News Updates

Breaking Points: 8/30/22 FULL UNCUT SHOW The Trump effect on GOP midterm chances, abortion politics, GOP agenda, more

Krystal and Saagar discuss the Trump effect on GOP midterm chances, abortion politics, GOP agenda, Ukraine war sanctions, Iraq’s political unrest, student debt forgiveness, psychiatric drug usage, & Sam Bankman-Fried’s political spending!

YouTube: https://youtu.be/o0wJQ4a18Ps

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/744624941/d00d3108c4

Merch: https://breaking-points.myshopify.com/

Timestamps:
Trump: 0:00 – 33:06
Abortion: 33:07 – 51:19
GOP: 51:20 – 1:00:09
Ukraine: 1:00:10 – 1:18:08
Iraq: 1:18:09 – 1:23:22
Krystal: 1:23:23 – 1:38:53
Saagar: 1:38:54 – 1:50:07
Freddy Brewster: 1:50:09 – 1:59:13

Timestamps: Trump: 0:0033:06 Abortion: 33:0751:19 GOP: 51:201:00:09 Ukraine: 1:00:101:18:08 Iraq: 1:18:091:23:22 Krystal: 1:23:231:38:53 Saagar: 1:38:541:50:07 Freddy Brewster: 1:50:091:59:13

8/30 NEWSLETTER: GOP Agenda, Senate Battles, Abortion Fight, Ukraine War, & More!

