Today is April 5 and I am Dennis Michael Lynch. Below are my opinions on the stories grabbing headlines this morning. I hope you share this briefing as doing so will make you the smartest person in the room, in my opinion. And don’t forget to download the free DML App from the Google Play or Apple App Store to remain connected to me throughout the day.
1 – Cities that slashed police funding inundated by spike in homicides
The Washington Times reports: Last year’s hefty spike in homicides is extending into 2021, with cities that slashed police budgets seeing some of the largest upticks, according to an analysis of data by The Washington Times.
A review of police data and public reporting found that in the first three months of 2021, the homicide rate in 20 major cities across the country rose by 28% from the same period last year.
In nine of the cities that made the most dramatic cuts to police department budgets, homicides rose by nearly 68%. Some of those cities are now backtracking, seeking ways to boost departments’ coffers.
- Portland, Oregon – homicide rate soared a staggering 1,900% in 2021, with 20 killings, compared with one during the first three months of 2020. The city carved $16 million, or 7%, out of its police budget last year.
- Portland last year also disbanded its Gun Violence Reduction Team, which investigated firearm crimes, as community activists said it disproportionately targeted people of color. Since the cuts and elimination of the gun-violence unit in July, Portland recorded 66 homicides, compared with 17 between July 2019 and April 2020.
- Austin, Texas – cut $20 million, or 23%, from its department budget and shifted another $80 million by moving certain services to other departments. Police have reported 19 homicides this year, compared with 14 during the same period last year — a 35% rise.
- Philadelphia, PA – reduced police funding by 5%, or $33 million, and saw homicides climb 25% to 120 in early 2021 from 96 during the same period last year.
- Minneapolis, MN – 19 homicides this year, a 46% jump from the 13 in the first quarter of 2020. The city council has shrunk its department’s budget by more than $9 million, or 5%.
- Los Angeles, CA – In July City Council voted to slash $150 million, or 2%, from the police budget. In November, voters approved a measure to devote 10% of the city’s budget to nonpolice public safety measures. In the first three months of 2021, the city saw 77 homicides, up from 60 during the same period in 2020, a 28% uptick.
- New York’s City – Last year slashed $1 billion, or 2%, from the police budget, allocating more than half of the money to other agencies such as the Department of Education and the Department of Homeless Services. A casualty of the cuts was a 600-officer plainclothes anti-crime unit, which responded to violent crimes. This year, New York has recorded 84 homicides, up 13% from 74 during the first three months of 2020.
Los Angeles top prosecutor to erase gang unit, sources say
Fox News reports: Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor is reimagining, renaming and downsizing to eliminate a unit within his office that handles gang-related cases, sources told Fox News.
The unit is slated to be “decentralized” under George Gascon‘s leadership, with a number of prosecutors in the Hardcore Gang unit expected to be transferred to other units. The unit currently has around 700 active cases.
Branch offices will get a “Special Trial Lawyer/Gang Coordinator” to assist prosecutors in absorbing the cases. No new gang or gun allegations will be filed.
(2/2) This can only serve to add gasoline to a raging fire 🔥 of gang violence that threatens the safety of all. This is not reform, it’s beginning to look more and more like a suicide pact. #PublicSafety #VictimsMatter
— Alex Villanueva (@LACoSheriff) April 1, 2021
DML: I’ll be discussing this on my podcast today!
2 – Calgary church pastor’s video confronting police goes viral
Fox News reports: The pastor of a church in Calgary uploaded a video of his encounter with police and other officials from the city there to ensure that the church was following COVID-19 guidelines, and the interaction went viral.
CTV News reported that Pastor Artur Pawlowski, the head of Calgary’s Street Church in Alberta, Canada, was holding a service on Saturday at the Fortress (Cave) of Adullam when the officers entered the building.
Pawlowski, who filmed the encounter, addressed the officials in a stairwell outside the sanctuary.
This is how you handle police who enter a church without a warrant. They’re lucky they only got a tongue-lashing: s. 176 of the Criminal Code makes it a crime to disturb a church service. Those @CalgaryPolice thugs were breaking the law (and knew it). pic.twitter.com/0XhAuwv0yg
— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) April 4, 2021
Attentive viewers will recognize that Christian pastor as Artur Pawlowski. He was the very first client of our civil liberties project. @CalgaryPolice thugs fined him $1,200 for feeding the homeless. I’m not kidding — here’s the video: https://t.co/eKbFVrbrg8
— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) April 4, 2021
This brave pastor, Artur Pawlowski, is constantly bullied by the anti-Christian bigots at @CalgaryPolice. Over Christmas, they gave him 12 lockdown tickets. We’re crowdfunding the lawyer fighting his case: https://t.co/yTnSPWQXXB
— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) April 4, 2021
DML: Maybe police are supposed to focus on crime, instead of masks?
3 – Charles Barkley: Politicians Fuel Hatred Between ‘Whites And Blacks’ To ‘Keep Their Grasp’ On ‘Money And Power’
Daily Wire reports: During the “Final Four Show” on Saturday, former NBA star and “Inside the NBA” analyst Charles Barkley said that politicians intentionally fuel racial divides in order to “keep their grasp on money and power,” and that the “system” is designed to foster hatred and to “scramble the middle class.”
