Krystal and Saagar report on Democrats legislation, China tensions rising, weapons flowing to Ukraine, gay marriage vote, Dick Cheney’s ad for Liz, Monkeypox hypocrisy, & media fawning!
Timestamps: Legislation: 0:00 – 28:59 China: 29:00 – 40:26 Weapons: 40:26 – 1:04:57 Gay Marriage: 1:04:58 – 1:15:14 Dick Cheney: 1:15:15 – 1:21:21 Saagar: 1:21:22 – 1:29:44 Krystal: 1:29:45 – 1:39:46 Jobs Report: 1:39:47 – 1:42:00
8/8 NEWSLETTER: Legislation Advances, China Tensions, Ukraine Weapons, Gay Marriage, & More!
Senate Democrats have passed
the Manchin-Schumer budget agreement on a party line vote with VP Kamala Harris breaking the tie. The budget reconciliation process prevents the usage of a filibuster, so Republicans were unable to block the deal. Democrats’ package was altered slightly by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) before she agreed to vote for it. Changes included
removing a provision to close the carried interest loophole
, add emergency drought funding, and inserting a small tax on corporate stock buybacks. Democrats and Republicans debated the contents of the bill through the night on Saturday August 6th as Senators battled over aspects of the agreement. Amendments by Bernie Sanders were shot down after he expressed dissatisfaction with the package; he voted for the bill anyway. Republicans tried to work with Sinema to change parts of the legislation to no avail. The GOP broadly opposes the legislation, particularly the tax policy, renewable energy provisions, and the unclear effects on inflation.
One amendment that was more contested was Democrats’ amendment to cap the price of insulin charged by private insurers. The Senate parliamentarian blocked
their plan to put the amendment in the budget reconciliation package because it is a non-budgetary item. This meant 60 votes were required for the amendment to pass, and Democrats were unable to
obtain enough Republican votes for it. Seven GOP Senators
voted for the bill, going against the view that a cap would be government overreach. A price cap on insulin for Medicare patients was not contested by Republicans and was able to pass. Diabetes is a big public health issue across America, particularly in conservative southern states
with high obesity rates. America pays more than any country in the developed world, and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
Tensions between America and China in the wake of Nancy Pelosi’s widely publicized trip to Taiwan have continued growing
. The Chinese Communist Party has engaged in military strikes around Taiwan, sanctioned Nancy Pelosi, and cut off some diplomatic talks with the US. Discussions between the two nations about military, trade, climate, and a range of issues will be greatly reduced going forward. On Sunday, China expanded
their military drills and escalated their posture towards Taiwan once again. Top Chinese officials have refused
to return calls from American officials including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chief Chair Mark Milley. Beijing launched missiles and positioned warships and aircraft around Taiwan in unprecedented action, much to the alarm of Pentagon officials. US military leaders maintain open lines of communication with adversaries precisely to prevent these situations from leading to full blown conflict. Secretary of State Blinken called China’s diplomatic retreat ‘irresponsible’ and condemned China for making the world less safe. He also said that Washington would remain responsible in this situation to prevent further escalation with Beijing. In response, the CCP’s foreign policy brass called the US liars and issued thinly veiled threats of a greater crisis to come. While China’s diplomatic shift does not entirely eliminate military talks, they have not been in communication with top US brass for the past month. One misconception or accident when tensions are high could lead to war between nuclear armed superpowers. Critics of Pelosi’s trip anticipated her gesture would raise tensions without providing tangible benefits for any party involved. Both America and China are facing domestic strife, and it’s unlikely that either would want war to break out at the moment.
