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Your Favorite Hollywood Icons Are Warning Not to Cross the Picket Line

Hollywood screenwriters are on strike, and a lot of people are backing them.

A sign reads Writers Guild of America On Strike!
David McNew/Getty Images
The Hollywood writers strike in 2008

Hollywood is now in disarray because studios refuse to take care of the writers who helped build it.

At 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, the Writers Guild of America began a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, upending programming across Hollywood.

The strike comes in the aftermath of studios refusing to meet workers’ reasonable asks, such as higher minimum compensation levels and greater protections for writers in an industry rife with precarity. Streaming has decimated what used to be somewhat reliable income sources for writers (residual income from programs rerun through online, DVD, or network modes). Meanwhile, most industry writers are still limited to residing in high-cost-of-living areas, like New York City and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the job as an industry writer brings no stability on its own.

“The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing,” the guild said in a statement on Monday.

The news of the strike loomed over the Met Gala, an annual fundraising event held to raise money for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which houses thousands of historical fashion artifacts over centuries.

While the gala is oft-dismissed as a garish display of high society, many of the gala attendees were quite forthright in their solidarity with the workers who help make their careers as film stars and television icons happen at all. Here’s a list of some of the most renowned social figures who are supporting Hollywood workers, and refusing to cross the picket line:

“If there’s a strike, yeah, I think we will, we’ll go dark,” late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon said.

“People strike for a reason,” Brian Tyree Henry, star of comedy-drama series Atlanta and films including If Beale Street Could Talk and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, said, simply.

“I support the writers,” said Olivie Wilde, star of acclaimed programs including medical drama House, Broadway actress, and award-winning director. “I support unions.”

Edie Falco, beloved star of programs like The Sopranos, reportedly canceled an appearance at Peacock’s NewFront where she was set to promote her new series. “It’s the least I can do,” she said.

“I don’t get what the problem is,” Amanda Seyfried, star of Mamma Mia! and Emmy award winning actress said. “Everybody needs to be compensated for their work. That’s fucking easy. I don’t get it.”

Mitch McConnell’s Obtuse Defense for the Supreme Court Justices Mired in Scandal

Republicans really don’t care about the Supreme Court’s ethics (or lack thereof).

Mitch McConnell speaks at a podium
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he doesn’t think the recent Supreme Court scandals, in which multiple justices did not report major financial dealings, are that big a deal.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday about ethics reform at the highest court, following a ProPublica report that Justice Clarence Thomas didn’t disclose two decades’ worth of luxury vacations paid for by billionaire Republican megadonor Harlan Crow. Crow also bought Thomas’s childhood home, where his mother still lives, which similarly went unreported.

Justice Neil Gorsuch did not disclose the name of the person who bought property from him in Colorado. The buyer turned out to be the head of a law firm that has argued multiple cases before the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts is also under fire because his wife reportedly made more than $10 million as a headhunter placing attorneys at multiple law firms, including at least one that went on to argue a case before the Supreme Court.

But McConnell hit back at the arguments that Congress should implement an ethics code for the Supreme Court with a shameless display of whitewashing. “The left and some of their media allies want the American people to gasp in horror—in horror—that one Supreme Court justice vacations with his friends,” he said.

McConnell also dismissed the accusations against Gorsuch as just selling his house “when he moved” and the ones against Roberts’s wife as attacks on a modern, empowered woman with a career outside the home.

The Supreme Court has no official code of conduct, and it appears that the justices are exploiting that lack. The Senate has introduced a bill that would require the court to create a code of ethics within a year. So far, Lisa Murkowski, who co-sponsored the bill, is the only Republican to back it.

CNN, WTF Are You Thinking Having a Donald Trump Town Hall?

The former president has been impeached twice, criminally indicted, and is under investigation for rape. Now he gets to be on prime time.

Donald Trump

“If ‘low ratings’ CNN ever went Conservative, they would be an absolute gold mine, and I would help them to do so!”

This is what Donald Trump posted on Truth Social last September. And within a year of the post, while his reputation has tanked even further, CNN took him up on the offer.

Trump has been impeached twice, criminally indicted, and is under investigation for rape. He helped fan the flames of an election conspiracy that led to Fox Corporation forking over three-quarters of a billion dollars to stop further investigation into its own efforts to spread lies surrounding the election. And he still faces numerous other criminal investigations related to his efforts to overthrow our democracy.

And next week, CNN is hosting an exclusive town hall with him.

