Lafayette and Greece

After the New Orleans smoking ban, Lafayette (also in Louisiana) considers one. But this time it’s not going to be a unanimous vote:

Smoking ban proposal headed to Lafayette council before summer

The City-Parish Council could decide before the summer whether to ban smoking in bars.

 Council Chairman Kenneth Boudreaux announced at a news conference on Wednesday that he plans to bring a proposed ban to the full council within 90 days.

The councilman said he has no illusions of easy passage, considering the nine-member council is up for re-election this year and the issue is sure to bring out strong voices on both sides.

“There is always the right time to do the right thing, and the time is now,” Boudreaux said, brushing aside arguments that a ban was a strike at the rights of smokers and bar owners.

“My position is, and will remain, that your rights end where mine begin.”

It remains to be seen whether a majority of council members will agree.

Boudreaux said last week that he was considering moving forward with the ban.

Interviews with other council members since then make clear that no consensus has emerged. Three members say they support a ban, three are against it and three say they aren’t sure how they will vote.

Meanwhile, in Greece, days after their election:

…not only has Greece already blocked all ongoing privatization processes, a clear snub of Merkel and the Troika which demands the piecemeal blue light special sale of Greece to western buyers as part of the “bailout”, but is also looking at plans to reinstate public sector employees and announce increased pensions for those on low incomes: further clear breaches of the Troika’s austerity terms.

But the most important message that Tsipras is sending to Europe is that (after meeting the Russian ambassador first upon his election) Greece is now effectively a veto power when it comes to future Russian sanctions!

This was first hinted when the Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who arrives in Brussels today to discuss possible additional sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, said a few days ago that the Greek government disagreed with an EU statement in which President Donald Tusk raised the prospect of “further restrictive measures” on Russia.


…confirmation from Russia’s finance minister Anton Siluanov that the pivot could be mutual, who told CNBC in the interview below:


With fire and brimstone spewing from Germany over the potential for Greece to veto any and everything, it seems Russia may just have stymied Europe’s leverage over the newly democratic nation.

Russia to bail out Greece, in exchange for Greek veto on further sanctions against Russia?

Also Alexis Tsipras’ Open Letter To Germany.

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26 Responses to Lafayette and Greece

  1. Reinhold says:

    Also Alexis Tsipras’ Open Letter To Germany.

    Here it is in German (for Frank’s German readers (danke, Susi!) – including comments):

  2. Never thought Id find myself backing communists but ehh these days bring strange bedfellows. Now if Greece can get Russia to dump their stupid smoking bans thatd be just whats needed to Bytchslap the EU and merkels Nazi regime of anti-smoking advocates……….

    • Frank Davis says:

      I did see a week or two back a report suggesting a repeal/relaxation of the Russian ban was being discussed. I looked for it earlier, but couldn’t remember where I saw it.

      Of all the bans, the Russian ban is in many ways the worst.

      • nisakiman says:

        It was something to do with Russia hosting some football championship, I believe. As I recollect, some minister in the Duma thought it would be a bad idea not to have smoking places for all the anticipated football fans expected to descend on Moscow.

        • roobeedoo2 says:

          The FIFA World Cup in 2018? Russia held the Winter Olympics last year …

          That would make sense – using the bidding and awarding process for prestigious sporting events to push anti-smoking measures in the competing countries.

        • Frank Davis says:

          That’s right. I think it’s the World Cup (if Russia hasn’t been kicked out of FIFA by then).

  3. EU fails to agree new Russia sanctions

    By Christian Oliver in Brussels and Stefan Wagstyl in Berlin
    Increasingly divided EU ministers failed to issue a specific threat of further economic sanctions against Russia on Thursday, despite fears that the conflict in Ukraine was entering a dangerous new phase.

    European foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in Brussels to determine how to respond to the collapse of a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, fearing that this weekend’s bombardment of the port city of Mariupol marked a dramatic escalation of the fighting.

  4. ‘LOOK into my EYES: You are feeling very worried about the climate … SO worried’

    Psychohistory prof Pidgeon strikes again

    Comment A trick-cyclist who promised several years ago to use a new form of mass hypnosis to get the public motivated to fight climate change claims that he’s done it. In fact the claim is bogus: it is itself part of his attempt to carry out his plan of manipulating public opinion.

