SCOTUS Weighs Limits on Police Seizure of Property

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

Police seizures have gotten out of hand hopefully the Supreme Court will reign them in.

Timbs v. Indiana could open floodgates of asset forfeiture cases

Last Seen Propped Against a Tree, Pistol in His Hand, 8 Japanese Lie Around Him

H/T War History OnLine.

R.I.P. Sergeant(posthumous) Thomas Alexander Baker June 25, 1916 – July 7, 1944.

The Medal of Honor is the greatest and most esteemed American military decoration that can be bestowed. The soldiers who have received this honor are among the bravest and have sacrificed the most in service of their country.

One of these people is Thomas A. Baker who valiantly fought in the battle for Saipan.

Baker was born in 1916 and raised in New York. He joined the US Army in October 1940.

He spent four years in basic training before being assigned as a private in Company A of the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. His company was immediately thrust into WWII.

On June 16, 1944, his unit headed to Saipan, arriving at Agingan Point. The Saipan Island was of high strategic value to the US command as it is located 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers) south of the Japanese home islands.

The island played a major role in the supply route between the Japanese islands and the Japanese army in the Central Pacific. Saipan would also be the perfect base for the US army to launch air attacks on the Japanese home islands and Tokyo.

LVTs heading for shore on June 15, 1944. The Birmingham is in the foreground; the cruiser firing in the distance is the Indianapolis.

 

Saipan: US reinforcements and landing crafts.

When Baker and his division arrived, they were ordered to provide support for another unit in capturing Aslito Airfield. The 105th moved to the east of the airfield and dug in for the night.

They knew the fight ahead would be hard as the Japanese would not give up the island easily.

On June 19, the 1st battalion pushed their attack toward Nafutan Point, east of the airfield. When they reached Ridge 300, they were confronted by heavy Japanese defenses.

The heavy machine-gun fire forced Colonel O’Brien, the commander of the 1st battalion, to change the attack plan.

Marines following an advancing Sherman M4 Tank in Saipan, 1944.

 

Marines and Jeeps Advance to Front Lines in Saipan.
M4 Tanks Cover Marines Attacking Japanese Positions in Saipan, 1944.

The attack was shifted from the west of the ridge to the north. This was done so tank support could be used to outflank the Japanese on the ridge.

The attack recommenced in the afternoon, but it soon came to a halt, forcing the army to dig in for the night.

The attack was made a bit easier by Baker. He had moved out of his position toward the ridge and observed the location of enemy positions. He borrowed a bazooka from one of the other soldiers and calmly walked into the field.

Holding a Colt M1911, a Marine moves cautiously through the jungle of Saipan. July 1944.
GIs at the wreckage of a Japanese sugar mill in Saipan.

The Japanese continued to shoot at him while he knelt in the middle of the field. He fired the bazooka into the enemy gun position and destroyed it. After firing, Baker walked back to his company.

The second phase of the Battle of Saipan started on June 21, 1944. During this assault, Baker’s company was moving forward across an open field. The field was flanked by obstructions and areas where the enemy could easily hide.

Baker took up a position at the rear of the company during the advance to protect the others from any ambushes.

Japanese Tanks Try to Break US Lines at Hell’s Pocket. Saipan, 1944.

While doing so, he came across two heavily fortified enemy pockets which were manned by ten enlisted men and two officers. The pocket had been bypassed by the rest of the company, but Baker attacked and killed them, disregarding the fact that he was outnumbered.

Further along, he uncovered six enemy soldiers who had concealed themselves and were waiting to ambush the company. Baker shot all six soldiers before continuing with the rest of the company.

Marines take cover behind an M4 Sherman tank while clearing Japanese forces from the northern end of the island of Saipan.

On the evening of July 6, the 1st and 2nd battalions of the 105th were near Tanapag. They dug in and set up a defensive perimeter.

