Breaking: Amber Guyger Verdict: Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

The jury in the trial of (former) Dallas police officer Amber Guyger took just a few hours to find her guilty of murdering her unarmed upstairs neighbor, Botham Jean.

*

The smell of fuckery was high in this one after the judge allowed the jury to consider the castle doctrine for a shooting in the victim’s home, but the jury seems to have been completely unbefuddled by that move. ETA: as commentor Momentary points out below, there’s some speculation that the instruction was given with an eye to appeal-proofing the verdict.  IANAL, and have nothing useful to add to that thought.)

From the first story I found on the result:

Cheers erupted in the courthouse as the verdict was announced, and someone yelled “Thank you, Jesus!” In the hallway outside the courtroom where Guyger was tried, a crowd celebrated in raised voices. When the prosecutors walked into the hall, they broke into cheers.

Guyger faces between 5 and 99 years in prison. Court will resume at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Not often a cop faces the full weight of his or her actions.  Congratulations to the 12 women and men of that jury for seeing this one through.

Image:  F. Luis Mora, The National Academy Jury of 1907.

*It’s possible I may not have caught the concept of “jury” perfectly here.








A Much Needed Forceful Statement From Justin Herdman, the US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio

Justin Herdman, the US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, made a blunt, powerful statement today regarding white supremacy and those who adhere to it.

This guy gets it!

Perhaps he can explain it to the President?

Open thread!








The Goal Is To Hold the Line

Those Who Seek to Control Others Know Power, Those Who Seek to Control Themselves Know the Way*

— Lao Tzu; The Tao Te Ching

There’s been a lot of sturm and drang in the comments recently, not just today, about all is lost, there’s no way out, we’re doomed. This has often been married to doom and gloom about the primary, the differences between the candidates, and whether idealism, incrementalism, or pragmatism is the way to win the 2020 election. How about we all just step back, take a deep breath, and focus on the actual fight that is the 2020 campaign. That fight has five components:

  1. Winning the presidential election
  2. Keeping the majority in the House
  3. Winning back the majority in the Senate
  4. Holding the governors’ mansions and state legislatures currently in Democratic hands
  5. Flipping as many governors’ mansions and state legislatures as possible

The fourth and fifth components are important to set the conditions for a more representative redistricting after the 2020 census. The first three are important for other reasons. Maintaining the Democratic majority in the House is a necessary, but not sufficient requirement to return the US back to a solid political and economic footing. Retaking both the presidency and the Senate are both necessary and sufficient requirements to actually being able to do so. If the Democrats retake the presidency, but don’t retake the Senate, the next president will be a lame duck before her or his hand ever comes off the bible at the inauguration. No one they nominate, for political or judicial or diplomatic appointments, will ever get a vote. Nor will any legislation that passes a Democratic majority House, other than, perhaps, continuing resolutions to keep the government running at a previous year’s top line budget number. Right now the only way to reverse the damage that has been done, and to ensure that we get good policy on the climate and the environment, on immigration, on healthcare, on the economy including trade, and on criminal justice is to not just be able to pass laws through both chambers of Congress, but to have a Democratic president to sign that legislation and her or his political appointees in place to administer the executive branch agencies and fill judicial vacancies.

The only good news out of Senator McConnell’s court packing scheme, and that’s what it was a decades long strategy to achieve a Republican majority in the Senate and a Republican president to fill the vacancies that McConnell abused the Senate to keep vacant, is that almost every judicial vacancy that McConnell has filled was a judgeship that was held by a judge appointed by a previous Republican president. Retaking the Senate stops this before McConnell can replace the last batch of Bush 41 judicial appointees still serving, as well as the older Clinton and Bush 43 judicial appointees who will begin to retire. And it also stops him from replacing the next three Supreme Court judicial vacancies, vacancies that are likely to come open over the next several years whether we’d like them to or not. And yes, I fully expect that even as I write this, McConnell and members of the White House Counsel’s Office and Leonard Leo are working on Justice Thomas to get him to retire next year to both prevent a potential Democratic president from being able to replace Thomas after 2021 and to once again put the Supreme Court majority in play as a successful campaign strategy to both reelect the President and maintain a Republican majority in the Senate.

