Documents Released Related To JFK Assassination

By Sumner Jacobs, The Chicago Times

December 16, 2022

WASHINGTON – The US National Archives released thousands of documents Thursday relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November of 1963.  The documents were released on the order of the White House.

Photo taken on November 22, 1963 in Dallas the day President Kennedy was assassinated. Photo: Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News.

The document dump consists of just over 13,000 documents relating to the assassination and are not expected to yield any new insight into the assassination.  Kennedy was shot once in the head and clean through the throat while traveling in an open top limousine through Dallas on November 22, 1963.  According to the official record, Kennedy was assassinated by lone gunman and communist Lee Harvey Oswald.

Known communist and traitor: Lee Harvey Oswald.

According to the National Archives, the documents released on Thursday focus on Oswald’s movements and contacts that were being tracked by the Central Intelligence Agency.  The trove of documents also show that the CIA opened a 201 file or “personality file” on Oswald in December of 1960 after his 1959 attempt to defect to the Communist led Soviet Union.

In 2017, President Donald Trump declassified documents relating to the assassination with instructions to have the remaining documents released on a rolling basis.  According to the CIA, 95 percent of the documents in their archive associated with the assassination have been released.

Orion Capsule Splashes Down To Earth From Moon

By Harold W. Reid, The Chicago Times

December 12, 2022

SAN DIEGO – NASA’s Orion capsule splashed back down on Earth in the Pacific ocean Sunday after making an uncrewed mission around the Moon.  The Orion spacecraft splashed down off the coast of Mexico’s Baja California at 9:40 am (PST).  The 25-day mission included tests that saw Orion travel some 270,000 miles away from Earth.

“This was a challenging mission, and this is what mission success looks like,” NASA’s Artemis I mission manager Mike Sarafin said at a press conference.

According to NASA, Orion plunged back into Earth’s atmosphere for a 20-minute descent to test its heat shield in temperatures up to 5,000 F degrees.  Reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere causes friction that slowed Orion down from 24,500 mph to 325 mph until parachutes were deployed to brake Orion’s speed down to 20 mph before splashdown.

Artemis I blasted off to the Moon on November 16 from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, with the Orion spacecraft atop NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the successor to the mighty Saturn V rocket that carried the Apollo missions to the Moon.  It is hoped that the Artemis program will lay the foundation for returning astronauts to the lunar surface in order to establish a lunar base that will eventually springboard crewed voyages to Mars.  NASA engineers are expected to examine data from the Artemis I mission in order to plan Artemis II’s crewed flight around the moon in 2024. NASA expects a crewed lunar landing in 2025 with Artemis III.

NASA did admit that Orion had some communication blackouts and an electrical issue during the mission around the Moon, but said that overall the mission was a success and exceeded expectations.

House Scraps COVID Vaccine Mandate For US Military

By Sumner Jacobs, The Chicago Times

December 9, 2022

WASHINGTON – The US House of Representatives passed a $858 billion national defense bill that will also end the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the US military.  As threats from both Communist China and the Russian Federation increase, this will be the second time in two years that the House has exceeded defense spending requests by the Biden administration.  The House bill passed by 350-80 votes and will now go to the Senate where it is expected to be passed.

The bill will require Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to rescind his August 2021 order that mandated vaccines for US military personnel.  Earlier in the week Austin had vowed to keep the mandate in place.

According to many House members, the vaccine was hampering recruiting and retention of military personnel.  Defense Department data revealed that some 8,000 active-duty service members were discharged for refusing to take the vaccine.  However, senior military leaders have argued that the vaccine was only one of many that are required to be taken by military personnel in order to maintain health standards.

Congress Moves To Prevent Looming Rail Strike

By Harold W. Reid, The Chicago Times

November 30, 2022

WASHINGTON – Congress may be forced to take drastic action to prevent a looming US rail workers strike that threatens to shutdown an already weakened economy suffering from high inflation and supply chain issues.

