SATURDAY: This morning, we heard America singing!


Neighbors and friends call C-Span: This morning, we heard America singing. 

We started with Fox & Friends Weekend at 6 a.m., live and direct from South Carolina. By 6:15, the friends had introduced Tom Homan, who proceeded to discuss this horrible murder in Athens, Georgia.

Who the heck is Tom Homan? In a somewhat jumbled report, the leading authority on that question tells us such things as these:

Thomas Homan 

Thomas Douglas Homan is an American former police officer and government official who served during the Trump Administration as Acting Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from January 30, 2017 to June 29, 2018. Within the U.S. government, he is among the earliest proponents of separating children from their parents as a means of deterring illegal entry into the country. Since his retirement from government, he has been a Fox News contributor.

...He was a police officer in West Carthage, New York before joining what was then called the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1984. He was a Border Patrol agent, investigator, and supervisor before being appointed by President Barack Obama to Executive Associate Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2013.

By 2014, he had begun to argue that separating children from their parents would be an effective means of discouraging illegal border crossings. The journalist Caitlin Dickerson describes him [in a profile written in 2022] as the "intellectual father" of the policy, which he outlined years before it was adopted by the Trump administration... 

In 2015, Obama gave him a Presidential Rank Award as a Distinguished Executive...

On January 30, 2017, President Donald Trump demoted acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Daniel Ragsdale to deputy director, a position he already held, and appointed Homan as acting director.


In the April of 2018, he and Kevin McAleenan formally advised Secretary of Homeland Security Kierstjen Nielsen to implement the Trump administration's "Zero Tolerance" policy on immigration, including the prosecution of parents and the separation of children from their families. Homan participated in the May 2018 press conference announcing that the policy was going into effect.

None of that necessarily means that what Homan said today, about that murder in Georgia, was necessarily wrong. Let it be said that Homan seemed to be furious about the chain of events which he said had created the possibility of this vicious killing. 

He came back on the air in the 8 o'clock hour to voice his anger again.

On Monday, we may start next week's report with this very topic. With that in mind, we'll move ahead to what we heard today starting at 7 a.m.

Starting at 7:06, we heard America singing as neighbors and friends made telephone calls to C-Span's Washington Journal.

Viewers were asked to describe their top news story of the week. In the first phone call, Patrick from Pittsburgh weighed in with these remarks on the Democratic line:

PATRICK FROM PITTSBURGH (2/24/24): My top story is the Ukrainian illegitimate war. 

You know, it's astonishing. Just imagine you're living in Toronto and missiles are being shot from Pittsburgh into your community because there's Americans there. This is exactly what the Ukrainians were doing in Russian enclaves in the upper portion of the Ukrainian territories.

This war has no legitimacy whatsoever. The Russian Federation repeatedly reached out in order to negotiate. The Ukrainians are Nazis. They're a complete absolute fascist state taking hundreds, hundreds of billions of our dollars. 

We're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. We could be providing reparations to our brothers and sisters of color, particularly people who have had family members that were historically enslaved...

Patrick continued from there. In the morning's second call, Ed from Georgia, on the Republican line, started off like this:

ED FROM GEORGIA: Good morning! That guy from Pennsylvania is forgetting who caused all this. It was Biden. 

But anyway...

Ed from Georgia continued from there. President Biden has wiped out half his savings, the fellow from Georgia now said.

The third caller, Ralph from Michigan, focused on the arrest and rearrest of Biden accuser Alexander Smirnov. Soon, C-Span's moderator was playing videotape of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) repeating the repeatedly debunked canard according to which Joe Biden, while vice president, fired Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin because Shokin was aggressively pursuing Burisma, Hunter Biden's firm.

This evergreen claim has been debunked a million times by now. This morning, it wasn't critiqued or challenged in any way by C-Span's moderator.

The fifth caller also focused on the war in Ukraine. His statements were such that the moderator interrupted to ask him this:

MODERATOR: Randall, you think that Russia did not invade Ukraine in 2022?

RANDALL FROM MICHIGAN: I'm talking about the causation of why they went in.


