Update: It was published on January 3, 2012.
To the editor:
Transparency. We’ve been hearing that word a lot from politicians, including our Congressperson, Lois Capps. Indeed, she uses it in almost every speech she gives, at every appearance she makes. And so you’d think that when she casts a vote, such as the vote she cast last month, authorizing the president of the United States to arrest and detain indefinitely, without trial, American citizens whom he deems are supporters of terrorist groups, she’d tell us about it, explain her vote to us.
It’s not like it was an inconsequential vote. By voting to pass the 2011 Defense Authorization Act, Ms. Capps, in direct contravention of the fifth and sixth amendments to the US constitution, vested the federal executive with unreviewable power to determine what constitutes “material support” of terrorists, to decide who has provided such support and to slap them in military prisons for so long as he or she deems proper. No hearing, no lawyer, no court review, nothing. Summary indeterminate imprisonment, imposed by a single person, the president. If that sounds like vesting the Chief Executive with the powers of a dictator, it’s because that’s exactly what it is.
And so, on her website, “applauding” passage of the bill, did she tell us any of this? No. Check it out. What she shared with us—the only facet of the bill she mentioned—was a feature of the bill that provides funding of some small business efforts along the Central Coast. Some transparency.