Welcome to the 8/30/22 Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar premium newsletter. Remember to get your live show tickets here if you have not already: https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E005CD6DBFF6D47.
We are hiring another producer to join myself and the rest of the team. We are looking for a person with experience in social media and video production who has a deep understanding of the show. If you or someone you know has the qualifications and work ethic required, send your resume and cover letter to jobs@breakingpoints.com.
Besides that, be on the lookout for another major announcement coming up about new personnel and content.
TRUMP
Republicans are starting to sense that Donald Trump being in the news is a political liability heading into the midterms. Instead of defending the former president, the GOP is trying to shift the conversation away from a polarizing and divisive figure with the broader electorate. After his presence loomed large in the party primaries, the GOP candidates Trump pushed to victory are being viewed as too extreme by more moderate voters. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro pointed out that making Trump the center of the conversation combined with abortion is eroding the GOP’s midterm advantage. Open criticism of the party’s messaging and Trump’s centrality by conservative commentators and operatives demonstrates the extent to which Trump is hurting the Republican party. Figures such as Shapiro believe the party should focus more on running against Biden despite his recent policy victories.
Another problem for the GOP is their vanishing ad money and lack of fundraising. Mismanagement of funds by the National Republican Senatorial Committee headed by Rick Scott is one cause, but the other is that grassroots support is being redirected to Trump himself. His Save America PAC has over $103 million in cash and has been raising $1 million per day since the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. When combined with his MAGA PAC, the former president has $125 million that he has no interest in distributing. He has spent twice as much on legal bills than campaign contributions this cycle and continues to insist he won the 2020 election. Trump pushed his belief that he should be reinstated as president after news broke about Facebook censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story. Moreover, the documents seized by the FBI during its Mar-a-Lago raid have already been examined by a filter team at the DOJ. This puts into question the necessity of a special master demanded by the Trump legal team. His legal team and the DOJ appear to be talking past each other–the DOJ has cited attorney-client privilege and the Trump team has cited executive privilege in their claims. Where the legal battle goes from here remains to be seen.
ABORTION
The abortion debate after the Dobbs decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v Wade. has galvanized the key constituency of white, college educated women in the suburbs. These swing voters are playing a big role in Democrats’ midterm momentum, and Republicans are shifting in response. Arizona GOP firebrand senate Candidate Blake Masters scrubbed the abortion section of his website claiming support for a national abortion ban and harsh state level abortion bans. Polls have Masters trailing against the Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly who has painted Masters as an extremist for his abortion stances. In a new ad, Masters emphasized common sense abortion regulation and portrayed Mark Kelly as an extremist for his abortion stances. He claims Kelly is lying about his views on abortion and that Democrats support a no-limits policy on abortion, including in the third trimester.
The Senate Leadership Fund, a GOP Super PAC run by Mitch McConnell, is canceling $8 million worth of ad buys for Masters in Arizona. The decision signals a lack of confidence in the political neophyte from party leadership and could be retribution for Masters’ harsh criticism of McConnell in the primary campaign. Their ads for Masters were set to begin early Fall and have since been pushed back to October. Kelly enjoys a large fundraising advantage over Masters combined with widespread name recognition throughout the state. Another GOP PAC has included the state in a new round of ad buys, and billionaire Peter Thiel could throw more money towards Masters campaign after funding his primary campaign. Thiel is Masters’ mentor and the two co-authored a best-selling book about entrepreneurship.
A similar situation took place in Michigan, where GOP congressional candidate Tom Barrett wiped his pro-life stances from his campaign website. He says that his positions remain unchanged and he does not look at his own website. This comes ahead of a ballot referendum to enshrine abortion rights in the Michigan state constiution that currently has support from two thirds of respondents in a poll. The ballot initiative would challenge the state’s abortionr restrictions enacted before Roe was overturned.
GOP AGENDA
Republicans are trying to put together a policy agenda of their own to run on in the midterms. Mitch McConnell hinted at GOP plans to curb spending by Biden that he says caused the inflation in the US economy. If Republicans win back Congress or just the House, they will check any ambitious policy plans by President Biden and will look to use austerity measures to curb an economic recession. The House GOP has been looking to Newt Gingrich to help craft its agenda because of his success in promoting the ‘Contract with America’ that spurred a red wave in the 1994 midterms. He has been an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and recently criticized the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago. Possible items on the agenda could be immigration restriction, environmental deregulation, big tech legislation, and spending cuts. Republican action on policy comes after major legislative and political victories for Democrats over the last few months that have changed the midterm landscape. With gas prices dropping, Republicans have less ammunition against Biden but still have more favorable marks on the economy. Conservative media led by National Review has been pushing the GOP to propose a policy agenda of its own beyond merely opposing Biden. Time will tell what the Republicans come up with.
UKRAINE
