News Updates

Breaking Points: 8/23/22 FULL UNCUT SHOW Anthony Fauci’s retirement, primary night in New York, stocks plunging yesterday, more

Krystal and Saagar discuss Anthony Fauci’s retirement, primary night in New York, stocks plunging yesterday, Russian claims about the Dugin murder, Trump’s DOJ lawsuit, UPS workers, Andrew Tate’s popularity, & Afghanistan one year later!

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Timestamps: Fauci: 0:0021:33 Primary Night: 21:3440:59 Stocks: 41:0046:09 Dugin: 46:1054:36 Trump: 54:371:04:21 Krystal: 1:04:221:12:21 Saagar: 1:12:221:25:02 Adam Weinstein: 1:25:031:32:20

8/23 NEWSLETTER: Fauci Retiring, NY Primaries, Fed Meeting, Trump Lawsuit & More!
Welcome to the August 23rd, 2022 edition of the Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar premium newsletter. The live show is less than a month away, so make sure to get your tickets here: https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E005CD6DBFF6D47. If you would like to buy a bundle of tickets please email james@breakingpoints.com.

Now to the 8/23 Show: https://youtu.be/V8YD_IcjK5A

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/742288100/4e9d8f36ab

FAUCI

Dr. Anthony Fauci has announced that he will step down in December to pursue his next chapter after half a century working in government. He has served in seven different presidential administrations over the course of 38 years and gained prominence for his media presence during the covid pandemic. Fauci is leaving his position as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases as part of the National Institutes of Health. He is the Chief Medical Advisor to the president and has become a folk hero among liberals. He has been the recipient of glowing media coverage over the past two and a half years despite his long track record of mistakes. Fauci has offered confusing guidance on masking, denied the plausibility of lab leak theory, misled on gain of function research, moved the goal posts on herd immunity, and did so with remarkable hubris. He has become a polarizing political figure because of such mistakes and his support for covid guidelines such as lockdowns, masking in schools, and vaccine mandates. Fauci’s media presence and prominence have made him a symbol of mistakes in how America responded to the covid pandemic. His supporters believe Fauci played a central role in the pandemic response especially when he was pressured by the Trump administration to do so otherwise.

The GOP has pledged to investigate the origins of the covid pandemic and the lab leak theory despite Fauci’s resignation. If they win back the house or senate in the midterms, Republicans say they will investigate Fauci’s pandemic response and use their majority power to execute subpoenas. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) have been the leading figures in the GOP criticism of Fauci since the pandemic began. Pandemic mistakes and overreach played a pivotal role in Republican success in the 2021 election results and it’s unlikely that it will have the same effect in the midterms.

PRIMARY NIGHT

Tuesday is another election night in America and all eyes will be on New York City’s Democratic primaries. Newly drawn district lines by an independent special master came after the state supreme court ruled Democratic drawn maps were an unconstitutional, partisan gerrymander. The lengthy timetable for drawing the map led to congressional and state senate primaries and primaries to happen in August instead of the usual June primary date. New York’s gubernatorial contest and other primaries took place back in June.

The new lines have created an abundance of competitive Democratic primaries in the city and surrounding areas. New York’s 10th district in lower Manhattan and parts of southwest Brooklyn has been a tightly contested race between four strong Democratic candidates. Leading the pack is moderate Trump impeachment lawyer Dan Goldman, who has been powered by his wealth and NY Times endorsement. Progressive Assemblywomen Yuh-Line Niou and progressive City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera trail close behind, with progressive Rep. Mondaire Jones in fourth place. He is running in the district after redistricting and intra-Democratic battles led him away from his original political battleground. In New York’s newly drawn 12th district, veteran Democratic leaders Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler have faced off in a bitter contest. They have intensely gone after each other, with Maloney calling her longtime friend senile after repeated gaffes. Nadler has received the highly coveted NY Times endorsement and backing from prominent local groups. Both are being challenged by third time congressional candidate and lawyer Suraj Patel who was narrowly defeated by Maloney in a 2020 battle marred by dysfunction. Nadler previously represented NY-10 when it incorporated much more of Manhattan’s Upper West Side that is now part of Maloney’s 12th district. Her district used to be dominated by the east side of Manhattan and contained parts of Queens. Full disclosure, I am a native of Manhattan’s 12th district and I grew up blocks away from the new 10th district.

