we have the most expensive, inefficient, and bureaucratic health care system in the world – Why Medicare-for-All Is Good for Business | Fortune.com

http://fortune.com/2017/08/21/bernie-sanders-medicare-for-all-bill-health-care-insurance/

— excerpt below —

Why Medicare-for-All Is Good for Business Bernie Sanders Aug 21, 2017

Despite major improvements made by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), our health care system remains in crisis. Today,

we have the most expensive, inefficient, and bureaucratic health care system in the world.

We spend almost $10,000 per capita each year on health care, while the Canadians spend $4,644, the Germans $5,551, the French $4,600, and the British $4,192. Meanwhile, our life expectancy is lower than most other industrialized countries and our infant mortality rates are much higher. Further, as of September 2016, 28 million Americans were uninsured and millions more underinsured with premiums, deductibles, and copayments that are too high. We also pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. UNITEDHEALTH UnitedHealth Names a New CEO The ongoing failure of our health care system is directly attributable to the fact that it is largely designed not to provide quality care in a cost-effective way, but to make maximum profits for health insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and medical equipment suppliers. That has got to change. We need to guarantee health care for all. We need to do it in a cost-effective way. We need a Medicare-for-all health care system in the U.S. COMMENTARY When Success Is About Doing Old Things in New Ways compare-card COMPARECARDS 2 Cards Charging 0% Interest Until 2019 SPONSORED PAID CONTENT It’s More Than A Game: How To Network Through Golf From KPMG MARTIN SHKRELI Why Martin Shkreli Won’t Be the Last Pharma Bro Berryville Democrats new message POLITICS Democrats Promise ‘A Better Deal’ in Populist Appeal to Working Class Voters US-POLITICS-HEALTHCARE-SANDERS BERNIE SANDERS Why Bernie Sanders Isn’t Actually a Socialist Express Scripts To Buy Medco For $29.1 Billion To Gain Scale PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS Express Scripts Shares Flop Over 11% on Likely Loss of Its Biggest Customer Stock Open Slightly Higher On The New York Stock Exchange ONETIME Dollar Steadies After U.S. Healthcare Bill Pulled House Speaker Paul Ryan Holds Weekly Briefing HEALTH INSURANCE The Big Problem (and Benefit) of the GOP’s Health Care Plan Press Secretary Sean Spicer Holds Daily Press Briefing U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT Some Trump Boasts Stumble, But Jobs Do Grow Let’s be clear. Not only is our dysfunctional health care system causing unnecessary suffering and financial stress for millions of low- and middle-income families, it is also having a very negative impact on our economy and the business community—especially small- and medium-sized companies. Private businesses spent $637 billion on private health insurance in 2015 and are projected to spend $1.059 trillion in 2025. But it’s not just the heavy financial cost of health care that the business community is forced to bear. It is time and energy. Instead of focusing on their core business goals, small- and medium-sized businesses are forced to spend an inordinate amount of time, energy, and resources trying to navigate an incredibly complex system in order to get the most cost-effective coverage possible for their employees. It is not uncommon for employers to spend weeks every year negotiating with private insurance companies, filling out reams of paperwork, and switching carriers to get the best deal they can. And more and more business people are getting tired of it and are asking the simple questions that need to be addressed. Why as a nation are we spending more than 17% of our GDP on health care, while nations that we compete with provide health care for all of their people at 9, 10, or 11% of their GDP? Is that sustainable? What impact does that have on our overall economy? Why are employers who do the right thing and provide strong health care benefits for their employees at a competitive disadvantage with those who don’t? Why are some of the largest and most profitable corporations in America, like Walmart, receiving massive subsidies from the federal government because their inadequate benefits force many of their employees to go on Medicaid? Why are most labor disputes in this country centered on health care coverage? Is it good for a company to have employees on the payroll not because they enjoy the work, but because their families need the health insurance the company provides? ADVERTISING Richard Master is the owner and CEO of MCS Industries Inc., the nation’s leading supplier of wall and poster frames—a $200 million a year company based in Easton, Pa. “My company now pays $1.5 million a year to provide access to health care for our workers and their dependents,” Master told Common Dreams. “When I investigated where all the money goes, I was shocked.” What he found was that fully 33 cents of every health care premium dollar “has nothing to do with the delivery of health care.” Thirty-three percent of his health care budget was being spent on administrative costs. “I came to realize that insurers comprise a completely unnecessary middleman that not only adds little if any value to our health care system, it adds enormous costs to it,” Master said. HEALTH INSURANCE Pre-existing Conditions Complicate Health Care Replacement It doesn’t have to be this way. Every other major country on earth has a national health care program that guarantees health care to all of their