That reality recognized, this is all in our hands. We have the ability, we have the power to elect a Democratic president in 2020 and a Democratic majority in the Senate, as well as maintain the Democratic majority in the House. This is what the 2020 election is all about. And yes, it is about healthcare, immigration, climate, environmental, economic, foreign, defense, criminal justice, and trade policy, but it isn’t actually about whether to take an incremental approach versus a revolutionary approach. Or something in between. It isn’t really about a choice between VP Biden or Senator Warren or Senator Harris or Senator Sanders or any of the other Democratic primary candidates. The simple reality we face as Americans is that nothing positive, not a single damn thing, is possible on healthcare, immigration, the climate, the environment, the economy, foreign policy, defense policy, criminal justice, and/or trade policy if the President is reelected and if the Senate remains in Republican hands. The real issue right now isn’t whether VP Biden’s healthcare plan is too incremental or whether Senator Sanders is too idealistic and therefore unrealistic and improbable. And that either of them have the ability to deactivate Democratic voters because they’re not having their ideological pleasure centers tickled. At the Federal level, the real issue is electing a Democrat president with a Democratic majority Senate and maintaining the Democratic House. That’s it. Almost any of the Democratic primary candidates is acceptable given this reality. And even a one seat Democratic majority in the Senate is as well.

This is all doable. It is within not just the realm of possibility, but also probability and plausibility. But it is only doable if we both recognize the actual strategic objectives we’re trying to achieve and don’t give in to despair. One of the ways that tyrannies are able to subvert democracies, regardless of whether it is a democratic-republic like the US or a parliamentary democracy or any of the variations in between, is by exhausting the citizenry. Exhaustion and despair are the means to that end. The President, Senator McConnell, their trusted agents, their surrogates, and their supporters want everyone strung out, worn out, and so stressed out they can’t respond effectively. Americans are tired, they’re upset, they’re angry. Even the President and his supporters are angry and they’re getting everything they claim to want. They are the sorest winners in history. How about we give them something to actually be sore about!

It is within our power to turn this around. And to do so at the ballot box, which is the easiest way to do it. Trust me, you don’t want me to have to write the post about how to deal with this the hard way! The ways and means to do this are registering voters and getting out the vote and staying as calm and focused as possible. This means that the Democrats in Florida need to get their acts together and mobilize the Puerto Rican community in Florida. Both those who have been there for a long time and those who have arrived since Maria devastated the island. Do actual, real outreach. Get them registered. Get them motivated. Stay in regular contact. Remind them who has their back, who recognizes them as fellow Americans, and who doesn’t. Similar efforts need to take place, tailored to the demographic realities of each state, in each state to ensure the broad, multi-generational, ethnically and religiously diverse coalition that is the Democratic Party turns out to vote in such large numbers than no amount of shenanigans, no matter who is behind them, can thwart the will of the majority.

The fight right now is to elect a Democratic president, a Democratic majority in the Senate, maintain a Democratic majority in the House, maintain all the Democratic governors and state legislatures, and flip as many to the Democrats as possible. And the battlespace for the presidential election is the Electoral College, no matter how much we’d all like to see it placed in the dustbin of history.

We can do this. We can save ourselves. No one else will. But to do so we must stay focused, we must pace ourselves, we must not give in to despair and frustration and infighting. Because the alternative is simply unacceptable.

Open thread!

* Also translated as “Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power” and “He who knows others is learned, He who knows himself is wise”, as well as several other variants depending on which translation one is referencing.



There Is A Real Risk To Criminalizing Domestic Terrorism

(Full disclosure: In 2002 I was paid for my participation – preparing a scholarly paper with Ron Akers who supervised the criminological side of my doctorate and dissertation – in the National Institute of Justice’s, which is the research arm of the Department of Justice, special conference on Violence and Terrorism. The proceedings of that conference were published in this edited volume. The definition and empirical theoretical explanation of terrorism that we presented, which were directly from my doctoral dissertation, were voted by the other participants in the conference as the best definition and empirical theoretical explanation of terrorism presented at the conference. That definition is closely mirrored in the definition used in the Federal statute that defines both international and domestic terrorism. I have had no funding from the NIJ/DOJ since 2002.)

After the white supremacist terrorist attack in El Paso on Saturday, which followed on one in Gilroy, CA the week before, and was then followed by a mass shooting in Dayton, OH that night and which is still under investigation for motive, there have been calls to revamp the US criminal code to criminalize domestic terrorism. The FBI Agents Association has now formally called on Congress to do this.

