News Updates

Breaking Points: FULL SHOW 10/11/22 Ukraine military aid, calls for diplomacy, microchip competition, Saudi-US relations, more

Krystal and Saagar give their commentary on Ukraine military aid, calls for diplomacy, microchip competition, Saudi-US relations, animal rights, online censorship, economy messaging, Chipotle unionization, & more!

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Timestamps: Ukraine: 0:0032:43 Mullen: 32:4441:13 Chips: 41:1458:28 Saudi: 58:291:04:43 Piglets: 1:04:441:12:09 Saagar: 1:12:101:21:11 Krystal: 1:21:121:28:14 Chipotle Workers: 1:28:151:42:05

10/11 NEWSLETTER: Ukraine Diplomacy, Chip Wars, Worker Action, Dem Agenda, & More!
Welcome to the October 11th, 2022 edition of the Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar premium newsletter. This week is our Chicago live show so be sure to get your tickets here: https://www.axs.com/events/449151/breaking-points-live-tickets and lifetime subscribers email us for a refund!
We are delighted to announce the new addition to the team: Producer Mac. He’s known online as GoodPoliticGuy and you can reach him with any comments mac@breakingpoints.com. His contributions will be on the editorial, distribution, communication, and production parts of the show. Mac understands the core ethos of the show and will put the quality of the broadcast above any personal beliefs. He possesses a strong understanding of the current media environment and present day political currents. Training is currently underway and Mac will be moving to DC soon to join the production team here in Washington. He will be making contributions to the newsletter and sending out some of the show emails. So if you notice a different approach to the email blasts, it’s probably because he is doing it. As always, you can send any thoughts to james@breakingpoints.com.
Now to the 10/11 show: https://youtu.be/Lg6TZ0JYa3E
UKRAINE
The strikes on Ukraine by Russia are raising the stakes in the conflict and generating pressure among western allies to send them stronger air defense systems. Missiles launched by Russia across Ukraine targeted civilians indiscriminately and reflected the growing brutality of the Russian military tactics. New military commander for the Russian army Sergei Surovikin was known for his ruthless approach in Syria and is bringing the same to the conflict against Ukraine. Out of the 75 missiles launched by Russia, 41 were shot down, preventing them from hitting targeted energy facilities and crowds of civilians. Ukraine is fearing an even greater Russian bombardment of military attacks and has adjusted their military support requests to western nations. No new air defense capabilities were included in last Tuesday’s military package sent by President Biden. Ukraine is counting on previously agreed on air defense systems arriving to give them much needed air cover. Building weapons and training crews can take a long time, especially with western nations hesitant to further reduce their own capabilities if it means backing Ukraine. President Biden pledged in a call with Zelensky yesterday afternoon that America will provide Ukraine air defense systems and other forms of assistance. His words were backed up by Secretary of State Tony Blinken in a tweet after he met with a top Ukrainian official. The move will be cheered on by hawkish American commentators who believe the nation should back Ukraine’s war effort indefinitely even with nuclear tensions ratcheting upwards.
India and China are less enthusiastic about the seesaw of escalation between Russia and the west. They have been criticizing Russia and calling for de-escalation while still buying Russian oil at a premium. Both countries have tried to tow a middle ground position in the conflict viewed as existential by Russia and the west. Their reservations are unlikely to spur diplomacy between the two nations. Calls for regime change are growing in both nations and sanctions on Russia by America and Europe are here to stay.
MULLEN
One top former American military official did call for diplomacy in a rare sighting for cable news. Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged Biden to begin facilitating diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine during a CBS News interview. He expressed disbelief in the heightened nuclear tensions and considered possible off-ramps to the conflict in Ukraine. It’s rare for a former military official to be invited on cable news and not use his credentials to promote a maximalist, hawkish assessment of American military engagements. The scope for debate about America’s policy towards Ukraine has been narrow from the outset, especially as escalation between the two sides continued. Voices calling for diplomacy are routinely sidelined or viewed as unserious by the foreign policy establishment. Nonetheless, polling data demonstrates support for negotiations by the American people, something Donald Trump appeared to sense in his call for peace over the weekend. This show will continue to spotlight calls for diplomacy and alternative approaches to the war in Ukraine.
CHIPS
