Krystal and Saagar break down the Ukraine-US meetings, French election results, Musk’s deal with Twitter, Biden administration’s fight for the travel mask mandate, Amazon workers rallying in NYC, DeSantis vs Disney, Obama’s campaign against online speech, the collapse of CNN+, and more! For all of the information in the show’ check your email with the full show for the newsletter!!!
Jordan Chariton: https://statuscoup.com/
Timestamps: Ukraine: 0:00 – 11:43 France: 11:44 – 23:17 Musk: 23:18 – 37:14 Masks: 37:15 – 44:56 Workers: 44:57 – 59:35 Krystal: 59:36 – 1:15:21 Saagar: 1:15:22 – 1:25:24 Sara Fischer: 1:25:25 – 1:37:50 Mini Block: 1:37:51 – 1:45:14
4/25 NEWSLETTER: Ukraine War, French Election, Masks, Amazon Workers, CNN+, & More!
Welcome to the latest premium newsletter for Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar on the Monday 4/25 show. To kick things off, your support has allowed us to bring Status Coup’s Jordan Chariton on as our newest partner, and he will be providing on the ground reporting to the show beginning with exclusive footage used in today’s show! He will be covering issues on the ground for us such as the labor movement, Julian Assange case, and midterm elections that will be provided on future broadcasts!
Regular weekly programming will resume this week with the M/T/Th full shows and all of the additional content for the weekends. Thank you all for understanding the unique situation last Thursday that prevented us from taping a full show for all of you.
Now to the contents of today’s show:
Given all of the news, it might seem strange that we chose Ukraine as the first block of the show once again, but important diplomatic steps were made late last night in talks between Ukraine and US diplomats. The Biden administration sent US Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to visit Zelensky on Sunday, as the Russian military exhausts its offensive capabilities with their new campaign in Donbass. Putin has given up hopes on a deal with Ukraine to end the conflict and has become entirely set on a land grabbing strategy that indicates the fight in Ukraine will continue for a long time to come, given the resiliency of the Ukrainians who have received backing from NATO. In response, the United States made clear its desire for Russia to be weakened in the announcement of more military aid to boost the Ukrainian forces. The Russians have tried to fight back against western military aid to Ukraine by bombing railway hubs transporting heavy weapons as they handle an outbreak of fires in their own fuel storage facilities near the border between Russia and Ukraine. They also issued a diplomatic note asking the US to cease supplying weapons to Ukraine, while America reopened the embassy in Kyiv to shore up ties to Ukraine for future talks between the two countries. As this conflict wears on and western populations begin to lose focus, fighting will continue and political leaders will be navigating this conflict potentially for years to come. All of the shifts will be covered on this show with the ramifications of the changing geopolitical order and global economy brought to all of you.
Another major international story that took place over the weekend was the runoff election in France between President Emmanuel Macron and right wing challenger Marine Le Pen who had previously faced off in 2017. The results came in showing a decisive win for the incumbent in a country that had not re-elected a President in two decades. The French press reported all of the statistics underlying the 58% to 42% win that was predicted by polling a few days before the votes. France appears to be a country of people deeply divided and disillusioned with the political system as a whole. An estimated 28% of the population abstained from voting, the highest level in France since 1969, many of whom were supporters of left wing candidate Melenchon who placed third in the first round of elections. An even larger majority of voters than those who chose Macron oppose his political party getting a majority in the national assembly in a sign that the President might be weaker than the election results portray. His challenger Marine Le Pen performed better than the 2017 contest particularly among the rural parts of the country who had previously made their discontent heard with the populist yellow jacket protest movement that took France by storm in 2018. A mistake that Krystal and Saagar caution Breakers from making when learning about the situation in France is to apply the country’s unique domestic political landscape to America and come to conclusions about the US from it. Some elites led by White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain expressed less restraint and took Macron’s victory as a win for the neoliberal international order at large. Klain even used it to rebuke predictions for Democratic defeat in elections going forward given the low approval rating of Emmanuel Macron that mirrors Joe Biden’s numbers in America. There are some comparisons to be made between America and our oldest ally but the difference between the two countries must also be kept in mind as Daniel Nichanian reminded Breakers in his appearance to break down French politics.