During the evening and night, the Japanese patrolled the area looking for a weak spot. This continued until close to 5 am on July 7, when they launched a gyokusai attack.

Up to 5,000 enemy soldiers converged on the American location. The attack came from three sides and was brutal. In the opening stages of the fight, Baker was severely injured, but he would not be evacuated.

Marines Battle Way through Garapan, 1944, Saipan.

He stayed in position to fight the enemy forces even when his ammunition was gone. After that, he used his rifle in hand-to-hand combat.

Finally, without any ammunition and his weapon battered to uselessness, he was carried 50 yards away from the fight by a fellow soldier.

The soldier helping him was wounded at that point, and Baker refused to be moved any further. He insisted that the other soldiers continue to safety while he remained where he was.

At Baker’s request, he was propped against a tree and given a pistol filled with only eight bullets.

Thomas A. Baker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This would be the last time Baker was seen alive.

When the area was later retaken by US forces, they found his body just as his fellow soldiers had left him. Around him were the bodies of eight enemy soldiers.

MS-13 Member Admits He Traveled With Migrant Caravan To California

H/T Godfather Politics.

If the is on MS-13 gang banger with the caravan there more of them in the caravan still.

Border Patrol agents arrested an MS-13 member who claimed he traveled through Mexico with a migrant caravan. The arrest was after he illegally crossed the border from Mexico into California.

According to the Washington Examineran active member of the MS-13 gang admitted to U.S. Border Patrol officials that he joined a caravan of migrants in the hopes of reaching the border and crossing into the United States. Jose Villalobos-Jobel of Honduras was arrested on Nov. 24, after being spotted standing on the U.S. side of the border.

Phyllis Batso@PhyllisBatso

Big Surprise..
Absolutely Not https://www.breitbart.com/border/2018/11/28/ms-13-member-says-he-traveled-with-migrant-caravan-to-california/ 

MS-13 Member Says He Traveled with Migrant Caravan to California

Border Patrol agents in California arrested an MS-13 member who claimed he traveled through Mexico with a migrant caravan.

breitbart.com

See Phyllis Batso’s other Tweets

Breitbart:

Border Patrol agents assigned to the El Centro Sector in California arrested a previously deported MS-13 member who claimed he traveled through Mexico with a migrant caravan. The agents made the arrest after he illegally crossed the border from Mexico into California.

El Centro Station agents patrolling east of the Calexico Port of Entry came upon a suspected illegal immigrant who just crossed the border from Mexico. During an interview, the agents learned the man is a Honduran national who claimed membership in the hyperviolent MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha 13) gang, according to El Centro Sector Border Patrol officials.

The Honduran national told agents he traveled through Mexico as part of a large group of caravan migrants coming from Central America with the intention of filing for asylum in the U.S., officials stated.

The agents transported the gang member to the El Centro Station for further investigation and a biometric background check. The agents identified the man as 29-year-old Jose Villalobos-Jobel, a citizen of Honduras. More

Just because this one bad hombre was alone when he was caught doesn’t mean he traveled alone or that there aren’t more of them mixed in the mobs. 

Larry W.@First10Fiddle

https://www.breitbart.com/border/2018/11/28/ms-13-member-says-he-traveled-with-migrant-caravan-to-california/  via @BreitbartNews. Of course he CAN’T be MS-13 or that would negate the entire idea democrats have that all immigrants are harmless! A TX Teacher must have run over herself, Steinle shot herself & Mollie just laid down in a field & died! Coddling fools!

See Larry W.’s other Tweets

PhxSunscreen@yo_phx

In case the libs think the migrant caravan is just women & children ( it’s not ) mostly work age males who are not applying for asylum. MS-13 Member Says He Traveled with Migrant Caravan to California https://www.breitbart.com/border/2018/11/28/ms-13-member-says-he-traveled-with-migrant-caravan-to-california/ 

46 people are talking about this

🇺🇸 Ray 🇮🇱@FauxNewsHound

Hey @CNN, @NBCNews, and @MSNBC! You told us they weren’t coming. Then you said there aren’t criminals in the imaginary caravan?