A video ad for the town hall looks more like a time capsule from 2015 than, for instance, content that would present even remote awareness of every scandal Trump is currently implicated in.

It is no secret that CNN has been on a lurch toward disinterested and lazy journalism, at least on the television side of things, mainly since the ascendance of new network President Chris Licht. He has discouraged reporters from calling Trump’s monumental lies about the 2020 election “the Big Lie.” He has sought to make CNN focus on “straight-news reporting” (as if there is some objective meter that determines what constitutes “straight news” and there is no editorial decision-making as to what does and doesn’t get covered beneath that umbrella, and how any of it is covered). CNN higher-ups have overall reportedly expressed an interest in shifting to the right.

And Licht is only one piece of the puzzle. CNN’s new owner, Warner Brothers Discovery Inc., is headed by David Zaslav, who seems to measure the success of the network’s shift mainly by how many Republicans it gets on air. Zaslav is also very close with Warner Brothers’ leading shareholder, John Malone, a self-described “libertarian” who once held 32 percent of the shares of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and also donated $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration. Malone has echoed desires for CNN to “evolve back,” suggesting Fox as a role model network, by having “‘news’ news, I mean some actual journalism, embedded in a program schedule of all opinions.”

That formulation tells you all of what the CNN higher-ups mean by wanting to shift to “straight-news” or “objective” analysis—patently right-wing and power-serving programming that platforms the type of conspiratorial lies that may lead to a $787.5 million lawsuit.

Perhaps the worst part of it all is that, despite the right’s perennial wailing, CNN is not in fact a meaningfully left-leaning network. Sure, like other mainstream big-box outlets, it has a liberal tilt. But there ought not be the illusion that the network has served as some bastion for the broader left base—workers, young people, people of color, environmentalists, anti-war voters, to name just a few groups seldom represented by the network’s day-to-day coverage. And let’s not forget how much free press CNN and other big-box outlets gave Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 election, nor how many former Trump officials were allowed to rehabilitate their own careers serving as talking heads and experts on the network’s airwaves.

And after nearly eight years of think-pieces, reflections, and “important conversations” within media circles, CNN is doing exactly what prompted so much reflection in the first place: giving open air to a man who warrants none of it. Only this time, Trump isn’t just coming with the baggage of decades of shady financial dealings, suspicions of sexual misconduct, and even calling for the hanging of the Central Park Five. He’s coming with every despicable act America, and the world, has witnessed since CNN helped manufacture tolerance for him eight years ago.

Buckle up while you’re at it: A Trump adviser has said that the town hall is part of a larger effort “to jumpstart the relationship” CNN and Trump’s team shared in the past.

Will the Freedom Caucus Destroy the U.S. Economy?

The government could run out of money to pay its bills sooner than expected. And the Freedom Caucus doesn’t seem to care.

Kevin McCarthy
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The United States could default on its debt within a month, all because of concessions Kevin McCarthy made to the House Freedom Caucus to become speaker.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress Monday that the government could run out of money to pay its bills as soon as June 1, earlier than initially anticipated, unless the debt ceiling is raised or suspended.

While Yellen acknowledged it’s “impossible” to say exactly when federal funds will run out, “given the current projections, it is imperative that Congress act as soon as possible to increase or suspend the debt limit in a way that provides longer-term certainty that the government will continue to make its payments,” she said in a letter.

Democrats and Republicans are locked in a protracted battle over the debt limit, which the GOP has indicated it’s willing to hold hostage in order to reduce government spending. The government already hit the debt ceiling in January, and Yellen has repeatedly warned of the disastrous consequences should the U.S. default on its debt. “It’s simply a recipe for economic and financial catastrophe to think we can pay some of our bills and not all of them,” she told the Senate Finance Committee in mid-March.

House Republicans passed a bill last week that would raise the debt limit into next year, but only after drawn-out in-party negotiations. The measure is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, and President Joe Biden has already promised to veto it if it does. The bill includes several radical measures put forward by members of the House Freedom Caucus, such as food stamp and Medicaid work requirements, reduced funding for the IRS and climate change initiatives, and an end to Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.

Caucus members were some of the most vocal critics of McCarthy’s debt ceiling bill over the past few weeks. The far-right wing of the House Republicans also was primarily responsible for forcing all of us to sit through seemingly endless rounds of votes for House speaker in January.

McCarthy may have ultimately won the gavel, but only after he made multiple concessions to the House Freedom Caucus that essentially gave them all the power. These include the ability to boot him from the speakership—for instance, if he starts making debt limit deals with Democrats that they don’t like.

