Krystal and Saagar talk about the US and Russian escalation in Ukraine, the politics around abortion, Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter, Jen Psaki’s next move, Rand Paul on free speech, Biden’s betrayal of workers, NYT’s Musk smears, and deeper data on abortion opinions with Mohamed Younis!
Timestamps: Ukraine: 0:00 – 27:10 Abortions: 27:11 – 51:44 Elon: 51:45 – 1:02:43 Psaki: 1:02:44 – 1:09:45 Rand Paul: 1:09:46 – 1:18:11 Krystal: 1:18:12 – 1:27:09 Saagar: 1:27:10 – 1:35:55 Mohamed Younis: 1:35:56 – 1:49:43
5/9 NEWSLETTER: Ukraine Proxy War, Abortion Fight, Elon’s Plans, Workers Betrayed, & More!
Welcome to the Monday May 9th edition of the Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar premium subscriber newsletter. On behalf of the entire BP crew, we hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day with your family and a refreshing weekend. No major announcements ahead of the program today, but big news will be coming very soon so stay tuned! There is one minor announcement however, and an email from the new email provider for the show will be sent out later today addressing it, so say goodbye to MailChimp! As always, thank you all so much for supporting the show and making the coverage K&S are providing possible.
Now onto the contents of the 5/9 broadcast:
Starting off the week with Ukraine might seem like a strange choice given the domestic turmoil around the abortion issue, but Krystal and Saagar have been alarmed by continued public escalation by the United States towards Russia. Two major reports about the role US intelligence services are playing in the Ukraine war effort point to American officials playing a key role in orchestrating the destruction of Russian warships and killing Russian generals. This behavior combined with Biden’s $33 billion military aid request for the Ukrainians has the Russians expressing openly their view that the US has escalated the conflict into a US-Russia proxy war. Over the weekend, Democratic congressman Seth Moulton expressed a similar view on Fox News as a sign that the US is now admitting it’s escalatory shift into a proxy war. After the video shared by Ryan Grim, many pointed out the lack of public debate on such an escalation, and the questionable morality of destroying Ukraine on behalf of larger US aims against a country armed with nuclear weapons. It was also revealed in Ukrainian press that the West is not ready to sign peace deals with Putin to end the invasion, even if Ukraine agrees to the terms set forth. Another demonstration based on leaked information from inside officials to media outlets of escalation by the United States and its NATO allies in the wake of Ukraine’s strong military response up to this point.
An event Sunday of major symbolic importance for both sides in the Ukraine conflict is the Russian WWII parade, where westerners expected Putin to send a ‘doomsday’ warning to the West on Monday. Instead, Putin repeated his rhetoric against the West and NATO, while declaring Ukraine’s contested eastern regions Russian territory. They did not fly the doomsday plane or conduct the planned airshow according to reports on the ground. It is also noteworthy that anti-war activists in Russia have been setting military offices on fire, meaning that significant pushback to the war effort is likely happening in Russia. Putin’s lack of escalation could be a good sign for the West and Ukraine when it comes to fears of escalation and the possibility of Russian fatigue.
The West’s unified symbolic response consisted of sending First Lady Jill Biden, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, and Irish rock legend Bono of U2 fame to Ukraine on Mother’s Day. This came at the same time G7 nations pledged to ban or phase out Russian oil in their next round of sanctions, a move that could lead to ripple effects in global oil markets that Americans will feel at the pump. The European Union gets a quarter of its crude imports from Russia, with Germany being particularly reliant on the Russians putting the spotlight on them to see how this declaration effects their economy. Japan is another nation to watch because of their oil consumption and economic power. The G7 sanctions are the most impactful sanctions in the last couple of months, further turning Russia into an economic and geopolitical pariah state. Given these major developments, Breaking Points will continue to keep an eye on what is taking place abroad and the scope of US involvement.
On to the most contentious issue in America right now, the abortion fight playing out in halls of power and on the streets. The GOP has been publicly debating the next steps for the pro-life movement after Roe v. Wade becomes officially overturned. Some have pushed for a federal abortion ban, a proposal GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell refused to rule out. Other conservative politicians have been making the case for abortion ban laws on a national stage, including Gov. Tate Reeves (R-MS) who was pushed on exceptions to the rules by Jake Tapper. The video from Mediaite included in the show was cut down for clarity, going from 11 seconds in to 2:20. Lawmakers in Louisiana have taken the GOP’s fight a step further with a legislative proposal to classify abortion as homicide that would permit prosecution of women who have gotten abortions in the state. Democrats have taken these examples of evidence that Roe must be codified into law and that the GOP will continue to push the boundaries on socially conservative policies after they claim victory in the abortion fight.
