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January 1, Investigation of Russia Probe Turns Criminal

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This Day in History |1764

Future president John Adams marries Abigail Smith 


Good Morning Middle Americans!

This are getting serious over at Attorney General William Barr’s Department of Justice. Sen. Bernie Sanders released a plan to legalize marijuana at 4:20 on Thursday. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their houses in California while wildfires spread across the state. Finally, Bruce Springsteen is calling out the president for not knowing what it’s like to be an American. 

Read all about it below. 

– Fraser Dixon 

DOJ Review of Russia Probe Now a Criminal Investigation

(Politico) – An inquiry that Attorney General William Barr ordered into the origins of the probe into possible ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia has now become a criminal investigation, a source familiar with the matter told POLITICO on Thursday.

The investigation, being conducted by the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, John Durham, was launched as an effort by Barr to answer unspecified questions he had about why the FBI began the counterintelligence investigation that eventually led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Bernie Sanders Promises to Use Executive Order to Legalize Marijuana

(Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a longtime proponent of legalized marijuana, promised on Thursday that in his first 100 days in the White House he would issue an executive order directing the drug be removed from the list of controlled federal substances.

Thousands Ordered to Leave as Northern California Fire Rages

(LA Times) – Pacific Gas & Electric said Thursday that one of its transmission lines experienced problems Wednesday night around the area where a large Sonoma County fire broke out.

In a mandatory report sent to the California Public Utilities Commission, the company said one of its workers noticed this morning that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had taped off the area. PG&E said Cal Fire also pointed out a “broken jumper on the same tower.”

Springsteen: Trump Doesn’t Grasp Meaning of American

(CBS News) – Legendary singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen says Americans are living in “a frightening time” because of the country’s leadership. In an interview with “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King, Springsteen responded to President Trump’s comments at a Minneapolis rally earlier this month on how he “didn’t need little Bruce Springsteen” and other celebrities like Beyoncé and Jay Z, who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.


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Man Arrested for Looting Was Out on Bail for Grisly Crime

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Philadelphia, a city under siege, has witnessed the arrest of over 50 individuals in a two-day crime spree, causing the demise of numerous businesses. Among those arrested is Kenneth Frye, a suspect in a recent burglary who was out on bail connected to a significant murder case from the previous year.

The city’s police department apprehended Frye for looting a Fine Wine & Good Spirits store located in West Philadelphia. Previously, Frye, who once worked as a bouncer, was charged in connection to the death of Eric Pope. It’s reported by FOX 29 that he fatally punched Pope outside Tabu Lounge in Center City. Initially charged with 3rd-degree murder, a motion has been filed by the District Attorney’s office to reduce the charge to Involuntary Murder.

This wave of criminal activity, spurred by social media, resulted in numerous arrests, involving both adults and juveniles, and is just a snapshot of the broader chaos infiltrating the city.

Charges ranging from Rioting to Burglary and Disorderly Conduct have been filed against the arrested individuals, with many arrests occurring at notable establishments such as Lululemon, T-Mobile, and Walgreens.

Arrests include:

  • Aauanyae Haynes, a Black female, 19
  • Sabree Young, a Black female, 31
  • Steven Wells, a Black male, 26
  • Traqwan Word, a Black male, 24
  • Lisa Talley, a Black female, 34
  • Yasmine Fields, a Black female, 23
  • Kenneth Frye, a Black male, 24
  • Kyreek Leak, a Black male, 21
  • Reginal Alexander, Black male, 33
  • Gabriel Gines, a Hispanic male, 23
  • Alena Gigliotti, a White female, 26
  • Petra Gonzalez, a White female, 24
  • Jessica Blake, a Black female, 37
  • Semaj Suber, a Black female, 29
  • Aniya Taylor, a Black female, 21
  • Hartzog Mashaad, a Black male, 27
  • Isis Morgan, a Black female, 23
  • Khalilah Green, a Black female, 21
  • Ernest McCollum, a Black male, 31
  • Jessica Arnold-Coit, a Black female, 30
  • Quanika McQueen, a Black female, 31
  • Denzel Walker, a Black male, 27
  • Mikal Reed, a Black male, 26
  • Tyheed Hill, a Black male, 26
  • Anthony Abner, a Black male, 35

Per Fox News, three juveniles — a 14-year-old Black male, a 16-year-old Black male and a 14-year-old Black female — were also arrested for Rioting, Burglary, Disorderly Conduct, and Theft at a Lululemon store, according to the report.

This spree of destruction and lawlessness is indicative of the escalating disorder in the city, exemplified by the arrest of Frye, who, despite his involvement in a serious murder case, was back on the streets only to be implicated in further criminal activity.

