Abuses of power both serious and trivial.

First the trivial: The Suns have a tough schedule ahead – still. Why yes, I have written about that on PhxSunsNews.

Do you know the difference between a Canadian SF writer and a dangerous terrorist? Neither do the US Border cops . Canadian writer and academic Dr. Peter Watts was stopped by Customs and Border Patrol officiers on his way back to Canada through the Port Huron crossing. I mention that because it is the fact a lot of posters get wrong. He was then beaten, detained and charged with resisting arrest. Anything more specific is in dispute.

Seriously, though, how badly trained do you have to be to require pepper spray to subdue a middle-aged Canadian biologist? Beyond the obvious civil rights concerns, that’s just an embarrassing lapse of competence.

You can contribute to his legal defense fund, and his pal Cory Doctorow is on the case (both facts pretty obvious if you follow the link). I suspect the charges get dropped long before a court date.

What I find really creepy is the one in 20 commentators on these things who take the position that the cops are always right because they’re cops,and if they beat the shit out of someone, they must have deserved it. Look, I’m a 40+ middle-class white guy who’s never been arrested, never even been in court outside of jury duty or a traffic violation – and even  I know better than to blindly trust the police. Watching the watchmen is an essential responsibility of being a citizen in a democracy – or even in a quasi-republican corporate oligarchy.

As evidence of what happens when a community ignores this responsibility? Joe Arpaio and his war against the rest of the county government. And here, the ratio of cop-worshipers is even higher.

Every time bad cops beat up someone for no good reason, they put good cops in danger. Because if I’m really a bad guy, and I believe I’m going to get beat up no matter what, why not throw the first punch?

Flex Your Rights offers a lot of advice for dealing with The Man under stress.

Roadblock Revelations deals with border security abuses, particularly in Arizona – where they aren’t always polite like the might be in Port Huron.

Now, links to graphics:

The Guardian has some sobering graphs on troop levels in Afghanistan.  Scroll down to see how many more private security forces there are than actual NATO and US troops.

Info is Beautiful painstaking compiled graphs regarding climate change, with contrasting claims each side of the debate makes about the same information. Note that no serious scientist disputes the warming – they just dispute the cause.

Finally, Sketchy Santas. Merry  @#$%ing  X-mas.

Now You Know.