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Paul A Duginski
Paul A Duginski
Paul Duginski is a political cartoonist and veteran newspaper staff artist. He enjoys reading history, literature and going bodyboarding whenever he has time.


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Posted in Politics / Elections / National

Pointy Dunce Hat

Jul. 14, 2017 3:11 am
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Keywords: None

The hat looks a little like a court jester’s hat now — the fool’s hat or a clown’s hat — instead of the aggressive nationalist Trump’s hat. Who would have thought that “Making America Great Again” would mean kompromat and manipulation by a country and a foreign leader who is no friend of America?

My bet is that the Trump family was never all about making America great; they were about making great deals and lining their own pockets.

We’ll see how this all plays out. I’m really curious about the financial angles, but I think the special counsel will get to the bottom of that. Will there be dirty or blood-soaked money from oligarchs? I wouldn’t bet against it.

For the moment, though, I’m simply savoring the levels of absurdity to which this guy Trump can take us.

He welcomes Russians — our mortal enemies — into the Oval Office and voluntarily spills highly classified intelligence to them. Yet he wants to build a wall and kick out hard-working people from Mexico, many of whom show their love daily for America with their hard work. He wants to ban Muslims — like, for example, Khizr Khan and his wife, Ghazala, whose son made the ultimate sacrifice for the country they love while serving in the U.S. military.

What sacrifices have Trump and his privileged kids made for America and the country’s greatness? Do they even know what greatness is?

The “Make America Great Again” hat is a silly joke now. The fact that it’s red turns out to be pretty appropriate. And usually liberals and elites are called “pointy-headed,” but the spires of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow add a pointy quality to Trump’s hat. It has that quality in common with a common dunce hat.

Thomas J Donegan
July 14, 2017 at 9:58 am
So Paul, by what principles should the USA conduct foreign policy?

Hi Paul!

A lot of innuendo and wishful thinking does not make a compelling, criminal or impeachable case! Your characterizations (regarding Russia and Vladimir Putin) however, do remind me of a an encounter in girl/woman (she was about my age at the time 26; while she was in Grad school and then in Nicaragua commiserating with Daniel Ortega, I was finishing up my 6 years of active duty in USN) when in school. The woman was brought in to speak about the Iran-Contra Affair by SRU; I happened to be in a Philosophy class (a Tuesday/Thursday 75 minute lecture period), and Dr. Kneupper (note: we were in Kneupper's class) and Dr. McCoskey combined the classes so we students could benefit from this woman's wisdom.

As the woman - introduced as an expert on the Contra-Sandinista Nicaraguan dispute - spoke, those of us with military back-grounds were impatiently waiting to pounce; when the opportunity to question came about. Naturally she was - as were both professors - a fan of Daniel Ortega, and vilified the Contra's. As it turned out, she was stymied by this writers question which is contained in the title of this missive, viz: "By what principles would you suggest the USA conduct its Foreign Policy?" As this writer bore in upon her, Dr. McCoskey (deceased; formerly a Baptist Minister who lost his faith in Christianity and Jesus Christ and claimed that he would have committed suicide, but New-Age Philosophy saved him! Such was reported those which enrolled in one of his classes - we never had the pleasure of being entertained by the clownish antics with he would entertain his students e.g., lecturing from a trash-basket... Deep, deep philosophy taught therein, we guess...) came to her rescue.

McCoskey attempted to portray us as a jingo... Of course we responded (we paraphrase): "Dr. McCoskey, we have read Plato's Republic and are inclined to agree with him that utopia's are figments of the imagination, thus we do not see the USA as wearing a "white-hat!" We understand Reagan's foreign policy as reflecting Jean Kirkpatrick's preference of strong-men dictators to communist regimes; such is the ugly business of international affairs, foreign relations and pragmatism. So Dr. McCoskey, by what principles should the united States conduct its foreign policy?" McCoskey was as ill-equipped as the young woman that lectured upon the Iran-Contra Affair, and thus Dr. Kneupper came to his aid, but he was no better, and the class ended (time expired) before any such articulation of principles could be rendered by any sympathetic to view that "communism (or anti-Americanism when lead by a conservative Administration) good" and the USA and Ronald Reagan evil! It seems to me, one must refuse foreign entanglements altogether, or one must make alliances with the lesser of evils e.g., Joe Stalin is very evil, but less evil than Adolph Hitler...

