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March 16, 2010

A Little Visual Flair for Universal Health Care

By: Aaron Datesman

Point #1: According to a Harvard study, 45,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have insurance and can’t get access to health care.

Point #2: There’s around a gallon of blood in the human body. The blood of 45,000 people would fill a swimming pool 20 feet by 30 feet in size to a depth of about 7 feet, which is pretty gross.

Point #3: They approach politics with a bit more visual flair in Thailand.

Anti-government protesters poured a small amount of blood at the headquarters of the government in Bangkok on Tuesday, but the demonstration did not live up to their threat to douse the ministers' offices in blood.

The protesters intended to collect 1,000 liters (1 million cubic centimeters) and then throw the blood on the grounds of the Government House, which houses ministerial offices, at 6 p.m. (7 a.m. ET).

Thai protesters.jpg

Point #4: The US Capitol Building is very pretty, and (like the Founders) very, very white. Why is this? Was this a good idea? It seems to me that ten thousand or so pissed-off health care activists armed with gallon jugs of pig’s blood could create some very arresting imagery.

Although I like numbers, they don’t move me. Why can’t we take a page out of the Thai playbook? The Reflecting Pool filled with blood - that would grab my attention. Hopefully, it would also bring to the fore the idea that the failure by Congress (and by the Obama administration) to enact universal health care IS KILLING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS.

— Aaron Datesman

Posted at March 16, 2010 11:26 PM

Sorry about the picture quality. Still gotta figure that out....

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at March 16, 2010 11:36 PM

ao what you're saying is the currwnt american health setup is less dangerous than the iraq war, or the highway system.

Posted by: hapa at March 17, 2010 01:22 AM

many of the ploughshare actions involved pouring blood on the weapons or pentagon . it is just these anti nuclear weapons / antiwar actions were never big and i doubt ever made headlines .
for not familiar the actions were started 30 some years ago by Daniel and Phillip Berrigan in King of Prussia PA . the name comes from a verse in bible about turning weapon into ploushare .

Posted by: badri at March 17, 2010 01:39 AM

Hi Aaron,
First, let me note I appreciate your previous discussion of healthcare reform. While I agree that we need universal healthcare, I'm inclined to believe that both the current house and senate bills are not useful answers, any more than they are "socialized medicine" like many nutball conservatives think. One of the problems with grand theatrical stunts is that they shift the focus still further from the devil that's very much in the details, which is the case here, as far as I can see. Most people watching something like this on TV will interpret it as being an un-ironic affirmation of the current Democratic Party initiative facing congress.

(Parenthetically, I wonder how many regular people who've heard the term "public option" think it's the same thing as single-payer. Multiple choice corporate polls that allow people to guess the best answer probably minimize the accurate measuring of confusion people may have, perhaps deliberately.)

Last year I wrote:

...In fact it will also make subsequent fixing of the bad law substantially harder, because the private insurance companies will fight like hell to hold on to the subsidy they gained under Obama in 2009.

So(apparently) I was off by one year.

I've discussed this before, but I note that Avedon Carol at The Sideshow explains it particularly well.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at March 17, 2010 02:13 AM

make it fake blood, and i'm in.

Posted by: rainymatthew at March 17, 2010 03:14 AM

It's the humble opinion of this observer that American activists don't have the balls to do this. Apart from the fact that U.S. public perception is bound to be negative and support the arrest and/or beatings of anybody who attempts something similar. Do it and watch the mainstream media suggest it might even be considered left-wing 'terrorism'.

Posted by: Pepito at March 17, 2010 10:06 AM

the MSM itself is kinda defacement of public property

Posted by: hapa at March 17, 2010 11:58 AM

Have you never heard the saying "live by the sword..."

There would be nothing more terrifying or more proof that the rapture is imminent than seeing a couple hundred thousand teabaggers with supersoakers filled with their neighbour's blood screaming about islamofascism while spraying blood on the constitution.

Posted by: Doug at March 17, 2010 01:12 PM

i think the perception is that anyone who doesn't work hard enough to be able to avoid health care is not a real american. therefore this so-called "failure" is not killing americans, it's killing left wing sloths who, as usual, want something for nothing.

Posted by: rey at March 17, 2010 04:36 PM

Compassion for the President? I'm betting that's not how Obama would have liked him to pitch this.

