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By David MacDonald and Raine Waters & Sam Dunklau • Jul 18, 2019
Illinois Issues

Southern Illinois University Press
The authors have taken a fresh look at the story of Illinois’ first capital city in a new book published by Southern Illinois University Press called “Kaskaskia: The Lost Capital of Illinois.” They’ve put together what they say is a comprehensive account of the town, complete with historical photos, maps, and even tales of a centuries-old curse.

Kaskaskia became the capital of the Illinois Territory and then the first state capital of Illinois in 1818 and the town was home to leading political and economic figures in the early, shaping years of Illinois. Good fortune, however, did not long endure. Natural disasters of unprecedented magnitude plagued the town and robbed its vitality. People came to regard Kaskaskia, once the center and focus of Illinois, as just a quaint and somehow foreign relic.

The Mississippi River, so long Kaskaskia’s highway and source of its prosperity, turned on the town, washing away the buildings and even the very ground on which it was built. The changing course of the Mississippi was merely the coup de grâce, the finishing blow, the last of the disasters that led even reasonable people to wonder whether Kaskaskia had been cursed.
In the beginning
The Kaskaskia Indians and the Jesuit missionaries who accompanied them settled in 1703 at what became the town of Kaskaskia. In 1719, Kaskaskia divided into two communities, French Kaskaskia and, about three miles north, Indian Kaskaskia. The Jesuits felt the Indians would be less exposed to corrupting influences from rough voyageurs (boat men) and coureurs de bois (literally, “woods runners,” a term for Indian traders and trappers, often operating illegally). Then, the French regime ended in 1765. The inhabitants of Kaskaskia in this era enjoyed relative prosperity despite the hostility of the Fox and Chickasaw tribes.
Kaskaskia went through difficult years of corrupt British rule, the conquest of the Illinois country by George Rogers Clark in 1778, and early years of neglect and inept rule by the United States. Repeated crop failures and the great flood of 1785 also plagued Kaskaskia at this time.
The town revived in the 1790s and again became the political and economic center of Illinois, serving as the territorial capital and then in 1818 the first state capital of Illinois. The town, however, was also beset by disasters during this period: some natural, some man-made like the loss of the capital to Vandalia in a corrupt political deal.
A disastrous year
In 1809, the federal government created the Illinois Territory, which included the area that became Wisconsin. Kaskaskia was the territorial capital, the residence of the governor and secretary, and the meeting place of the territorial legislature, all symbolic of Kaskaskia’s general revival, but progress was temporarily checked in the disastrous year of 1811.
The Great Comet of 1811, large, bright, and long-lasting, was widely believed to have foretold the disasters that subsequently engulfed Kaskaskia that year: a flood ravaged crops, a tornado leveled part of the town, and then, in late 1811 and early 1812, the fearsome New Madrid earthquakes damaged much of what was left.
Between 1820 and 1881, Kaskaskia suffered a long decline. There were bright spots, such as the visit of the Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette in 1825, but also disasters, such as the destructive flood of 1844 and an epidemic that followed the flood. In the late 1860s, the Mississippi began to change course, and during the 1870s the river steadily ate away at the neck of land that separated it from the Kaskaskia River. The first break through occurred in the spring of 1881.
A changing river
In the mid-1860s, a silent change presaged the destruction of Kaskaskia: the Mississippi River began to shift its bed. In the thousands of years since the last ice age, the Mississippi had often changed course, but in the 19th century, human activity greatly magnified the power of the Mississippi to alter the landscape quickly. Prior to the 19th century, the banks of the Mississippi and the other large rivers of Illinois were lined with mixed deciduous trees and a thick undergrowth of brush and vines. The tangled vegetal mass slowed floodwaters, and roots anchored the soil.
The Indian and French populations were small and scarcely changed the riverbank vegetation except in a few small, scattered places. Then, in the 19th century, the population increased greatly. The settlers cut wood for cabins and for heating, fencing, and endeavors such as making salt, which they produced in large quantities on the small Saline River near its confluence with the Mississippi near Kaskaskia.
The side-wheel and stern-wheel steamboats played an even greater role in denuding the banks of the Mississippi. The wood requirements of the steam engines were enormous. Boats of average size burned 25 cords of wood a day, and the largest steamboats of the mid-19th century consumed three times as much.
Woodcutters bought permission from landowners to harvest the trees that lined the riverbanks.
They cut, sized and stacked the logs for sale to passing steamers, and after the wood in one area was exhausted, the woodcutters moved to the next. In Illinois, where the trees were often limited to a belt along the river, the stripping of the riverbanks was particularly severe. Trees and thickets of brush and vines no longer anchored the soil; riverbanks eroded and collapsed. The shape of the river changed, growing wider and shallower. Erosion was particularly severe at bends.
John Howard Burnham witnessed the beginning of the change that would destroy Kaskaskia. He recalled that when, as a member of the Union army he had traveled down the Mississippi in 1863, there was a good steamboat landing at St. Geneviève; but when he passed by on a steamboat in late 1867, “the river channel had then moved away from the town” and his boat grounded in shoaling water. “The current had shifted toward the neck of land that separated the Mississippi from the Kaskaskia River, and in the coming years the Mississippi rapidly ate away the bank north of Kaskaskia.’’

At first the Mississippi only flowed into the Kaskaskia River at flood stage, but the channel gradually grew deeper until the Mississippi took over the lower channel of the Kaskaskia River and began washing the old town of Kaskaskia away. By the end of the 19th century, little remained of the town, and the last substantial home fell into the river in 1907.
New Kaskaskia
Much was salvaged ahead of the ravaging waters, and a new Kaskaskia was built about three miles from the old village. A new church was built of the materials saved from the old church, and within the church is the original altar from 1736 and other items from the French era. Beside the church is a building housing the bell sent by King Louis XV to the Kaskaskia church in 1741.
The courthouse originally erected in old Kaskaskia in 1815 was reconstructed according to the original plan in the new village where it served as a school. New Kaskaskia never grew beyond a small farming town, and repeated flooding over the years discouraged people who moved to more secure locations.
Two tales that first appeared at the end of the 19th and first years of the 20th century claimed that Kaskaskia was destroyed because of a curse, but the accounts are contradictory, one attributing the curse to an angry priest and the other to a murdered Indian. The stories are filled with gross inaccuracies and are revealed as journalistic fictions, although they do incorporate a few folktale elements amidst a forest of modern misrepresentations.
Today, only about 14 people live in the village. There are perhaps 60 more who live in farms in the vicinity. The change in the Mississippi’s course has left new Kaskaskia and the surrounding land on the west side of the river. It is still part of the state of Illinois, but it can only be reached on roads passing through Missouri.
David MacDonald is a retired history professor at Illinois State University. Raine Waters teaches history at Heartland Community College.