Democrats are refusing to compromise on the debt ceiling, and if the battle goes on much longer, the U.S. could be in serious trouble. It’s time for Congress to get a move on, but it’s unclear what McCarthy will do next.

Judge Blocks Extreme Missouri Anti-Trans Health Care Ban

State Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s emergency rule would have forbidden gender-affirming care for both children and adults.

Valerie Plesch/Getty Images
Andrew Bailey, Missouri’s attorney general, speaks to members of the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Monday, a judge temporarily blocked Missouri’s unprecedented ban on gender-affirming care for people of all ages, warning that the rule would cause significant harm if it were to go into effect.

Missouri state Attorney General Andrew Bailey drew widespread condemnation when he introduced an emergency rule in mid-April that would ban lifesaving gender-affirming care for minors and adults. The measure, which would be the first in the United States to ban health care for transgender adults, was set to go into effect on April 27.

The rule would require people to wait three years before they can begin receiving gender-affirming care. They would also have to attend therapy for 18 months before qualifying for health care.

In her ruling, Judge Ellen Ribaudo wrote that the people suing to block the rule would “be subjected to immediate and irreparable loss, damage or injury if the Attorney General is permitted to enforce the Emergency Rule.”

What’s more, “its broad, sweeping provisions were implemented without further fact-finding or evidence,” she said.

Bailey’s rule is stayed until May 11, when Ribaudo scheduled a hearing for the lawsuit, unless she extends her order.

“Today’s ruling marks a win for transgender Missourians over an unprecedented attempt by the Attorney General to unilaterally legislate and harm their right to self-expression, bodily autonomy, and access to lifesaving health care,” Gillian Wilcox, deputy director of litigation for the ACLU of Missouri, said in a statement.

Critics argued that Bailey vastly overstepped his position by implementing the rule instead of letting a bill move through the state legislature. “We don’t allow attorneys general to legislate, and we don’t allow them to play doctor,” Tony Rothert, an ACLU attorney, said at a hearing last Wednesday.

Bailey and many other Republicans backing bans on trans health care have argued that the various restrictions are to protect children. In reality, gender-affirming care decreases the amount of depression and anxiety that trans and nonbinary teenagers feel, and it makes them less likely to consider suicide.

Bailey also doesn’t really have a leg to stand on, considering his measure would have targeted adults too. “He’s essentially attacking the entire trans community at this point,” Robert Fischer, spokesman for the LGBTQ rights group PROMO, told the AP when the emergency rule was first announced. “It’s no longer just about children.”

What Did Tucker Carlson Say About Fox Nation That Was So Bad?

The recently fired prime-time anchor’s hot-mic misadventure adds to a growing pile of material suggesting his behavior behind the scenes ran afoul of his bosses.

Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Tucker Carlson thought that Fox Nation’s website “sucks” and that people don’t even watch it anyway.

In newly leaked footage, the since-ousted right-wing media figurehead is seen complaining about Fox’s subscription service during a phone conversation with an unknown figure, as they appeared to be discussing Carlson’s forthcoming interview with alleged rapist and sex-trafficker Andrew Tate. Tate has been banned from several online platforms while amassing notoriety as a crypto-peddler and proud, self-proclaimed sexist and misogynist.

“I don’t want to be a slave to Fox Nation, which I don’t think that people watch anyway,” Carlson said. “We’re gonna—because, you know, I’m like a representative of the American media now, speaking to an exile in Romania and welcoming him back into the brotherhood of journalists,” Carlson continued, apparently eager to welcome the alleged sexual criminal back into his “brotherhood.”

The phone conversation also included the two interlocutors going back and forth on whether the dress code of the interview could be toned down, to accommodate the “panicking” Tate who perhaps didn’t want to dress how he might in a courtroom, for instance.

Carlson initially resisted the request, as he wanted the interview to look more official, and not “like bro talk,” since it would air on “the nighttime show.”

“Yeah, but the majority of it, like, if we go, like, 45 minutes, it’s going to be for Fox Nation,” the caller on the other end responded.

“But nobody’s going to watch it on Fox Nation. Nobody watches Fox Nation because the site sucks,” Carlson retorted. “So I’d really like to just put the—dump the whole thing on YouTube,” he continued.

Carlson seems to have lost out on the fashion debate; Media Matters notes that in the subsequent interview Carlson warmly welcomed a T-shirt-clad Tate as Carlson toned himself down by wearing a sweater. Carlson, while rumored to have been fired perhaps for his insubordination to executives, was on his best behavior following his marching orders and encouraging viewers to “watch the full Andrew Tate interview on Fox Nation right after this show.”

