(TMU) — In various states across the U.S., groups of conservative and far-right protesters both small and large gathered over the weekend to denounce the ongoing stay-at-home measures taken by state governments to curb the coronavirus pandemic as health experts warn that relaxing quarantine rules could lead to a possible explosion of new CoViD-19 cases.
Waving American flags and holding placards that conveyed a mixture of messages—ranging from denunciations of “tyranny” on the part of state governments to outright denial that the health crisis is real—the protesters in at least 20 states appeared united by anxiety about the economic woes unleashed by the pandemic and an eagerness to get non-essential businesses operational again, regardless of the expected deadly cost of such a move.
Images went viral on Sunday from the protests in Denver depicting two healthcare workers clad in scrubs and N95 masks standing defiantly and blocking the cars of protesters who were converging on the State Capitol to protest Colorado’s stay-at-home orders. Photos from the dramatic scene were posted to social media by photojournalist Alyson McClaran.
Health care workers stand in the street in counter-protest to hundreds of people who gathered at the State Capitol to…
McClaran told New York Times that the protesters basically threatened to run over the workers. She said:
“They were blocking the roads until the police force stepped in … People were putting their cars right up against them.”
In one video clip of the confrontation posted to Facebook, a truck can be seen coming dangerously close to the male medical worker.
In another clip posted to Twitter, an unidentified protester holding a sign reading “Land of the Free” shouts at the workers:
“This is a free country, Americans are free! Go to China, go to China!
You go to work, why can’t I go to work? I’ve saved people’s lives too!”
Two nurses, who have witnessed first hand the toll Covid is taking in Colorado, stood up and peacefully counter protested. Here is how they were treated. I had join them. pic.twitter.com/iJnNcqZxSv
— Marc Zenn (@MarcZenn) April 19, 2020
On Friday, Trump tweeted support for similar protests in Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia, claiming protesters were going to “liberate” their states from quarantine rules. On Sunday, the president redoubled his support for the protesters even as Democratic governors said that they were receiving death threats. Denying that he was inciting the often armed protesters to violence, Trump said:
“They have got cabin fever. They want their life back. Their life was taken away from them.”
In one of the biggest rallies against lockdowns, about 2,500 people—including armed protesters—gathered at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia to slam Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order, openly defying the ban on gatherings of 50 or more people. In spite of emphatic pleas from rally organizers to wear face coverings and masks, few did—and many gathered closely despite the public health officials’ advice to maintain a six-foot distance to limit the spread of the coronavirus, according to Reuters.
— BlueStateBlues (@Tianmiao_wang) April 19, 2020
On Sunday, Gov. Inslee denounced state Republican lawmakers who have openly called for a “revolution” against social-distancing measures. In a statement, the governor said:
“Comments in the news by some Republican legislators calling for ‘open rebellion,’ claiming a ‘deep state’ plot and other radical statements are irresponsible and could needlessly lead to more people getting sick.”
A motley assortment of far-right groups such as the neo-fascist Proud Boys organization and Three Percenters militia have eagerly joined the demonstrations alongside other supporters of President Donald Trump. Gun rights advocates, religious fundamentalists, anti-vaccination groups, and lawmakers have also taken part in the rallies, which have been tied in some states to Republican Party fundraising groups and “dark money”-funded organizations linked to the Koch brothers, according to an investigative report by the Guardian.
While protest organizers have focused on denouncing the quarantine measures as “tyranny,” messaging from rank-and-file participants has been mixed. Some signs at protests have focused on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director appointed by President Trump to the CoViD-19 task force, with some reportedly calling the nation’s top epidemiologist “Fascist Fauci.” Others called the pandemic a “#fake crisis,” while one protestor in Huntington Beach, California, earned online notoriety by waving a sign that read, “Social Distancing = Communism.”
Sure is weird how these definitely homemade and definitely not astroturfed protests signs look the same, just a coincidence i guess pic.twitter.com/L7tBX2IPJn
— metal dot insert funny halloween pun here (@metaltxt) April 19, 2020
Other bizarre signs included:
“Give me liberty or give me COVID-19!”
“Trust in Jesus not the New World Order.”
Signs in Tennessee today:
“Fauci is NOT our president”
“Trust in Jesus not the New World Order” pic.twitter.com/NoiKI4iI9B
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) April 19, 2020
“Let MY People GO-LF!”
And the ever-popular demand: “I want a haircut.”
— Khary Penebaker (@kharyp) April 19, 2020
Meanwhile, Minnesota’s Friday protest looked suspiciously like a Trump rally.
— emma (@bymyelf) April 17, 2020
See more images here: https://www.frostonflower.com/Events/2020/Reopen-Minnesota/
The growing protest movement has appeared while the United States struggles with at least 752,960 confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 36,096 deaths caused by the disease—a grim toll that continues to climb by over 2,000 deceased per day, according to a New York Times database. The crisis has already pushed many medical systems across the country toward the brink of collapse.
According to a machine learning model developed by the MIT to predict the spread of CoViD-19 based on public data, any move to relax quarantine measures prematurely could lead to an “exponential explosion” in the number of infections. A report on the model starkly warns that by “relaxing quarantine measures too soon … the consequences would be far more catastrophic” than if the rules remained in place.