MS-13 Member Says He Traveled with Migrant Caravan to California http://bit.ly/2DP9fP8  via @BreitbartNews

See 🇺🇸 Ray 🇮🇱‘s other Tweets

TG2 Truth Seeker🖤@TG2TruthSeeker

HEY DEMOCRATS, here’s one of your innocent caravan members!!

MS-13 Member Says He Traveled with Migrant Caravan to California http://bit.ly/2DP9fP8  via @BreitbartNews

See TG2 Truth Seeker🖤‘s other Tweets

tori1954@safesky19

Pelosi would call him a patriotic dreamer. How many in the caravan are gangbangers already deported and coming back here which makes them felons?

See tori1954’s other Tweets

Restaurant Sells Nasty Anti-Trump T-Shirts, Instantly Regrets the Decision

H/T Right Wing Folks.

I hope that Amigos Taqueria y Tequila gets a visit from the Secret Service and they get boycotted out of business.

1-54

A Mexican restaurant in Rhode Island wasn’t prepared for the intense backlash they faced for selling offensive anti-Trump T-shirts.

Printed on the back of the shirts was “86 45.”

The owner of Amigos Taqueria y Tequila says the phrase means to get rid of or replace President Donald Trump.

“Wendy Carr, owner of Amigos Taqueria y Tequila in Westerly, said the business sold shirts with the logo “86 45” printed on the back to raise money for political candidates. According to The Westerly Sun, which first reported the story, restaurant staff wore the shirts on Election Day this year,” Fox News reported.

However, in the gang world to “86” someone means to “murder” them, according to Republican state Sen. Elaine Morgan.

“To ‘86’ or ‘Deep 6’ a person means to murder them,” Morgan told NBC 10. “Calling for the murder of anyone is wrong. Calling for the murder of our president is not only wrong but also treasonous. The right thing to do for any responsible citizen would be to call attention to and try to put a stop to this blatant incitement of violence.”

Fedupwithhate@liannemr1

86-45 shirts sold at Westerly Rhode Island @ Amigos Taqueria Y Tequila ..Wendy Carr owner

25 people are talking about this

The restaurant was quickly hit with an avalanche of criticism and angry Trump supporters. But Carr claimed the phrase is not meant to encourage violence.

“I would never advocate for harm of violence in any way,” Carr said in response to the backlash. “The T-shirt was clearly always had the message of, ‘Impeach the president.’”

In a message on the restaurant’s website, Carr apologized to any customers who interpreted the shirts as a call to violence.

“I am deeply troubled that as an elected state official, Elaine Morgan, would make up a malicious story about Amigos and call for a boycott of a local business solely because I, the owner, have a different political view than herself. I apologize to everyone that was led to believe her lie and hope that this explanation clears up any misunderstanding of our intent,” the statement said.

The statement added, “We would like to thank our friends and loyal customers for standing by us during this time. We always like to stay focused on the positive and this is seen by all the new patrons that have come to show their support! Thank YOU! All are always welcome at Amigos regardless of political view and we look forward to serving you soon!”

John Kerry Not Ruling Out a 2020 Presidential Bid

H/T Town Hall.

Wow, what a crowd for the DemocRat nomination in 2020 two time loser Hildabeast Clinton, John Lurch Kerry and Creepy Slow Joe Biden.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who lost the 2004 presidential election to George W. Bush, revealed Tuesday evening that he has not ruled out a run for president in 2020.

“I’m thinking about how the hell to get out from under that question fast,” Kerry quipped when asked if he was considering a run during Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum.

“I’m not taking anything off the table,” he emphasized. “I haven’t been running around to the most obvious states, laying any groundwork or doing anything.”

“Am I going to think about it? Yeah, I’m going to think about it,” he concluded.