This footage—which may have been leaked by Fox itself—is now just one more clip within a larger reel of Carlson’s past behavior while at the network. Last week, The New York Times reported on footage in which Carlson is heard discussing his “postmenopausal fans” and whether they will approve of how he looks; in another, Carlson is overheard describing a woman whom he finds “yummy.”

Iowa High Schooler Gives Governor Kim Reynolds an Earful Over Anti-Trans Bills

The episode underscores how the Republican agenda is increasingly out of touch with younger Americans.

Mario Tama/Getty Images
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds recently signed a spate of anti-trans bills, banning gender-affirming care for people under the age of 18, as well as bathroom restrictions.

Folks, the kids are, yet again, alright.

Iowa high school student Clementine Springsteen got up onstage during an academic honors ceremony, posed smiling next to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and bellowed to the audience: “Trans rights are human rights!” In March, Reynolds signed bills banning gender-affirming care for people under the age of 18 and restricting what bathrooms transgender students can use.

Springsteen’s proclamation came during a ceremony for this year’s Iowa Governor’s Scholars, an honor bestowed on the state’s top academic performing senior students. Springsteen, of Davenport West High School, was one of 423 honorees from across the state’s 453 high schools.

Other students were seen sporting T-shirts that read “I read banned books” and “Public money for public schools.”

The display brought color to the notion that Republicans are demographically cooked, so to speak. In 2020, young voters played a fairly significant role in delivering the White House to Joe Biden—partially in excitement at the progressive agenda he initially promised, partially in outright rejection of the Republican Party’s increasingly reactionary and out-of-touch main line on abortion, the environment, civil and human rights, and guns, among other things.

The pattern has only ossified since then; two years later, Republicans set for a red tsunami, if not at least a red wave, got a ripple instead. The result gave rise to the notion that Democrats benefit when running (and delivering) on agendas that show the harmony, not mutual exclusion, of so-called “social” and “pocketbook” issues. They’re helped all the more by the contrast of Republicans insisting on both polarizing people in the realm of social issues and doing little to pad the pocketbooks of anyone who isn’t a millionaire.

And the punches keep coming, especially since the conservative Supreme Court’s overruling of Roe v. Wade. All six states with abortion on the ballot in 2022 voted to affirm abortion rights. In Wisconsin, a Trump-to-Biden state, voters just flipped the state Supreme Court to liberal control for the first time in 15 years, as they considered looming challenges surrounding abortion rights and the state’s absurdly gerrymandered districts.

Last week, both Nebraska and South Carolina narrowly shut down abortion bans; a small handful of Republicans dissented, probably in recognition of how damaging the bans are electorally, let alone on people’s actual lives.

And the pattern is just as potent on guns. In Tennessee, after the school shooting that left three children and three adults dead, thousands of people, young and old, have taken to the streets demanding action. The new mobilization has stirred up new scrutiny that has since revealed more of Tennessee Republicans’ long-standing corruption, beyond expelling Black members protesting gun violence.

Newly endowed Democratic-trifecta Michigan, where Trump won in 2016, has passed a slate of progressive bills, from repealing anti-union right-to-work laws to enacting gun-related public safety measures, including universal background checks.

It’s no wonder that millennials and members of Generation Z are breaking decades-long American tradition, becoming the first generations not, in fact, to grow more conservative as they age. It’s also no wonder Republicans have only escalated their attacks on democracy, instead of actually trying to meet voters where they are. Expelling members demanding action on gun violence; punishing transgender members for the act of advocating for the people they are trying to attack; explicitly saying they can only win by suppressing the votes of young people—all this after a U.S. president himself stirred up a riot at the Capitol to try to overturn the results of an election.

The more Republicans come to terms with how deeply unwinnable their agenda is, the more they will try to win through other means anyhow—which only negatively polarizes people even more against them. It’s a death-spiraling self-perpetuation. A fearful outcome might be the continuing demise of democracy. But with more and more people being activated, mobilized, and even radicalized—from high schoolers in Iowa and parents in Tennessee to workers in Michigan and abortion voters everywhere—the conservative agenda (and desperate efforts to impose it on us by any means necessary) might fizzle out, the same way 2022’s red wave did.

The ACLU Is Coming to Transgender Lawmaker Zooey Zephyr’s Aid

Calling the Republican effort to silence her “craven” and unconstitutional, the organization will sue to challenge the Montana lawmaker’s censure.

