Jon Huntsman Pushes Back Against Calls To Resign In Wake Of Trump’s Helsinki Disaster

Jon Huntsman, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, is rejecting calls that he should resign in the wake of what everyone seems to agree was a disastrous summit meeting with Vladimir Putin.

In the wake of President Trump’s disastrous summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a NATO summit that was equally destructive, and a visit to the United Kingdom that likely has only strained an already strained relationship with one of America’s closest allies, there have been many voices here in the United States who have called on certain members of the Trump Administration to either speak out against a President that many see as having gone dangerously rogue or, in an even more extreme example, to resign their office in protest of the statements and actions of the President himself.

One focus of those calls have been Jon Huntsman Jr., the former Utah Governor, Republican candidate for President, and Ambassador to Singapore and China, who has served as Ambassador to Russia for roughly the past year or so. Within hours after the President’s press conference with Putin in Finland, John Weaver, who had served as a strategist for Huntsman’s ill-fated Presidential campaign, called on his former boss to resign in protest of the President’s rhetoric and actions. These calls were repeated by a few other corners, including a columnist for a newspaper owned by Hunstman’s own family.

This weekend, Huntsman responded to those calls, and said that he was staying on in his position:

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman brushed off calls to step down after President Donald Trump’s Helsinki summit, writing that “the fragile nature of this moment” compelled him to remain in Moscow.

In an op-ed posted Saturday night in The Salt Lake Tribune, which his brother owns and publishes, the former Utah governor emphasized that his diplomatic staff was too focused on issues like nuclear weapons, Ukraine and Syria “to obsess over politics.”

“I have taken an unscientific survey among my colleagues … about whether I should resign,” he added. “The laughter told me everything I needed to know.”

Huntsman, a onetime Republican presidential contender, was responding directly to a column by the Tribune’s Robert Gehrke, who last week had written, “you work for a pawn, not a president. It’s time to come home.”

Huntsman, along with other Trump administration officials, had faced widespread urging to resign after Trump’s world-scrambling summit and press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

From Huntsman’s Op-Ed, which is styled as a response to Gehrke’s earlier column:

As America’s envoy to Russia, I am appointed by the president but confirmed by the Senate. I am charged with representing our country’s interests, which in the case of Russia are complex and often little understood. Popular punditry is ill-suited to describing the acts of courage, dedication and patriotism I regularly witness as chief of mission overseeing one of America’s most sensitive overseas outposts. Our work has been made more difficult over the past year by the loss of hundreds of colleagues through unprecedented expulsions of diplomats and a staff drawdown imposed by the Russian government.

If you have occasion to visit us in Moscow, I will introduce you to hundreds of colleagues, who are the most highly trained in their field with years of experience working in Russia. Representatives of our foreign service, civil service, military and intelligence services have neither the time nor inclination to obsess over politics, though the issues of the day are felt by all. Their focus is on the work that needs to be done to stabilize the most dangerous relationship in the world, one that encompasses nuclear weapons, fighting terrorism, stopping bloodshed in Ukraine, and seeking a settlement of the seemingly intractable Syrian crisis. Their dedication to service to their country is above politics, and it inspires me to the core. It is my standard.

I have taken an unscientific survey among my colleagues, whom you reference, about whether I should resign. The laughter told me everything I needed to know. It also underscores the fragile nature of this moment. As for my sons, active-duty naval officers whom you also call out, I honor their courageous service each time I salute the Marine guards protecting our large embassy compound. Their words when asked if I should resign are unprintable.

While not specifically addressing the calls on Huntsman to resign, meanwhile, Fred Hiatt of The Washington Post makes an argument for why people like Huntsman and others should not resign:

let me offer a pessimist’s view: Things could get worse still. A lot worse. And that argues for the “adults” staying as long as they can manage to do so.

