Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Love America"

“The more I see of our country, the more I love it.”

--Laura Ingraham in

Power to the People

This is the first line in Chapter 5 of Power to the People. I am really excited by this book and look forward to sharing it with everyone on here. When Laura talks about seeing more of the country, she isn’t talking about the landmarks or shopping malls, she is talking about the people she gets to meet outside of D.C. Laura and others have often remarked that our greatest resource is the people of this nation.

Laura also talks about making a “Love America” group. This would be to combat the “Blame America First” crowd out there. I think it may have been a passing comment in her book, but I have decided to take this idea and run with it. To that end, I am announcing that I am creating a “Love America” club starting right here.

This club is to be patriotic, and to remember our great heritage. We won’t forget the mistakes we have made as a nation (like forgetting what Amendment X of the U. S. Constitution is). Whereas people in the “blame America first” groups tend to see us as the problem, in “Love America” we will assume that the United States is probably the solution. We will promise to take the side of America first, until evidence proves that we have been wrong. We will assume that the United Nations doesn’t have America’s best interest at heart. We acknowledge that while a European Union my work for some of our allies, we aren’t part of that Union and aren’t bound by its agreements. In “Love America” we will strive to protect our nation from treaties that wish the United States to grant foreign bodies power over us.

I welcome comments as to what should be included in this club. If you want to join, feel free. Membership costs no money, but won’t be free. Many will consider this group backwards and perhaps even a bit barbaric. However, pride in ones country is nothing to be ashamed of. I am proud to live in the United States and to be an American.


Jayne d'Arcy said...

I like this idea. I'll join!

Andy D said...

As an update to this, I just had to reject a comment from and Anonymous poster. I don't know if it is the same Anonymous poster that likes to post about global warming on here. That's one of the problems with Anonymous comments, if you make them, you end up getting lumped in with everyone who makes anonymous comments. While I disagree with Anonymous's comments about global warming, I have chosen to believe he / she didn't make this comment.

The comment I didn't post accused me of trying to create a white supremacy group with my "Love America" club. I would have posted the comment because I think it makes an interesting point. However, I didn't because this comment even included a link to a white supremacy website. I reread my post and can't see where someone would have taken that message from the post I made. I argued for a group that celebrates America, and assumes America has the best of intentions. Never once did I say anything about any race.

I said earlier that Anonymous made an interesting point. His (or her) point was that if I believe America should be celebrated, then I must be a racist. I think that says volumes about those who subscribe to the blame America first mentality. I also said I assume this isn't the same person who has been commenting on global warming. If it is the same person, then that would also say volumes about the "man-made global warming" movement.

Anonymous said...

Ann Coulter's on Andy's team:

"We should invade Muslim countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians."

Let's go, team! Share the love of America!

familyman said...

Andy Andy Andy - I Love America! But I look at it with clear eyes not rose colored glasses.

I think the best way to show your loyalty to this country and to be patriotic is to keep a very wary eye on our leaders. That is exactly what the founding fathers would have expected. We can't ASSUME our government is doing right. We need to confirm it by being eternally vigilant.

Your manifesto for the "Love America" club sounds very pollyannaish, protectionist and isolationist.

I don't consider myself one of the "Blame America First" crowd as you call it. But I do consider myself a realist.

The problem with assuming our leaders are in the right, "until evidence proves that we have been wrong." is that if we're assuming they're right who's looking for the evidence of wrong doing?

Kevin said...

Andy I know you read and are sort of paraphrasing what Anonymous said but I really would like to know how you must be racist because you want to celebrate America. Anonymous please explain!
Anonymous user with the Coulter quote: Lets change that around a little bit. "Invade and attack America, kill the infidels or convert to them to Islam and if not kill them." Ann Coulter says this that one quote and you imply that America is bad and people should not join "love America." A whole group of political and religious leaders believe and inact the quote I wrote and people do not seem to be bothered by that or think any thing is wrong with what they said. I hope you realize how much you should love America because in some other countries you only speak out against your country one time. It is a little hard to talk with your head not attached to your body.
Do you have to like every thing that we do? No. You should however show a little respect to the millions of people of this country that provide so much for you. Remember this: We the People of the United States, ... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (part of the preamble of the constitution) There is your proof that the people of this country provide the government of this country for each and every one of us. That is what this love America group is about. The people. I'm in.

