Beto O’Rourke Unveils $5 Trillion Climate Change Plan

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

A five trillion dollar plan to fight something that does not exist.

I have a question for Robert Francis O’Rourke “Where is this money going to come from?”

Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman and failed Senate candidate jockeying for position in the crowded “straight white male” lane of the Democratic presidential primary, has finally unveiled a policy proposal. The candidate published on his campaign website Monday an ambitious plan to combat climate change—”the greatest threat we face”—to the tune of $5 trillion over the next decade.

“We have one last chance to unleash the ingenuity and political will of hundreds of millions of Americans to meet this moment before it’s too late,” O’Rourke said in a statement accompanying the plan’s release, echoing remarks he has made on the campaign trail comparing climate change to the threat the United States and the world faced from Nazi Germany and Japan during World War II.

The plan aims to achieve net-zero carbon emission in the United States by the year 2050, which O’Rourke’s campaign claims is “in line” with the ambitious goals laid out in the Green New Dealauthored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.). That is not entirely accurate. One of the first steps would involve introducing legislation in the first 100 days of O’Rourke’s administration that would establish a “legally enforceable standard” to ensure the United States gets halfway to net-zero emissions by 2030. However, a Green New Deal fact sheet published by Ocasio-Cortez’s office argued that the United States “must” fully achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 to ward off global catastrophe.

The plan would be financed via a “fully paid-for $1.5 trillion investment” generated by “structural changes to the tax code that ensure corporations and the wealthiest among us pay their fair share.” There is no explicit mention of a carbon tax, although the plan itself isn’t very explicit about anything. Nuclear energy, for example, is never mentioned. The plan simply proposes to “accelerate the scale up of nascent technologies enabling reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, through efficiency and alternatives.”

What about the remaining $3.5 trillion? That’s not entirely clear. The additional funds would be “mobilized” and “directly leveraged” by the new tax revenue, and funneled through “proven existing financial institutions” such as the Rural Utility Service, as well as “a new dedicated finance authority, which will have on its board not only the brightest minds in finance but also members of the unions that would help build this infrastructure.”

The plan’s lack of specifics with respect to its true cost is politically expedient, given that most Americans are unwilling to spend even $10 per month to combat climate change, according to a recent poll.

Through a combination of executive action and legislation, O’Rourke pledges to achieve his ambitious goal by “unlocking technological breakthroughs,” “supporting regional hubs of expertise,” “catalyzing partnerships with private and philanthropic capital,” “[boosting] the diversity of the leaders whose businesses form the supply chain for climate change solutions.”

Indeed, the text of O’Rourke’s plan is littered with the vague, snazzy jargon typically found in neoliberal think tank proposals, “woke” corporate press releases, and Silicon Valley mission statements.  This paragraph, for example:

Innovation that will lead to pioneering solutions in energy, water, agriculture, industry, and mobility and to scientific discovery that makes us more safe and secure. $250 billion in direct resources that will catalyze follow-on private investment, creation of new businesses, and discovery of new science.

Apart from a bullet point pledging to “Re-enter the Paris Agreement and lead the negotiations for an even more ambitious global plan for 2030 and beyond,” there is little explanation of how the plan would address the far more significant challenge of limiting carbon emissions outside the United States, which only accounts for about 15 percent of global emission (and falling). ​

DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROD ROSENSTEIN SUBMITS RESIGNATION TO TRUMP

H/T The Daily Caller.

How long before the drive-by media and the Delusional DemocRats blame President Trump for this rat faced bastard quitting.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein submitted his resignation to President Donald Trump on Monday after months of speculation that he was planning to leave the Justice Department.

His resignation will become effective on May 11, according to a copy of the resignation letter that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

“I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education and prosperity,” Rosenstein wrote to Trump.

He also spoke positively of his time in the DOJ, stating, “We enforce the law without fear or favor because credible evidence is not partisan, and truth is not determined by opinion polls. We ignore fleeting distractions and focus our attention on the things that matter, because a republic that endures is not governed by the news cycle.”