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Ed Dwight Was Set to Be the First Black Astronaut. Here’s Why That Never Happened.
For a brief moment, the civil rights movement and the space race came together.
By Walter J. Brown Media Archives, University Of Georgia Libraries
By Emily Ludolph
July 16, 2019
The bone-rattling trip to the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere used to require a steady hand, a powerful jet and the precision of an airman ready to dodge enemy fire.
The dangers were immense. You could black out. Gravitational force could pull blood from your eyes, rendering you sightless. Or you could merely end up in a flat spin and plummet to Earth without ever getting a good view of what lay beyond it.
It was just the sort of challenge that a chiseled 29-year-old aspiring astronaut named Ed Dwight was after.
In 1962, he piloted an F-104 Starfighter, essentially a chrome javelin, with wings so small as to seem gestural, designed to go very fast and very high, ideally in a straight line. A massive engine took up one end; the other was occupied by the pilot.
As he thundered toward the sun, air roared against the fuselage and Dwight felt the familiar lurch of passing through the sound barrier. On cue at 80,000 feet, as the bruised edge of the atmosphere drew closer, Dwight cut the fuel to the engine.
He became a mere leaf, floating along the thinnest layers of Earth’s air. In front of him spread the curvature of the planet, with the black sea of space overhead.
“The first time you do this it’s like, Oh my God, what the hell? Look at this,” recalled Dwight, now 85. “You can actually see this beautiful blue layer that the Earth is encased in. It’s absolutely stunning.”
Dwight only made a handful of flights like this, but all told he spent 9,000 hours in the air. A former altar boy turned airman, he was among the pilots training to become astronauts at the Aerospace Research Pilot School, helmed by Chuck Yeager at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Dwight had the drive, the experience and the solid family back story of all his peers. Unlike every other pilot in the program, he was black.
Two grand stories that America tells itself about the 1960s are the civil rights movement and the space race. They are mostly rendered as separate narratives, happening at the same time but on different courses. In the 5-foot-4 figure of Ed Dwight, they came together for a transitory moment.
The Kennedy administration, a supporter of civil rights, became Dwight’s champion. The black press, eager to mark milestones by lionizing barrier breakers, splashed his face across front pages. Dwight personified American progress at a time when the country was eager to prove that while Russia had beaten us into orbit, the United States was the true superpower. It was a high-stakes contest of Cold War optics.
But the top of the California sky was the closest Dwight would ever get to space. He went from being a prospective astronaut to working on a series of obscure assignments, dealing a major blow to America’s early attempts to integrate the ranks of its space pioneers.
Eight years after Dwight piloted that plane, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out onto the lunar surface, leaving a plaque that read: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon, July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.” But what if a black person had landed on the moon with them, uttered the words “one small step for man” and set that plaque in place? What kind of leap for mankind would that have been?
To Charles Bolden, a former astronaut who became the first African-American administrator of NASA in 2009, there is no doubt. “To see an Ed Dwight walking across the platform getting into an Apollo capsule would have been mind-boggling in those days,” he said. “It would’ve had an incredible impact.”
It took two decades after Dwight became an astronaut trainee before a black American would go to space.
Ed Dwight’s path had started years earlier.
In 1959, while Dwight was a bomber pilot at Travis Air Force Base in California, a young Navy psychologist named Robert Voas was busy losing his car in the Pentagon’s vast parking lot. Voas had joined NASA with the special task of figuring out who the first Americans in space would be — the Mercury Seven as they would later be known. “We were sort of awed by the feeling that you were involved in the selection program for someone like either Columbus or Lindbergh,” he recalled in 2002, for a NASA oral history project. “They were going to come to not only represent the program, but often that they’d possibly be American heroes.”
Before beginning his search, Voas drafted a memo to his supervisor asking whether to focus solely on technical qualifications or to take “public relations” into account. “Were we concerned at all about having a mix of ethnicity?” Voas said. “Were we concerned about whether both men and women should be included?” Voas said he was told that “the whole emphasis should be on who could most reliably and effectively fly this vehicle,” but his questions about representation and diversity would dog the newly formed space program for decades.
The idea that early astronauts must first be test pilots, like the hotshots at Edwards, was not a foregone conclusion. Voas imagined a nationwide competition that could include deep-sea divers, arctic explorers or racecar drivers. The most important characteristics for the first classes of astronauts headed into the unknown would be the ability to respond coolly if something went wrong and levelheadedness in the face of hostile environments.

