Breaking Points: 6/21/22 FULL UNCUT SHOW

Krystal and Saagar discuss tensions between Russia and NATO, Biden’s gas price plans, GOP Sen. candidate Eric Greitens’ new ad, Hillary’s midterm advice, Taylor Lorenz demoted, TikTok lies, economic realignment, and French elections!

Merch: New Yorker Feature:… Daniel Nichanian: Timestamps: Ukraine: 0:0034:04 Gas: 34:0545:31 Missouri: 45:3253:56 Hillary: 53:571:00:23 Lorenz: 1:00:241:09:23 Saagar: 1:09:241:19:28 Krystal: 1:19:291:27:43 Daniel Nichanian: 1:27:441:43:09

6/21 NEWSLETTER: Ukraine War, Gas Prices, Hillary Comments, Fake Economy, TikTok Ban, French Elections, & More!
Welcome to another edition of the Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar premium newsletter. We apologize for the lag in getting the full show email blast out yesterday and it should have arrived in your inbox around noon yesterday. With that said, be on the lookout for a big announcement about the live tour. The news will be provided very soon so please stay tuned.
Now to the contents of the show, which you can watch here:
Concerns about the western sanctions regime and escalatory behavior in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine are growing. The small baltic NATO country of Lithuania has blocked some goods from arriving in the Russian city of Kaliningrad, a Baltic Sea enclave. The Russians have responded by threatening retaliation to a move they described as unprecedented. EU officials believe Lithuania is simply enforcing the bloc’s sanctions against Russia but did express concern over escalation. The city of Kaliningrad is not blockaded and non-sanctioned goods are still being permitted to flow into the area. Land travel has not been banned and Lithuania itself does not have national sanctions in place. The Russian foreign ministry expressed outrage at the move, declaring it illegal and hostile. They did not rule out taking action to protect their national interests. They protested that Lithuania is in violation of international agreements, an allegation Lithuania has disputed. The sanctioned EU goods include coal, metals, construction materials, and advanced technology. Residents in the 500,000 person city have begun to panic buy goods due to the uncertainty of the situation. It appears the war is not coming to a halt anytime soon, with diplomatic talks stalling and the United States eager to continue backing Ukraine. NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg said the war could go on for years, and called on the west to continue supporting the Ukrainians despite domestic turmoil caused by high food and energy prices. He believes that NATO countries need to continue sending weapons to the Ukrainians to assist their fight back against the Russian offensive in the Donbas region. Right now the Ukrainian defense of key city Sievierdonestsk is faltering, and more troops have been sent in as reinforcements. The war has become a war of attrition, where even small gains require massive military expenditures and casualties. Russia has been making incremental gains in the Donbas region stoking Ukrainian fears about where the war might lead.
In a speech delivered over the weekend, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin taunted Biden’sPutin price hike’ phrase in a speech at the Russian version of the World Economic Forum. He claimed the talk of Putin-flation was ‘stupidity’ and they are using the Russians to avoid scrutiny for their economic woes. Putin went on to say that the United States declared itself God’s representative on earth, with no responsibilities. The Russian leader is hoping the brash tone of his speech will reignite confidence among Russian elites. In the show, a mashup of Biden administration officials and prominent Democrats was played, including the two clips linked in this section of the A block. American media in their coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine dedicated much more time to it than when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. The gap in coverage with a focus on the New York Times attributed to western media bias, and US media’s deep ties to the political establishment. Before the war, elite publications from the NYT on down built public support for the invasion, now seen as a destabilizing disaster at home and abroad.
The price of gas is hammering the American people, and Joe Biden is feeling the heat. When asked about his plans to address it, Biden cited his mother and a turn to renewable energy without offering any specifics to reporters. The administration is weighing demand side policies they believe will alleviate high gas prices, including a temporary gas tax relief. They will be deciding how to go about addressing student loan debt as well. Biden’s staff had been weighing sending the American people gas rebate cards but the chip shortage wrecked the possibility of delivering the cards in the near future. The White House insists it is urgently exploring policies to tackle the increase in gas prices, after months of frustration from the American people. He said oil and gas executives would be meeting with administration officials later in the week to address soaring profits, however the President will not be in attendance. Another point of contention in the meeting will be the cutting back of domestic oil refining, a trend that began after the 2014 oil shock. On the international front, the US is in talks with its allies about a Russian oil price cap, representing an escalation of the western sanctions package contributing to gas price hikes across the western world. It’s unclear how it would affect allies of the United States who have taken neutral stances on the war in Ukraine and are purchasing Russian crude at discounted prices. It is unclear how the cap would effect the Russian economy, currently being buoyed by higher prices of oil across the globe, in contrast to western economies previously reliant on the Kremlin’s oil.