people at a much lower cost. In our country, Medicare, a government-run single-payer health care system for seniors, is a popular, cost-effective health insurance program. When the Senate gets back into session in September, I will be introducing legislation to expand Medicare to cover all Americans. This is not a radical idea. I live in Burlington, Vt., 50 miles south of the Canadian border. For decades, every man, woman, and child in Canada has been guaranteed health care through a single-payer, publicly funded health care program. Not only has this system improved the lives of the Canadian people, it has saved businesses many billions of dollars. The American Sustainable Business Council, a business advocacy organization, started a campaign in April in support of single-payer health care. To date, more than 170 business leaders have signed on to this initiative in more than 30 states. Here is what these business leaders have written: “All supporters of the campaign believe that a single-payer health care system, which is what the vast majority of the industrialized world embraces, will deliver significant cost-savings, in large part by eliminating the wasteful practices of the insurance industry that are designed for financial advantage.” In my view, health care for all is a moral issue. No American should die or suffer because they lack the funds to get adequate health care. But it is more than that. A Medicare-for-all single-payer system will be good for the economy and the business community.Bernie Sanders is the junior U.S. senator from Vermont. SPONSORED STORIES The Game of Startup: Can Your Big Idea Succeed? The Game of Startup: Can Your Big Idea Succeed? CHASE If You Own a Home You May Be Entitled to $4,240 If You Own a Home You May Be Entitled to $4,240 financedaily.org Forget Your 401k If You Own A Home (Do This Instead) Forget Your 401k If You Own A Home (Do This Instead) Bills.com You’re Going To Want Gigi Hadid’s Affordable Sneakers, Too You’re Going To Want Gigi Hadid’s Affordable Sneakers, Too WhoWhatWear.com by NEXT UP MPW Nikki Haley: I Had a ‘Private’ Talk With Donald Trump About Charlottesville US-POLITICS-TRUMP MOST POPULAR STORIES 1Treasury Secretary’s Wife Posts Instagram of Government Plane, Designer Fashion—Then Lashes Out at Critic US-POLITICS-TREASURY-MNUCHIN 2Chelsea Clinton to Conservative Site: Leave Barron Trump Alone The Powerful And Influential Attend Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting 3Hacking Coinbase: The Great Bitcoin Bank Robbery 4Why Big Business Is Racing to Build Blockchains 5This Prediction Is Really Bad News for Facebook The Facebook MORE COVERAGE U.S. MILITARY The Navy Is at a Breaking Point. Here’s Who Can Save It. President Trump Addresses The Nation On Strategy In Afghanistan And South Asia From Fort Myer In Arlington DONALD TRUMP AFGHANISTAN The Only Way Trump’s Afghanistan Plan Would Make Sense DONALD TRUMP Arizona Rep. Grijalva: Trump Should Cancel His Racist Rally in Phoenix IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL How We Can Keep Iran From Becoming the Next North Korea Inside An Amazon.com Inc. University Kiosk AMAZON Amazon’s Newest Venture Is Likely to Be a Bust Senators Leave Capitol Hill For Summer Break HEALTH CARE Why Bernie Sanders’ Single-Payer Health Care Bill Would Be a Disaster US-POLITICS-TRUMP VACATION How to Take a Better Working Vacation Than Donald Trump Did Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor World Press Tour – London UFC Here’s Who Will Really Win the Mayweather-McGregor Fight SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT This One Device Could End Smart Phones As We Know It & Investors Agree Angel Publishing 1 Stock Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Refuses to Compete With The Motley Fool Electric Car Revolution Leads To Interesting Play For Investors. Lot78 DOL-Compliant Target Date Fund Due Diligence Made Easy: See How Capital Group dianomi-logo SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT MORE FROM FORTUNE.COM FORTUNE INSIDERS The Navy Is at a Breaking Point. Here’s Who Can Save It. HEALTH Why a Tobacco Giant CEO Is Cheering the FDA’s War on Nicotine Reynolds Said to Aim for July Lorillard Deal as Talks Continue HEALTH Brainstorm Health: Philip Morris Cheers Nicotine Limits, Johnson & Johnson Cancer Verdict TECH Google Pushes New Corporate Perks for Chromebooks TECH Popular Robots Have Security Flaws That Could Make Them Dangerous Inside SoftBank Group Corp.’s Pepper World 2016 Event TECH Here’s What We Think We Know About Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 Samsung S8’s First Day Of Public Sales FORTUNE INSIDERS The Only Way Trump’s Afghanistan Plan Would Make Sense President Trump Addresses The Nation On Strategy In Afghanistan And South Asia From Fort Myer In Arlington LUXURY Lagunitas Unveils an IPA Made With Cannabis COLOMBIA-MARIJUANA TECH Amazon Is Offering a Big Echo Discount LEADERSHIP Trump Leans on Afghanistan Tactics That Failed Under Bush and Obama U.S. President Donald Trump Customer ServiceSite MapPrivacy PolicyAdvertisingAd ChoicesTerms of UseYour California Privacy RightsCareers © 2017 Time Inc. All rights reserved. All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions SUBSCRIBE Home Fortune 500 All Rankings Tech Leadership Venture Fortune Insiders Most Powerful Women Automotive Careers Energy & Environment Executive Travel Finance Health TIME Health International Looking Forward Retail Markets Magazine Newsletters Videos Fortune Conferences Follow FORTUNE SHARE Share on Facebook Post on Twitter Email this story Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn

I invented the web. Here are three things we need to change to save it | Tim Berners-Lee | Technology | The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/11/tim-berners-lee-web-inventor-save-internet?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits

 — excerpt below —

Today marks 28 years since I submitted my original proposal for the worldwide web. I imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries. In many ways, the web has lived up to this vision, though it has been a recurring battle to keep it open. But over the past 12 months, I’ve become increasingly worried about three new trends, which I believe we must tackle in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool that serves all of humanity.

1) We’ve lost control of our personal data

The current business model for many websites offers free content in exchange for personal data. Many of us agree to this – albeit often by accepting long and confusing terms and conditions documents – but fundamentally we do not mind some information being collected in exchange for free services. But, we’re missing a trick. As our data is then held in proprietary silos, out of sight to us, we lose out on the benefits we could realise if we had direct control over this data and chose when and with whom to share it. What’s more, we often do not have any way of feeding back to companies what data we’d rather not share – especially with third parties – the T&Cs are all or nothing.

This widespread data collection by companies also has other impacts. Through collaboration with – or coercion of – companies, governments are also increasingly watching our every move online and passing extreme laws that trample on our rights to privacy. In repressive regimes, it’s easy to see the harm that can be caused – bloggers can be arrested or killed, and political opponents can be monitored. But even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone all the time is simply going too far. It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, such as sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion.

2) It’s too easy for misinformation to spread on the web

Today, most people find news and information on the web through just a handful of social media sites and search engines. These sites make more money when we click on the links they show us. And they choose what to show us based on algorithms that learn from our personal data that they are constantly harvesting. The net result is that these sites show us content they think we’ll click on – meaning that misinformation, or fake news, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases, can spread like wildfire. And through the use of data science and armies of bots, those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.

3) Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding

Political advertising online has rapidly become a sophisticated industry. The fact that most people get their information from just a few platforms and the increasing sophistication of algorithms drawing upon rich pools of personal data mean that political campaigns are now building individual adverts targeted directly at users. One source suggests that in the 2016 US election, as many as 50,000 variations of adverts were being served every single day on Facebook, a near-impossible situation to monitor. And there are suggestions that some political adverts – in the US and around the world – are being used in unethical ways – to point voters to fake news sites, for instance, or to keep others away from the polls. Targeted advertising allows a campaign to say completely different, possibly conflicting things to different groups. Is that democratic?