It was now 7:17. We'd been hearing American singing for a bit more than an hour.

Under current arrangements, the American discourse is remarkably jumbled and vast. Factual claims arrive on the scene from every direction. All in all, there's no process by which even the most fundamental claims ever get addressed, let alone straightened out or discarded. 

Under current arrangements, the American discourse is a sprawling Babel. Next week, we expect to explore the following topic:

The wages of separation.

We expect to explore that topic next week, in part with reference to the ancient siege of Troy. This afternoon, we'll direct you to some of the things we heard on the Fox News Channel last night.

Under current arrangements, the American discourse is a 24-hour, round-the-clock version of Babel. Can a large modern nation really expect to function this way? Should someone at C-Span ask?


  1. "Under current arrangements, the American discourse is a 24-hour, round-the-clock version of Babel. Can a large modern nation really expect to function this way? "

    This is how democracy works. Everyone is allowed to have and voice an opinion. Every citizen gets to vote in elections that determine our nation's path. We have a system of government by and for the people, including people with incoherent ideas and wrong facts.

    There is some faith that amidst the babel, consensus will emerge, and it does. When individuals seek to undermine our system by failing to bend to the majority, that is NOT how democracy works.

    Somerby apparently doesn't like what he hears from the grassroots, but are these callers to CSPAN really representative of individuals across our nation? I don't think so. I think that CSPAN is not vetting its callers (because in the past it didn't need to) and those with money are sending fake callers to spread propaganda and disinformation. Russians did this in 2016 along with Republicans, and now Republicans are clearly doing it again.

    How do I know this? (1) There are not many Democrats who believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine was justified. Yet the caller on the Democratic line strongly expressed that view. (2) None of the callers listed by Somerby appeared to be supportive of Biden. Out of five, two should have been and yet weren't. (3) The details offered by the two Ukraine callers are not things that a person might hear in the normal course of things but closely follow the Russian/Republican line, making them talking points not opinion.

    Somerby complains that CSPAN did not correct the caller misinformation. CSPAN tends to exercise a light hand on such call-in shows. The do not consider it their job to intervene on any side's behalf -- they think that would stifle dialog. If they did intervene, it would quickly become the C-SPAN show because there is too much garbage and the moderator would be talking all the time. It would also undermine caller trust in the fairness of the show, although their failure to make sure actual Democrats or Independents call on those lines, and not more Republicans, already makes the show useless as an actual slice of American voices.

    In a way, this is a symptom of Trump's influence on Republicans, with his wanton lying and rule-breaking. Republicans seemed to respect the call-in rules and stick to their line, leaving a chance for Democrats to talk too. Now they do not do that, much as they shout over their guests on talk shows and debates, and Trump tried to talk over the judge at the E.Jean Carroll defamation trial.

    I wonder why Somerby doesn't see that aspect of a show he watches regularly. A Democrat would immediately notice the imbalance but Somerby more concerned that the moderator stifle the stuff he disagrees with, calling it Babel. I disagree with it too, but the premise of the show is free speech, something most Democrats support. But not Somerby, based on today's essay.

    Instead Somerby denigrates the democratic premise upon which our country was founded and has functioned even during Trump's term. Somerby says:

    "Can a large modern nation really expect to function this way? Should someone at C-Span ask?"

    Can a democracy function any other way? If C-Span did ask, how would Somerby answer? I think we all know, and that path leads to authoritarianism, dictatorship, theocracy (if Trump gets his way). If Somerby were liberal, he might think of calling in himself, on the Democratic line, and correcting the record. But he apparently doesn't do that. That might be participatory and Somerby always wants others to take responsibility without doing a thing himself.

    1. Exactly. A Democrat would immediately notice the imbalance.

      It's like the two times Trump expanded NATO, the times he increased NATO funding, the time he armed Ukraine and the multiple times he Increasing sanctions on Russia.

    2. This was debunked in comments here a few days ago.

    3. Here is a fact check of Trump's claims about NATO:

    4. Trump never expanded NATO nor increased its funding (Trump does not even understand how NATO “funding” works); it was Congress that armed Ukraine and Trump fought against, leveraging it to extort dirt on Biden; Trump never increased sanctions, and he refused to enforce the sanctions already in place.