The Ukrainian military has made breakthroughs in its much discussed Southern counteroffensive launched with US weapons. A Ukrainian adviser revealed that their forces broke through Russian defenses in several fronts near the strategic city of Kherson. The Ukrainian forces were also shelling Russian ferries being used to supply occupied territory in the Kherson region. The claims have not been independently verified, and Moscow insisted the Ukrainian counteroffensive failed. The Russians captured large portions of Southern Ukraine during the first months of its invasion and Zelensky pledged his forces will go all the way south to take back Crimea. Meanwhile, the sustained western sanctions on Russian oil exports are creating problems for European countries reliant on Russian natural gas. German power prices broke the 1,000 euro mark for the first time after surging more than 25%. The Russians have constricted the pipeline supply of natural gas not subjected to an EU embargo. Their economy is facing a recession, yet corporate profits in Russia jumped 25%, pointing to the limited effects of sanctions. The early success of Ukraine’s counteroffensive and the resiliency of the Russian economy adds to the signs that this war will be an extended, years-long conflict. Unless the sanctions are lifted, European nations including France and Germany will be facing astronomical energy prices and inflation come Winter.
IRAQ
The nation of Iraq has been embroiled by domestic turmoil leading to mass protests, rioting, and chaos this past weekend. Supporters of dueling political factions were seen fighting outside of parliament as two soldiers and 20+ protesters died during the protests that saw the storming of the presidential palace. The demonstrations were sparked by the retirement of longtime political leader Moqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand Shia cleric with millions of followers. He called for all figures involved in political life following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 to quit two days before his retirement. His party won the most seats in Iraq’s parliament in October before many resigned in protest after being unable to appoint a new prime minister. Additionally, Sadr announced a hunger strike until the violence and usage of weapons stops, according to the Iraqi state media. He has been a large political figure in Iraq over the past two decades and led a militia that fought against the US invasion after Saddam Hussein was overthrown. He has positioned himself as a nationalist opposed to US and Iranian influence over the country’s domestic politics.
KRYSTAL
In her monologue today, Krystal pushes back against Republican opposition to student debt cancellation and what it reveals about them. For example, GOP Congressman Jim Banks who said student loan forgiveness undermines one of the military’s greatest recruiting tools. As Shoe replied, you’re not supposed to say out loud that the military industrial complex depends on poor, desperate people. The real winner in this category was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who displayed utter contempt for workers who do not fit his select definition of working class when asked about debt forgiveness. He and the modern GOP co-opt the language of the working class and look the other way at workers who do not fit their image. Service sector and pink collar workers are a growing part of the modern working class and not including them in your definition makes you a fraud. Republicans have not been there for hardhat workers either, just ask the Warrior Met coal miners. Baristas are not the only service workers who might have a college degree, considering 63% of Americans over 25 have attended some college. Woke degrees are 0.4% of all degrees conferred and can be rounded to zero. Around 40% of college degree holders are underemployed and working in jobs that do not require a four year degree. Some of the most dire student debt situations are for people who started college but did not finish because of the costs. College educated workers have been at the forefront of the new labor movement at Amazon and Starbucks, including Rhodes scholar Jaz Brisack. On the front of wasting time in college, Ted Cruz may be correct considering the amount of Starbucks workers sold a lie about the college dream by political elites. New research shows the wage premium has collapsed, making the high cost of college an uncertain bet when it comes to economic tradeoffs. Students got scammed and Republicans are framing opposition to helping them as populist based on outdated notions of what it means to be working class.
Ted Cruz’s political analysis on whether it will motivate young voters and increase Dem turnout looks to be true. Biden’s debt relief is backed by 75% of voters under 30 and his approval rating jumped 10 points with this group. The relief is life changing for some of the 43 million beneficiaries and it shows the power of material politics. Having your life materially changed might make you vote and develop a lasting loyalty to a party that has your interests in mind.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar deliberate on how the Republicans have slid right back to their old ways after a moment of populist inclination. They are being challenged by modern developments changing what the working class actually is and the term can obscure what the real divides are. College degrees are a much stronger dividing line than class divisions in political coalitions today and the working class can be classified in ways convenient to either political side. Those who went to college were sold a false bill of goods by the college industry and policymakers are lacking in ideas to hold universities accountable for their failures. It is lacking on the right as well, who are not serious about tackling the college cost issue. Culturally, this policy is a break for educated people that could pit groups against each other because half of the country will receive none of the large benefit being given out. We will see if the material politics for young people will have a noticeable political impact.
SAAGAR