William Campbell/Getty Images
Supporters hold signs near a rally in support of transgender lawmaker Zooey Zephyr on April 29, in Livingston, Montana.

The ACLU announced Monday it is suing on behalf of Montana’s first and only transgender representative, whom state Republicans censured last week after she slammed their anti-trans legislation.

The Montana House of Representatives voted along party lines Wednesday to censure Representative Zooey Zephyr. She will be barred from entering the House chamber and forced to vote remotely on bills, effectively silencing her for the rest of the legislative session.

Since being censured, Zephyr has set up office on the bench just outside the House chamber. She slammed the motion against her as a “disturbing and terrifying affront to democracy.”

“House leadership explicitly and directly targeted me and my district because I dared to give voice to the values and needs of transgender people like myself,” she said in a statement with the ACLU of Montana. “By doing so, they’ve denied me my own rights under the Constitution and, more importantly, the rights of my constituents to just representation in their own government.”

Republicans did not allow Zephyr to speak on the House floor for almost two weeks, after she spoke out against a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors. She warned that taking away health care would increase suicide among trans and nonbinary kids. “I hope the next time there’s an invocation, when you bow your heads in prayer, you see the blood on your hands,” she said at the time.

Things came to a head last Monday after a protest broke out in the gallery following the Republican majority’s decision to continue to bar Zephyr from speaking on the floor. The House GOP has tried to cast Zephyr’s actions as disruptive, referring to her initial comments as inappropriate and disrespectful—misgendering her in the process—and accusing her of trying to start an insurrection. They then set the vote to ultimately censure her.

The ACLU has now entered the scene, following a weekend in which nearly 1,000 Montanans rallied in Missoula to express support for the representative.

“Representative Zephyr was elected by the people of her district after running on the very principles she is now being punished for defending,” Alex Rate, legal director of the ACLU of Montana, said in the statement Monday. “In his craven pursuit to deny transgender youth and their families the health care they need, [House] Speaker Regier has unfairly, unjustly, and unconstitutionally silenced those voters.”

Kyrsten Sinema Is Proud That She Has No Beliefs

In a rare interview, the Arizona senator gets tangled up in a web of her own ideological contradictions.

Bill Clark/Getty Images
Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema

“No.” This is what Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema said when asked if there’s an ideological through line in the votes she has taken in the Senate.

Sinema takes pride in her transformation from young idealist to defender of the status quo as an example of maturity. Alas, what the Arizona senator views as some unique, independent approach to politics is simply what hegemonic forces in America have encouraged for decades: You can dream of a better world when you’re young, but you better wise up when you get old enough to become a cog in the machine that prevents such a fantasy from happening in the first place. (Note: This tradition of relinquishing idealism is now being upended by millennials and Gen-Z.)

Sinema seldom engages with the press; in fact, she famously seldom gives more than a minute’s attention to anyone unless they have lots of money, lots of power, or both. Consequently, hedge funders and private equity titans all seem to have her on speed dial whereas her own constituents have to stalk her in public to earn a moment of her time. But the Arizona senator bucks this trend in a recent interview with The Atlantic, in efforts to show that her approach to politics “works.” Sinema comes across as both staunch in ignoring the advice of others and too willing to skate around her own self-purported principles.

Sinema has faced criticism for appearing to have abandoned previous ideals, serving now instead as a foot soldier for plutocratic elites. But she’s pointedly proud of her ideological shift, and refers to her youthful political activities—protesting against the Iraq War, marching in sweltering heat in support of undocumented immigrants, spearheading a historic and successful effort to defeat an Arizona gay marriage ban—as “a spectacular failure.” Abandoning those youthful ideals, she says, is a sign of “age and maturity,” in which “new information” led the “lifelong learner” to adopt a different approach to politics.

“You can make a poster and stand out on the street, but at the end of the day all you have is a sunburn,” Sinema told The Atlantic. “You didn’t move the needle. You didn’t make a difference … I set about real quick saying, ‘This doesn’t work.’”

Sinema’s supposed concern with moving “the needle” connects to her view of herself as “practical,” as someone who moves efficiently to solve problems and broker deals, like the 2021 infrastructure package and 2022 gun safety bill following the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting. Naturally, there are some factors that complicate her self-evaluation.

