TIME Pakistan

Pakistani Protesters Storm State TV Station as Fresh Clashes Erupt

PAKISTAN-UNREST-POLITICS
Pakistani supporters of politician-cleric Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri and cricket turned politician Imran Khan shout antigovernment slogans after storming the headquarters of the state-owned Pakistani Television in Islamabad on Sept. 1, 2014 Aamir Qureshi—AFP/Getty Images

The attack comes just hours after the military calls for a peaceful solution to the political stalemate

Protesters stormed the headquarters of Pakistani Television (PTV) in Islamabad on Monday, taking it off air and beating up the station’s journalists, according to Reuters. The attack follows a bloody weekend in the Pakistani capital.

“They have stormed the PTV office,” an anchor said just before the transmission abruptly ended, Reuters reported. “PTV staff performing their journalistic duties are being beaten up.”

Paramilitary forces and soldiers later secured the station, which resumed broadcasting. Protesters left peacefully.

The storming of PTV came as fresh clashes erupted between stick-wielding protesters and police on Monday morning, just hours after the nation’s powerful military called for a peaceful solution to the political stalemate, according to Agence France-Presse.

Demonstrations against the government have been led for weeks by cricket icon turned opposition politician Imran Khan and outspoken politician-cleric Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, in a bid to remove Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from power.

Khan insists that Sharif’s government finagled its way into office through rigged elections last year, and insists that the Prime Minister must resign, and fresh elections set, before the protests end.

The demonstrations that commenced in normally sleepy Islamabad on Aug. 15 have increasingly turned violent.

At least three people were reportedly killed over the weekend as protesters attempted to move deeper into the so-called red zone, where Parliament and executive offices, along with the Prime Minister’s residence and several embassies, are located.

On Monday, Khan urged his supporters to refrain from further violence in the wake of the recent bloodshed, according to Reuters.

“I call upon my workers to remain peaceful,” said Khan, addressing crowds from the top of a shipping container serving as a makeshift stage. “Do not carry out any acts of violence. God has given us victory.”

Domestic news outlet Dawn reports that the embattled Prime Minister and Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif are meeting in Islamabad to discuss the crisis.

TIME Hong Kong

Prominent Hong Kong Democracy Campaigners Raided by Antigraft Officers

Jimmy Lai, chairman and founder of Next Media, speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters in Taipei
Jimmy Lai, chairman and founder of Next Media, speaks during an interview in Taipei on Nov. 29, 2010 Nicky Loh—Reuters

The swoop comes just as the city prepares for long-threatened Occupy Central protests

Updated: 8:38 a.m. EST on Thursday.

Hong Kong anticorruption officers raided the home of media mogul and outspoken democracy advocate Jimmy Lai early Thursday morning, just days before Occupy Central protests are slated to commence in the city’s financial heart.

“ICAC [Independent Commission Against Corruption] was here,” Lai told reporters outside his home, according to the South China Morning Post. “They’ve all gone now and there is no further comment.”

According to documents leaked in July, Lai, who runs Next Media and founded the hugely popular Apple Daily newspaper, has donated more than $1.2 million to pan-democratic causes over the past year.

Pan-democrat lawmaker and Labour Party leader Lee Cheuk-yan had earlier admitted that he received a total of $190,000 from Lai, which allegedly stayed in his personal account for a short time before being moved to that of his party.

Under Hong Kong law, donations to political parties are lawful and do not even have to be disclosed, but payments to individuals holding political posts are prohibited.

ICAC officers also swooped on Lee’s home on Thursday and banking documents were seized, reports the Post.

The ICAC said in a statement that it launched the raids after receiving a complaint. “The Commission investigates every case impartially, without fear or favour and in strict accordance with the law,” it said. “The ICAC, as always, has no political consideration in enforcing the law.”

Nevertheless, the raids come at a time of high political tension in Hong Kong. Authorities in Beijing are meeting this week to discuss how to administer the Special Administrative Region’s next leadership election in 2017.

Hong Kong residents have been promised the right to elect their own Chief Executive, the territory’s highest post, by that year, but the Chinese Communist Party wants a veto over which candidates can stand.

