Patterico's Pontifications


California City Removes Black Lives Matter Street Mural After Request for MAGA Street Art Is Made

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:46 pm

[guest post by Dana]

From California:

Roughly two weeks after a massive Black Lives Matter street painting appeared in downtown Redwood City, Calif., it was washed away – leaving the asphalt without a trace of the message’s familiar bright yellow paint. But unlike in other cities where vandals targeting BLM murals have been arrested and even charged with a hate crime, this time it was the city that suddenly removed the artwork.

Despite granting permission for the temporary street art and even providing the paint for the July 4 project, officials in the Northern California city ordered the painting removed from its prime location late last week, KPIX reported.

Why would they do that? Well, a city spokeswoman claimed that there were issues of public safety involved, and fear that drivers might be confused by the mural, and traffic collisions might occur as a result. Or, perhaps it was because there was a request made to city officials to paint “MAGA” on public streets:

But supporters of the artwork, who have expressed outrage over its removal, point to another factor they say actually prompted the city to take action: one resident’s request to paint “MAGA 2020” along the same stretch of street.

“They made the decision to take Black Lives Matter off the street at the first person that proposed the MAGA 2020,” Redwood City resident Dan Pease, who spearheaded the effort behind the original art piece, told KRON.

The request came from local attorney Maria Rutenburg, who told The Washington Post late Tuesday that she emailed city officials just hours after the Black Lives Matter painting had been completed asking if she could also paint the truncated version of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan nearby.

“I’m a Trump supporter and the slogan is important to me,” said Rutenburg, 44, who is white, arguing that once the well-known yellow words were painted on the street, it effectively became “a public forum.”

“Everybody has a chance of saying whatever they feel like,” she added. “My speech is just as important as BLM.”

The same City spokeswoman offered a vague explanation that the Black Lives Matter mural was “allowed as an extension of City efforts to preserve art related to the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in Redwood City,” but that the mural was not “formally processed” and while the city provided Dan Pease with the yellow paint, there was an understanding that it would be allowed to remain on the street for a short, undetermined length of time.

Rutenburg claims that she did not intend for the BLM mural to be removed with her request. That was the city’s decision. And because there are horrible people on both sides of the political aisle who are disgusting, oozing pustules of hate on the ass of society, Rutenburg and her family are now facing death threats as a result of the mural being removed.

As to the larger question of whether roads become “public forums” when cities paint slogans like Black Lives Matter, here is Eugene Volokh :

No. In Pleasant Grove City v. Summum (2009), the Court recognized that a city is free to put up certain monuments in its parks—and to accept selected monuments from private groups—without having to put up or accept other monuments. Such monuments are government speech, and the government is free to discriminate based on viewpoint in choosing what messages to affirmatively promote this way:

A government entity has the right to “speak for itself.” “[I]t is entitled to say what it wishes,” and to select the views that it wants to express.

In the words of Rust v. Sullivan (1991), on which Pleasant Grove relied,

When Congress established a National Endowment for Democracy to encourage other countries to adopt democratic principles, it was not constitutionally required to fund a program to encourage competing lines of political philosophy such as communism and fascism.

And that’s true of all viewpoints that the government chooses to express, however controversial or uncontroversial.

Now when it comes to private speech that merely uses the streets, sidewalks, or parks (rather than seeking to erect permanent or semipermanent structures there), the government must indeed allow all viewpoints and indeed speech of all kinds of content (setting aside the traditionally recognized exceptions, such as true threats). “Granting waivers to favored speakers (or, more precisely, denying them to disfavored speakers) would of course be unconstitutional,” and may be declared so whenever “a pattern of unlawful favoritism appears.” (Thomas v. Chicago Park Dist. (2000).) For a good example of that, see Hoye v. City of Oakland (9th Cir. 2011), which held unconstitutional a city policy restricting speech on city sidewalks around abortion clinics; the policy was ostensibly content-neutral, but the court found that the city enforced it in an unconstitutionally content-based way:

The City’s policy of distinguishing between speech that facilitates access to clinics and speech that discourages access is not content-neutral…. “[T]he fundamental principle behind content analysis is that government may not grant the use of a forum to people whose views it finds acceptable, but deny use to those wishing to express less favored or more controversial views.” … To distinguish between speech facilitating access and speech that discourages access is necessarily to distinguish on the basis of substantive content. Asking a woman “May I help you into the clinic?” facilitates access; “May I talk to you about alternatives to abortion?” discourages it. Telling a woman, “It’s your right to have an abortion!” facilitates access; telling her, “If you have an abortion, you will regret it!” discourages it.

But when it comes to the government’s own speech, the government can pick and choose what to say. And that includes permanent or semipermanent items on sidewalks, on streets, or in parks, such as monuments, plaques, street signs (including for streets that have ideologically laden names), traffic control signs, electronic message signs put up by the Transportation Department, or ideological messages written on the pavement.

(Read his argument in its entirety.)


NY Planned Parenthood Disavows Margaret Sanger’s Connection To Eugenics, But Keeps Its Abortion Mill Humming Inside

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:07 pm

[guest post by Dana]

A conveniently-timed epiphany. After all, it’s not as if pro-lifers have been pointing out the vileness of Sanger’s advocacy for eugenics for decades or anything, right?? Oh, wait, what’s that? Ah, so that’s what all that mockery and condemnation from Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates was about...