Play Video

Play

Current Time0:00

/

Duration Time1:03

Loaded: 0%

Progress: 0%

Fullscreen

Mute

 Sir Tim Berners-Lee: how the web went from idea to reality

These are complex problems, and the solutions will not be simple. But a few broad paths to progress are already clear. We must work together with web companies to strike a balance that puts a fair level of data control back in the hands of people, including the development of new technology such as personal “data pods” if needed and exploring alternative revenue models such as subscriptions and micropayments. We must fight against government overreach in surveillance laws, including through the courts if necessary. We must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem, while avoiding the creation of any central bodies to decide what is “true” or not. We need more algorithmic transparency to understand how important decisions that affect our lives are being made, and perhaps a set of common principles to be followed. We urgently need to close the “internet blind spot” in the regulation of political campaigning.

Our team at the Web Foundation will be working on many of these issues as part of our new five-year strategy – researching the problems in more detail, coming up with proactive policy solutions and bringing together coalitions to drive progress towards a web that gives equal power and opportunity to all.

I may have invented the web, but all of you have helped to create what it is today. All the blogs, posts, tweets, photos, videos, applications, web pages and more represent the contributions of millions of you around the world building our online community. All kinds of people have helped, from politicians fighting to keep the web open, standards organisations like W3C enhancing the poweraccessibility and security of the technology, and people who have protested in the streets. In the past year, we have seen Nigerians stand up to a social media bill that would have hampered free expression online, popular outcry and protests at regional internet shutdowns in Cameroon and great public support for net neutrality in both India and the European Union.

It has taken all of us to build the web we have, and now it is up to all of us to build the web we want – for everyone.

The Web Foundation is at the forefront of the fight to advance and protect the web for everyone. We believe doing so is essential to reverse growing inequality and empower citizens. You can follow our work by signing up to our newsletter, and find a local digital rights organisation to support here on this list. Additions to the list are welcome and may be sent to contact@webfoundation.org

Click here to make a donation.

Daily chart: The best and worst places to be a working woman | The Economist

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2017/03/daily-chart-0?fsrc=scn/pn/te/bl/ed/

— excerpt below —
The best and worst places to be a working woman
The Economist’s glass-ceiling index measures gender equality in the labour market

Graphic detail

Mar 8th 2017

by THE DATA TEAM
MARCH 8th is International Women’s Day, a date designated by the UN to celebrate and advocate for women’s rights. To provide a benchmark for progress on gender equality in the labour market, The Economist has published its fifth annual “glass-ceiling index”. It combines data on higher education, workforce participation, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs into a single measure of where women have the best—and worst—chances of equal treatment in the workplace. Each country’s score is a weighted average of its performance on ten indicators. 
The overall picture painted by the data is that the long trend of improving conditions for working women has flatlined within the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. In 2005, 60% of women were in the labour force; ten years later, this ratio had edged up only slightly to 63% (it was 80% for men in both years). With relatively few women climbing the ranks, and strong old-boys’ networks helping men reach the top, female representation in well-paid and high-status jobs is closer to a third than half. And the gender wage gap—male minus female wages, divided by male wages—is still around 15%, meaning women as a group earn 85% of what men do. 
These broad averages conceal wide variation between countries. The Nordic countries clearly lead the world on gender equality at work. The top four positions this year belong to Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Finland, just as they did in 2016 (though Sweden and Norway did switch places). Women in these countries are more likely than men to have a university degree and be in the labour force. They make up 30-44% of company boards, compared with an average of 20% across the OECD. And voluntary political-party gender quotas mean that women are well-represented in parliaments. In October, women won a record 48% of the seats in Iceland’s lower house. At around two-fifths, Scandinavian women’s share of parliamentary seats ranks in the top 10% globally.

Advertisement
At the other end of the index are Japan, Turkey and South Korea. Women make up only around 15% of parliaments in these countries, and are underrepresented in management positions and on company boards. In South Korea, just 2% of corporate directors are female. Similarly, fewer women than men have completed tertiary education and are part of the labour force. Only 35% of Turkish women are working or looking for work, and a mere 16% have graduated from university.
Progress in gender equality has a tendency to build upon itself. In Iceland, which currently provides the most equal working environment for women according to our index, female workers staged a protest last October in which they marched out of their offices early to call attention to the country′s 14% gender pay gap. If Japanese women were to do likewise, they would be leaving much earlier.
   Subatomic opportunitiesQuantum leaps
    The strangeness of the quantum realm opens up exciting new technological possibilities
You are seeing the beta version of Economist.com

Need assistance with your subscription?