America’s industrial and trade competition with China is heating up. President Biden is imposing sweeping restrictions on the Chinese microchip industry by regulating tech exports to Chinese customers. The Department of Commerce will limit the sale of semiconductors and chip making equipment to strike at China’s attempts to build its own chip industry. The new export rules will also be followed by Taiwanese firms according to government officials. Production of chips by TSMC and other firms in Taiwan greatly boosts the island’s geopolitical and economic importance to the US. Stocks of chip companies dropped noticeably after the announcement, worsening the rut faced by the tech sector. Higher interest rates from the Federal Reserve have been particularly difficult for tech companies to weather. Less cheap credit available in the economy lessens venture capital and angel investment in firms that often take a few years to become profitable. More established tech firms have relied on low interest rates when buying out emerging competitors in the space.
With important earnings reports and inflation numbers coming soon, the market could be headed for an even steeper decline. JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is warning of a recession to come in 6-9 months and a drop in the S&P 500 by approximately 20% in that time period. His prediction is likely to come to fruition because the Federal Reserve has no reservations about its plan to keep rising interest rates to fight inflation. At its meeting next month, officials are expected to raise interest rates by 0.75 percentage points. They see slight softening of the labor market in September as an example of their need to keep going with current policy. As the supply chain bottleneck and government stimulus recede, Fed officials will be targeting a weaker US labor market to reduce demand and further hinder wage growth for workers.
SAUDI
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menedez (D-NJ) called for US cooperation with the Saudis to be frozen beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend American interests. His comments are notable because of Menendez’s committee chairmanship and his status as a leading voice among moderate Democrats. He is typically a hawkish politician and he has been propelled by New Jersey party leaders in spite of his corruption scandals. An insider’s insider, Menendez’s full statement cited Saudi Arabia’s recent decision with the OPEC+ oil cartel to cut production at a crucial time for the war in Ukraine. American sanctions on Russian oil have contributed to high global energy prices and an energy crisis across Europe. By cutting production, Menendez says Saudi Arabia is siding against the United States and with Vladimir Putin in his war against Ukraine. He says there is no room to play both sides in this conflict and the Saudis economic self-interest is behind their choice to cut oil production. Whether the oil giants take this seriously remains to be seen. Republicans will be subservient to Saudi Arabia if they come back in power and foreign corruption has not been reigned in.
PIGLETS
Animal rights activists from advocacy group Direct Action Everywhere were acquitted in a trial for taking sick piglets from a neglectful factory. Two DxE activists were handed the decision on burglary and theft charges  by a jury on Saturday. They uncovered gruesome conditions at Smithfield, the nation’s largest pork producer, when they snatched piglets on the brink of a torturous death. Multiple agencies including the FBI pursued these activists for five years and raided the sanctuary the pigs were living in after they received proper medical treatment. The counts would have landed the activists in prison for over five years and were justified by an $84 valuation given to the baby piglets. It’s the first jury acquittal for DxE, a group known for its aggressive “open rescue” tactic animals are openly saved from abusive conditions. The door has now been opened for rescue missions to become legal, possibly leading to more animals on the brink of death being treated instead of disposed of. Previously, DxE activist Matt Johnson appeared on Breaking Points to describe a failed FBI pursuit of him for similar activity. Laws known as ‘ag-gag’ have been instituted by states at the direction of large agricultural companies to prevent animal rights activists from exposing harmful conditions. Industry standards typically guide the parameters of these de facto censorship laws built to protect a powerful lobby. The activists landmark case is a victory against outsized corporate influence and potentially unconstitutional laws and pressure by law enforcement agencies.
SAAGAR
In his monologue today, Saagar is focusing on another free speech issue involving PayPal. Cancellation campaigns by questionable activists have disappeared Andrew Tate and Kiwi Farms from the internet. The precedent now is that left wing activists and journalists can set the internet policy for the world. But the most watershed moment came last year when the Canadian government seized assets and cryptocurrency from truckers protesting covid mandates. We have now seen a glimpse of financial cancellation here in the form of PayPal’s new policy enabling it to fine users for posting ‘misinformation’ online. The payment processing giant reserves the right to charge people up to $2500 for ‘misinformation’ which is effectively defined as whatever the establishment thinks is inconvenient. The Hunter Biden laptop and the lab leak story are the two most prominent examples. In essence, penalizing people for going against conventional wisdom is