Breaking Points: 10/13/22 FULL UNCUT SHOW-

Krystal and Saagar cover nuclear attack plans, Crimean bridge bombing, recession forecast, Fetterman’s health, Kanye West’s outburst, anti-woke grifting, North Korea nukes, & Ro Khanna’s Saudi legislation!

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Timestamps: Nuclear: 0:0032:00 Ukraine: 32:0151:09 Recession: 51:101:00:11 Fetterman: 1:00:121:12:21 Kanye: 1:12:221:22:23 Krystal: 1:22:241:31:38 Saagar: 1:31:391:41:03 Ro Khanna: 1:41:041:53:49

10/13 NEWSLETTER: Nuclear Weapons, Crimea Attack, Recession Coming, Saudi Weapons, & More!
Welcome to the October 13th, 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!
PROGRAMMING UPDATE: Ryan and Emily will be filling in for Krystal and Saagar next Monday and Tuesday. The Counter Points broadcast will air on Friday and then the co-hosts will be doing Breaking Points twice next week. After the Chicago live show, Krystal and Saagar have a business trip that will keep them out of the studio early next week. We appreciate your understanding.
Now to the 10/13 show: https://youtu.be/WeO8oOOlzJ0
President Biden addressed Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats in a primetime CNN interview. Biden said that he does not believe Putin will use ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons and condemned his irresponsible rhetoric around them. He does not want a World War but using nuclear weapons can quickly bring countries into one. The president said Putin is a rational actor who miscalculated significantly by invading Ukraine. In the much anticipated national security strategy from the Biden administration, the White House made clear that America will not allow Russia or anyone else to use nuclear weapons. However, the escalatory cycle between the United States and Russia continues to move forward.
Purposeful action by both sides is necessary to avoid direct nuclear confrontation between Russia and the west. Neither side has taken them because of Russian nuclear doctrine and the lack of debate among US foreign policy elites. American foreign policy commentators who warn about nuclear danger are routinely smeared and accused of appeasement. In the case of the Ukraine conflict, individual steps are being climbed towards a world-ending absurdity by rational actors. Both sides see it as an existential conflict they cannot lose or back down from. Red lines drawn by Russia have been ignored by Ukraine and the US. When the Ukrainians gain ground, Russia escalates to counteract them out of fear of losing. The political costs of compromise and diplomacy have been raised by both sides, increasing the incentive for further escalation. The logic of the escalatory cycle we are in makes future escalation more likely unless it is deliberately winded down. Hawkish American commentators have begun calling for nuclear war against Russia, including former Obama Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Others have been feverishly demanding more military assistance to Ukraine, such as former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Ukrainian people have begun bracing themselves for a nuclear strike on their territory in a war that US officials do not see a way out of. Privately, the US believes neither side can win and that no plan is in sight for ending the conflict.
The Russian Security Services arrested eight people for suspected involvement in the attack on a bridge in Crimea. They allege five Russians and three Ukrainian-Armenian citizens were involved in carrying out the explosion. They say the explosives were sent from Ukraine through to Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, and then to Russia by a truck registered to Georgia. Russia claims the weapons entered a region bordering Crimea two days before the explosion and their transport was coordinated by Ukrainian intelligence officials. The Ukrainians responded by calling Russia’s findings nonsense and in service to the Putin regime. Last week, Russia attacked cities across Ukraine with missiles and bombs targeting civilian gatherings. Putin is now saying all energy infrastructure is at risk of attack because of the Nordstream explosion he blames on the United States.
On a similar note, a Vice News story reported that Elon Musk spoke to Putin before he tweeted out his peace deal proposal for the conflict in Ukraine. Their story was based on a subscriber exclusive email sent by foreign policy analyst Ian Bremmer and Vice News took his word for it. Musk says Bremmer is lying and the last time he spoke to Putin was about space issues 18 months ago. No other evidence has emerged either way and both sides have doubled down. This is another reflection of how difficult it has become to have conversations about diplomacy or de-escalation with Russia.