      It was Biden that expanded NATO and provided resources to Ukraine in its defense against Russian imperial aggression.

      Speaking of debunking, long (years) after the Shokin issue was debunked, Somerby repeatedly boosted the notion that Ukraine’s firing of Shokin was fishy. Today he claims to now be up to date with the issue having been debunked, but it’s just a ploy to con his readers.

    5. Trump made zero attempt to "stop" the two rounds of NATO expansion he presided over. Rather, he ushered the process forward -- the president must submit Treaty amendments to the Senate. So, Trump was part of the "uniparty" in terms of the two rounds of NATO expansion he oversaw and supported.

      Good try though!

    6. 2017

      Dec 22: Approved lethal weapons provision to Ukraine against Russia-backed separatists.
      Dec 20: Sanctioned 52 individuals/entities under Global Magnitsky Act, including Russians for human rights violations.
      Dec 19: Imposed export restrictions on Russian companies for INF Treaty violation.
      Dec 18: Released National Security Strategy identifying Russia as an adversary.
      Mar 15: Indicted three Russians for the 2014 Yahoo hack.

      Aug 2: Signed CAATSA, imposing new sanctions on Russia.
      Sep 13: Banned government use of Kaspersky Labs software due to ties with Russian intelligence.
      Oct 27: Issued CAATSA Section 231(d) guidance, identifying 39 entities related to Russian defense/intelligence.
      Nov 10-11: Participated in APEC Summit, highlighting tensions with Russia.
      Dec 19: Sanctioned 18 Russians for a range of malign activities.
      Dec 21: Increased security assistance to Ukraine's navy in response to Russian aggression.

      Jan 26: Sanctioned individuals/entities related to Ukraine conflict and Russian occupation of Crimea.
      Feb 7: U.S. military action against Russian mercenaries in Syria.
      Feb 13: Proposed sanctions on Latvian bank for Russia-related illicit activity.
      Feb 16: Indicted Russians for meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections.
      Mar 26: Expelled Russian intelligence officers in response to the Skripal poisoning.

    7. do you want 100 more?

    8. And then he repealed most of those sanctions. As I commented a few days ago, Trump complained about the Skripal sanctions enacted by his aides. His lack of enforcement of measures voted by congress means he doesn’t get to claim them now. As I recall, he warned the Russians in advance of military action in Syria so they could remove equipment and personnel. Trump didn’t indict Russianns for meddling. He has denied it happened. The DOJ, an independent agency, did that. Etc etc.

    9. He didn't repeal most of those sanctions.

      Let me fix this for you:

      "Like the DNC, I *wish* he repealed most of those sanctions as it would be a way of keeping the bullshit Trump/Russia hoax alive."

    10. The meeting Don Jr held with the Russians during the campaign was about repealing the Magnitsky Act.

    11. Looks like the meeting Don Jr held with the Russians during the campaign about repealing the Magnitsky Act didn't work out well for the Russians with whom Don Jr held the meeting about repealing the Magnitsky Act because, as you know now, the Magnitsky wan't appealed and actually Trump sanctioned 52 individuals/entities under the Act, including Russians for human rights violations. Which further deep-sixes the whole Russia Trump evil spy plot concocted by the DNC.

    12. 11:49,
      Alexander Smirnov, indeed.

    13. At first, I was wondering how 11:49 could be so gullible as to fall for the Deep State's head-fake about Trump not being blackmailed by Russia/ Putin, but the more I read him the more I get the impression he's on the Deep State's payroll and is paid to push their propaganda online.

    14. 10:29 - Did you wonder why Trump imposed sanctions on Russians for human rights violations under the same act that he was allegedly urged to repeal by Russians while colluding with them? Doesn't really make sense does it? What do you think?

    15. I'm shaved if you want to met up.

    16. It makes more sense than Republican voters being economically anxious, yet supporting Trump's HUGE tax break for the rich and corporations. Hell, even less so when you factor in their "concern" about the nation's deficit.
      Remind me, again, why things should make sense.

