Krystal and Saagar examine the Pennsylvania Dem & GOP primaries, Elon Musk’s Twitter turbulence, SCOTUS decision on campaign finance, UFO Congressional hearings, WHCA rigging, causes of violence, solar power industry, & the risks of NATO expansion!
Trita Parsi: https://quincyinst.org/author/tparsi/ https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-o…
Timestamps: PA Primary: 0:00 – 29:44 Elon: 29:45 – 39:09 SCOTUS: 39:10 – 48:24 UFOs: 48:25 – 1:00:48 WHCA: 1:00:49 – 1:09:25 Krystal: 1:09:26 – 1:24:04 Saagar: 1:24:05 – 1:35:20 Trita Parsi: 1:35:21 – 1:50:52
5/17 Newsletter: PA Primaries, Elon News, SCOTUS Decisions, NATO Expansion, & More!
Welcome to the 5/17/22 full show Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar newsletter exclusively for premium subscribers to access all the information used in the program. We apologize for the confusion with Spotify yesterday, and it appears that they were having issues platform wide. The problems yesterday were not on our end and have been resolved. Aside from that, no major announcements today besides another reminder for our 1 year subscribers to renew their subscription! We will have big news coming soon about the future of the show!!!
It is another election day Tuesday in May and with that comes compelling primaries on the Democratic and Republican sides, with the spotlight being shined on the large swing state of Pennsylvania. Beginning with the Republican side, three candidates are in a contested primary for the GOP Senate nomination. The TV show star Dr. Oz
, former Hedge Fund manager Dave McCormick
, and political commentator Kathy Barnette
have all been battling it out. The polls have been tight with Dr. Oz holding a slight lead
over the surging Barnette and the steady challenger McCormick heading into election night. Former President Trump has given his highly coveted endorsement to Oz, who Trump backed in a statement
on the race this weekend after supporters were heard booing the Trump endorsed candidate at a rally. He also recorded a robocall
to be sent to voters giving them reasons to back Dr. Oz instead of the other candidates in the race, citing Oz’s popularity on television as opposed to McCormick’s business ties with China and Barnette’s past comments about Barack Obama. The results in this race will be tight if the final tally lives up to the polling and momentum continues to shift the tides through election night. The winner of this primary will face off against a difficult Democratic opponent in a vital swing state seat for the next six years, making this race one to watch.
The Pennsylvania GOP also has a Gubernatorial primary election with a handful of candidates competing for the nomination, but one in particular has begun to outpace the field. State Sen. and former Army Colonel Doug Mastriano has obtained the coveted Trump endorsement
after gaining notoriety for his participation in the January 6th Capitol Hill riot that saw him storm the building itself
. It came after he had been working for months to get the vote counts in Pennsylvania overturned, a state narrowly taken by President Biden in 2020. He has been subpoenaed by the House’s January 6th investigative committee and his support for overturning the election was cited by Trump as the key reason for the endorsement. Mastriano has been seen fundraising at QAnon events
and floated conspiracy theories about 9/11 being an inside job despite the history of the heroes of flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. He has also floated a three week abortion ban
before it is possible to detect the heartbeat of the fetus. He has been campaigning with the aforementioned Kathy Barnette, who was also marching on January 6th
with the far-right. Proud Boys. She previously made false comments
about Obama being a muslim on top of islamophobic
and anti-gay remarks that were dug up on Twitter. In an interview she backed off
from her previous statements after being challenged by Dr. Oz for what she had said. The point of all of this is to say that Mastriano is projected to win the primary and his extremism has him down by large margins in polls to Democratic AG and presumed Gov. nominee Josh Shapiro even in a favorable GOP climate. This is why the GOP establishment is fighting to stop him from winning before it is too late, and voters potentially select a candidate who is unelectable. Similar concerns have been raised by Barnette in her Senate primary, where she’d presumably face off against Democratic Lt. Gov John Fetterman in a general election.
On to the Democratic side, where Fetterman and Shapiro are expected to coast to primary victories come Tuesday night. Nonetheless, there is still some intrigue in a congressional fight being likened to the Nina Turner primary
in Ohio. A black female progressive state legislator Summer Lee is running against a corporate lawyer named Steve Irwin in a vacant deep blue Pittsburgh seat who has received strong support from the party establishment. Progressives see this as part of a larger war on the left
in the 2022 primary season being waged by the corporate friendly wing of the party through SuperPACs bankrolled by billionaires and special interests. A spending onslaught
has been attributed to Irwin’s sharp rise in the polls late in the campaign that at one point was viewed as a landslide primary shoe-in for the progressives. Irwin, who is Jewish, has received large amounts of funding from pro-Israel groups within the Democratic party and big oil companies opposed to Lee’s climate agenda. The growing tensions between the two factions within the Democratic party are at play in this intriguing primary and tensions will continue to heat up even if Lee does pull out a win.