For one, both bills were severely watered down (in no small part from Sinema’s own hand) and fall short of what is necessary to genuinely solve the problems they sought to address. The guiding principle to compromise in order to achieve something doesn’t carry as much weight when the compromise imperils the original legislative goals from being achieved. It certainly seems significantly at odds with Sinema’s self-aggrandizing claim that she is “a long-term thinker in a short-term town”—there’s hardly anything more short-term-minded than continually lobbying for half-measures that ensure the underlying problem will fester, continually demanding the attention of lawmakers and adversely affecting ordinary Americans.

Moreover, the “problems” Sinema is trying to solve do not just exist in the ether. Her own approach to politics in a narrowly divided Senate is one source of the problems stopping the government from enacting meaningful change. The Arizona senator has been staunch in her opposition to eliminating the filibuster, for instance, which requires 60 votes for most bills to pass in the Senate. Eliminating this barrier would allow a simple majority of the Senate to enact legislation. Sinema famously has an illogical and ahistorical position on the filibuster that doesn’t track with the Founders’ ideals.

Sinema’s insistence on maintaining this status quo is grounded in her belief that it prevents parties from imposing their agenda with narrow majorities—as if conservatives have not benefited from structural advantages like the Electoral College that have allowed the right wing to impose its agenda with not just narrow but often unearned or illusory majorities, or through the courts (banning abortion and attacking labor and calling corporations “citizens” are not popular policies in the slightest, but all have been imposed by conservatives all the same).

“When people are in power, they think they’ll never lose power,” Sinema said two years after a Republican-fomented attempt to overthrow the results of an election in which the party she fled from won a mandate to pass policies she has played a central role in preventing from happening.

Much ink has been spilled questioning Sinema’s motives. Is she just a capital-serving villain? Is she playing some long game? Is she just now a moderate who believes in the system that she rightfully saw as broken a few decades ago? Or does she actually have no ideology?

For the sake of argument, what if we imagine she truly believes in her approach? There often can be nefariousness drawn from the actions of the most powerful in our society—either intentional, or at least in their outcome. And can we recall that the most powerful are human beings too: shrouded by their personal experiences and biased by what they believe or come to believe is correct (think of how Elon Musk’s attitudes have only become more and more reactionary as he structurally surrounds himself more and more with sympathetic employees and blue check reply guys).

What some may see as subservience to power interests and shady, consistent avoidance of engaging with the public may be imagined by others as unorthodox tactfulness. But the impacts are the same nonetheless: The possibilities of politics are being hijacked by a lawmaker whose imagination has been lost. If Sinema truly is a “lifelong learner,” may we ask her, genuinely, to consider how she may now be stricken from the very maladies of establishment thinking to which she presumes herself to be immune.

First Republic Becomes the Latest Bank to Fool Around and Find Out

The firm becomes the latest financial institution to get in on 2023’s hot new trend of risky decisions leading to total failure.

Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images
A First Republic Bank branch in Beverly Hills, California

Regulators took over First Republic Bank on Monday, marking the third bank collapse since the start of this year.

First Republic was viewed as the next weak link in the U.S. banking sector, following the collapse of Silicon Valley and Signature Banks in March. A last-ditch effort to save First Republic by injecting it with cash failed.

Following a weekend auction, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced Monday that JPMorgan Chase would take over First Republic’s assets and deposits, effective immediately. JPMorgan and the FDIC will split the losses and loans.

Much like Silicon Valley Bank, First Republic was a specialized lender. It focused on wealthy customers, at one point counting Mark Zuckerberg among its clientele, and offered fixed low rates on long-term loans for mortgages or businesses.

But the low rates that enticed people to stash their cash with First Republic were the proximate cause of the bank’s downfall. The Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates aggressively over the past year to try to bring down record-high inflation. Returns on First Republic’s loans stayed low, about 3 percent, while the bank had to pay at a 5 percent rate to get new funds from the Fed and Federal Home Loan Bank.

Silicon Valley Bank’s breakdown brought further scrutiny on banks that didn’t insure their deposits, a risky move that was enabled by former President Donald Trump’s rollback of Dodd-Frank regulations in 2018. The Obama-era rules were implemented to make sure that nothing like the 2008 Great Recession happened again. We are now in the midst of the second-biggest bank failure in U.S. history.

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank sparked no small amount of fear among investors, and First Republic customers soon began to withdraw their funds, looking elsewhere for stability and better returns on interest rates. First Republic revealed at the end of April that clients had withdrawn more than $100 billion since the start of March.

A group of 11 larger banks agreed to deposit $30 billion in First Republic in an attempt to stabilize it, but the effort fell short. And now First Republic is just another warning story about the dangers of having inadequate bank regulations.