The other very high profile Democratic primary is taking place between DCCC Chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and progressive state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in NY-17. Maloney notoriously pushed Mondaire Jones out of the district to clear the field before Biaggi stepped in. Jones was the incumbent in the district and Maloney had been representing NY-18 before the boundaries were changed. Biaggi is the granddaughter of a former congressman and has become a prominent progressive since her 2018 senate primary upset over a powerful moderate Democrat. A wealthy suburban district, Maloney has been endorsed by the NYTimes and Bill Clinton. Biaggi has received backing from AOC and influential progressive groups. Perhaps no Democratic primary this cycle is a greater encapsulation of the party’s dueling factions.

In upstate New York, a special congressional election in a swing district will be played out. After Rep. Antonio Delgado left his position to become Lt. Gov, the special election for NY-19 was scheduled for the winner to hold his seat for the next four months. The bellwether race is the first general election contest since Roe v. Wade was overturned and will test whether swing voters care more about the economy or abortion. Moderate Republican Marc Molinaro is up slightly in the polls and has focused his campaign on inflation. Democrat Pat Ryan is focusing on the social issues brought to the forefront by Supreme Court decisions. When running in November, the two will be on separate ballots because of the new district lines.

STOCKS

The Dow Jones sank 600 points in a broad stock market sell off on Monday after investors became nervous about the Fed’s next moves on interest rates. The Federal Reserve is meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to gather with top economists in an annual symposium held by the Kansas City Federal Reserve. Powell will be delivering a highly anticipated speech on Friday that could signal how high the Fed plans on raising interest rates to combat inflation. Investors have dealt with the uncertainty of persistently high inflation and central bank efforts to combat it that reduce economic growth. The US GDP has declined for two straight quarters, a common indicator of an economic recession, in large part because of the Fed’s response to inflation. July inflation figures showed signs of it slowing down but were primarily driven by a decrease in gas prices over the past two months. The Federal Reserve’s July board meeting affirmed the need to continue raising interest rates despite the potential for further aggression to plunge the US economy deeper into a recession. An economic slowdown designed to combat inflation could bring major economic pain to the working class, even as job markets held strong in July. Inflation has led to declines in real wages for workers who have been increasing unionization activity and strikes. Geopolitical uncertainty with the Russian war in Ukraine and tension along the Taiwan strait has added to investor anxiety and contributed to high inflation. The state of the economy remains a tumultuous landscape for investors and the Fed to navigate.

DUGIN

The Russians have claimed the bomber who targeted influential Putin whisperer Alexander Dugin fled the country to neighbor Estonia. The small NATO country could be confronted by Russia if they aggressively seek the extradition of the bomber back across the border from Estonia. Dugin is considered by western observers to be an ultranationalist, far right philosopher that greatly influenced Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine. It’s less known how prominent he is within Russia compared to Putin’s inner circle of elites. The Russians have accused Ukrainian special services of organizing the bombing that killed Dugin’s daughter and attempted to kill him. They say a Ukrainian woman fled the country with her daughter after she rented an apartment in Moscow where she spied on Dugin’s daughter. They claim the killing was pre planned and the Ukrainian woman attended the same festival as Dugin and his daughter. No evidence has been provided to back up the claim and the Ukrainians have denied involvement. Dugin immediately called for revenge against Ukraine and for Russia to push on its invasion after the attack. The assassination could lead to escalation in the Russian war against Ukraine and increased attacks in the days ahead.

TRUMP

Donald Trump is suing the Department of Justice to block them from reviewing the materials obtained by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago. He requested in a lawsuit that a federal judge appoint a special watchdog to review the documents as part of the DOJ’s criminal investigation over Trump’s handling of classified documents. The lawsuit seeks to block the documents from being reviewed until a special master is appointed. It suggests that the FBI raid on Trump’s compound was politically motivated and accuses the government of violating his rights under the Fourth Amendment. Furthermore, the lawsuit asks the DOJ to provide a more detailed inventory of property seized at Mar-a-Lago and requests the government return items not within the scope of the search warrant. Trump accused the DOJ of planting evidence in a statement he released addressing the lawsuit. In the investigation of Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, it has been disclosed that sensitive information containing voting data was shared with Trump supporters. His legal team obtained the data after pressuring a tech firm to copy it off voting machines, which could be a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The supporters who received access to the data deny the results of the 2020 election won by President Biden.