More cryptic Tweeting
from Elon Musk took place on Monday, in response to a thread by Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal addressing the influx of bot accounts on the platform that Musk has expressed concern over
. Some are speculating that Elon’s concerns are being driven by the sharp decline in the company’s share price that has tumbled along the rest of the tech sector. The public criticism of the app combined with the instability could drive the Twitter share prices down even more, giving Elon the grounds he needs to renegotiate the deal on more favorable terms
. A longtime backer of Musk and other tech analysts believe the deal will close at a lower price
than what was originally agreed upon, potentially saving Musk billions of dollars in the process. Agarwal had just fired top executives at the company before being publicly rebuked by the man who will become the next owner of the company if the deal does go through as planned. There are possible legal ramifications and oversight implications if regulators see that Musk is manipulating the market as he was fined for doing back in 2019 with Tesla stock.
With all eyes on Roe v. Wade
, the round of SCOTUS decisions
that were published yesterday received considerable attention, in particular a case involving Ted Cruz that critics say will make it easier for politicians to be bought off. The decision in FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate
struck down an anti-bribery law limiting the amount of payments a candidate could receive after an election in order to repay loans they made to their own campaign. It essentially permits lawmakers to receive donations that can be used to pay their own debt, meaning that donors can effectively put money into donors pockets and personally enrich them— leading to corrupt bargains and blatant bribes. With a few accounting tricks, lawmakers can make income from campaign donations in a way that is perfectly legal, because the $250,000 limit in such contributions has been overturned. The limit was enacted by Congress in 2001 as an anti-corruption measure and the overturning of the law by SCOTUS is likely to increase concerns about money in politics and political corruption.
A story near and dear to Saagar’s heart is the public Congressional hearings on UFOs that will take place for the first time in half a century in front of the House Intelligence, Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee. The Pentagon is feuding with intelligence agencies over how much they want to cooperate with the demands of Congress and how much they should share with the public. The pressure on the Pentagon to carry out Congress’ recent mandate to establish permanent efforts to coordinate research and conduct reports on highly advanced, unknown aircraft intruding into protective airspace. The law now requires regular classified and public reports to oversight committees on new incidents involving ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ that include previous information from government testimony or databases. Internal conflict between various national security branches matters for the UFO community because it could limit the lessening of the historical secrecy around this issue and the stigma around it within intelligence circles. Officials believe that forcing people to come clean and holding them accountable is important for transparency and for beginning the UFO research initiatives passed by Congress.
For the media segment today, Krystal and Saagar spotlight the new controversy
that broke out at the White House Press Briefing after an African reporter interrupted Jen Psaki in her briefing on Friday. Simon Ateba of Today News Africa twice interrupted the outgoing Press Sec and tried to get reporters in the back rows called to ask the government questions. The White House Correspondents Association chided Ateba in an email and has floated suspending him from briefings for disrespectful behavior after he tried to get a question in. Saagar pointed out that when he was a WH Correspondent during the Trump administration, behavior was much more chaotic
as everyone fought to get questions in with the hopes of a viral, career changing moment. Ateba claimed that he was the victim and that the press freedom he was promised when coming to America and he claimed that he was being discriminated against because of his African origins. He has since been called on by the White House and has said that he believed in WHCA reform to make the second row put on equal standing to the first row. To understand more about this system, check out Saagar’s old monologues below:
In her monologue today, Krystal explores the deeper reasons why someone would carry out an act as evil as the Buffalo shooting after finger pointing went around right after the violence took place. She criticizes the Fox News
explanation from the 1990s blaming violent video games despite the lack of evidence
they promote violent behavior. The same can be said for rap music, graphic movies, and other forms of entertainment with violent imagery. She goes on to counter the reflexive liberal calls
for online censorship after the shooter’s manifesto began circulating online and it explained how he was radicalized through different sections of the internet. The shooter was exposed to the hateful, violent ideologies that he cited through the internet, but to believe these views would not exist without lowly forums ignores centuries of brutal history. It is also better to know what extremists are saying to each other and thinking in order to counter them and understand those who commits acts of violence. To delegate power to tech ologarchs and allow them to shape information diets will not stop extremism or fringe ideologies from circulating.