Riding a rocket had little in common with flying a plane, aside from being airborne. “The basic thing you have to understand,” Dwight explained recently, “is everything that happens on that spaceship, from the time you crawl into that seat to the time it touches down, is controlled from the ground. There’s no one thing that makes a good astronaut. I don’t know any person with determination and will that can’t go to space.”
Even Yeager, the aerospace training program’s future commandant, insisted in 1959, “I’ve been a pilot all my life, and there won’t be any flying to do in Project Mercury.”
But President Dwight D. Eisenhower vetoed the idea of an open call. A career army man himself, the president decreed the astronauts would come from military backgrounds. That way, they would have not only the desired discipline, outlook and comportment, but also a proven ability to cope in psychologically challenging situations — and the security clearances necessary for a program with significant classified aspects. With the United States deep into the Cold War, candidates would be the high-profile proxies in a global game of influence.
According to NASA’s chief historian, Bill Barry, this one decision set a course that the space race would follow for years to come. “Once you do that,” he explained, “you bake in all of the stuff that’s already there. For example, that there are no African-Americans who are test pilots. There are no women who are test pilots.”
As Tom Wolfe described them in “The Right Stuff,” the first astronauts were “seven patriotic God-fearing small-town Protestant family men with excellent backing on the home front.” These would be America’s celestial heroes. They had camera-ready wives and families, and projected the camaraderie of an elite corps. Not surprisingly, those first space soldiers were all white.
On April 12, 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. The next month, in an address to a joint session of Congress, President John F. Kennedy announced his intention to put Americans on the moon, declaring it necessary “if we are to win the battle that is now going on around the world between freedom and tyranny.”
By that time, the broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow had become the director of the United States Information Agency, in charge of fighting the Cold War on the “hearts and minds” front. Watching the handsome Gagarin barnstorm Brazil, Japan, Liberia and other countries — and the screaming crowds that turned out for him — Murrow had an epiphany.
In September, he wrote to the administrator of NASA with what was essentially a bid for international diplomacy: “Why don’t we put the first non-white man in space? If your boys were to enroll and train a qualified Negro and then fly him in whatever vehicle is available, we could retell our whole space effort to the whole non-white world, which is most of it.”
With waves of countries emerging from colonial rule, the United States could not maintain credibility with Ghana, India, Indonesia or Nigeria, for instance, if much of America was still segregated.
“The map’s being divided into who’s pro-Soviet and who’s pro-U.S.A., and our astronauts are good-will ambassadors,” said the historian Douglas Brinkley, who wrote “American Moonshot,” which was published this year. “We’re touting them around to show people the greatness of the American experiment. You put a person of color in space and it’ll show how noble our democracy is.”
In summer 1962, Murrow put his proposal for a black astronaut directly to the president, who passed it along in a memo to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, chairman of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, with the “hope that something might be done.” Johnson’s aide George Reedy dug into the pros and cons. “There can be no doubt of the tremendous value to the United States of having a Negro as an astronaut in a space flight,” Reedy wrote in a confidential memo. However, he added, the administration should “dispose of the concept that NASA can just reach out and grab a Negro and make an astronaut candidate out of him.”
Doing so risked any number of public relations disasters. The man might flunk out, making it look as though he had been set up for failure. He might die — a significant risk — leading to the accusation that African-Americans were being treated as expendable. The worst-case scenario, Reedy wrote, would be if the public caught on to an “artificial selection,” which would undermine the whole endeavor.
And there was a big problem. As Reedy summarized NASA’s position, no African-American applicants had even come close to moving through the agency’s selection process. Kennedy’s executive order in 1961 encouraging the government to take “affirmative action” to promote equal employment opportunities was too recent to have affected the pool of available black pilots. A solution was, Reedy explained, “beyond the scope of NASA activities and is basically a problem for the whole nation.”
Even so, the Navy and Air Force were directed by the White House to scour their ranks for any candidates. The secretary of the Air Force, Eugene M. Zuckert, was by now used to 7 p.m. phone calls asking for “a list of Negro officers by name, above the rank of second lieutenant,” for 6:30 the next morning, he said in an oral history in 1969. The Air Force came back with a surprising answer: A young black pilot was ready to start training at Edwards.
In Ed Dwight, the White House had found more than Murrow could have hoped for: a charismatic flier with a cum laude aeronautics degree from Arizona State University, and the required flight time and performance ratings.
As a child, Dwight learned Latin and served as an altar boy at his local Catholic parish. He worked a paper route and delivered food from his parents’ restaurant in Kansas City, Kan. Sometimes he earned nickels cleaning private planes at the nearby airport after their white owners returned from hunting trips in Wyoming. “From the time I was a little itty-bitty kid, I was going to the airport every day,” he remembered. “I began to study all the airplanes, and I’d draw all the airplanes. This was my private fantasy.”
Today, at 85, Dwight recalled his early dreams of flying as a full-body memory, stretching up from his toes to the soft pads of his fingers to illustrate the angles of flight and descent. In running shoes and a tracksuit, he darts around his sculpture studio, where he has crafted likenesses of jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong. He is especially spirited when talking about his childhood.
Dwight and his older sister integrated the local Catholic high school, though not before a blacks-only shower was built and Dwight was lectured on not looking at white girls. He went out for the football team and boxed. It seemed the only thing that the diminutive teenager did not excel at was basketball, but he still played.

