Welcome to Newscoop Footnotes — the weekly review of important news no one’s talking about.
Hi, I’m Zoe Licata.
It’s been a wild week.
- All eyes last Thursday were on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing into sexual allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Dr. Ford was an extraordinarily credible witness, and many are now calling for a halt to the nomination process until Ford’s reported experiences (and those from others) are thoroughly investigated. Concerns have been voiced by the Yale Law School faculty; the American Bar Association; the Republican governors of Massachusetts, Maryland and Vermont; and professors and students at Harvard Law School.
But the widespread concerns about his nomination have now spread well beyond the sexual allegations. Kavanaugh claimed in the hearing that “everyone who has appeared before me on the D.C Circuit has praised my judicial temperament” — all the while raising his voice at questioning senators, throwing their questions back at them, growing red in the face and crying, refusing to answer direct questions, dissembling, and spinning partisan conspiracy theories to explain away the allegations against him. There was wide agreement among most impartial parties that Kavanaugh was angry, disrespectful, partisan and dishonest. Whatever is proven (or not) regarding the abuse allegations, those other traits were on display in the hearing — and many now feel they disqualify him from serving on the nation’s highest court.
The FBI has now reopened an investigation of the allegations against Kavanaugh, to last just one week. The parameters of their investigation are somewhat unclear, although it appears the White House is putting self-serving restrictions on what and who will be investigated.
- And there’s more on the Kavanaugh nomination. U.S. Senator from Oregon Jeff Merkley has filed suit against Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Chuck Grassley, the National Archives and others, alleging a violation of the separation of powers. Merkley alleges that by withholding documents necessary for senators to evaluate Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the White House and others have interfered with senators’ constitutionally mandated responsibility to provide “advice and consent.”
- And the preliminary October 1st vote results indicate that Macedonia’s vote on changing its name to “North Macedonia” has not reached the total vote required for the name change. Many Macedonians, including the president, boycotted the referendum, with only 36% of the required 50% showing up at the polls.
When the ex-Yugoslavia broke apart in 1991, a dispute arose between Greece and the newly independent Macedonia. Both northern Greece and the new country of Macedonia had historically been part of the Roman province of Macedonia. Greece dug in its heels and used its veto to block Macedonia’s membership in both NATO and the EU — until it agreed to change its name. That dispute continues to this day.
- And this week we also heard new, if not surprising, clarifications from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. NPR’s headline yesterday read: “Netanyahu’s Not-Quite-2-State Solution.
Netanyahu just revealed what Palestinians have claimed all along was his objective: to refuse Palestinians a state of their own. He calls it a “state minus.” After President Trump voiced support at the UN last week for the two-state solution to the conflict, Netanyahu came out with the clarifying pushback. He said that he favors Palestinians having “basically all the powers of sovereignty, or nearly all the powers, but not the ones of security.” Note: Nearly having autonomy in governance is something far short of an independent state.
Netanyahu added: “I don’t want them either as citizens of Israel or subjects of Israel.” For Arab residents of Israel, then, he’s not offering much of anything.
The question now is this: President Trump just eliminated all funding to the Palestinians — humanitarian, educational and otherwise — in the effort, he said, to drive them to the negotiating table (over an agreement that very much favors Israel). Now that Netanyahu has made the real nature of that deal clear beyond a doubt, where does this leave Trump?
This has been the latest edition of Newscoop’s Footnotes – important events getting too little attention. We’ll be back next week with more.
music from bensound.com