Think California has the highest gas prices in America? Think again. Chicago: the one party town wears that crown.
What are the consequences of living in the last of the one-party machine towns, a town that has hosted the Daley family as well as being the hometown of Barack Obama and the cronies he put in power (including Bill Daley, his Chief of Staff)? Politicians who have no problem imposing the highest gas prices in America on their citizens.
From the Chicago Tribune:
Chicago-area gas prices have been running about 50 cents per gallon more than the national average. Fifty cents doesn’t sound like much until you consider a two-car family might buy 1,400 gallons of gas a year, which siphons some $700 more from their pockets than other Americans.
The clipping of the wallet causes damage throughout the economy, as consumers have that much less money to spend on retail purchases, save for their future, invest in their children.
The main cause of the high prices? Taxes and regulations-the Democrats solution to all our problems. There is a “mind-boggling array of tax levies that get tacked on gasoline’s retail price.”
There are excise taxes (both federal and state — and actually the Illinois state tax is in-line with other states); but also taxes that are charged to fill the underground storage tank fund and environmental impact fees. But together these last two only amount to a penny a gallon.
The killer is the sales tax. Illinois is only one of seven states to charge a sales tax on gas. What makes it worse is that these taxes are not a fixed number of cents per gallon but fluctuate as a percentage of the sale. This is a recipe for compounding the damage to the consumers; as oil prices rise, so does the amount taken from Illinois drivers — at a faster rate than for others across America. The state sales tax is 6.25 percent, so the take per gallon rises as the total bill at the gas station rises.
Illinois is also unusual in that it allows counties and municipalities to also get in the action.
In Chicago, city, county and Regional Transportation Authority (for our government-run trains and buses) sales tax add a few more percent. Thank you, Democrats.
But wait..there’s more.
When you buy gas in Chicago, you pay a couple more flat taxes. The city of Chicago and Cook County not only levy sales taxes but also flat taxes of 5 cents and 6 cents, respectively. Illinois is the only state to allow all these different taxes to be levied in concert, Sykuta said.
Worsening the problem is that some sales taxes are applied on top of flat taxes, charging motorists tax on tax, which only accelerates the total cost.
“One reason for higher prices is because of the multiple layers of taxes in Chicago,” said John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute.
The grand total? Taxes add an average of 69 cents to every gallon of gas in Illinois, and far more in high tax areas such as Chicago. That places Illinois up with the highest gas-taxing states in the nation, along with Connecticut, 70.3 cents, and New York, 69.1 cents, according to an analysis by petroleum institute. The national average is about 50 cents.
Taxing taxes — a Democratic dream.
But wait …there are even more costs, courtesy of politicians. Chicago is required by the Environmental Protection Agency, as are most cities, to use pricier reformulated gasoline in the summer. Chicago formulated a toxic brew so unaffordable that the rest of Illinois gets to use a cheaper blend.
This boutique blend is pricier. What adds to the costs, is that the cocktail of summer gas must include a heavy dose of corn-based ethanol. Only a few refineries make this unique blend, adding more to the costs. No wonder Obama supported the ethanol industry: Illinois is the second-largest producer of corn. So this government-imposed rule was yet another sop to the ethanol industry. Since there are so few refineries in America (thanks to rules and regulations, and the NIMBY problem) an outage in any of the very few refineries that produce Chicago gasoline can cause prices to spike even when crude oil pricing is stable.
Chicago is a microcosm of what Democratic policies lead to: sky-high prices and the ever-present risk of government caused-shortages.
Obama sees benefits in high energy prices (he and his minions have repeatedly said so) –especially those that transfer money from motorists into the hands of Democratic politicians.
America, welcome to the world of Cook (“Crook”) County politics.
f this isn’t blatant favoritism I don’t know what is.
As part of the White House’s deal to permit Comcast to buy NBC Universal, the government forced Comcast to promise to provide, according to Abby W. Schacter of the New York Post:
2.5 million low income households: (i) high-speed Internet access service for less than $10 per month; (ii) personal computers, netbooks, or other computer equipment at a purchase price below $150; and (iii) an array of digital-literacy education opportunities.”