As nauseating as it was to see Trump equate the credibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin with that of America’s intelligence chief, Daniel Coats, the summit with Putin could have been more disastrous. As he intimated in the days leading up to the meeting, Trump could have sold out Crimea, Ukraine, NATO, the European Union. As far as we know, he did not do any of those things. If he had not been surrounded by Coats, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, CIA chief Gina Haspel, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security adviser John Bolton; if he were listening only, say, to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Stephen Bannon, Sean Hannity — and to his own instincts — he might have done all of those things.


It has become a truism that no reputation is enhanced by service in this administration; just ask Rex Tillerson. And every official has to decide for himself or herself what is the breaking point — bowing to dictators, endorsing racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, tearing children from their parents at the border.

But if Coats still thinks he can do some good for the country by offering Trump “unvarnished and objective intelligence,” I’m not ready to say he’s wrong.

I cannot be sure he’s right, of course. But I am sure things could be worse.

Hiatt, of course, is specifically addressing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats who has been critical of the President’s comments in the wake of the Helsinki Summit and who was apparently caught by surprise by the announcement that Russian President Putin would be invited to the United States in the fall for a second summit. In the wake of the summit meeting, Coats was the focus of similar calls to resign in protest of the President’s comments and actions but he made clear this weekend that he doesn’t intend to do any such thing in the foreseeable future. In any case, Hiatt’s words to Coats could easily be applied to Huntsman, Defense Secretary James Mattis, or any of the other of the small handful of people on the President’s foreign policy team that arguably can be seen as a counterbalance to the hawkishness of people such as National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

On balance, I think Hiatt has the better argument here over those calling on people such as Huntsman and Coats to resign in the wake of the President’s most recent comment and behavior. Additionally, Hunstman’s own arguments in his Op-Ed are well-placed and worthy of consideration, especially to the extent that they speak to what the role of an Ambassador actually is in the modern world. In the modern world,  the proper role for an Ambassador is to represent his country with government officials and others in their host country and, in appropriate circumstances, to lobby the government of the host country as instructed by the State Department. In more recent years, the role has also expanded to include being something of a cheerleader for the United States with the business community and general public of the host country. Beyond that, though, an Ambassador ought to be circumspect about what they say and do in public and should, in all cases, refrain from intervening in the internal politics of either his host country or other nations in the same region. Similarly, while it is appropriate for an Ambassador to advise both the Secretary of State and the President on the proper approach to relations with the nation where they are stationed, it’s not part of their job description to speak out against the Administration every time they disagree with something that comes out of Washington.

In any event, while I understand why people might want to see top advisers like Huntsman, Coats, or James Mattis resign in protest of some latest outrage from this President, I tend to think that this is an option that should be seen as a last resort on their part. These people and others who work in the Executive Branch represent the country as much as they do the Administration, perhaps even more so. If they were to leave then the possibility, indeed given this President the probability, exists that they’d be replaced by someone far less competent or whose advice to the President would be far less nuanced. To that extent, it’s better that people like this stay in place rather than leaving and potentially being replaced by people who would be far worse. Certainly, there are circumstances where a line may be crossed and decent people should be expected to step aside and speak out, but I don’t believe we’ve reached that point quite yet, or that much of anything can be accomplished if the few competent people left on the Trump foreign policy team just decide to step aside and let chaos reign. Maybe they’re not accomplishing anything by staying, that’s certainly possible given the fact that the President seems more inclined to go with his “gut” than he was at the beginning of the Administration, but I’m still glad that there are some people left behind who constitute at least somewhat of a coalition of sanity inside an increasingly insane Administration.



FILED UNDER: National Security, Terrorism, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. David M says:

    This is one of the more difficult questions for people in the Trump administration, and I don’t think there is one right answer.

    One argument I’ve seen a couple places recently is if people view themselves as a check on Trump, or a lone voice of sanity…they are getting very close to admitting Trump isn’t fit to hold office.

    At that point, the moral choice may be to resign publicly and campaign against Trump’s re-election in 2020.

  2. de stijl says:

    Trump is “thinking over” whether to offer up McFaul and Browder (of the Magnitsky Act) along with other current and former US State Department employees to questioning by Russian security officials. Trump got played hard.