Kram said...

Andy, I am not surprised to hear that someone would make that accusation after reading this definition of a racist:

A Racist: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e. people of European descent) living in the United States regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because as peoples within the U.S. system they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities or acts of discrimination."

This definition was taken from a diversity training manual. How can someone "Love America" when they are taught outright lies such as this?

Andy D said...

Thanks for the comments Pack and Kram.

Familyman, I am not sure what you mean by Pollyannaish and protectionist. If you mean that my ideals for this club seem simple, and somewhat cheesy (the Pollyannaish remark) I accept that. There is a certain patriotic quality that we as a culture have lost. I think it is time to regain it. I am also not sure what you mean by isolationist. If you mean that I want us to ignore international affairs, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t think we should allow the United Nations and the European Union to make decisions for us. I believe we should still have a voice, and still act on the international scene, but we should make those decisions for ourselves and not give our national sovereignty to a foreign body. The founders would never have wanted that.

I think we should constantly question our leaders. I think keeping a very careful eye on what leaders from both parties are doing is not just a right, but a requirement of citizenship. However, if tragedy strikes the world, I don’t look for a way to blame George Bush or America. When scientist come up with a theory about the earth and it’s temperature, I don’t assume that the growth of the United States caused those problems. There are many in our society today who look at a problem and look for the way the United States screwed it up. That is what I want to fight against.

familyman said...

pollyannaish - excessively, blindly, unreasonably or illogically optimistic

I don't look for a way to blame George Bush either. But when it's painfully clear that he's screwed up royally, I don't bend over backwards to defend him either.

Andy D said...

I'm not talking about Bush, Republicans, or Democrats. I am talking about the country. I don't think I am, "...excessively, blindly, unreasonably or illogically optimistic..." about my country. I understand the country has had problems and has overcome them. However, I believe we continue to be the city upon the hill.

Why do you think a Love America club is bad?

And for the Anonymous reader who thought this was racist, is it because you don't have any better argument against "Love America"?

familyman said...

I didn't say a Love America club is bad. I think it's a fine idea.

Anonymous said...

didn't say you were racist. I simply showed--by one hyperlink--that racists purport to "love America," too. My point was to show how similar their language and politics are to your "America first" stuff.

I believe the entirety of my post read:

"These guys are on Andy's team."

You and your other right-wing commenters have turned that one line into an opportunity to show how oppressed white people in America are, how irresponsible global warming theories are, and how people who work for justice really want to "blame America first." That makes an interesting point in itself.

Could you simply acknowledge this: "loving" your own country more than other countries has, frequently in history, made people do evil, immoral things, like invade other countries for false reasons, torture people, hold people without trial, and kill innocent civilians? Don't worry, I'm not talking about the U.S. I'm talking about Nazi Germany. I hope you, if you were German in that era, would have loved your country by vigorously critiquing it and by working to change it.

Of course, if the same things were ever to happen in the U.S, I hope you'd do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm very tired of hearing how everything is the fault of the U.S and how everyone in the world hates us. I'll join. But Anonymous comments bother me.

Er...there won't be any bake sales, will there?

Andy D said...

That was the entirety of your post, with the link to the racist site. Since you were the one that brought race into the discussion, you at least thought my new club could be associated with the white supremacy group. At the very least it was a comment in extraordinarily bad taste. At most, it showed that you either can’t truly debate a Love America club on its merits, or you believe this is something wrong with people celebrating this country. I didn’t turn that line into anything. You are the one that made the comment. If you are also the one that debates global warming on here all the time, it will definitely color my view of your comments. If you are the one who constantly the people I quote on here because they are taking tobacco money, or big oil money, then I think the same rules should apply to you.

I don’t think loving your country has lead to frequent evil immoral actions. I think that kind of philosophy breaks down as you examine different world leaders and different people who loved their country and didn’t invade anyone.