Who are the lucky beneficiaries among all the Americans who fit this category? Are you sitting down? Poor blacks in Obama’s hometown in Chicago are the ones getting the sweet deal. Is it also a coincidence that Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former Chief of Staff, was recently elected mayor and may need to boost his reputation among this same group of people, since he defeated a couple of the black candidates widely supported by them?
Of course, many of the key people in Obama’s White House also hail from the Windy City including the man who replaced Emanuel as the Chief of Staff, Bill Daley (brother of Chicago’s former mayor) and Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s oldest friends and advisers.
This sort of bullying is not uncommon in Cook County, one of the last Democrat-run city machines in the nation (wags call it Crook County for a reason). One hand washes the other there and rules are bent to favor political allies — the seeming modus operandi of Barack Obama on a national scale over the last few years.
Nor is race-based policy-making something that is unknown in the Obama administration. At the Federal Communications Commission Obama created something called the Chief Diversity Officer. The first person to hold this position is Mark Lloyd, who has a long record of advocating that blacks replace whites as executives in the broadcasting industry and as owners of media outlets to achieve racial fairness
Were poor rural white kids in southern towns outside of Illinois even considered for such a sweet deal?
Remember how the media used to sneer that the jib growth being reported represented “McJobs” -low paying unskilled part time work that didn’t include benefits or provide for advancement? That seems to have changed thi week with the media’s celebration of the new jobs report. As is noted by Wesley J. Smith at NRO:
The good news is that the economy added about 268,000 new jobs. The bad news is that 25 percent (62,000) were from McDonald’s. That’s honorable and respectable work, of course. But consider this: Had the Obama administration not granted McD’s a waiver from having to abide by the law, it might not have added all those workers.
The law Smith refers to is ObamaCare. While McDonald’s as a restuarant idea began in 1940s California, the corporation was founded in a suburb of Chicago and is currently headquartered in Oakbrook, Illinois. Its executives have seen how crony capitalism is played the Chicago way.
HOW DARE YOU DEFEND YOURSELF
By DON BABWIN
CHICAGO – The Chicago City Council on Friday approved what city officials say is the strictest handgun ordinance in the nation, but not before lashing out at the Supreme Court ruling they contend makes the city more dangerous because it will put more guns in people’s hands.
The new ordinance bans gun shops in Chicago and prohibits gun owners from stepping outside their homes, even onto their porches or in their garages, with a handgun. It becomes law in 10 days, Corporation Counsel Mara Georges said.
The vote comes just four days after the high court ruled Americans have the right to have handguns anywhere for self-defense — a ruling that makes the city’s 28-year-old ban on such weapons unenforceable.
“I wish that we weren’t in the position where we’re struggling to figure out a way in which we can limit the guns on our streets and still meet the test that our Supreme Court has set for us,” said Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, minutes before the council voted 45-0 to approve the ordinance.
It was swift action for a council that typically takes far longer to pass ordinances, but Mayor Richard Daley — who promised the city would not “roll over” if the court ruled against the city’s handgun ban — clearly wanted to give police a law they could begin enforcing as quickly as possible.
“You have to get the tools to the police,” Daley said.
And even though the ban remains in effect until it is struck down by an appellate court, Georges said it was important to pass a new law to clear up confusion Chicagoans might have about what kind of weapons they can legally own and how they can use them.
Some residents applauded the vote.
“There’s just too much killing going on (and) we need protection,” said Mary Fitts, a retiree who came from her home on the South Side to watch the vote. “You can’t even sit on your front porch.”
Others, like Senesceria Craig, wondered how much good it would do. “They’re not going to abide by it,” she said of criminals, pointing out that her 20-year-old daughter was shot and killed with a handgun in 1992, 10 years after the city’s ban went into effect.
But gun rights supporters quickly criticized Daley and the City Council and promised lawsuits.
“The city wants to put as many hurdles and as much red tape in the way of someone who just wants to exercise their constitutional right to have a gun,” said Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist with the National Rifle Association in Illinois.
