Krystal and Saagar discuss the Fed’s next moves on inflation, Trump investigation developments, Issue polling and midterm polling, big pharma vaccine wars, Zuckerberg comments about Facebook censorship, 1971 political shift, populist Democrats, & the possibility Trump gets indicted!
Merch: https://breaking-points.myshopify.com/ Tickets: https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E…
Bradley Moss: https://markzaid.com/
Timestamps: Fed: 0:00 – 14:21 Trump: 14:22 – 29:56 Polls: 29:57 – 44:48 Vax Wars: 44:49 – 53:23 Zuckerberg: 53:24 – 1:04:20 Saagar: 1:04:21 – 1:17:13 Krystal: 1:17:14 – 1:28:18 Bradley Moss: 1:28:19 – 1:42:05
8/29 NEWSLETTER: Federal Reserve, Trump Affidavit, Biden Polls, Vaccine Wars, Facebook, & More!
Supercast has improved the speed of their email blasts, so the show will resume using it to send out the premium broadcast. Vimeo links will continue to be included in the emails just in case YouTube is slow to process the show. Thank you all for understanding.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivered a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Friday outlining the Fed’s next steps on handling inflation. He emphasized the need for the US central bank to continue aggressively using its tools to combat inflation, even if doing so brings some pain
to American households. In a shorter than expected annual policy speech, Powell conceded that the Fed’s next move will weaken the strong labor market for workers and hurt the economy more broadly. He cautioned against
prematurely loosening monetary policy on interest rates after only a month of encouraging data
on inflation. The month of July saw no changes in inflation over the past month due in large part to dropping energy prices. Four consecutive rate increases totaling 2.25 percentage points has not reduced Powell’s hawkish outlook on fighting inflation. He believes a failure to bring price stability back to the US economy would bring far more pain onto the economy and American households than the actions the Fed will continue to take. Year over year inflation recorded in July was 8.5%, much higher than the Fed’s long term goal of 2% inflation. Powell’s speech took a long term approach to Fed policy on inflation and could indicate higher interest rates will be maintained for the foreseeable future. Financial analysts will be eagerly anticipating the Fed’s September decision on whether to further raise interest rates. Markets dropped forcefully
across the various indexes in response to Powell’s remarks. Investors are anticipating high interest rates for a long time after Powell’s hawkishness on inflation as stocks declined for the second straight week. Analysts are convinced that the Fed’s historic diversity
will improve its decision making despite creating an environment of less unanimity.
Donald Trump’s request for a special master to inspect the classified documents seized by the FBI is in motion. A federal judge issued a preliminary order
intending to appoint a special master to review the documents obtained from Mar-a-Lago. There will be a hearing Thursday to consider Trump’s request and the government has until Tuesday to respond ahead of the hearing. The judge, nominated by Trump in 2020, is asking the DOJ to file a public response, and file records about the details of the search and the status of the review. A special master is a third party attorney who would filter out privileged material from the search and provide an independent review of the information. Additionally, the heavily redacted affidavit
used by the DOJ to obtain a search warrant was released by the DOJ after an order from a judge. The 38 page document details the probable cause the search was based on without revealing identities or information that could compromise the investigation. New information from the affidavit shows the FBI found more than
100 classified documents in its initial review in January. They did not consider Mar-a-Lago a secure location for classified information even with extra security protocols implemented by Trump’s team. Department of Justice officials believe there was probable cause to think evidence of obstruction of justice would be found in the new documents. Large portions of the affidavit were redacted, including the reasons
for redaction, generating outrage from defenders of Trump and skeptics of the investigation. Releasing an affidavit publicly is an unusual move but in this case the document is widely seen as a matter of public interest. Any information about the witnesses, federal agents, or prosecutors could have led to death threats or acts of extremist violence if it had not been redacted. Other parts of the affidavit likely included national security matters and other top secret information not meant to be publicized. Trump’s resistance to handing over presidential material
began long before the FBI raided his compound, with the government’s year and a half long effort culminating in the unprecedented raid.
A barrage of favorable polling data came out for President Biden and Democrats after a busy August of legislation. Biden’s approval rating has jumped up to 44% according to Gallup, his highest mark in a year, highlighted by a nine percent surge with independents. He still remains underwater, with 53% of Americans disapproving of his performance, including 60% of independents. The president’s approval rating is above his previous five predecessors
heading into midterm elections, including Reagan in ‘82, Clinton in ‘94, Bush in ‘06, and Obama in ‘14. All five of those years saw the president’s party lose handily in US House elections. Similarly, a new CBS battle tracker estimate shows the GOP House margin narrowing, with abortion, gas prices, Donald Trump, and GOP candidates contributing to their advantage dropping. Voters who prioritize the economy are still choosing Republicans over Democrats by considerable margins. Democrats see abortion as more important
than any other issue and it has enabled them to surge with college educated women, a crucial demographic in swing districts. Republicans continue to lead on the generic ballot
and GOP voters enthusiasm has noticeably increased.