Democracy activists claim this will ensure a Beijing proxy controls the city of 7 million, and have organized the Occupy Central protests to press their demand for freer nominations. A July 1 pro-democracy rally drew as many as 172,000 people, according the University of Hong Kong.

Sources told local media that Beijing is mandating a 1,200-member nomination committee that will then approve two or three candidates for Chief Executive. Hong Kong’s pan-democrats have indicated such a system would be unacceptable, and so Occupy Central may commence as early as Sunday, when a separate though aligned pro-democracy rally has also been planned.

This leaves the possibility open for violent confrontations, as police have indicated they would forcibly remove anyone seeking to block the city’s teeming business district.

TIME Watergate

John Dean: Why Nixon Risked His Presidency

The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It
The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It Courtesy Viking/Penguin

In a situation in which no outcome would be good, the president illogically doubled-down on certain disaster

To understand how someone as politically savvy and intelligent as Richard Nixon gambled away his presidency, employing increasingly spurious defenses, I decided to do what no one else had done: Identify, listen to, and transcribe all of Nixon’s secretly recorded Watergate-related conversations. I doubt if anyone outside the National Archives has ever heard even half of the one thousand conversations I discovered. It took me four years and a great deal of assistance to accomplish this task, the results of which I have reported in The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It. My book is primarily an almost day-by-day narrative of Watergate scandal as it unfolded, covering the period from the break-in in June of 1972 to Alexander Butterfield’s revelation of Nixon’s secret taping system in July of 1973. Most of this account consists of a carefully culled record from over four millions words of direct dialogue of the principal figures, with context and comments as necessary.

The object of my search was an explanation of why Nixon would risk his presidency with the concocted defenses he ultimately offered—defenses based not in fact but in his effort to twist and distort events. Broadly speaking, what I found was that at the outset, Nixon considered Watergate merely a political embarrassment that would pass. He incorrectly concluded, however—based on less than complete information from White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman—that Watergate did not directly involve the White House, or him. This is not to say that the president was uninvolved, for clearly he did not want Watergate to destroy his former attorney general and campaign manager, John Mitchell, who he correctly suspected had approved the illicit operation undertaken by former White House aides G. Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt, with their team of amateur operatives.

Unintentionally, within days of the Watergate arrests, Haldeman drew the president into a conspiracy to obstruct justice by covering up what had actually transpired there. The tapes and related records clearly establish that this initial conspiracy was formed and directed by Haldeman, Mitchell, and John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s top domestic adviser, who had commissioned the earlier criminal activities of Liddy, Hunt, and their men. The president himself was not informed of some key facts of the situation, such as the prior criminal activities of those involved at the Watergate had been undertaken earlier for the White House. Although Nixon’s role in the affair was initially surprisingly passive, he did expressly approve elements of the subsequent cover-up, including payments to the Watergate defendants and the perjury necessary to make the scheme work.

It was not until eight months after the arrests at the Watergate that I was summoned by the president to discuss the matter. I was uncertain then about what he did or did not know; as it turned out, he knew much more than he let on. But when Nixon soon began insisting that I write a bogus report about Watergate, I warned him we were involved in criminal conduct with the payments to the Watergate defendants, and that it was almost certain these cover-up activities would soon collapse. Following that March 21, 1973, conversation, Nixon began to focus on the details of White House’s response to the break-in, carefully examining everything that had occurred in the relevant period, particularly his own conduct. When he realized he was culpable he fell into a period of protracted dread and denial, which was manifested by increasingly obsessive-compulsive behavior. In the following months he discussed Watergate with his aides ad nauseam, as he endlessly rehashed and refashioned his justifications and rationalizations—all the while distorting his own role to protect himself and his presidency at the expense of everyone, notwithstanding having approved their actions. Nixon, realizing that he had clearly violated criminal laws, understood that he had few options, and none of them was good. While as president he was immune from criminal prosecution, he knew he could be removed from office, then prosecuted and even further disgraced by being sent to prison.