Vandermyde would not say when lawsuits might be filed. But he said the ordinance would be attacked on a number of fronts — including requiring prospective gun owners to pay $15 for each firearm registered, $100 every three years for a Chicago Firearms Permit, not to mention the cost of the required training — saying they all add up to discrimination against the poor.
“How are some people in some of the poorer neighborhoods who merely want to have firearms for self-defense supposed to afford to get through all this red tape?” he asked.
David Lawson, one of the plaintiffs in the case decided by the Supreme Court this week, agreed. He wondered if a challenge could be raised over the issue of training, saying it’s unfair to require training but prohibit that training from taking place in the city.
Daley and Georges said they expect lawsuits but that they were confident they could withstand legal challenges.
The ordinance also:
• Limits the number of handguns residents can register to one per month and prohibits residents from having more than one handgun in operating order at any given time.
• Requires residents in homes with children to keep handguns in lock boxes or equipped with trigger locks and requires residents convicted of a gun offense to register with the police department, much as sex offenders are now required to do.
• Prohibits people from owning a gun if they were convicted of a violent crime, domestic violence or two or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
• Requires prospective gun owners to be fingerprinted, take a four-hour class and one-hour training at a gun range.
• Calls for the police department to maintain a registry of every registered handgun owner in the city, with the names and addresses to be made available to police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders.
Those who have handguns, illegal under the ban, would have 90 days from the day the ordinance is enacted to register those weapons.
Residents convicted of violating the ordinance face a fine of up to $5,000 and be locked up for as long as 90 days for a first offense, and a fine of up to $10,000 and as long as six months behind bars for subsequent convictions.
By JAKE SHERMAN
After almost 60 days of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and a critical White House meeting Wednesday, Tony Hayward, the embattled chief executive of BP, headed to Capitol Hill Thursday for what many expected to be a public flogging.
But instead he got an apology.
The first Republican to speak, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), turned the heat on the White House, calling the BP escrow fund for cleanup a “shakedown” and a “$20 billion slush fund.”
Barton, who has had a close relationship with the oil industry, accused the White House of putting undue pressure on BP by having Attorney General Eric Holder threatening a criminal prosecution.
In fact, before Hayward even had a chance to offer testimony in which he will apologize to the American people, Barton apologized to BP.
“I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday,” Barton said in his opening statement. “I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown in this case a $20 billion dollar shakedown.”
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) pushed back on Barton, saying it is “not a slush fund and not a shakedown, rather it was the government of the United States working to protect the most vulnerable citizens that we have in our country right now, the residents of the Gulf.”
Democratic Reps. Bart Stupak of Michigan and Henry Waxman of California, the two lawmakers whose staff uncovered the bulk of what’s now known about the Deepwater Horizon disaster, will also have their shot at Hayward, who had come under personal fire for off-color comments about wanting his life back. In a bid to rehabilitate the company’s image, he also appeared in a multi-million dollar advertising campaign.
Waxman, in his opening statement, said BP paid no attention “to the tremendous risks BP was taking” in offshore drilling. Hayward, he said, didn’t pay “even the slightest attention to the dangers at this well.” He said that top BP officials directly in charge of the drilling were “oblivious” to what was happening on the Deepwater Horizon rig.
“BP cut corner after corner to save a million dollars here and a few hours or days there,” Waxman said. “And now the whole Gulf Coast is paying the price.”
Stupak said he is “more concerned than ever” with the corporate culture at BP. He also chided Hayward for an earlier comment that he would like his life back.
“I’m sure you’ll get your life back, with a golden parachute back to England,” Stupak said.
There was a suspended moment of drama when Hayward entered the room. He walked in, to the loud clattering of camera lenses, with a cadre of aides, including BP’s top Washington hand David Nagel. But he did not take his seat until just before the hearing started.
The hearing is not without drama. Diane Watson, a co-founder of Codepink and a native Louisianan, is in Washington with the intent to “confront” Hayward, she said in a statement being circulated before the hearing. She was arrested June 10 for pouring oil on herself in the Capitol, protesting “BP dumping oil on the fishing communities in the Gulf.” A handful of protestors was the bulk of the public allowed in the hearing room.