Many others have also called for this change because, as we’ve discussed here before, while domestic terrorism is defined in the Federal code, there is no criminalization of the behavior as there is for international terrorism. Many are arguing, and, perhaps, not incorrectly so, that it is time to bring the Federal code up to date and criminalize domestic terrorism so we have better tools to fight the surge in domestic white supremacist terrorism that has been spiking across the US over the past three years. And that, by doing so, Congress would be sending a message and ultimately be creating a deterrent. As a professionally educated and trained criminologist, I am highly skeptical of the deterrent power of law, especially Federal law, on most people’s behavior.

That said, I have a different concern here. Specifically that a Federal criminalization of domestic terrorism will actually be used and directed against those who are ethnically, racially, and religiously non-conforming to the white, Christian majority that still exists in the US. The same goes for LGBTQ Americans, as well as members of immigrant communities who have not completed or have chosen not to become naturalized citizens. The US’s history of applying law, is the history of law being directed by those with more cultural (ethnic, racial, religious, political/ideological, socio-economic, gender, sexuality) homogeneity to the majority against those with less. And I think it is highly likely that if domestic terrorism is criminalized at this moment in America, where the questions of who are and can be American and just what Americanness is are actually being fought over, including in the violent domestic terrorist attacks we saw in El Paso and Gilroy and Paloma and Pittsburgh and Charleston and other places in the US, then an actual criminalization of domestic terrorism will not be directed at white supremacists. Rather, it would be directed against Black Lives Matter; anti-Trump protesters in general, as well as the more specific antifa, which is often conflated with the Black Bloc anarchists; RAICES, the Jewish Never Again Action movement, and other groups protesting the President’s immigration policies and practices; as well as a variety of other groups that regularly and routinely engage in peaceful assembly and protest and digital and social media activists protesting Federal, state, and local government leaders and action.

And this is before we even get to what the states will do to mirror a Federal criminalization of domestic terrorism. As it is, every state created some variant or version of homeland security, anti-extremism, and/or terrorism statutes in the wake of 9-11. Some were well thought out. Some not so much. Several years ago I was briefly asked to consult on a defense appeal in New Jersey* for someone who, when 15, got drunk and spray painted some swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti on a synagogue. Unfortunately for this guy, when New Jersey decided to create a terrorism statute in the wake of 9-11, they just built out their hate crime statute. So stupid, drunken teenage behavior, no matter how much it is offensive, got this guy a long prison sentence as a terrorist under New Jersey state law instead of just a hate crime prosecution.

Last week Ken White, the former Federal prosecutor turned defense attorney who tweets as Popehat, and Above the Law’s Elie Mystal had a very interesting and thoughtful discussion that, while tangential to criminalizing domestic terrorism, provides a loudly sounding klaxon of warning against doing so. Their conversation was about creating a 1st Amendment carve out to criminalize hate speech. While I highly recommend that you click across and read the whole thing, for the purposes of criminalizing domestic terrorism, this is the relevant section (emphasis mine):

Elie: JUSTICE MYSTAL, CONCURRING. The majority has well explained the law as it is, and explained well what the law is not. But I now write separately to argue not what the law is, but what it should be…

When applied to people of color, the incitement principle does not take into account the lived experience of colored people. It does not take into account how lynchings happen, how assassinations happen, and how run-of-the-mill “I’m just going to beat you half to death” hate crimes happen.

The mob is encouraged, riled up, and given a black or brown scapegoat for their problems. Eventually, some members of the mob are going to *act.* The people riling up the mob know that there is a chance one of their idiot flock will act. We have to be able to bring legal consequences to these people, *before* there are additional dead or beaten people of color in the streets. Prosecuting merely the act after the fact might make white people feel better, but it does nothing for the victims who are either dead, bloodied, or live in fear of being dead and bloodied.

To put that in the form of a question, what *good* do incitement standards, as we currently have them, do for the people most likely to be the victims of the kind of racial violence black people have known in this country for 400 years?

White: It’s a perfectly fair question. The legal system disfavors the powerless — particularly racial and religious minorities. Rules devised by the system tend to do the same. The way the system works tends to do the same.

But — here’s the key — exceptions to constitutional rights absolutely follow the pattern. Put another way, any exception to free speech will be disproportionately applied against the powerless, and especially people of color.