“Man, I think most white people and black people are great people,” Barkley said during CBS’ coverage of Saturday’s March Madness games. “I really believe that in my heart.”
“But I think our system is set up where our politicians, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, are designed to make us not like each other, so they can keep their grasp [on] money and power,” Barkley said. “They divide and conquer.”
Charles Barkley said that politicians are driving racial divisions for political gain.
Fact-check: true. pic.twitter.com/F7B4YMA5zk
— Ian Haworth (@ighaworth) April 4, 2021
4 – Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter gets suspended in ‘error’ for second time in weeks
Fox News reports: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter account was briefly suspended on Sunday due to a technical glitch, a report said.
Mediaite reported that a spokesperson from the company explained that an automated system “took enforcement action on the account referenced in error. This action has been reversed, and access to the account has been reinstated.”
Last month that the Georgia Republican was briefly locked out of her account due to an error. Her campaign at the time called the issue “another attempt by the Silicon Valley Cartel to silence voices that speak out against their far-left woke orthodoxy.”
Happy Easter, everyone! He is risen! pic.twitter.com/yiBIYsh3Sb
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) April 4, 2021
.@Twitter suspended me again today by “mistake,” after I tweeted, He is risen.
I had a wonderful day with family at the beach in the #FloridaFreedomZone. 😎
I didn’t miss the hate on Twitter at all, and I’m looking forward to President Trump’s social media platform.
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) April 5, 2021
DML: Who thinks it was a ‘mistake’?
5 – Hunter dodges on laptop questions – and CNN’s Brian Stelter gushes about ‘extraordinary,’ ‘breathtaking’ Hunter Biden book
In an interview with CBS News, Hunter Biden finally admitted the laptop first reported on by the New York Post “could” be his – after President Biden said he thought the story could be based on Russian disinformation.
“For real, I don’t know. There could be a laptop out there that was stolen from me. It could be that I was hacked. It could be that it was the – that it was Russian intelligence. It could be that it was stolen from me,” Hunter Biden said.
Months after it was alleged that a laptop revealed Hunter Biden’s business interests in China and Ukraine, the president’s son tells Tracy Smith that the laptop “could be” his
— CBS Sunday Morning 🌞 (@CBSSunday) April 2, 2021
In another CBS News interview, when asked, “Is the laptop yours?” Hunter responded, “You don’t need a laptop, you’ve got a book.” He claims he doesn’t remember dropping off a laptop at a computer repair shop, doesn’t know if he’s missing a laptop, but admits for about a four-year period, he “wasn’t keeping tabs on possessions very well.”
WATCH (until 2:52)
Fox News reports: CNN’s “Reliable Sources” briefly pivoted from a show dedicated to bashing conservative media on Sunday to become an infomercial for Hunter Biden’s new memoir, as left-wing host Brian Stelter gushed it was “extraordinary” and “breathtaking.”
Stelter teased the segment about Biden’s new memoir, “Beautiful Things,” by claiming the “real human being” who differs from the “caricature” of the president’s son would be revealed in the book. Once the CNN show returned from a commercial break, Stelter did everything in his power to urge viewers to pick up a copy.
Is Stelty getting a cut of the sales? pic.twitter.com/ocx7JyklxS
— Boris Epshteyn (@BorisEP) April 4, 2021
DML: Hunter, you’re a horrible liar.
6 – Facebook announces ‘profile project’ with Biden administration
Just days after the news broke that the Biden administration is working to develop a “Covid-19 passport,” Facebook has come up with another plan.
In a mostly-overlooked Twitter post last week, Facebook announced they have worked with the Biden administration to create a tool that will allow people to announce they’ve received the coronavirus vaccine.
“We worked with @CDCgov and @HHSGov to create new COVID-19 vaccine profile frames on Facebook in the US. The new frames will let you share your support for the vaccines and see that others are doing the same,” Facebook declared.
We worked with @CDCgov and @HHSGov to create new COVID-19 vaccine profile frames on Facebook in the US. The new frames will let you share your support for the vaccines and see that others are doing the same. https://t.co/4W13nF9PrZ
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) April 1, 2021
The social media giant announced in a press release:
Research shows that social norms can have a major impact on people’s attitudes and behaviors when it comes to their health. We know people are more likely to get a vaccine when they see many people they trust are doing it.
Today, we’re launching new COVID-19 vaccine profile frames on Facebook that we developed in collaboration with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new frames will let you share your support for COVID-19 vaccines and see that others you respect and care about are doing the same. In the coming weeks, we’ll show you a summary in your News Feed of your friends, family members and people you follow who are using the COVID-19 vaccine profile frames.
By working closely with national and global health authorities and using our scale to reach people quickly, we’re doing our part to help people get credible information, get vaccinated and encourage others to do the same so we can come back together safely.
DML: Is this the next “Covid Passport?”
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