I think Jan summed it up best…your comments bother me, and not because of any argument they make, but because they are insulting.

And Jan, no bake sales….no one would eat the cookies I made for it.

familyman said...


I too am tired of hearing about how many people around the world hate America. But what really bothers me is how much this country has done recently that has earned us that hatred.

If you're really tired of people in other countries hating America, the answer isn't to join an America Cheerleading group. The answer is to work to make America a place that other countries look up to like they used to.

Again, I repeat, "I love America". But that doesn't mean I have to cheerlead for the home team no matter what they do.

Kevin said...

Anonymous you showed by one hyper-link that racists purport to "love America," to show how similar their language and politics are to an "America first" attitude. That could be true but this could also be true. You got censored by andy d. You were not happy about that. Your first amendment rights were infringed upon. You believe in your first amendment rights. I think the first amendment is something that the love America group would go for. So I guess you also purport to love America. Welcome to the club.

Familyman when did other countries really look up to us. Not until world war 2 did the world see us as a power. Maybe brief moments during the cold war and the first Iraq war but Korea, Cuban Missile crisis, Vietnam, the cold war, trying to help in Africa, not trying to help in Africa and now Iraq again. I do not think it has ever really been there.
I'll do this though, I'll agree to the pulling out of Iraq with all of our troops if you agree to us pulling out of every other country we are in with our troops. If you will agree to stop propping up the UN. If you will agree to stop sending billions of pounds of food, medicine and money to all foreign countries. Maybe then we can afford all the plans of Senator Clinton.

Brandon said...

Anonymous: Your comments are completely out of line. As long as I've been visiting and reading this site, I've never known Andy to make racist statements.

Andy: Will there be meetings?

familyman said...

You guys are just hearing what you want to hear. He wasn't calling Andy racist.

familyman said...

Pack04 - I think until recently most people around the world looked at America as a good place. I don't necessarily agree that we should get out of everyplace in the world that we have a military presence. I think those decisions need to be made on a case by case basis. Iraq is definitely one case in my opinion where we should not be there.

Andy D said...

Familyman, this is going to sound like a flippant remark, but I don’t intend it to be. You say that we have done many things to earn the hatred of people around the world. Does that mean you believe we were ultimately at fault with 9/11? I am not trying to say something simply for a reaction. If you believe that the nations and people around the world hate us right now because of things we have done, it can’t all be things we have done recently. Nations were mad at us before Bush took office, so do you believe that something we have done caused 9/11.

After that, can you list for me some of the things that we have done to deserve the anger of the world community?

And as a PS, does that mean you would be ok with someone posting a link on your site to a white supremacy group?

familyman said...

Andy - Of course I do not think the attacks of 9/11 were our fault. The blame for that kind of action always lies at the feet of the perpetrators no matter what their reasons.

And yes of course there have always been and always will be people who dislike us especially as long as we are the biggest kid on the block. Sometimes it's deserved and sometimes not.

I think through most of our history, people around the world have looked up to America. America was the shining example of what a country could become by following principals of freedom and equality and rule by the people. Not perfect but trying to be.

But in this post 9/11 era the Bush administration has basically told the rest of the world, "Either you're with us or you're not. But we're going to do whatever we want regardless of any global consensus."

As the Big kid on the block we may be able to get away with that kind of behavior, but it's not making us any friends. And it doesn't position us as a leader. It positions us as a bully.

From the day we made what amounted to a unilateral decision to launch a pre-emptive war against Iraq, our prestige in the world has been dwindling. And with each story of innocent civilians killed either because of our ignorance or our arrogance, and with every threat of further violence that Bush makes, our moral authority on the world stage diminishes.

familyman said...

Oh, and as for the race thing.

All I said was that he didn't call you a racist.

If you don't want a link to a racist website on your blog, I completely understand. So delete the link and ask him not to include that kind of thing again.

But that has nothing to do with whether or not he was calling you a racist.

familyman said...

Oh, and back to why would people in other countries dislike us. Let's not forget the rendition program that the CIA is so proud of and a President that won't truly condemn torture.

Those things give us a wonderful reputation around the world.