Posted by: N E at March 17, 2010 07:27 PM

Well, people are already using the tens of thousands dead argument--they were using it against Dennis Kucinich to get him to vote for Obama's package.

Can anyone recommend some websites that analyze the merits of this bill? I saw Marcia Angell on Moyers (or rather, read the transcript) and that's a start, but I'd like to see knowledgeable lefties on opposite sides debating the merits or lack thereof of this package. Because a lot of what I see on the pro side seems to contradict Marcia Angell's claims, though they also basically admit flaws when they talk about how this is only the beginning and the bill can be fixed later, just as has happened with other social programs. That makes me suspicious. It also sounds a bit optimistic about the politics. Whatever happened in the past, nowadays I suspect that if a supposedly liberal health care reform package doesn't seem to be cutting costs or helping people, it's going to be a lot easier for Republicans to say it's because government can't be trusted to do anything right than it will be for Democrats to say "Our great plan is working, we just have to increase the government's role." But what do I know? Al Giordano says its wonderful.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at March 18, 2010 12:19 AM

Hopefully, it would also bring to the fore the idea that the failure by Congress (and by the Obama administration) to enact universal health care IS KILLING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS.

Hell, if we stopped every policy that directly kills thousands of random people then pretty much everything the government does would stop.

Can't have that.

Posted by: Christopher at March 18, 2010 03:33 AM

45,000 a year! Why isn't this being broadcast in the media as much as what Tiger Woods is doing?

Just think about it a minute. What if 45,000 Americans were being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan a year, would CNN find this sorta uhm newsworthy?

45,000 a year. That's 450,000 in the past ten years!

Keep in mind the total number of American deaths as a result of WWII is 405,399.

I predicted earlier last year that nothing close to single payer will happen with the controlling interests of a $2.5 trillion industry calling the shots, and I was poo-pooed for being a pessimist.

What we have with this bill is not much more a political stalling tactic with a few marginal adjustments.

There ain't gonna be any real health care reform until the American people demand it. Just wistfully wishing and helplessly hoping for it won't make it happen.

Posted by: Paul Avery at March 18, 2010 05:29 AM

Of course the problem, as Orwell might say, lies in the wording used -- which frames our conception of the problem. Health care "reform" has never been a need; medical coverage for care and treatment of serious illness is.

The game was intentionally thrown from the get go.

Posted by: Malooga at March 18, 2010 05:42 AM

I agree with Malooga, it isn't healthcare "reform" we need it's medical coverage for care and treatment of all (serious or otherwise) illnesses - with an emphasis on wellness and prevention... If we talked about Single Payer in public people would start to realize it's the only way to go. (There should be no "profit" in healthcare at a basic level.) The insurance industry has gone to a a great deal of trouble to keep us from talking about this constructively. Obama and congress should be ashamed of themselves and how this fiasco is going down.

Aaron, I hope you're not switching too far away from your other thread, Wind-2-H2 and the best way to transport all that energy.

Posted by: Grandpa Ken at March 18, 2010 11:12 AM

OK, I now realize I confused Aaron Datesman with Seth Ackerman in my previous comment, regarding previous blogging. In truth, A. Datesman's views are still unclear to me. My mistake.

Donald Johnson,
while I won't suggest I qualify as a 'knowledgeable lefty' like Marcia Angell, it seems to me that once you institute individual mandates you have a corporate subsidy that will be essentially impossible to dislodge(like farm supports for ADM and such), as opposed to, say, a program for regular people like medicare, which Obama appears to be gunning for.

That is why this bill will make the US eventually choosing single-payer harder than ever. The same SOBs who tell us we've got a bad bill that we can fix down the road will later tell us we can't afford single-payer because of individual mandates.

Bills that are sound but need to be adjusted, say by expanding coverage, might be improvable per se, but I don't see how this one qualifies.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at March 19, 2010 01:38 AM

i truthfully enjoy your posting style, very useful,
don't give up and keep writing for the reason that it just simply nicely to follow it.
looking forward to view alot more of your own content, have a good one!

Posted by: CariCormump at March 19, 2010 11:56 AM

So tonight we get the news that the HC "reform" bill has been passed. No activists got around to sprinkling blood on buildings, but many lobbyists did get around to sprinkling various campaign coffers with lots of dough.

And that has made all the difference.

Posted by: Elise Mattu at March 22, 2010 03:33 AM