So Paul, do you have any words of wisdom on this point, or question?

Take Care Paul!

With regards!


Thinker's Post
Paul A Duginski
July 14, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Greetings, Thomas —

I must admit that I’m straining to see a connection between conduct of foreign policy and the multi-faceted, burgeoning Trump scandal. In brief, I feel that foreign policy must be conducted in the most moral way possible, in spite of the bad actors out there. Sometimes realists have to side with the lesser of evils, simply because there is no good option. I’m pragmatic enough to understand that an unsavory regime may have to be supported because the alternative is a much worse evil. I believe in a strong military — my brother is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel — and we can’t be afraid to exercise power when absolutely necessary. However, I see using military power as a failure of diplomacy. When is it justified? I’m glad I don’t have to decide that. I also don’t have access to the intelligence that you would weigh to come to a decision. You’ll recall that Pope St. John Paul the Great was very strenuously opposed to the U.S. adventure in Iraq in 2003. Popes, by the way, have some of the best human intelligence on the planet because the Catholic Church is everywhere. Perhaps in his prayerful wisdom he foresaw the quagmire and eventual rise of ISIS that resulted. At the same time, I feel that President Obama’s “red line” collapse in the face of Bashar al-Assad’s war crimes in Syria was much too weak. So, in conclusion — and I don’t pretend to be an expert — I’d say that you always err on the side of cautious diplomacy and respect for human rights in your conduct of foreign policy.

But conduct of foreign policy while in office has nothing whatever to do with manipulation and collusion by an unfriendly foreign power during a campaign. Vladimir Putin is a killer — as Bill O’Reilly has said — who offs his opponents and rubs out journalists. This is a cold-eyed former KGB guy and corrupt kleptocrat who wants to undermine our democracy by making it look ridiculous. Well, he’s certainly done that. In Donald Trump, Putin has found the perfect tool to make America look ridiculous.

By your question, are you suggesting that sometimes in the conduct of foreign policy you have to get in bed with ruthless dictators like Putin? If that’s your brief, then Trump was illegally attempting to make foreign policy long before he had the authority to do so. Even after arriving in the Oval Office, Trump has nary a critical word for Putin and the Russians, who are at odds with the United States around the globe. What’s up with that? He blurted out highly classified intelligence to the Russian ambassador in an Oval Office meeting that was closed to American press personnel. In giving classified information that came from an ally, he may have blown the cover of human assets that could result in arrest or death. The Russians are good at espionage — they would be able to connect the dots and there would soon be a knock at the door in the middle of the night somewhere. Would you call that principled conduct of foreign policy?

— P.

Thomas J Donegan
July 14, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Hi Paul!

I commend you on your response the specific question, it seems - to me - to be as quite reasonable and wise (of course my assertion implies a knowledge, on my part, which could be claimed as lacking...)... The question was aimed predominantly at the characterization of Russia...