“He just charmed everybody,” recalled Dwight’s youngest sister, Liz Chow. “Everybody loved Ed Dwight. He had a kind of a bubbly effervescent type of personality. He walked into a room and it just lit up. I often wondered whether or not there was someone above him, maybe a guardian angel, steering him, because everything he attempted to do he succeeded at.”
What he wanted to do was fly. “But this was a white man’s world,” Dwight recalled of his formative years in the early 1950s. “Kansas was segregated at the time. And I never thought for a minute that I would really fly an airplane. This was crazy.”
But then one day on the front page of a newspaper he saw “an African-American pilot from Kansas City, my hometown, that had been shot down in Korea,” he explained, adding, “He was standing on a wing of a jet, and he was a prisoner of war, and I was like, Oh my God, they’re letting black folks fly jets.”
So Dwight enlisted in the Air Force in 1953. He rose through the ranks, from cadet to second and then first lieutenant. He leaped into procedural vacuums, streamlining operations and preparing manuals. When instructors were absent, he ran instrument training classes. He administered examinations to his fellow pilots and flew extensively in his off-duty hours. He completed correspondence courses in electronic engineering and calculus. In one evaluation, a lieutenant colonel wrote that Dwight’s “aggressiveness, coupled with his unlimited ability, place him in the outstanding category for a young officer.” Another superior wrote, “I would not hesitate to nominate Lt. Dwight to represent me or the Air Force in dealings with the public.” On top of all that, he looked like a movie star.
He also had the superhuman confidence of a true fighter jock. Dwight wrote in his 2009 self-published memoir, “Soaring on the Wings of a Dream”: “Fighter pilots are universally Type-A personalities, independent, aggressive, daring, risk-oriented, total control freaks, and the real good ones are usually arrogant asses. Exercising absolute control over a complex, multimillion-dollar, high-speed machine that requires the ultimate in training, superior intellectual input, and psychomotor reaction requires such a personality. You did not get ‘into’ a fighter, you strapped it onto your ass and it became an extension of your physical body.”
Arriving at the astronaut training program at Edwards, Dwight felt as if he had been personally anointed. President Kennedy had even called his parents to congratulate them, Dwight said.
They were heady times. Many weeks, Dwight would leave his wife and two children behind on Thursday night and take off from Edwards for another leg of a nationwide speaking tour, delivering remarks at Lions Clubs and in elementary schools, where he encouraged black children to study what today we call STEM subjects. The message was clear: I am proof of the promise of civil rights. If a black man can train to be an astronaut, we can do anything.
“Negro Astronaut Aiming for Moon,” The New York Times proclaimed. “Kansas Native in Line as First Sepia Astronaut,” The Indianapolis Recorder announced. The United States Information Agency sent photos of Dwight to newspapers: Dwight racing to his jet, explaining a computer program, contemplating spaceship models with Yeager. Dwight was featured on magazine covers, accepted national awards from the Urban League and was photographed with Charlton Heston. By Dwight’s measure, he was receiving 1,500 fan letters a day. “I had a private secretary,” Dwight told Ebony magazine in 1984. “I was sending out 5,000 press photographs a month, and I made 176 speeches the first year.”
“He was as popular in the African-American press as John Glenn was in the white press,” said Richard Paul, who with Steven Moss wrote the 2015 book “We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program.”
“He really is everywhere — NASA doesn’t put the brakes on it because it’s great publicity,” Moss added. “To be an astronaut in 1962, there was nothing bigger than that. Even if you were three steps away. A mathematician who becomes a mayor is an amazing thing. A technician who becomes the first black elected City Council person in Florida is a big deal. But it’s not an astronaut in 1962.”
It did not matter that Dwight was still a certificate away from even applying to NASA; he was a celebrity.
Dwight receiving a citation from the Los Angeles Urban League. On the right is Chuck Yeager, then an Air Force colonel and the commandant at the Aerospace Research Pilots School. July 1963.
His budding fame did not matter to Yeager, though. A colonel when he and Dwight met, Yeager had been a legend in the military since World War II. He was born in Myra, W.Va., a tiny town on the Mud River, deep in Appalachia. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1941, at age 18, and started as a flight mechanic. By the end of the war, in which he once downed five enemy planes in a single day, he was a 22-year-old captain with a battery of medals on his chest, a hero.
Yeager went out to the California desert in 1947, when the base, then called Muroc, was barely more than a dry lake bed and a smattering of improvised barracks. There, that same year, among the fabled pilots of the early jet-testing programs, he broke the sound barrier and became the “fastest man alive.” By 1962, the year he became the school commandant, Yeager was the quintessential military flier, and as much a part of Edwards as the airstrip.
From Day 1, Dwight said, Yeager wanted him gone. Yeager had little patience for White House input on military matters, as he explained in his 1985 autobiography, “Yeager.” Dwight said he immediately felt he was not welcome, that he was not of the group. “He told those guys on the first day, ‘We can get him out of here in six months. We can break him,’” Dwight remembered a classmate telling him.
As Tom Wolfe described in “The Right Stuff”: “Every week, it seemed like, a detachment of Civil Rights Division lawyers would turn up from Washington, from the Justice Department, which was headed by the president’s brother, Bobby. The lawyers squinted in the desert sunlight and asked a great many questions about the progress and treatment of Ed Dwight and took notes.”
“There were days when ARPS seemed like the Ed Dwight case with a few classrooms and some military hardware appended,” Wolfe added, referring to the Aerospace Research Pilot School.
After a weekend of press events, Dwight would fly back to base, where his classmates had been hitting the books to prepare for the week ahead. In addition to speeches, he faced the all-too-typical travails of a black serviceman of his generation. When the test pilot students traveled for training, waiters refused to serve him. Cars left without him, and hotel rooms were mysteriously not booked. The combination of public appearances and private indignities was weighing on Dwight.
“The disadvantage I had was all the other guys in this program didn’t have that distraction,” Dwight said. “I’ve got to get up the next day and have an exam and deliver the goods and let them know that I’m equal to the other guys who didn’t have to go make 10 speeches that weekend.”
But the only thing waiting for Dwight on Monday was Yeager. “Every week, right on the dot,” Dwight recalled, “he’d call me into his office and say, ‘Are you ready to quit? This is too much for you and you’re going to kill yourself, boy.’ Calling me a boy and I’m an officer in the Air Force.”
Yeager denies Dwight’s account of his treatment: He said he did not tell anybody that he would get Dwight out of the program, did not have weekly meetings with him and did not call him “boy.” But he was no champion of Dwight and did question his ability. “Isn’t it great that Ed Dwight found his true calling and became an accomplished sculptor?” Yeager said in an email.
Dwight, though, felt his treatment was so unfair that he later took bias charges to higher-ups. Yeager was incensed. In his autobiography, he wrote: “The Air Force counselor, their chief lawyer, flew to Edwards from the Pentagon to personally take charge of the case. Man, I was hot. I told that lawyer: ‘You do have a case of discrimination here. The White House discriminated by forcing us to take an unqualified guy. And we would have discriminated by passing him because he was black.’”
Dwight garnered scrutiny from some fellow students, recalled Robert Tanguy, a classmate of Dwight’s who retired as a major general. “That was always something that they were wondering about,” he said. “Is Ed down here because he’s black?”
But Tanguy, who flew with Dwight during their training, found nothing unusual about his qualifications. “I thought Ed was a very normal pilot for the program,” Tanguy said. “He was qualified for it. He was an awfully good selection if somebody selected him, because he was a level-headed guy.”
Woody Fountain, who started at Edwards Air Force Base as an engineer around the same time Dwight arrived, played squash with Dwight and saw him at weekend cocktail parties. “We all wanted to relax since there were so few of us black folks out there,” Fountain said. “Ed was right there in the middle of the parties, having a good time. An absolutely funny guy to be around.” Fountain added, ”I was never cognizant of what he was going through.”
Amid the stress of his speaking obligations and his training, Dwight was also having trouble in his marriage. At the urging of the Air Force, he had brokered an agreement with his wife, Sue Lillian, from whom he was estranged by this time. She joined him and their two children at Edwards, but their relationship grew even more tense, particularly under the scrutiny of the news media.
Life on the base was an alienating experience, and the usual pilots-and-wives camaraderie at the officers club or backyard barbecues was not a real outlet for the Dwights. He found solace in almost daily calls with his mother. “She took an inordinate amount of time telling me how incredible I was, how I could do anything in the universe I wanted to do and that I was loved,” Dwight recalled.
Dwight also turned to his powerful friends. “I spent hours in the Pentagon, running around there doing lobbying and talking to anybody who would talk to me,” he said. Yeager and other superior officers noticed, with rancor.
Dwight was unfazed. He had a friend in the president, and he was going to be an astronaut.
“I wanted to be on the cover of Life magazine,” Dwight said. “And people were fighting when the issue came out. They were beating each other up to get the magazine.”
He added, “The news guys couldn’t put enough Life magazines on the shelf to supply all these people. That was my deal. I would think about walking down Broadway, and every newsstand, man, and every magazine on it, there’d be no magazines but me.”