While working on this book, I became aware of a number studies conducted after Watergate, research with well-tested findings by psychologists and economists who examined risk-taking and decision-making by people in a “loss frame”—that is, a situation in which none of the options is good. Study after study demonstrated how decision-making becomes remarkably illogical in conditions like that which the president faced in Watergate. Nixon, who boasts during the recorded conversations of this period of his prowess as a poker player, initially tried to bluff his way through the scandal with small bets. As he kept losing, however, the more exposed he became, and the more he was inclined to risk. Nixon’s defenses were, in effect, a series of increasingly bad bets. Had I known in March 1973 what I know today, when warning him of a cancer on his presidency I would have also cautioned him about the nature of decision-making when there are no acceptable choices. The prudent thing for a person in a loss frame who must make a decision is to discuss the problem with someone who is not in that loss frame.

Nixon, as the tapes reveal, confided in no one outside his immediate circle, all of whom had their own motives to support the deceptions, and was thus he was a classic loss-frame decision maker. That, of course, was not his only problem, but certainly among the more glaring for his deeply flawed defenses and related decisions which would cost him his presidency.

 

John W. Dean was legal counsel to President Nixon during the Watergate scandal, and his Sen­ate testimony lead to Nixon’s resignation. In 2006, Dean testified before the Senate Judiciary Commit­tee investigating George W. Bush’s NSA warrant­less wiretap program. He teaches a continuing legal education program throughout the country, drawing on the lessons of Watergate, and contributes political/legal commentary to Justia.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Blind Ambition, Broken Government, Conservatives Without Conscience and Worse Than Watergate.

 

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 8

1. We won’t know that new investment in Africa works unless we build solid systems for reporting real data about success.

By Nikhil Sonnad in Quartz

2. China needs sweeping reform to shake its deeply ingrained corruption.

By Kenneth Courtis in the Globalist

3. Don’t make college students select a major; make them choose a problem they want to solve.

By Jeff Selingo in LinkedIn

4. Foundations can learn from startup culture to better direct funds and amplify their impact.

By Shauntel Poulson in 1776 DC

5. President Obama can still secure his legacy if he spends his final years in office focused on economic inequality.

By Walter Isaacson in Time

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME politics

Former Virginia Governor: My Dysfunctional Marriage Proves I’m Innocent

Bob McDonnell, Maureen McDonnell
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, accompanied by his wife, Maureen, speaks during a news conference in Richmond, Va., Jan. 21, 2014. Steve Helber—AP

Defense lawyers say the gov's wife accepted gifts because she had a crush on a political donor. Will the jury buy it? We asked the experts.

Lawyers for former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, argued Tuesday that the couple didn’t conspire to take over $165,000 in cash, shopping trips, and vacations from a wealthy donor, but instead only accepted the gifts because Mrs. McDonnell had a “crush” on the donor.

McDonnell, who left office in January, is accused of taking cash and gifts from Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in return for help promoting his dietary supplement company. But the couple’s lawyers are arguing that the Maureen McDonnell let Williams pay for expensive shopping trips and vacations because she had a “crush” on the charismatic businessman, and was unhappy in her marriage to the Governor. “Unlike the other man in her life, Jonnie Williams paid attention to Maureen McDonnell,” her defense attorney William Burck said. The couple face over 20 years in prison if convicted on federal corruption charges.

But will a jury believe the “crush” defense? Some lawyers think they just might.

“I think it’s ingenious, and I think it may work,” says Solomon L. Wisenberg, a D.C. based white collar defense lawyer who served as deputy independent counsel to Kenneth Starr during the Whitewater-Lewinsky investigations. “It certainly doesn’t make either one of them look good, but that’s not the same thing as committing a crime.”

Wisenberg notes that the McDonnells had filed a motion to sever, which would have allowed the co-defendants to face separate charges, but that this motion was denied, which means they had to coordinate their defense arguments. “This allows them to have kind of a complementary defense without pointing fingers at each other, yet it helps him because she’s obviously the principle player, and she’s the first one who roped this guy in,” he says.