Next on the docket is a developing story that had new information come out during show taping and that is Elon Musk’s bid to buy Twitter. The charismatic Tesla CEO spent the past few days rounding up capital and renegotiating with Twitter on a deal to purchase the social media giant at a premium. After the company board rejected Musk by using a ‘poison pill’ it seemed the deal was dead, but Musk was persistent in his offer in meetings with large shareholders who were persuaded by the pitch he made to reform the company. On Monday morning it was reported that Twitter will accept the $43 billion offer from Musk to buy the company as shares jumped ahead of its Thursday earnings report and the renewed negotiations. Musk has professed his concerns with free speech on Twitter as his motivation to buy the platform that has become a public square for the professional political class of US elites. He has made proposals to alter the business model of Twitter a secondary concern that he articulated in his meetings with investors and shareholders but the political implications are the main story in the attempt by Musk to take control of the company. He has been a high profile user of the platform to communicate with his large online following and express his thoughts on a range of issues that spurred his interest in changing the free speech policies enacted by new Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal. The next steps in Elon Musk’s campaign to buy Twitter and the media coverage surrounding it will be something we will follow closely on Breaking Points and bring to you.
A story that gave Saagar great joy to report on has taken a new turn with the Biden administration’s decision to appeal the court decision to overturn the federal travel mask mandates. The Department of Justice has taken the lead on the appeal following public disagreement over the decision from the CDC who cited public health concerns as the justification for the legal fight ahead. Contrasting statements had been coming out from the administration as they weighed whether to pursue this battle over a controversial issue that could animate voters in the midterms who have expressed discontent with lingering covid policies. Many viral videos showed celebrations by passengers and flight attendants after the mask mandates were removed, kicking off announcements by many companies that they would no longer require them. The Biden administration sent Dr. Fauci back on cable news to make the case to the public against repealing the travel mask mandate, where he expressed displeasure at the notion of courts using their power to overrule bureaucratic decisions. His comments are significant because of the liberals who continue to be receptive to Dr. Fauci and the elites who Fauci’s viewpoints represent in the battle over mask mandates. It’s likely to be used by Republican midterm campaigns who will continue to run on restoring the pre covid normalcy that has become a stance popular with swing voters who have been warming up to the GOP in polling ahead of the 2022 contests.
Instead of the usual fun E block for the show, Krystal and Saagar have chosen to cover the Amazon workers rally ahead of the union election taking place at a different New York City warehouse this week. Much press was given to the appearance of Bernie Sanders and AOC at the rally after the progressives were scrutinized by Krystal and other media pundits for not backing the initial Amazon union drive led by Christian Smalls. One of the reporters on the ground was new Breaking Points collaborator Jordan Chariton who provided exclusive interviews of Amazon workers to the show that were mashed up and shortened for clarity. All of the footage is included and we chose to spotlight Derrick Palmer in particular because of his overlooked organizing work on the unionization victory. Another worker who traveled up to the rally to show solidarity was highlighted as was an organizer who made pointed comments at Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s anti-union comments on CNBC.
The second half of the worker block looks at how Amazon is fighting union organizing with a major escalation taking place on Reddit where workers had been using the platform to communicate. Reddit banned the word “union” from the forum mirroring Amazon’s move to ban union terminology from the internal worker app that was also an organizing tool for union drives. Similar tactics were used by Starbucks to fight workers, but the unionization campaigns in stores nationwide has continued to win elections by large margins much to the chagrin of reinstituted CEO Howard Schultz and the company’s executives. The results of the Amazon union vote coming this week and the pending Starbucks elections will be a major story in future Breaking Points full shows and collaborations. Be sure to support Jordan Chariton’s reporting at Status Coup on behalf of Krystal and Saagar and the workers he has been covering since the beginning.