After a protestor was escorted out of the room last week, police seem destined to prevent such uproar again. More than a dozen police officers surround the hearing room, including plain-dressed Capitol Police inside the room.
By Neal Boortz
What must it feel like to be the “go-to” guy when it comes to redistributing other people’s wealth? For an answer to that question, we would have to ask Kenneth Feinberg. Prezbo has tapped Feinberg .. better known as our pay czar .. to be in charge of the $20 billion escrow account from BP. As the Wall Street Journal says, “Ken Feinberg isn’t God. But forgive us if we get confused from time to time.”
So yesterday Obama met with BP executives at the White House … for 20 whole minutes! It’s day 57 of the spill, and the BP execs get 20 minutes. But what was agreed upon in the meeting should have you far more outraged. While Obama has zero legal authority to seize $20 billion in funds from BP, he resorted to the next best thing: intimidation. Unfortunately our federal government has managed to find a way to do what it wants, despite any limitations placed on it by the Constitution or our laws of the land. Some pundits have gone as far as to say that Obama has managed to create his own sense of a legal system. So BP saw the writing on the wall and agreed to the $20 billion fund. This fund, as Obama stated, would be run by an “independent party.” That “independent party” just happens to be an Obama appointed czar. Who signs his checks? The government. Only an ObamaZombie will buy this “independent” nonsense. Feinberg is there to please Obama first .. to address a sense of fairness second.
But moving right along … in order to pay for this fund, BP has indeed decided to suspend paying dividends to its shareholders for the rest of the year. Those dividends keep a lot of British pensioners afloat. But on top of the $20 billion fund, BP will also set aside $100 million to compensate oil field workers for lost wages. Why is this? Well by the rules of government logic, it is inevitably BP’s fault that the Obama administration has called for a six month moratorium on drilling. This moratorium affects thousands of workers .. workers who will now be compensated by the government, out of a BP account.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting in any way that BP should escape liability for the damages it caused. I am saying that we have a legal system to address those liabilities. BP had initiated and was handling a claims process on its own. As I said yesterday, Obama could not stand by and watch a huge corporation actually address its responsibilities in this manner. Government had to be a player. The narrative of the evil corporation doing right only under the watchful eye of an omnipotent government must not be lost here.
Let’s watch over the coming months and see how many improper payments are maid to fraudsters with BP’s money. Should be interesting.
By: Michelle Malkin
After three months of zipped lips and feigned ignorance, the Obama White House is finally taking real heat over Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak’s consistent claims that the administration offered him a job to drop his Senate bid. Now it’s time to redirect the spotlight where it belongs: on the top counsel behind the Washington stonewall, Bob “The Silencer” Bauer.
On Sunday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs glibly asserted that “lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak. And nothing inappropriate happened.” With whom were these conversations had? Gibbs won’t say. Neither will Attorney General Eric Holder, who dismissed “hypotheticals” when questioned about Sestak’s allegations last week on Capitol Hill by GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California. Holder is simply taking his cue from the commander-in-chief’s personal lawyer and Democratic Party legal boss.
You see, on March 10, Issa also sent a letter to Bauer, the White House counsel to the president, requesting specifics: Did White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel contact Sestak? Did White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina (whom another Democrat, U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff, has accused of offering a cabinet position in exchange for his withdrawal)? How about the White House Office of Political Affairs? Any other individuals? What position(s) was/were offered in exchange for Sestak’s withdrawal? And what, if any, steps did Bauer take to investigate possible criminal activity?
Bauer’s answers? Zip. Nada. Zilch. While the veteran attorney ducked under a table with the president, Gibbs stalled publicly as long as he could — deferring inquiries about the allegations one week by claiming he had been “on the road” and had “not had a chance to delve into this,” and then admitting the next week that he had “not made any progress on that,” refusing the week after that to deny or admit the scheme, and then urging reporters to drop it because “whatever happened is in the past.”
