Friday, July 27, 2007

Wacky news

The wackiest talk radio news on delivery day this week was about this story. Duncan Hunter was pushing this bill on Hannity's Inanity radio show, where it passed conservative muster with a gleeful Hannity.

So people who think they are conservatives believe that it's OK for Congress to impose itself in the middle of the criminal appeals process, but at the same time they think Congress should keep its nose out of its constitutional duty to decide when wars begin and end.

How do these people get to claim they are conservatives? Has the term lost all meaning?

UPDATE: Slate lays out the legal case.


Anon. in Bozeman said...

I can see why you are always getting upset with these things. You don’t have a clue about how our government works.

“The language aimed at freeing the men would achieve that goal by blocking the Bureau of Prisons from spending any money to incarcerate them.” (AP)

That action by Congress has nothing to do with the “criminal appeals process.” It has to do with funding a government agency, which is the sole prerogative of Congress. Congress cannot order the Judicial Branch to do anything.

Likewise, Congress cannot order the Executive Branch to do anything, such as to pull our troops out of Iraq. All Congress can do is cut off funding for the Iraq War.

This is all so very simple (and usually covered in high school civics). I have no idea why a man of your intelligence is having so much trouble understanding how our government works.

David said...

anon, I think you are the one having civics problems. Congress funds the judicial branch, but using that funding in order to guarantee specific results in specific cases is certainly not what the founding fathers had in mind. It is an abuse of the system.

The founding fathers without question did intend for Congress to have control over when wars begin and end. That record is clear and incontrovertible. The executive branch is charged with conducting war, but only those wars that have been authorized by Congress.

To presume otherwise ignores the Constitution and conservative principles.

Anon. in Bozeman said...

I have the history of American wars and Supreme Court cases on my side. All you have are your opinions about who can and cannot do this or that according to the Constitution.

All you do is continually whine about this subject. But has it ever occurred to you why reality never agrees with your theories? Surely, if you were correct in your opinions some great legal mind, in the last 200 years of this nation’s history, would have discovered what you are talking about and rectified the situation. Either that or the Constitution would have been amended by now to clearly reflect your interpretation.

David said...

"I have the history of American wars and Supreme Court cases on my side."

But I have James Madison on my side:

Game, set and match.

Chuck Rightmire said...

David: You actually also have the Constitution on your side, at least as I read the plain language in the copy I carry with me. And as far as your question about conservatives, the answer is, there are none in this country. Conservatives are essentially those who go forward slowly, keeping the good and taking the best of what's coming. They don't hem and haw and claim that what they say is right no matter how many other people interpret it otherwise. Conservatives also don't daydream about a world that never was and never will be because this world has people in it which is what Hannity and Limbaugh and the people who listen to and believe in them seem to do.

David said...

Chuck, I disagree that there are no conservatives, although I agree that there are far fewer than those who claim the label. Ron Paul sounds like a real conservative, and so do Pat Buchanan and William F. Buckley.

In Montana, Roy Brown, Rob Natelson, Brad Molnar and Bob Keenan, among others, sound like real conservatives to me.

Anon. in Bozeman said...


Your bare citation to Madison’s “Letters to Helvidius” (No.1) merely illuminates the fact that the war powers of the legislative branch were hopelessly confused with the war powers of the executive branch from the very beginning.

Obviously, if such a delineation of powers had been clearly articulated in the Constitution, the drafters would not have been arguing about it in the late summer of 1793, more than four and a half years after the Constitution went into effect.

All you have demonstrated is what I have been trying to tell you, that the question has never been settled, neither by historical evidence nor by Supreme Court decision. The question of who holds the authority to start or stop a war represents an inherent defect in the Constitution, and that is why when such an issue arises, it is always framed as separation of powers issue.

Chuck Rightmire said...

David: And I disagree to some extent with you, particularly on the Montana conservatives. I don't believe Molnar is, but I'm not sure any more what he is. Roy Brown, "my" senator, is just an anti-tax liar who doesn't seem to know what Montana needs; and Rob Natelson is a nothing who makes wild claims politically without citing sources. Read his columns some time.

David said...

Except that Hamilton and Madison do not appear to disagree that only Congress has the power to declare war. Their dispute was over the president's power to conduct foreign relations during peace.

David said...

Chuck, None of the things you say about these gentlemen, even if true, means they aren't conservatives.

Chuck Rightmire said...

David: Not by the definition that a conservative is one who keeps what is good and working and only cautiously accepts that which may make it better, which is what conservative used to mean.