spend the $3 billion not "given" to Amazon on "investments" in the district. But there is no $3 billion, because that was the reduction of a 10-year estimated tax bill of $30 billion Amazon would have paid. The numbers can be disputed, but the fact remains: New York has lost tens of billions in Amazon taxes, 25,000 jobs and the taxes those workers would have paid, and the secondary and tertiary economic benefits of those employees spending whatever fraction of their incomes New York might allow them to keep. Cortez sold her constituents a spectacularly empty wagon with virtually no effort.

We’ve been barraged over the past week or so with claims by Jussie Smollett of an assault against him in Chicago. As of this writing, Smollett is in custody, charged with paying two associates to stage the attack and under suspicion of mailing himself a threatening letter, laced with crushed acetaminophen, the week before the attack. Far too much of the media unquestioningly spread the story that Trump supporters had beaten the gay, black Democratic activist, doused him in bleach, and hung a noose around his neck.

But police were less than impressed with his claim that he had gone out at 2 a.m. on one of Chicago’s coldest nights to buy a sandwich at Subway, had been attacked by racists, then come home with his sandwich intact and waited an hour to report the attack. They sold their readers an empty wagon. In fact, some (like me) might consider the reporting of the Covington High School incident, The Air Force Academy incident, the Drake University hoax, and others documented Feb. 18 by The Daily Caller a pattern of desperate attempts to sell an empty wagon narrative of hate crimes in the Trump era.

But surely even worse is the sad story of the "investigation" of Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Consider first the simple documented fact that Russia has interfered in every U.S. election since at least the beginning of World War II. Nobody should be hyperventilating about interference. But, what might one do if their intent was to help Russia or other enemies of the U.S.? Our economy is our strength. The lifeblood of that economy is abundant, affordable energy.

Might such a traitor seek to stop offshore drilling, ban fracking, prevent the building of pipelines, sell off our uranium reserves and put forth a massive hoax of imminent catastrophic climate change based on models that have yet to predict actual past results given known past input conditions? Might such a traitor propose banning all forms of transportation and enforced social programs that could not be funded if all income were confiscated? So far, the story of Trump collusion is an utterly empty wagon, but real evidence and actions suggest there was at least de facto collusion by the feather merchants.

Few of us react well to being scammed and the world’s feather merchants deserve neither tolerance nor attention. When will enough be enough?