The Ripcurrent: The Fate of TikTok, RBG, Mass ICE Sterilizations

Amy Whitman and Viviane E. Kim News Sep 20, 2020

Trump Administration Avoids TikTok Ban At Last Minute

For the past four weeks, the nation has been preparing for Trump’s first blow against the popular app TikTok, which had reached 315 million downloads in May. The Trump administration was going to ban all TikTok downloads starting today, and looked forward to an outright ban nearing November. However, just as the wheels began to roll, the president gave his approval to an Oracle-Walmart deal that would save TikTok in America. As NPR reported, the two companies are forming “a new entity called TikTok Global, which will be headquartered in the U.S.”

Earlier this year, the administration pushed for restrictions on the Chinese-owned company, claiming that it was a national security threat. Although many disagreed with the allegations, the decision to allow TikTok Global confounded cybersecurity experts even more, with Chris Kelly, a former privacy officer at Facebook stating that “the interactions with the Chinese government, and the ability of the Chinese government to put pressure on the ByteDance company, is still substantial.”


  -Viviane Kim

Reports of Forced Immigrant Sterilizations Emerge

Dawn Wooten, a former nurse from a Georgia ICE detention center filed a whistleblower complaint on Monday, alleging that an alarming number of detained immigrant women were being sent to get hysterectomies, a form of surgery that renders women unable to have children. Although in some cases hysterectomies are necessary, Wooten thought it suspicious, saying “everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad”, adding that “everybody [the gynecologist] sees has a hysterectomy -- just about everybody.” The whistleblower complaint includes  testimonies from several detained women, who complained about the ambiguity and misleading nature of the procedures. One woman reported that “the doctor’s office did not properly explain to her what procedure she was going to have done.” Three different medical workers told her different things, and would not listen to her objections. Many women don’t speak English, and told Ms. Wooten that “they don’t know why they went or why they’re going.” One woman even had the wrong surgery performed on her, ruining any chances of conception.

The report also called out the immigrant detention center’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and general medical shortcomings with Wooten describing neglect, and outright disregard for immigrants who complained of Covid-like symptoms. She also confirmed that although the facility had purchased two testing machines, they refused to test anyone and declined to implement isolation procedures. General mistreatment of detainees and gross unhygienic practices were described by one immigrant who wrote, “it’s dirty, it’s nasty, and there is mold.” Reports of contaminated food and cockroaches accompanied her report.


          -Viviane Kim

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Her Life and Legacy

Surrounded by her loved ones, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away at the age of 87 due to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer. Ginsburg, lovingly known as “the notorious RBG”, was a fierce advocate for gender equality and helped pass landmark cases which helped women across the nation. She was a firm believer in abortion rights, equal pay, marriage equality, and equal gender pay. She was the second and longest serving female justice, having been sworn in by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Born in 1933, RBG was raised in Brooklyn, New York, before getting her B.A from Cornell, attending Harvard Law School, and getting her LL.B. from Columbia. She experienced a great deal of discrimination in the work place for being Jewish, being a woman, and being a mother.

She had two children, James and Jane, with her husband, Martin Ginsburg, who she shared a long and happy marriage with. Martin passed away in 2010, and the day after he passed, she was back to work, sitting on the bench. In fact, she rarely missed a day of work, and had no intent of retiring as long as she could "do the job full steam." RBG’s battle with cancer was a prolonged one. She fought four bouts of cancer, undergoing surgery for colon cancer in 1999 and radiation for pancreatic cancer in the spring of 2020. She credited her ability to keep moving and keep working, to her workout routine, which was quite vigorous, with workouts from her trainer, and included twenty pushups a day.

Across the nation, millions of Americans mourn the loss of one of the fiercest women's rights activists to ever live. She used her power in the Court for good, and gave freedom and liberty to generations of citizens.

  -Amy Whitman

Trump and McConell Move To Replace Ginsburg

Hours after Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg’s death was announced, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell tweeted a statement announcing plans to replace her. “We pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” he wrote. This comes in stark contrast to McConell’s handling of Obama’s Supreme Court pick in 2016. Supreme Court Justice Scalia died 11 months before the election, but McConell blocked the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. He stated that he did not think any Supreme Court activity was appropriate during an election year. With less than 45 days to the election, McConell’s position has entirely changed. The president has hinted at a few picks, including Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. Ted Cruz, and former Scalia clerk Amy Coney Barrett.


-Viviane Kim

Amy Whitman

Amy is The Current’s Multimedia lead. A junior, she contributes to our podcast and News column. She loves writing, reading, sports, and film, and plans to major in journalism and political science.

Viviane E. Kim

Viviane, a sophomore, is Editor-in-Chief of The Current. She's an aspiring pianist, flutist, artist, and activist. She has won several writing competitions and performed with the SBU Orchestra.

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