    Huntsman has no agency in his current role; as Ambassador he is duty bound to follow Trump’s policy. Why would he remain? He cannot “check” Trump in his role. Implicitly, he was undercut by Trump. If McFaul is a sacrificiable pawn, Huntsman is too.

    (Browder is now a British citizen so Trump actually cannot deliver him.)

  3. Mark Ivey says:

    You work for Trump, and you end up getting Trumped.

  4. Tess says:

    why is it NOT ok to meet w Putin. we met w NK, we meet w Communist China, better yet, why does everyone hate trump or wanting to negiate peace. if you don’t want peace then something is wrong w you. Reality is peace will only come when Christ returns, but i aint no Trumpette, i just think nothing wrong w his mtg Putin. Maybe because only an interrpeter as i read was in the room w them but other than that leave the man alone. The news all of them NEVER talk about Obama or Clinton crap and thats just a start not even FEAX News touches them.

  5. de stijl says:


    That. was. awesome!

  6. Ratufa says:

    @David M:

    At that point, the moral choice may be to resign publicly and campaign against Trump’s re-election in 2020.

    I think the moral choice at that point is to realize that 2020 is two years away, and that if you’re holding a position where actions can have serious consequences, you don’t want to be replaced by someone whose only qualifications are their skills at fluffing Trump.

  7. de stijl says:


    The random capitalization, the illogical flow, the spelling, the bonkers passion.

    It takes huge dude and / or lady balls to just flat-out ignore that many words underlined in red before clicking on “Post Comment”.

    5 / 5 stars. Outstanding! I highly recommend Cafe Tess! The food sucks, but entertaining AF. Can you even conceive of “interrpeter” as remotely valid? That’s genius!

  8. de stijl says:



    I am so impressed, I am going to mount a social media campaign to get you more up-votes than you’ve ever received. Every able-bodied person capable of clicking that is reading this needs to up-vote you. (No down-votes!)

  9. steve says:

    Go read McMaster’s Dereliction Of Duty. Everyone at the upper levels knew that we were lying to the American public. No one resigned. (Vietnam War.)They all came up with a rationalization that allowed them to stay. By staying, these people send the message that things are not really that bad, and if that is what they really think, then stay. But if they are staying only because they think that they can uniquely keep things from falling apart, they are probably doing the nation a larger disservice in the long run.


  10. de stijl says:


    Tess’s comment needs up-votes! I did the first.

    Do it, or you’re a heartless schmuck and your spouse, partner, SO will despise you. Your children will shun you. Eventually, your community will decide to bury your cantankerous sorry butt in unhallowed ground.

  11. Kathy says:

    Instead of resigning, all these officials should be pressuring Trump to step down.

  12. Jax says:

    Sigh. Does anybody else pine for the Republican party that was not batshit crazy and could’ve feasibly been led by a man the caliber of Jon Huntsman? His full sentences, his sense of duty, his morality….I’ve been a “liberal” for quite some time, but he is a Republican I could’ve gotten behind. Alas, his morality also requires he not throw red meat to the rabid base, so at this point in our history he would never make it thru the primaries running as a Republican.

  13. Gustopher says:

    Resigning in protest seems like the easy way out.

    Either stay and try to minimize damage (and keep copious notes for your tell all book, or the special prosecutors), or stay and use your position to publically criticize until you get fired.

  14. de stijl says:


    Disagree strongly.

    Ambassadors do not get to free-lance. They represent the President. Both of your proposed actions strike me as highly unethical. Not identical, but the State Department is similar to the military in that you need to follow lawful orders or you need to resign. The State Department does not determine US foreign policy, it can consult with the Executive, but its role is to execute policy to its best ability.

    I know Huntsman is a good guy, and I know Trump is train-wreck President apparently bent on harming US interests for decades to come, but if you cannot serve in good faith you must resign.

