Authors > David T. Jones

David T. Jones

Taxes And Dual Citizenship

By David T. Jones on September 14, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - Everybody despises taxes.  The standard lament is “Nothing is inevitable but death and taxes.”
 At best taxpayers put a good face on the process, accepting that taxes are a necessary element of civilization.  At a minimum, virtually all agree that we require taxes for security from foreign invasion and to protect against home invasion.  On a national and local level, security is an accepted use of taxes.
Other than security, however, there is endless argument regarding whether a service or benefit (education, health, postal delivery, water purification, disease eradication, transportation, infrastructure) should be paid by government taxes or private funding.

Canadians In Dreamland

By David T. Jones on September 7, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DV - An observer of things Canadians in the Southland looks upon the Trudeau home break-in incident with puzzled, indeed appalled disbelief. Canadian failure to appropriately guard its officials literally begs for tragedy.

Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party leader, is arguably the second most important individual in Canada.  .He is the emergent figure in Canada's political landscape!  but in Quebec “you either love him or hate him” as one Quebecois noted.

Yet his family residence was so unguarded that the front door wasn’t even locked. 

U.S. FOREIGN POLICY: IT PIVOTS—BUT DOES IT STAND?

By David T. Jones on August 20, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington DC…U.S. foreign policy is (Select one of more of the following:  adrift; unfocused; contradictory; confused; disheartening; disconcerting; wrong-headed).
In a concerted issue to be anti-Bush, President Obama and his Administration have spent almost six years attempting to create a working, understandable, coherent foreign policy.  In so doing, they have:
-- Announced “reset” of policy toward Russia, without really saying what was wrong with the previous policy other than Dubya Bush pursued it.  And then they have found themselves confronting a bear whose aggression annexed Crimea and appears intent on destabilizing the rest of Ukraine;


OMAR KHADR: THE LUCKIEST MAN IN THE WORLD

By David T. Jones on July 18, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - Canadians are now being treated to the latest episode in the long-running Omar Khadr sob story.  An Alberta appeals court has ruled (but the federal government plans to appeal) that Khadr should be transferred from a federal penitentiary to a provincial prison. 
The technical argument is that the eight-year sentence imposed on Khadr after he pleaded guilty in U.S. court to five crimes, including murder, was a youth sentence in Canadian terms.  Of course, nothing of the like was indicated in the U.S. disposition of the sentence. Indeed, his repatriation to Canada was implicitly dependent on Khadr serving his full sentence under conditions equivalent to those in the United States—not in a county court house jail/motel equivalent with early release.  But Canadian disinterest in U.S. juridical practice is legendary.

Nobody’s voting the graveyard

By David T. Jones on May 16, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington DC - There is nothing more vital to a democracy than the legitimacy of the vote.

It doesn’t matter whether your speech is free; whether the press/media publishes without stint; whether political parties organize and demonstrate without restraint—if authorities tamper with your ballot and the vote manipulated, your democracy is a travesty.
Thus the integrity of each individual ballot must be an absolute.  Moreover, voters must believe that the votes of others are legitimate.  We have more than enough sources of political conflict than to add questions regarding the validity of the voting outcomes.  

How the PQ eviscerated itself

By David T. Jones on April 27, 2014

jones_david.jpgWasington, DC -In another time; in another society, following April 7’s electoral defeat, the leaders of the Parti Quebecois would have given Mme Marois a revolver with one bullet and escorted  her to a closed room.
A Medieval Era response would have been more polite—simply consigned her to a nunnery to live out her days contemplating the errors of her ways.
Media observers have said that Canadian federalism “dodged a bullet” with the PQ defeat in the 7 April election.  To be sure—but only because the bullet it dodged had already been fired by separatists directly into their own hearts.

