Two For Thought

Trump’s Wiretapping Accusations

Same topic, different views

By Tim Baldwin

Things keep getting stranger in D.C. President Donald Trump tweeted that he “just found out” that the Obama Administration tapped his “wires” during the campaign. FBI Director James Comey, and former national intelligence director, James Clapper Jr., emphatically deny such tapping. Trump is calling for a congressional investigation.

Another alleged scandal enters amid a congressional investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, Attorney General Jeff Session’s not-so-accurate denial of having any conversations with Russian officials and then recusing himself as to investigations of Trump.

Media is asking government officials whether there is evidence of Trump’s tweeted accusation. None have seen any evidence, and Trump did not offer any. Perhaps there is evidence. If so, the warrant application, along with the supporting affidavits, may be revealed, and judgments would be made as to whether the law was followed.

What is explicitly odd here is that Trump tweeted about such a serious accusation. Is Trump covering a bigger scandal? Is he undermining future evidence? Is he affecting millions of Americans’ minds before Congress or the FBI can? What if the allegation is false or exaggerated? Will Trump supporters care?

Trump apparently believes that tweeting is the best way to communicate to America on extremely important matters. Trump will thrive or die by his tweets. We’ll see which.

By Joe Carbonari

Our freedom depends upon our ability to keep our economy producing and our government functioning.  If either falters, we risk deprivation and insecurity. Governmentally, our freedoms flow from the ballot box.  We pick our leaders. Our individual actions, taken together, give us the mechanism to exercise and protect our free will and our wellbeing.

If we can’t separate fact from fiction, we are subject to manipulation. If we don’t know who, or what, to believe, we are likely to make decisions that are based on fear and/or short-run self-interest. Cooperation suffers. Competition gets nasty. Some people suffer as an acceptable by-product of others’ self-advancement. Collateral damage mounts. Disorder ensues. Power triumphs. The march of civilization halts. We fight it out.

Let’s have this fight, with civility, at the ballot box. Let’s spread out our competing truths and alternative facts and have a good look. Let’s differentiate misunderstandings from outright lies, and let’s get, and keep, our liars out of leadership. When we are desperate, despondent, hopeless, we are susceptible. We want to believe, and we are willing to turn our heads. It is happening here.

Intellectual leadership is needed for efficiency; moral leadership for direction. We have let self-interest and rationalization take us too far. Our freedoms, our decency, and our dignity are at stake.