Happy Wednesday! I apparently had my identity stolen and the thief opened up a credit card in my name. I’m no worse for the wear thanks to the FCBA, and took all the proper steps to secure myself, just a little shook. - Robert
(Sorry for the early send last night. Ghost has kind of a sensitive trigger, and my fingers itch. As recompense, here's a photo of some foster kittens that need adoption in Michigan.)
THE BIG NEWS
Allegations on Biden Family Sourced from Unregistered Chinese Agent
Gal Luft, the “informant” for the House Oversight Committee’s investigation on the Biden family’s financial ties to China, turns out to be an unregistered agent for a Chinese firm, according to a 2022 indictment unsealed Monday, per NBC News. Luft allegedly received $350,000 annually from a Chinese energy company-affiliated NGO to “advance the interests of the People’s Republic of China,” recruited a Trump advisor to do the same, facilitated illegal arms deals, and made oil sales to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.
James Comer, the chair of the House Oversight Committee has been promoting Luft as “a very credible witness” for the past several days. Luft appeared in an NY Post video on July 5th, haranguing the DOJ for its “cover up” of his testimony against the Bidens.
The unsealed indictment contradicts the claims in Luft’s video. For example, he claimed that the extent of his arms dealing was setting up a “bona fide” arms dealer friend (who doesn’t have an arms dealer friend?) with a business connection. After that Luft said there was “‘[n]o follow-up, no money, no brokering activity. Well, here’s what the indictment said (p.6):
[T]he defendant, agreed and attempted to broker arms transactions with [a Chinese co-conspirator], other Chinese individuals and entities,and others, including illicit weapons deals involving Libya, the,United Arab Emirates, and Kenya. In his role as a broker or middleman, Luft worked to find both buyers and sellers of weapons… Among other things, Luft traveled to meetings and received and passed on documentation…needed to secure the deals. In this role as a broker for illicit arms deals, Luft worked on a commission basis.
Comer stuck by Luft as a witness despite the indictment, saying Tuesday, per NBC:
"Many of the individuals who are connected to the Biden family’s business dealings have been charged with crimes or are in prison," [Comer] alleged.
NBC strongly implied in its reporting that James Woolsey, former CIA director to Bill Clinton, was the Trump advisor that Luft had allegedly recruited to promote China-friendly policies. Luft had ghost written pro-China articles for Woolsey as co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security.
In February, Luft was arrested in Cyprus before fleeing after being released on bond. He remains at large, but claims he spends most of his time in Israel, his native country.
Check out the “Don’t Miss Clips” below for more details about the craven Republican response to the indictment.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Hundreds of Thousands of UPS Workers Could Strike by July’s End
UPS stands to lose $170 million a day if a strike happens, according to Vox. Negotiations broke down between the shipping company and the Teamsters union last week when UPS didn’t meet demands for raises, including for part time workers. The union has already gotten UPS to agree to eliminate the two-tiered wage system and install AC in all vehicles. The last strike at UPS lasted 15 days in 1997 before the company acquiesced to the union’s demands. America’s modern reliance on delivery services, and UPS in particular, gives the union magnitudes more leverage than it did in 1997. Per Vox:
E-commerce makes up about 20 percent of all retail sales when you exclude things like gas and motor vehicles…and it’s up about 25 percent from pre-pandemic levels. Another way to look at it: Employment in the courier and messenger sector stands at 1.1 million, which is double what it was in 1997. UPS employs about a third of those workers.
Better cough up those raises, UPS.
Zelensky Pissed at NATO’s Lack of Timeline for Ukraine’s Admission
The NATO summit is set to start tomorrow, but that hasn’t stopped it from dominating headlines already. Yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy called NATO’s wishy-washy timeline for Ukraine’s admission into the alliance “unprecedented and absurd,” the Washington Post reports. A statement negotiated by 31 member states read that Ukraine would be invited to the alliance when “allies agree and conditions are met.” Zelensky continued on Twitter:
“Uncertainty is weakness. And I will openly discuss this at the summit.”
WaPo’s unnamed sources said the harsh language was probably part of a negotiation tactic meant to steer draft language in a favorable direction for Ukraine. Zelensky has to do what he has to do, I suppose, but I think caution with an invitation is warranted. What we’re really talking about is a NATO declaration of war on Russia if admission is granted while the invasion is ongoing.
- Netanyahu Pushes Through with Judicial Coup Despite Huge Protests Tens of thousands blocked roads outside Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv after a provisional vote for Netanyahu’s judiciary overhaul passed early Tuesday. The bill could become law within weeks. via the New York Times.
- Justice Department Says Trump Not Immune from Defamatory Comments About E. Jean Carroll The DoJ previously said Trump was immune from lawsuit for the remarks because he made them while president. via AlJazeera.
- Tuberville Concedes White Nationalists Are Racists, Kind Of The Alabama Senator said “If the Democrats want to say white nationalists are racist, I’m totally against that too. … My definition is, racism bad.” Enlightening. The “admission” came after Tuberville had said the fact that white nationalists were racists was a matter of opinion. via the Washington Post.
- PGA-LIV Deal with Saudia Arabia Included “Q+A prep” About the Kingdom’s Human Rights Abuses Details of the deal were unveiled in a Senate-mandated report. via Slate.
- Mutiny from Right Flank Has McCarthy on Edge The upcoming National Defense Authorization Act vote is seen as an opportunity for right wingers to insert amendments ending diversity programs and Pentagon’s reimbursement program for service members seeking abortions outside abortion-ban states.via Axios.
That's how many days Arizona has experienced temperatures of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Today is probably the twelfth straight. via the New York Times.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
7/12: It's Hump Day! Sam and Emma talk to Bill McKibben, environmentalist and founder of 350.org and ThirdAct.org, to discuss the recent climate disasters across the country. Then, they are joined by Palestinian journalist and activist Basel Adra to discuss his recent piece in The Nation entitled "The Destruction of Masafer Yatta," co-authored with Yuval Abraham.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
"Moderate" Rep. Nancy Mace says the DOJ is trying to “silence our witnesses.” Give me a break.
If Maria Bartiromo is on your case, you know you’ve hit rock bottom.
“These anti-bird spikes are meant to deter birds, they are supposed to scare them off, but on the contrary, the birds just utilise them.”
-- Kees Moeliker, the director of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, speaking on the discovery of crows using anti-bird spikes to build their nets. There’s something to be learned here that’s relevant to the left. via the Guardian.
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