Rosenstein was initially reported to be leaving the DOJ in mid-March after the confirmation of Bill Barr as the new attorney general, but apparently decided to stay on a bit longer for the rollout of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. (RELATED: Rod Rosenstein Staying At Justice Department A ‘Little Longer’)

Rosenstein’s nearly two-year run at the DOJ was not without controversy.

In February, reports surfaced that Rosenstein floated the idea of wearing a wire to secretly record his conversations with President Trump. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe claimed Rosenstein was “absolutely serious” about the prospect of surveilling the president, but the DOJ said McCabe’s statements were “inaccurate and factually incorrect.”

Rosenstein was also responsible for the appointment of the special counsel after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. The special counsel’s investigation took approximately two years and cost $25 million in taxpayer funds but did not find evidence of collusion and did not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice.

In a speech last Thursday, Rosenstein defended his handling of the Mueller report and implicated the Obama administration for not doing more to stop Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He also took shots at Comey, stating, “the FBI director [Comey] announced at a congressional hearing that there was a counterintelligence investigation that might result in criminal charges. Then the former FBI director alleged that the president pressured him to close the investigation, and the president denied that the conversation occurred.”

Before submitting his resignation, Rosenstein also defended his boss, Attorney General Barr.

“He’s being as forthcoming as he can, and so this notion that he’s trying to mislead people, I think is just completely bizarre,” Rosenstein said Thursday in a rare interview with the WSJ.

 

Never take your eye off the ball

Jim Campbell's

By Jim Campbell

April 30th, 2019

Judicial Watch has done it again.

With their investigators, they have created a situation where there are a thousand soon to be indicted criminals all crammed into a room and told it’s time to play musical chairs.

Problematically, when the music stops there is only one chair available and the rest will be taking the fall.

It’s finally going to happen, my guess is that the president will wait until after the election.

At which point, he may just decide to have his Attorney General leave no chairs in the room.

H/T for the concept.

THE END

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How Japan Helped the Allies Spy on Hitler

Pacific Paratrooper

Baron Oshima & Adolph Hitler

Throughout the Second World War, the Allies tried to spy on Hitler and his generals. They went to extraordinary lengths to understand what the Führer was thinking, using intercepted messages, intelligence from inside Germany, and the advanced decryption facilities at Bletchley Park.

Ironically, some of their best intelligence on Hitler’s thinking came not from spying on the Germans but on their allies, the Japanese.

The groundwork for Baron Hiroshi Oshima’s role as an intelligence source was laid in 1934 when he arrived in Berlin to act as Japanese Military Attaché. An officer and a diplomat, Oshima quickly established good relationships with German officers and members of the Nazi party, who had risen to power in Germany the year before.

Oshima’s political philosophy was a good fit with that of the Nazis. He soon gained the ear of Hitler, becoming the Führer’s favored representative of Japan.

View original post 1,002 more words

Poll: 75 Percent Oppose Sanders on Letting All Prisoners Vote

H/T The Washington Free Beacon.

This is not good news for Crazy Bernie Sanders.

A large majority of Americans disagree with Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I., Vt.) stance that all prisoners should be allowed to vote in the United States, even those behind bars for violent crimes like the Boston Marathon bomber.

Business Insider poll found 75 percent of respondents opposed enfranchising all inmates, with just 15 percent saying they supported it. The poll found about 35 percent supported giving the vote to incarcerated persons in some capacity. Twenty-four percent said violent felons should lose their right to vote permanently.

Sanders said at a CNN town hall last week that even “terrible people” should have the right to vote from prison, after being asked if people like convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be given back the franchise.

“If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they’re going to be punished,” Sanders said. “They may be in jail for 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, their whole lives. That’s what happens when you commit a serious crime, but I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people.”

He’d made the point previously on a Fox News town hall to less attention, saying even murderers and rapists in prison for life shouldn’t lose that right.

Other Democratic presidential candidates backed off Sanders’s stance. Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) initially said she would be open to a “conversation” on the topic before quickly backtracking the next day. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said he opposed Sanders.

The Republican National Committee released an ad ripping Sanders for his views on prisoners voting, calling them “just wrong.”

