Krystal and Saagar cover the potential railway worker strike, Lindsey Graham’s proposed national abortion ban, inflation numbers, midterms polling, nutrition facts, Mississippi corruption, corrupt college ranks, & Counterpoints with Ryan & Emily.
Ryan Grim: https://theintercept.com/podcasts/dec…
Emily Jashinsky: https://thefederalist.com/author/emil…
Tickets: https://www.axs.com/events/449151/bre… and the code is BREAKINGPOINTS
Timestamps: Railway: 0:00 – 21:06 Lindsey Graham: 21:07 – 33:18 Inflation: 33:19 – 43:12 Midterms: 43:13 – 55:22 Nutrition: 55:23 – 1:05:14 Krystal: 1:05:15 – 1:16:13 Saagar: 1:16:14 – 1:27:00 Counterpoints: 1:27:01 – 1:40:51
9/15 NEWSLETTER: Atlanta Live Show, Railway Workers, Abortion Ban, Inflation Numbers, & More!
Welcome to the September 15th, 2022 Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar premium newsletter. Tomorrow is the Atlanta live show you all have been waiting for.
The next live show will be taking place in Chicago on October 15th and until Friday, tickets will only be available to premium subscribers so be sure to get yours.
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America is on the brink of a giant strike by railway workers after a three year contract dispute with bosses of large railway companies. Bargaining began
in January of 2020 and the covid pandemic that followed saw companies make record profits. Workers were laid off and stretched to the brim. Railway unions have rejected the special agreement crafted by the Presidential Emergency Board that companies have enthusiastically endorsed. Friday is the deadline for negotiations before workers are able to strike. Talks of a deal have been developing early this morning to avert a strike and deliver concessions to workers on a draconian attendance policy. Such a dramatic move has the potential
to impact millions of Americans by disrupting major sectors across the US economy. The White House is scrambling
to avert a strike and has facilitated meetings with the unions and railway carriers. Biden and his team will be concerned about how the economic fallout from a strike could impact Democrats heading into the midterm elections. But they have not shown an urgency to act and they would rather see negotiations between the unions and carriers be settled on their own. Special laws governing railway unions led to Biden appointing a presidential emergency board to construct a compromise deal between the two parties. Congress is permitted to pass legislation imposing the deal on both sides, and so far congressional Republicans have pressed for this to happen. GOP Senators have put forward
legislation to force enactment of the presidential emergency board’s contract if the unions and carriers cannot come to an agreement before Friday. Their action has received support from business communities and Democrats led by Bernie Sanders have blocked the legislation. Workers concerned about strict attendance
policies object to the agreement because it leaves the issue out of the picture while providing a modest wage increase. Large carriers have begun announcing schedule changes and are poised to halt grain shipments on Thursday. Amtrak has started canceling
long distance trips, fertilizer products have been pulled from trains, and ethanol prices are soaring because of expectations the railway workers go on strike. In response, the Biden administration is working to ensure goods keep moving by exploring alternative modes
of transportation. Workers themselves
understand the severity a strike could bring and have expressed their basic demand for more time off to be with loved ones. Their voices have been left out of the sudden, last minute reporting on this story by mainstream media outlets. Workers have been blamed for potentially harming the economy and little scrutiny has been given to carriers unwilling to ease the burden on workers as profits reach record highs.
South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has introduced
legislation to ban abortion nationally after 15 weeks of pregnancy. His announcement was a surprise to many Republicans trying to recalibrate the party’s messaging on the issue for the midterm elections. Democrats have hammered their GOP counterparts on abortion following Roe v. Wade
being overturned, bringing the abortion issue back to states to legislate. Women in states where abortion bans have been floated are registering to vote in droves, especially suburban women that function as a swing demographic. GOP lawmakers and candidates are divided
over Graham’s proposal because a national abortion ban is an unpopular policy that could make the entire midterm campaign about the issue. Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters appeared to endorse the bill until his campaign spokesperson publicly expressed
displeasure at it. Conservative commentator Charlie Kirk accused Graham
of ‘election interference’ in a harsh criticism of his move. The thinking from Graham is that bans after 15 weeks are popular in polling and could lead to compromise with Democrats. Separate polling shows that a national abortion ban is deeply unpopular across the board. Other pro-life Republicans believe his national abortion ban does not go nearly far enough. Senator Graham’s proposal will undoubtedly be used in Democratic messaging campaigns on abortion and the broader theme of Republicans being extremists.
