Thursday, February 23, 2012

The David Boyle / Vic Toews letters

Re: Stop Online Spying


Thank you for contacting my office regarding Bill C-30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.

Canada's laws currently do not adequately protect Canadians from online exploitation and we think there is widespread agreement that this is a problem.

We want to update our laws while striking the right balance between combating crime and protecting privacy.

Let me be very clear: the police will not be able to read emails or view web activity unless they obtain a warrant issued by a judge and we have constructed safeguards to protect the privacy of Canadians, including audits by privacy commissioners.

What's needed most is an open discussion about how to better protect Canadians from online crime. We will therefore send this legislation directly to Parliamentary Committee for a full examination of the best ways to protect Canadians while respecting their privacy.

For your information, I have included some myths and facts below regarding Bill C-30 in its current state.


Vic Toews

Member of Parliament for Provencher

Myth: Lawful Access legislation infringes on the privacy of Canadians.

Fact: Our Government puts a high priority on protecting the privacy of law-abiding Canadians. Current practices of accessing the actual content of communications with a legal authorization will not change.

Myth: Having access to basic subscriber information means that authorities can monitor personal communications and activities.

Fact: This has nothing to do with monitoring emails or web browsing. Basic subscriber information would be limited to a customer’s name, address, telephone number, email address, Internet Protocol (IP) address, and the name of the telecommunications service provider. It absolutely does not include the content of emails, phones calls or online activities.

Myth: This legislation does not benefit average Canadians and only gives authorities more power.

Fact: As a result of technological innovations, criminals and terrorists have found ways to hide their illegal activities. This legislation will keep Canadians safer by putting police on the same footing as those who seek to harm us.

Myth: Basic subscriber information is way beyond “phone book information”.

Fact: The basic subscriber information described in the proposed legislation is the modern day equivalent of information that is in the phone book. Individuals frequently freely share this information online and in many cases it is searchable and quite public.

Myth: Police and telecommunications service providers will now be required to maintain databases with information collected on Canadians.

Fact: This proposed legislation will not require either police or telecommunications service providers to create databases with information collected on Canadians.

Myth: “Warrantless access” to customer information will give police and government unregulated access to our personal information.

Fact: Federal legislation already allows telecommunications service providers to voluntarily release basic subscriber information to authorities without a warrant. This Bill acts as a counterbalance by adding a number of checks and balances which do not exist today, and clearly lists which basic subscriber identifiers authorities can access.


Dear Mr. Toews,

I want to thank you for taking the time to come to me directly with these assertions.

As someone whose college studies in philosophy, logic, and critical reasoning are now something of a distant memory, I admit I can sometimes get a little bit lost in even pedestrian discussions. That is why it is so refreshing to have my opinions gently corrected, clarified, and sorted into neat piles of “Myths” and “Facts” by someone who has demonstrated a superior grasp of these concepts.

I have not actually read the legislation in question, which I understand is something else we both have in common.

I also want to say that I wasn’t in the least bit panicked when your email showed up unsolicited in my private Inbox. To be honest with you, I have no idea how it is that you have my email address… it must be one of those petitions I signed. Well, no matter. I am one of those honest citizens with nothing to hide, so rest assured that in dealings with me you can shine the light of your pineal eye wherever you please.

Had I been a more paranoid sort, I would have taken this earnest attempt to communicate on your part as sinister and Orwellian, rather than as clumsy and affable.

Speaking of Orwell, I seem to recall he wrote a book called 1984, a book which I was required by some previous incarnation of government to read as part of the schooling curriculum.

In that book, a sinister socialist “police state” had replaced the beloved democracies of the Western world. Staples of this culture were constant warfare, sollipsistic manipulation of information, and surveillance of the citizenry by mad oligarchical collectivists bent on controlling the very thoughts of the people.

When I read the book, I was spiritually sick to my stomach for months. I was 14 years old at the time. I knew that I had been given a glimpse of a dark world as a warning of what could come to pass if we were not vigilant in safeguarding our civil liberties; a world in which God, whatever that is, had truly died, and that nothing, no beauty or light, would ever be allowed to rise to take His or its place.

When I look at the rise of the new Canadian Conservatism, I see a disturbing agenda at work to push us incrementally in that direction. I see this agenda manifest in the building of new jails when there are no convicts to fill them, the granting to yourselves of broad new surveillance powers, the flexing of muscle to keep scientists from discussing their findings with the media and with the public, and also the continual attempts to engage the public in propagandist rhetoric. Mr Toews, perhaps you can understand why there is some segment of the population that is somewhat concerned by such things, and why offense was taken at your attempt to push through new surveillance powers while engaging in propagandist rhetoric.

As you seem concerned by dissent and opposition to this agenda, I believe I may have a solution. Remove Orwell immediately from the high school curriculum across the country, round up all copies of the book, and have a big bonfire on Parliament Hill for Canada Day. Children can cheer and roast marshmallows while painting little red Canadian flags on their faces. Within but one generation, all memory of dissent will have perished in the flames of history, and then you can proceed with your sinister agenda, whatever it might be.


David Boyle

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Search Engine Optimized UFO News Aggregation Blog Entry Title


I've decided to continue blogging conspiracy theory stuff. Why not? It's fun.

I've spent the last few weeks researching some of the most far-out assertions and claims I could find, and what I've discovered in doing so is a rich tapestry of material that is either a) disturbing evidence that the universe is way more fucked up than you think or b) a testament to the fertility, depth, and profound weirdness of the human mind.