Sanders has repeatedly boasted that his views that were considered “radical” when he ran in 2016 now dominate the mainstream of the Democratic Party. He is one of the top contenders for the 2020 nomination, currently jockeying with former Vice President Joe Biden at the top of early polls for primary voters.

Participants In Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Fun Run’ Didn’t Know They Were Donating To Her Campaign

H/T Godfather Politics.

Alexandria Occasional-Cortex has become a swamp monster.

She also proves that P.T.Barnum was correct when he said: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Participants in a fun run organized by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were unaware their registration fee was going towards her campaign.

The event on Saturday was billed as a family fun run supporting Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal’ but a spokesman later revealed it was a campaign fundraiser.

“The site says it’s to benefit her environmental plan,” said one supporter who would not give his name. “If it is going to go directly to her campaign they should have said so.”

New York Post

@nypost

AOC raised over $11K for campaign in Queens ‘fund run’ https://trib.al/iyyZlfS 

258 people are talking about this
Fox News:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held a 5k in Queens Saturday that she billed as “a Family Fun Run supporting U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal on the Saturday following Earth Day.”

But many of the 400 runners didn’t realize their $30 registration fees were going directly into the lawmaker’s campaign coffers.

“We’re getting together for our own health, for our planet’s health … and to fight for the Green New Deal together,” the freshman Democrat told the participants before they set off.

Environmentally conscious supporters — who jogged through Astoria Park alongside a beaming, strolling AOC — believed their money was going to help save the planet.

“It’s going to help raise awareness and educate people,” a female runner told The Post.

“I think it’s really for this particular New Green Deal,” said Brian Schwartz of Long Island. “No question.” More

The saddest part is that 99% of them don’t realize they were played for fools and the few who do realize it, will justify it by saying Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t mean to make it that hard to figure out it was a donation directly to her campaign.

Alicia F. Luke@AliciaFixLuke

Who would have guessed she’s a hustler? https://nypost.com/2019/04/27/aoc-raised-over-11k-for-campaign-in-queens-fund-run/ 

AOC raised over $11K for campaign in Queens ‘fund run’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held a 5k in Queens Saturday that she promoted as supporting her Green New Deal. But many of the runners didn’t realize their $30 registration fees were going directly

nypost.com

See Alicia F. Luke’s other Tweets

Dr.moewill@Docmoewill

Another bait and switch. One of the oldest tricks in the Socialist hand book. Thanks AOC. The next trick is the Green New Deal switched to Bankrupt USA. Then Medicaid for all switch to after age 68 no treatment. Free stuff cost to much.

See Dr.moewill’s other Tweets

Mark J. Cain ن@cainmarkj

Imagine that! This is all a big popularity show for @AOC that’s pushing a leftist political agenda. If @RepAOC was truly concerned about the people’s issues, she would do a lot more homework (e.g. about ), before opening her foot-shaped mouth.

See Mark J. Cain ن’s other Tweets

Victoria Cooper@Victori52049631

Gee…
Surprise!
Surprise!
AOC has learned fast on how to HOODWINK the people. PERFECT Swamp dweller tactic…

See Victoria Cooper’s other Tweets
This is the worst kind of political deceit, as most of these kinds of events are used for charity and not for the politician’s war chest.

De Niro, Still in Denial, Uses Graphic Language to Blast Trump at WH Press Dinner

H/T Flag And Cross.

Robert De Niro suffers from the worst case of Trump Derangement Syndrome ever.

De Niro’s grasp on reality has slipped away.

This isn’t the first time that De Niro has gone to the gutter to lambast the highest office in the land.

Despite the revelations of the Meuller report, the “resistance” is alive and well…at least in Hollywood.

President Trump himself has been no fan of the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner.  The event, sometimes referred to as “Nerd Prom”, has yet to see the Commander in Chief attend during his first term, which has been seen as blow to the relevancy of the previously laugh-centric dinners.

This year however, the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner went a bit of a different direction, taking a tone that was far less humorous.  This led television host and The Daily Show alum Samanatha Bee to host the “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” herself, inviting a slew of guests to provide their own insight to the Trump presidency.

