Malaysia: Former PM begins final bid to quash corruption conviction

Source: Al Jazeera [Qatar state media]

“Malaysian former Prime Minister Najib Razak starts his final attempt on Monday to set aside his conviction in a corruption case linked to the multi-billion dollar 1MDB financial scandal. The country’s highest court has scheduled hearings through August 26 to hear Najib’s appeal of his convictions for criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering over the alleged theft of $4.5bn from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund he cofounded as premier in 2009. … Prosecutors say more than $1bn in 1MDB funds made its way into Najib’s personal accounts. Najib, 69, who had pleaded not guilty to dozens of charges, was sentenced in July 2020 in the first of several trials to 12 years in jail and a $50m fine for illegally receiving about $10m from SRC International, a former 1MDB unit.” (08/15/22)

Joe Biden’s New Cold War Targets Black Power

Source: exile in happy valley
by Nicky Reid

“You may have missed it between the subpoenas of the January 6 circus, but on the last Friday morning of July, the FBI redeclared war on the Black Power Movement in St. Louis, Missouri and St. Petersburgh, Florida. In a sweeping series of raids, several homes and offices belonging to the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and their sister organization, the Uhuru Movement, were blitzed by heavily armed gestapo in a highly publicized show of force. … Their crime? According to the Justice Department Indictment, these two organizations along with a couple others who remain nameless conspired with a Russian national named Aleksandr Ionov as part of a ‘foreign malign influence campaign’ to spread Russian propaganda and sow general discord in the homeland.” (08/14/22)

Iran: Regime blames Rushdie, supporters for stabbing

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Iran has ‘categorically’ denied any link with Salman Rushdie’s attacker, instead blaming the writer himself. Mr Rushdie, 75, was left severely injured after being stabbed on stage at an event in New York state. He is now able to breathe unaided. He has faced years of death threats for his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses. Earlier, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused Iran’s state media of gloating about the attack, calling its behaviour ‘despicable.’ Iranian media have extensively commented on the attack, calling it ‘divine retribution.’ Iran’s state broadcaster daily Jaam-e Jam highlighted the news that Rushdie might lose an eye following the attack, saying ‘an eye of the Satan has been blinded.’ As news emerged of Friday’s attack, eyes turned to Tehran where the fatwa (religious edict) calling for the writer’s assassination was first issued more than three decades ago.” (08/15/22)

Why You Shouldn’t Need a Doctor’s Permission to Get Prescription Drugs

Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Walter Block

“The present system for pharmaceutical drugs requires a doctor’s prescription as a precondition for their sale to members of the public. At first glance this seems like a reasonable plan. After all, most people simply lack the necessary information to determine whether they need or can benefit from drugs …. However, all is not well under present institutional arrangements. For here we are not talking about advice and counsel from a physician to a patient. That is all well and good. Rather, the problem is that the horse is placed before the cart: the client must seek the permission of a person who is for all intents and purposes an employee of his, not an employer.” (08/14/22)

A Military Rich in Dollars, Poor in People

Source: TomDispatch
by Andrea Mazzarino

“The American military is now having trouble recruiting enough soldiers. According to the New York Times, its ranks are short thousands of entry-level troops and it’s on track to face the worst recruitment crisis since the Vietnam War ended, not long after the draft was eliminated. Mind you, it’s not that the military doesn’t have the resources for recruitment drives. Nearly every political figure in Washington, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, invariably agrees on endlessly adding to the Pentagon’s already staggering budget. In fact, it’s nearly the only thing they seem capable of agreeing on.” (08/14/22)

Paul Calls for Espionage Act Repeal as Disgraced Former President Fumes Over FBI Search

Source: Newsweek

“Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, called for repealing the Espionage Act less than a week after the FBI executed a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence, with the legal document citing a provision of the federal law that the federal agency suspected had been violated. … Paul, a supporter of the former president, took issue with the Espionage Act in a Saturday Twitter post. ‘The espionage act was abused from the beginning to jail dissenters of WWI. It is long past time to repeal this egregious affront to the 1st Amendment,’ he wrote.” [editor’s note: What’s the over/under on how long before he does a 180 and announces that what he REALLY meant was that it needs to be “reformed” and “strengthened,” as he almost always does when he takes a strong/principle position? – TLK] (08/14/22)

Salman Rushdie and the Cult of Offense

Source: The Atlantic
by Graeme Wood

“The honorable response is to say that we are all Rushdie now, and that America’s failure to protect him is a collective shame. … But we are not all Rushdie. And in fact the past couple decades have led me to wonder if some of us are more Khomeini than we’d like to admit. In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: Some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended. The fumes are still rising off of this last group.” (08/14/22)

Kenya: Ruto leads in presidential vote as announcement seems imminent

Source: Reuters

“Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto led a tight presidential race against opposition leader Raila Odinga, official results reported by Kenyan media showed on Monday, as an announcement from electoral authorities on the winner appeared imminent. Confusion over differing vote percentages in the media and slow progress by the electoral commission in tallying Tuesday’s vote have fed anxiety in East Africa’s wealthiest country, which has a recent history of violence following disputed elections. With more than three quarters of votes counted, media said, riot police were deployed at the national tallying centre at the weekend after scuffles by party members over verification procedures. … In official verified results reported by the Nation Media Group on Monday, Ruto had 51% of the vote, ahead of Odinga who had 48%, with 253 constituencies counted out of a total of 291.” (08/15/22)