Yeager ultimately graduated him. Despite initial concerns about Dwight’s flying ability, and the question of whether astronauts even needed to be pilots, the 30-year-old was now eligible for space. As the commandant wrote, “Dwight hung on and squeezed through. He got his diploma qualifying him to be the nation’s first black astronaut.”
Now it was up to NASA.
In October 1963, the agency held a news conference in Houston to announce the astronauts selected for the next class. The 14 chosen men, including the future moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, filed onstage, all crew cuts, dark suits and smart ties. Dwight was not there. He had been one of the pilots recommended by the Air Force, but, out of the 271 total applicants, he was not among the chosen.
A reporter asked Deke Slayton, the director of NASA’s astronaut office, “Was there a Negro boy in the last 30 or so that you brought here for consideration?” Slayton leaned into his microphone and answered flatly, “No, there was not.” And with that, the space-bound men filed offstage to pose for publicity photos.
Despite that disappointment, Dwight was confident that someone was still watching over his career and held out hope for the next class selection, scheduled for 1965. “Washington was able to solve all the problems that were popping up,” he said. “Until November 22, 1963.”
On that day, Dwight and his classmates were at a Boeing plant near Seattle for a mission simulation. Dwight was waiting for his turn in the simulator, about to put on his spacesuit, when the news arrived that the training exercise was canceled. President Kennedy had been shot. “My heart fell down into my ankles,” Dwight recalled. The pilots trooped into the executive dining room to discuss the news. Dwight, who as a young man had been inspired by Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage,” ate quietly by himself.
The hand on Dwight’s shoulder also seemed to have vanished. He could feel his dream slipping away. He tried to reinvigorate old Washington contacts. “I was in this trap of no man’s land,” he said. “The team and all the support system I had seemed to have left me hanging out there.”
Within weeks, Dwight’s career at Edwards ended. By January 1964, he was stationed at Wright-Patterson in Ohio. The hot shot so used to circumventing the Air Force hierarchy was now relegated to running experiments on transport planes.
“It’s this hopeless feeling,” said Charles Bolden, who trained as a pilot in the late 1960s before rising through the ranks to become a general and the first African-American to lead NASA. “You know what the process is and you know what the chain of responsibility and command is and you don’t see any way out of it.” Like Dwight, Bolden also navigated Washington politics, going straight to President Johnson’s office when his career was stonewalled by a bloc of Southern congressmen. “Everything sort of followed the same pattern that all of us have seen who have been among the earlier people to come into any of these programs,” Bolden added.
The next year, Ebony magazine published an article that looked into the case of the forgotten black astronaut. The piece was followed by articles in The New York Times and elsewhere, and the news media caught up with Dwight on the tarmac of the naval air station at China Lake, about an hour’s drive north of Edwards.
The pilot, in his flight suit and folding cap, was ushered to the microphone. He stood alone, blinking at a scrum of reporters. A row of white officers dressed in khaki uniforms and aviators watched from the back of the group.
“Why aren’t you an astronaut now?” one of the journalists asked.
“Well, I couldn’t begin to tell you,” Dwight responded. “I have no comment for that question. But other than that, I won’t make any overt statements at this time outlining any overt racial pressures at any time during my training at Edwards.”
“Do you feel that what’s happened to you is a setback for civil rights opportunities in this country?” another reporter asked.
Dwight scanned the cameras, and the row of officers behind them, and answered, “I would rather not comment on that.” He left it there.
NASA has never given a full explanation for why Dwight did not make the cut. The agency did not then, and does not today, disclose the exact criteria for final astronaut selections.
Slayton explained the process in his 1994 memoir, “Deke!” (which was published the year after he died): “I had already developed a point system that we used in making the final evaluations on astronaut candidates. There were three parts: academic, pilot performance, and character/motivation, 10 points for each part, with 30 being the highest possible score. Some of it was cut-and-dried: You got points for a certain amount of flying time and for education. Some of it, by design, was subjective.”
Bill Barry, NASA’s chief historian, explained: “They’re looking for a collection of things that they were never forthcoming about how they’re weighted. I suspect that there may not have been any formula for that. They were looking for a package of people who were extremely good at flying, who were highly adaptable, smart.” He added, “By that point, they’re also looking at, ‘Is this person going to be a good spokesman for the agency?’ but also they wanted to have people who would do what they were told.”
In the years since, the agency’s priorities have evolved. NASA spokesman Robert Jacobs said: “The specifics of Ed’s story and why he never flew in space are hard to address nearly 60 years after-the-fact, but we can say that it took decades for the astronaut corps and other areas of the agency to truly be reflective of America’s diversity. Following the Apollo-era, we saw more of an emphasis on science, medicine, engineering, and other disciplines in the astronaut selection process, and that opened new doors. The 1978 astronaut class and the space shuttle era brought in the diversity we didn’t see in the space program of the 1960s. Today, we have an astronaut corps that better represents our diverse cultures.”
In 1966, Dwight resigned his commission in the Air Force, after 13 years. The next year, Robert Lawrence, the second black man tapped to be an astronaut, died when his Starfighter crashed at Edwards. By the time Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, Dwight was living in Denver, working at IBM. Unlike every other person in the United States at the time, he says he does not remember where he was when the Eagle landed.
It was not until 1983, 14 years after Armstrong’s “one small step,” that the United States would send an African-American into space. Today, of the 572 people who have flown into space — 356 of them Americans — just 14 were African-Americans. After leaving the Air Force, Dwight opened a restaurant, started a flight company, went back to school to earn a master of fine arts degree and eventually started a foundry. Today, the man who was on the path to being an astronaut is best known as a distinguished artist, whose specialty is sculpting icons of black history in bronze.
Dwight has also turned an airplane hangar on the edge of Denver into his sculpture studio, where he has worked for three decades. Every morning he parks his Lexus with the vanity plate “SCULPTR” outside. The vast space that once sheltered jets now houses a congregation of Dwight’s sculptures and models: Michelle and Barack Obama, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong. He has populated city parks and downtowns with more than 120 monuments, the cost of which can run into the millions of dollars. His sculptures sell to private buyers for as much as $100,000, Dwight said, but astronauts get a discount.
In the years since he joined NASA, Bolden has become close with Dwight. “He became sort of a role model and a mentor for me,” said Bolden, who got to know Dwight while training in the early 1980s. “Ed understands the trials and tribulations of trying and not making it and being able to go on after that. For a young person who is there but struggling, he plays a critical role in helping you decide not to leave.”
When Bolden was confirmed for the top NASA job before the Senate in 2009, he pointed out a “very special person” at the hearing. “While not actually becoming an astronaut, he was a trailblazer in the attempt to break the color barrier in America’s astronaut program,” he told the committee.
“We don’t know what Ed’s place would have been in space history because we were never given an opportunity,” Bolden said recently.
The historian Steven Moss said that had it gone differently, Dwight “would have had his own altar in the civic religion of American space travel.”
Instead, Dwight is both a person who nearly made history and a person dedicated to preserving it. These days he is busy in his studio, contemplating an even longer history. Plans to build a monument are underway on the windswept coast of Virginia at Fort Monroe, and Dwight is being considered for the commission. There, 400 years ago, a ship arrived carrying 20 enslaved Angolans, who were sold to Virginia settlers in exchange for food. It was the start of our chapter of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in which 12.5 million people were shipped to the New World, with 10.7 million of them surviving the journey. It was the beginning of the African-American story, Dwight said.
“I want that one bad for any number of reasons,” he said. “The spot where their feet actually touched down, this is the most historic piece of earth in America.”
It is because of that first that all the other firsts are necessary.
A version of this article appears in print on July 20, 2019, Section F, Page 4 of the New York edition. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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The recent statements by TOTUS using the dog whistle ” go back to where you came from” has created possibly the exact reaction he (and his administration) wanted. Captain chaos has used most of his time in office to do what he has done in his business life and that is to create a situation then retract it as a solution. TOTUS has sprung the trap that got him elected. The trap is to create a stir that will keep his name in the headlines and getting attention. So many of his supporters who believe that he has made progress do not understand that the economic progress started before his election and came into fruition during his tenure and he has taken credit for it. What he has done during this term will become evident later on and possibly leave bigger problems. The Immigration issue will be one of the biggest factors for the next administration coupled with the ill-conceived foreign policy and alienation of long time allies. Once out of office TOTUS will be free to say whatever he wants (as he has done all of his life) and garner attention for his own elevation as he has always done. The major parties, the candidates running for office and the media have all fallen into the TRUMP TRAP, giving him the attention and platform he thrives on.