Pollsters have been rushing to produce data on how the abortion battle will reshape the midterm elections, but so far it seems the impact will be minimal. CNN polling shows that enthusiasm increases were about even on both sides and that young voters remain unenthusiastic about turning out for Democrats. The GOP’s seven point generic ballot lead has held, in large part because Americans have other priorities like the economy. Only half the country has even heard a great deal about the opinion itself, pointing out that this culture war battle is not at the top of people’s minds. Support for upholding Roe remains strong among the electorate but this might not change Democrats’ fortunes if all the other factors at play continue to hold up.
Another topic at the top of people’s minds is what eccentric billionaire Elon Musk actually plans to do with Twitter under his ownership. A report came out about Musk’s ambitious plans to dramatically change the company’s business model and fire many of the most woke staff within the company. This comes after much chatter around the company’s prospects for the future and the internal drama from employees who have feared losing their jobs once Musk comes into power. He also plans on making thousands of new hires afterwards, with a focus on bringing in engineering talent. He plans on increasing Twitter’s revenue five times current levels while cutting advertising to only make up 50% of that revenue to free the company from any pressure campaigns. Musk has shown interest in subscription models, cryptocurrency integration, licensing data, monetizing tweets, and cutting what he views as wasteful expenses. All of this information was revealed in a slidedeck to investors obtained in the linked DailyMail article. It was also disclosed where the capital behind Elon’s Twitter purchase is coming from with $7 billion in investment now known to the public. Investors include large hedge funds, most notably that of Larry Ellison, the Qatari government, Binance, and a member of Saudi royalty. It appears Musk’s rift with the Saudi elites has softened and that combined with Qatar’s investment renews concerns about Musk’s ties to foreign governments. Previous reports about Tesla’s dependence on China to reach profitability had brought the issue into question. For more on this, scroll down in the newsletter to Saagar’s monologue today.
The notorious Biden White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is stepping away from her post with her last day being on Friday May 13th. She will be replaced by Karine Jean-Pierre, the current Deputy Press Secretary and former MSNBC analyst among other positions. Jean-Pierre will be the first black woman to hold the post after she worked in various communications roles for the Biden administration, Biden campaign, and Obama administration. Her work with the progressive activist organization MoveOn suggests a slightly more leftwing bent in her politics, but the skepticism of the White House’s public mouthpiece should remain high. Krystal and Saagar will continue to express skepticism of the administration’s talking points and criticize government narratives when necessary to do so.
For Jen Psaki, her next role will be with MSNBC presumably as the host of her own show, like former VP Harris aide Symone Sanders. Psaki was pressed by Fox News about the ethical concerns surrounding her last few weeks with the administration, a Mediaite clip cut down for the sake of clarity. With the removal of Chuck Todd’s MSNBC show MTP Daily to streaming, speculation has spread about whether his time slot will be given to Jen Psaki’s new program. It will be interesting to observe how Psaki is received by the American public when her career as a media host begins, especially as cable news ratings continue to decline.
The libertarian Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul (R-KY), has been making plenty of news recently with his comments about the war in Ukraine, free speech, and so on. He made major headwaves with his confrontation of DHS Secretary Mayorkas about his ‘disinformation’ board and the US government’s track record of official, state sanctioned lies. He mentioned the Pentagon Papers, Iran-Contra, and Iraq WMDs as examples where the US government was caught lying to the American people as an important reason why the government should not be labeling certain information as true or false. Paul also asked Mayorkas what he thought about the now debunked Steele Dossier that was the basis for the Russiagate investigation, which Mayorkas had no answer to. Paul’s questioning of the DHS ‘disinformation’ board came at the same time the head of the board claimed falsely that liberals are more often the victims of censorship from tech platforms than conservatives. To better understand the issues at play here, check out previous Breaking Points coverage of board head Nina Jankowicz and her record.