To drive the point home, anti-Trump Hollywood legend Robert De Niro found himself rummaging through the proverbial gutter in order to get a few jabs in at the President.

WARNING:  Strong language ahead.

Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro unloaded – once again – on President Trump during a brief appearance Friday at the Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C.

De Niro has been an outspoken opponent of Trump. In December, the 75-year-old actor told CNN that Trump’s tenure in the White House will be “one of those things” that people will look back on years from now and recall, “Remember all that stuff, how terrible it was?”

De Niro told the audience on Friday that he stood with host Samantha Bee to support the First Amendment, and “the right of the president to be a relentless and unrepentant, lying scumbag, the right of his supporters to not give a shit, and our right to do something about it.”

De Niro has a history of bringing his gangster-schtick to American politics, establishing himself as one of the most profane “resistance” characters in the political soap opera.

Response to ‘Gun Control’ Advocates

H/T JPFO.

It sounds so simple. Pass reasonable gun laws and the mass shootings will end. In the twentieth century, more than a hundred million unarmed civilians were murdered by their own government. “…an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” — Thomas Jefferson. Gun-free zones guarantee unarmed victims.

Everyone in the gun control debate cherry-picks statistics. Some comparing us to small countries use absolute numbers, larger countries percentages, or cultural definitions that make the data fit the opinion.

America is a complex country. Of 196 countries on Earth, only three have larger area, and two have larger populations. China has a mostly homogeneous population: 91 percent Han Chinese. The Chinese have known revolution, genocide, famine and invasion but never liberty. Multi-ethnic Russia, like China, has never known freedom as we understand it but only as having nothing left to lose. Russians have survived revolutions, genocide, invasions, four hundred years of Tsars, 80 years of communist dictatorship and 20 years of kleptocracy. Democratic India — aka Hindustan — 79 percent Hindu, has only known self-government since 1947. The people in most frequently cited gun-safe developed-countries have a history of being obedient subjects.

In Latin American, only Brazil is of comparable size; Latin populations are multi-ethnic. Many have a dominant minority caste of mostly European origin and an evangelized underclass descended from slaves and indigenous people. Most have strict gun laws and lots of crime.

Our population is unusual. While shamelessly slaughtering native peoples, America became a magnet for malcontent immigrants from around the world. Early policies limited immigration to northern Europe, but gradually opened to most countries. Africans were “admitted” prior to 1808.

America has been selectively populated by people who were not content with their status and were willing to take significant risks in the hope of betterment. My ancestors, for example, after lifetimes of oppression, packed up their meager possessions and walked many miles to get on a cattle boat going to a place they had only heard of, hoping it existed. They took the risk. My mother’s brothers were born in Russia, England, steerage class and Philadelphia. They worked, survived the Depression and wars — not that unusual. Family that stayed in Europe probably did not survive the Holocaust.

Natural selection by emigration has evolved Americans reluctant to accept what has always been. Baron Von-Steuben commented that American soldiers were different. They would not follow orders until they were told why. Once they understood why, they followed. We’re people whose ancestors took action. Alexis de Tocqueville noted in 1835 that Americans differed from Europeans in that they would not wait for a bureaucrat to remedy a problem, like a pothole or a troublemaker, but would deal with it directly. General Rommel said he had never seen soldiers more ignorant than Americans or that learned more quickly. Many people imported as indentured labor become entrepreneurs.

If you eliminated all guns, would America be as peaceful as Tibet, as orderly as Japan, or as genocidal as Rwanda, where 70 percent of the Tutsis were slaughtered without firearms? No-one knows, probably somewhere between. On Wikipedia’s list of recent murder rates in 219 countries the US ranks 126th. Not all countries have the same method or criteria for reporting. Some low rates may indicate no objective reporting system. Deaths by police or military may not be counted. What about the “disappeared?” Many countries that outlaw firearms have high criminality, including killing.

Sadly there will always be bullies, and other miscreants who need to be restrained. Sometimes the culture keeps them in check; in some countries it’s law enforcement, or armed responsible citizens. Sometimes the bullies are the government. Tajikistan and Iran have low murder rates — but would you want to live there? Costa Rica has twice our murder rate, yet many Americans retire there. As you read this unarmed civilians are being terrorized by their governments, or other criminals. The Mujahidin say “A man with a gun is a free man.” Be careful what you wish for.

