[guest post by Dana]
Here are a few news items to talk about. Feel free to share anything that might be of interest to readers. Please make sure to include links.
First news item
President Donald Trump said Friday that Israel and Bahrain have agreed to the “establishment of full diplomatic relations,” marking the second time in a month an Arab Gulf nation has announced new ties with the Jewish state and further reshaping alliances in the Middle East…Unveiling the new agreement from the Oval Office, Trump cast the move as a step toward peace in the region. He has worked to broker accords between Arab nations and Israel that he hopes will lead to a broader peace deal…The announcement came less than a week ahead of a White House signing ceremony between Israel and the United Arab Emirates that will bring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Emirati officials to Washington.
Second news item
David Peterson is an art professor at Skidmore College, a private liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs, New York. In late July, the professor and his wife, Andrea Peterson, attended a “Back the Blue” rally—not as supporters of the cause, they say, but as curious spectators.
“Given the painful events that continue to unfold across this nation, I guess we just felt compelled to see first-hand how all of this was playing out in our own community,” he later told the student newspaper.
But unbeknownst to Peterson, the couple’s attendance at the rally was noticed. Now Skidmore students are demanding that both Peterson be fired for “engaging in hateful conduct that threatens Black Skidmore students,” according to Times-Union columnist Chris Churchill, who wrote about the controversy.
Third news item
Support and encourage Departments to make cluster hires of Black and other faculty of color…Create benchmarks for departments to follow through on President Pollack’s call, issued earlier this summer, to “embed anti-racism” in the full spectrum of Cornell activities…Pair anti-sexist and anti-racist policies to address white and/or male domination of department chair positions and other administrative structures…Hire more BIPOC staff members in the next round of hires…Embed decolonized readings in every possible course at Cornell, including but not necessarily limited to the social sciences and humanities…Adopt a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to incorporating the voices of BIPOC scholars in every area of study, within and beyond the humanities and social sciences…Abolish colorblind recruitment policies and practices in partner/spousal hiring and replace them with intentionally anti-racist policies and practices.
[Ed. Otherizing: To the perfect BIPOC academic with a non-BIPOC spouse, your kind isn’t welcome here…]
Fourth news item
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will end nearly all of his state’s social-distancing restrictions on Monday even as the number of new coronavirus cases has trended upward over the last few months…The new rules will still limit the size of large indoor gatherings, such as concerts, meeting halls and theaters, but will drop all other state-imposed mandates in favor of voluntary guidelines, as other conservative states have done…State officials said they made the decision based on the availability of hospital beds and ventilators, in keeping with the Republican governor’s goal of not overwhelming medical facilities.
Fifth news item
In the credits of Disney’s new Mulan movie, the company offers a special thanks to four Chinese Communist Party propaganda departments and a public security bureau in the region of Xinjiang where more than a million Muslims, mostly of the Uyghur minority, have been imprisoned in concentration camps…Disney recently revealed that some scenes in the live action remake of its 1998 animated film, which was released on its Disney+ streaming platform over the weekend, were filmed in the region.
“By filming the movie in Turpan, East Turkistan, where there are possibly hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs being detained in concentration camps and prisons, Disney is not only helping promote Chinese government propaganda but it is also helping the CCP whitewash the genocide faced by Uyghurs and demonizing the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan as “barbarians” and as enemies of China and the Chinese people.”
The spokesperson then emphasized that to get to the area where the filming took place, the Disney crew would have passed “several concentration camps,” some of which are visible from the highway. The ETNAM estimates that in some villages in Turpan, up to 80 percent of the Uyghur population has been detained.
Sayragul Sauytbay, [an ethnic Kazakh woman who fled China’s notorious internment camps] describes being forced to witness a gang rape while at the camp. A young woman, she says, was forced to disrobe after being forced to “confess” her sins in front of around 200 prisoners. The young woman was then raped by several police officers, Sauytbay said.
“While they were raping her they checked to see how we were reacting. People who turned their head or closed their eyes, and those who looked angry or shocked, were taken away and we never saw them again.”
So here is @Disney’s CEO last year shamelessly threatening to stop operations in Georgia.
Because a bill was passed to protect unborn babies.
Then what does Disney do?
— Obianuju Ekeocha (@obianuju) September 9, 2020
Sixth news item
The relationship between guilt-ridden white ppl (who are often also self-righteous), and black ppl who weild victimhood for economic and political gain is one of the most destructive, self-sabotaging and degrading social relations right now. It is a match made in hell.
— Inaya Folarin Iman (@InayaFolarin) September 11, 2020
Seventh news item
Federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy, a top aide to U.S. Attorney John H. Durham in his Russia investigation, has quietly resigned — at least partly out of concern that the investigative team is being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before its work is done, colleagues said.
Dannehy, a highly regarded prosecutor who has worked with or for Durham for decades, informed colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Haven of her resignation from the Department of Justice by email Thursday evening. The short email was a brief farewell message and said nothing about political pressure, her work for Durham or what the Durham team has produced, according to people who received it.
Colleagues said Dannehy is not a supporter of President Trump and has been concerned in recent weeks by what she believed was pressure from Barr, who appointed Durham, to produce results before the election. They said she has been considering resigning for weeks, conflicted by loyalty to Durham and concern about politics.
Eighth news item
U.S. health department spokesperson Michael Caputo and his aides asked for the right to read and suggest changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly COVID-19 reports, Politico reported, citing emails and three people familiar with the matter.
Communications aides from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services complained to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other officials that the agency’s reports would undermine President Donald Trump’s optimistic messaging about the pandemic, according to the report.
CDC employees pushed back against changes but have increasingly agreed to allow political appointees review the virus reports, and have agreed to amend language in some cases, Politico said.
Have a good weekend.