The U.S.A. used to be a symbol for justice and freedom around the world, now...not so much.

Kevin said...

It is scary when we start talking about making decisions as to what our country will do based on the global consensus.
I would like to put the following quote down but before I need to explain it some. Alexander Hamilton wrote this in the late 1700's. He was trying to convince our country that we needed something similar to the House of Lords, which only Lords (extremely wealthy, very high society, first class) could be in. Of course we did not end up with a house of Lords but we did get some thing similar. The senate, where the seats were limited and had the longest terms of elected government making it not as open to change of public opinion as the House is with 2 year terms.
Here it is: The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct permanent share in the government... Can a democratic assembly who annually revolve in the mass of the people be supposed steadily to pursue the public good?

What he is saying is that as a country we need to be able to look long term as well. With Iraq if we pull out now it might be correct for now but will it be long term? I think we need to try our best and figure that out. 2 years ago was the Hurricane Katrina, a couple of months ago it was bridges, global warming is a hit or miss topic depending on the news day. When the election is over will the new president really get troops out of Iraq or was that just another empty promise to get the white house?
Okay, familyman I will be optimistic and believe the rest of the world has for the most part looked up to us. Along the same thought, it does not bother me that the American image is bad in the world eyes right now because they will come back around and look up to us again. Why? We have what they want a "shining example of what a country could become by following principals of freedom and equality and rule by the people."

Andy D said...


The rendition program is vastly overhyped. I don’t think our President, or any serious candidate for President should rule out torture without exception. A serious person will admit that in a time of national crisis, the President needs every tool at his disposal. I am not arguing that the United States should make torture a common practice. I also think we need to take a step back and really look at the definition of torture. Waterboarding is not torture. Sleep deprivation isn’t torture. A President’s job is to protect our nation. The “ticking time bomb” scenario is an example of a case where drastic measures may be called for.

I think other nations still look up to us. I think there are nations out there who consider themselves subservient to the UN. Those nations may not look up to us because the UN tells them not to. I think we should cultivate friendships and allies from around the world (which we have). However, at the end of the day, the elected government of the United States (be it Republican, Democrat, or other) must make decisions that are in the best interest of U.S. constituents, and not the U.N. or the E.U.


Good quote. I think your last paragraph is a perfect rebuttal to familyman.

familyman said...

Pack and Andy,

I can't believe you guys are actually praising that quote by Hamilton. It's completely UNDEMOCRATIC. He wasn't suggesting anything like congress. He was suggesting just the opposite. He was, as you say Pack, suggesting that the extremely wealthy, very high society, first class have a larger stake in the government than the average person because he thought they were better than the regular joe. He didn't truly believe in the idea of government of the people, by the people, for the people.

And Andy, I know you've expressed your views before that it's OK to torture under certain circumstances and that waterboarding isn't torture. And I'm not trying to be melodramatic but it makes me sad everytime you say it.

I just can't believe how many people in this country who call themselves good, patriotic, Christian Americans are willing to say, "Yes we need to torture people."

And as for deciding if waterboarding is torture - the U.S. has condemned other countries in the past for doing it and called it torture.

And now that we are doing it, we have no moral authority to condemn other countries. The dissidents in myanmar have reportedly been subjected to waterboarding. So what is Bush supposed to do now? Tell the Burmese government to stop? That only we get to waterboard people?

It's amazing to me how someone can so easily say, "Oh, it's not torture." without ever having been subjected to it. Do you have any experience that would even get you close to being able to empathize with someone who's been subjected to it?

As for the Rendition program - it's not hyped. It's documented. It's happened and it's still happening. Just last week the director of the CIA was publicly supporting it. It's shameful.

Maybe it's time to ask yourself WWJT.

Kevin said...