Syria “Sauve Qui Peut “

By David T. Jones on April 7, 2014

jones_david.jpgAt some point, one has to recognize that the cause, no matter how noble, has been lost.
And the “West” has lost in Syria.
Recall that approximately two years ago pontificating cognoscenti were saying Syrian leader Assad couldn’t last another six months, that it was “just a matter of time,” that the rebels would shortly prove victorious.
In a word, “Not.”
Assad has not only survived, he is winning; indeed, he has virtually won the civil war.

Climate Change Claptrap

By David T. Jones on March 3, 2014

jones_david.jpgI too believe in climate change--absolutely.  I believe in global warming--and in global cooling--and in global “just the same.”  By definition “climate” changes every day, even every hour--just look at your daily weather forecast.  On a larger scale, climate has changed repeatedly over millennium; ice ages have come and passed.  Fifty years ago prognosticators mulled over a coming ice age (which didn’t). Climate will change again--over decades, centuries, and longer, given a wide variety of conditions, e.g., the sun is a variable star.  And the climate may, repeat may, be changing over a period of time so that the Earth becomes measurably warmer.  But living long enough to prove/disprove it is problematic.

Leslie’s Legacy

By David T. Jones on February 19, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC…It is a shame and a pity that Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie’s immediate legacy from a lifetime of professional and distinguished military service should be a kertuffle over his moving expenses.
The “perk”--and it is a serious benefit--is standard not only for Canadian Armed Forces retirees but also for U.S. professional military and career diplomats.  
Specifically, retiring U.S. diplomats often serve a final posting overseas or, if serving a terminal assignment in Washington DC, don’t expect to retire there.

Potty-mouth Diplomacy

By David T. Jones on February 15, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - Even two generations ago, I was probably a sheltered middle-class child.  Perhaps my upbringing was closer to “Victorian” in ignorance of sex and sexuality than even 20th century protocols.  At an age when today’s children are getting explicit, detailed information on pregnancy, homosexuality, etc, I was still being told that “the stork brought you” or that I was “found under a cabbage leaf.”  It generated an inchoate sense of frustration, but not living on a farm where normal animal activity would have clued me in, I had no obvious source of information.

Canada Is Never Dull

By David T. Jones on February 4, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - Almost a generation ago, when first I contemplated engaging with Canadian issues, I was told that “Canada is dull.”  Subsequently, when assigned to Ottawa, I experienced a referendum on revising the Constitution (1992), a change in Tory party leadership, the virtual annihilation of the Tory party (1993), a cliff-hanging referendum on Quebec-Canada separation (1995), and reconstitution of conservatives until they ultimately won a majority government in 2011.  Simultaneously, the “natural governing party” imploded with revolving door leadership, Bloc Quebecois separatists lost 90 percent of their seats, and the previously laughably amusing socialist NDP became the federal official opposition. Interspersed there were two wars, a Great recession, and complex trade arrangements.

Romeo, Romeo Wherefore Wert Thou?

By David T. Jones on January 17, 2014

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - On 22 December, Romeo Dallaire, Liberal Senator and former senior Army officer, published a column lamenting what he viewed as “stealth” cuts in current Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel, equipment, and readiness.  Senator Dallaire is best known for his catastrophic role in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda in 1993-94, culminating with a “never-again” style genocide with the death 800,000 Hutu and Tutsi civilians, along with 10 Belgian peacekeepers.  The Belgian Senate branded Dallaire “careless and unprofessional ”--presumably for perceived inaction resulting in the death of the Belgian soldiers. 

Canada and the Commonwealth

By David T. Jones on November 3, 2013

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - The decision by Prime Minister Harper to avoid the leaders meeting of the Commonwealth in Sri Lanka has unleashed the pack of media attack dogs.  The reaction is predictable but also pathetic.  While there is an implicit obligation of Opposition to oppose, the criticism has been over the top.
There has been a remarkably intense and palatably cynical critique that Harper is acting either hypocritically and/or for prospective political gain.
Harper has taken a reasoned decision, telegraphed far in advance.  To wit, he noted upwards of two years ago that unless Sri Lanka leadership improved its human rights performance in relation to the Tamil minority, he would not attend the conference.  They haven’t; he won’t.