Prior to the midterm elections In September, Kerry said that he wasn’t thinking about a 2020 run.

“I’m really not thinking about it,” he said. “Talking about 2020 right now is a total distraction and waste of time. What we need to do is focus on 2018.”

President Trump mocked him about considering a presidential run in a tweet at the time.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

I see that John Kerry, the father of the now terminated Iran deal, is thinking of running for President. I should only be so lucky – although the field that is currently assembling looks really good – FOR ME!

51.2K people are talking about this

Regarding the current field of potential Democratic 2020 presidential candidates, Kerry also said he’s not too impressed.

“I’m perfectly ready to embrace somebody that I think can win, or who wants to address all the issues that I just talked about and understands them,” he said. “But I’m going to be very candid here, and some people who are thinking about it aren’t going to love me for it, but I’m not — I don’t see the person yet that I’m prepared to say that about.”

He did have praise for former Vice President Joe Biden but said he wasn’t sure if he would run.

“I don’t know if Joe’s going to run, he’s a great pal of mine, we’ve known each other 40 years,” he said. “He’s clearly qualified, clearly great, he understands all these issues, and let’s see what he decides to do.”

Trump judicial nominees stall on Hill, as Flake digs in over Mueller plan

H/T Fox News.

Flakey Jeff is an embarrassment to the people of Arizona as well as a despicable human being.

Sadly he will not be replaced by any better Senator in January. 

Confirmation proceedings for President Trump’s judicial nominees have partially stalled on Capitol Hill, as outgoing Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake is standing firm in his vow to oppose all Trump nominations until the Senate votes on legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Flake, a frequent Trump critic who opted against running for re-election this year, followed through on his threat Wednesday afternoon and joined Democrats in opposing a bid to advance Thomas Farr’s nomination to serve on the federal bench for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Vice President Pence was then forced to break a tie on a procedural vote, in a rare Senate intervention. A final vote is expected Thursday.

While nominees like Farr may narrowly advance on the floor, proceedings at the committee level are stuck for now. Late Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee canceled plans for a Thursday meeting to vote on a long list of judicial nominees. Flake is a member of that committee. None of the nominations would have been favorably moved out of the committee if all Democrats plus Flake voted no.

Meanwhile, nominees already passed out of committee could be confirmed on the floor, though they may result in more airtight votes requiring Pence to serve as tie-breaker.

Flake, along with Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons and New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, on Wednesday tried to use a parliamentary maneuver to pave the way for a vote on the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, which would shield Mueller from inappropriate removal or political pressure.

Flake asked for unanimous consent to vote on the bill, but Utah Sen. Mike Lee objected, blocking the effort.

The three lawmakers expressed concern over comments made by President Trump, who has called the Mueller probe a “phony witch hunt,” as well as Trump’s ousting of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“It’s clear, therefore, something has to be done to protect Mr. Mueller’s investigation,” Flake said on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

The Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act mandates that a special counsel can only be fired for good cause by a senior Justice Department official.

Earlier this month, Flake said on the Senate floor, “I have informed the majority leader I will not vote to advance any of the 21 judicial nominees pending in the Judiciary Committee or vote to confirm the 32 judges awaiting confirmation on the Senate floor until … [the bill] is brought to the full Senate for a vote.”

Some Republicans counter that the bill is unnecessary.

“This is a solution in search of a problem,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters this week.

Still, with Flake’s vow complicating GOP efforts to confirm Trump’s judicial nominees, The Hill reported Thursday that the Republican leadership is privately measuring support for the bill, and considering whether to hold a vote on it to satisfy Flake.

During Tuesday’s briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders denied that the president is considering firing Mueller.

“Look, I think that the president has had Robert Mueller doing his job for the last two years, and he could’ve taken action at any point, and he hasn’t. So we’ll let that speak for itself,” she said.

Sanders added, “He has no intent to do anything.”