Although the history of that Nation's Government and of Vladimir Putin is one of murder for expedience, and perhaps for pleasure - on the part of some of the brutal dictators with which its people have been ruled - one wonders whether the United States Government and the Press can tell the truth about any number of affairs with which we involve ourselves, as a Nation? Certainly this Nation has "bet" on the wrong "horse" over the years and in order to justify alliances -at the moment - we color our characterizations of enemies, and allies alike. During the campaign - when people claimed Putin would favor Trump to Clinton (fill in what nonsense one would like for their justification e.g., she was tougher, she was smarter, and less-easily manipulated, Trump was a bloviating rube etc.) - all that was required to see the senselessness of Putin favoring a weakling is to believe Putin doesn't fear Islam, but Beslan school in North Ossetia (part of Russia), and the Chechen Muslims murder of 350 + people (roughly half were children). We think Putin is a clear eyed-realist about the nature of Islam.. Just as most Catholics, and most other Christians know little of their faith, we argue such is the case with Muslims as well; a devout peaceful Muslim may easily be radicalized if their Imam's - come-out-of-the-closet - and proclaim: "What has been referred to as "radical Islam" was done so as a necessary expedient, my brothers! We needed our numbers among the infidels to grow, and today we have sufficient strength - while the infidel is sufficiently lax, confused and disorganized - that we can proclaim the authentic Islam advances, as did the prophet Mohammed, by the sword!" We believe Putin hasn't any need for comfortable fairy-tales which Europeans and the USA happily embrace. Yes, Muslims can be peaceful, but will a devout Muslim (and the same with the secular Muslims; they would likely understand the signs of the times, if a caliphate is emerging would the secular Muslims change their comportment?) remain peaceful, if so instructed by their Imams? The Crusades were not an aggressive action; they were defensive!

Bill O'Reilly statement notwithstanding, Putin has not been shown to have suborned anyone in the Trump Administration; the investigation into the Trump campaign is a red herring; I'm inclined to think it serves many purposes e.g., 1.) distracts from Trump's, implementing his agenda (One could make the argument Trump is the biggest distraction from his agenda, which we would not gainsay...), 2.) Shift attention of the Justice Department from looking into the skullduggery of the Obama and the Clintons with foreign Governments, for example: Russia and Iran (20% of American uranium reserve is owned now by Putin?); Obama lied to Congress, the U.N., the American people, and our allies to give-away-the-farm to Iran regarding acquisition of nuclear weapons. The action was traitorous, and Obama cannot pardon himself any longer.

3.) The Democratic Party, and the Press, red-stamped Obama's foreign policy agenda; if properly scrutinized (Obama's Justice Department was the definition of tendentious, rendering the department's title an oxymoron...), it is very likely many Democrats would be indicted as complicit in systematically undermining National Security! That would seem to be - at least the soft (soft - passive betrayal)definition of treason? And we could go on, but the point has been made...?

Paul this expresses and opinion: "By your question, are you suggesting that sometimes in the conduct of foreign policy you have to get in bed with ruthless dictators like Putin? If that’s your brief, then Trump was illegally attempting to make foreign policy long before he had the authority to do so." Not a fact! Robert Mueller may establish it as a fact, but presently it is wishfulness!

This statement: "Even after arriving in the Oval Office, Trump has nary a critical word for Putin and the Russians, who are at odds with the United States around the globe. What’s up with that?"too expresses an opinion, not shared by G.W. Bush in 203, and not shared by Barack Obama during the 2012 campaign; Obama ridiculed Romney for claiming Putin was the greatest enemy facing the USA... Russia and the U.S. may be able to find common ground in our war with Islamic Evangelization via the sword... By the way Paul, I don't hate anybody, but I do hate ideas (This is broader than Islam, the Soviets, the Nazi's the Aztecs - and may others - each had views of the world which justified murdering innocents...) which people may adopt, and through that adoption become Mr. Hyde's... No cant!

Regarding: "He blurted out highly classified intelligence to the Russian ambassador in an Oval Office meeting that was closed to American press personnel. In giving classified information that came from an ally, he may have blown the cover of human assets that could result in arrest or death." I share your concern! That Clinton and Obama had similar infractions of National Security does not obviate Trump! I don't think the remedy is removal, but Robert Mueller may disagree, we will see, since any action which Trump undertakes intentionally - or otherwise - which betrays his Oath-of-Office is grounds for impeachment; Mueller cannot remove Trump, but he can deliver a case to Congress which obligates them to do so! If such a case is presented - we will support the action!