    The trick-cyclist is, as regular readers of these pages will have guessed, Professor Nick Pidgeon of Cardiff uni. Several years ago, the prof (a specialist in “social and decision sciences”) stated publicly that he and his fellow soft-studies academics should develop a new method of manipulating public opinion, one that would work better than normal advertising or propaganda. This new and more powerful discipline of mass hypnosis should be used to condition the public into a state where they would support drastic action against the perceived dangers of man-made climate change.

    At the time, we compared Pidgeon’s proposed new methods to Isaac Asimov’s science-fictional discipline of “psychohistory”, a set of methods which could be used to manipulate the behaviour of large populations without their knowledge.

    Pidgeon wrote then that the key was to arouse the right emotions in the public:

    Emotion is an integral part of our thinking … Emotion creates the abiding commitments needed to sustain action on difficult problems, such as climate change … appropriately framed emotional appeals can motivate action, given the right supporting conditions (in particular a sense of personal vulnerability … and [a sense of] the support of others).

    (Our italics.)

    Obviously when you want to give people the feeling that they are personally vulnerable to climate change it would make sense to point to some natural disaster such as the 2013/14 floods and suggest that they were caused by climate change, and that there will be more of this as a result of climate change. If you want to suggest that there is strong support from other people for action on climate change, it would be a cunning plan to tell them that other people overwhelmingly support such action.

    Funnily enough, Professor Pidgeon has done just those things. In a press release issued today, he says:

    The British public’s belief in the reality of climate change and its human causes rose significantly last year – and is now at its highest since 2005 … In December 2013 and January 2014, an exceptional run of winter storms hit the UK, leading to widespread flooding … such extremes of weather are predicted to be more frequent and severe in the UK under a changed climate … The flooding events were seen as a sign of things to come … Regarding support for political action, around three-quarters (74 per cent) of people surveyed in the national sample supported the UK signing up to international agreements to limit carbon emissions, with only 7 per cent opposing this measure … This finding above all sends a clear signal to the UK government.

    In summary: YOU are PERSONALLY VULNERABLE to climate change and there is strong SUPPORT FROM OTHERS for action against it (that is against carbon emissions).

    But hold on – Professor Pidgeon didn’t just say those things. They are the result of “research” in the “social and decision sciences”. Specifically, they are the result of a massive survey of what the British people think carried out by Ipsos MORI, which the prof got the government (ie, you) to pay for.

    It’s just an amazing bit of luck for the prof, then, that the survey said exactly what he had specified it should say several years previously.

    Oh wait, no it isn’t. Because actually it doesn’t really back up his message at all. Skipping over Pidgeon’s waffley advertorial propaganda “research paper” (it’s not a peer-reviewed publication or anything, just a lengthy pseudoscientific polemic written by the prof and some pals*) to the actual survey results, we find out the following things.

    Sponsored: Driving business with continuous operational intelligence

    Next page: No we don’t all think climate change is a big deal. No we don’t all agree it’s mainly human-caused. No we don’t all want massive government action on it

    No we don’t all think climate change is a big deal. No we don’t all agree it’s mainly human-caused. No we don’t all want massive government action on it.

    The British people don’t think climate change is very important. It’s not even in the top five. The survey showed that people ranked it as the ninth most important issue facing Britain today, behind race/immigration, the economy, unemployment and lack of industry, health care, terrorism, crime, poverty, housing, and education.

    A substantial and increasing majority of Brits are largely unconcerned about climate change. In 2005, 72 per cent of respondents answered that they were not very concerned about climate change. That has now risen to 82 per cent.

    Only a minority of people think that climate change is mainly or entirely due to human activity. In this survey, 36 per cent thought that climate change is mainly or entirely caused by humans: the rest disagreed with this idea, apart from 2 per cent who put “don’t know”.

    Right away it’s clear that people don’t really care about climate change and don’t agree that it’s mainly caused by humans.

    Going on, we see:

    There is very little support for “Tax increases to pay for more renewable energy”. Some 60 per cent didn’t support that idea at all, and only 9 per cent strongly supported it. Which is a shame as such tax increases are happening and will keep happening under current government policy, albeit hidden on energy bills rather than in plain sight on your P60. Democracy not really working, there.

    Professor Pidgeon was being especially mendacious when he claimed that “around three quarters of people surveyed in the national sample supported the UK signing up to international agreements to limit carbon emissions”. Just 29 per cent said they “strongly supported” this policy, the other 46 per cent the prof claims merely ticked “tend to support”. A more truthful statement would be “around 70 per cent of Brits do not strongly support the UK signing up to international carbon agreements”.

