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ACLU

To understand where the U.S. democracy is at, ACLU boss Anthony Romero says all we have to do is look at a 14th century painting: Ambrogio Lorenzetti's The Allegory of Good and Bad Government.

Free speech for all: Romero notes that the ACLU isn't just arguing for free speech for those on the left, citing recent actions in support for conservative voices like Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos.

A scene from Lorenzetti's The Allegory of Good and Bad Government

On one side, Lorenzetti shows a good government where freedom and justice rule, crops flourish, and dancers and tradesman can practice their craft. On the other, a tyrant rules, justice is chained and her scales shattered and fear rules.

He drove the point home by interspersing images of Donald Trump and policies like the border wall and travel ban with scenes from the painting.

"We have to disrupt our lives so we can disrupt the amoral accretion of power by those who would betray our values," Romero said, speaking at the TED conference in Vancouver on Tuesday. "We have a choice. We can either paint ourselves into the worst nightmare of Lorenzetti's bad government or we can stay in the streets."

Go deeper

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.