Krystal and Saagar examine the primaries coming up, Dr. Oz vote count in PA, polling data on the economy, Elon accusation and political shifts, Hillary’s implication in Russiagate, Democratic corruption, gas crisis continues, & geopolitical shifts on China!
Elbridge Colby: https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/97803…
Timestamps: Primary Elections: 0:00 – 31:05 Dr Oz: 31:06 – 39:43 Polling: 39:44 – 50:18 Elon: 50:19 – 59:51 Hillary: 59:52 – 1:08:42 Krystal: 1:08:43 – 1:18:50 Saagar: 1:18:51 – 1:31:46 Elbridge Colby: 1:31:47 – 1:52:06
5/23 NEWSLETTER: Primaries, Dr Oz, Elon Scandal, Dem Corruption, Gas Crisis, US vs China, & More!
Welcome to the Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar premium subscriber newsletter for the Monday May 23rd show. Before we begin, a major programming update for this week is that the full uncut show will take place today, WEDNESDAY, and Thursday instead of the usual M/T/Th arrangement. There will be extra content on the YouTube channel on Tuesday in the meantime!
Now to the contents of today’s show that you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCwdQpuJ0Dg
Tuesday is another election day in states across America, and today the first block of the show is dedicated to previewing the most important primary races on the left and right. Beginning with Georgia, where incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to win easily against the Trump backed former Senator David Perdue. Trump went all in one Perdue and discounted the success Kemp would have on the campaign because of his deep grassroots support back home. Perdue has tried to make the race about Trump’s endorsement and ‘stop the steal’ while Kemp has stayed laser focused on his record as Governor. He’s even been campaigning with fellow Trump nemesis Chris Christie and former VP Mike Pence. Nationally and in Georgia, Republican insiders have basically abandoned the Perdue campaign because of how poorly he has performed in polls. Even Donald Trump has all but given up on what he views as a lackluster campaign effort from his chosen candidate. His campaign has hardly spent any money and has not been run particularly well, with the goal now to force a runoff caused by Kemp getting under 50% of the vote. It is a bitter moment for Trump who has railed against Brian Kemp since November of 2020 and has seen his endorsement provide a sharp boost to other GOP candidates in tough primaries. A similar situation is going on in Alabama with GOP Congressman Mo Brooks’ Senate campaign, that Trump un-endorsed because it seemed Brooks was dead in the water. In the final weeks of the campaign, Brooks has been surging in the polls from a distant third to competing for a position in the runoff in a contested three way primary fight. This is another example of the unpredictability of Trump’s endorsement on GOP primary candidates in the 2022 cycle that continues to play out in primaries across the country.
On the Democratic side, a hotly contested congressional primary in a Texas border district is taking place between anti-abortion incumbent Henry Cuellar and progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros. After some notable progressive wins in the previous round of Democratic primaries, and the surge in the importance abortion has been given in polls since the SCOTUS leaked opinion to overturn Roe, all eyes will be on this contest. Democratic leadership such as Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn have stood by Cuellar despite his pro-life views, claiming that the young progressive Cisneros would not be viable in a general election. In the previous election cycle, Cisneros narrowly lost a primary challenge to Cuellar, before he became the subject of an intensive FBI investigation continuing through election day. A longtime Congressman, Cuellar is counting on his strength as a well known incumbent to push him through another bitter fight with his former intern. Cisneros is hoping that the abortion issue and anger at party leadership will be enough to throw her over the finish line in her second go at the Democratic nomination for Texas’ 28th district.
The Pennsylvania primary for the GOP Senate nomination that came down to only a few thousand votes between Dr. Oz and Dave McCormick is making its way towards the finish line. Oz has taken the lead by just over 1000 votes with McCormick waiting for mail-in ballots based on a court order permitting him to count ballots without dates on them. Oz appeared to wink and nod at the ‘stop the steal’ election fraud allegations from the diehard Trump base that currently serve in his self interest to shore up his lead over McCormick. The Trump-backed Oz and the war veteran turned hedge fund manager have been in a bitter, hard fought primary that is coming down to only a handful of votes. It’s certain that the election will come down to a recount before the GOP nominee’s general election campaign against Democratic nominee John Fetterman begins. A delay of a few days might not impact the campaign in the long haul but the delay provides Fetterman more time to rest after his stroke that put him in the hospital on election day.
