Krystal and Saagar discuss the Trump documents, Ukraine war developments, PA Senate campaign, Las Vegas journalist killed, Steve Bannon indictment, California grid, quiet quitting, life expectancy, & more!
Derek Thompson: https://www.theatlantic.com/category/… https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast…
Timestamps: Trump: 0:00 – 24:56 Ukraine: 24:57 – 45:22 PA Senate: 45:23 – 1:01:18 Las Vegas: 1:01:19 – 1:09:15 Bannon: 1:09:16 – 1:15:10 Saagar: 1:15:11 – 1:30:17 Krystal: 1:30:18 – 1:40:05 Derek Thompson: 1:40:06 – 1:53:05
9/8 NEWSLETTER: Trump Documents, Ukraine War, PA Senate, CA Power Grid, Quiet Quitting, & More!
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The documents seized by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago include material
about a foreign nation’s nuclear capabilities according to a report by the Washington Post. Some of the documents are so sensitive that many top national security officials would not be able to access them
without special clearance from the president or top cabinet officials. The anonymous sources that leaked this information to the Washington Post did not disclose which nation the documents were about, but only nine nations hold nuclear weapons capabilities. These countries are the US, UK, France, China, India, Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel. If Trump’s claim about all of the documents at Mar-a-Lago being declassified is true, it would mean top secret nuclear information about another country was declassified. His legal team has not cited the claims made by Trump about declassification in legal filings, and a lawyer for Trump criticized the leaks to the WaPo. He issued his displeasure with how selective, unverifiable leaks could affect the legal proceedings.
Both the DOJ and Trump’s legal team will be busy submitting candidates for the special master after a Federal Judge Aileen Cannon ordered one to be appointed for the investigation. Cannon is a Trump appointee who was confirmed by the Senate in a bipartisan vote back in April 2020. Many legal experts have questioned the judge’s decision, the most notable being former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr. He told Fox News
the judge’s ruling on the special master was wrong and the government should appeal it. When asked again in a different Fox News appearance, Barr emphasized
that there is no legal scenario where a president can keep classified documents. In response, Donald Trump attacked Barr by referring to him as a Republican In Name Only (RINO), a pejorative term for conservatives insufficiently loyal to Trump. When asked about Trump calling him a ‘RINO’, Barr reminded
Fox News that he’s been a staunch conservative since he was 14 years old. Barr formerly served as Attorney General in the George H.W. Bush administration after rising through the ranks at the DOJ. Before he broke with Trump over the former president’s unfounded election claims, Barr was viewed as a strong ally to Trump.
The Ukrainian military forces are conducting a counteroffensive in the southern part of their country with its first objective being to take back the crucial city of Kherson. Russia’s war against Ukraine has become a war of attrition defined by high casualties and extensive fighting over incremental advances. Neither side will give in and believes they will be able to wear the other down enough to eventually achieve their military objectives. This has taken a major toll on Ukrainian soldiers, particularly those wounded
in combat. Ukraine’s southern offensive has been a difficult slog against a resilient and well equipped opponent. It paints a picture of Ukraine’s military being at a technical disadvantage that will be incredibly difficult to overcome. Cautious optimism and a deep sense of purpose defines the Ukrainian soldiers despite the losses of troops. Those in Ukraine’s intensive care units are tasked with preserving the life of soldiers before they can be sent to a more comprehensive facility when they are more stable.
Another battle taking place is between Democrats in DC about possibly designating Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. Biden has said Russia will not
be given the designation following a push from the Ukrainian government and Democratic leadership. Only Secretary of State Blinken has the authority to deem Russia a state sponsor of terrorism that would generate more sanctions on the Russian economy. The administration believes it would do more harm than good by punishing anyone trying to do legitimate business in the country. Concerns about international finance are less serious with the nations given the official designation; Iran, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea. Nancy Pelosi has said Congress will give Russia the official designation with legislation after a bipartisan bill was brought forward in the house. President Biden’s stance is not an indication that the White House will soften its extensive sanctions package on Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian leader Vladimir Putin will meet
with his close friend and ally Chinese President Xi Jinping next week. The two will hold talks in Uzbekistan under the umbrella of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization dominated by Russia and China. It will be their second face to face meeting this year amid deeper relations between the two powers. Both have raised their hostility to the west leading to close alignment on economic and foreign policy matters. Their ties are reflected in the Russians’ decision to purchase military equipment
from China’s close ally North Korea. By receiving equipment from North Korea, Russia could be signaling depletion of its military capabilities or a growing desire for prolonged conflict in Ukraine. It comes as confidential documents indicate Russia’s economy is performing worse
than previously reported. Triumphant pronouncements from Vladimir Putin about his country’s resilience may be grossly exaggerated and the vast western sanctions imposed on Russia could be plunging the nation into a much deeper recession than it once seemed.