Regarding: "The Russians are good at espionage — they would be able to connect the dots and there would soon be a knock at the door in the middle of the night somewhere. Would you call that principled conduct of foreign policy?" No, I would not! Trump needs to sober up, or he will get somebody killed! The question is: "Can he set aside his sentimental urges to react, or nay?" If Nay, the writing may be on the wall... We note that Democrats and the Press too may be distracting the Government of the United States though their incessant agitation and zeal to end the Trump Presidency. Apparently because they think that their obsession with "smoke" - through assiduous hoping and fantasizing - will result in reifying that smoke into a solid evidentiary trail of: "Treason, Bribery or other high-Crimes and Misdemeanors" to end of Trump's tenure... Such conduct is every bit as irresponsible as Trump's conduct; as we said before, there is a bit of Captain Queeg in Trump, and those that love this Nation ought to care more about the "Cain" surviving rather than who pilots the "ship"-of-State...

Thank you, Paul! I must say I found your letter refreshing, and sober!

Sincerely, and with regards!


Thinker's Post
Paul A Duginski
July 15, 2017 at 1:43 am

The people in attendance during Don Trump Jr.’s “dirt on Hillary” meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016, in addition to Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, has increased again.

Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer with her translator, were there, and now we find out that Rinat Akhmetshin, a former Soviet counterintelligence officer joined them. Some U.S. officials have said there is no such thing as “former” Soviet counterintelligence officer.

Will more people turn out to have been at the meeting? We haven’t been able to get a straight scoop and the story keeps changing. Why the constant evasion about this and so many other things, such as the reason for the firing of James Comey?

Here may be the answer: John Dean has said, “I know what a coverup feels like, and this feels like one now.”

Thomas J Donegan
July 15, 2017 at 9:16 pm

Hi Paul!

It may be that there was - and is a cover-up - going on within the Trump campaign... If so Robert Mueller will uncover that information, and if it touches Trump that will end him; Republicans will be so much happier with Pence. Although many Republicans pretty much agree with the Democrat Party (each want to go to Hell, but the Democrats want to be there by this afternoon, Republicans want to savor the trip and tarry along the path to enjoy the sights...); the real conservatives and Tea Party elements may have learned from Trump on how to take down Democrats i.e., speak the truth irrespective of whether impolitic or otherwise... So Pence - and whatever coalition he would broker among the two factions mentioned - may cause Democrats, and the John McCain Susan Collins wing of Republicans regret removing Trump...

That said, it is our view that there isn't a case against Trump or his son, unless they are going to prosecute them for being gauche, or stupid. And the stupidity - in my opinion - is in regards to Trump not understanding that he is guilty until proven innocent - of whatever the Democrats and Press allege! You yourself have pointed out Trump's imprudence with his own interest. It would have been wiser to be more reticent to say anything, but that isn't Trump. Trump's relationship - with the Press - deteriorated as soon as he secured the GOP nomination, because the Press wanted Trump to oppose Hillary. Once the contest was set, the Press turned critical; how unlike their treatment of an Obama or Bill Clinton (either could commit armed robbery and their first line of defense would be the mainstream Press...), as could damn near any Democrat... The bias - of which they are so often accused - is a bias of worldview, thus the typical University graduate has an assimilated antipathy for things social-political Right, and an reflexive affinity for things social-political Left; members of the Press generally are not consciously aware of their bias.

As to Comey; Trump wanted his to say to the American people, what he said to Trump privately, and Comey refused. We think the Assistant AG Rod Rosenstein apprised Trump that there wasn't any reason fro Comey not to tell the public, except to cast a pallor upon the President's legitimacy...

At the end of the day, Robert Mueller will determine what is what; if he has something it may - or may not - end Trump (could be surrogates acting independently, or relatives e.g., son Don Jr.; Trump will just pardon his son...) and if there is nothing then Trump will have managed to help the Press eviscerate its remnant of credibility, and also managed to place the Democratic Party in a box, one which the American people will be told - by Trump - and to which they will agree: "They just hate me (Trump) and will do anything to thwart my agenda to make America Great Again!" And thus, the Press and the Democratic Party will have destroyed themselves.

Take Care Paul, and have a good night!


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