Initial polling data on Biden’s student debt cancellation is very favorable for the president. In the aforementioned CBS poll, voters approve of the policy by a four point
margin. A Morning Consult/Politico poll showed 64% supporting some kind
of student loan forgiveness in a poll where 80% had no student debt. A separate Emerson College poll
recorded similar figures, with almost two thirds of voters saying the plan was either just right or too little forgiveness. What’s still unknown is how it will play in swing states, where vulnerable Democrats are publicly opposing the president’s plan. Nonetheless, it could generate higher turnout from young voters, a large and dissatisfied Democratic party voting bloc.
Big pharma companies are going to legal war
over the covid vaccine technology. Moderna is suing Pfizer over patent infringement linked to the development of the first covid vaccines. They allege Pfizer/BioNTech copied the mRNA technology it developed before the pandemic that was used for the covid vaccines. The lawsuit was filed in the US and Germany, much to the surprise of Pfizer, and Moderna alleges two key elements of its intellectual property were copied. The infringements relate to a chemical modification used by Moderna first in 2015, and the way both vaccines target a spike protein outside of the virus. In the past year, Moderna reaped
$12 billion in profits from vaccine sales, allowing the company to be profitable for the first time in its 11 year history. Likewise, profits from the covid vaccine have put Pfizer on track
to becoming a $100 billion behemoth, which would be unheard of in the pharmaceutical industry. The contested mRNA technology will be utilized in the new round of Omicron variant boosters set to be released this fall. FDA officials are expected to authorize
new booster shots without data from human trials–typically a staple of its authorization process. The agency plans on assessing the data from research in mice, vaccine performance, and the data on other Omicron related boosters. This approach mimics the FDA’s protocol with flu shots that are updated annually to keep up with mutating flu viruses. However, the flu viruses mutate much quicker than covid-19, rendering old shots ineffective against them, unlike with the initial covid vaccines and new variants. The covid vaccines have held up well against new variants of the virus, though they have been less effective with the Omicrion BA.5 subvariant currently spreading.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was interviewed on The Joe Rogan Experience and was pressed about online censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story. The New York Post was shut out of its twitter account, but Zuckerberg explained that Facebook hid the story in a different way. They restricted its flow
on the platform’s recommendation algorithm after the FBI requested it ahead of the 2020 election. Their request was based on the false belief that the NY Post’s reporting was ‘Russian disinformation’ that has been promulgated by former intel officials. According to
a new poll, four in five Americans say accurate information about the laptop would have changed the 2020 election. Similar percentages say the information on the computer is real and that a special counsel should be appointed to investigate matters surrounding it. The poll was conducted by a firm that accurately predicted Trump’s upset over Clinton in the 2016 election. After the comments made by Zuckerberg on Rogan’s show, the FBI responded
by saying it warns tech companies about potential threats on a routine basis, but cannot compel them to take action on such threats. Nonetheless, Facebook took action on behalf of the FBI in the lead up to the 2020 election. Serious questions will be asked about what the FBI considers to be threats and how they issue their guidance to tech platforms.
In his monologue today, Saagar focuses on how 1971 was a major turning point in the United States. It was the year Richard Nixon assumed the presidency, trust of the government began to drop, the US went off the gold standard, financialization and deregulation began, and optimism began to end. The last human visit to interplanetary space happened in 1971 when Apollo 17 returned to little fanfare. Since then, space travel has languished and the glory of 1969 has not been recaptured. NASA today reflects the stagnant, corrupt, bureaucratic, woke society of today lacking in a mission or a reason for hope. Today is a big day for NASA because they are beginning the process
of returning an American to the lunar surface. They are scheduled to launch an unmanned spacecraft that will be the first of three flights culminating in a landing on the moon in 2025. The problem is the slowness of the program even compared to the original Apollo program. The next scheduled rocket launch is in two years in a mission recreating Apollo 8 that is less technologically advanced than Apollo 9. Their selling point is a diversity checkbox
about the first woman and person of color to land on the moon. According to president Biden’s budget request, accomplishing a checkbox instead of advancing the knowledge of humankind or outdoing the Soviets is the purpose of this mission. As for next steps, the current NASA timeline
estimates a manned mission to Mars in the late 2030s to early 2040s. In other words, they have no plan at all, unlike the Apollo mission of old. These missions were undergirded by a strong, confident, booming America that was able to work through its wounds and live up to its promises. Since that time, this triumphant attitude has gone away, and 53 years later it will take longer to accomplish the same goal. 1971 was the year that changed everything
– up until then, wages and GDP growth were 1-1 and income gains were widely shared. Now inequality is at gilded age levels and gains are reaped by the ruling class. Costs of living were affordable for the average consumer and equal distribution of gains alleviated any cost increases. Whatever happened in 1971 put America on the course we are on today, with a stuck culture and technology that has not saved us. Unless America changes course, society today will keep redoing what has already been done with a diversity checklist.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar talk about the NASA mission and what began to happen in 1971 where the US shifted away from New Deal politics and towards neoliberalism. Nixon and Carter started it before the shift took off during the Reagan administration. Inflation has been taking place in housing, healthcare, and other essential goods for much longer than the last few years. They have become increasingly difficult for Americans to afford as wage growth stagnates, and the country has lost any cultural values beyond the logic of the market. NASA’s budget has been cut and the private sector has gotten into the space game in pursuit of profits. The spiritual and cultural allure of space has been sucked out in exchange for affordability and efficiency.