 

Slugs of War Detecting Gas & Other Creatures Who Helped Win Wars

H/T War History OnLine.

A look at critters during wartime.

A military working dog accompanies U.S. Soldiers conducting an inspection of an Afghan Border Police checkpoint near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border

Mice and canaries also deserve credit for saving many lives during the First World War. These creatures were used to detect poisonous fumes in underground tunnels.

There are many moving stories of how animals helped in wars. During both the First and Second World wars, many dogs were called up for action. They played important roles such as rescuing, tracking, guarding, and other duties.

Carrier pigeons are well known for delivering secret messages. And of course, horses played an important role in cavalries since ancient times. But there were many other animals who contributed their services and even their lives to war efforts.

The variety of different species is much greater than many people realize. Some of these joined regiments as working animals, others as mascots. Many undertook both roles by doing practical work as well as providing some comfort and keeping up soldiers’ morale.

Dispatching of a message by carrier pigeon within the Swiss Army during World War I. Photo: Schweizerisches Bundesarchiv, CH-BAR#E27#1000/721#14095#4508* / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Working animals

Camels

Camels were frequently employed in desert terrain which would have been difficult for horses, because camels had the advantage of being able to travel long distances with little water. In the 20th century, these animals played an important role in the First World War, replacing horses in the desert for carrying both loads and riders.

The officer most known for riding a camel must have been T. E. Lawrence, immortalized as “Lawrence of Arabia,” who led an Arab offensive against the Turks in the years just before the outbreak of the First World War.

Lawrence at Aqaba, 1917

During WWI, the Imperial Camel Corps was a camel-mounted infantry force that operated in the Middle Eastern and African deserts. The Corps played an important role in campaigns such as Palestine and Sinai during the war. As the war progressed, the role of mounted infantry declined due to the nature of the fighting, and camels were used more for carrying loads.

Mules, donkeys, oxen, and even elephants also provided an alternative to horses for carrying equipment and heavy lifting.

A posed photograph of Australian, British, New Zealand and Indian Camel Corps troopers

Mice, Canaries and Slugs

Mice and canaries also deserve credit for saving many lives during the First World War. These creatures were used to detect poisonous fumes in underground tunnels.

Part of the Allies’ strategy was to build networks of tunnels under the trenches to reach the German front, which they would then attack from below by filling the tunnel with explosives. However, after the explosions had taken place, the tunnels would be filled with dangerous gases. Soldiers could not enter the tunnels until the gas had cleared.

To check if it was safe to enter the tunnels, mice or canaries would be sent in to test the air quality. If the animal was overwhelmed by the fumes it would pass out. Fortunately, they would often be revived and were able to continue carrying out their important service.

British soldiers with rescued canaries, France, during World War I.

Even slugs could play a part in detecting gases. These creatures were particularly sensitive to mustard gas, which posed a real danger for soldiers in the trenches. The slug would respond by closing up its breathing holes and compressing its body.

Slugs were more sensitive to the gas than humans, so they detected it before the soldiers did. When the soldiers saw the slug behaving in this way, they knew it was time to put on their gas masks.

German soldiers with gas masks, 1915.Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R52907 / Unknown / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Cats

Cats also earned their place by keeping mice, rats, and other vermin in check. The conditions in the trenches created a breeding ground for rats and in some areas, cats were kept and trained to catch the rats which threatened to make the already appallingly unhealthy environment even worse.

Cats were of course also common on naval ships during the world wars, as they had been for previous centuries. Mice and rats were a particular problem on ships. They could not only eat or contaminate the limited food rations held on board but could also be a danger by gnawing through ropes and wires.

Pooli, cat who served aboard a United States attack transport during World War II celebrates 15th birthday.1959

Pets and Mascots

As well as working animals, a large number and variety of animals became mascots. Dogs, cats, pigs, goats, and even monkeys could be found traveling along with soldiers. Some of them were even kitted out with their own uniforms.

