Gallup Poll: More Americans Identify As ‘Independent’ Than At Any Time In Over Sixty Years
A new Gallup poll helps to quantify the American electorate’s increasing disenchantment with the nation’s two-party electoral system.
Gallup has been polling Americans’ political identification for over 60 years, and for the first time a staggering 40% of all Americans now identify as Independent, versus 31% who identify as Democrat, and 27% who identify as Republican.
Fourteen percent of those who identify as independents reported leaning to the Left, whereas eighteen percent reported leaning to the right.
At a time of near-unprecedented economic turbulence, and when more Americans feel negative towards their government than at any other time in history, there appears to be a real opportunity for a Third Party to enter the fold and to offer the country real solutions that neither of the two major parties appear capable of delivering.
Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein Addresses The 5 Most Important Issues Facing The U.S.
On October 24, at the historic State House in Boston, The Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein announced her candidacy for President of the United States. She is running as the alternative to the two ‘Wall Street’ parties that have remained steadfast in selling out the interests of the American people for the enrichment of the corporatocracy.
A couple months before her Presidential announcement, Dr. Stein was asked to identify five pressing issues facing our nation, and how she would resolve them as President of the United States:
CREATE JOBS THROUGH A GREEN NEW DEAL – an emergency program to achieve full employment and jump start a green economic recovery. This would provide a Manhattan Project/WWII scale mobilization to transition to clean renewables and related green sectors of the economy (including local food and recycling manufacturing) to avert climate catastrophe while achieving energy independence, improving trade balances and meeting urgent transportation, energy, housing and environmental infrastructure needs for the 21st century.
It will be funded by taxing the rich and large corporations, through trillion dollar savings from single payer health care and the associated reduction of health care inflation, and through downsizing the bloated military.
The Green New Deal will get economic help directly to people – and end the Obama/Bush trickle-down philosophy that forces ordinary people to subsidize the massive transfer of wealth and power to the super-rich.
Restoring the American Dream:
The Green New Deal will include an ECONOMIC BILL OF RIGHTS, including the right to living wage jobs, health care, quality education, retirement security, and affordable housing.
PEACE NOW – End the needless wars that have drained America of the resources we need to fund our communities. Bring the troops and war dollars home now. Reduce the bloated military budget to provide defense not empire building.
Imperiled U.S. Democracy & Civil Liberties:
RESCUE DEMOCRACY — Restore our freedom of political expression, our imperiled civil liberties, and protections from government surveillance by the swollen Homeland Security complex.
End the hijacking of political speech by the biggest spender, (resulting from the Citizens United and Buckley v Valeo supreme court decisions).
Create real freedom of political expression, full public participation, and informed voter choice – free from fear and intimidation – at the polls through policy reforms including: publicly funded elections, free access to public airwaves for all legitimate candidates, instant runoff voting and proportional representation, fair ballot access for all political parties and candidates, safeguards against electronic election fraud, and an end to voter suppression schemes, the corporate-electoral revolving door, and rampant influence-peddling by lobbyists.
SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE (improved Medicare-for-all) to provide quality, comprehensive health care to all as a human right.
Single payer saves money by ending the 30% administrative overhead of private insurance and by controlling the runaway health care inflation that is bankrupting families, business, and all levels of government. And it puts an end to insurance company meddling in personal health care decisions and choice of doctor.
For those who wish to learn more about Dr. Stein’s policy positions, she did a Q&A session this week with the CA Independent Voter Network, where she expounds on her vision for a new America. In the interview, she addresses the importance of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the commonalities between the Green Party and the Ron Paul wing of the Tea Party, RomneyCare and ObamaCare, how Bush and Obama have egregiously abused their executive powers, and how both Presidents have violated our civil liberties in ways that signal the beginnings of a ‘proto-fascist state.’
Why Americans Remain Cynical Of Their Gov’t: Take Obama’s New Fuel-Efficiency Deal
Today, President Obama (joined by 11 auto executives) declared a huge victory on the environmental front, as he and the auto industry sealed a deal that would double fuel-efficiency standards over an eight-year period, not to begin until 2017. He said this agreement should serve as a model to leaders in Washington, because it shows that when competing groups put aside their differences and work together, they can “achieve something important and lasting for the country”.
Here’s President Obama Discussing The Deal:
The Washington Post outlines the specifics of the deal:
The agreement would require U.S. vehicle fleets to average 54.5 miles per gallon or 163 grams per mile of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2025, which represents a 50 percent cut in greenhouse gases and a 40 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared with today’s vehicles, according to sources briefed on the matter. […]
It would require a 5 percent annual improvement rate for cars between 2017 and 2025. Light trucks would be required to have a 3.5 percent yearly efficiency improvement between 2017 and 2021, rising to 5 percent between 2022 and 2025, according to the sources …
Michael Grunwald from Time Magazine’s ‘The Swampland blog‘ gives it a thumbs up, bellowing “Gas Guzzlers Be Gone!”:
It’s a big victory in the fight to reduce our foreign oil addiction, our carbon emissions, and our gasoline costs—and while Obama had sought a slightly bigger victory, the modest concessions he made to the automakers were a small price to pay to avoid a nasty fight in a dysfunctional Congress.
But Climate Progress is now confirming that this deal contains a “technology re-opener”. And Stephen Lacey of Climate Progress breaks down how this insidious devil-within-the-details could effectively allow the auto industry a way out:
But the details of the agreement may weaken the standards and allow automakers to delay action on improving the efficiency of America’s fleet of vehicles.