Krystal examines the Democratic victories in elections and congress happening that are defying the Clinton way. Their strategy of promising little and making sure you were electable meant supporting corporate America and distancing yourself from the left. The formula was successful for Bill Clinton and triangulation has been the way ever since for the Democratic leadership class. The theory has been sold so strongly that the base has become mini pundits and electability is an important part of choosing a candidate. But recently, a few of Democratic surprises have upended this mode of politics for a more unapologetically populist approach. They are going after opponents for extreme positions on abortion and promising to challenge corporate power. One example is Pat Ryan in upstate New York who just had an upset special election victory in a swing district. A marine veteran, local official, and Democrat who focused on abortion primarily and corporate power. He emphasized to MSNBC
that his message about corporate power resonated and half his ad buy went after
monopoly corporations. He took on price gouging public utilities and launched a UBI pilot
program while defending student loan debt cancellation. The other Dem using this model is John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, who thrashed a classic Clinton Democrat in the primary for senate, and has run a populist campaign against Dr. Oz. Besides the online trolling, Fetterman has focused on
inflation, reshoring, stock trading, and corporate power.
A look at Biden’s trajectory in office tells a similar story. His approval ratings were highest when he gave out stimulus checks and the lowest when Sinema and Manchin got in the way. Over the last few weeks, Dark Brandon has gotten the CHIPS act, burn pits, so-called inflation reduction act, and student loan cancellation done. These items have broken with the Clinton neoliberal orthodoxy on industrial policy, corporate tax hikes, debt cancellation, and a punchy rhetorical style
. Now his poll numbers are going back up and Democrats have an outside shot of success in the midterms. Challenging corporate power and leaning into economic populism is good politics, especially when the corporate media melts down. If more Democrats take this approach, the party could have a strong midterm showing and Biden could end up re-elected.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar examine the strong Democratic candidate quality in the midterms that has been overshadowed by the failures of GOP candidates. Pat Ryan and John Fetterman are emblematic of a new kind of Democratic candidate emerging and the persistent value of local politics in an era of national politics. The abortion issue is not just about abortion, but it’s about GOP candidates being perceived as extremists in general. Making the case against opponents combined with a positive agenda can be very effective. It’s an entirely different story if these candidates live up to their promises in Washington at the behest of the donor class.
Krystal and Saagar bring national security lawyer Bradley P. Moss back on the show to consider whether Trump will be indicted by the DOJ. He is among the voices claiming that Trump will be indicted on the classified documents
matter based on the redacted affidavit. Brad has come to this bold conclusion for two reasons, first being what exactly was found in the initial set of boxes in January that contained top secret documents. The Trump team has had three opportunities to present evidence about the motive for keeping the documents. The obstruction issue is the other reason, because it gives the government enough to pursue the prosecution. Missing documents after initial turnover in January and June indicates that documents had been moved to other locations such as Trump’s closet and personal office. It raises the issue of concealment and resisting efforts to hand over documents leading Brad to conclude Trump will be indicted. Publicizing the affidavit gave confirmation to previously reported information and gave new insight on how the government built an argument of obstruction. We have much more information about this case due to public interest than usual including video proof of documents being relocated in Mar-a-Lago. Lines of defense by Trump that could work on a legal level include his designation of documents as personal items under the presidential records act. No evidence has been produced that Trump took such action, and the same goes for declassifying documents. Alan Dershowitz
claims the evidence is there to indict Trump, but it fails the Nixon test of bipartisanship and the Hillary test of the conduct being a threat to national security. It might not work because the Nixon standard is political and it was for impeachment, not a criminal matter. The Clinton standard could work because she had similar violations, the issue is that Hillary’s problem was spillage to her unclassified personal account of classified information. They could never prove intent on her part to design a system to jeopardize classified information. This is not in play for Donald Trump because the documents are properly marked and there is no doubt about their classified status. Intent is irrelevant under the Espionage act, because he had the documents and did not give them to the government. Another concern is the riots and division that could ensue because Trump is a former president who was democratically elected, and he has a strong base of support. His status should be a consideration but it should not be the decisive factor that upends the rule of law for figures who are politically important.
Thank you for reading the Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar newsletter for the August 29th premium broadcast. The next full show will be tomorrow and there will be some huge announcements coming very soon. Stay tuned and be sure to send your feedback!