Puzzling Our Way Through Syria

By David T. Jones on September 25, 2013

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - When someone throws a drowning man a life line, he grabs it--and doesn’t worry whether it is firmly attached at the other end.  Putin tossed such a rope to President Obama with his proposal to arrange international control of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons (CW) stockpile; the lifeline was accompanied by a sanctimonious op-ed in the New York Times.
It is not that Putin’s op-ed platitudes were entirely wrong, e.g., noting the United Nations as sanctioning agent for any military action other than self defense, but that he blithely ignored the many Moscow maneuvers to prevent UN collective action on Syria.

Syria: Playing the Waiting Game

By David T. Jones on September 7, 2013

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - Having yielded the Syria-missile strike portfolio to Congress, President Obama spent a few days in Russia for a G-20 meeting hosted by President Putin.
It might have been useful (albeit marginally) to meet with Putin over a range of bilateral issues on the periphery of the G-20.  However, the president, in what must be considered virtually a fit of sandbox-level pique, earlier cancelled their meeting when Putin’s provided sanctuary/refugee status to Edward Snowden, who stole and released massive amounts of highly classified U.S. electronic intelligence data and collection plans/techniques.

Kristallnacht in Cairo--Prelude to a Christian Exodus?

By David T. Jones on August 28, 2013

Washington, DC - Kristallnacht or “crystal night” or “night of broken glass” identifies the German attack on Jones_David_bw_new.jpgJewish synagogues, properties, and homes on 9-10 November 1938.  Virtually every synagogue in Nazi Germany and recently annexed Austria was comprehensively destroyed; looted and/or burned with tens of thousands of Jews beaten, abused, and imprisoned.  Mercifully, the direct death toll was relatively small (officially 91), however, several thousand are believed to have committed suicide and/or died in the concentration camps, although most were released within a few months.  Those who remained went back to the camps and their deaths later.

Another Look at the Snowden Saga

By David T. Jones on July 6, 2013

Jones_David_bw_new.jpgIndeed, the panting media pursuit into the summer media doldrums suggests that what is a serious (alleged) criminal action and massive breach of USG intelligence security is devolving into farce.  (Oh where, oh where will poor Edward find a place to lay his (allegedly) traitorous – or is it heroic?—head on a semi-permanent basis?)
First, the secret flight to Hong Kong; then followed by the adroit exit flight to Moscow (during which the Hong Kong officials managed to locate technical flaws in USG extradition documents preventing action against Snowden).  And now…Moscow.

Second Amendment--Iconic Millstone

By David T. Jones on June 16, 2013

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - In the wake of the Newton elementary school massacre (overtaken by the Boston Marathon bombing), the usual suspects bayed and snarled.
And given a unique opportunity, President Obama misfired.
There is a military maxim associated with instructions to an Army Second Lieutenant, “Don’t just stand there; do something.  Even if it is wrong, do something.”  American politicians attempted to “do something” with little or no thought about process or consequences.


Syria: Searching for a Way into the Quagmire

By David T. Jones on March 29, 2013

jones_david.jpgWashington, DC - Analysts are clever in finding (and repeating) aphorisms.  One is the definition of insanity as “repeating the same negative action believing that this time it will have a positive result.”
And thus the Syria syndrome.
We have watched the Arab Spring degenerate into a noxious weed patch when we believed flowers had been planted.  We have watched the consequence of removing the Libyan tyrant Qhadafi (vicious but not directly invidious to USG interests) and reaped the results in Benghazi and Mali.