    Subscribe

Copyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

The 45th president: Making sense of Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated accusations against his predecessor | The Economist

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2017/03/45th-president?fsrc=scn/pn/te/bl/ed/

— excerpt below —

The 45th presidentMaking sense of Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated accusations against his predecessor
There are three explanations for Mr Trump’s accusation that Barack Obama ordered his phones to be tapped. None of them is comforting

Democracy in America

Mar 5th 2017
by LEXINGTON
American democracy has suffered a wound that, however it heals, will leave nasty scars. On March 5th the White House announced that President Donald Trump is asking congressional intelligence committees to probe unspecified “reports” that the administration of Barack Obama abused its executive powers to launch, “potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election”.
The formal White House statement was, in effect, an attempt to comb the hair and clothe in a suit and tie a string of four wild and unsubstantiated tweets by the president of America. In those tweets, issued around dawn the day before, the 45th president accused the 44th of a “Nixon/Watergate” plot to tap the phones at Trump Tower, his campaign and business  headquarters in New York. This alleged wire-tapping was an attempt to meddle in the “very sacred election process”, and shows Mr Obama to be a “bad (or sick) guy!” charged Mr Trump. “Nothing” was found by this spying, he added, concluding: “This is McCarthyism!”
There are a number of explanations for Mr Trump’s allegations, none of them cheering. The first is that Mr Trump’s stated suspicions are well-founded, and Mr Obama and his administration did, in fact, illegally spy on the nominee of one of the two main political parties.
Mark Levin, a conservative media firebrand, is said to have provoked Mr Trump’s outburst with a broadcast on March 2nd. Mr Levin cited a series of news reports from 2016 and 2017 that federal investigators at various times sought warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Mr Trump and several of his advisers, seeking evidence of potentially troubling business or espionage ties with Russia. Mr Levin called this “police state” tactics and suggested that Congress should probe this “silent coup” by the Obama administration, rather than allegations that Russia interfered in the election. Mr Levin’s show was later written up by the right-wing website Breitbart News, whose former chairman, Stephen Bannon, is now Mr Trump’s chief strategist. Roger Stone, a flamboyant political operative and informal adviser  to Mr Trump, declared: “The buck stops here. Obama responsible for illegal surveillance of @realDonaldTrump—must be charged, convicted and jailed.”
The second explanation is that the FBI or other federal investigators legally spied on Trump Tower, the Trump campaign or figures close to the president. The bar for obtaining a FISA warrant is high—typically requests come from the attorney-general, a deputy attorney-general or the head of a spy agency, and must show a federal judge that there is probable cause that a target for surveillance is an “agent of a foreign power”. A spokesman for Mr Obama pushed back hard at Mr Trump’s claim that the former president, or his White House team ordered such surveillance, saying “neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen”, adding that it was a “cardinal rule” of the Obama White House not to interfere in any investigation led by the Department of Justice.
In an intervention that did little to unfurrow the brows of those following this tale, James Clapper, who was until January the Director of National Intelligence, told NBC television that he knew of no FISA warrants against Trump Tower, at least for the spy agencies that he oversaw. “There was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president, the president-elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign,” he said. Mr Clapper added that he stands by his formal finding, issued in January, that the Russian government meddled in the presidential election to help Mr Trump, but said he had seen no evidence of active collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians.
A third explanation for Mr Trump’s outburst is that he was trying to rally his supporters and discomfort his opponents after a bumpy few days, once again involving furtive contacts between Team Trump and Russians. This time the problem involved Mr Trump’s attorney-general and ideological mentor, Jeff Sessions. To Mr Trump’s semi-public fury Mr Sessions felt obliged to recuse himself from overseeing federal investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. This decision to step aside from any probes came after Mr Sessions had to concede that his testimony to senators during his confirmation hearings had some large holes in it, roughly the same size and shape as Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s burly ambassador to America. Sleuthing by the Washington Post and other news outlets revealed that Mr Sessions met Mr Kislyak twice during the campaign, despite telling senators he had “no communications with the Russians”.
Under this theory of events, Mr Trump’s dramatic tweets bring to mind the owner of a Chicago speakeasy, who while being questioned by G-Men about why so many Mob bosses drink at his establishment, bellows: “FIRE!” and pulls the fire alarm. For when Mr Trump’s tactics are examined coolly, his claims of treachery by Mr Obama are a way to make Americans focus on a large, invented allegation—that Democrats, the media and other “enemies of the people” are conspiring to destroy or at least delegitimise his presidency. In fact, the allegations about Russia that continue to dog Mr Trump are narrower but still troubling.