KRYSTAL

In Krystal’s monologue, she outlines the dangerous working conditions for UPS drivers and what is being done to fight back. A viral video of a UPS worker stumbling and nearly collapsing due to heat amplified the problem of how the company treats workers. In the video, the driver unsteadily walks to the house and collapses on the front porch after placing the package. He laid down to recover from the extreme heat and exhaustion. The worker was able to get up, ring the doorbell, and finish the delivery before walking back to his truck. The company responded to the widespread outrage with a statement and pointed to its training on how to prevent heat related injuries. They mention nutrition advice and getting a good night’s sleep without addressing the need for air conditioning in their trucks. Competitors Amazon and Fedex already provide it to their workers. UPS drivers have died of heat exhaustion because of this policy including 24 year old driver Estaban Chavez. His death sparked calls from Teamsters for drivers to share temperatures of their trucks to shocking results. Drivers have been recording temperatures of up to 150 degrees and how their trucks magnify sun rays turning them into literal ovens. No amount of driver training can prepare someone, especially in a challenging blue collar job, to work in that level of heat. UPS has raked in record profits sufficient to give execs $5 billion stock buybacks and invest in security cameras in their trucks. Yet not enough to invest in basic air conditioning for their trucks. Workers at UPS do have the support of the Teamsters union and their newly elected militant leadership who won specifically because of a promise to take on UPS. The last time the UPS contract was up in 2018, the Teamsters led by Jimmy Hoffa Jr. shoved a concession-filled contract down the throat of members. The contract will be up in 2023 and the new president signaled that workers will strike if necessary to get a better deal. Heat safety will be a top priority in what is likely to be contentious negotiations. If the entire UPS workforce goes on strike it will be felt throughout the entire economy and be a major show of force.

Manual laborers from factories to farms are suffering with similarly extreme temperatures without a union to back them up. Amazon was caught quietly installing improved AC in New Jersey after a worker died in a warehouse because of heat. With climate change, the conditions will only get worse and in 30 years time, it is predicted that an extreme heat belt will emerge. In these areas stretching from Texas to Illinois, temperatures will get to 125 degrees per year on at least one day per year. The hottest parts in America will have 70 days of 100 degree weather and 107 million will be subject to extreme temperatures. Data from Europe showed that thousands died in a heat wave last month. In a wealthy nation, there is no excuse to treat workers like this and leave open the possibility of death by heat exhaustion in exchange for fatter profits. Air conditioning has become a human right in a warming world where not having it can be fatal.

After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar mention the shocking UPS video and go into the daily conditions faced by UPS workers. They mention how difficult the job UPS workers have because of all the walking and lifting of packages at a rapid pace. It’s worth keeping an eye on how the new Teamsters leadership will respond to the heat issue and quality of life difficulties faced by UPS workers. Even Amazon is treating their drivers better than UPS and providing people basic air conditioning should not be considered a major task.

SAAGAR

In his monologue, Saagar explores the instant virality of Andrew Tate who has suddenly become a huge cultural figure. He is an American raised in the UK who lives in Romania and is a former professional kickboxer. Tate was embroiled in controversy around his appearance on Big Brother UK and he was raided on human trafficking charges. Since then he’s built an online presence in the manosphere, which is at best a celebration of masculinity in a turbulent time for men, and at worst losers complaining about women disliking them. Tate became uber famous with teenage boys over the last several months, stemming from his money making scheme Hustlers University. It was a multi level marketing scheme where he would pay you to post about him and the benefits of the program. The more people you signed up, the more money you would make, feeding more people into the scheme. The question becomes about why Andrew Tate has struck such a chord. At his core he is a self help guru selling disaffected men the chance to ‘escape the matrix’ on everything from money and women to listlessness and rage. Tate’s Instagram profile was littered with pictures of flashy cars, beautiful women, guns, and cigars. He believes that the modern world is designed to keep men down and that men have let go of their masculinity. It is all downstream from the fall of western civilization and the feminization of culture. The abstract sounds intriguing but when he gets more specific, Tate believes men need to be tougher with women to the point of violence.