Tom Flanagan and Death by Political Correctness

By David T. Jones on March 16, 2013

jones_david.jpgThus Tom Flanagan’s musing, off topic response to a Q&A, regarding whether viewing (not creating, circulating, let alone participating/implementing) child pornography/pedophilia justified a prison sentence has destroyed his career.  Virtually instantly CBC dropped him as a commentator and the University of Alberta announced his retirement.  So toxic is his name that reportedly an article he coauthored on a totally different political topic was withdrawn from publication--even when Flanagan offered to remove his name from the article.


A Wise Time for Going, A Good Way to Leave

By David T. Jones on February 12, 2013

jones_david_01.jpgFar be it for non-Catholics to pontificate (so to speak) on Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to retire from the papacy on February 28th.  There are those who might consider any comment at best gratuitous; at worst, intrusive.
But the Pope is a global change-maker and political figure at least as much as a religious leader. Certainly, that was true for John Paul II whose long tenure defined the strengths and challenges facing 21st century Catholicism.  
Consequently, we see Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to retire as wise. His tenure as Pope is already being called a transitional period, but history is yet to speak.

It’s Minority Time at State

By David T. Jones on February 1, 2013

kerry.JPGWashington,DC~ It is time for a minority as U.S. Secretary of State.A white male.

For some while now, males have been a demographic minority in the U.S. population.  And white males are an even smaller minority of the overall population. Consequently, it is appropriate for a white male to lead the Department of State for President Obama’s second term.  And the president nominated and the Senate confirmed Senator John Forbes Kerry (D-Mass) for the position.

Taxes, Taxes, and More Taxes

By David T. Jones on January 19, 2013

Foreign observers tut-tut the United States for failing to bring coherence to its fiscal circumstances. These observers either fail to realize or deliberately ignore that we are engaged in an existential political/economic struggle over what kind of society we will endorse.  It is the most defining such struggle since the Great Depression of the 1930s, which gave rise to compromise instituting some elements of a welfare state (social security, farm supports, food stamps, bank deposit insurance, etc.) while leaving other elements of free market capitalism unaffected.  But if our backs are not yet up against the wall, we are on the “warning track.”  Even with full, booming economic recovery, it appears impossible to sustain the current levels of social security, Medicare/Medicaid, and unemployment welfare with current tax revenues. 

The American Election Mulling Over the Entrails

By David T. Jones on November 15, 2012

jones_david_01.jpgWashington, DC - Republicans are poised between relishing recrimination and reviewing revenge scenarios.

Heading into the election, they had a wide variety of positive indicators on their side:



 

Now Is the Time for Anger

By David T. Jones on October 19, 2012

Jones_David_bw_new.jpgAmericans are now reaping the results of the “Arab spring.”  The out-with-the-old; in-with-the new upheavals in 2011 were supposed to demonstrate a surge of democracy, human rights, personal freedoms, and liberties akin to those in Eastern Europe, following the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of Soviet tyranny in 1991.  Commensurate, albeit ancillary, was the expectation that the United States, the “shining city on a hill,” as the exemplar of democracy and human rights, would be appropriately appreciated by these flower children of spring.  It would be the culmination of the Middle East “reset” epitomized by President Obama’s Cairo doctrine speech in June 2009, emphasizing U.S. respect and appreciation for Islam.

Bet on Bibi

By David T. Jones on September 30, 2012

Jones_David_bw_new.jpgIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or “Bibi” as he is widely known is not President Obama’s favorite person.  Indeed, he is so controversial, personally and politically, that the president apparently decided that it was better to meet with no foreign leaders while at the UN General Assembly speechathon than to be forced, de facto, to meet with Netanyahu.  (That Obama had time to meet with View is another story). Essentially, if he met with any leader, he would be compelled also to have a session with Netanyahu.

A defense of Bev Oda

By David T. Jones on August 5, 2012

Washington, DC - Far be it for an American to offer a defense for a disgraced Canadian, but there is a touch of “kicking someone who is down” with the piling on commentary following Oda’s “retirement” on 3 July.  Essentially, she jumped before being defenestrated, but the absence of any context to her departure deprives Canadians of invaluable perspective.