More bleak polling on the broader issues facing the country has come out and it does not look good for President Biden. Pessimism about the economy was already high and is growing even more. In September 2021, 70% were pessimistic about costs back then and the number has risen to 77%, and the pessimism on the national economy rose from 58% to 68% since last September. Voters consider President Biden slow to react to problems at a 65-35% clip with voters split on the question of whether he cares about them. When addressing the new polling on Twitter, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain defended the performance by POTUS and issued criticism of the narrative. Klain’s tweet reflects the administration’s thoughts on the polls due to his power and influence behind the scenes so they appear to be less pessimistic than the voters. They also see Biden doing better on jobs and covid despite all of the economic turmoil hitting the American public right now. But it does not bode well for the Democrats in the midterms that the polling on the economy is this bleak and continuing to get worse.
Elon Musk is the subject of more controversy after allegations resurfaced from 2018 that Musk exposed himself to a flight attendant and masseuse in a 2016 flight to London. The victim was paid $250,000 for her silence by SpaceX after Musk had offered her a horse as payment while he exposed himself and grabbed her up the thigh. He tried to bribe the attendant for sexual favors according to her friend who is not legally binded from speaking out on the incident and knew about it at the time. The rest of the details of the allegations can be found in the Business Insider scoop, which Musk has called a political attack days after he announced his switch to the Republican party and warned political attacks would escalate. He has labeled himself politically moderate and claims the Democratic party has become the party of division and hate. Musk was previously a large donor to Barack Obama and his innovation in electric cars has put him on the front lines of large businesses addressing climate issues. Musk is currently being investigated by the Biden SEC for delaying his reporting on Twitter stock purchases and has been criticized in the past for Tesla’s union busting tactics. The show will continue to cover Elon extensively, with the balance not seen in most other news programs.
Hillary Clinton is back in the news because of revelations from the Durham investigation of the origins of Russiagate that has led to indictments of those on the Clinton team by prosecutors. She was implicated in testimony by former Clinton 2016 campaign chief Robby Mook, who claimed that Clinton knew about information leaked to the media about a connection between Donald Trump and the Russian Alpha Bank back in 2016. The FBI quickly concluded that the purported connection between Trump and the bank was implausible, and the person being prosecuted is the lawyer Michael Sussmann who brought the claim to the FBI and then lied under oath to the bureau. He was working for notorious liberal lawyer Marc Elias at the Perkins Cole law firm that was deeply connected to the Clinton campaign at the time. The Sussmann trial has been seen as a major test for the Durham investigation that was launched by former AG William Barr to investigate wrongdoing in the Russiagate investigations by intelligence agencies and other operatives. Mook said in his testimony that the Clinton campaign did not have sufficient evidence to confirm the claim themselves, yet pushed it out to the media anyways. They were hoping a reporter would investigate the claim and confirm it after amplification by the media only days before the 2016 election. The headline based on leaks from the Clinton campaign ended up appearing in Slate in October of 2016 and the New York Times published a similar story with a more skeptical tone. Hillary herself tweeted out the Trump-Alfa Bank allegations with a statement from Jake Sullivan who is now Biden’s National Security Advisor during a time of geopolitical turmoil, particularly with the Russians.
In her monologue today, Krystal examines the deep ties between Democratic party consulting firms and corporate America in corrupt and shadowy ways that have major influence over the national party. The relationships between the party and corporate backed consulting firms has become more scrutinized after the top firm Global Strategy Group led the union busting campaign by Amazon in Staten Island, NYC. The Democratic operatives monitored social media account, created and distributed anti-union PR, bombarded workers with communications, and organized anti-union trainings by the company. GSG is deeply embedded in the Democratic party, with their portfolio including work for multiple high profile Senators and alums such as Jen Psaki. Their large corporate client list extends beyond Amazon to other Silicon Valley monopolists, oil companies, large banks, and big pharma companies including Perdue Pharma. The list of notable corporate clients goes even deeper, but these companies listed show the extent that GSG has been working with the largest corporations in America.