Yesterday’s inflation numbers sent the stock market plummeting after coming in at 8.3% year to year. It marks a slight decrease from July’s 8.5% number, but month to month inflation rose in a surprise to analysts. A noticeable decline in gas prices was offset by continued spikes in shelter, rent, healthcare, electricity, and other goods. President Biden celebrated the inflation numbers and his bill dubbed the ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ in a speech yesterday. A noticeable juxtaposition occurred when Biden’s speech
was carried next to graphics of drops in the market. In a statement, the White House
celebrated a decrease in the year over year inflation data. They pointed out that prices have been flat over the past two months, despite being much higher than they were a year ago. Additionally, the WH touted gas prices decreasing and emphasized the ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ congressional budget legislation. An important consequence of the August inflation figures is that they set the stage for another large interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve. The hot inflation statistics shocked analysts and markets are bracing for a 75 basis point (0.75%) rate increase next week. A possible 100 basis point
increase has not been ruled out and some inflation hawks are backing the move. It would be an aggressive move by the Federal Reserve that could bring the US economy into a deep recession.
More polling data from the hotly contested Pennsylvania Senate race has been released. It shows inflation and the economy as top issues
with crime in third place. Afterwards comes election issues, guns, and abortion. Voters ranking economic concerns and crime above election and social issues benefits Dr. Mehmet Oz and Pennsylvania Republicans. Among those who say the economy is ‘very important’, 57% support Dr. Oz compared to 53% for John Fetterman. A similar majority of voters believe Fetterman is authentic
in what he says. For Dr. Oz, 71% of voters believe he says what they want to hear instead of what he believes. Other bad news for Oz is that voters have concerns about his experience, personality, and lack of time spent living in the state. With all that said, Fetterman comes out on top 52% to 47% against Oz in a new poll. All of this data should be taken into consideration alongside the polls skewing towards Democrats and showing the same mistakes as past election years.
Meanwhile the all important state of New Hampshire had primaries on Tuesday. In GOP primaries, MAGA candidates
swept their primary contests without Trump endorsing any candidates. Well funded GOP establishment backed candidates were defeated in a night Granite state strategists see as an electoral nightmare. A particularly notable victory came for 25 year old former Trump official Karoline Leavitt who is a native of the state. She defeated a well funded moderate Republican candidate backed by GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy. Leavitt is running against vulnerable incumbent Democrat Chris Pappass who won his 2020 election by five points. Her campaign, like the other victorious MAGA primary campaigns, was oriented around Trump’s false election claims and his brash style. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan intervened in a GOP primary to face her in a general election. She spent
more than $3 million on MAGA candidate Doug Bolduc who upset state Sen. Chuck Morse who was backed by the GOP establishment. Morse spent over $3 million in TV ads to an unprecedented zero dollars from Bolduc. Hassan had been considered a weak incumbent vulnerable to a strong, well financed Republican challenge in this midterm environment. She will rest easy knowing that Bolduc will be the challenger in the general election.
A curious, viral video
has emerged from Los Angeles public schools where diversity influencers claim that there are no health differences between some foods and others. They claim a hierarchy of food is oppressive and hurts kids, without evidence. Conveniently enough, one of the women in the video works for
multinational food conglomerate Mondelez. A company that profits off selling unhealthy foods such as Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Sour Patch Kids, and Toblerone chocolate is now using woke activist rhetoric to market its product to children. Promoting falsehoods in a taxpayer funded campaign for a large corporation to profit off children makes a benign TikTok seem much more insidious.
In her monologue, Krystal takes viewers through a scheme where a former governor of Mississippi used his power to take welfare funding and use it to build a volleyball field for former star NFL Quarterback Brett Favre. New text messages have revealed the extent of the scheme and the coverup involving the state’s current governor. It begins with the Clinton administration’s welfare reform that eliminated a New Deal welfare program in favor of something called TANF distributed through block grants to states. The states are given tremendous leeway to use the money as they see fit. So in Mississippi, TANF is hardly available
to its most vulnerable residents. Instead, the funds have been used as a personal piggy bank for government officials and their connections. At the heart of the fraud is GOP donor and charter school operator Nancy New who netted more than $136 million in state funds under former Gov. Phil Bryant and current Gov. Tate Reeves. Authorities say that $77 million of the funds stolen were spent illegally and for personal benefit. New and her son were two of the six individuals indicted as part of an investigation currently ongoing. She and her son are cooperating with authorities as part of a plea deal and that is where Brett Favre’s role in the saga comes into play. He wanted his daughter’s volleyball team at Southern Mississippi to have a new stadium built and collaborated with New to secure welfare funds for the project. In addition, Favre was paid over a million dollars for speeches he never gave and benefited from investments by the New family into a medical tech company he invested in. Bryant assisted Favre’s company in clearing regulatory hurdles and courting investors. After Bryant left office, Favre’s company gave him a stock package as a form of gratitude.