  15. de stijl says:

    Tess needs more up-votes and *no* down-votes!

    That was a genius, demented comment and deserves love! Just gloriously loopy and sloppy and IDGAF.

    If the folks that down-voted publicly recant, perhaps we can convince Doug to invalidate and negate those down-votes.

  16. de stijl says:

    C’mon! “interrpeter”

    That’s Howard Finster good. Outsider art, naive art, whatever you want to call it, it rocks.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I just checked, apparently Jenos/Warren and either TM01 or MBunge has upvoted Tess, too! Good luck with your mission.

    On another note, if the Moscow embassy were to be closed in protest, it would be different, but given that a more obvious Trump fluffer is the most likely possibility, Huntsman is correct to stay. No good service can come from resigning in this case.

  18. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: I would counter that Huntsman, Coats, Maddis and all the other people trying to be the “adults in the room” are doing the first — although they may not be taking the copious notes. They are trying to minimize damage before it happens by explaining consequences to Trump, making things presumably less erratic and less worse.

    But, if they felt like they couldn’t continue, resignation is too quiet an act. How long could an ambassador stay while making statements that he believes his president is unacceptably subservient to a foreign dictator? Not long, but it would change the national conversation in a way that simply resigning would not. Resigning wouldn’t cut through the daily parade of scandals.

    Dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself ablaze on the steps of the White House would also be a way to get through the noise, but has greater personal consequences.

    Short version: while someone feels that they can make a positive change (either by carrying out the administration policies, or by getting those policies changed), they should stay. If they cannot, they should think about whether they need to disrupt things dramatically, and do so if needed and if they can.

  19. MBunge says:

    Ever get the feeling you’re doing something wrong but aren’t quite sure what it is?

    Better think about it a little harder.


  20. gVOR08 says:

    Ummh. This all assumes Huntsman is acting out of altruistic and patriotic motives. He ran for prez in ’12, he’s only 58. Could it also be, or just be, that he is looking to continue his career in Republican politics and doesn’t want to piss off the base?

  21. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    apparently Jenos/Warren and either TM01 or MBunge has upvoted Tess, too!

    You’re confusing the content with the art. Of course I disagree with the comment, but such unabashed panache!

    In case you didn’t realize, up-votes and down-votes on comments on OTB mean fuck-all. Just because TM01 gets a lot of down-votes here doesn’t make Neil Gorsuch a contingent Supreme Court Justice. Down-voting MBunge does not mean that Brett Kavanaugh will not be eventually confirmed. These awful things have happened and will continue to happen, and as much as I like this place, OTB and our comments have no impact on how it will unfold. We’re puny, useless spectators; and that sucks. I am one vote in one precinct.

    If barbintheboonies and Tyrell had a baby, it would be Tess. That deserves celebration. I want 50 up-votes for Tess because it was stupendously stupid.

  22. Mikey says:


    You really are shit at this, you know. Be a mensch and give the FSB their money back.

  23. de stijl says:


    Strongly disagree again for reasons I’ve already said.

    Also, Coats and Mattis are in different roles than Huntsman.

  24. al Ameda says:

    Well, it was true 30, 20, and 10 years ago, and it’s true now:
    It usually comes to pass that nearly everyone who does business with, works for, or is somehow in service to Trump, is eventually diminished.

    People like Huntsman went into this with eyes wide open.

    I think that Republicans like Huntsman, who actually value public service, figure that: (1) Trump can’t be as bad as he’s portrayed in the (liberal) press, (2) even if he’s Sarah Palin with an orange combover, THEY will be able to do their jobs and avoid Trump’s mercurial and erratic style.

  25. Kylopod says:

    @MBunge: Funny you should mention that, because just today WaPo released a poll indicating the following:

    The Post-ABC poll conducted Wednesday through Friday finds that overall, 33 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of his meeting with Putin while 50 percent disapprove…. A slightly larger 56 percent disapprove of Trump expressing doubts about U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that Russia tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. On both questions, those who say they “strongly disapprove” of Trump’s performance outnumber those who say they “strongly approve” by better than 2 to 1.