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This opinion while from a Republican is not limited to Republicans but crosses the line between the Major parties and several subsets of those parties, we should not be lulled into a false narrative by either party as to their uprightness or honesty. MA

Daniel Drezner 4 hrs ago
Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
I was a Republican in my youth. Back in the 1980s that seemed a pretty easy call. Republicans under Ronald Reagan were optimistic. They believed in the power of the free market compared with the power of the federal government. They were confident that America’s technological dynamism would outlast the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. They believed in America as a land of opportunity for immigrants across the world. And despite the GOP’s complicated history with racism, Reagan adhered to official rhetoric that depicted the Grand Old Party as an inclusive tent.
I am now well into my middle age, and to put it bluntly, the modern GOP looks a bit different. What does the GOP stand for in the Age of Trump?
Donald Trump has proffered his answer to that question. On Monday he made an effort to follow up on his racist tweetstorm, in which he told four members of Congress, three of whom were born in the United States, that they should “go back” to their countries of origin. The president made it pretty clear he thinks that he has found a winning message:
The Associated Press’s Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire offer additional color, making it clear that Trump’s statement was not accidental: “The president has told aides that he was giving voice what many of his supporters believe — that they are tired of people, including immigrants, disrespecting their country, according to three Republicans close to the White House who were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.” Or, as Trump put it, “if you’re complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave.”
That last sentence is breathtaking if you think about it for any length of time. First of all, Trump does nothing but complain. Just scanning his tweets in the past week, Trump has complained about 2020 polling, congressional Democrats, the Mueller probe, Paul Ryan, Andrew McCabe, CNN, bitcoin, Facebook and the Supreme Court. Trump is the first president to constantly carp about his victory. Seriously, if Trump went into exile, the aggregate amount of complaining in the United States would fall by an appreciable amount.
Second, Trump fails to understand how democracy works. The opposition party’s job is to criticize the president for policy and political shortcomings. That’s how the system works — politicians complain. The GOP did nothing but complain during the Obama years — Trump included. Imagine the GOP’s reaction if Barack Obama had suggested that complaining Republicans should just leave the country. Trump cannot abide the notion that the members of Congress he disparaged were elected to check his power. Trump’s inability to understand the loyal opposition is part of a continuing series of Trump failing to understand the building block of the American creed. Last week, at his social media summit, the president offered up his definition of free speech: “To me free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposefully write bad,” Trump said. “To me that’s very dangerous speech and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech.” Needless to say, this is not what free speech means.
Trump has increasingly relied upon Fox News’s Tucker Carlson as his go-to political pundit. This is interesting — not because of Carlson’s nativism but because of the other views he recently espoused. Speaking Monday at the National Conservatism Conference, Carlson told the audience that the principal threat to their individual freedoms “comes not from the government but from the private sector.” This sounds rather different from the GOP rhetoric of my youth.
Political parties have to change with the times. Inevitably the GOP would need to find new ideas beyond Reagan. Still, an aversion to democratic debate, an illiberal definition of free speech and a hostility to free enterprise sound — how to put this — un-American. Or a corporatist, white nationalist America that is a century out of date.
Some GOP members of Congress have begun to criticize the president for his remarks. Still, what is disturbing is just how little pushback there has been from the GOP political class compared to his Charlottesville comments from two years ago. As my Post colleague Toluse Olorunnipa notes, Trump “has learned over the past three years that there is little consequence within his party or from aligned corporate and religious leaders for embracing incendiary rhetoric and pugilistic attacks.” Similarly, the New York Times’s Annie Karni writes, “Administration veterans said they had long ago become immune to thinking anything Mr. Trump said would stick to him for more than one news cycle.”
With the rest of the GOP’s complicity or acquiescence, it seems hard to escape the conclusion that to be a Republican in 2019 is not just to be a racist but rather to be one who is proud of that designation. My colleague Greg Sargent puts it best: “Central to Trump’s racism … is not just the content of the racism itself. It’s also that he’s asserting the right to engage in public displays of racism without it being called out for what it is. A crucial ingredient here is Trump’s declaration of the ability to flaunt his racism with impunity.”
I was a Republican in my youth. But none of the values that attracted me to the party then are present in Trump’s version of the GOP. The party of Reagan is dead. What has emerged in its place is something unspeakable.

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While TOTUS or OS Calcaribus (“bone spurs”) has some similarities we have an opportunity to replace TOTUS with the vote, not an assassination or  Impeachment  This Comparison is purely for the rhetorical aspect.MA

Caligula emperor of the Roman Empire
Reign16 March 37 – 24 January 41 AD,(3 years and 10 months)
Predecessor, Tiberius-Successor, Claudius

Born: Gaius Julius Caesar
31 August 12 AD, Antium, Italia
Died: 24 January 41 AD (aged 28), Palatine Hill, Rome
Burial: Mausoleum of Augustus, Rome
Caligula (/kəˈlɪɡjʊlə/;[1] Latin: Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 31 August 12 – 24 January 41 AD) was Roman emperor from 37 to 41 AD. The son of the popular Roman general Germanicus and Augustus’s granddaughter Agrippina the Elder, Caligula was born into the first ruling family of the Roman Empire, conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Germanicus’s uncle and adoptive father, Tiberius, succeeded Augustus as emperor of Rome in 14.
Although he was born Gaius Caesar, after Julius Caesar, he acquired the nickname “Caligula” (meaning “little [soldier’s] boot”, the diminutive form of caliga) from his father’s soldiers during their campaign in Germania. When Germanicus died at Antioch in 19, Agrippina returned with her six children to Rome, where she became entangled in a bitter feud with Tiberius. The conflict eventually led to the destruction of her family, with Caligula as the sole male survivor. Untouched by the deadly intrigues, Caligula accepted an invitation in 31 to join the emperor on the island of Capri, where Tiberius had withdrawn five years earlier. Following the death of Tiberius, Caligula succeeded his adoptive grandfather as emperor in 37.
There are few surviving sources about the reign of Caligula, although he is described as a noble and moderate emperor during the first six months of his rule. After this, the sources focus upon his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and sexual perversion, presenting him as an insane tyrant. While the reliability of these sources is questionable, it is known that during his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor, as opposed to countervailing powers within the principate. He directed much of his attention to ambitious construction projects and luxurious dwellings for himself and initiated the construction of two aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. During his reign, the empire annexed the client kingdom of Mauretania as a province.
In early 41, Caligula was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy by officers of the Praetorian Guard, senators, and courtiers. The conspirators’ attempt to use the opportunity to restore the Roman Republic was thwarted, however. On the day of the assassination of Caligula, the Praetorians declared Caligula’s uncle, Claudius, the next Roman emperor. Although the Julio-Claudian dynasty continued to rule the empire until the fall of his nephew Nero in 68, Caligula’s death marked the official end of the Julii Caesares in the male line.