what it means to censor ‘misinformation’ online. Financially penalizing users takes it to the next level, so people notice of PayPayl’s policy right away. Backlash caused the company to walk back their policy and they said it was an error. Online sleuths showed the new terms of service were uploaded at the end of September and it had been worked on throughout the month. The company’s explanation does not track with this online activity and their plan to enforce the policy starting in November. A major drop in the stock price caused by bad press and account cancellations hurt the company’s bottom line. Multiple former PayPal executives including Elon Musk and David Marcus had to get involved in pressuring the company to walk the policy back. Financial deplatforming is still a very real possibility and it won’t happen because of the state. It will be orchestrated by private companies caving to pressure from authoritarians to enforce the ruling ideology.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar evaluate the PayPal situation and how real their reversal is. There are only a couple of payment processors outside of PayPal for people to use. Official gatekeeping is taking over the internet from being the open marketplace of information it once was. The new regime is trying to place new gatekeepers online like they had in the era of mass television monoculture.
KRYSTAL
In her monologue today, Krystal implores Democrats to take Bernie Sanders’ lead and create a real message about the economy. The party has relied on abortion messaging to recover its electoral position in the midterms. But the economy remains the top issue for Americans with nearly 80% of Americans saying it’s key to winning them over. With the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, unemployment will spike and wages are getting crushed. Americans are struggling to make ends meet and neither party has an agenda to ease people’s burden. Republican attacks on Biden for the economy failed to land, leading to a shift in focus to crime and tying Democrats to defund the police. They will go on cable and rail against inflation without providing solutions to the problem or relief for the people. Democrats are not talking about the economy at all and have been running away from Biden’s student debt cancellation.
When neither party has any promises, it benefits Republicans because people blame the party in power. Republicans having the upper hand on the economy in polls led to an exasperated Bernie Sanders to lambast his party for obsessively focusing on abortion. Bernie believes Democrats should hit Republicans for opposing a living wage, taxing billionaires, universal healthcare, and paid leave. If the Democrats win the senate, Biden has promised to codify Roe v. Wade and not much else. He should propose a populist agenda for the working class against large corporations and wall street. If the media throws a fit, even better in the eyes of Americans. Our political class has nothing to say on the most important issue facing Americans and Democrats are committing political malpractice by ignoring it.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar ponder the lack of economic policy discussion in the midterm elections. Neither party wants to be pressured into keeping promises and they would rather run against the other party because it puts less pressure on them. Successful political careers happen more often from collecting checks and showing up rather than pushing the needle.
CHIPOTLE WORKERS
Krystal and Saagar are joined by Chipotle workers from Michigan leading a unionization campaign in stores across the company. They formed the chain’s first recognized union in Lansing, Michigan to join the local Teamsters. Chipotle has 100,000 employees and 3,000 locations across America; with plans to double its footprint in North America. It’s a similar situation to Starbucks where stores are corporate owned instead of being franchised out. Workers in the store typically last only a few months because of pay, scheduling, and treatment from managers. Unionization gives workers the ability to fight for higher wages and obtain better working conditions. They had no control over their workplace and were facing low wages that they believed needed fixing. Chipotle had no reason to listen to them as concerned individuals so they realized workers only have any power collectively. Turnover in the store provided challenges for the crew to unionize, meaning they had to constantly talk to people and recruit new people. Unionization campaigns at other companies such as Starbucks and Amazon inspired them to begin organizing at their store. New leadership at Teamsters international has made them more militant than before and an established union provided the workers with organizational support. Workers voted to go with Teamsters overwhelmingly and needed organizing experience to pull out the victory. The democratic nature of Teamsters shown in the election of new leadership appealed to the workers when they were figuring out strategy. Next steps include working with employees at other stores to help them unionize and learn how to organize.
Thank you for reading the Breaking Points with Krystal and Saagar newsletter. The next full show will be on Thursday and look out for content on the channel tomorrow!

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