Monday, April 12, 2010

Speaking of health care and nutjobs

Michele Bachmann, who is running for some office in the US---I haven't bothered to check or care which:

"said she had it on good authority that in Japan the government puts people who criticize the health care system “on a list” and denies them treatment." Gail Collins, NYT

Perhaps that explains some of the problems we've had. No, not in Japan, where I must now assume that I am on a list, but in the US. We allow crazy people to run for office.

While unsuccessfully searching for the exact quote by Ms. Bakamann, I found Frank Rich's column, No One is to Blame for Anything, which is mainly about Greenspan and Rubin et al not accepting responsibility for the financial crisis [edited to add that I should add that it goes beyond that to the Pope, Tiger Woods and more]. Then I did something stupid. Something I almost never do on newspaper articles. I read the comments. I discovered:
#58 It is not in the American character to say I take responsibility because I did something wrong. In Britain, the cabinet ministers take responsibility and resign pretty routinely. In Japan, the senior officials apologize and sometimes commit suicide because they brought so much shame.
Not sure about Britain, but I am wondering in which Japan the latter occurs. Must happen a lot in that Japan for everyone talks about it. In this one, it seems senior officials deny, lie, stall, bluff, duck, and do anything but apologize until there is no other possible alternative and then maybe give some sort of murky, stylized formal apology. (Of course, some folk never get an apology. Ask the former sex slaves of WW2.) Not sure Americans would be satisfied with these apologies once they got used to them. Especially the whiny-teary-insincerey part. Suicide? Quick, name the last three senior officials who did. The last two? OK, one?
#55 As to the Catholic Church, I can't help but wonder what would have happened if the Pope was Japanese rather than German. Reminds me of...[edited for relevancy]...I don't suppose the world could expect a Japanese Pope to commit seppuku (presumably, it would be a sin) but I think we would get a sincere personal apology and a resignation.
A sincere personal apology from someone in that type of position? Oh, I'll just bet. That is about as likely as having a Japanese Pope to begin with. Should it have been a scandal at a well-respected, traditional, and conservative Japanese institution, I wonder how we'd find out about it? What domestic newspaper or or media would report such a thing?

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