The most common liberal explanation has been to blame those promoting ‘great replacement’ theories about Democrats intentionally cementing an electoral majority by causing domestic population decline combined with mass immigration. Tucker Carlson
and other right wing media figures have entertained this proposition, which Krystal goes on to criticize for scapegoating both immigrants and minorities. She also explains that Democrats’ plan, if it existed, would not be working out given the shifts in working class voters of all races to the GOP. In the 2020 election the only demographic Dems improved with was non college educated white males, who are the base of the GOP.
She traces the history of violence by extremists in America that has been studied extensively, and many experts have observed a trend where these incidents spike after wars abroad. The roots
of the modern far-right, white power ideologies come from the after effects of Vietnam, where veterans were abandoned by society and lost the sense of comradery one gets from serving their country. This phenomenon is not unique to America, most notably with the Nazis in Germany who emerged out of the country’s economic collapse and political humilation after World War One. Important caveats are that veterans are heroes and not extremists except for a small fringe, and that sociological roots of extremism do not excuse it. But the link between violence abroad and violence at home
is intuitive, giving a new meaning to the forever war term. The reasons America stands out when it comes to violence go even deeper, but the clear connection between extremism and war should give America pause before shipping off more weapons abroad.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar discuss gun policy in the United States and how larger cultural forces can lead to violence inflicted on individuals, suicide increases, and mass acts of extremism that lead to many deaths.
Saagar devotes his monologue to criticizing the solar power industry in a time of high gas prices and major geopolitical turmoil that creates the need for pragmatism in energy policy. Solar and Wind power are unreliable renewable sources that need backing from natural gas due to their 25-35% reliability that cannot hold up in dangerous weather conditions. The activists advocating for renewables have removed nuclear from the conversation and are fighting a showdown over China tariffs that they cite for why the solar industry
is frozen. None of the solar industry is made in America and it is all imported from China who is currently being investigated for manipulative practices involving cutout companies in Southeast Asia with the sole purpose of ducking tariffs. The findings of the investigation could put retroactive tariffs on the imported panels so for now the industry is at a stand still during a vital time for conversations around energy. Instead of building a supply chain in the US, establishment liberals are using the solar industry as a cudgel to fight tariffs.
Concerns about slave labor
in the making of solar panels in China have persisted, as do worries about the national security implications of an industry being pushed as a major future power source being possessed entirely by a geopolitical adversary. The industry groups dispute the characterization of slave labor, but nonetheless it is true that solar is an unreliable source of power even with the most advanced batteries. Natural gas is what we are left with, in a time of extraordinary global prices and growing alarm about climate change. This comes while environmentalists are fighting to close nuclear plants
like Indian Point in New York State, that gets replaced by more natural gas power at the expense of existing clean, renewable energy. Liberal states
have passed ambitious climate plans
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that exclude nuclear power, which is why none of the concerns about China matter. The GOP is also worthy of criticism for their ideological commitment to natural gas and lack of investments in strong power grids that cannot hold up during extreme weather in the ways nuclear power
can. If nuclear can fix its branding problem before it’s too late, there is still hope the already existing solution to America’s energy concerns can make its breakthrough.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar discuss the fears around nuclear energy that exist and how the regulatory scrutiny should work to ensure that the nuclear power plants invest in the safety technology they need.
Krystal and Saagar are joined by Georgetown professor and foreign policy expert Trita Parsi to break down the proposed expansion of NATO and the US escalation with Russia in Ukraine. Dr. Parsi has issued stark warnings
about the Biden administration’s mission creep and escalation that could have deadly implications for those on the battlefield and around the world. There is another risk that the US is drawn to an endless proxy conflict with Russia that resembles Afghanistan and creates destabilization at home and abroad. He also criticized the perceived shift from Ukraine being assisted for its own national defense to becoming an American pawn in a larger war. There was a similar mission creep for the Bush administration in Afghanistan that led to the 20 year quagmire put to an end by President Biden, and many unforeseen consequences could break out if escalation continues by sending $40 billion more in aid over to Ukraine. Now it looks like the expansion of NATO that would escalate tensions with Russia and the West is being held up by Turkey
over the Scandinavians backing Kurdish rebels. Dr. Parsi is able to provide his unique perspective as a Swedish citizen on the internal debates, or lack thereof, happening in Sweden and Finland about NATO expansion in response to Russia’s belligerence.