    All the WSJ article you link to reports (I could only view the first portion of the article, as I’m not a subscriber) is that there was a statistically insignificant uptick of 1 point in Trump’s approval since June, but that this brings him to the highest approval of his presidency (while still being 7 points underwater). Checking RCP, I see that this is an outlier. Other recent polls (even Rasmussen!) show Trump’s approval worsening since June by anything from 1 to 6 points. Cherry-picking doesn’t help your case.

  26. de stijl says:

    These are the institutions that make us who we are.

    Trump is a blip. A really annoying, vexing blip, but there will be future Presidents and future administrations. If Executive appointees want to get cute and Resistance-y that is on whoever is President to address that because he or she cannot keep his or her house in order.

    If Departments go rogue, that is a very bad thing. If politically appointed Ambassadors go rogue it’s asinine – they serve at the pleasure of the President who appointed them. They exist to execute his commands within applicable US and international law.

    I have zero problem with people within Trump’s inner circle going rogue or checking his bad tendencies, or nudging him towards better choices. Or the people who report to the people who report to the President doing those things. All of that is on Trump and his Chief of Staff.

    But if you report up through a Cabinet head, you must be professional and either serve or resign.

    And why do you think Huntsman resigning with a letter explaining why is a small story? – that’s massive and likely the dominant story for weeks.

  27. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Why do you not get that I’m outright shaming Tess and marking the boundary of acceptable commentary? It’s really obvious; I’ve stated it straight-out 4 or 5 times.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MBunge: Sorry, but the “buoyed by republican support” part of the headline tells me the whole story. I already know that you and all the other… ummm… don’t quite have an adequate word… ehh what the hey… deplorables support Trump to a level that keeps him relatively secure. So no, I never consider any point you might make and see no evidence that considering such will make the world better or safer.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    If barbintheboonies and Tyrell had a baby, it would be Tess.

    Hey, it’s one thing to insult Babs*, but Tyrell has been posting from the most ridiculous parody of Mayberry for ages. Tess is not on Tyrell’s level.

    *: I think you’re also not supposed to call out a poster by name and call them stupid, at least when they aren’t here. Blog rules. Also, it’s kind of a dick move. I don’t want to get all James Pearce and say “be excellent, dude”, but don’t be an ass….

    Oh, god, now I want a gritty reboot of the Andy Griffith Snow where Barney Frank takes the single bullet out of his pocket and shoots a black motorist, resulting in race riots, and Aunt Bea calls a spade a spade, and white nationalists show up, and Sheriff Taylor says that there are fine people on both sides to try to calm the angry mobs… Golmer will wear a MAGA hat, Barney will say that he can’t be a racist because he’s gay, the lovable drunk will be on the sex offender registry, and Opie will be a sullen goth teenager skulking about shouting “there is no god, paw!” (It’s his only line, but he uses it many times with different inflections to get across different emotions) Toss in a mayor who has to resign for sexually harassing Aunt Bea, and a school board voting on teaching Creationism and Sheriff Taylor’s girlfriend du jour trying to get an abortion without the entire town knowing about it, and I think we have a hit.

  30. Gustopher says:


    Communist China

    Tess, I hate to break it to you, but China isn’t Communist. They aren’t even particularly Socialist. It’s an authoritarian regime, “modernizing” their economy to service the western psuedo-Capitalists. They have a planned economy, but so do we — they are more direct with the planning however.