Pennsylvania’s senate contest between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Oz continues to be a closely watched affair. Multiple intriguing statements by Dr. Oz demonstrated his efforts to distance himself from Donald Trump after Oz rallied with the former president this past weekend. At a press conference, Oz stated
he would have voted to certify the results of the 2020 election if he were in the senate at the time. However, Oz would not have voted to impeach Trump in the senate even though outgoing Senator Toomey (R-PA) did so. Likewise, on Fox News Dr. Oz refused
to describe himself as a ‘MAGA Republican’ in response to questioning. Instead he touted the record of the Trump administration prior to the covid pandemic. These statements build on the difficulty for Dr. Oz in generating necessary enthusiasm from the GOP base without alienating the independents and moderates needed to win a crucial swing state.
John Fetterman is dealing with difficulties of his own as concerns about his health continue to grow. His campaign has tried to bring the candidate out more often to rebuke questions about visibility, but Fetterman often has difficulty speaking even for very short amounts of time. At a recent event for Pennsylvania steelworkers, concerns about Fetterman were raised again by visible difficulties
during his speech. Similar issues were raised in a Wednesday editorial by an influential local paper about Fetterman’s struggles
since recovering from his stroke. The piece criticized the attacks on Fetterman’s health by the Oz campaign for being insensitive to a hard subject to properly address. They called on Fetterman to assure voters he is up for the job by attending a televised debate against Dr. Oz after he backed out of the first scheduled debate. Yesterday, the Fetterman campaign announced a commitment to one debate
against Dr. Oz in the middle of October.
Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German was found dead Saturday after being fatally stabbed outside his home the day before. Publicly released footage shows a suspect wearing a straw hat, gloves, and a bright orange shirt with a vehicle captured in the video. A day after the police asked the public for help identifying the suspect, police executed a search warrant of the home of Clark County official Robert Telles. It is a stunning development
because it reveals German’s death could be tied to his reporting about misconduct by elected officials. Telles recently lost a Democratic primary with German’s investigative journalism playing a central role in the outcome. The week he was killed, German was working on a follow-up story about Telles. His previous reporting
covered a hostile work environment caused by bullying, retaliation, and an inappropriate relationship between Telles and a staffer. His employees voiced their concerns to HR and Telles lashed out online after German’s reporting went public. Late last night, authorities announced Telles had been arrested in connection to the murder of Jeff German. The vehicle caught in the footage of the stabbing matched the one possessed by Telles. This is a developing story with updates surely to come in the near future.
Former adviser to Donald Trump Steve Bannon turned himself in
as a New York investigation will be delivering an indictment on state charges. He was convicted in July of contempt of Congress after he refused to appear in front of the House committee on the January 6th Capitol riot. He was previously indicted for wire fraud after a fundraising campaign to build a wall on the southern border. Bannon was pardoned by Trump for the charges related to the fundraising but a law in New York State enables law enforcement to prosecute
an individual who has been pardoned by the president. In a statement, Bannon criticized the New York state and city law enforcement for carrying out a political attack soon before the midterm elections. He deemed himself a grassroots figure of the MAGA movement who is the victim of partisan weaponization of the justice system. New York’s prosecution addressed the fraud by Bannon attached to the fundraising project that ended with cash being stolen.
In his monologue, Saagar breaks down the grid problems California is facing right now. In the past few years, the beacon of American triumph has been captured by woke oligarchy and ideology. The state’s population has been on the decline
for two years running because it has become unlivable for residents. Aside from crime and the cost of living, power is a crucial issue where California’s ideological commitment is putting the state on the brink. In the midst of a heat wave, the electric grid was minutes away from needing to institute rolling blackouts across the state. It required power generators, Californians setting ACs to 78 degrees, residents avoiding charging electric vehicles in the day, and reducing power in any way possible. How this happened reflects the woke green ideology plaguing the state and it shows how to fix the problem. California passed a law eight years ago
mandating the electric grid be 60% powered by renewables by 2030 and 100% by 2050. The types of renewables the state invested $50 billion into were hydropower, solar, and wind technology. Their grid is still heavily reliant on natural gas and the state has been neglecting nuclear power, the cleanest and most reliable form of low carbon power. California’s investments in renewables were predicated on not having to rely on natural gas during a crisis and when the time came, renewables completely failed
Hydropower was unavailable because of drought and solar was failing because of a lack of storage. The state was left with three options: fire up natural gas plants, run nuclear power plants they have been trying to close, and buy power from other states. They have not spent any money updating their natural gas plants so they cannot get as much power from them. CA has prioritized renewables
for the past decade for them to be a paltry 9.7% of power for the failing grid. Natural gas stood at 50%, hydropower 6%, imports 27%, batteries 0%, nuclear 7% of power. They spent tens of billions
for renewables to achieve 10% load in the crisis, about as much as the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. This plant was constructed in 1985 and the legislature must extend their decision to keep it open. Nuclear power has a 92% capacity factor which is nearly double natural gas. It can run great if properly maintained like any grid system, yet green ideologues oppose it while claiming to care about the environment. If proper planning and execution can be put ahead of ideology, the problem can be solved and California can be salvaged.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar go back and forth on the performance of renewable power during California’s crisis. The voluntary reductions worked but the problem is that it should not be that way. A historic heat wave has created massive pressure on the energy system and now people are changing their minds on nuclear power.