A new documentary from CBS News about weapons shipments
to Ukraine not always reaching their final destination has been postponed. The prominent mainstream media network had the film completed in April, and states that it is now being updated. The vast amount of weaponry and aid from America and NATO has played a major role in Ukraine’s war effort since the Russians invaded back in February. However, concerns have been raised about the possibility of weapons for Ukraine being misdirected and ending up on black markets. Once on the black markets, it’s anyone’s guess where they will be smuggled to or who will end up using them. Weapons shipments to the region began in 2014 when the Russians originally invaded crimea. Afterwards, an extended conflict between armed Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces in parts of the Donbas region. Back in 2014, an estimated 30-40% of weapons reached their final destination. Now the figures are much higher according to watchdogs, and Ukraine has a US military official dispatched in Kyiv to monitor the flow of arms. Transferring weapons from the Polish border to Ukraine has been difficult to navigate because of constantly shifting front lines in the war. On top of that, corruption, bureaucracy, and logistics have made it a challenge to deliver weapons intended for Ukraine. All of this is supposed to be explored in the CBS News documentary, which has now been put on hold. Questions about where the American military aid is actually ending up could weaken the case for keeping the war going in perpetuity. It could challenge the status quo set by the bipartisan foreign policy establishment; something undoubtedly supported by CBS News. Nonetheless, billions in weapons
will be flowing to Ukraine.
Another hot topic surrounding the Ukraine war has been the expansion of NATO to Sweden and Finland. The US Senate voted
to bring the two countries into the alliance by a 95-1 vote with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voting present. Unlike previous eras in American history, there was no debate about further embroiling America with European powers, even though NATO expansion played a role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) was the only one to express objections to the decision. His rationale was that America needs to focus on China
and return to nationalist foreign policy in contrast to globalism. The Left issued no objections
despite the long history of leftists opposing the expansion of NATO and the US military obligations that come with it.
Democrats bringing gay marriage to a vote in Congress has created a conundrum for the GOP. Popular in their own party and wildly popular overall, gay marriage was an issue Trump deemed ‘settled’ in 2016. But powerful institutions on the religious right oppose legalizing it on a federal level, and the GOP does not want to cross them. In an interview with CNN, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was pressed
on the issue and said it should be left up to states. Graham does not believe the Supreme Court will overturn Obergefell
and that the question is a distraction from bigger issues. A statement in Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion on the Dobbs
decision that overturned Roe v. Wade
has revived questions about whether gay marriage will be protected. Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin has been pitching a vote for gay marriage to GOP Senators in order to protect it
. The midwestern progressive is a lesbian, and is hoping to secure 10 GOP votes to get the bill passed. She previously made history as the first openly gay Senator and has secured half the number of votes she will need. When the legislation to codify gay marriage passed the House, 47 Republicans voted for it, particularly the younger Repubicans who cite the party’s generational divide on the issue. Young Republicans are much more likely to support legalizing gay marriage, and over half of GOPers hold the position nationally.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney of the George W. Bush administration has been resurrected by his daughter’s GOP primary campaign. Liz Cheney is trailing by a large margin in her Wyoming primary for the state’s lone congressional district. Her Trump endorsed challenger, Harriet Hageman, is expected to win easily on the August 16th election day. Voters have been frustrated with Cheney’s frequent criticism of Donald Trump and her absenteeism from the state. Her repeated condemnation of Trump and position with the January 6th House committee have made Liz Cheney a hero with liberals, and the newfound support has extended to her father. When Dick Cheney appeared in an ad for his daughter, he strongly criticized Donald Trump in a video that immediately went viral
. His comments are unlikely to change the minds of Republican voters, although they led to praise
from Democrats. The elder Cheney was previously embraced warmly by the Democratic leadership when he appeared on the House floor. Other liberals and progressives reminded their peers of Cheney’s record in the Bush administration; facilitating the invasion of Iraq, War on Terror, CIA torture regime, and other destructive policies.
In his monologue, Saagar revisits the public health establishment’s response to the Monkeypox outbreak that has been infected by ideology. The disease was declared a public health emergency, opening up billions in funding to combat it. Monkeypox is a smallpox variant from Africa inducing severe illness on those who get it. The vast majority of cases have been spread among men who have sex with other men as confirmed by every study. This inconvenient fact has ignited a massive debate within the public health establishment between woke ideology and effective protocols for fighting the disease. By refusing to be honest about it, they are igniting mass panic, risking gay men’s lives, and further ruining the reputation of their field. Debates are happening among public health
officials about issues guidance for those in neighborhoods with large gay populations to limit their number of sexual partners. But there should be no debate because we know how this disease is being spread. Transmission has been traced to group sex events and a standard solution would be to emphasize safer sex over abstinence. Giving people guidance and letting them decide whether to follow it or not has now become acceptable. For example, in San Francisco they declined to shut down a group sex festival and instead gave out information about Monkeypox. People are free to put themselves at risk of a horrible smallpox variant if they wish.
