The original substance of the discussion was about why Bilal Hussein had been detained. I think that Chris Blosser and Blackadder provided answers that, even if one continues to disagree with Hussein's detention, can at least understand why how someone might feel differently.
Mark, however, sees this as the perfect opportunity to conflate the detention of Bilal Hussein with Jose Padilla, Maher Arar, the Unitary Executive theory of the presidency (which I would be very interested to hear Mark actually try and define in his own words) and apparently Shawn McElhinney's defense of the use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Blackadder again notes that there are a lot of differences between these various cases and makes what I think is an apt comparison between Bush and Lincoln.
I myself used FDR as an analogy, but whether it's Lincoln or FDR I think that it is important to note that, contrary to Hollywood, every time a leader invokes emergency wartime powers (which Bush has not done anywhere near the level of degree that Lincoln or FDR did) does not automatically lead to a Weimar-style end of democracy and the imposition of a dictatorship. Of course, there were a lot of people who thought that Lincoln and FDR were dictators at one point or another, and there some who still do (including, not surprisingly, one of Mark's most vehement allies on this stuff), which is one of the reasons why such people have a tendency to remain politically irrelevant.
This comparison prompted Mark to argue that we are in a state of emergency powers in perpetuum, embracing some of the worst libertarian, paleocon, and ACLU hand-wringing while doing so:
Finally, I'm informed that it's all perfectly fine because the executive has power to suspend habeas in time of war. The difficulty is that we are in a "time of war", not with a nation state but with a tactic: terror. Since "terror" has been a tactic ever since the dawn of time and will continue to be a tactic till the parousia, that would apparently mean it is okay for the executive to suspect habeas forever. It is a small consolation that, with the exception of Jose Padilla, the executive has chosen to wield his power to imprison anybody he likes for as long as he likes without charge only against foreigners. But given the precedent of Padilla, I don't see any particular reason this executive, or some future one, cannot extend the suspension to whatever citizens he chooses--all under the claim that he or she is keeping us "safe". Indeed, I don't see why Lincoln will not be invoked to do precisely this. If we are in an eternal emergency (and that's what a war on "terror" means) then we are granting the Unitary Executive eternal emergency wartime powers.
Here again, I would ask him to take a deep breath and ask himself if he actually believes this or is just throwing out the rhetoric for good measure. The war on terrorism is a politically correct short-hand for the war against what Mark himself refers to as "the Bronze Age Thugs," which is apparent to the overwhelming majority of people who actually use the term. Mark himself has stated in the past that he supports the war on terrorism, though I think that it's fair to say that he is more in the neutral position right now than anything else with his recent sickening prayer that the Islamic world and the West destroy one another.
One thing I want to make clear is that it is this frequent tendency to lapse into the realm of tin foil and black helicopters that keeps bringing Mark back to my attention. I don't think that I have directly mentioned my view on torture with regard to him in some time - certainly I don't think that this has been the thrust of my recent opposition to his views. That debate is over and I think it's chronciled for anyone who wants to read it. I certainly think that this tendency for him to shift goalposts in a debate makes such a venture pointless. But for better or worse, Mark is seen as a public spokesman for the Catholic faith by a number of people, so if he is going to start using Marxist-style dialectic of class warfare (his "conspiracy of millionnaires"), arguing that American democracy is basically a sham and a puppet theater, and launching into increasingly conspiratorial rants against the Bush administration all from the quasi-Donatist position that his views represent true fidelity to the Church in contrast to those unworthies who differ with his take on the situation, I think that a case can be made that he needs to be reproached using the Biblical precedent of St. Paul to St. Peter in Galatians.
If I had received Shawn's offer and lived in the Seattle area, I would be more than happy to make this clear to him in person in a respectful manner. Failing that, I do pray for him because I think that regardless of his positions to be consumed by this type of anger is bad for the soul, which is pretty much the same thing that others in the combox were attempting to do to begin with.