Donald Trump has made headlines in the past week trumpeting conspiracy theories that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
In response the White House has released a copy of Obama’s long form birth certificate showing the document from Hawaii.
Trump had played up the “birther” theories that won’t die despite repeated investigations by Republican office holders and the news media. Obama said the birth certificate is being released to remove the distraction.
Sarah Palin, who was among the early birther adherents, was convinced that Obama was born in Hawaii after she saw that his birth in 1961 was reported in a newspaper in the 50th state.
Two Hawaiian governors, both Republicans, have vouched for the authenticity of Obama’s birth records.
Quincy native James B. Stewart, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author, has a new book out. “Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America” tells the stories of Bernie Madoff, Martha Stewart, Barry Bonds and Scooter Libby.
The biggest political revelation in Stewart’s book is that Karl Rove apparently lied to President George W. Bush about how CIA operative Valerie Plame was “outed” in an interview with columnist Robert Novak.
“When President Bush asked (Rove) point blank if he had leaked a CIA agent’s identity to Novak, (Rove) said the subject hadn’t even come up in his conversation with Novak,” Stewart said during an exclusive interview with the Quincy Herald-Whig.
Stewart said lying is a form of “moral corruption” that is harming America.
He put the blame on national leaders, both Democrats and Republicans.
“We had, in Bill Clinton, a president who committed perjury and only grudgingly, if that, apologized for it. And in Bush we had a president who condoned it” by commuting Libby’s prison sentence, Stewart said.
Stewart will be at the Quincy Public Library May 7 to sign copies of his book.
The chart starts in 1918 when gasoline would have cost $3.61 per gallon if using those imaginary inflation-adjusted dollars. By 1981, when gas sold for $1.35 a gallon, the actual cost was about $3.24 in current terms.
One shortcoming of the graphic is that it was last updated during July 2010.
With gas selling for $4 a gallon or more in many places, the chart makes one wistful for the 1980s and 1990s, when costs were in the $1 range.
The U.S. Supreme Court does not intend to hear arguments at this time about whether it is unconstitutional to require that Americans purchase health insurance.
A one-sentence order was issued by the high court (4/25/11) that it would not review a Virginia ruling that it is unconstitutional for the health care reform law to mandate purchase of insurance.
That does not mean the issue is dead.
The Virginia case is under appeal in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Similar cases are under appeal in the Third, Sixth, Ninth and District of Columbia Circuit Courts of Appeal.
Maureen Martin, a senior fellow for legal affairs at the Heartland Institute, said cases normally “proceed from the trial court to federal courts of appeal and then to the Supreme Court,” which is not required to take a case.
At issue is whether the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government the power to require its citizens to buy any product or service. The individual mandate was included in the health care overhaul approved by Congress last year. Drafters of the legislation said everyone who is financially able must buy health insurance or face fines that will offset the governmental and hospital costs.
Chris Raymond, a graduate instructor of political science at the University of Missouri-Columbia, has done a study showing that religious beliefs greatly influence voters.
While that may not surprise everyone, the study was launched to confirm or refute the contention by some political analysts that “religious voting no longer matters.”
Raymond studied voting trends in the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. The three countries are in the middle of different trends. Religion is seen as a greater influence in U.S. elections, a declining influence in German elections and relatively steady in the U.K.
“Regardless of the trends, religiosity remains on par with class issues as far as why people vote. In fact, I argue that religion is No. 2 to social status,” Raymond said.
“It’s important to understand that religion isn’t the only factor, but an important one. This makes sense because as a person with a vote, my religion and my class are how I perceive the world.”
Findings from his study have been published in the journal Electoral Studies.
A new income tax comparison tool allows users to see what taxes have been charged in the United States (in 2010 dollars) since 1945.
I can’t speak for the web site’s accuracy. There’s a lot of information to input for this type of calculator — way beyond my abilities.
It is interesting to see how the $1 million wage earners saw their lowest tax rates toward the end of the Reagan years. But if you look at wage earners in the $60,000 to $80,000 range the payments are lower now than during any other time in the past 66 years.
A search for $10,000 and $20,000 wage earners also appears to show how taxes were at zero just before Reagan was elected, but climbed after that.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, Ill., often has been called a tea party favorite after his win against incumbent Phil Hare, D-Rock Island last November.
During a visit to Quincy on Monday, Schilling clarified that he agrees with the tea party on many levels, but is frustrated when he sees some people seek to divide the nation. He said “a lot of good people” are in the tea party and questions how many of them are extremists.
This video from a meeting with area school superintendents lets Schilling explain in his own words.
President Barack Obama kicked off his 2012 campaign today with the launch of a video on barackobama.com. The video does not have Obama speaking but has supporters expressing their excitement about the campaign.
One man who appears on the video says: “I don’t agree with Obama on everything, but I respect him and I trust him.”
That’s a different strategy for a national campaign. It would be interesting to see what the marketing gurus for web sites had to say about soft selling candidates.
Several Republicans have said they’re running for President. Who do local folks want to see with that nomination? Comments are welcomed.