Hocus Pocus SCOTUS

January 29, 2010

     Note that the Supreme Court decision in Citizen's United V FEC is really a media reform issue.  
     In my film, Public Interest Pictures' Broadcast Blues, (which was generously funded in part by the Streisand Foundation, thanks Barbra!) I detail how 75% of politicians' time is spent fund raising, and how all that money goes into TV/Radio Advertising.  The SCOTUS decision will exacerbate that situation.   The winners are the broadcasters, who are licensed to serve the Public Interest, but who are earning as much as 46 percent profits.  The losers are the public, whose interest is being co-opted by Corporate Money and Corporate Media.
     So media reform is a new front in the battle to regain power for We the People. 
     Here's what is possible:
     With a stroke of his pen, Pres. Obama could tell the FCC to restore the Fairness Doctrine, which would require broadcasters to provide time to political candidates, and to give equal time to all of them. It wasn't until after the Fairness Doctrine was repealed under Reagan that money began to pour into TV and Radio coffers.  Some people don't like this idea because they think it infringes on Free Speech;  but let's be clear: Radio and TV speech is not free, it is owned and managed by a few corporations who solely decide which points of view to air.  (See my post here at Sue Wilson Reports for more on that issue.)
     Congress could also enact free airtime rules, or it could enact public financing rules. Either would take an act of Congress; any bets on that happening anytime soon?
     The single most important thing Congress must do is to repeal those sections of the 1996 Telecommunications Act which stack the deck against We the People.  
     President Obama made media an issue in his State of the Union address.  It is time for a revolution, this one to retake that which is ours:  the media that informs our democracy.

The Plame Case Could Be Reopened, IF...

January 13, 2010

In December, I reported that there was a possibility that the Valerie Plame case could be reopened, given the revelation of millions of missing White House emails that could shed new light on the outing of the covert CIA spy.  A spokesperson for Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago's US Attorneys' Office told me,   "the matter may only be opened for purpose of responding to congressional or other requests."  

But the Plame case is a federal case, and further investigation reveals steep hurdles to reopening the case which caused untold damage to our National Security.  

Most Federal crimes have a five year statute of limitations, but there are a few exceptions.  Had Cheney/Libby/Rove molested a child, they could still be held accountable.  Had they burned down the Plame/Wilson home, they could be held to account.  Had they fled to another country as Roman Polanski did, rather than hiding in some undisclosed location, they could be held accountable for their crimes at any time.

But perjury and obstruction of justice in a case involving the leaking of classified information?  Hide out for five years, and you can beat that rap.  

So the only hope to resurrect the Plame investigation appears to be hidden in the Wartime Exclusions section of Federal Code Title 18, Part II, Chapter 213: 

Sec. 3287. Wartime suspension of limitations

-STATUTE- When the United States is at war or Congress has enacted a specific authorization for the use of the Armed Forces, as described in section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(b)), the running of any statute of limitations applicable to any offense (1) involving fraud or attempted fraud against the United States or any agency thereof in any manner, whether by conspiracy or not, or (2) committed in connection with the acquisition, care, handling, custody, control or disposition of any real or personal property of the United States, or (3) committed in connection with the negotiation, procurement, award, performance, payment for, interim financing, cancelation, or other termination or settlement, of any contract, subcontract, or purchase order which is connected with or related to the prosecution of the war or directly connected with or related to the authorized use of the Armed Forces, or with any disposition of termination inventory by any war contractor or Government agency, shall be suspended until 5 years after the termination of hostilities as proclaimed by a Presidential proclamation, with notice to Congress, or by a concurrent resolution of Congress. 

So MAYBE, if a Congressperson were so inclined, he or she could request the case be reopened under this statute.  Guess we shall wait and see.