Other Republicans also are signaling, for other reasons, they are willing to hold up Congress’ agenda — including a spending bill meant to avert a partial government shutdown. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday suggested he may refuse to vote on other issues until the Senate hears from the CIA about the murder of Saudi activist Jamal Khashoggi.

“I’m not going to be denied the ability to be briefed by the CIA,” Graham told reporters. “Anything that you need me for to get out of town, I ain’t doing it until we hear from the CIA.”

As for judicial nominees, a final confirmation vote on Farr’s nomination is expected Thursday. Though Farr’s nomination advanced with Pence’s support Wednesday, it’s not clear whether he will still have the votes of all Republicans in the final floor vote.

The Farr nomination has been controversial, with all 49 Democrats opposing Farr, arguing that Farr discriminated against African Americans through his rulings on voting laws.

“Mr. Farr defended North Carolina’s absurdly restrictive voter ID law, also passed by the conservative Republican state legislature, and they tailored their election laws to disadvantage African-American voters after requesting race-specific data on voting practices,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said.

Republicans, meanwhile, are standing behind Farr.

“The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary — a body that’s frequently been held up by my Democratic colleagues as the ‘gold standard’ — has awarded Mr. Farr its highest possible rating: unanimously well qualified,” McConnell said.

Trump denies pursuing Moscow real estate project

Jim Campbell's

Comment by Jim Campbell

November 29, 2019

In yet another attempt to create horse shit without the horse, the media is stirring it up again.

So much of “Attorney Client Privilege.”

Ambulance chasing former Trump attorney’s attempt to role on President Trump is clearly a non issue

So you want to be president of the United States of America?

The current Moscow skyline

This should come as no surprise, it’s what the progressive left and their media whores live for.

Axios News Service

November 29, 2018

After meeting cancellations, more headaches await Trump at G20

President Trump outside the White House, before departing for the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, on November 29, 2018. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

President Trump is flying to Argentina today for the G20 Summit, and, after he canceled a meeting with Russian President Putin and downgraded another with Turkish President Erdogan

View original post 725 more words

Thanksgiving – Then and Now

Pacific Paratrooper

WWII vs Afghanistan

THEN – WWII

Stanley Collins, US Navy: “I was on submarine duty in the Pacific in the year 1943. We were in the area off the cost of the Philippines. I remember having a complete turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. While the turkeys were cooking, the submarine took a dive. We went down too steeply and the turkeys fell out of the oven onto the deck. The cook picked them up and put them back into the oven — and we ate them, regardless of what may have gotten on them as a result of their fall. That meal was so good!”

Ervin Schroeder, 77th Infantry Division, 3rd Battalion, I Company, US Army: “On Thanksgiving Day, we made our landing on Leyte Island in the Philippines very early in the morning. We therefore missed our dinner aboard ship. Somewhere down the beach from where we landed, the Navy…

View original post 569 more words

History Made: Mississippi Just Elected Its First Female Senator, Yet the Media Doesn’t Seem Too Happy About It

H/T Town Hall.

If Cindy Hyde-Smith was a DemocRat the drive-by media would be shouting her accomplishment from the rooftops.

Let’s revisit this post from election week, in which I highlighted a number of notable Republican victors in the media’s much-discussed “year of the woman.”  Since that piece went live, a number of the tentative outcomes have changed: Young Kim narrowly lost in California, Martha McSally narrowly lost in Arizona (though could end up in the Senate anyway), and despite winning comfortably, Cathy McMorris Rodgers stepped aside from leadership, with Liz Cheney taking her place as the top-ranking Republican woman in the House.  A number of female incumbents from competitive districts also lost by a hair, such Mimi Walters and Mia Love, the latter whom was defeated by a white man.  Oddly, identity fetishists on the Left don’t seem to be complaining about that outcome.  But one of the results that remains intact is the victory of Cindy Hyde-Smith, who became the first woman ever elected to Congress (in either house) by Mississippi voters.