Biden Official’s ROBOTIC Lies on Ministry of Truth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJW-IsS4nDw
Saagar Enjeti EXPOSES Biden’s New Ministry of Truth Head As A LIAR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlCNW5XDVhk
In her monologue, Krystal talks about Biden’s empty promises to the workers he met with at the White House from Amazon, Starbucks, and other companies with high profile union drives. She begins by reviewing the testimony at the Senate Budget Committee by Amazon Labor Union President Christian Smalls, who had a message for all the politicians in the chamber. The photo op Smalls participated in with Biden was a major symbolic gesture in support of workers that represents a step forward for the US labor movement in terms of building political and public support. It left the big business executives deeply intertwined with Democrats fuming until President Biden awarded Amazon with a new government contract despite the company’s union busting. The $10billion cloud computing deal for the NSA shows that Biden will not go so far as to cut government contracts from companies who bust labor unions, a proposal being pushed by Bernie Sanders. Sanders has demanded Biden live up to his campaign promise and cancel Amazon’s federal contracts due to their union busting activity against organizing workers.
Amazon has been caught by the NLRB using illegal anti-union tactics through the captive audience meetings being held with workers and the election rigging at the Bessemer warehouse in Alabama. They even illegally fired homeless worker Daequan Smith as was covered previously on Breaking Points a few months prior. Amazon has routinely committed union busting activity and Biden has responded with symbolic gestures in support of workers and real government policy in support of big business. Ironically, the Amazon Labor Union is in a major fight with the company to win a contract for their workers after the successful election, a process that can be stalled by employers for years, especially those with the legal resources and corporate power of Amazon. Workers can fight the delays in contract negotiations through strikes and other activity but the scales have been tipped against them. The Biden administration has issued a lukewarm response when asked about Amazon’s contracts and it remains to be seen if anything will change.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar talk about Biden stabbing Amazon workers in the back and how the company does not care unless they get hit on the bottom line. Rhetoric only means so much if nothing is being done about tax policy, labor law, or federal contracts. Amazon has avoided regulatory scrutiny by all costs throughout its history and they will continue to do so going forward.
In his monologue today, Saagar discusses the New York Times hit piece against Elon Musk that concerns his background coming from apartheid South Africa. The attacks come as mainstream journalists continue to fight Elon’s takeover of Twitter and his new free speech guidelines that greatly reduce their power over political discourse. Saagar goes through the claims in the piece and criticizes them for the misleading reporting on Musk that was contradicted in the article itself. The premise that Musk was sheltered contradicts the anecdotes of his black friends back home that he courageously stood with despite bullying from white classmates. He went so far as to attend funerals for black folks in a place where white people suffered major consequences for hanging out with black people. Elon’s father was a politician from the anti-apartheid progressive party in South Africa, and he left the country to avoid serving in the military tasked with enforcing the policies of the apartheid regime. The origin story of Musk’s devotion to free speech as an anti-apartheid liberal ends up being a powerful takeaway from the NYT piece even as they framed it the opposite way.
The smears against Musk by the New York Times that go against their own facts become less surprising when one considers the meaning of Twitter to elite liberal journalists. Twitter censorship serves elite liberals in many ways, including the transformation of Twitter into a platform where they perform personalities they lack in real life, as friend of the show Freddie DeBoer put it. Elites require comfort on Twitter to take part in the stage it has become, which is how rhetoric shifts to the point where criticism is harassment and journalism becomes degraded.
Saagar has issued concerns about Musk’s business dealings and ties to foreign governments in the past that get obscured by these smears. As the WSJ reported, Musk has deep ties to the CCP through Tesla, the company that has generated most of Musk’s next worth. Elon has also courted foreign investors like the Qatari government as part of the $7billion in capital that he raised for the buyout of the company. The mainstream press has bungled the real reasons to scrutinize Elon Musk and the question of whether he will accommodate foreign governments censorship demands continues to be unanswered.
After the monologue, Saagar and Krystal talk about the defenders of Tesla’s connections to China who downplay how previous corporations have bent the knee to China for the sake of profit. Critical reporting of Musk about his connections to foreign governments is now going to be equated to the NYT piece that will make it difficult to deliver real scrutiny to the world’s richest man. Those who support censorship on tech platforms make it about protecting minority voices when the real story from South Africa shows the right to free speech being vital for disenfranchised groups rather than the opposite way around, as the pro-censorship crowd proposes.
Krystal and Saagar are joined by Gallup Editor-in-Chief Mohamed Younis to better understand where America stands on abortion and how the trends have changed over time. The polling firm has been tracking the issue since 1989 with broader national polls and in depth trends based on various demographics and political affiliation. The numbers also provide specifics on the opinions within the pro-life and pro-choice sides of the debate, and how the country feels about certain proposed abortion bans being pursued on the state level. Gallup’s data goes all the way until May of 2021, about a year ago at this point. Other polls like those mentioned in the Abortion block above have shown slightly different results but are generally in line with what the statistics from Gallup demonstrate.
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