Missouri GOP Senate candidate and former Governor of Missouri Eric Greiteins is under fire once again. This time for a campaign ad about hunting ‘RINOs’ a conservative pejorative meaning Republican In Name Only. The ad features Greitens holding a firearm and leading a SWAT team into a house, implicitly threatening political opponents. It was widely criticized by political pundits all across the spectrum for violent undertones, particularly because of Greitens’ ex-wife’s lawsuit against him with harrowing domestic violence allegations. He has held a steady lead in the primary polls against two other GOP candidates. Congresswoman Vicky Hartlzer, endorsed by Greitens longtime political rival Sen. Josh Hawley, remains a formidable opponent. Current Missouri AG Eric Schmitt is running a competitive campaign at the same time. On the Democratic side, populist veteran Lucas Kunce has received national attention for the positions he has taken. Kunce previously appeared on this show to analyze Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan given his longtime service in The Marines. Eric Greitens was once a Navy Seal, however he was not let back into active after he resigned in 2018 because of the aforementioned sexual abuse scandal. As the lawsuit by his ex-wife continues, the implied use of violence in his political ad will likely be used by her legal team according to her lawyer. Nonetheless, Donald Trump is poised to endorse the Greitens Senate campaign primarily because the two share an animosity towards Mitch McConnell. If Trump endorses Greitens, the boost he would receive on top of his lead in the polls would almost certainly put him over the line in the GOP primary. For previous Breaking Points coverage, watch the segments below:
Top GOP Senate Candidate ACCUSED Of Domestic, Child Abuse:
Lucas Kunce: Can Populist Dem WIN In Deep Red Missouri?:
Former Marine Officer EXPOSES Afghan War Lies:
Former Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is back from the dead. She gave an interview to the Financial Times where she was asked questions about her life and political career. Among many notable comments, she criticized the nostalgia of the mining community who were the recipients of her infamous ‘learn to code’ advice. She believes the 2016 election was a traumatic event constituting unfinished business for her side. Following her declaration was comments about what she believes is a GOP campaign to roll back all kinds of civil rights after overturning Roe. Then Clinton went into her concerns about what will happen to women when abortion is no longer legal at the federal level. Afterwards, Hillary expressed her belief a similar Capitol riot to that on January 6th, 2021 would have taken place if she had won in 2016. Then she blamed Facebook for her loss before stating her belief that Trump and Biden will run in 2024. Her subsequent comments about Vladimir Putin generated headlines; she blamed him for the 2016 election result and believed he was sexist towards her as indicated by ‘manspreading’ during meetings. Towards the end of the interview, Clinton blasted Democratic party activists for moving too far on cultural issues on crime and gender. Ironically, Republicans graded higher than Democrats in a poll question about upholding democracy, pointing to the hyperbolic nature of Democrats’ rhetoric. Clinton is a chief proponent of the Democratic belief that their party represents democracy and their political opponents do not, further rebuking her beliefs about the 2016 election.
The Washington Post’s online culture blogger Taylor Lorenz received a demotion following her series of controversies. She was dropped from the features team and moved to the technology section of the paper. Cameron Barr, the Post’s 2nd highest ranking editor, will now be tasked with reviewing Lorenz’s blog posts. She had drawn fire from critics including WaPo colleague Erik Wemple for journalistic malpractice in an article about creators who covered the Depp-Heard trial. In her piece, she falsely claimed creators were asked to comment before the publication, leading to multiple corrections by the Washington Post. The final correction on the article is still lacking in factual accuracy. Lorenz has turned herself into a subject of intense scrutiny for her high profile journalistic debacles during her stints with NYT and WaPo combined with her ruthless campaigns to ruin the lives of online creators. Now her Tweets are roundly mocked, like this reply to Matthew Yglesias when he joked about his case of covid. Lorenz expressed her fury about his joke and proceeded to make herself into the victim, a common tactic of hers. When her next online controversy comes around, this show will surely scrutinize it.
In his monologue today, Saagar makes the case for banning TikTok, the next generation’s primary social media platform. It means almost every American is being controlled by a platform owned by China, which was why the Trump administration floated a ban. They failed to follow through, and Biden is unlikely to ban it because of the China lobby’s influence over the administration. Calls of racism from Democrats would certainly deter him if he tried. For years, the common talking point was that TikTok’s US servers were not accessed by its Chinese parent company. But new reporting shows the company and its lobbyists have been lying the entire time, with Buzzfeed obtaining statements from nine different employees that China has access to US TikTok data. The reports directly contradict sworn testimony from TikTok lobbyists before Congress where they stated a US team had access to the TikTok data in an independent process. The magnitude of lies told by TikTok is stunning considering leaked audio of an employee on the trust and safety team admitting everything is seen in China. In another meeting they refer to their Chinese bosses as the master admin who can access everything. When confronted, TikTok did not deny the Buzzfeed reporting, and they know the super addictive algorithm already hooked everyone. But it’s not on the regular people who enjoy TikTok, it’s on the government to act and ban TikTok for national security reasons. It can easily be replicated by an alternative, based on the results in India when TikTok was banned there.