  2. Somerby provides a bio for Homan but he does not tell us what he said. "Can an internet blog function that way?" There is nothing surprising about Fox having a former member of the Trump administration, architect of their separation policy, appear on a show.

    When you read the article that Somerby linked to, it is about a crime. The person arrested for that crime is described as "not a citizen" but the article also says that his immigration status is unknown. No details of the crime are provided, but based on the list of charges, they threw the book at the arrestee.

    I suspect that Somerby and Fox will blow this up into an anti-immigrant tirade, but there are also some similarities to the Central Park 5 Killing that Somerby might keep in mind. Will he? I would bet not.

    Can a single crime in an area with 6 killings per year be generalized to immigrants as a group? There are not enough immigrants in that area for them to be an ongoing problem. The article points out that killings of female joggers have occurred all over he country, not by immigrants. So it is a bit hard to see the tie between immigrants and this particular crime. But we'll see what Somerby has to say tomorrow.

    I would bet he will suggest that women who do not want to be killed shouldn't go running along running trails in their local neighborhoods. It is directly analogous to what happened to Chanel Miller, except she wasn't raped by an immigrant but by convicted rapist Brock Turner, a Olympic-hopeful swimming star.

    1. Immigrants have lower crime rates than native born citizens, and undocumented immigrants have even lower crime rates.

    2. Anonymouse 1:03pm, you may be living in a household with a violent family member. While you and other family members are at risk of being harmed by someone you know in the safety of your home, I doubt that you would be indifferent if any family member invited a complete stranger to move in.

    3. What the heck are you talking about?

    4. Anonymouse 1:03pm, do you know people who do warn their daughters not to jog alone? The folks who do ask them not to make themselves vulnerable to strangers by getting intoxicated at parties or by driving drunk? People who don’t like the thought of their daughters walking alone on a parking lot at night?

      Mothers. We’ve got the merit badge and the worry wrinkles.

    5. You can do everything cautiously, restricting your own freedom out of fear, but bad things will still happen to random people. Trying to layer onto that some responsibility for being insufficiently cautious or protective induces guilt for acts that are the fault only of the person who did the crime, not the victim or her mother.

      Miller wasn’t raped because drank at a party. She was raped by a rapist who chanced to walk by. Any number of non-rapist may have walked by before Brock Turner. It is reasonable to expect that a woman can be by herself without being attacked, as many women are throughout their lives. When a criminal commits a crime it is because he is a criminal, not because a woman did something wrong.

    6. Anonymouse 9:37pm, Miller was drinking at home before she got to the party. She passed at the party and wasn’t aware of what had happened till she came to while being examined at the hospital. Brock Turner was very inebriated as well.

      Yes, we can and SHOULD tell people to not to do dumb shite that puts them at risk. Yes, that is our job.

      What we shouldn’t do is to be so influenced by politics that we argue dumb shite such as it being moot that a dangerous unknown foreigner was set out on the street of the USA , because it’s more likely that citizens will be victimized by a fellow citizen.

      Oh, right…that makes it different.

    7. Miller’s drinking is not an excuse for rape. If she’d been roofied, the situation would be no different. There would be no risk if there were no rapists. It is the rapist’s fault.

      I don’t know the details of the murder but being an immigrant is unrelated to what happened.

  3. I was willing to read My Antonia, The Lady with the Lapdog, even the biography of Godel, but I am not willing to watch Fox News or C-Span in order to figure out what Somerby is talking about.

    There may be some 12 year olds and morons who visit the blog who might be encouraged to watch Gutfeld more regularly by Somerby's repetition of Gutfeld's rancid jokes, but when did Somerby become Homan's publicist?

    1. When did Somerby become Homan's publicist?

      It was the day after he expanded NATO the second time.

      Or thereabouts.

    2. 37 Times Trump was Soft on Russia -- from CNN

    3. Trump isn’t just soft on Russia, he’s soft.

      Here’s an AI video of Trump talking about his softness, being honest for once:

      Sure, it’s geared towards younger folks, but you’ll laugh even if you’re 90.

