SFBG Radio: Do-it-yourself politics


Today Johnny and Tim talk about the rise of DIY politics -- from northern Michigan to San Francisco. Check it out after the jump.


SFBGRadio8/30/2010 by endorsements2010


As the show, which I have to say was good, alluded to, more and more the local state will be taking on more. Indeed, I think you may even see action coming from even county governments in some cases. Let's not fool ourselves anymore, the change we wanted, the reform that is sorely needed looks more and more NOT to be coming from the federal level. The hopes and dreams of things like a nation-wide universal health insurance system is starting to look incompatable to the make up of this republic.

Despite the insults and mocking of "Canadian socialism" by the Right, the very thing they cringed at may indeed happen because of their obfuscation on the national level. Indeed, this also highlights how your average Republican't and Teabagger isn't the history buff they make themselves out to be. For all their armchair historian posturing about the Constitution and the Founders, where they should have done their homework was on a more modern era. Like the US today, back in the 60s Canada had a private-but-failing healthcare system, then one province said enough was enough and did something about it. What should be more alarming to the Teabaggers was that this didn't come from some "eastern intellectual" province or metropolis like Toronto, but from the prairie province of Saskatchewan. And while Glenn "I think I'm Brigham Young" Beck thinks that his blackrobe brigades were always stalwarts to whatever libertarianism he is embracing, that first North American "socialized medicine" was initiated by a Baptist minister who got elected as Premier (same as an American Governor).

So do not be surprised in the least, if the road to universal healthcare started in a state like say California or Illinois (actually the legislation for such is actually pending in our capitol of Springfield). All you would need then is for one "state-based Medicare" to form a network with another, maybe at first a regional agreement to maximize purchasing power. Oh sure you'll see opposition, and people will point to Massachusetts' "Romneycare". But we all know that isn't real Medicare at all. Some states will say no, while those that do will simply join the network. Eventually you'll see a split in the country, on one side a giant network of state-based Medicares and on the other a hodgepodge of private insurers. If the states play it right, they'll be able to use the scale of the network to lower costs.

But it isn't just healthcare and it doesn't even have to be a state-run initiative. One need only look at Jerry Brown's proposal on localized power or the one here in Illinois regarding high speed rail. We here in Illinois got tired of Washington's promise to set up a Chicago-to-LA/Chicago-to-NYC bullet train. So now the state is working with Union Pacific along with Amtrak to setup a bullet train (ok, not exactly like Japanese bullet train speed, but it will go a minimum of 110mph) from Chicago to St. Louis.

Look across the nation, various states have small home energy efficiency initiatives, mainly stuff like weatherization. But it doesn't take much imagination to think that they could take this to the next step, say solar panels. A lot of midwest states have deals with farms for wind farms. As the costs for fuel begin to skyrocket and states begin to look for new ways to make money, one of the natural paths will be in energy. Are you telling me that California wouldn't want to be exporting energy to places like Nevada or (through advances in transmissions and energy markets) other parts of the nation?

We all know what the derivative of states investing in this type of thing is, that the costs and size begin to come down. What would only have been affordable for a state-wide government soon becomes something a county or a municipality can invest in. What soon was something that a municipality can invest in, pretty soon local (for example) co-ops can invest in. It would be the energy production version of Moore's Law, which states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit will double every 18 months. In Germany almost every home and office and industrial park has solar panels, why? Because the government subsidized the costs to the point they became affordable.

Just imagine you're buying a home and the largest haggling point won't be how big is the garage, but how much profit does the property's solar panels produce per month?

Posted by Johnny Venom on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 11:54 pm