Mascots were considered lucky and soldiers, particularly in the First World War, were known to be superstitious. Many soldiers would have found the presence of a lucky mascot reassuring. Animals also helped to keep up the soldiers’ morale and would have provided a comforting presence amid the brutality of war.

Tank Corp’s mascot, ‘Stunter’, and his officer, France, during World War I.

Mascots were often small animals like dogs and cats. Those who did not have a working role often had to be smuggled in. But there were also some more unexpected species including bears, baboons and foxes.

During the Second World War, a Polish regiment adopted a bear cub as a mascot. The Syrian brown bear turned out to be remarkably tame and seemed to enjoy wrestling and play fighting with the men. They named him Wojtek, and once full grown he was over six feet tall and weighed around 250 pounds.

Wojtek sits in front of a soldier.

When the Polish II Corps was sent to Italy the bear went with them and was formally enlisted as a member of the unit. He was given the rank of private and was even given his own number. Once in the front line, he contributed to the effort by carrying heavy items like shells and boxes of ammunition.

Troops of the Polish 22 Transport Artillery Company (Army Service Corps, 2nd Polish Corps) watch as one of their comrades play wrestles with Wojtek (Voytek) their mascot bear during their service in the Middle East.

Like Wojtek, Jackie the baboon started his army career as a pet but soon made himself useful. He was found wandering on a farm in South Africa and was adopted by the owner of the farm. When he enlisted, he brought the baboon along, which turned out to be a good move.

Jackie earned his place in the unit because his hearing and eyesight were superior to those of humans. This meant that he could sense enemy movements before the soldiers did. He would warn the soldiers by making a noise or pulling on their clothing

Corporal Jackie the baboon injured as a soldier in the South African army.

Meanwhile, a “flying fox” joined the Royal Air Force. The fox cub was found in France and adopted as a mascot. The fox even appeared to enjoy flying and was photographed accompanying an airman during a flight.

The roles that animals played in wars is now also commemorated during some veteran events. In Britain, some people wear a purple poppy to honor animal veterans along with the traditional red poppy.

And although horses and dogs are most often in people’s thoughts, it is good to also remember the important work done by other creatures such as camels, canaries, and even slugs.

You Have to Survive First: Caterpillar Club The Club That No One Wants to Join

H/T War History OnLine.

The Catapiller Club is a club I do not think I would want to join.

A membership certificate of the Caterpillar Club.Photo: JHvW CC BY-SA 3.0

While many clubs might difficult to join, not many have such unusual requirements for membership as the “Caterpillar Club.”

It has been described as the club that no one wants to join. And those who become members do so, quite literally, by accident. All you need to do is successfully bail out of a damaged airplane using a parachute.

The club began in 1922 after Harold Harris successfully bailed out of a damaged aircraft using a parachute made by the Irvin Airchute Company of Canada. The company marked the occasion by sending Harris a gold pin.

Harris wasn’t actually the first person whose life had been saved by a parachute. That honor should go to William O’Connor, a pilot who landed on McCook Field, an air station near Dayton, Ohio on August 24, 1920.

Although there is a reference to this event in an early brochure for the Irvin Airchute Co, his fall received little publicity.

Facing a certain crash, Harris bailed out of the stricken aircraft, landing in a backyard grape arbor at a house at 335 Troy St., suffering only bruises on his legs and hand from fighting with the control stick.

Previously, parachutes could not be opened once the pilot was out of the plane. When a plane was spinning due to damage, the parachute could not be put into operation.

Irvin, a former stunt man, devised the first free-fall parachute which allowed you to jump and then pull the chord. He tested the device out on himself in 1919. Having landed with only a broken ankle, Irvin considered the trial to be a success.

Leslie Leroy Irvin made the first premeditated free-fall parachute jump in 1919.

Freefall parachutes were a relatively new concept at the time, and they had been met with skepticism. Some people thought they would be useless as there would not be time to put the parachute into operation.

Much depended on the pilot’s training and fast action to get the parachute open before he lost too much altitude. But the successful bailout by Harris proved that these parachutes could indeed save lives.