  4. "SATURDAY: This morning, we heard America singing!"

    So did Walt Whitman when he wrote his famous poem "I hear America singing," borrowed without acknowledgement by Somerby. Perhaps that is because Somerby's discussion today is diametrically opposed to Whitman's democratic spirit in that poem. Somerby is lamenting, not praising individual contributions to our nation's progress.

    What is the Whitman poem about:

    "The message of the poem is that each person has their own unique work, and completing this work not only provides dignity but also for the greater good. Each individual is an important part of American life, and their work should be praised."

    Can a modern nation function in such a way? Whitman apparently thought so. Somerby, meanwhile, seems to long for someone to tell all our disparate voices what to think, say and do. Whitman might not approve of Somerby's use of his phrase to express antithetical views, especially ones that disparage democracy as a babel that must be stifled by moderators, on C-Span or in the FL Governor's office or in the voting booth. Suppressing votes is what Republicans do, not Walt Whitman.

    From the Walt Whitman archive:

    "Ever the humanitarian, ever the Singer of Democracy, Walt Whitman defended—even promoted—immigration and descried the plight of immigrants and the discrimination these "poor creatures" often suffered. Indeed, he could not understand how anyone with a heart could feel less than compassionate for the needy ones coming from Europe's closed society to America's plentiful storehouse. Immigration and free trade, he felt, would serve to break down barriers between peoples. He even wanted the nation's presses to cease using the word "foreigners."

    Print source:
    J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998)

    1. One gets the feeling that Somerby’s character is lacking and needs improvement.

    2. It seems bad manners to take an essay that Somerby gives you as a gift and repay that kindness by baselessly attacking his character. But I guess your mom and dad raised you differently.

    3. We each reveal our character through our words and deeds. Even Somerby. Trolling (as you do) and propagandizing (as Somerby does) are harmful to others. You don’t thank people for such acts.

    4. Perhaps Pied Piper thinks Advertising is a gift too? Maybe he thinks Taylor Swift dropped her last album out of the goodness of her heart. Maybe he is grateful to Gutfeld.

    5. 7:26 - You make a baseless accusation that Somerby is plying us with propaganda. Perhaps you shouldn’t be lecturing us on “character.”

    6. I have been documenting, each and every day, why I consider what Somerby writes to be propaganda. If you want evidence or proof or supporting quotes, go back and read my comments. It is all there. The rest of your comments are just harrassment. I get that you don't like what I write. I have the right to say what I want here, as do you. If you don't like what I write, that is your problem, not mine.

    7. Pied Piper, what is the Fox talking point of the day? Some immigrant attacked a female jogger and left her for dead. What is Somerby talking about today? The same stuff, with a bio of Homan. Tomorrow he promises to give us the gory details. How is that not propagandizing?

      The right wing is trying to defeat Biden and put Trump back into office. What does Gutfeld talk about day in and day out? No need to wonder because Somerby quotes it here, along with the jokes about poopypants Biden, without rebuttal or defense of the liberal candidate, Joe Biden. How is that not propagandizing?

      I know it may be hard for you to imagine what an actual liberal might say about Gutfeld and Biden and immigrants, but try. The contrast should show you that Somerby is not liberal and his purpose here is not to boost the Democratic candidate or talk about any issue from a liberal perspective, or even to critique Gutfeld, whose jokes Somerby faithfully transcribes because they are all hit-jobs on Biden and other issues Somerby supports (bigotry mostly, not crudity, but Somerby won't use the b-word).

    8. 8:56 - Don’t cry! I’ll stop picking on you! (Oh, you’re a mouse so I don’t know who you are.)

    9. 9:01 - If you could send me your copy of the Liberal’s Handbook so that I could find out what liberals must think and say, I’d appreciate it.

    10. Start with the Democratic party platform. Then read a few issues of Mother Jones. Go visit AOC or Eliz Warren’s webpages. See Digby’s blog. It isn’t yhat everyone believes the same thing but that there are certain things liberals do not support. I have pointed those out as they occur.