    There’s bits of fuedalism, fascism, and socialism there in equal measures. Add in a bit of ethnic nationstate, just round things out.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I get that you’re doing that. Sadly, giving Tess a zillion up votes will not persuade her (ETA: or any one else–“thumbs up mean f88k all” etc.) of anything other than that she a freaking genius as opposed to a forking idiot savant. Moreover, I get that Trump is a blip. What’s not a blip is that he is doing what he does because he sees it as the “face” of the GOP; additionally, his awareness, while it may be lacking in general, is spot on in this case. Whatever future blips come in our political history that come from the GOP will still look like Trump even if he gets impeached with 1999% Republican support for impeachment! For what it’s worth, most of the comments that I make these days really could be counted as minor league trolling or targeted comments about elements of the discussion that I feel are being underrepresented. I got no dog in this fight any more. No one has said anything about Trump that I didn’t know since 2015 or earlier for about 6 months. You don’t need to persuade me of anything and I’m quitting the choir.

    I suggest that you spark up another doobie, put on whatever sort of grungecore that you listen to and try to find your happy place while I go back to mine.

  32. de stijl says:


    We’re disagreeing on Huntsman / his duty, but respectfully so.

    I need to be careful here because you’re a valued commenter, because that epic Mayberry riff was demented in a really, really great way. You just went for it, and I respect that a lot. You went really weird and surreal and specific.

    The reason I want to be careful is that this could sound the same way I responded to Tess which was shaming by praise. One of these things *is not* like the other. I want to see your version of de novo deconstructed Mayberry and ambivalent atheist Opie and queer Barney on the IMAX, whereas Tess is just rehashed 4Chan drivel with interesting grammar and spelling (still deserves up-votes, tho!).

    Your Mayberry is compelling. It’s small-town South in the #BLM, #MeToo era. The concept needs to be tightened and fleshed-out, and likely time-stretched – that’s a lot of things happening all at once. And Peggy (Andy’s GF) needs to be transitioning.

    There’s a high likelihood you were really drunk when you wrote that Mayberry riff, but it was pretty great and very clever.

    “there is no god, paw!” cracks me up hard.

  33. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    put on whatever sort of grungecore that you listen to and try to find your happy place while I go back to mine.

    I was working through RS’s Best Songs Of the Century and I got stuck on The Hives Hate To Say I Told You So which is just a perfect song. It’s Swedish Ramones with better musicians.

    BTW, I enjoy alcohol as well.

  34. de stijl says:

    If Gustopher’s atheist Opie had heard The Hives he would have mounted up to Heaven and punched God directly in the larynx for waiting until 2000 to create such a perfect song. The bassiest bass player EVAR. I forgot how great this is.

    I was on the Best Songs of the 21st and then Gustopher went #MeToo so my head went ah, The Ting Tings gorgeous sounds like brit pop fluff but is secretly punk AF

    That’s Not My Name

    Pretty blond girls are punk AF. Pretty blond girls can be pissed off and they are, mostly because ignorant fools like me dismiss them as “pretty blond girls”

    This looks like brit pop fluff, but it will kick your ass and your head.

  35. de stijl says:


    You both went for it with your Tyrell induced Mayberry scenario, played it all out. And then you were ballsy enough to click Post Comment instead of going highlight / delete which we’ve all done. Good on you, man.

    You shared deep. This is a very guilty pleasure – Len Steal My Sunshine. The boy bits are so Limp Biscuit bro-ey so ignore them, but the girl is transcendent. It was good enough for Sam Esmail for season 1, ep 3 of Mr. Robot tho chances are high he was just funnin’ on it per the context. Anyway:

  36. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:


    This is a quite pop version of something called witchcore. Crystal Castles Not in Love

    This is pop witchcore 101. It gets much darker.

  37. de stijl says:

    One of my top 3 21st century songs – Jesus, etc by Wilco off Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Not anything-core, just break your heart straight alt-country Americana.

  38. de stijl says:

    Top 5 (or adjacent) 21st C.

    Folks think I’m always pimping some obscure x-core that no one really likes but me, here’s straight pop from Death Cab For Cutie Marching Bands of Manhattan

    and Snow Patrol Chocolate

    (such an interesting structure – no real chorus, but still so catchy)

  39. de stijl says:

    Def top 5.

    Yeah Yeah Yeahs Maps off Live To Tell . Karen O kills it and legit cries because her BF was 3 hours late and she wrote this song for him and she was upset he wasn’t there.