The Biden administration pleaded with Congress to act after rail unions rejected a deal brokered by Biden representatives.  Four of the twelve unions, representing some 100,000 employees for rail freight carriers, voted down the most recent deal and have threatened to strike by December 9 if another deal is not approved.

Both Republicans and Democrats are wary of intervening in labor disputes, especially Democrats who are dependent on union labor votes and political contributions.  Yet, the bill is expected to receive bipartisan support after both Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress met with the Biden administration on Tuesday at the White House.

Outgoing Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised two votes with the first on adopting the tentative labor agreement and the second to add seven days of paid sick leave for railroad workers to the agreement.

“It is with great reluctance that we must now move to bypass the standard ratification process for the Tentative Agreement.  However, we must act to prevent a catastrophic strike that would touch the lives of nearly every family: erasing hundreds of thousands of jobs, including union jobs; keeping food and medicine off the shelves; and stopping small businesses from getting their goods to market.” according to Pelosi. 

The failed agreement brokered by the Biden administration, supported by the railroad freight carriers and a majority of the unions, provided for 24% raises and $5,000 in bonuses retroactive to 2020 along with one additional paid leave day.  Rail workers would have to pay a greater share of their health insurance costs, but their premiums would be capped at 15% of the total cost of the insurance plan. However, the rejection was over workers’ concerns about demanding schedules that make it hard to take a day off and the lack of paid sick time.

The US Chamber of Commerce and the American Farm Bureau Federation sent a letter to congressional leaders stating that they must intervene in the labor dispute and pointed out that a stoppage of rail service for any duration would represent a $2 billion per day loss to the economy.

Railroad labor unions on Tuesday were angered over Biden’s pleas for Congress to intervene in the dispute since it undercuts their efforts to address workers’ quality-of-life concerns.

Security Risk: Huawei And ZTE Equipment Sales Banned By US

By Harold W. Reid, The Chicago Times

November 26, 2022

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration will ban new telecommunications equipment from Communist China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE due to potential risk to US national security.

The US Federal Communications Commission announced Friday that it will bar the sale or import of equipment made by communist Chinese surveillance equipment maker Huawei and ZTE along with Dahua Technology Co, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co Ltd, and Hytera Communications Corp Ltd.  The decision to ban the communist technology giants is due to their ability to easily spy on American citizens.

“These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

In June 2021, the FCC revealed it was considering banning all equipment authorizations for the communist Chinese companies.  All four commissioners at the agency, consisting equally of Republicans and Democrats unanimously agreed to the ban.

US Chamber Of Commerce Demands Congress To Settle Rail Labor Dispute 

By Harold W. Reid, The Chicago Times

November 22, 2022

WASHINGTON – The head of the US Chamber of Commerce called on Congress to settle the ongoing railroad labor standoff that threatens to halt shipments of billions of dollars of goods crisscrossing the United States, threatening to interrupt an already fragile supply chain and weakening economy.

Suzanne Clark, US Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, practically begged Congress members to intercede on the growing rail labor struggle after members of the nation’s largest railroad union rejected a tentative agreement brokered by the Biden administration.

“Congress must now impose the deal President Biden negotiated, and the railroads and union leadership agreed to,” Clark said in a statement.

The Presidential Emergency Board, appointed by the Biden administration, released the framework for the tentative deal forged in September between major railroads, like Union Pacific, and a dozen unions representing some 115,000 workers.

Four of the twelve unions have rejected that deal in hopes of squeezing more out of the major railroads and ultimately American citizens.  Many in Congress see this as a selfish power play by the four unions.  However, union members claim they kept the meager supply chain alive during the pandemic of 2020.

The unions have until 12:01 am on December 9 to settle their differences.  If they fail to come to terms, rail workers will go on strike which will force the railroads to lock out employees.

“If Congress fails to do so, a rail strike would substantially exacerbate inflation and the economic challenges Americans are facing today,” Clark said in a statement.