    11. PP, the word “liberal” must mean something. If it can be defined, then it has content other than “I’m a liberal because I say I am.” At some point, it must represent something common that liberals believe.

    12. John C Calhoun was a liberal.

  5. That CSpan has its lines flooded by cranks would not be surprising even if our political media did a better job. I wonder if informed people on either side with valid points EVER phone in.
    It just underlines what quality debate programming with fact checking might accomplish. It would take some time to catch on, but it could be a ratings winner.

    1. I like that idea!

    2. Cspan is about as relevant as Folger’s Coffee. To combat loony callers they occasionally have informed experts on to respond to callers, but it’s rare enough that few sane people bother to watch.

    3. What’s wrong with Folger’s coffee?

  6. The cops were able to make that arrest so soon because they had surveillance video.

    1. Cops only solve/prevent about 2% of crimes. Our law enforcement institutions that employ cops are a colossal waste of money.

  7. "Under current arrangements, the American discourse is a 24-hour, round-the-clock version of Babel."

    Somerby conflates a few random media with "American discourse" as if this were the only discussion happening in America. Cable news is a shrinking part of political discussion in our country. The change in media consumption has led to reorganizing how candidates campaign because print newspapers, cable and TV are not where people get their news or see advertising.

    Somerby is not keeping up with the times. That's why he wastes focus on comparing print newspaper headlines against online news websites. Younger people are not even using the online papers. Judging the entire nation by his own old-fashioned media consumption is plainly wrong. He has no idea who is saying what in other places.

    1. The tools Somerby uses is of secondary concern to him, his primary goal is to manufacture ignorance, or at least appear to be being so, enough to please his minders.

  8. Does am radio produce content or context?

    Is “evangelical” hard to pronounce?

    Are there snakes on Steak Mountain?

    Is Trump experiencing severe cognitive decline? Yes, obviously.

  9. I think this is a general rule: An uncurated comment section dominated by Anonymice inevitably degenerates into to a cesspool (like we see here).

    By the way, I’m bored to death of the evidence-free conspiracy theory that Somerby lies when he says he’s a liberal and conceals the identity of his true paymaster.

    1. It is not evidence free. The evidence consists of the archive of Somerby's essays, accessible on his own webpage. How many liberals you know would defend Roy Moore and tell us to pity Trump instead of wanting to see him prosecuted for his many crimes? How many liberals argued against the 1/6 Committee Hearings? Lots of evidence supplied by Somerby himself.

    2. The truth isn’t always exciting, PP.

    3. “The evidence consists of the archive of Somerby’s essays.”

      Cite where Somerby says he is a conservative paid by Koch and Putin. I’ll wait. (And please don’t bore me with your tortured misreadings of his essays.)

    4. Not just Koch and Putin. Soros and Xi.

    5. No. I tried quoting and citing with dogface and I don’t play that game any more. Where does Somerby ever say anything directly?

    6. Where does Somerby say indirectly that he is getting paid?

    7. He never says anything directly. Are you deaf?

    8. The above Anonymous is an overweight, friendless, unattractive, man-hating incel with mental issues. She likely was abused by a man at some point. She's unable to attract a man and have normal relationships, so she fills the void by creating an alternate reality in blog comments, trying to create her own "in" and "out" groups, declaring who is "in" and who is "out" of the liberal tribe, engaging in baseless and dishonest attacks on anyone who disagrees with her -- for example, implying Somerby is a pedophile and claiming Cecelia is a man. This is a result of her bitterness about her miserable life. It's a misguided attempt to strike back at reality for making her one of life's losers. We should of course normally pity such a person, but it's difficult when she's so utterly dishonest, deliberately inflammatory, and harms the liberal "tribe" by claiming to represent it while engaging in such conduct. Anyone who comes across Somerby's comments section is going to be put off by her conduct and, ironically, if they think she represents the liberal side of things, will be less (not more) likely to support liberals, whom she professes to support.

    9. So, actually a Republican voter. Got it.

  10. This comment section is an uncurated cesspool dominated by anonymice like me.