“This strikes me as a more atypical defense, but that doesn’t mean it’s a Hail Mary pass,” says Josh Bowers, a professor at University of Virginia Law School who specializes in criminal procedure. “It could very well be the truth, and sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.”

But is Maureen McDonnell falling on her sword to protect her husband? “She’s got a lot less room to maneuver than he does,” Wisenberg explains. Mrs. McDonnell would have frequent private meetings with Williams, one former staff member called him her “favorite playmate,” and the two allegedly exchanged over 1,200 texts and phone calls over two years. “What’s she gonna do, say ‘It’s all my husband?’ The facts don’t seem to support that. What are her options other than what she’s doing?” he adds. The defense team also argued that Mrs. McDonnell was never a public official, and so shouldn’t be held to the same standards as her husband.

Wisenberg also notes that it might have been a misstep for the prosecution to start off with testimony from the McDonnell’s daughter Cailin, whose wedding was partially funded through gifts from Williams. Cailin McDonnell Young cried on the stand when she testified Tuesday that Williams had footed the bill for the catering at her 2011 nupitals. Wisenberg says Cailin’s tears on the witness stand could bode well for the defense, since a crying young woman makes the prosecution look like bullies, especially since juries are more likely to remember what happens at the beginning and end of the trial. “She’s an attractive young female testifying about the wedding, asking for Kleenex,” he says. “If I’m on the defense, I’m doing high-fives under the table.”

TIME corruption

America’s Most Corrupt State Is Standing Up for Itself

LSU v Mississippi
Detailed view of the exterior of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on the Ole Miss campus. Stacy Revere—Getty Images

Officials argue a recent report doesn’t take into account recent anti-corruption efforts

fortunelogo-blue
This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

The entire world must contend with corruption. It costs honest citizens thousands of dollars per year and saps trust in public and private institutions.

We’ve all experienced corruption on at least a small scale at some point in our lives, but actually measuring it is difficult. Recently, Fortune covered a study by two public policy researchers—Cheol Liu of the City University of Hong Kong and John L. Mikesell of Indiana University—who looked the rate at which public employees in each of the 50 U.S. states had been convicted on federal corruption charges from 1976 to 2008 to determine which state was the most corrupt in the union.

Their conclusion? Mississippi, The Hospitality State, has not been all that hospitable to its citizens over the past 30-plus years, according to the study. The state had the highest ratio of public workers who were censured for misuse of public funds and other charges.

The researchers looked at the hard numbers—federal convictions—to control for differences in spending on law enforcement and the rigor of state corruption laws.

While these numbers don’t lie, Mississippi officials were none too pleased to top this list. As the state’s top corruption fighter, Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering argued in an interview with Fortune that the study relied on old data and didn’t take into account the state’s anti-corruption efforts.

“This is dated material that goes back to 1976 until 2008, the year I was sworn into office,” said Pickering.

For the rest of the story, please visit Fortune.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: July 22

1. Caught between a war and life in a state of endless siege, Palestinians see no choice but to support Hamas.

By Noam Sheizaf in +972

2. Unfortunately, a deal with Russia is the only way to defuse the crisis in Ukraine.

By Iain Martin in the Telegraph

3. To beat the fundraising obsession that paralyzes Washington, disclose donation data less often.

By Lindsay Mark Lewis at the Atlantic

4. The research is clear: Our best strategy to fight the spread of HIV is decriminalizing sex work.

By Caelainn Hogan in the Washington Post

5. More than a sideline, corruption is a system for powerful actors to capture revenue and overshadow the operation of a state. And it is a major threat to international security.

By Sarah Chayes at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Campaign Finance

If Campaign Ads Told the Truth, They Would Sound Like This

Meet "Honest Gil", a satirical candidate in Kentucky's senate race

+ READ ARTICLE

Ever wonder what politicians would say if they had to always speak the unvarnished truth?

Meet Gil Fulbright, (Or Phil Gulbright. Or Bill Fulbright. Or Phillip Mimouf-Wifarts. You’ll understand once you’ve watched the ad).