The history of free speech law bears this out. Very little of it is about trying to put limits on racists. Most of it is about trying to put limits on the powerless — about the system finding excuses to jail poor people, people of color, unpopular people.

So, consider the cases involving a broad reading of incitement, the ones that might support prosecuting someone for a billboard like this. Consider Schenck v. U.S., in which Justice Holmes gave us the fatuous “fire in a crowded theater” trope. Schenck’s about prosecuting a socialist for distributing handbills suggesting that poor people resist the WWI draft. THAT’S what got the Supreme Court to articulate a very broad and unprincipled incitement standard, the type you’d need to reach a billboard like this.

Elie: Right. It’s used to put people like me in jail for saying “we need to take a sledgehammer to the Wall” if one idiot sledgehammers the Wall and catches a border security guard in the face… “by accident.”

White: Exactly. Or consider “fighting words,” a doctrine almost never applied by courts but often raised by people wanting broader bans on speech like this.

Chaplinksy — the poor bastard whose case led to the “fighting words” doctrine — was a Jehova’s Witness, a sect that was revoltingly prosecuted in the 30s and 40s. It’s an ugly bit of history most people don’t know about. Chaplinksy was streetcorner preaching and a crowd assembled and was threatening him, and a dude tried to RUN HIM THROUGH WITH A FLAGPOLE WITH THE AMERICAN FLAG. But the cops were wanted HIM to stop preaching, so he swore at a COP, and they arrested HIM, and the Supreme Court says that HE’S the one uttering the fighting words.

That’s the way these cases go. True threats doctrine? Developed on the backs of Vietnam War protesters.

Elie: I had forgotten where we get fighting words from.

But, if I may respond as if you were Joe Biden… THAT WAS THEN, OLD MAN. The argument that we can’t stop racists from inciting violence against us because the racists will use those laws against us is, at best, unsatisfying.

White: Elie, it may be unsatisfying, but sorry, it’s true. Consider:

Right now, Ted Cruz wants to have ANTIFA investigated and prosecuted under RICO. Now, that’s stupid for a number of reasons. But it illustrates that doctrines allowing broad attacks on speech are NOT going to be used against dudebros who run racist gun stores.

Who is going to get hit with broad definitions of incitement? It’s not gun store dudes. It’s Black Lives Matter marchers.

Consider all the efforts to pass new laws criminalizing unlawful assembly a couple of years ago after some particularly well-publicized Black Lives Matter marches.

Consider New York, right now, wanting to make it a FELONY to splash a cop. Now, that’s not speech, but that’s how the system works.

This isn’t speculation. It’s history. There is no rational reason to think that broad free speech exceptions will be used for the benefit of the powerless.

You are wickedly well-educated on the law, Elie. So remind our readers: in the first hate speech/hate crimes case to reach the Supreme Court, who was the aggressor and who was the victim?

Elie: [Furiously Googling] It’s the Mississippi Burning case, yeah?

White: It’s Wisconsin v. Mitchell, where the defendant was black and the victim was white. It was a case where a bunch of kids got riled up after watching “Mississippi Burning” and attacked a white guy. It is, by no stretch of the imagination a coincidence that the first hate crimes case involves black-on-white crime.

Elie: I mean, the reality that any speech law made to protect black people will be used against black people is one of the things that makes me hate this “land of the free” crap. But it also pushes me to my actually least favorite position. … Let’s make hate speech unconstitutional. Or, to put that more legally, let’s make hate speech unprotected speech.

Yes, that has the same problem that “PoC ‘hate’ speech” will be more prohibited than white hate speech, but it ALSO means that at least some white hate speech can be controlled. It’s a murder-suicide pact, but it will stop some white people from encouraging violence.

White: And let’s not confuse it with other popular proposed amendments to the First Amendment, like the deathless “no flag burning” amendment, or the right to pray in schools amendment.

So: I like specifics about law over generalities. So, Elie, how would you propose to word an anti-hate-speech amendment?

Elie: See, that’s the problem right there. Wording it. I’d go with something like this:

“Speech intended to threaten, harm, or harass other Americans based on the race, gender, religion, country of origin, sexual orientation, gender at birth or [insert whatever ism I’m forgetting because I’m not woke enough] shall not be considered protected speech. Congress shall have the power to enforce this provision.”