He goes on to address common arguments against banning TikTok, the primary one being that American companies engage in the same practices. Edward Snowden famously blew the whistle on government surveillance in collaboration with tech companies. But in the US you have rights under the law to fight surveillance, like when Apple prevented the FBI from accessing a terrorist’s iPhone. Other tech firms require subpoenas for turning data over to the government. None of these laws exist in China, and if their governments want their data they will take it. Within China, there are major restrictions to what can be posted on TikTok compared to the US. It mostly celebrates achievements in math, science, literature, and other areas deemed important by the state. Harsh restrictions on social media are not the goal, but the Chinese control over US culture on TikTok is a great tool for weakening American youth. Creating an incredibly addictive product full of woke ideology and shallow entertainment is a great way to build soft power over US culture. It’s better if the culture of TikTok is simply a profit maximizer rather than a much more nefarious national security issue. Worse of all, there are documented instances of political censorship on the US version of TikTok of videos against Beijing’s agenda. China bans American tech companies from operating in their country unless strict firewalls are implemented, and as usual America does not fight back against China. The Biden administration shut down a DOJ program to combat Chinese espionage out of fears of being called racist, a white liberal ideology mocked by Chinese elites. The Biden administration won’t prove China wrong, but maybe someone else will.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar discuss the need for an acknowledgement about TikTok’s lies. America should be able to ruin its culture through social media companies instead of it becoming a geopolitical weapon. The large tech firms are not the good guys here, inundating Americans with ads and generally making people miserable. It’s designed to foster rage and anxiety instead of satisfaction causing major harm to well being.
In her monologue, Krystal explores the economic precipice facing the world. The future is coming fast, with the easy money regime of the Fed slowly coming to an end because of inflation. The United States’ reign as the sole geopolitical superpower is coming to an end, globalization is contracting, and challenges to the capital above all economies are coming. The economic order of today appears to be ending; defined by extraordinary actions by the Fed to rescue the stock market in 2008 and 2020. In both instances, the Fed swooped in during an economic collapse to inject trillions of dollars into the financial system to backstop losses in the markets. These actions had massive economic consequences including growing the Fed’s balance sheet to unprecedented levels. Right now, the Fed is slowly leveling off the balance sheet to cut down its massive spending spree, a project originally planned before the 2020 intervention in the market. After 2020 its balance sheet was the same size as a third of the American economy, propping up the prices of every asset class. At the same time, interest rates dropped by the Fed to near zero for over a decade. It was the culmination of a four decade long project to lower rates throughout the era of neoliberalism. Low rates lead to widespread availability of cheap credit that could have been used for widespread public investment. Instead, the cheap money was used to fatten corporate profits and spur tons of venture capital investment into companies with poor business models. Firms like Uber, Peloton, Doordash, and Blue Apron that become part of urban millennial life exemplified this investment pattern. Now they are shedding billions of dollars, putting an end to the millennial urban lifestyle. Subsidizing the gig economy is only the tip of the iceberg for the effects of cheap money.
Wealthy asset owners got richer and richer because of the Fed’s policies and economic inequality soared. Companies were rewarded for taking out cheap debt and distributing profits up to their shareholders. Zombie companies were propped up under a merry-go-round of cheap credit. Investments in labor, production, innovation, and communities were stagnant during the loop of cheap credit profiteering. Speculative bubbles such as crypto and NFTs were sold as a way for retail investors to get in on the action, right before it all came crashing down. The entire economy of the last decade created fake prices, fake asset bubbles, fake billionaires, fake companies, and fake assets without connection to real economic value. The collapse of this system will lead to plenty of pain and uncertainty. A full on recession is coming and the people who benefited most from the Fed’s policy of cheap money will surely look to profit from the pain of falling back down to reality.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar analyze the economic realignment happening currently. It is difficult to predict how the economy will change if the entire paradigm shifts away from cheap money, but the difficulties of another crash could be brutal for ordinary people. The supply side changes that might result will be slow to come, and consumer spending will have to change from where it’s been previously.
Krystal and Saagar are joined by elections expert and journalist Daniel Nichanian to take a deeper look at the French parliamentary elections. The results were a shock to outside observers because President Emmanuel Macron’s party failed to secure a majority. Leftists in France led by firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon were able to make gains with a unified coalition of parties. Similarly, the French right led by Macron’s election opponent Marine Le Pen made considerable gains in the election. Both of France’s establishment political parties were virtually non-existent, and Macron has been turned into a lame duck leader. The country has seen greater fragmentation of parties reflective of deeper political divides. A coalition government will be difficult to form after these results, potentially leading to major government dysfunction. All the signs point to continued domestic shake ups in France unless Macron can defy expectations for his second term. A crucial NATO country and European power, the world will be watching what happens in France.

Categories: Media

Leave a Reply