FBI Seizes Capitol Building LEGO Set From Alleged Rioter’s House
Many of us know, either from our childhood or even our adulthood, that building and collecting LEGO can be a fun hobby that allows us to tap into our creativity in a relaxing, stress-free way.
But what if someone’s LEGO hobby is something much more nefarious – or even seditious in the eyes of the government?
Such may have been the case when special agents with the FBI confiscated a fully completed LEGO set of the U.S. Capitol Building from the home of Robert Morss, 27, whom they allege participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, according to court documents published by The Smoking Gun.
The large LEGO set is comprised of 1,032 pieces and was released in 2016 and is no longer available for retail. The agents seized the finished set along with other items matching those they believe Morss had in his possession when he allegedly stormed the building – including a neck gaiter, a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a military-style satchel, a black tourniquet, and military battle dress uniforms.
The documents also note that he “had three different firearms including a handgun, a shotgun and a rifle” in his possession.
According to LEGO, the United States Capitol Building set “focuses on the structure’s neoclassical style facade, steps and lawns” and is “finished with a decorative ‘US Capitol’ nameplate.” In 2019, the product was “retired” – which has less to do with politics and more to do with the limited availability of the company’s unique product lines.
Morss, who is from Pennsylvania, was arrested last month on a range of federal charges. According to the Department of Justice, his alleged crimes “include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; civil disorder; and robbery of personal property of the United States.”
An FBI investigator’s affidavit notes that Morss joined rioters in direct confrontations with officers guarding the Lower West Terrace doors of the Capital in “an intense and prolonged clash between rioters and law enforcement.”
Law enforcement officers claim that they also found a notebook in Morss car that had instructions on a “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia” that included a list of names, equipment, and sections on “ambush,” “battle drills,” and “formations.” The notebook also contained notes that said “bring assault rifle,” “4 magazines,” and “bring kit/body armor.”
However, the court documents do not indicate whether the LEGO set was deployed in tactical drills prior to the botched uprising.
The DOJ says that roughly 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related the events of Jan. 6.
Neptune, the Roman God of Water, ‘Emerges’ From Waves in Photo During UK Storm
If we were to believe our eyes, it would seem that the ancient Roman god of water himself made an appearance on the shores of New Haven, England, on a day of especially rough surf.
What appears to be the “face” of Neptune was captured on Tuesday when photographer Jeff Overs of the BBC was taking photos of waves crashing over the harbor wall in the port city.
Of course, one is free to believe that the ferocious deity emanated from the depths of the sea to remind us puny humans of his wrath.
But alas, it was likely a simple example of pareidolia – the phenomenon of seeing faces and figures in otherwise random or ambiguous everyday objects.
The photographer snapped the shot amid high tide and winds exceeding 50 miles per hour (80km/h), namely because of the violent nature of the shore.
“It’s become a popular location for photographers because the sea ‘boils’ in high wind against the sea wall,” Overs explained.
“The waves splash into the high wind and when blown back occasionally make patterns that look like ghoulish faces.”
Overs added that one of the small foreground waves even resembles a hand – albeit a pareidolic one.
“It’s a straight shot and I haven’t manipulated the image at all,” he added.
Lunar New Deal: GOP Lawmaker Suggests Altering Moon & Earth’s Orbit to Stop Climate Change
Texas Republican Congressman Louise Gohmert raised the eyebrows of his Congressional colleagues on Tuesday after seemingly suggesting that climate change could be combatted by changing the orbit of the moon, or even altering “Earth’s orbit around the sun.”
Gohmert, who has been decried as the “dumbest member of Congress” for his past absurdly anti-scientific comments regarding the ongoing pandemic and a number of other issues, has been a vocal opponent of progressive legislators’ attempts to put a “Green New Deal” on the government’s agenda.
However, his apparent suggestion of a “Lunar New Deal” to mitigate global warming could take the cake as his most hare-brained idea yet.
The comments came during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on four pending bills while questioning Jennifer Eberlien of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, reports NBC.
“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the B.L.M. [Bureau of Land Management], you want very much to work on the issue of climate change,” the Texas congressman began.
“I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun,” he continued.
“We know there’s been significant solar flare activity,” Gohmert said. “And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or B.L.M. can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun?”
“Obviously that would have profound effects on our climate,” the lawmaker added.
Responding, Eberlein said with a smile: “I would have to follow up with on you on that one, Mr. Gohmert.”
“If you figure out there’s a way in the forest service you could make that change, I’d like to know,” Gohmert responded, without any trace of irony.
Longtime critics of the conservative legislator were besides themselves with bewilderment and mockery over the out-of-this-world suggestion.
On the opposite side of the aisle California Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu suggested that perhaps Marvel Comics superheroine Captain Marvel was up to the task.
“She can alter planetary orbits with her superpowers. I’m going to work on a bipartisan resolution asking for her help,” Lieu wrote on Twitter.
According to NASA, the Earth’s climate has changed throughout history for various reasons, including small variations in the planet’s orbit.
However, the agency’s website notes that this doesn’t discount the fact that anthropogenic or human-caused activities are the culprit of the current warming.
“The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over millennia,” the site says.