Posted by: Rob | April 29, 2009

A Twist on Bait and Switch

I will have to admit that I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist.  There are times when “things happen” that just seem all too convenient.  If a particular public issue seems to really be heating up, especially for the government, there seems to be a convenient “something” that comes along to deflect focus.

It’s late as I write this, so I’m not currently able to recall many specifics.

Although there was one time when then Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien was feeling the wolves’ breath over “Ad-scam” and all of a sudden, a former First Nations leader – David Ahenakew – for some strange reason, starts spouting anti-Semitic hate speech to a journalist.  I remembered that one time – way back – Chretien had been the Minister for Indian and Northern Affairs and I wondered if ol’ Ahenakew didn’t owe an old debt to “Teflon” Jean for something or other.  Must have been a big debt for Ahenakew to essentially fall on a sword.

More recently, the talk (and action) was starting to (finally) build toward bringing some of the architects of the great American rip-off (aka the “banking collapse”) to account as New York AG Andrew Cuomo was interested in talking to Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke about the Merrill Lynch – B of A deal.  The word “indictment” had even been whispered.  Next thing you know, all the mainstream media coverage has veered into the ditch onto the swine flu “potential” pandemic.  Really, I could care less about new cases of swine flu surmised in BFE.  I want the criminals who have done agregious damage to my retirement savings found, arrested, tarred and feathered.

Swine flu?  Yeah, whatever.

Switching gears a bit, you may have noticed a relatively recent addition to the list of blogs I follow (Yeah, over there.  On the right.).  Twenty Major is an Irish blogger but not just an Irish blogger, an award winning Irish blogger.  Although Twenty does run heavily to the profane, he displays a rare genius for biting sarcastic humour doing social and political commentary.  Although his most recent piece is more a passionate response to what might only be a trial balloon floated by the Irish government, the update is what led me to conclude that the Irish government may be employing the ol’ bait and switch.  In this case, they are pushing an issue that is guaranteed to evoke a strong emotional – and divisive – response amongst the Irish citizenry seemingly in hopes of diverting the unwashed from the real problems currently plaguing the Emerald Isle.  That is, theft of the savings of the masses, economic ruin, job loss and all the other door prizes that accompany a recession.

None-the-less, I did enjoy Twenty’s rant about religion in response to:

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, stating: “A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.”

Here’s a sample:

So what if something is offensive to someone’s religion? Don’t read it. Don’t listen to it. Don’t watch it. I find the whole concept of religion offensive. That we in the 21st century still tolerate religions which make women cover themselves from head to toe, that make homosexuality a crime punishable by death, that spread fear and set man against man simply because they choose to believe something different, that shortcircuits people’s brains so they fly planes into buildings for [expletive deleted] sake, is offensive to me. It’s a shocking sad indictment of the human race. How advanced we are.

We deny people medical treatment on the basis of religion, we deny them the chance to have their diseases cured because working with stem cells goes against their precious sensibilities, it’s madness.

For the “not faint of heart”, you can find the entire blog piece here.

I think it’s safe to say that politicians will look at what politicians in other countries are doing and, especially, getting away with.  Let’s hope that no one from our government is looking to emulate Ahern or import his ideas.


  1. I call it the old smoke and mirrors routine. Or perhaps blind man’s bluff.

  2. while the lure of ‘coincidence’ is strong – and pulls us toward conspiracy theories – my guess is simply that our governments aren’t quite that efficient, capable and organized to actually pull this shit off in a deliberate manner…

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