The DNC is now considering banning consultants from anti-union activity through assisting corporations or fighting ballot initiatives that prevent workers from waging union campaigns. The reform would not prevent GSG from serving as PR spokespeople for large corporate clients opposed to the Democratic agenda, and the same goes for a litany of Democratic consulting firms in on the grift. Other firms work for Wall Street, Big Tech, and health insurers like Precision Strategies, Dewey Strategies, SKDK, GQR, and more firms deeply tied to the Biden campaign and the Clinton-Obama world. The industry is in the multi billion dollars and has enriched a host of Democratic party operatives who will fight tooth and nail to keep the consulting racket going which means combatting progressives who pose a threat to their clients.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar talk about how powerful consultants are with their media pundistry, administrative positions, campaign guidance, and permanent existence that essentially makes these consultants their own deep state. All of these operatives have permanent jobs that will be there for them when they are done in government or elsewhere. It’s a hidden, secret group of people with tremendous power in DC who are finally getting exposed.
Saagar devotes another monologue to addressing the gas prices hurting American consumers every day, particularly out west where California has prices over $6 per gallon and other states are over $5 per gallon. The higher gas prices are hurting consumer pocketbooks to the tune of thousands of dollars, with households spending 70% more on gas than they did last year. The jump from $2800 to $4800 has wiped out the benefits from covid families received and has no signs of slowing down. Household savings are down $9,000 on average from last year that has become a massive tax on the working class. It is certainly going to get worse over the summer as JP Morgan predicts gas prices rising to $6.20 per gallon on average, because the driving season will kick into high gear.
Saagar has examined multiple factors that could be addressed to combat the problem of rising gas prices that the administration seems indifferent to tackling it. First involves the US oil exports to Mexico and Latin America that are proving to be lucrative for oil companies because of how high global prices are. Low domestic supply, high demand, and exporting reserves is a recipe for six dollar gas prices that could be as high as $7.50/gallon in California. The Biden administration could examine the reasons why oil companies are sending oil abroad instead of using gas pumped on US soil to ease the burden on US consumers. The White House could begin by banning oil exports temporarily to alleviate prices based on legal authority from a 1975 environmental bill. They could suspend the Jones Act for oil shipments to allow for shipments between US ports to be used by existing foreign carriers instead of new US carriers that is creating regional disparities in prices of gas. In the medium term, Saagar is calling for renewed US resiliency in oil production to combat short term needs regardless of what environmentalists will have to say about it. The last American oil refinery was built in the 1970s and the bargain was to import from abroad to limit environmental impacts. The issue with this bargain comes when there is a global supply crunch and America cannot refine enough oil to serve its population without imports from countries who are authorized to pollute as much as they can. Liberal environmentalists and globalization are to blame for this policy that is now forcing Ameircans to choose between Summer vacation and paying bills for the month.
After the monologue, Saagar and Krystal go back and forth on temporary ways to suspend the Jones act for oil and the oil companies who are exporting a strategic asset in a time of need. They go back and forth on climate urgency given the predicted doom for the planet compared to the costs of today hitting working class people’s budgets. They also discuss the idea of nationalizing the oil industry in preparation for climate change in the long term and oil production in the short term.
Krystal and Saagar are joined by foreign policy analyst Elbridge Colby to discuss his new book about American defense in a time of great power conflict in light of the rise of China. He offers his analysis of what Biden said about Taiwan that the White House has rolled back because of the massive escalation a promise of military intervention in Taiwan is towards China. Since the Nixon administration America has officially abided by a policy of strategic ambiguity towards Taiwan to be able to offer some assistance towards Taiwan without alienating China. The speculation about CCP orchestrating an invasion of Taiwan has ramped up since the invasion of Ukraine by Putin based on similar revanchist logic used by Russia to justify the war. The debate about East Asia and Taiwan is not necessarily about the China-Taiwan issue alone, it is about American interests in an age where economic and geopolitical power is shifting away from Europe towards East Asia. Elbridge Colby believes that Biden is correct about coming to Taiwan’s defense but thinks it is a mistake to poke the dragon unnecessarily, especially because we are not prioritizing East Asia with military policy because of Europe. Due to geographical issues, Taiwan would be difficult to defend and that makes it more urgent that the US be able to defend it if it becomes necessary. He also addresses the other side of the China debate exemplified by Peter Zeihan in his interview on the show last Thursday where he analyzed population and economic issues China has in the long term.
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