President Biden mentioned the possibility of a ‘slight recession’ in his CNN interview, but he does not anticipate a recession taking place. He was asked the question because of the alarm raised by business leaders and economists about a global recession. Recently, the International Monetary Fund warned that the worst is yet to come for the world economy.  IMF Director Tobias Adrian told CNBC a 20% drop in Stocks is certainly possible after the prediction was made by JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. American mortgage rates are up to a 16 year high and savings are rapidly deteriorating for American households. Soaring prices and interest rates are eating away at savings accrued during the pandemic. The decline has been the most rapid since the 2008 recession and the dot com crash in 2001, according to the S&P ratings agency. Their data is based on financial accounts of consumers and businesses published by the Federal Reserve. Nonetheless, the central bank is going to continue raising interest rates to curb inflation, despite the negative impact it will have on the larger economy.
Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman’s speech problems were widely discussed by pundits after a critical NBC News report about him. Reporter Dasha Burns conducted an interview with him where he used a computer to assist him in a conversation. It was his first one-on-one interview since the stroke he suffered back in May. He has been hammered by opponent Dr. Oz for the auditory processing issues visible in Fetterman’s speech. His campaign is fighting back by pointing to health struggles faced by many Americans and through ads about lethal dog experiments conducted by Dr. Oz when he worked at Columbia. In the latest polling, Fetterman is up six points on Dr. Oz after the heart surgeon tightened the race earlier this month. It’s likely that the polls are undercounting Republican voters in Pennsylvania, but the lead is an encouraging sign for Fetterman heading into his debate with Dr. Oz.
Billionaire rapper Kanye West has generated a fresh round of media attention and controversy. It began with West wearing a ‘white lives matter’ shirt in a picture with conservative pundit Candace Owens. Next, he was interviewed in a two-part series by Fox News host Tucker Carlson where they discussed his faith and political views. The rapper made provocative comments about his recent fashion choices, personal life, American culture, and his support for Donald Trump. Afterwards, West was suspended by Twitter after he posted bizarre, anti-semitic comments on the platform. It has been revealed that West made similar anti-semitic statements to Carlson that were not aired by Fox. His statements will not be posted here, but the linked Vice story has them in their entirety. Other reports about anti-semitic comments made by West are now coming out, which are likely to have financial and reputational consequences for him. West suffers from bipolar disorder and friends have spoken about their worries he is suffering another manic episode. His erratic, paranoid behavior was previously on display during his ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s relationship with comedian Pete Davidson. In both situations, media organizations have taken West’s behavior and covered it endlessly for the clicks his stardom brings. Relentless media cycles about West’s actions probably do not help him recover from his mental breakdowns.
In her monologue, Krystal takes viewers through the case of an anti-woke bank stumbling into oblivion. The startup is called GloriFi and it attracted A list right wing investors to create a bank for people who consider wall street too liberal. They introduced credit cards with pro-police and pro-constitution designs. Right wing influencer Candace Owens was hired for an ad campaign targeting Fox News and MAGA customers by using an old Ronald Reagan video. One day before the WSJ piece about the collapsing company came out, Owens tweeted a video hyping GloriFi and the new conservative economy. Twitter users were quick to dunk on the company for its thesis about wall street banks not being sufficiently pro-capitalist.
In less than a year, the venture collapsed before it had the chance to harm any regular people. They’ve blown through their cash, had mass layoffs, missed launch dates, failed to pay vendor invoices, and by all appearances are nearing bankruptcy. Plans for a gun owners discount and a credit card made from shell casings were botched. The founder of the company launched the company in his home, without the security measures a bank would need. He was drinking heavily and abusing staff according to the Journal. This whole project is the right wing version of JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon kneeling for BLM in front of a bank vault. Or a panel with BLM activist DeRay McKesson being sponsored by Wells Fargo. Put identity politics and virtue signaling in front of the same wall street horrors and immorality as usual. An epitome of Hillary Clinton’s famous line about how breaking up the big banks will not solve racism. When you believe, as liberals and the right do, that societies are driven by individuals not big structures and systems, then it becomes easy to imagine just swapping the right people into positions of power will fix all the problems. Elites fixating on individuals leads liberals to blame white men who need to be trained in diversity, or conservatives blaming woke college grads for their failures. It keeps people looking at the surface level for good and evil people instead of thinking about the underlying rot in the US economy. GloriFi is the ideal grift for a movement that now pretends to have a critique of elite power centers, whether it’s wall street or corporate america, but has an economic policy that is still devoted to being capital’s bootlickers forever.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar question the right wing ideological gloss over this bank and the grift of this project to begin with. If you focus solely on identity politics you will lose all the way down and real people will be fleeced along the way. People like Trump aim their fire on the right elite targets with fake, surface level critiques about the wrong people being in charge.