Better late than never, I guess:

Planned Parenthood of Greater New York will remove the name of Margaret Sanger, a founder of the national organization, from its Manhattan health clinic because of her “harmful connections to the eugenics movement,” the group said on Tuesday.

Ms. Sanger, a public health nurse who opened the first birth control clinic in the United States in Brooklyn in 1916, has long been lauded as a feminist icon and reproductive-rights pioneer.

But her legacy also includes supporting eugenics, a discredited belief in improving the human race through selective breeding, often targeted at poor people, those with disabilities, immigrants and people of color.

“The removal of Margaret Sanger’s name from our building is both a necessary and overdue step to reckon with our legacy and acknowledge Planned Parenthood’s contributions to historical reproductive harm within communities of color,” Karen Seltzer, the chair of the New York affiliate’s board, said in a statement.

The group is also talking to city leaders about replacing Ms. Sanger’s name on a street sign that has hung near its offices on Bleecker Street for more than two decades.

Really? They’re just now getting a clue that Sanger’s involvement in eugenics was vile? The movement targeted poor minorities, and the physically disabled and mentally impaired. How did they not know this? But of course, they’ve known about this forever, and they did not care one bit. In fact, they were in the habit of defending Sanger and making excuses for her:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the national organization, has defended Ms. Sanger in the past, citing her work with Black leaders in the 1930s and 1940s. As recently as 2016, the group issued a fact sheet saying that while it condemned some of her beliefs, she had mostly been well-intentioned in trying to make birth control accessible for poor and immigrant communities.

The national organization said in the fact sheet that it disagreed with Ms. Sanger’s decision to speak to members of the Ku Klux Klan in 1926 as she tried to spread her message about birth control.

It also condemned her support for policies to sterilize people who had disabilities that could not be treated; for banning immigrants with disabilities; and for “placing so-called illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, and dope fiends on farms and in open spaces as long as necessary for the strengthening and development of moral conduct.”

The effort by Planned Parenthood to whitewash Sanger’s advocacy and complicity, and to provide cover for her so the big money would keep rolling in (while simultaneously) assuaging their own guilt, is cheap and easily seen through. In other words, it’s exactly what I would expect them to do. This isn’t a reckoning. This is little more than a how-can-we-distance-ourselves-from-Sanger-and-appease-black-supporters-yet-still-come-out-of-it-with-clean-if-not-bloody-hands ploy.

As a reminder: “In 2009, Hillary Clinton received Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Award. In 2014, the honor went to Nancy Pelosi. Neither woman had a word to say about Sanger’s racism or support for eugenics. But suddenly, Planned Parenthood of New York has decided to condemn her.”

Anyway, the effort to disavow Sanger is ultimately a good one. Too bad that the disavowal of the reprehensible is limited just to a name, and that the actual practice of the reprehensible will continue inside the building walls, where everyone’s hands have blood on them.

Postscript: I am going to leave you with an essay by Sanger, in which she, ironically, warned about the dangers of abortion:

In plain, everyday language, in an abortion there is always a very serious risk to the health and often to the life of the patient.

It is only the women of wealth who can afford to give an abortion proper care and treatment both at the time of the operation and afterwards. These women often escape any serious consequences from its occurrence.

The women whose incomes are limited and who must continue at work before they have recovered from the effects of an abortion are the great army of sufferers. It is among such that the deaths due to abortion usually ensue. It is these, too, who are most often forced to resort to such operations.

If death does not result, the woman who has undergone an abortion is not therefore safe. The womb may not return to its natural size but remain large and heavy, tending to fall away from its natural position. Abortion often leaves the uterus in a condition to conceive easily again and unless prevention is strictly followed another pregnancy will surely occur. Frequent abortions tend to cause barrenness and serious, painful pelvic ailments. These and other conditions arising from such operations are quite likely to ruin a woman’s general health.

While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.

I also assert that the responsibility for these abortions and the illness, misery and deaths that come in their train lies at the door of a government whose authority has been stretched beyond the limits of the people’s intention and which, in its puritanical blindness, insists upon suffering and death from ignorance, rather than life and happiness from knowledge and prevention.

It needs no assertion of mine to call attention to the grim fact that the laws prohibiting the imparting of information concerning the preventing of conception are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths each year in this country and an untold amount of sickness and sorrow. The suffering and the death of these women is squarely upon the heads of the lawmakers and the puritanical, masculine-minded persons, who insist upon retaining the abominable legal restrictions.


John McWhorter on Morning Joe Talking “White Fragility”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

The great John McWhorter made an appearance on Morning Joe to talk about Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility.” DiAngelo says it’s racist to say “I disagree” and by that logic I guess McWhorter is racist, because he disagrees with this white woman who has gotten rich off of telling other white people that they are racists simply because they are white.

The segment is worth watching. I think the best line is where McWhorter says that if a black person read the book cover to cover they would come away with the impression that a white woman just told them they are five years old.

And here is McWhorter’s article in The Atlantic, referenced in the segment.

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