At issue is a “technology re-opener” that allows auto manufacturers to fight the standards after 2021 in the hopes that they can re-negotiate rules with a future administration that may be more lenient on the industry. The re-opener potentially gives auto companies an incentive not to develop technologies immediately so they can argue down the road that the standard can’t be met.
Despite the rise in value for used fuel-efficient cars and surveys showing two thirds of Americans want more efficient automobiles — and the inevitably of rising gasoline prices because of peak oil — American manufacturers say they are skeptical that consumers will buy them. Hence, the inclusion of a re-opener that gives auto companies a “self destruct” mechanism if they don’t think the standard is working — or if they decide to make it unworkable themselves.
As such Obama will likely get his political victory for having cut a deal to usher in “aggressive fuel-efficiency standards”. But in reality, he gave the auto-industry a HUGE incentive to get on board: a clause that allows them to evade these same “aggressive fuel-efficiency standards”.
How’s that for political theater?
Brad Plumer, writing for Ezra Klein’s blog at Washington Post, noted another obstacle to achieving these standards. He revealed that the very tests the industry uses to measure mileage are outdated and highly flawed:
The cars that actually drive on the road rarely achieve the mileage advertised. The laboratory tests used to measure mileage—testers run the cars on giant treadmills—were largely designed in the 1970s for less powerful cars that didn’t have air-conditioning. Jim Kliesch, a senior engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told me that a sticker mileage of 54.5 mpg, for instance, would likely translate into about 39 mpg on the road. (See here for a wonkier analysis.)
Another criticism being leveled at the President is directed towards the approach he pursued for cutting this deal: He chose closed-door meetings with the auto industry, and in a highly political fashion (the Administration conducted them in lieu of the appointed — and Senate-confirmed — agency experts tasked to handle these very issues).
Amy Sinden from The Center for Progressive Reform slammed the Administration’s deal-making as an attempt to short-circuit the lawful process for setting these standards:
If the level of improvement is set based on a political deal, then the agencies will be left to come up with a justification after the fact. But President Obama nominated, and the Senate confirmed, the heads of these agencies to carry out a mission to protect the American people from air pollution and to buffer them from volatile gas prices. The rulemaking process should be driven by law. And the law says that the agencies should select a level of stringency that is the maximum feasible, economically practicable level that both reduces the air pollution that endangers public health and welfare and supports the need of the nation to conserve energy. […]
The 2017-2025 standards are being set well in advance to give the auto industry time to meet goals that will transform the industry. The concessions the auto industry reportedly secured in the deal with the White House – a carve-out for pickup trucks, and a review of the technology and economics assumptions in 2018 – are exactly the kind of issues the automakers should suggest to the agencies as part of the comment process. These are decisions for the experts running the agencies, not political compromises doled out by the White House.
The deal still has a ways to go before Obama can actually claim it as a victory. It will need to go through a public comment period and a review by the Office of Management and Budget.
But it is becoming clear to me that whenever the corporate profiteers and President Obama huddle away behind closed doors to tackle the country’s biggest problems — as was done for health care reform — the end result ultimately proves to be a HUGE victory for these entrenched industries, and little more than a symbolic ‘victory’ for the public at large.
When Compromise Means Undermining The Logical Solutions To Our Most Serious Problems
When Barack Obama told the New York Times he was “like a Rorschach test,” after having just defeated Hillary Clinton in the Primaries, you have to wonder if he wasn’t already laying down a narrative he could lean on in defense of all the promises he intended to break. Make no mistake about it, Progressives […]
Health Insurers: Without Individual Mandate, We’ll Jack Up Your Rates!
Yesterday a Federal District Court in Virginia struck down the individual mandate part of President Obama’s new health care program. I was admittedly thrilled-to-pieces to hear the news! With no cost controls to speak of, this bill was essentially a giveaway to the health insurance industry. Seriously, it’s obscene that Obama would break his campaign […]
Happy Holidays To The World! Band Aid Perform ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’
Whoever you are, whatever your beliefs, whatever is your situation, I wish every single one of you happiness and good health this Holiday Season, and beyond! Please don’t forget to notice those who’ve fallen on hard times — the less fortunate amongst us — and don’t allow them to become the invisible. Please help them […]
Bill Moyers Journal: Why Robert Kuttner’s ‘Party Line’ Mindset Ensures The Status Quo
On Friday night Bill Moyers hosted a fascinating debate on the Senate’s health care bill between Matt Taibbi, contributing editor for Rolling Stone, and Robert Kuttner, co-editor of the American Prospect. (The video can be viewed here: Bill Moyers Journal). Taibbi and Kuttner both describe the just-passed health care bill as disastrous. They outline how […]
Health Care Reform: GOP’s “Kill Everything” vs. Obama’s “Pass Anything”
This entire legislative debacle is proving to be nothing more than inner-Beltway political gamesmanship where the peoples’ interests have been entirely ignored — subverted to the self-interests of politicians and parties. From the very beginning the Republicans strategically decided to make Health Care Reform “Obama’s Waterloo,” by obstructing ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that the Democrats might […]
Obama’s Betrayal Of The Left Spells Problems For The Democratic Party
Back when Candidate Obama was working the campaign trail across the country, his message of hope — of overcoming entrenched interests in pursuit of meaningful and necessary change — inspired and stirred a nation. He marketed his message in an ingenious mantra, “Yes we can,” that conjured up the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.; […]
Forcing Democratic Politicians To Legislate Progressively
One thing has become crystal clear over these last nine months — the Democrats do not give a rat’s ass about the core concerns of the Progressive movement. On the campaign trail ‘candidate’ Obama said all the right things and with eloquence; with passion. He articulated a whole host of issues important to us, and […]