All of this came to the surface when videos of Tate garnered billions of views on TikTok and he became one of the most Googled people in the world. People in feminist organizations and teachers began freaking out because they noticed how animated teenage men were in their praise of him and from there a cancelation effort began. Tate was banned from all social media platforms including Instagram and Facebook. Despite not having a TikTok, videos of him and accounts associated with him will be removed, the company says. Bans came for violating the misogyny policy in what appears to be a moral panic about what he was saying. It’s worth understanding his ascendance without defending the rhetoric he has used. The core accusation from feminist groups is that Tate is normalizing misogyny among teenagers and social media platforms have a responsibility not to promote him. Teachers have blamed him for a surge in unruly behavior among teenage boys who need no impetus to act like idiots.

They refuse to ask the question of why Tate became so popular to begin with and the reason is the deep issues facing young men today. Men are dropping out of college at historic levels and men are more likely to be single today than any time in American history. Male wages have stagnated creating a crisis of marriageability because single men have become less desirable partners. Single men are much more likely to be unemployed, financially fragile, and lacking a college degree. Single women are earning the exact same amount as thirty years ago and income for women with partners has surged. Acknowledging this reality reveals a terrible reality for American men where the longer you are single, the worse your economic, health, and marriage prospects become. The cold hard reality created an explosion of popular figures like Andrew Tate who talk about the status quo and propose a way out for struggling men through fitness and finding a partner. These historical masculinie values have been widely denounced in the media seeking an antidote to figures like Tate. But you can’t ban an idea, you can only counter it. In this case, the counter should be living a fulsome and balanced life filled with self knowledge and growth.

After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar talk about how listless, disaffected young men finding idols on the internet has been taking place long before Andrew Tate. Many of the older figures in this space have greatly moderated and shifted their extreme views on how men can improve their lives. The issue with the censorship is the free speech perspective of casting moral judgment and banning Tate from all social media platforms. There is also an economic component where men are no longer able to achieve a stable, middle class life where they can support a family. Home ownership and marriage are becoming luxury goods leading to rage and struggling men casting blame. The rage can lead to ugly places and they should look at the economic issues of the last 40 years preventing men from achieving desired goals. There is also a cultural component where fitness and basic levels of masculinity have been demonized and driven out of mainstream culture. It is all online because there is no mainstream acceptability of fitness culture or other masculine spaces. Changes in culture have also generated more success for women in the workplace, leading to lean-in feminism focusing on fortune 500 companies and diversity initiatives in higher spaces. This kind of feminism has limited the options for women who prefer to be a mom or choose a lower paying field, leading to unhealthy conceptions for everyone involved.

ADAM WEINSTEIN

Krystal and Saagar are joined by Quincy Institute Middle East Research Fellow Adam Weinstein to better understand the approach America should take to Afghanistan one year after Biden’s withdrawal. Relations between the US and Taliban regime are at a standstill and America has no diplomatic presence in the country despite being its largest humanitarian provider. Sanctions on the Taliban have not limited the scope of its human rights abuses or ties to Al-Qaeda. The inability of the Taliban to foster relations with neighboring regimes and rule the country with a coherent vision should not lead to abandonment of the country. Disengagement economically and diplomatically will only embolden the regime and create an even more permissive environment for terrorists. Consistent diplomacy has the potential to incrementally advance US security objectives in ways not feasible through isolation or intervention. Working closely with regional countries can ensure they are prepared to handle security challenges, bolster humanitarian aid, and oversee limited amounts of commerce. Recognition of the Talbian regime in Afghanistan should continue to be withheld unless they commit to supporting counterterrorism and basic human rights. Nonetheless, diplomatic engagement through a new unit in Afghanistan or based in a friendly third party should be used to engage with the Taliban. Manging the threats caused by terrorism and regional instability are the US short term interest in the country, and they are not directly linked to the nation’s people. In the long term, the well being, prosperity, and human rights of Afghan people will be necessary for stability. Afghanistan is facing a gradual economic collapse after US aid and international attention were reduced immediately after the Taliban took control of the country. The primary victims of American sanctions on the Taliban have been the Afghan people and devising a roadmap to revise the sanction package could provide relief in a time of desperation.

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