With out going into a long historical debate/teaching I have a couple of quick things.
1) our country is not democratic so him being "undemocratic" is pointless.
2) that is from the federalist papers written by John Jay (first chief justice of supreme court), James Madison (writer of constitution) and Hamilton (majority writer of federalist papers). The papers were wrote to get the people of the country to approve a government that already had a two house system called for. It also seems odd you would say that they would be against people when they were pushing for a government set up by a document that starts with "we the people..."
3)read what I wrote. I did not say only a government controlled by the rich. The articles of confederation did not work for many reasons one of which was that each state had one person in the federal government. The constitution pushed to change that by having a body controlled by population. Hamilton was showing that the government also needed a part that was not controlled by the ever changing mind of the general public.
My reason for bringing that quote in was to make sure we were not just being short sighted and making decisions only based on short term public opinions.

Andy D said...

The U.S. currently puts its own military through waterboarding training. The military does it so that soldiers know what it is like and know what to expect if it is done to them. Does that mean the U.S. torture's our own military? And if it is ok to put our soldiers through it, how can it be to inhumane for enimeis captured on the battlefield?

familyman said...

Pack - First of all, here's the definition of Democratic - Adjective -
1.pertaining to or of the nature of democracy or a democracy.
2.pertaining to or characterized by the principle of political or social equality for all: democratic treatment.
3.advocating or upholding democracy.

So I don't quite understand why you would say America is not a Democracy.

Second, I think I get where you're going with the quote. It still seems like a very negative quote though - "The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right." It seems very anti regular guy which seems to run opposite of the intentions of the framers. But, I understand what you're saying about wanting to make sure political decisions are made wit both the short and long term in view.


Andy, c'mon. Do you REALLY think that a soldier being subjected to waterboarding under controlled conditions by his fellow soldiers is the same as being subjected to it while being held in a secret prison by an enemy? Really? They obviously do that so that a soldier will have some idea of what to expect should he be captured and tortured, but the 2 situations are vastly different.

As for sleep deprivation - I've stayed awake and on my feet for 72 hours straight for work and by the end of it I was staring to feel physically ill. My head hurt, my legs were swollen and I felt nauseous. When using it as an "interrogation" technique sleep deprivation can be forced on someone for 20 days. I find it hard to believe that there wouldn't be permanent physical damage in that case.

This country is great when we take the high road. When we stoop to the level of our enemies it's very disappointing.

Andy D said...

Familyman, you are simply wrong on this. Our government is not a true Democracy. Our government is a Representative Republic. In a true Democracy, there would be no need for a Congress, a Senate, or a President. Every law, every decision would be put to a vote. Want to raise taxes? There would be a national vote to determine if the people wanted it. If the majority of voters agreed, there would be a raise in taxes. The danger with a true democracy is that it becomes mob rule quite quickly. There are no morals or any boundaries. Whatever the majority wants, happens.

In our government, we elect a contingent of clowns, er, I mean officials, who vote on the laws and make the decisions of how our country operates for us. Refer to Plato’s Republic.

As for torture, no I don’t think our soldiers going through it and an enemy interrogation is the same thing. However, I do think the discussion on waterboarding and torture has gone a little off the deep end. In waterboarding, the subject is made to feel as if he is drowning, he isn’t, but he feels like he is. In true torture, the subject may get cut, burned, electrocuted. Think about some of the 80’s military movies. Rambo was tortured. If John McCain was honest, I don’t think he would lump sleep deprivation into the same category as what happened to him.

So, the real discussion we need as a nation is, “Are aggressive techniques ok, and is real torture ok?” I think both have different implications and both may have different answers. I don’t think either should be practiced on every enemy combatant we get, but I can definitely think of instances where both are justified. KSM, the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks, and other attacks worldwide is reported to have broken while being waterboarded. I think with an individual like that, who has real information that can directly prevent American deaths, waterboarding is acceptable. Because his information wasn’t “the ticking time bomb” scenario, I would probably disagree with the slice and dice interrogation.

I don’t wish to dismiss your beliefs on torture out of hand. However, I think this nation needs to start this discussion over, throw out the politics, and really look at the definitions of these techniques.

Anonymous said...

So, let's hear it, Andy and crew, which America do you want? Do you want the America that prosecuted people for the war crime of waterboarding, or the one that practices waterboarding?

You can't have it both ways.