In his monologue, Saagar reaches back to the North Korea nuclear scare of 2017 for lessons from today’s situation. The hermit kingdom was ruled by the young and mysterious Kim Jong Un who had bet the house on developing an ICBM capable of hitting the United States. He got there in 2017 and shocked the world. The Hawsong 14 showed capability to hit California from North Korea, meaning a war with the hermit kingdom would bring about millions of deaths to the world. This development was dismissed by the Washington elite who believed we had no choice but to continue our policy of sanctions and cutting off North Korea from the world. Trump outsourced his foreign policy to Washington and North Korea was no exception. He began threatening Kim Jong Un and the latter refused to listen. Kim made clear he would keep firing off missiles until the status quo changed. Either the west and asian nations would remove sanctions, or Asia would be caught in an existential nuclear war. Washington refused to budge and accept the reality that Kim’s nuclear status gave him the power to blackmail the world. Amazingly, Trump decided to meet with him at the behest of the DC foreign policy establishment. The Singapore summit in June of 2018 did not accomplish much of anything. But it changed the situation so much that up until just in the last few weeks we saw a total and complete change in relations between the Kim regime and Washington. Missile tests had subsided and the South Korean leader met with him in a major step for the two countries.
Washington elites scored Trump for meeting with a murderous dictator and giving into nuclear blackmail. Trump had to accept the reality of the situation of North Korea holding nukes that could hit the US. Under Biden, America has reverted back to the old way and the same problems have arisen. We should check the hubris of Washington and we have to talk to them because of the threat they pose to America. Creative thinking and the willingness to challenge assumptions that carry the obvious risk of war are vitally important. We see absolutely none of this in Washington today across either party. Unless a figure shakes things up like Trump did, nuclear war with Russia is the path America is headed to and all of us could be in danger.
After the monologue, Krystal and Saagar dish on the lessons Washington should have learned from Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un. There is a lot of wishcasting about what it means to be a nuclear power and the special circumstances it may bring. Getting rid of nuclear weapons in other nations is the only solution to the problem, not ignoring the unique set of realities created by nukes. The media’s critique of Trump for meeting with Kim was counterproductive and hypocritical, like it was throughout his administration. Elite consensus in DC should not be taken seriously considering how willing they are to put us all in harm’s way.
Krystal and Saagar are joined by Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) to examine his legislation to hold up weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. Pausing the massive transfer of military equipment to Saudi Arabia should be the US response to the OPEC+ oil production cut, according to Khanna. The Saudi Arabians are making giant profit margins on their oil and Putin pressured them to keep their supply low for his own aims. Oil companies make nothing compared to the Saudis in terms of selling oil to the world. Institutional Washington is paying attention to Khanna’s legislation because it threatens the powerful Saudi backed interests in this town. Defense contractors, lobbyists, and other industries will undoubtedly fight back against Khanna’s legislation. Halting arm sales to Saudi Arabia and reducing US presence could ground the Saudi air force and prevent them from having a military for at least the next few years. We have more defense initiatives with Saudis than most of our world allies. The Gulf is not taking the threat seriously yet, as shown by the UAE’s meeting with Putin last week. If the president takes minimal action, they will begin to take American threats about consequences seriously. Khanna has spoken to administration officials who pledge significant action with or without congress. Saudi Arabia is responsible for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and fleecing the American public at the pump, causing outrage among the new generations of legislators. The bipartisan consensus about Saudi Arabia is breaking because of the blatant support for Trump down by the Saudi Arabians. They are interfering in our elections and allying themselves with Putin despite their long standing ties to America. Biden needs to have a primetime speech to explain how the Saudis and big oil are driving up gas prices for hard working Americans. Decisive actions are needed that go beyond diplomatic changes. When Biden went to MBS, he gave the fist bump and reversed his pledge to make Saudi Arabia a pariah state. They thought MBS could be convinced and the president’s strategy proved to be a failure. Another proposal has been to remove OPEC’s antitrust protections and break up the oil cartel by suing them in US federal court. Support for Khanna’s bill has come from Democrats publicly and some Republicans behind the scenes who will not speak up about it until after the election. Khanna’s constituents in California are hurting from inflation and high gas prices, which going after the Saudis could help alleviate.

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