In his monologue, Saagar warns against the troubling trend of overprescribing medicine instead of giving people common sense advice to improve their health. The public health, medical authorities, and pharmaceutical companies demonstrated during covid that they prioritize useful narratives over the best health outcomes. The mental health issue is the same way, and the way America handles it leads to prescribing medicine first instead of giving useful health advice. Overprescription of SSRIs that are being used by tens of millions of Americans is the best representation of the problem, especially because the chemical imbalance theory used to justify SSRIs have been debunked. If the medical industry is going to prescribe a drug with very real side effects and its usefulness is unknown, we should look at other treatments from psychedelics to major lifestyle interventions that there is no cash in promoting. A deeper element to the discussion is breaking into the mainstream discourse, and that is chemically altering the brains of children through drugs. There are powerful psychiatric drugs being pushed onto children that are not even approved for their methods of action for adolescents. One in twelve children is on psychiatric medication, making up 13% of 12-17 year olds and even one percent of preschoolers. ADHD is one of the most common reasons to prescribe a psychiatric drug and 40 percent of children medicated for it are on another psychiatric drug. The growth rate for prescribing these drugs to children is skyrocketing, with a 38% increase taking place for teenagers from 2015-19. Before the covid pandemic put prescriptions into overdrive as mental health issues spiked.
We barely know the long term effects of psychiatric drugs on the adult brain and we have even less data about the brains of developing children. Messing with the brain chemistry of someone going through puberty could have legitimate negative effects. The industry is making an incredible amount of money through prescribing drugs to desperate teenagers and supportive parents who want their children to be happy. The culture war compounds the problem because of social stigma and norms that prevent doctors from dispensing obvious health advice that could generate backlash. Being overweight and obese can be a major detriment to mental health and childhood obesity is skyrocketing. We do not know the final figures after lockdowns but the indication is that increases came across the board for childhood obesity. In our culture today it is considered taboo to state the obvious about how being fat is terrible for your physical and mental health, especially for kids. Exercise and diet does not even appear in official literature about children suffering from depression. No discussion of weight, alternative treatments, exercise, lifestyle, or any area of inquiry outside of prescription drugs. At the heart of the problem is a dangerous combination of profits and ideology that makes it easier to give children mind altering drugs than pursue alternatives. It combines with an ideology that stigmatizes questions about alternatives and happens to protect profits. What’s needed to fix the problem is a full fledged war on both for the sake of our children.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar go over the pushback to any dissent on SSRIs or pharmaceutical treatments for depression and ADHD. The crisis reflects society’s core problems from the healthcare system built entirely on profits, social media problems, isolation, and the difficulties of puberty in America today.
FREDDY BREWSTER
Krystal and Saagar are joined by LA Times reporter Freddy Brewster to gain insights into the crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried’s political activity. He has been spending big in Democratic primaries and has laid out ambitious spending plans for future campaigns. His pledge to spend $1 billion by the 2024 election putting himself in the Soros and Koch megadonor territory. Bankman-Fried has become a familiar presence on Capitol Hill, meeting with lawmakers and testifying before committees. He has spent $34 million on political candidates since January and his hill activities have focused on regulation of the crypto industry. His political activity was limited to a $5 million donation to Joe Biden until his spending took off in this year’s Democratic primaries. It appears on the surface to be a slew of scattershot donations mostly to Democrats, but his spending is more targeted to swing votes and potential leadership. Bankman-Fried says his donations are about pandemic preparedness but acknowledged a broader project about federal oversight of crypto and its trading markets. He is jockeying to have the weaker Commodity Futures Trading Commission rather than the stronger Securities and Exchange Commission regulate the industry. A bipartisan bill issued recently would make this a reality by classifying crypto as digital commodities rather than securities. Both senators leading the charge on that bill have been the recipients of political donations from Bankman-Fried. Other senators of both parties have received large donations from the crypto industry who are working on regulatory policy. He is also hoping to secure regulatory changes to crypto futures markets that permit traders to get into derivatives without going through a broker who functionally serves as a middleman. It could open up the markets to more traders and his crypto exchange FTX would likely benefit from more activity. The proposal would also increase vitality in the commodities markets that affect prices of corn, oil, wheat, and other vital resources. Instead of generating stable prices, the regulation Fried seeks would lead to more speculation and volatility separate from the producers of such commodities.
Thank you for reading the latest Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar newsletter. Be sure to spread the word about the job opening and send feedback to james@breakingpoints.com. The next full show will be on Thursday and content will be posted in the meantime!

Krystal and Saagar discuss the Trump effect on GOP midterm chances, abortion politics, GOP agenda, Ukraine war sanctions, Iraq’s political unrest, student debt forgiveness, psychiatric drug usage, & Sam Bankman-Fried’s political spending! Merch: https://breaking-points.myshopify.com/ Tickets: https://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E… Freddy Brewster: https://www.latimes.com/politics/stor… Opening: jobs@breakingpoints.com Timestamps: Trump: 0:0033:06 Abortion: 33:0751:19 GOP: 51:201:00:09 Ukraine: 1:00:101:18:08 Iraq: 1:18:091:23:22 Krystal: 1:23:231:38:53 Saagar: 1:38:541:50:07 Freddy Brewster: 1:50:091:59:13

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