And yes, I’ve just written a Constitutional Amendment that still somehow doesn’t take down the fucking billboard and I hate myself.

But I am getting at “harassment” which means I can basically shut down white supremacist Twitter. To say nothing of the fact that my Amendment has a chilling effect on Donald J. Trump.

White: Okay. Not to be the guy who asks what does that mean — but what does that mean?

Elie: Threaten = trying to nudge the true threat analysis away from “imminent” and towards “reasonable. Harm = trying acknowledge that there are speech harms that are more than mere physical danger. Harass = “get out of my mentions, you asshole.” Threaten is enhanced, harm is new, harass is the one that will ruin free speech.

White: Since I’m having trouble analyzing this, can I ask how it would apply to an example? [we got through a couple of examples until]

OK, the Amy Wax example. Wax says, falsely, that no black students graduated with honors, right? So, reverse it, A prof who says that white kids at her school are privileged, racist, and indifferent to injustice, and ought to be ashamed. Protected or not?

Elie: Well, this gets to an important issue: TRUTH is always protected. At some point we need to stop white supremacists from spreading their trash. Wax was surfacing a lie. Not an opinion. Not research. Just lies. I’m just floored by how we can continue living in a society where freaking lying is protected speech, when we know how dangerous lies are to the very structure of our polity.

White: Do you want American courts adjudicating whether whites are racist? Would you like, say, a Trump appointee in the District of Mississippi ruling on that one?

Elie: Ugh. NO. No I do not want a Trump judge in Mississippi ruling on whether I have a right to a Slurpee. Much less on whether I can say what I want.

For those playing along at home, this is where Ken always gets me. I’M FREAKING RIGHT… but Ken knows this guy named Donald Trump and his mere EXISTENCE means that we can’t have nice things.

White: Okay. Let’s say public statements by professors, activists, political figures can be the basis for prosecution if they are factually false. Who is prosecuted first in America: Steve King, or AOC?

As White correctly points out, and Mystal recognizes in the legal and lived history that he and White are describing, is that law is all too often created by the powerful in response to something done by or to the powerless and is then directed against those with less power by those with more. And, as the sociology of law research tells us, this direction flows from the culturally (ethnically, racially, religiously, politically, socio-economically, sexuality, and gendered) more homogenous against those who are less culturally homogenous. And this is what I think will happen if domestic terrorism is criminalized. It won’t do anything to deter the white supremacist or neo-NAZI terrorists we’re concerned with, nor will it really change their potential prosecutions, which will focus on murder and assault and battery as defined either Federally or in the state jurisdictions they are tried in. What it will do, however, is provide another tool for those already in power who play footsie with the white supremacists, neo-NAZIs, neo-fascists, neo-nationalists, and/or nationalist-conservatives for political reasons to direct law against those appalled by the behavior of the members of these groups and the politicians that play wink-wink, nudge-nudge with them. And that means that Black Lives Matter activists, anti-Trump activists at the Federal level, anti-insert state governor’s name here activists at the state level, those who might protest specific Federal or state legislators, RAICES, the Never Again Movement, and others protesting against the President’s immigration policies and actions will be even more at risk. We need to be clear eyed that criminalizing domestic terrorism comes with a price. That price is that the criminalization of domestic terrorism will make members of all these protest groups, many directly tied to ethnic, racial, and/or religious minorities, will no longer just be potential targets of white supremacist terrorism, but also of the domestic terrorism law put in to place to deter and counter it.

Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. Good and hard.

Open thread!

* The appeal didn’t go forward as the new defense attorney brought in to handle the appeal, and who I was recommended to as someone with documented credentials as both a one time scholar of terrorism (pre 2007) and then counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism practitioner (post 2007), was unable to actually challenge the statute on appeal for technical reasons resulting from the original trial. So I didn’t do much of anything but read a summary of the problem and say, I’m happy to consult, here’s my rates, which turned into $0 billable hours.








The 2020 Elections Present A Simple Choice: Pick A Torch

Do you stand with this torchbearer?

Related image

Or this one?

Image result for charlottesville protests

And that should be the ad the Democrats should already be running on every station, across America, to set the conditions for a successful 2020 presidential campaign, as well as campaigns for the House, Senate, and gubernatorial and state legislative elections. Once nominees are in place, you can then superimpose the Democratic nominees for these positions and relevant portions of their platforms, tailored to the specific races, on the image of the Statue of Liberty and of the President on the image of the Charlottesville white supremacists and neo-NAZIs.