Obama did not "lose" Canada

By David T. Jones on July 18, 2012

obama_harper.jpgWashington, DC - Whenever one reads a title including “Who Lost…” you know that ax grinding is about to start with the whetstone spinning. There is a blame game to be played and guilt to be apportioned. Thus, variously, over the decades, the outraged have exclaimed “Who Lost China?” “Who Lost Vietnam?” “Who Lost Iran?” and currently, preemptively lamenting over who lost Afghanistan and/or Iraq. The author(s) always know that others are at fault and they knew better.


Puzzling Over the Quebec Student “Strike”

By David T. Jones on May 18, 2012

jones_david.jpgWashington,DC - Following the elements of Quebec’s student “strike” during the past 11 weeks has been somewhat equivalent to a TV mini-series, but while sputtering along, it leaves a Washington commentator with a number of observations.

First, it is really not over money.  The amount of tuition increase over five (or seven) years is trivial in real terms.  Variously, it was been characterized as a latte a day (or a bottle of designer water) in total price.  Rather it appears symbolic, even akin to the precursor-stimulus for theAmerican Revolutionary War of a tax on tea.

Those F-35s

By David T. Jones on May 18, 2012

There is one sure way to avoid controversy over cost overruns, misestimates, delivery failures and the like for major military equipment—or any significant item of goods or service.

Don’t buy them.
Otherwise, the exercise is problematic.  Attempting to get the best item at the best price with assured delivery schedules and guaranteed performance is fraught with difficulty and usually falls short in one or another particular.

 

The continuing quest to define what Canada is all about

By David T. Jones on March 12, 2012

Now Justin Trudeau seems to be taking a related approach to Canada, Trudeau’s comments, regardless of the context he tried to put them in, are indicative of the existential problem of Canada.  While the United State solved its national unity problem with a bloody and long-remembered civil war, Canada’s national unity issue remains extant.  Not that anyone would recommend the U.S. solution, but Canada - and some of it's most important sons - are still in search of a solution.

The Key to Understanding Keystone

By David T. Jones on December 16, 2011

The U.S. decision to defer decision on the Keystone XL pipeline has tossed an eagle into the dovecot.  A “no brainer” decision regarding the merits of providing secure energy (as well as j-o-b-s) has apparently been adroitly manipulated by the brainless.

Consequently, the State Department disclaimer that the delay decision was not “political” is disingenuous at best; it passes neither the sniff nor the giggle test.  After years of review, acres of trees slaughtered in written testimony, and scads of let-it-all-hang-out public hearings, the State Department announced that there were no environmental objections to the pipeline.  Subsequently, President Obama said that he would make the decision—retrospectively a fatal blow to any near term decision.

 

Anguish Over Aboriginals—How Canadian

By David T. Jones on December 16, 2011

One of the enduring elements of Canadian psychic angst is the status of its First Nations.  

Over the years, indeed over the decades, an observer can recall the viewing-with-alarm and/or dismay that affect Canadians when one or another instance of ghetto in the woods associated with a First Nation reserve comes to light.

Remembering 9/11 - Ten Years After

By David T. Jones on October 26, 2011

"Who You Are Is Where You Were When"

~ Morris Massey

The quotation refers to the events that define you and your generation—life and history altering episodes that are the benchmarks for memory and the iron pole around which your future swingsand conditions your thinking.  For my parents, it was Pearl Harbor.  For me, it was the JFK assassination.  For my children (and for me again), it has been 9/11.

Canada and arrogance of Amnesty International

By David T. Jones on August 26, 2011

Washington, DC - All human rights organizations are imperious; didactic; and self-righteous.  They perceive their role as afflicting the comfortable and belaboring malefactors whose sins of omission as well as commission demand vitriolic criticism.  Amnesty International (AI) is a human rights organization and by definition seeks to criticize:  the mote in your eye gets the same intense condemnation as the beam in the eye of another offender.


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