Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 20th, 2011

Manufacturing the drug threat

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Extremely interesting post at Transform, which begins:

Those who have followed the drugs debate will be only too aware of the way that politicians play on the fears of their citizens in order to maintain the war on drugs, despite the fact that it is their citizens who bear the brunt of its counterproductive effect. The International Relations theory of securitisation describes, better than any framework I’ve seen, how the threat-based process works. Moving to a non-securitised approach is essential to ending the war on drugs.

Securitisation is described as “the move that takes politics beyond the established rules of the game and frames the issue either as a special kind of politics or as above politics” (Buzan et al. 1998: 23). By declaring something a security issue, the speaker entitles himself to enforce and legitimise unusual and extreme measures to fight this threat. Referenced from here.

Rita Taureck of the University of Birmingham describes securitisation:

“The main argument of securitisation theory is that security is a speech act, that alone by uttering ‘security’ something is being done. “It is by labelling something a security issue that it becomes one.”(Wæver 2004a,) A securitising actor, by stating that a particular referent object is threatened in its existence, claims a right to extraordinary measures to ensure the referent objects survival. The issue is then moved out of the sphere of normal politics into the realm of emergency politics, where it can be dealt with swiftly and without the normal (democratic) rules and regulations of policy making. For the content of security this means that it has no longer any given meaning but that it can be anything a securitising actor says it is. Security – understood in this way – is a social construction, with the meaning of security dependent on what is done with it.”

This table illustrates how the process of securitisation applies to drug policy: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

20 February 2011 at 1:08 pm

Things not to say about Egypt

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Good post offering constructive advice so that one can avoid saying things that would come from a fool. It begins:

The past few days I have heard so many stupid things from friends, blogs, pundits, correspondents, politicians, experts, writers that I want to pull my hair.  So, I will not beat around the bush, I will be really blunt and give you a handy list to keep you from offending Egyptians, Arabs and the world when you discuss, blog or talk about Egypt.  Honestly, I would think most Progressives would know these things, but let’s get to it.

  • “I am so impressed at how articulate Egyptians are.”  Does this sound familiar?  Imagine saying this about a Latino or African American?  You don’t say it.  So don’t say it about Egyptians.   Gee, thank you oh great person who is of limited experience and human contact for recognizing that out of 80 million people some could be articulate, educated and speak many languages.  Not cool.  Don’t say it.  You may think it, but it makes you sound like a dumb ass.
  • “This is so sad”:  No, sad were the thirty years of oppression, repression and torture.
  • ” I loved Sadat”:  Mubarak was made of the same cloth of Sadat.  Same repression, same ill-treatment of their people, yet you were all in love with Sadat.  Hmm, where and when do you think the repression started?  The State Of Emergency?  Sadat was not loved by the Egyptian people.   Why do you love Sadat?
  • “What they did to the Mummies is horrible”:  Yes, but who did it?  Think, Mubarak, for years has been playing the “I am the stabilizing force”.  The one thing you know about Egypt, the stuff that was underground and from the past, you will be distraught and find the protestors to be disgusting.  Yet it was not the protesters who did it.  In Alexandria, the young people protected the library.  Did anyone carry that story?  Statement from the Director of the Alexandria Library:

The library is safe thanks to Egypt’s youth, whether they be the staff of the Library or the representatives of the demonstrators, who are joining us in guarding the building from potential vandals and looters.  I am there daily within the bounds of the curfew hours.   However, the Library will be closed to the public for the next few days until the curfew is lifted and events unfold towards an end to the lawlessness and a move towards the resolution of the political issues that triggered the demonstrations.

  • “The Muslim Brothers are Terrorists”  Maybe you should look at their English Website, or try something easy like this link Check this out: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

20 February 2011 at 9:11 am

Posted in Mideast Conflict

The US view of “justice”

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On display for the world to see:

In March, 2002, American citizen Jose Padilla was arrested in Chicago and publicly accused by then-Attorney-General John Ashcroft of being “The Dirty Bomber.”  Shortly thereafter, he was transferred to a military brig in South Carolina, where he was held for almost two years completely incommunicado (charged with no crime and denied all access to the outside world, including even a lawyer) and was brutally tortured, both physically and psychologically.  All of this — including the torture — was carried out pursuant to orders from President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld and other high-ranking officials.  Just as the Supreme Court was about to hear Padilla’s plea to be charged or released — and thus finally decide if the President has the power to imprison American citizens on U.S. soil with no charges of any kind — the Government indicted him in a federal court on charges far less serious than Ashcroft had touted years earlier, causing the Supreme Court to dismiss Padilla’s arguments as “moot”; Padilla was then convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Padilla — like so many other War on Terror detainees — has spent years in American courts trying unsuccessfully to hold accountable the high-level government officials responsible for his abuse and lawless imprisonment (which occurred for years prior to his indictment).  Not only has Padilla (and all other detainees) failed to obtain redress for what was done to them, but worse, they have been entirely denied even the right to have their cases heard in court.  That’s because the U.S. Government has invented — and federal courts have dutifully accepted — a whole slew of legal doctrines which have only one purpose:  to insulate the country’s most powerful political officials from legal accountability even when they commit the most egregious crimes, such as imprisoning incommunicado and torturing an American citizen arrested and detained on U.S. soil.

Yesterday, in South Carolina, . . .

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Written by Leisureguy

20 February 2011 at 9:03 am

Fresh sardine GOPM

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I made this last night, using the Texsport cast-iron Dutch oven that’s listed as 2 qts but is in fact 2.5 qts (by my measure). I needed the extra room because the chard is bulky but cooks down. I won’t be making this one again until after reaching goal: it was so good I couldn’t resist and gradually ate the whole thing, so my weight is up some this morning. But I know what to do about that.

Layers from the bottom:

3 thick scallions, sliced
1/2 cup uncooked converted rice (which makes two servings)
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar, poured over rice
3 large Monterey Bay fresh sardines, cleaned and filleted (total 9 oz after cleaning)
juice of half a lime
salt, pepper, crushed red pepper (just a little for body, not so much that it’s spicy)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp capers
1/4 c chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 c chopped Italian parsley (parsley adds a noticeable and good flavor in this type of cooking)
1 small green bell pepper, cut into squares
3 red Fresno peppers, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, cored and sliced, along with some of the stalks
1 yellow crookneck squash, chopped
sheep’s milk feta
chopped red chard, leaves and stalks, as much as will fit
1 Meyer lemon, cut into chunks (I generally don’t bother peeling these: Meyer lemon peel is thin and tasty)

Whisk together and pour over:

2 Tbsp vinaigrette
2 Tbsp Amontillado sherry
1 Tbsp homemade Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Cover and cook at 450ºF for 45 minutes.

It was so good. The Meyer lemon had cooked to total tenderness, the rice was exceptionally flavorful, the sardines were rich and tasty but not too “fishy.”

It’s easy to deal with the sardines: cut off the head, cut open the cavity and rinse out all the guts, then push your index finger along each side of the spine for the full length, which separates it so that it can be lifted out.

Written by Leisureguy

20 February 2011 at 7:26 am

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