    Hardly anyone wants political action on climate change. Just 14 per cent thought it likely they would ever even write to their MP on climate matters.

    People don’t agree that changing their lifestyle can make a difference to climate change. Just 27 per cent supported that idea.

    People don’t think the reason the ’13/’14 floods happened was climate change. The three main factors, according to the survey respondents, were (in order): building in flood-prone areas, insufficient investment in flood defences, and poor river and coastal management. Climate change came a distant fourth.

    All this is indeed a “clear signal to the UK government”: but it’s not the signal Professor Pidgeon wants to send, quite the reverse. And nor does the survey send the message that the prof wants to send to the British people. The fact is, Brits, on the evidence of this survey your fellow Britons do not think that they or you are threatened by climate change. Nor do your fellow Britons show any sign of strongly supporting political action against it.

    It has to be said, so far Professor Pidgeon’s brilliant new Psychohistory-style green activism tactics seem pretty similar to old-school 1940s style propaganda. Just say what you wish was true – “everybody thinks climate change is very serious and supports massive action against it” – and if you repeat it frequently and loudly enough people will start to believe it. ®


    *It’s not available online as this is written: the link at the bottom of the press release which ought to take you to it actually goes somewhere else. But we got hold of a copy by asking for one, and lots of pre-selected journalists were sent it well in advance of today’s announcement

  5. Poll Shows Giant Gap Between What Public, Scientists Think

    WASHINGTON — Jan 29, 2015, 7:37 PM ET

    By SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science Writer

    American public and U.S. scientists are light-years apart on science issues. And 98 percent of surveyed scientists say it’s a problem that we don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Scientists are far less worried about genetically modified food, pesticide use and nuclear power than is the general public, according to matching polls of both the general public and the country’s largest general science organization. Scientists were more certain that global warming is caused by man, evolution is real, overpopulation is a danger and mandatory vaccination against childhood diseases is needed.

    In eight of 13 science-oriented issues, there was a 20-percentage-point or higher gap separating the opinions of the public and members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, according to survey work by the Pew Research Center. The gaps didn’t correlate to any liberal-conservative split; the scientists at times take more traditionally conservative views and at times more liberal.

    “These are big and notable gaps,” said Lee Rainie, director of Pew’s internet, science and technology research. He said they are “pretty powerful indicators of the public and the scientific community seeing the world differently.”

    In the most dramatic split, 88 percent of the scientists surveyed said it is safe to eat genetically modified foods, while only 37 percent of the public say it is safe and 57 percent say it is unsafe. And 68 percent of scientists said it is safe to eat foods grown with pesticides, compared with only 28 percent of the general public.

    Ninety-eight percent of scientists say humans evolved over time, compared with 65 percent of the public. The gap wasn’t quite as large for vaccines, with 86 percent of the scientists favoring mandatory childhood shots while 68 percent of the public did.

    Eighty-seven percent of scientists said global warming is mostly due to human activity, while only half of the public did. The figures for scientists are slightly different than past academic studies because of wording of the question and the fact that AAAS members include many specialties, but they tell the same essential story, said Pew associate director Cary Funk.

    What to do about climate change is another issue. Nearly two-thirds of scientists favored building more nuclear power plants, but only 45 percent of the public did. But more of the public favored offshore drilling for oil and fracking than scientists did.

    More than four out of five scientists thought the growing world population will be a major problem, but just less than three out of five members of the public did.

    Pew polled 2,002 adults in August and did an online survey of 3,748 AAAS members in the fall. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for the public and 1.7 percentage points for the scientists.

    In 2009, Pew asked only a handful of questions like these to both scientists and the public and the gap hasn’t changed much since, Funk said.

    “On the whole, as compared to most members of the public, scientists are likely drawing from a larger scientific knowledge base — and thinking more scientifically — about each of these issues,” George Mason University communications professor Edward Maibach said in an email. “Therefore, their views appear to be more in line with a completely dispassionate reading of the risks versus the benefits.”

  6. Under a mattress, in the freezer: Why so many are hiding cash

    • Primarily, that’s because the funds don’t have the same loss protections afforded to an FDIC-insured savings or checking account

      Cyprus government raids private checking and savings ……...