In Krystal’s monologue, she focuses on the viral phenomenon of Quiet Quitting taking over workplaces. We are in a time of massive labor upheaval, starting with the Great Resignation
that took place during the pandemic. Millions of people quit their jobs for greener pastures in the same industry or changed their lifestyle in more dramatic ways. Grassroots labor unrest has burned like wildfire in the fast food industry. Workers in Starbucks stores across the country have won unionization fights and now workers in other fast food chains are getting in on the action. Warehouse workers at Amazon have lit a similar fire under those in logistics and across their own company. They are bolstered by public sentiment
that is overwhelmingly pro-union at 71% approval, the highest since 1965. A decade ago, support for unions was about 50-50 with a hard partisan dividing line. Now as institutional trust crashes across the board, approval of unions has reached a historic level. At the same time, remote work has transformed people’s relationship with their workplace starting during the pandemic and changing for good. People are reclaiming autonomy during their days, eliminating commuter time, and gaining choice in their lives now that they are not tied down in an office. Housing markets are being transformed by remote workers looking for more affordable places to live. With all of these labor trends has emerged quiet quitting, when workers stay in their job but do the bare minimum
. The belief stems from people not being their job and rejecting the hustle mentality. It rejects the puritan work ethic at the heart of American culture since the industrial revolution. Older versions of it were predicated on a belief that if you work hard and play by the rules, you will be able to achieve the American dream of middle class prosperity. A social contract between workers, businesses, and government that promised stability in return for productivity was the foundation of the American dream.
But the pandemic put it in clear view of how corporate bosses see their workers. They were happy to fire workers or risk their lives while calling them essential. Many workers were forced out of their normal routines during the pandemic and have found a silver lining that they are so much more than their job. According to Gallup polling
, quiet quitting is a very real phenomenon and at least half of American workers are quiet quitting. Only 32% of workers are engaged in their jobs and 18% are actively disengaged. The broad middle of people who are semi-engaged at work are the ones quiet quitting. It is an extremely age dependent trend, with Gen Z embracing quiet quitting and Boomers taking on the hustle mindset. A separate poll
shows only 45% of Americans agree with the idea of a worker not doing more than what they are paid for. About an equal amount, 44% of Americans, disagree with the sentiment, and the cross tabs are very generational. Two thirds of workers under 30 think workers should only do what they are paid for with numbers completely flipped for older workers. It makes sense why younger workers would be more open to quiet quitting because the stable social contract undergirding the American dream has never existed for them. Corporations are loyal to only their shareholders and bound by a market ethos to chase profits at all costs. Government has sped up their process and an economy of precarity was only accelerated during the pandemic. These widespread changes to how Americans approach work will affect the education system, housing market, family lives, and the national mythology passed down from one generation to the next. Generational pushback on quiet quitting has been coming from the older boss class of people currently trashing the work ethic of young Americans. Unfortunately for them, the trend cannot be stuffed away and more people will start to see less value in their job and consumption habits.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar discuss quiet quitting and how deep the phenomenon is with employee engagement in the workplace. It is hard to gauge whether it represents a Gen Z culture shift and the separation of working hard from being a corporate drone. Many people do not get to do what they are passionate about in the workplace and a realization that people are more than their job opens up the prioritization of different values. The possibility of quiet quitting being a transformational trend is very real and it could have a major impact on American life.
Krystal and Saagar are joined by writer for The Atlantic Derek Thompson to look deeper into the American life expectancy drop
. America is a rich death trap meaning that those of every age and income level are unusually likely to die of various causes. The data comes from government research on life expectancy, a statistic that synthesizes everything a country should care about. Declining life expectancy in the richest country in history is not supposed to happen, and separate from the pandemic the US does a poor job of keeping people alive. Higher traffic fatalities, gun usage, diseases, and other behaviors lead to drops across the board. Compared to OECD nations there are healthcare problems in the United States, though there are other intrinsic problems unique to America. Much higher obesity rates in America, less access to primary care, and a dysfunctional healthcare system reflects the combination of worse American habits and a poor healthcare system. In exchange, Americans have more freedom than citizens in other nations and sometimes freedom is not free. Living the good life is sometimes worth not living as long. For instance, Americans drive much more often than people in other nations and in exchange they get more space in their neighborhoods. This is the world Americans are choosing to live in; an environment that is less safe and creates a higher likelihood of dying earlier. Americans should be honest about what they value such as an abundance agenda based on material well being. People should feel like they have an abundance of income, life, housing, energy, and everything else instead of a mindset of scarcity. Creating more of what is important to Americans is an important message and must become a real set of policies. The mindset of scarcity can benefit those who are greedy, like when they restrict building houses in their neighborhoods. Or when doctors create an artificial scarcity by limiting the amount of residencies. Greed is a major part of scarcity because those with means see a future where they could lose out if others get more.
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