Nashville bomber identified; motives puzzling. Trump signs COVID relief; Dems push $2000 check vote. Chinese economy to overtake US by 2028 due to COVID. That and more below…
Nashville bomber identified
Authorities have named Anthony Quinn Warner, a 63-year-old Nashville resident and IT worker, as being responsible for the Christmas morning bombing of a Nashville AT&T facility. Warner himself seems to have been the source of human remains found near the RV containing the explosive device. No one else was seriously injured in the blast. However, the explosion knocked-out or disrupted mobile and Internet services to AT&T customers in Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia.
Warner’s motivations puzzling
Investigators believe that Warner worked alone, but little is known about his motivations. Warner’s neighbor, Steve Schmoldt, said Warner was an introverted “computer geek”. Schmoldt said he’d never known Warner to overtly express any strong political views. Warner’s former boss, realtor Steve Fridrich, said that Warner had recently and abruptly resigned. Fridrich described this action as being “out of character” for Warner. Fridrich also says investigators asked him if Warner had expressed any misgivings about the emergence of the 5G mobile Internet network.
Local officials and federal investigators seem to be running with the theory that Warner might have been a QAnon supporter. Among other things, QAnon opposes the 5G network. They believe it will make it easier for the government to monitor people and that it might cause cancers and even helps spread the coronavirus. There is, at present, little evidence that 5G will lead to greater instances of cancer.
Anonymous sources have claimed that, “the unofficial motive thus far is the suspect believed 5G was the root of all deaths in the region and he’d be hailed a hero”. Warner may have turned against AT&T following the death of his father in 2011. Warner’s father had worked for a telecom company that later merged with AT&T. However, these reports remain unconfirmed.
Trump signs COVID relief; Dems push $2000 check vote
Yesterday, President Trump signed the COVID relief package into law. Trump had previously threatened a veto, calling the joint COVID relief/federal budget bill “a disgrace”. This rejection took lawmakers by surprise, but Trump eventually signed after receiving pushback from both parties. The new package extends unemployment bonuses and extends a CDC moratorium on evictions until the end of January. By signing the attached federal budget, Trump also averted a government shutdown as a stopgap funding bill was to expire today.
Democrats have seized on Trump’s call to increase the bill’s direct stimulus checks from $600 to $2000. After Republicans blocked an effort to approve the larger checks by unanimous consent, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced there would be a recorded vote on a standalone measure for $2000 checks for today. It is unclear whether the Democrats expect the larger checks to be approved in this vote, but they will at least get Republican dissenters on the record as refusing to increase help for struggling Americans.
Chinese economy to overtake US by 2028 due to COVID
The UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicts that by 2028, China will have overtaken the US to become the world’s largest economy. This is five years earlier than previously expected. The timeline has moved up in part because of the COVID crisis and the vastly different way the two countries have handled the outbreak. Although it was the first hit by the virus, China controlled the spread with strict and immediate lockdowns. Thus, they have avoid repeated waves of economically damaging quarantine periods. Not only have they not suffered a recession as most major economies have, China’s GDP will grow by 2% this year. The US, on the other hand has suffered the highest loss of life in gross numbers of any developed country. Repeated lockdowns, inconsistent policy, and failure to adequately support most businesses have also dealt a severe blow to the US economy.
Chinese citizen journalist jailed for reporting Wuhan outbreak
A Shanghai court has sentenced citizen journalist Zhang Zhan, a former lawyer, to four years in jail for her reporting on the COVID outbreak in Wuhan, China. Zhang was first arrested in May for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” after posting blogs about the lockdown in Wuhan. She has now also been charged with disseminating false information. Since her arrest, Zhang has been restrained 24 hours a day and tube fed after going on a hunger strike. Zhang’s lawyer says, “she feels psychologically exhausted, like every day is a torment.”
The Chinese government maintained a shroud of secrecy over the early COVID outbreaks and lockdown in Wuhan. In the early months, several citizen journalists like Zhang disappeared after reporting from the area. Some surfaced months later in house arrest, posting blogs all but apologizing for their acts of journalism. One citizen journalist, Fang Bin, has not reappeared since he went missing in February.