Advertisement
In a world of political smoke and mirrors, here are some things that definitely happened. During the presidential election campaign Mr Trump repeatedly broke with Republican Party orthodoxy to advocate friendlier ties with the Russian government of Vladimir Putin, in part because Mr Putin had the good judgement to praise Mr Trump (“Putin called me a genius” Mr Trump noted at rallies), and in part because Russia might, in his words, be willing to “knock the hell” out of the Islamic State extremist group in Syria and other theatres of war, sparing America much blood and treasure.
During the summer of 2016 WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of e-mails stolen from the servers of the Democratic National Committee and from the e-mail account of the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. American officials accused Russian hackers of being behind these leaks, as did Mrs Clinton but Mr Trump poured scorn on such claims, calling them an attempt to smear him, and wondering whether the hacker might be somebody “sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds”. In a press conference in July, Mr Trump invited Russia—“if you’re listening”—to search e-mail servers belonging to Mrs Clinton or government archives and find thousands of e-mails that the Democrat had deleted as private, after leaving her post as Mr Obama’s secretary of state. Mr Trump later said that this was a joke.
These events are beyond dispute. Lots of e-mails embarrassing to Mrs Clinton were stolen and appeared online, to Mr Trump’s public glee: “I love WikiLeaks”, he said in October. Someone hacked them, and after a lot of havering around Mr Trump, in January of this year, did at last say he believes that the culprit is Russia. Mr Trump gave Russian officials ample reason to think that their country might benefit from his election.
If so much smoke still swirls, it is because it remains unclear whether a natural coincidence of interests between Russia and Team Trump was buttressed by actual collusion. The Trump administration has suffered some of its worst early blows as a result of obfuscation around Russia. Michael Flynn, a retired three-star general, had to resign as Mr Trump’s first national security adviser after misleading the vice-president, Mike Pence, among others, about his own contacts with Mr Kislyak. Though he initially denied any substantive contacts, it emerged that Mr Flynn had spoken to the ambassador several times in late December, urging Russia to be patient and not to retaliate after Mr Obama imposed sanctions on Russians as punishment  for election meddling.
Trump partisans are currently lining up behind their man. But to return to that analogy with a Chicago bar-owner trying to avoid tough questioning, Mr Trump may be about to discover that when you pull a fire alarm in a crowded beer-hall, there are real-world consequences, some of them hard to control.
Though most Republicans remain intent on passing long-cherished bills and sending them to Mr Trump’s desk for signing, some members of his party are already signalling disquiet. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a thoughtful and principled conservative, issued a statement saying: “We are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust, and the president’s allegations today demand the thorough and dispassionate attention of serious patriots.  A quest for the full truth, rather than knee-jerk partisanship, must be our guide if we are going to rebuild civic trust and health.” A member of the Senate intelligence committee, Marco Rubio of Florida, told NBC television he had seen “no evidence” to back Mr Trump’s claims. “The president put that out there, and now the White House will have to answer as to exactly what he was referring to,” said Mr Rubio.
The Florida senator is correct. In coming days the White House will have to explain what the president meant in his early-morning tweets on Saturday. Some observers felt that Mr Trump himself seemed to tire of his own outburst, tweeting his thoughts about a casting change on a reality-television show some 30 minutes after accusing his predecessor of something close to treason. Others see sincere rage, even paranoia. A conservative media boss and old friend of Mr Trump’s, Chris Ruddy, claims that the president believes his own allegations about wire-tapping with a fierce rage, telling him this weekend: “I will be proven right”.
Either way, the president has told his country and the world that American democracy came under a serious attack. He cannot now wish that charge away.

Reuse this content
Copyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2017. All rights reserved.