      Mar 17, 2013 – Tags: Cyprus, government looting, bank accounts …. Cyprus MPs vote down government raid on private bank accounts in defiance against IMF …

      Private Bank Account Raids Spread to Italy, Spain – Townhall…/private-bank-……

      Mar 26, 2013 – Before the bailout, the Cyprus government suggested confiscating private bank savings to solve the short term problem. Some have argued the …

      Id say those smart americans are already savvy to the governments back up plan like stealing everybodys pensions and savings if they decide to,the same as FDR stealing everyones gold.

  7. Vinny Gracchus says:

    It’s not only Lafayette, but also New Iberia, and Baton Rouge. In New Orleans it looks like the ban ordinance will be signed by landrieu on Friday: “Mayor Mitch Landrieu to sign New Orleans smoking ban,”

    There is an interesting comment at the above article: “Well… I’ll assume that as the number of comments are exponentially decreasing on each subsequent story that it’s really not going to be as big a deal as the pro-smoking everywhere people enjoy acting like it is. The tone among the smokers is now clearly resignation and soon enough it evolve into appreciation.” Obviously the comment was made by an Antismoker. I wonder if the lack of response noted is actually due to resignation or a result of censorship. I think censorship is helping skew the comments (based on the paper’s mass deletion of pro-choice comments and biased reportage on the ban).

    I also think the Antis will be disappointed when opposition to the ban foes not disappear. They will also be surprised when the backlash ultimately gains critical mass.

  8. junican says:

    Cousin and friend, Harley. now that the Council has passed the Act, the matter is DEAD for us in the UK unless the bar owners and their customers revolt. That is what should have happened in England in 2007. Better still, it should have happened in Ireland in 2004.
    Imagine what would have happened if all Irish pub owners had refused to obey. The police could not have arrested every pub owner. They would have had to make an example of ONE. Imagine if the court was besieged with angry pub owners, supporting the ‘criminal’ pub owner who had been chosen by the Zealots to be the sacrificial offering ‘pour encourage les autres’. Impossible? Well, something like that happened with the Poll Tax, which enabled Thatcher’s enemies to stab her in the back. The Poll Tax was repealed – just like that.
    I wonder if Cameron is about to suffer the same fate in a different way? I doubt it, but it would not surprise me if his ‘feel good politics’ about PP and a car smoking ban did not rebound. I wish!
    Personally, I think that the car smoking ban (with kids present) is more insidious than PP. Why? Because it legitimises harm to kids from SHS without the slightest bit of real evidence.
    But 70% are in favour! Right – 70% want to hang murderers so that is OK as well.

    • prog says:

      With hindsight, most publicans (an ex ones, of course) will be regretting not kicking up a fuss. Yet, despite relatively strong opposition in New Orleans, the antis prevailed. But it’s no good banging on about rights of business owners blah blah whilst ignoring the elephant in the room – the fact that the science used to justify smoking bans is total BS. Thing is, most protesters can’t see the elephant and most of the public don’t give a toss.

    • Cousin the NOLA police wont even go into areas of New Orleans,they run away…………Im not kidding you a bit.

  9. Rose says:

    I had a dazzling revelation last night while reading Taking Liberties.

    I saw a picture of Luciana Berger

    INGSOC – Victory Cigarettes

    When all trace of the tobacco companies have gone, the major profiteer from tobacco sales will have it’s own brand, but with a variety of flavours written in very small print.

  10. Nick de Bois: Introducing plain cigarette packaging could go ‘badly, badly wrong’

    What is to prevent the growth of black market cigarettes when there is no longer any distinguishing packaging characteristics for the consumer to care about?

  11. Scott Ewing 4:34am Jan 30

    Well, we told ’em and told ’em, but Noooo they said, smoking is unique they said. Well folks, here you go, PROHIBITION makes its’ comeback:

    No hard alcohol, no pledging: Dartmouth plans major cultural reforms

    Ivy League school in New Hampshire moves to internal residential communities, works to rein in drink…

  12. Frank Davis says:

    Nothing to fear from EU exit, say two top Tories including Boris Johnson who insists Britain would survive ‘testy’ withdrawal
    London mayor and the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid both broke ranks
    Mr Johnson: ‘It wouldn’t be disastrous’. Mr Javid: ‘People want their say’
    Tories expected to put EU referendum pledge at heart of May manifesto

    Read more:

  13. I think I got the damn flu again or some shit crud stomach,nausea then it like goes to the chest and then head and body aches………….damn shit is pissing me off………….

  14. 26 confirmed deaths due to flu in Kentucky alone besides 2 kids. Now Maines got a pandemic of flu with triple the normal cases in a year.

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