Irvin’s company was keen to promote this new piece of equipment. It promised to send a card and a gold pin to anyone whose life was saved by one of the company’s parachutes.

The pin was in the shape of a golden caterpillar. The eyes were originally made of rubies, although these were later replaced with red garnet.

A pin from a parachute company, possibly Switlik or Standard Parachute. This style is common in catalogs and auctions of military memorabilia.

The choice of design was a way of acknowledging the important role of the caterpillar who spun the silk used to make the parachutes. The club’s motto is “Life depends on a silken thread.”

Shortly after Harris’s bailout, two newspaper reporters from the Drayton Herald suggested he should start a club as they realized that, in time, there would be more people receiving the gold caterpillar pin.

Irvin’s company, not surprisingly, thought this was a great idea. After all, it provided good publicity while also celebrating lives saved by the parachute.

And so, the Caterpillar Club was hatched and grew quickly. By 1928, the club had 87 members. Unsurprisingly, the war brought a large increase in numbers so that, by the end of the war, membership had risen to around 34,000.

Membership certificate issued 1957.Photo: JHvW CC BY-SA 3.0

Although fewer pins are given out these days, membership is currently believed to be around 100,000.

It was not long before other parachute manufactures such as The Switlik Parachute Company caught on to the idea and started up similar initiatives. Switlik also used a caterpillar pin, but one that was black and silver.

Today, membership is open to anyone, anywhere in the world, who has used a parachute to jump to safety from a disabled aircraft, regardless of the manufacture of the chute.

The Caterpillar Club distinction awarded to Mieczysław Halicki in 1934.Photo: Jacek Halicki CC BY-SA 3.0

Some Notable Members

Although fame and fortune won’t help you buy your way into this exclusive club, it does have some famous members.

Bram Van der Stok was a Dutch fighter pilot who became famous in 1944 for tunneling his way out of the notorious Stalag Luft III prison camp. The story was the basis of the famous film The Great Escape although Van der Stok had little use for a parachute on that occasion.

Former President George Bush was one of the Switlik caterpillars. His life was saved thanks to a Switlik parachute he used to bail out of a plane on September 2, 1944.

Bush in his Grumman TBM Avenger aboard USS San Jacinto in 1944

As the first person to fly an airplane across the Atlantic, Charles Lindbergh was no stranger to aeronautical innovations. Lindbergh’s membership dates back to before he made his famous flight.

He is also a four times member of the club. He had to bail out once while testing a plane and again during a practice flight. He made two more emergency jumps during night time flights while working as an airmail pilot.

Lindbergh with the Spirit of St. Louis before his Paris flight

The astronaut John Glenn was also a member, as was the aviation pioneer Major James Harold (Jimmy) Doolittle.

John Glenn sitting in the cockpit of a jet aircraft at the U.S. Navy Test Station at Patuxent River, Maryland, 1954.

The first woman to join the club was Irene McFarland. Unlike most other early members who had a military background, McFarland was a stunt flyer with an aerial circus.

While flying in a show over Cincinnati on June 28, 1925, MacFarland had to bail out. Her first parachute actually failed to open but, fortunately, her back up parachute worked. She landed safely and became the first female member of the club.

In general, men greatly outnumber women in the club due to the large numbers who gained their membership in the course of their military service.

Laminated membership card to the Caterpillar Club. It was awarded to airmen who saved their lives by parachuting out of an aircraft by the Irvin Air Chute Company. Photo:Dmercado CC BY-SA 3.0

The youngest person to achieve membership is Scottish teenager, Ruari Tait. Aged only 12 at the time, Ruari and his father were forced to bail out of their glider when it was hit by another glider while flying over Aberdeenshire in 2014.

Thanks to their parachutes, they both came down safely while the other pilot managed to fly his damaged glider back to the glider club base. The boy was clearly not put off by his experience and went on to become a qualified solo glider pilot at the age of 14.

The Club today

Today, there are still branches of the Caterpillar Club in Britain, Canada, and the USA. The local branches play an important role in helping caterpillars keep in touch with each other, share news, and also arrange reunions from time to time.