But the laws governing such public corruption are still on the books. And unlike Gibbs, the U.S. code governing bribery, graft and conflicts of interest is rather straightforward: “Whoever solicits or receives … any … thing of value, in consideration of the promise of support or use of influence in obtaining for any person any appointive office or place under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
Bauer is intimately familiar with electoral law, Barack Obama, ethics violations and government job-trading allegations. And he’s an old hand at keeping critics and inquisitors at bay.
A partner at the prestigious law firm Perkins Coie, Bauer served as counsel to the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Obama for America. He also served as legal counsel to the George Soros-funded 527 organization America Coming Together during the 2004 campaign. That get-out-the-vote outfit, helmed by Patrick Gaspard (the former Service Employees International Union heavy turned Obama domestic policy chief), employed convicted felons as canvassers and committed campaign finance violations that led to a $775,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission under Bauer’s watch.
As I’ve reported previously, it was Bauer who lobbied the Justice Department unsuccessfully in 2008 to pursue a criminal probe of American Issues Project (AIP), an independent group that sought to run an ad spotlighting Obama’s ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. It was Bauer who attempted to sic the Justice Department on AIP funder Harold Simmons and who sought his prosecution for funding the ad. And it was Bauer who tried to bully television stations across the country to compel them to pull the spot. All on Obama’s behalf.
More significantly, Bauer has served as Obama’s personal attorney, navigating the corrupted waters of former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s pay-for-play scandals in Illinois. Bauer accompanied Obama to an interview with federal investigators in Chicago. And he’s got his hands full fighting Blago’s motion to subpoena Obama in the Senate-seat-for-sale trial — a subpoena that included references to a secret phone call between Obama and Blagojevich; an allegation that Emanuel floated his own suggested replacement for Obama’s seat; an allegation that Obama told a “certain labor union official” that he would support (now-White House senior adviser) Valerie Jarrett to fill his old seat; and a bombshell allegation that Obama might have lied about conversations with convicted briber and fraudster Tony Rezko.
With not one, not two, but three Democrats (Sestak, Romanoff and Blagojevich) all implicating the agent of Hope and Change in dirty backroom schemes, “Trust Us” ain’t gonna cut it. Neither will “Shut Up and Go Away.” What did Bob “The Silencer” Bauer know, when did he know it, and how long does the Most Transparent Administration Ever plan to play dodgeball with the public?
Examiner Columnist Michelle Malkin, author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies,” is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Who_s-behind-the-White-House_Sestak-firewall-94920694.html#ixzz0p5AZdlHJ
An Illinois high school says it’s denying its girls’ basketball team the opportunity to play in an Arizona basketball tournament over the Grand Canyon State’s new immigration law.
Parents in Illinois are outraged over a move by a local high school to scrap its girls basketball team’s trip to Arizona over the Grand Canyon State’s new immigration law.
The Highland Park High School varsity basketball team has been selling cookies for months to raise money for a tournament in Arizona.
Now, after winning their first conference title in 26 years, the girls are being denied the opportunity to play in the tournament because their school had some safety concerns — and determined the trip “would not be aligned” with its “beliefs and values,” Assistant Superintendent Suzan Hebson told the Chicago Tribune.
Parents said there was no vote or consultation regarding the decision, which they called confusing, especially since they say no players on the team are illegal immigrants.
The father of one of the players also expressed confusion over the school’s approval of a student trip to China.
“The beliefs and values of China are apparently aligned since they approved that trip. … I mean, I don’t understand that reasoning. I really don’t,” Michael Evans told Fox News.
One player who said she is against the Arizona law told Fox News she didn’t see how the tournament was related.
“It’s ultimately the state’s decision, no matter what I think. Not playing basketball in Arizona is not going to change anything,” she said.
For now, Hebson says, Arizona is off-limits, due to uncertainty over how the state’s new law, which makes it a crime to be in the country illegally, will be enforced.
“We would want to ensure that all of our students had the opportunity to be included and be safe and be able to enjoy the experience,” Hebson told the Tribune about the tournament, scheduled for December. “We wouldn’t necessarily be able to guarantee that.”