In her monologue today, Krystal breaks down the DeSantis war on Disney that resulted in legislation to overturn the company’s special tax status as retaliation for political opposition to his bill addressing education policy and teaching certain ideologies to young schoolchildren. Not only does she target Florida’s Republican Governor, but the liberals who have rallied around Disney because of its culture war stance against the GOP’s education bill. Left wing commentators have pointed out that it goes against the right’s free market ideology, a point Ben Shapiro admitted on his show which matters because of his unrelenting devotion to free markets. Krystal then goes into the specifics of the bill Florida passed and how it will lead to lower taxes on Disney than their own self government standards they instituted to pay for functions Disney needed to govern itself. She also mentions the banning of textbooks caused by the law monikered the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by liberals in the culturw war fight around it. Krystal makes the case that it does represent an anti-gay virtue signal in the ongoing culture wars around LGBTQ ideology, particularly issues around transgenderism.
She then goes deeper into the practices by Disney outside of the culture wars, where the company routinely underpays workers to the point where many are either living homeless or on food stamps to get by. So she concluded that leftists and liberals should be wary of supporting a company brutal to its workers because of their cultural values that aid its bottom line. She also sums up her critique of Ron DeSantis for using legislation on culture wars to push his own political ambitions.
Krystal and Saagar go back and forth on the political implications of DeSantis’ Disney move and whether it represents an attack on gay people. Saagar makes the case that the bill is about activist teachers pushing woke ideology and Krystal responds with her position about the dishonesty of the moral panic around trans ideology.
In his monologue, Saagar takes aim at former President Barack Obama for joining in the Democratic Party campaign against ‘disinformation’ online now that his productions on Spotify and Netflix have collapsed. In a speech at Stanford over the weekend Obama called for further regulations on speech online to curb disinformation and protect American democracy. Saagar issues a scathing critique of Obama’s speech as a project to preserve his legacy that was confronted by the election of Trump in 2016 that Hillary Clinton blamed on fake news online as a preview to Russiagate.
Meanwhile, Obama best represented his legacy after the election of Trump when he jetted off to billionaire Richard Branson’s island instead of considering the effects of his political decisions over his 8 years. Obama also called on companies to prioritize truth over their bottom lines as he used the birtherism conspiracy theory as a justification for his claims. It is ironic given Obama’s close relationship with Silicon Valley that permitted many large tech acquisitions and saw his staffers get hired by tech firms in droves. His comments show how the Democratic Party has no ability to fathom not having control over information dissemination because it poses a threat to their power. They also refuse to fathom the reasons why people do not trust elite media or institutions who had previously been trusted to provide Americans with the truth instead of political partisanship on cable news in the present day. Saagar closes his monologue by reminding listeners of the value of free speech in challenging power and spreading truth.
Saagar and Krystal talk about Obama citing birtherism in his justification for pushing more censorship online in an attempt to preserve his own legacy. He has looked for a scapegoat for the rise of Trump that absolves him from responsibility similarly to how Hillary Clinton tried avoiding blame for losing to Trump by blaming Russians.
Krystal and Saagar are joined by Axios media reporter Sara Fischer whose coverage of the fall of CNN+ has been used many times on previous episodes of the show. In her appearance, Sara tells all about the inner dynamics of CNN and Discovery as the new management dealt with the collapse of CNN+ less than a month into its existence. Top executives at CNN are being fired for the failed premium streaming service that was the pet project of ousted executive Jeff Zucker who previously oversaw the network’s content. She also tells viewers the fate of the low level employees who were used as a cudgel by larger media players who lamented the ill fated CNN endeavor that received 10,000 users despite the $300 million budget for it. The ramifications of this failure were also part of the discussion between Sara and the hosts that will continue to be covered in her newsletter for Axios.
After the guest segment with Sara Fischer, Krystal and Saagar take time to weigh in on the short lived run CNN+ had as a subscription streaming service with extra CNN content. They display the CNN+ NFT that was bought to preserve the legacy of CNN+ as a historic humiliation for the cable news giant.
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