“Honest Gil” is a satirical candidate for the U.S. Senate in the Kentucky race between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. Gil plans to rent a campaign bus, take out billboard and TV ads and show up at campaign events in order to make a spectacle of what is poised to be the most expensive Senate election in American history.

Fulbright will be the face of Represent.Us, a non-partisan movement claiming 450,000 supporters that wants to pass campaign finance and anti-corruption laws to limit the influence of money on Washington. With 26 days left in its Indiegogo campaign to raise money for Fulbright’s shenanigans, the group has already busted through its fundraising goal of $20,000.

The effort is reminiscent of the Mayday PAC, Lawrence Lessig’s new crowd-funded cannibal Super PAC to destroy all Super PACs.

Whatever your position on campaign finance, Fulbright’s commercial is at the very least a funny/tragically spot-on commentary on the state of political discourse in the U.S.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: July 10

1. Political corruption is a scourge and should be punished. Why not make these crooked politicians serve the public interest and help track down other lawbreakers?

By Walter Isaacson in TIME

2. With urban farming, Cleveland Crops energizes people with disabilities.

By Hannah Wallace in Civil Eats

3. Fertilizing the oceans: How feeding iron to plankton could help move the needle on global warming.

By David Biello in Aeon

4. The gas tax can’t solve America’s transportation funding problem. Oregon’s pay-per-mile program just might.

By Eric Jaffe in Citylab

5. Today’s 20-somethings have the lowest median income since 1970. To jumpstart that generation, we need to talk about wages.

By Derek Thompson in Quartz

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Crime

New Orleans Looks to Turn the Page After Nagin Sentencing

Former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin leaves court after being sentenced to 10 years in New Orleans, Louisiana
Former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin leaves court after being sentenced to 10 years in New Orleans, Louisiana July 9, 2014. Jonathan Bachman—Reuters

Political observers say they can now put corruption behind them

When Ray Nagin first ran for mayor of New Orleans, he was elected by a broad coalition eager to see him fulfill his promise to tackle graft in a city notorious for corruption. Now, after being convicted of handing out the very favors he was elected to halt, Nagin was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison on corruption charges—a judgment local political observers say will finally allow the city to move away from its corrupt past.

“Today marks the end of a sad chapter for our city,” current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement to TIME. “The people of New Orleans are turning the page and moving forward.”

Landrieu is not the only New Orleans resident who hopes the sentencing will mark a fresh start for the city. Rafael C. Goyeneche, a local anti-corruption activist who played a role in Nagin’s conviction by helping collect evidence of the former mayor’s involvement in a bribery scheme, said that the conviction and sentencing of corrupt politicians in the wake of Hurricane Katrina means that “risks now exceed the rewards” for officials considering engaging in graft.

Rebuilding efforts after the 2005 hurricane created ample opportunity for corruption as firms bid for lucrative construction contracts to help repair razed portions of the city. “Before Katrina, public officials were more predisposed to commit criminal acts because they weren’t deterred,” said Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission. “Now there’s a consequence. If you do betray the public trust, you’re more likely than ever to be held accountable and pay a dear price.”

Mike Sherman, a political science professor at nearby Tulane University, said that statements about moving New Orleans into a new era are more than just rhetoric, citing the creation of a new inspector general’s office and reforms to remove the mayor from the contracting process.

Goyeneche adds that public frustration with corruption moved authorities to act. “Before Katrina, people felt a sense of apathy,” he said. “They came back after the storm [and] the mindset became if we’re going to invest all of the time effort and money to rebuild this community, let’s not rebuild it in the image that it was but in the image that it needs to be.”

Still, while Nagin is gone for now, politicians have been known to rise from the political dead in Louisiana, where corruption and scandal seem as ubiquitous as voodoo dolls and Saints shirts. Former Congressman William Jefferson was reelected in 2006 despite a highly-publicized F.B.I. raid that found $90,000 in cash in the congressman’s freezer. And former Governor Edwin Edwards, who served eight years in prison on corruption charges, is now running for congress.

In spite of all this, Sherman believes that Nagin, for one, is done in politics. There’s “not a palpable sense that Nagin has any supporters left,” he said.

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