Patterico's Pontifications


George Washington Goes Back to His Farm

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:49 pm

[guest post by JVW]

This is my annual post about the Greatest American of Them All, published on his birthday. Here for reference are the past posts commemorating the event:

2015 – George Washington’s Birthday
2016 – George Washington Quiets the Rebellion
2017 – George Washington Fears for His Country’s Future
2018 – George Washington Agrees to Serve Another Term

This year as we observe the return to power in the House of Representatives of the political party who ran things eight years ago, including pretty much the very same leadership team in place now as was then, it’s probably worthwhile to take a moment to consider the Cincinnatian nature of George Washington’s willingness to relinquish power and return to life as a private citizen — not just once, but like Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus before him, twice in his eventful lifetime.

By the beginning of the fall of 1783, the Treaty of Paris had been negotiated and the draft was circulating throughout the former colonies inviting speculation and debate, but also signaling to Americans that freedom was indeed at hand. General Washington, who by now had been in command of the Continental Army for over eight years, had already dismissed the notion of becoming a king of the new nation, and desired to return to Mount Vernon to once again ride around his plantation watching the wheat and rye grow, counting the chickens and hogs, brewing beer and distilling whiskey. With peace about to go into effect, the time was now right for him to step down. In March of 1783 the Commander-in-Chief had used his guile and theatrical presence to quell the Newburgh Conspiracy (our 2016 post), and by the end of the summer most of the issues regarding soldiers’ back-pay and bonuses had been settled. At last, Washington could surrender his command and go home, having gone the past eight years without so much as a weekend furlough.

That June, General Washington drafted a final Circular Letter to the States intending it to be distributed throughout the land, a practice in which he had engaged throughout the war whenever he felt it advisable to do so. In it, he sought to take stock of the accomplishments of the young nation over the past several years:

The Citizens of America, placed in the most enviable condition, as the Sole Lords and Proprietors of a vast tract of Continent, comprehending all the various soils and climates of the World, and abounding with all the necessaries and conveniences of life, are now by the late satisfactory pacification, acknowledged to be possessed of absolute freedom and Independency; They are, for this period, to be considered as Actors on a most conspicuous Theatre, which seems to be peculiarly designed by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity.

Here, it would seem, the Father of his Country was telling his children that the good fight had been fought, the race had been run, the faith had been kept, and they needed to understand that their leader should now be allowed to take his leave. When his friend and devoted protégé the Marquis de Lafayette suggested a grand tour of Europe, visiting the capital cities (presumably not London) in triumph, the General made it clear that he intended to remain on the banks of the Potomac and could do without the overseas folderol.

That November, word arrived from Paris that the signatories had all agreed to the treaty that formally ended the American Revolution. He bade an emotional farewell to the soldiers, deeming them “one patriotic band of brothers,” then on December 4 he gathered his officers at the Fraunces Tavern in New York for a goodbye to his commanders who had performed so valiantly. Never a man for physical contact — he was no fan of shaking hands and preferred instead a more formal bow as a greeting — the General invited each of the men present to come and take his hand in a gesture of fellowship and respect.

His final farewell came nineteen days later in Annapolis, where the Confederation Congress was temporarily in session. There, in what was later said to be a poignant and heart-rendering ceremony, General George Washington surrendered his command and once again became a private citizen: “Having now finished the work assigned me,” he told the gathering, “I retire from the great theater of action. [. . .] I here offer my commission, and take my leave all of the enjoyments of public life.” He then turned on his heel, strode to the door where a horse was waiting for him, mounted and rode off into legend. The Indispensable Man had taught his countrymen that in a true republic no one need be indispensable.


Awful Senator Dresses Down Brainwashed Kids [Updated x2]

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:26 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Dana found us the full video on YouTube so that we don’t have to watch it piecemeal on Tommy Christopher’s Twitter feed. Thanks Dana!

Thanks to commenter E Plummer who points us to a series of six video Tweets from Tommy Christopher which show a roughly thirteen-minute exchange between the students and the Senator. Because it is a series of Tweets, I won’t embed them here, but you can follow them via the link.

Let me admit forthrightly that Sen. Feinstein is actually pleasant in her initial encounter with the kids, offers to get them copies of her own proposed environmental legislation, then tells them rather bluntly that the AOC Green New Deal is unaffordable and can’t pass the Senate (video clip 1). She says she is still open to voting yes on the GND, and then she starts getting testy with the kids’ constant recitation of the talking points that have been drilled into their young minds of mush (video clip 2). A big chunk of the original video in this post was taken from this second clip.

Her aide then brings her copies of the environmental plan she supports. The woman or young teen girl who is filming challenges the Senator in what I thought was a respectful and friendly way to give her “elevator pitch” for how she would sell her own legislation, and the Senator answers in a way that leads me to believe that she has no frickin’ clue as to what is in her legislation. Big surprise there. A young lady, who appears to be older than the students and might be a representative of the environmental organization or perhaps even a parent then makes an impassioned plea once again for the Senator’s support, and here’s where the Senator delivers her icy “you should run for the Senate” line (video clip 3).