The big caveat here is how different
the guidelines are compared to covid. The public health authorities imposed radical lifestyle changes on Americans from pulling kids out of school to shutting down the economy. Rather than let people assess risk levels, they issue demands and mandates long after the vaccine was rolled out. When sex became a topic of conversation, they released guidelines
discouraging kissing and intimacy. Now when a sexually transmitted disease is spreading, the treatment is radically different because of who is being affected most. Gay men are deserving of adult treatment and for basic facts to be acknowledged. But the public health authorities would rather wash away any bit of credibility they had left.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar talk about the hypocrisy of the Monkeypox messaging because they will never take the same approach with covid. Public health officials psychoanalyzing the American people instead of having confidence in them never happened with covid. The comparison is flawed because of the scale and spread of covid compared to Monkeypox, but the drastic differences in guidelines makes it worth exploring. Dr. Fauci changed his analysis of covid based on what he thought the American people could handle and blatantly lied because he lacked trust in the population. The WHO guidance on limiting sexual partners is not even being recommended by the CDC because they are afraid of homophobia. Issuing the guidance is separate from managing people’s lives and it is actually homophobic to think gay men cannot act like adults with this.
In her monologue, Krystal issues criticism of the Democrats legislation from a progressive perspective. The media has been touting Biden’s victory and the past week of news as the best
of his Presidency. They have said it is a landmark
, monumental, historic
moment for Biden while in covid isolation
. He is revived from the dead and cemented his legacy according to the media. Biden’s inflation reduction act will raise taxes on corporate America, dramatically expand the IRS, reduce carbon emissions, and provide healthcare subsidies. Tax revenue will be utilized to reduce the spending deficit. Progressives like Ryan Grim
have a positive view of the bill because of its climate and tax provisions. The bill is seen by the left as a big win compared to nothing, especially for the moderates who support the status quo. Build Back Better, the original package, was much larger and more transformational than the end result. Its climate provisions, tax policies, and social spending were much larger than the deal that was just passed. Bernie Sanders’ criticism of the bill came from the progressive angle of the package being insufficient. Colleagues derided Bernie
for his last second push to revisit some provisions from the original plan that Democrats proclaim support for. In the name of party unity, they voted in unison against Bernie’s provisions. Progressive ally Sherrod Brown was even caught on a hot mic expressing frustration
with Sanders’ objections to the legislation.
Other portions of the bill could have been accomplished via executive order if Joe Biden wanted to. Kyrsten Sinema used her power to strike down the closure of the carried interest loophole, something Biden could close single handedly
. Biden could instruct his Treasury Secretary to close it and bring billions of revenue in while angering a small, wealthy contingency. Sinema added a 1% tax on stock buybacks into the bill; leftists believe the practice should be banned entirely. Plenty of the left’s agenda could be accomplished by executive orders and administrative tweaks if Biden had interest in doing it. Overhyping the Biden administration’s accomplishments has become routine in the media, and reality is still not kind to the Democrats prospects.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar take a skeptical view of the messaging by Biden administration boosters about his legacy as President. There needs to be a level of reality when speaking to people about Biden’s performance. Comparing the legislation that just passed to the civil rights act or national security can lead to cynicism because Democrats will be triumphant about a bill that does not address core concerns about inflation. It will also breed cynicism about governance is Republicans win in the midterms, because Democrats believe major policy decisions will be ignored by voters.
Thank you for reading the Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar premium newsletter. The jobs report guest segment had to be cut at the last minute. Coverage of it will be moved to another day. Remember to buy your tickets and send us feedback on the show. The next broadcast will be tomorrow!