History!  Year of the woman!  “Can’t wait for all the glowing media profiles,” snarked one Twitter buddy.  The press, for some reason, tends to get more excited about certain historic political winners (and losers) than others.  I can’t quite put my finger on the difference; on the surface, it looks like many reporters are inclined root for Democrats, but I’ve been assured that such biases don’t exist, so the search for the root cause continues. Here’s how the Associated Pressand Reuters covered Hyde-Smith’s win:

Reuters Top News

@Reuters

Republican wins racially charged U.S. Senate race in Mississippi https://reut.rs/2E1pwBx 

Republican wins racially charged U.S. Senate race in Mississippi

Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith won a U.S. Senate special election runoff in Mississippi on Tuesday, the Associated Press projected, defeating a black challenger after a campaign that recalled the…

reuters.com

256 people are talking about this

The Associated Press

@AP

MT @AP_Politics Republican US Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith wins divisive Mississippi runoff, surviving a video-recorded remark decried as racist. http://apne.ws/N8do6Pb 

https://storage.googleapis.com/afs-prod/media/media:aad5c10106d1408c8472482a1151408a/400.jpeg

GOP US Sen. Hyde-Smith wins divisive runoff, keeps her seat

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith won a divisive Mississippi runoff Tuesday, surviving a video-recorded remark decried as racist and defeating a former federal official who…

apnews.com

475 people are talking about this

By contrast, here’s how the same AP Twitter account announced Bob Menendez’s relatively close re-election, having barely escaped federal corruption convictions, following a stinging bipartisan rebuke from the Senate ethics committee:

AP Politics

@AP_Politics

BREAKING: Democrat Bob Menendez wins re-election to U.S. Senate from New Jersey. at 8:52 p.m. EST. @AP election coverage: http://apne.ws/APPolitics 

Politics

The Associated Press delivers in-depth coverage on today’s Big Story including top stories, international, politics, lifestyle, business, entertainment, and more.

apnews.com

198 people are talking about this

Remember Kirsten Sinema?  She won the Arizona Senate race despite numerous videos of her dumping on the people of her state, and her history of radicalism — including portraying US troops as murderous skeletons spreading ‘US terror.’  I don’t see anything about her ‘surviving’ her controversies here:

AP Politics

@AP_Politics

BREAKING: Democrat Kyrsten Sinema wins election to U.S. Senate from Arizona. at 5:41 p.m. MST. @AP election coverage: http://apne.ws/APPolitics 

Politics

The Associated Press delivers in-depth coverage on today’s Big Story including top stories, international, politics, lifestyle, business, entertainment, and more.

apnews.com

9,662 people are talking about this

While we’re at it, does anyone remember this AP framing of President Obama’s 2008 victory?

John Ekdahl@JohnEkdahl

Senator Barack Obama wins divisive Presidential election, surviving personal relationships with prominent anti-Semites and domestic terrorists.

The Associated Press

@AP

MT @AP_Politics Republican US Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith wins divisive Mississippi runoff, surviving a video-recorded remark decried as racist. #Election2018 http://apne.ws/N8do6Pb 

359 people are talking about this

Oh, that didn’t happen?  Weird, right?  To be fair, some media outlets did showcase the historic nature of Hyde-Smith’s win, so the coverage was not uniformly biased.  Also, she admittedly was not a strong candidate, foolishly ‘joking’ about attending a hanging and suppressing college students’ votes, and relying on prepared answers written on notecards during the only debate of the runoff.  Regardless, Hyde-Smith, a former Democrat, won by a tighter margin that is typically expected in Mississippi, but it wasn’t exactly a nail-biter either.  She prevailed by approximately eight points, leading to earlier-than-expected concession and victory speeches by the respective candidates.  Hyde Smith underperformed most Republicans in certain suburban areas and ‘swingy’ districts, but made up ground among rural voters, underscoring a major theme of the 2018 cycle.  President Trump’s strong endorsement and eleventh-hour rallies likely helped secure her lead in the heavily Republican state.  Her team wisely nationalized the contest, burying the Democrats’ chances.  Now that the Senate cycle is officially complete, Republicans have netted two seats, increasing their majority to 53-47.  Phil Klein’s takeaway is the most important:

Philip Klein

@philipaklein

Mississippi win gives McConnell 3 votes to spare on Trump judges https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/mississippi-senate-win-gives-mitch-mcconnell-three-votes-to-spare-to-confirm-trump-judges 

Social Default Image

Republican Senate win in Mississippi gives Mitch McConnell three votes to spare to confirm Trump…

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s victory in the Mississippi run-off election on Tuesday night will provide Republicans with 53 Senate seats, in effect giving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell three votes…

washingtonexaminer.com

72 people are talking about this

With Democrats now in control of the House of Representatives, Trump won’t be able to pass any sort of major legislation, meaning that the Republican Senate will be primarily spending the next two years pushing through as many judicial nominations as possible. In the past year, with Republicans down to 51 seats, McConnell has only been able to afford one defection on confirmations. That in effect has left fence-sitting Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Jeff Flake with out-sized influence over the nomination process as any two of them had the power to sink a nomination.  Going into 2019, Flake will be out of the Senate, and McConnell will be able to afford to lose both Collins and Murkowski and still have a vote to spare given Vice President Mike Pence can cast the tie-breaking vote. The added cushion not only means that it will be easier for McConnell to get nominees confirmed, it also means that Trump and his team can have more leeway to nominate more conservative judges given that there is now less pressure to placate centrists.

Klein also notes that “there are 112 district court vacancies and 11 appellate vacancies on the federal bench.” And one never knows when another SCOTUS seat could open up. Finally, just in case you can’t get enough of Senate politics, I’ll leave you with Josh Kraushaar’s never-too-early preview of the 2020 map:

Josh Kraushaar

@HotlineJosh

McConnell holding 53 Senate seats + the ever-growing rural vote for Rs makes 2020 Senate majority challenging for Ds.

Dems have solid chance flipping CO + NC + AZ, but significant rural vote in IA/GA/TX will bolster Rs.http://njour.nl/s/674742?unlock=W5CX6EFPQP5WHYT1 

Assessing the 2020 Senate Map

By picking up two seats, Mitch McConnell’s Senate majority is looking resilient heading into the presidential election cycle.

nationaljournal.com

156 people are talking about this

Polish pilots of the RAF

H/T Beyond The Band Of Brothers.

A look at the bravery and skill of the Polish pilots with the RAF.

Facing the enemy – and the doubt of allies.            

After the fall of Poland to Nazi Germany, the government in exile quickly raised a force of 75,000 soldiers in France, comprising troops who had escaped to continue the fight. Many of these soldiers were pilots. Even though they were well-trained, experienced, with some having over ten years of flying experience, and already seasoned against the Luftwaffe, they were largely ignored by the French, with only 174 getting a chance to fly when Germany invaded its western neighbor. Many of the pilots who did get to fight flew obsolete fighters but still managed to inflict losses on the Germans.

unnamed
A Polish military airfield in early 1939. The plane in the foreground is a PZL.37 Łoś medium bomber, accompanied by PZL P.11 fighters

After the fall of France, some 8,000 Polish air personnel managed to escape to Britain to continue the fight. Like the French, the British were also dismissive at first. One English pilot who later flew with Poles wrote: “All I knew about the Polish Air Force was that it had only lasted about three days against the Luftwaffe, and I had no reason to suppose that they would shine any more brightly operating from England.”

unnamed (1)
The flags of the Royal Air Force and Poland being raised at a British airfield