She then shoos the students out of her office, claiming that she has another scheduled meeting to attend. They make their final whiney entreaties to her and by now she seems done with them (video clip 4). Finally, in the last two video clips she speaks with one of the parents who says that she was a little girl when Feinstein was first elected (ouch!), and the Senator offers an internship to a young minority woman who probably looked around the office and noticed that everyone else present was as white as Gavin Newsom, the rest of the student advocates included (video 5). In the final video some patronizing white guy in a suit says to the camera in chipper voice “I’m a big backpacker, so I’m environmentally conscious!” What a riot (video 6).

So after watching the full thing, OK, I formally dial-back some of my criticism of Senator Feinstein. And even a big old softie like me (hardy-har-har) has to admit that the damn kids were unbearable, though again I place the fault squarely on the adults who are scaring the young ‘uns shitless with environmental doom and gloom rather than on the kids themselves. I still think the Senator was dissembling here: she begins in video 1 by saying that the GND is “unaffordable,” but then walks that back and pretends that the only reason it won’t pass is because of the mean ol’ Republicans and not because it is a cosmically stupid plan. And I could certainly do without her “I just got elected by a margin of one million votes” as if that somehow turned her into an all-seeing seer whose judgement dare not be questioned. Still, she was more patient with them than I had originally believed, and I do acknowledge that this was indeed a case where I would have been advised to wait for the full accounting of the meeting before attempting to characterize it. Consider me duly chastened.


This video is painful. A bunch of cute school kids — I’m not great with guessing ages but I’ll say ranging from 8 to 17 years old — paid a visit to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office to implore her to get behind the insipid Green New Deal. The tykes and teens are earnest and attractive — not unlike our own Delightfully Clueless Socialist Congresswoman Niece — but have clearly been brainwashed by adults into believing this whole Henny-Penny-the-sky-is-falling line of apocalyptic bullshit so popular with the far left these days. And the old biddy Senator, instead of patiently and kindly explaining to them that they are being used as pawns in a nefarious political agenda, pulls out her “how dare you not cower in awe in the presence of a United States Senator” attitude and hectors them on their insolence. It’s painful to watch, but here it is:

Wasn’t that just awful? The ugly sense of grandeur displayed by our state’s (very) senior Senator as she blithely informs these kids — her constituents (I think this takes place in San Francisco) — that she just won reelection and therefore doesn’t have to listen to them absolutely astonishes me, even though I have had the Senator’s number for quite some time now.

If she weren’t senile and crotchety, Senator Feinstein might have invited these students to sit down. Then, in a pleasant and helpful tone, she might have told them that they had been fed an entirely one-sided view of the alleged environmental peril we face, and that they had also been led astray with respect to the supposed popularity of these dumb proposals. (On the other hand, these kids do live in San Francisco, so their worldview is painfully limited anyway.) She could have explained how there are necessary tradeoffs to enacting stringent environmental protections, and that their generation will be called upon to pay for those protections in the form of higher prices for goods, higher tax rates, more regulation, and diminished opportunities as compared to previous generations. She could have pointed out that unless the large developing countries like China and India agree to radically change their environmental policies, the steps that the U.S. would take aren’t going to amount to much in terms of healing the world. And, finally, she could have challenged them to broaden their horizons beyond the doom-and-gloom prophecies of the radical greens, and seek out other opinions and ideas for cleaning up the planet that don’t involve government control of all aspects of our life.

But no. This shrewish old harpy, full of unearned self-regard and certain of her indispensability, treated the kids to a harangue on her electoral successes and her bona fides as a progressive friend of the planet. Perhaps if the students had thought to present their proposals as a way for Richard Blum to profit handsomely from their plans she would have embraced their agenda and made it her own. In any case, we were presented with a sad spectacle of a bunch of young kids who have had their callow minds warped by campfire tales of environmental devastation making distressed pleas to an elected official who long ago concluded that she has better things to do than listen to the common folk, especially those who don’t yet vote. Fie on her, and fie on those adults to have drilled their nonsense into the next generation’s developing minds and convinced them they don’t need to observe rules of decorum when they are feeling self-righteous.


New Jersey Considers Requiring Candidates’ Tax Returns in Order to Appear on Presidential Ballot

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:02 am

[guest post by JVW]

From the South Jersey Courier Post:

New Jersey Democrats are reviving a controversial effort to force President Donald Trump to release his tax returns or be denied a spot on the state’s 2020 ballot.

The state Senate on Thursday approved a bill — which the Legislature passed once before, in 2017, but which then-Gov. Chris Christie blocked by issuing a scathing veto — that would prohibit candidates for president and vice president from appearing on the ballot unless they make their tax returns public.

Similar legislation has been introduced in at least 30 states but never enacted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, meaning New Jersey would be the first to impose such a disclosure requirement if its measure is also approved by the Assembly and signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat.

Good for the Garden State, right? I mean, it’s important that our political leaders be above reproach with their financial dealings so that we, who consent to be governed, know that we have honest and ethical leaders. This is such a great idea that it really should apply to elected officials everywhere, right? Well, not quite:

In a similar spirit, state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris, sought to amend the latest bill during Thursday’s Senate voting session to make it apply to all gubernatorial, state Senate and Assembly candidates as well as presidential and vice presidential candidates.

“What’s good for the goose is what’s good for the gander,” Pennacchio said in a statement explaining the move. “If this really is about making sure voters are well-informed, then common sense dictates that S-119 should apply to all of us.”

Democrats blocked the amendments.

Ah, Jersey. Never change, you rascals you.

Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.


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