  40. de stijl says:

    The Hive’s bassiest bassist of all time looks exactly like Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick.

    But the best song of the century by a country mile is Hey Ya! by Outkast (Actually 99% Andre ice cold 3000 and 1% Big Boi – not sayin Big Boi sucks- that man spits hard and so fast, but this was an Ice Cold joint.)

  41. de stijl says:

    Here’s some actual x-core; Omaha scene Saddle Creek neo-shoegazing – Bright Eyes doing Lua from I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. Natalie Portman should have said that this song would change my life unlike that New Slang BS.
    It’s not something I would recommend /
    but it was one way to live

    You know how Trump sometimes end his tweet with “Sad!” when he’s faking populist empathy? Listen up, then, if you want sad.

  42. de stijl says:

    Neko Case smacking it out the park + ~11 random white Canadian boys in the collective The New Pornographers with the power pop rave-upLetter From an Occupant

    Music needs more collectives – Wu Tang Clan, The New Pornographers, Golden Smog, Prince and the (expanded) Revolution, P-Funk

    Neko sounds a lot like the brilliant Kirsty MacColl here a la They Don’t Know(obviously a slower song) Gotta love that “Bay – bee!” Or Terry.

  43. de stijl says:

    Just found the weirdest 1985 Kirsty MacColl clip ever. She’s lip synching Terry on some German Top of the Pops knock-off. No biggie you say – check the guitar dude, yes, that’s…

    Lemmy. He plays guitar in the background and kinda sings along once or twice and does a half-ass five second solo. Lemmy Kilmister. From Motorhead. That Lemmy. In teddy boy kit. WTF was that?! How did that happen!? Yeah, I know she hooked up with The Pogues, but that was a couple years later.

  44. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    it’s better that people like this stay in place rather than leaving and potentially being replaced by people who would be far worse.

    That assumes they remain an independent voice and are able to influence things. Clearly they are not. Dennison went off script in his surrender to Putin. Then he was forced to walk it back. Then by Sunday, when the fat orange blob was left alone in his bed surrounded by Big Mac’s, Russian meddling in the 2016 election was once again a hoax.

    The point remains; someone like Huntsman or Mattis or Kelly or Coats needs to get this incompetent a-hole under control. Witness his ALL-CAPS rant against Iran. (does he not understand that Iran is a Russian ally?) The last thing we need is Captain Bones Spurs starting WW3 in order to bolster his anemic approval ratings.

  45. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    why is it NOT ok to meet w Putin.

    It’s fine to meet with Putin. It’s not OK to give him a pass on attacking our democracy, thus encouraging him to continue. It’s not OK to surrender to him.

  46. de stijl says:

    Everybody thinks Tracy Ullman did They Don’t Know first – that was Kirsty.

    But Tracy covered Kirsty:

    No Kirsty = no Tracy = no Simpsons. Imagine a world where Lisa or Homer did not exist. American audiences see time travel as an exercise of figuring out to kill Hitler in the crib without triggering a cascading paradox.

    But alt-timeline future – present – past Nazis try to figure out how to prevent Kirsty MacColl from recording They Don’t Know to prevent The Simpsons from ever airing. The Pogues remain local heroes, but never break out.

    Matt Groening does Life In Hell for alt-weeklies and earns tens of dollars every week until he dies of syphilis in 1987. Dan Savage never happens. The Onion never happens. The internet is delayed by 4 years.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Actually, don’t know anything about any of the “cores.” It’s just part of terms that one of my friends who reads Guitar Player and Tape Op uses to describe styles that all sound the same to me (I lost some of my ability to hear pitch, so when I listen to anything that my mind can’t fill in the blanks on, it mostly sounds like random noise). He believes that they are all dramatically different. He may be right.

    My hearing defect probably explains why most all of the cuts that I have linked to from your “discographies” sound virtually identical to me in my 30-60 second samplings of them. A few I can make sense musically of, but mostly not.