So, today, let's see what people are saying about UFOS and ETs on Youtube. I've aggregated some links for you to check out.

Here's Buzz Aldrin saying that a UFO followed Apollo 11 to the moon.

Here's Buzz Aldrin saying there's a monolith on Mars.

Here's Dr. Edgar Mitchell saying the government has documents to prove that we're not alone.

Here's Mitchell at home going into a bit more detail in asserting a cover-up of alien contact going back to the Area 51 incident.

While some assert that Mitchell is a loon who has lost it, I would just like to state for the record at this point that I have neither a doctorate degree, nor photos of myself walking in space on my wall, so I am willing to accept his testimony as credible. He seems to be pretty lucid in both of those videos.

Here's Gordon Cooper talking about his encounters with 'a vast armada' of UFOs while on duty as an air force pilot.

Here's Neil Armstrong, a recluse who at one point was the most famous man on the planet, sobbing as he confesses to children that they will have to remove truth's protective layers in the process of discovering new things. Weird, right?

Here's a former Canadian Minister of Defense Paul Hellyer eloquently telling a crowd that the government is covering up evidence of UFOs and ET contact.

Here's the Mexican military going public with video footage of UFOs.

Here are 14 men from high levels of government and the military asking for more information on UFOs.

Here is Michio Kaku endorsing a book about senior military officials who have gone on record saying that they are baffled by the UFO phenomenon. The book is called UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials On The Record. Dr, Kaku says this is as close as you are going to get to a smoking gun.

Here's the author of the book, Leslie Kean, on the Stephen Colbert show. Leslie is an investigative journalist, as difficult as it is to believe that such a thing exists in this day and age. She mentions spending ten years researching her book. Wow.

A nod to the skeptics: Here's Bill Nye the Science Guy in his capacity as a member of the Skeptic's Society getting destroyed by former air force officer Bob Jacobs on Larry King Live. Notice Bill loses his shit early on and bases his approach to the material on a straw man argument (he attempts to argue against an assertion none of them have made). Reasoning skills 101 nono. His points are otherwise not bad, but he also insults the intelligence and skirts very close to impugning the honesty of the people in the room with him. A good lesson in how not to go about being a skeptic.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reasons (not) to freak out: is the 2012 apocalypse bullshit or not?

I think it's best to lead off this article with a link to a article which clearly denounces all 2012 apocalypse nuttery as bullshit. is actually a surprisingly reliable source on some things, and the bias (everything is written with bias) is towards humor, which at the very least satisfies the critical rationalist's desire to see things examined with criticism and socratic dialectics. So, here you go!

My agenda in writing this is not to convince you of anything. Hell, I'm not convinced of anything! Science fiction author John Shirley has accused me of wearing an intellectual condom. He meant it as a dig at me, but I actually was sort of tickled by the allegation. So, before you roll your eyes at me for writing this article, please know that my only goal here is just to make information available.

If we are still here in 2013, I will, as penance, write a follow-up post ridiculing my past self for having any sort of an interest in the big picture!

So, let's see what they're saying about 2012: and let's start with Michio Kaku.

Famous and respected physicist Michio Kaku had this to say on August 19, 2010. Notice how he clenches his teeth while entertaining the moronic jabbering of the reporters he is talking to.

Here he is in December of 2010 chuckling dismissively about 2012 apocalyptic hysteria, emphasizing that people often forget the whole bit about "renewal" that goes along with the silly Mayan prophecies, and then saying that he's not really losing any sleep about it.

Here he is in early 2011 saying that he's been losing a bit of sleep at night.

Now, let's flash forward to November 4, 2011! Kaku, getting the brush-off from even stupider people, issues this warning! At about 2:15 he emphasizes, "We scientists made a mistake!" and then goes into some detail about how calculations of the forthcoming solar storm activity were off by at least a factor of 20. "We physicists are sounding the alert!"

Now, I know what you're thinking. If this was anything but total bullshit, surely NASA would be all over warning us, right? Or at least, they'd be warning their own people! Isn't it sort of weird to hear a government official babbling about a continuity of government exercise called "Eagle Horizon"?

Hrm. Well, I mean, if any of this was real, surely people would be noticing a real difference in their physical environment, right?

These Inuit fellas are probably about as sophisticated as the stupid Mayans, right?

Whatever. Let's have a look at what people in Antarctica think: oh, here's a guy who noticed a while ago that the sun was coming up at the wrong time of year.

Here's a guy who has noticed that compass headings are way off and that the sun is setting in the wrong place. But he's probably just another knob, right? Heck, maybe his compass is sitting on a magnetic rail.

Sooo, hell, I decided to go right to the source. Listed on my Twitter feed is Scott Maxwell, NASA's very own Mars Rover driver. Below is my tweet to him, and his response.

dude, inuit people are freaking out that the sun is setting in the wrong place and compass headings are off. reassure me.


Fear not. The sun will rise in the right place tomorrow, you'll see. All is well.


That was a pretty specific reassurance, but thanks! :)

So, there you have it. All is well!

I did notice last summer that the sun was setting in the wrong place, but I dismissed it as a brainfart. I think that's an important clue to the nature of consciousness. Just as well, I guess.

You know what? If I was one of the Secret Masters and was looking for a chance to blow up Iran, I'd probably piggyback it on some sort of big natural upheaval! They should hire me at the Pentagon to give them ideas.