Polish pilots were eager to replace the mounting British losses who fell daily during the Battle of Britain, but they had to convince the RAF of their ability first. Most of them didn’t speak a word in English and could only talk to British officers in French. They had to learn to measure distances in miles instead of kilometers and fuel in gallons instead of liters. They had to learn to push the throttle forward for full speed, rather than pulling it back like they used to do. Having flown fixed-gear planes earlier, they had to learn and remember to lower the landing gear before touching down. Veteran pilots had to ride tricycles, equipped with radio, speedometer and compass, in formation around the airfield to prove they understand basic maneuvering.

unnamed
Polish pilots during RAF training

Culture shock was also something to deal with, especially the rainy weather and the food, with one Pole remarking that English cuisine “consists of making the worst dishes from the best produce on Earth.”

unnamed
Squadron Leader Eugeniusz Horbaczewski of No. 315 Polish Fighter Squadron with, his North American Mustang. Horbaczewski was shot down and killed on August 18, 1944 after destroying three Focke-Wulf Fw 190s

The Poles, however, were quick to convince the RAF and charm the general populace. Two Polish fighter squadrons and two bomber squadrons were set up, followed by more later in the war, while some airmen were placed in other, British-staffed squadrons. Once they started flying, the story of the gallant patriots quickly spread in the media and the Poles soon enjoyed free meals in restaurants, free drinks in pubs and free rides on the bus. During one mission, a Polish pilot had to bail, landing on the grounds of a tennis club – and was promptly invited to a doubles match. Another man parachuted and landed in the backyard of a London residence right at the feet of a girl whom he married two months later. Yet another was found by a lady whose husband was off to the war and who only let him return to his unit after two days of “recuperation.” Having an old-world charm with their bows, heel-clicking and flowers after the first date, the Poles became so popular with the English ladies that “I’m a Polish pilot, please have a drink with me, I’m very lonely” became a pick-up line for British airmen trying to get in on the action.

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Wing Commander Tadeusz Sawicz and his bride Diana Hughes on their wedding day in London, 1944

Not every Pole shot down was so lucky. One was lynched by a local mob that mistook his Polish protestations for German. Another avoided the same fate by swearing at his attackers in English, which made them realize he was on their side.

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In the air, Polish pilots amazed the RAF with an aggressiveness that was first taken for a lack of discipline. Rather than maneuvering in close units and firing from 150 yards away, they would dive at the enemy and open fire at point blank range, hitting more frequently and spreading panic.

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A Polish pilot giving details to a British intelligence officer after a mission

On August 30, 1944, 303 Squadron earned its wings thanks to this aggression. While out on a training mission, a pilot spotted and reported genuine enemies but his English squadron leader didn’t react to the report. Acting on his own initiative, he and another pilot broke off and shot down one of the German bombers. On his return to base, he was reprimanded for breaking discipline and then congratulated on his and the squadron’s first kill. Later that evening, his squadron leader made a call to Fighter Command, declaring “Under the circumstances, sir, I do think we might call them operational.”

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Pilots from No. 303 Squadron

Polish pilots played a critical role in the Battle of Britain. No. 303 Squadron alone scored nearly three times as many kills as the British average, with one-third of the losses. Jozef Frantisek, a Czech pilot flying with the Poles, became the highest-scoring ace of the battle with 17 kills. Another pilot became one of the three aces in a day of the battle by destroying five enemies in a single day. During the darkest days of the battle, when only about 350 pilots were ready to sortie, almost 100 of those were Polish.

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Ground crews working on Vickers Wellington bombers at No. 300 Polish Bombers Squadron

Though the Polish contribution to the war was invaluable, they were quickly discarded afterwards. With Poland ending up under the Soviet Union’s control, Britain appeased Stalin by forbidding Polish pilots from participating in the victory march in London. Many Polish soldiers returned to their homeland, now a Communist dictatorship, only to be the targets of suspicion and sometimes even imprisonment due to their western connections. Many more remained exiles for the rest of their lives.

You can learn more about the influence World War II had on the world’s many nations on our tours to Western Europe, the Eastern Front and the Pacific Theater.