 

Donald John Trump-45th President of the United States
Assumed office, January 20, 2017
Preceded by Barack Obama
Personal details
Born Donald John Trump, June 14, 1946 (age 73)
Queens, New York City
Political party
Republican (1987–1999, 2009–2011, 2012–present)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (until 1987, 2001–2009),Reform (1999–2001),Independent (2011–2012

Policies
Economy: tax cuts tariffsChina trade war, Environment: Paris withdrawal, Foreign policy: Iran deal, Jerusalem Golan Hts, Immigration: travel ban, wall, family separation, national emergency. Social issues: cannabis, Space

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) (aka:  OS Calcaribus (“bone spurs”)  is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality.
Trump was born and raised in the New York City borough of Queens and received an economics degree from the Wharton School. He took charge of his family’s real estate business in 1971, renamed it The Trump Organization, and expanded it from Queens and Brooklyn into Manhattan. The company built or renovated skyscrapers, hotels, casinos, and golf courses. Trump later started various side ventures, mostly by licensing his name. He managed the company until his 2017 inauguration. He co-authored several books, including The Art of the Deal. He owned the Miss Universe and Miss USA beauty pageants from 1996 to 2015, and he produced and hosted The Apprentice, a reality television show, from 2003 to 2015. Forbes estimates his net worth to be $3.1 billion.
Trump entered the 2016 presidential race as a Republican and defeated sixteen candidates in the primaries. Commentators described his political positions as populist, protectionist, and nationalist. He was elected president in a surprise victory over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, although he lost the popular vote.[b] He became the oldest first-term U.S. president,[c] and the first one without prior military or government service. His election and policies have sparked numerous protests. Trump has made many false or misleading statements during his campaign and presidency. The statements have been documented by fact-checkers, and the media have widely described the phenomenon as unprecedented in American politics. Many of his comments and actions have been characterized as racially charged or racist.
During his presidency, Trump ordered a travel ban on citizens from several Muslim-majority countries, citing security concerns; after legal challenges, the Supreme Court upheld the policy’s third revision. He enacted a tax cut package for individuals and businesses, which also rescinded the individual health insurance mandate and allowed oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge. He appointed Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In foreign policy, Trump pursued his America First agenda, withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Iran nuclear deal. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, imposed import tariffs on various goods (triggering a trade war with China), and started negotiations with North Korea seeking denuclearization.

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Let’s start with the idea or fact that politicians and aspirants lie and spin the truth. With this in mind what ever comes across your favorite device should be held suspect until you can verify it yourself. The modern day political aspirants and professional pols all use the same methods to get their agendas out to the public via mass media of all sorts. The real issue is how knowledgeable is the public. We have seen the reliability of some of most well known social media distributors become suspect yet we still religiously follow them. This election season will be possibly the worst for information since we have experienced the rise of  “opinion news” offered as fact. Our titular national leader aka TOTUS has lead the conversation with statements that are at once inflammatory and false statements that get a rise from his supporters while inserting himself in minor issues that are beneath his station. What we seemingly have is a leader whose sole objective is the disruption of norms no matter what the consequences. It is sad that we have a Congress that has allowed a miscreant to dictate the fate of our country while they build the tunnel that could undermine our freedoms while enhancing their own standards of living.

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It appears that TOTUS is nearing a breakdown of sorts, his wide-ranging, mostly erroneous July 4th speech was a boosting of himself, now he is attacking his friends at FOX. The census question kicked out by the high court and Iran’s challenge is quite a load for a would be dictator to handle, question is “How will he?” MA

Chris Mills Rodrigo 12 hrs ago

President Trump slammed Fox News and its reporting in a series of tweets Sunday evening, claiming the conservative network is “changing fast” and being staffed with Democrats.
“Watching @FoxNews weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News @CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams,” the president said.
“But @FoxNews, who failed in getting the very BORING Dem debates, is now loading up with Democrats & even using Fake unsourced @nytimes as a ‘source’ of information (ask the Times what they paid for the Boston Globe, & what they sold it for (lost 1.5 Billion Dollars), or their old headquarters building disaster, or their unfunded liability? @FoxNews is changing fast, but they forgot the people who got them there!”

Donald J. Trump
✔ @realDonaldTrump

Watching @FoxNews weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News @CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams (remember when he totally fabricated a War Story trying to make himself into a hero, & got fired. A very dishonest journalist!) and the crew of degenerate……

59.4K
6:50 PM – Jul 7, 2019

Donald J. Trump
✔ @realDonaldTrump
· 14h

Replying to @realDonaldTrump
…..Comcast (NBC/MSNBC) Trump haters, who do whatever Brian & Steve tell them to do. Like CNN, NBC is also way down in the ratings. But @FoxNews, who failed in getting the very BORING Dem debates, is now loading up with Democrats & even using Fake unsourced @nytimes as….

Donald J. Trump
✔ @realDonaldTrump

…a “source” of information (ask the Times what they paid for the Boston Globe, & what they sold it for (lost 1.5 Billion Dollars), or their old headquarters building disaster, or their unfunded liability? @FoxNews is changing fast, but they forgot the people who got them there!

53K
6:50 PM – Jul 7, 2019
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Earlier on Sunday, Trump called out The New York Times for reporting on a migrant detention center in Clint, Texas.
“The Fake News Media, in particular the Failing @nytimes, is writing phony and exaggerated accounts of the Border Detention Centers,” he tweeted.
The article in the Times revealed rampant disease, overcrowding and deficient facilities.
Fox News did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s tweet.
Trump is known to have a close relationship with many Fox News personalities. He has appeared on the network more than any other and frequently tweets segments from shows.
However, he has increasingly criticized it over its campaign coverage, particularly when the network chooses to cover 2020 Democrats.

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Is it a far stretch to think that TOTUS could be a sex offender, given several of his closest friends have been indicted on sex charges and he has previously and recently defended them? MA

Mary Papenfuss, HuffPost• July 7, 2019
Biographer Tweets Embarrassing Trump Quote About Epstein Liking Women ‘On Younger Side’
More
Donald Trump biographer Tim O’Brien picked an awkward moment for the president Saturday to raise an old quote from Trump about his pal Jeffrey Epstein, whom he called a “terrific guy” and “fun.”
It’s “even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side,” Trump told New York Magazine in 2002 for a profile on Epstein.