Back in January I wrote about the context in which the 2020 US election was going to take place. I specifically wrote that the US was currently experiencing a very specific type of resource war:

The 21st Century American Resource War: An Ideological and Partisan Dispute Over Who Gets to be an American

The most divisive political dispute, for lack of a better or less incendiary term, that is going on in the US right now and will continue into and through the 2020 election is one over resources. This is not a dispute over physical resources; and it is not really over even political and economic power in the sense that we’re used to understanding those types of disputes in the post WW II United States. Rather, the actual resource in dispute is Americanness itself. As in who actually is, or may make a claim to be, an American. This is not a new fight within and between Americans. It goes back to the origins of the country. And it, as it is doing right now, usually flares back up immediately after there has been an extension of civil liberties and rights to groups that were not previously considered, whether for political, social, religious, and/or ethnic/racial reasons, to be entitled to the full rights, protections, and liberties of other Americans. We are, unfortunately, currently in one of these periods. And the fight is over two very different visions of what it means to be an American and who gets to be an American.

The President, his senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, fellow travelers like Congressman Steve King, many of his outside advisors like Anne Coulter and Ginni Thomas, and his base are committed to a very narrow, crimped, and small minded vision of what it means to be American and who gets to be an American. Those in opposition to this have a far broader, expansive, open minded, and welcoming understanding of Americanness. This is the real core political, social, and religious dispute in the US today. It is an ideational, ideological, and in some cases theological and dogmatic war over the resource of Americanness. And, for the time being, it is fortunately and largely non-violent. Though the acts of domestic terrorism that are being driven by the most extreme adherents of the narrow, crimped, small minded understanding of Americanness and who is an American are accelerating as we saw in Pittsburgh.

Unfortunately, the frequency of the domestic terrorism from within this long simmering American insurgency is escalating. The violence, or the attempts at violence, are increasing and, often, as we saw yesterday in El Paso, increasing in lethality. We know what side the President, his senior advisors, his surrogates, his supporters, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement have chosen. The rest of us need to get focused and realize that a political war is upon us. And that that political war is over who is and gets to be an American. And those seeking to narrow it are more than happy and willing to both promote violence to achieve their ends and to undertake it themselves. The separation of migrant children from their asylum seeking parents, their abysmal treatment in the concentration camps they’re being detained in, and the violent rhetoric the President, his surrogates, his enablers, and his supporters use are all types of this violence. These often state directed actions are acts of symbolic and rhetorical violence intended to influence the President’s most extreme followers and their fellow travelers to actual physical violence.

This is a political war that must be fought. And it must be won. It isn’t going to be won by arguing over who is or is not the most progressive or whose policy proposals are more centrist or more socialist, when even the most centrist of them are far to the left of the leftmost proposals from a decade ago. It will only be won by recognizing that we are actually in a political war and that this reality changes the dynamic of our politics in general and the politics and politicking of the 2020 election. This is not political and campaigning business as usual. This is not an attempt to somehow reset everything to dawn on November 8, 2016. This is not about things going back to normal. This is a fight to preserve as much as can still be preserved, to clear American politics of those who promote this bigoted, racist, xenophobic, small minded, and narrow vision of who is and can be an American, and then build something stronger on what has been preserved.

Pick a torch!

It’s that simple. You’re either on the side of the Statue of Liberty or the side of the tiki torch neo-NAZIs and white supremacists. There is no both siding this. There is no “if my favorite candidate isn’t the nominee, I’m not voting because I won’t compromise my ideals and ideological purity”. Refusing to pick a torch, is refusing to take a stand. It is putting yourself and whatever your pet issue or issues are over promoting the general welfare and providing for the common defense. None of your high minded, ideologically pure agenda is going to ever get enacted if you don’t stand with those standing with Lady Liberty against the nationalist conservatives, the white supremacists, neo-nationalists, neo-fascists, and neo-NAZIs. Failing to pick a torch moves us one step closer to a white Christian herrenvolk democracy in the US where everyone who isn’t white and Christian has their rights challenged, limited, and/or taken away.

Pick a torch!

Updated at 2:57 PM EDT

Redshift in the comments asked for a side by side, easy to use on social media version of the images. So here you go:

 

Open thread!