Both Bryan and Favre have denied wrongdoing and claim they were unaware that their money came from welfare funds. The former NFL star gave back the money for the speeches and Bryant says he was not involved in the New’s illegality. Nancy New and her son are facing charges of bribery, racketeering, and embezzlement with text messages
showing the extent they coordinated with Bryant and Favre on the volleyball stadium
. They show Bryant pushed Favre to make the stadium happen and helped him write a funding proposal so it would be accepted by Mississippi’s Department of Human Services. Bryant texted Nancy New about the project and he helped Favre try to receive welfare funds for his stadium proposal. In a text message, Favre was concerned about the media finding out
about the scheme. Eventually, the media did find out despite an attempted coverup by the current Gov. Tate Reeves administration to protect the former governor. He has never answered for why he fired a civil attorney representing the welfare department in the investigation. Reeves’ office has omitted money geared towards the volleyball stadium from the civil lawsuit to reclaim stolen funds. Meanwhile, residents of Jackson are still lacking
clean drinking water as the state’s elites rob the poor blind.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar condemn the reverse robin hood story in Mississippi not making national news because it is complicated and involves poor black people. Text messages from Favre do not look good for him in terms of a prosecution. They engaged in financial maneuvering to obtain government funds according to text messages and the New family has admitted their schemes. A former governor has been let off the hook and Brett Favre’s $100 million net worth was left untapped for building the stadium. Another former pro wrestler was involved in taking government money to pay for a trip to rehab in a tale of outrageous government theft.
In his monologue, Saagar examines the falsehoods underwriting the prestigious US News & World Report college rankings. Average tuition prices are $44,000/year at a private university, $27,000 for an out of state student at a public university, and $11,000 for an in-state student in a public university. Costs have exploded by 1400% over the past 40 years and government backed student loans undergird the colleges’ ability to continuously increase costs. Colleges and universities are banking on the prestige and certification they provide even more than the student experience they pour money into. This is why tuition continued to rise during the covid pandemic period when students were doing school
via zoom. If you enter the job market with a flash Ivy League degree you will have a much better life than the average American.
All of these schools have prestige reaffirmed by US News and World Report rankings that parents look at with a religious zeal. It is a dream of high achieving parents to get their kids into a prestigious school and it permits universities to bilk parents out of their money. The list has been called into question many times and now a scandal involving Columbia university reveals its level of corruption. The ivy league bastion of New York City received the number two spots for years in the rankings and recently dropped to 18th place. It began when a Columbia math professor
questioned the statistics submitted by the university that exaggerated faculty credentials and class sizes. His most telling data
came in how Columbia reported funding of instruction which was inflated by over a billion dollars compared to its financial statements given to the government. The point of the investigation was to demonstrate how absurd the ranking system is and how universities game the system to boost their standing. Columbia was exposed as being full of it but every prestigious university is in on the scam. When the new list came out recently, the schools triumphantly reported
their rankings and will undoubtedly use it to keep scamming people.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar discuss the systematic corruption of the rankings and how the list is a self fulfilling measure of intangible prestige given to graduates. Underlying metrics do not matter because of what the schools and students get out of it. How we think about higher education as an elite ranking game and a tool for better job prospects is a hollow way of thinking about what education is for.
RYAN GRIM & EMILY JASHINSKY
Krystal and Saagar bring Ryan Grim and Emily Jashinsky back on the show to discuss their new show Counterpoints premiering tomorrow. It will become part of the Breaking Points extended universe and go out every Friday afternoon. They moved from Rising because of how much independence he and Emily will have to craft the show. Sometimes there is content Rising wants them to put out that is reaching when there is little to say on a topic. In the Counterpoints model they will be able to decide the topic and how to cover it instead of doing a standardized segment on something. Going in depth instead of chasing the news cycle is easier when you are independent and producing a show meant for podcasting as much as video content. Having the comfort to go longer on certain topics or keep going when you are on a role is a feature of the BP style of content. Ryan and Emily’s spin on the show and vibe will be a bit different and they will be able to reach some of the weekly subjects Krystal and Saagar are unable to cover before it gets stale. The show is not an argument show based on winning or losing, rather it is about curiosity and deeper conversations. Two thoughtful people with different opinions to work through in real time is at the core of the Breaking Points ethos that Ryan and Emily understand. We can disagree with each other and we can work through them instead of being at each other’s throats.
Thank you for reading the Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar newsletter. Remember to send your feedback and buy tickets to the Chicago live show! Be on the lookout for Counterpoints tomorrow and the next full show coming on Monday!