Tim O’Brien
✔ @TimOBrien

“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” – Donald Trump, 2002 https://twitter.com/timobrien/status/1147681218714095616

Tim O’Brien
✔ @TimOBrien
Jeffrey Epstein, the New York financier long accused of molesting dozens of young girls, has been charged by federal prosecutors with sex trafficking. Via ⁦@WRashbaum⁩ https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/06/nyregion/jeffrey-epstein-arrested-sex-trafficking.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share
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Epstein was arrested in New York Saturday on federal charges of allegedly sex trafficking minors, according to The New York Times, The Miami Herald and The Daily Beast, which first reported the story.
The 66-year-old billionaire money manager is accused of trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005, according to The Daily Beast, which cited three unnamed law enforcement sources. He allegedly paid the underage victims for massages, and molested and sexually abused them.
Epstein avoided federal criminal charges in 2007 and 2008 in a widely criticized plea deal on earlier accusations that he molested underage girls. The deal was negotiated by Trump’s Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta when he was a top federal prosecutor in Miami.
Epstein, a registered sex offender, is expected to appear in court in Manhattan on Monday.

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This explains the peril in this administration’s continuance and the GOP’s reluctance to rein it in. MA

Michael Morell 13 hrs ago

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.
Michael Morell was the deputy director of the CIA from 2010 to 2013 and twice its acting director. He is a contributing columnist for The Post.

From his very first day in office, President Trump has had a strange and, at times, strained relationship with the U.S. intelligence community. The president and his political aides have often challenged the honesty and integrity of the community, damaging morale, undercutting its mission and making the already difficult challenge of uncovering threats to our nation even harder.
But, by putting the CIA’s analytic judgment (that one of Russia’s objectives in interfering in the 2016 election was to help then-candidate Trump) into the crosshairs of the Justice Department, as reported by several news organizations , the president and Attorney General William P. Barr are crossing another line.
I see no problem with a Justice Department review of whether the CIA and other intelligence agencies lived up to their legal and regulatory responsibilities as to how they handled any information related to U.S. persons — U.S. citizens and U.S. nationals. There are strict rules in this regard — the most important promulgated by multiple attorneys general over time — and, in our divisive political environment, it would be beneficial to our democracy for the country to know whether the rules were followed or not.
Nor am I arguing that CIA analytic judgments should be beyond review, but that has already happened in this case. Both the Senate and the House intelligence committees have done reviews of the analysis, with the bipartisan Senate committee calling the overall analysis a “sound intelligence product.” The partisan House committee split on the question of the specific judgment about Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s intent to help Trump.
What I am arguing is that the Justice Department has no standing to review the CIA’s analytic judgment. The whole idea is inappropriate and dangerous. It is certainly unprecedented, and there are good reasons it has never been done before.
I have great respect for John H. Durham , the U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut tapped by Barr to do the review. But, while Durham is familiar with the CIA from previous investigations, he and his team have no experience with, or knowledge of, the process of intelligence analysis itself. He and his team could well impose a hard-to-meet law enforcement standard on the analysts’ conclusions. That would create a burden of proof that might be right in a court of law but would be risky and unwise in the assessment of intelligence for real-time decision-making.
A similarly dangerous consequence of a Justice Department review of analysis is the chilling effect it may have on analysts and analysis. Out of prudence, any analyst asked to submit to an interview with Durham’s investigators will want to have a personal lawyer nearby — likely a first for many, if not all, of the analysts. This will all be watched closely inside the intelligence community: The prospect that Justice Department prosecutors could ask questions about how an analyst came to a specific conclusion — along with the thought that there may be legal consequences for having done so — could lead analysts to withhold their judgments or even decide that this profession is not for them. We lose as a nation with either outcome.
If the shoe were on the other foot — if a senior intelligence community official were asked to review decisions made by the FBI and career prosecutors — how do we think the attorney general, or career prosecutors, would react? With loud protests, no doubt.
There seems to be an erroneous belief among some that if the analysts had not come to the conclusion that Putin was trying to help Trump, there would not have been an FBI counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. This belief is misplaced; there was likely never a link between a judgment by the intelligence community analysts and a decision by the FBI on whether to open a counterintelligence case. The two were most likely completely separate. And, further, it seems that the analytic judgment about Russian intent came after the opening of the counterintelligence investigation. If so, it could not have been a predicate for the investigation.
A Justice-led review of the quality of intelligence analysis represents yet another weakening of the intelligence community as an institution. The country could be paying for these kinds of decisions for years to come.

Read more:
David Kris and Michael Morell: The high cost of William Barr’s spying allegations
Harry Litman: William Barr is making Trump’s obsession his own
Paul Waldman: Justice Department follows Trump’s order to chase insane conspiracy theory
The Post’s View: William Barr torched his reputation. His testimony compounded the damage.
E.J. Dionne Jr.: William Barr has shamelessly corrupted the debate over the Mueller report

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Blathering idiot who tells the truth among his lies. MA
Antonia Blumberg, HuffPost 14 hours ago
President Donald Trump may have just undermined the effort to get a citizenship question added to the 2020 census by identifying his administration’s real motives behind the effort.
Responding to reporters outside the White House on Friday, the president said the question was necessary “for many reasons.”
“Number one, you need it for Congress — you need it for Congress for districting,” Trump said. “You need it for appropriations — where are the funds going? How many people are there? Are they citizens? Are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons.”
But the reasons Trump named don’t exactly line up with his administration’s official talking points.
Since Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, moved to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census in 2018, the Trump administration has claimed the query is necessary to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.
Those challenging the question said there’s a partisan motive behind the effort. Congressional districts are apportioned based on total population, regardless of citizenship. But with a citizenship question added to the census, experts and activists say it could discourage people of color from participating and privilege conservative and rural areas with smaller noncitizen populations.
By its own analysis, the Census Bureau has estimated millions of people could be left out of the census count if a citizenship question is added to the survey. Republican consultant Thomas Hofeller, who ghostwrote portions of what would later become the Justice Department’s formal request to add the citizenship question to the census, wrote that adding the question would pave the way for redistricting that would increase the political power of “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites,” according to documents revealed in federal court in May.
Trump’s comment on Friday that the question is needed for “districting” appears to give weight to that argument.
The president’s remarks come the same day his administration missed a deadline to provide an adequate justification for adding the citizenship question.
The Supreme Court temporarily blocked the administration from adding the question, ruling last week that the Department of Commerce had not provided an adequate explanation for its decision to do so. On Wednesday, a federal judge gave the administration a deadline of 2 p.m. on Friday to provide that explanation, which it did not meet.
Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing on Friday they would continue to look for ways to add the question to the census.
“The Departments of Commerce and Justice have been instructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision, that would allow for the inclusion of the citizenship question on the census,” the lawyers wrote.
Later on Friday, a Maryland federal judge denied the administration’s request for a delay in discovery pertaining to the claims of the plaintiffs challenging the question in court.

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