From a history of waterboarding:

"In 1947, the U.S. charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for waterboarding a U.S. civilian. Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

"All of these [W.W. II war crimes tribunals] elicited compelling descriptions of water torture from its victims, and resulted in severe punishment for its perpetrators," writes Evan Wallach in the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law.

On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a U.S. soldier supervising the waterboarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier. The caption said the technique induced "a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk." The picture led to an Army investigation and, two months later, the court martial of the soldier.

Cases of waterboarding have occurred on U.S. soil, as well. In 1983, Texas Sheriff James Parker was charged, along with three of his deputies, for handcuffing prisoners to chairs, placing towels over their faces, and pouring water on the cloth until they gave what the officers considered to be confessions. The sheriff and his deputies were all convicted and sentenced to four years in prison."

And Andy, do you have evidence of the U.S. conducting waterboarding on its own soldiers? Just curious if it actually happens, how often, and to whom. None of my friends or relatives in the military know anything about that...

Andy D said...

There have been a few articles in assorted papers lately, and I have heard it talked about on both Fox News and CNN. I know a soldier wrote an op-ed about it some time last week. I think if you do a google search, you will probably find it quickly. If you can’t, let me know and I will dig up the op-ed I saw.

To be clear, I think waterboarding should be reserved for extreme cases. I don’t think it should ever be used in a criminal investigation. I am only talking about it being used in a terrorist / military setting. However, I do believe there are times that it may be required, and I believe it needs to be available in those limited circumstances.

Andy D said...

Here is the article I was thinking of. Regardless of your position on waterboarding, this is a very important article to put the discussion in it's proper perspective.

Anonymous said...

Andy, thanks for the clarification that waterboarding should be rare.

But your "important" article is only important if the author actually experienced what he claims, and we can't tell that because he gives a fake name. Here's an account by a high ranking military official who deals directly with the arguments in your article. And he uses his real name. It's worth a read.

familyman said...


I would say that your yardstick for what comprises torture (that it has to rise to the level of Rambo movie tortue) just shows a basic lack of understanding. If real people were tortured like in a Rambo movie they would always die.

Below is an excerpt from a statement made today by Malcolm W. Nance, in front of a House Judiciary Committee Sub Committee.

Nance is a former member of the U.S. military intelligence community. He served in the U.S.Navy for 20 years. He was an instructor at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school in North Island Naval Air Station, California. Among his responsibilities was to employ, supervise or witness dramatic and highly kinetic coercive interrogation methods, through hands-on, live demonstrations in a simulated captive environment in order to inoculate students to the experience of high intensity stress and duress.

Here's the excerpt -

"Waterboarding has the ability to make the subject answer any question with the truth, a half-truth or outright lie in order to stop the procedure. Subjects usually resort to all three, often in rapid sequence. Most media representations or recreations of the waterboarding are inaccurate, amateurish and dangerous improvisations, which do not capture the true intensity of the act. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not a simulation of drowning -- it is drowning.

In my case, the technique was so fast and professional that I didn’t know what was happening until the water entered my nose and throat. It then pushes down into the trachea and starts the process of respiratory degradation.

It is an overwhelming experience that induces horror and triggers frantic survival instincts. As the event unfolded, I was fully conscious of what was happening -- I was being tortured."

So, here is a guy who has an extensive and intimate knowledge of waterboarding and other interrogation/torture techniques. And his conclusion is that not only is it torture but that someone will say anything - truth, lies and in between - to make it stop.

So, why in the world should it even be in our interrogation toolbox?

familyman said...

And also, I read the article you linked to. I love it when someone says we should torture people and invokes the name of God in the same paragraph.

Andy D said...

I will be the first to admit that torture can be unreliable. As your quote says, the subject may tell you anything you want to hear to make it stop. However, an interrogator who knows what he is doing can get information from a subject with it.

My argument is that it is a tool that an interrogator may need. A professional will know when and if it should be used and if he / she can get any information from it. It has worked in the past, and has been attributed to directly saving American lives. Again, it should never be used in a criminal case, and it should only be used in a military / terrorist situation where time is of the essence, the knowledge will result in saving quantifiable lives, and the interrogator has a high level of confidence that it can work in this situation.