The city remains in a state of turmoil as businesses struggle to recover, and residents live in the shadow of relentless criminal activity.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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One Third of the Entire Country’s Homeless Population Lives in This State

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The staggering issue of homelessness looms large over California, with the state hosting nearly a third of the nation’s rising homeless population, which stands at 582,462 people according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In the bustling city of San Francisco, Anthony, a former restaurant worker who has lived in a tent for three years, is just one of over 170,000 unhoused Californians.

The city’s inflated living cost, with average rent for a one-bedroom apartment being roughly $3,000 a month, starkly contrasts with its minimum wage of $18.07 an hour, leaving many like Nelly Sorto, a full-time cleaner and a mother of two, struggling to break into the rental market.

Anthony, a former chef, has experienced the vicious cycle of homelessness firsthand, stating, “Once you get behind, you just can’t get up,” to ABC News.

The economic downturn during the pandemic left many like him, striving to find a permanent home and bouncing from street to street as city officials clear their encampments.

This visible homelessness crisis is often attributed to several factors, including the high cost of living related to the tech boom and mental health issues experienced by many individuals.

Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness, said to ABC News, “California has systemic issues in terms of its housing affordability… So, what we need to do in California is really have a massive investment to offset that difference between incomes and rent.”

The rising number of encampments has sparked frustration across the state, with residents like Jeanne Vasquez expressing concern over safety and the declining quality of life in their areas.

In July, Vasquez conveyed her discontent to ABC Los Angeles, citing instances of broken glass, needles on the ground, and inappropriate behaviors exhibited by individuals dealing with mental illnesses.

To combat this escalating issue, President Joe Biden announced an investment of an extra $3 billion focusing on support services including rental assistance, legal help, and job search support, with a particular emphasis on veterans.

However, GOP presidential hopefuls like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump have utilized the grim reality of the homelessness crisis in blue states to critique Democratic leadership.

Trump has been vocal about his stance on “urban camping,” promising to ban it and offering rehabilitation options for violators, as mentioned in one of his campaign ads.

However, Friedenbach argues that such policies essentially criminalize the homeless and advocates for a more comprehensive approach involving the federal government investing in housing vouchers, long-term housing subsidies, and reforms in mental health and substance use treatment systems.

She believes that this crisis is a “manufactured issue” created by a “lack of investment” and calls for active listening from the federal government to truly understand and address the needs of the unhoused people.

Despite the relentless efforts of San Francisco outreach teams, many unhoused individuals either decline offers of shelter or already have shelter but cannot be compelled to come inside, as per a spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.

While some, like Anthony, have been offered a place to stay, the glaring reality remains that thousands are still on the streets yearning for a place to call home, with at least 350 unhoused individuals still on the waitlist for housing in San Francisco.

The pervasive crisis necessitates immediate, profound measures and substantial investments to bridge the substantial gap between incomes and rent, and to address the systemic issues contributing to the surge in homelessness.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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Parents in Fear as Prowler in White Van Targets Children

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New London, Connecticut, is in a state of heightened alert as reports emerge of a man attempting to lure children into his white van.

The New London Police Department, in conjunction with the New London School District, is rigorously working to identify the suspect, whose latest sighting occurred near Bennie Dover Middle School.

The suspect is described as either White or Hispanic with black hair and a beard, which is either black or gray. The vehicle he’s been spotted in has tinted windows.

Residents of New London are understandably rattled.

“It makes me terrified; it makes me sick to my stomach,” expressed Mystique Elefante in a conversation with WFSB.com.

With an infant daughter of her own, Elefante vocalized her fears, stating she’s “afraid for my daughter to grow up,” amidst such unsettling reports.

For New London Police Capt. Matt Galante, the situation demands immediate attention and stringent precautionary measures. Galante advises students to maintain groups for safety and to vocally alarm others if danger is sensed.

“Scream, yell, make as loud a sound as you possibly can. Scream for help,” he told WFSB. “There are strength in numbers. We encourage kids walking home from school to walk together.”

This alarming incident has prompted a community-wide call to vigilance. Capt. Galante emphasized the urgency of alertness within the community and the role of every individual in maintaining a watchful eye.

“We wanted to get the message out to parents and the community at large that this may be happening within our community and for people to be vigilant and look for these types of events,” he mentioned to NBC Connecticut.

The New London Police Department has urged anyone with relevant information to come forward, allowing for anonymous tips to be sent to the New London Tips 411 system.

The involvement of the community is crucial in aiding the ongoing investigation to ensure the safety of the young residents of New London, as law enforcement intensifies its efforts to locate the prowler and his vehicle.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.


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