House launches Biden impeachment inquiry; witnesses say no case yet for impeachment vote.
California fast food workers win big with $20/hr minimum wage and new industry council.
More than half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenians have fled.
House launches Biden impeachment inquiry; witnesses say no case yet for impeachment vote
The House Judiciary Committee has begun its formal impeachment inquiry against President Biden. GOP members of the panel accuse Biden of abusing his power to benefit his son Hunter’s business dealings. One of the accusations has it that, at his son’s request, then-VP Biden used his influence to have a Ukrainian prosecutor fired after he began investigation a business tied to an executive at Burisma, the Ukrainian oil company that Hunter was working for.
Trouble is, there is as yet no evidence that Joe Biden had anything to do with the prosecutor’s firing, nor that he used his influence to get Hunter a seat on Burisma’s board (for which he certainly wasn’t qualified). Nor is there any evidence that Joe Biden benefited financially from his son’s business dealings.
Even witnesses called by the Republican panel members did nothing to help their case against Biden. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the committee’s chairman, touted testimony from Devon Archer, Hunter’s former business partner, as “the most telling evidence” of Joe’s involvement with the “influence-peddling scheme” that resulted in the prosecutor’s firing. However, the transcript of Archer’s testimony does not support the GOP’s assertion that Hunter called his father after receiving a request from a Burisma executive about the troublesome prosecutor. Nor was Archer clear on whether the executive’s request had anything to do with the prosecutor.
Furthermore, legal experts called by both Democrat and Republican sides of the Judiciary Committee stated that the information gathered so far doesn’t meet the threshold for an impeachment vote. An expert called by the Democrats pointed out that the “name repeated most” was Hunter Biden’s, noting a President cannot be impeached for his son’s behavior. Republican witness Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, also admitted that current evidence does not support articles of impeachment against the President.
California fast food workers win big with $20/hr minimum wage and new industry council
For over a year, workers in California’s fast food chains have been calling on their state government to address widespread issues within the industry. This includes everything from low pay, even after years of service, as well as wage theft, abuse by employers, unredressed injury claims and a host of other labor complaints. California has over 550,000 fast food workers. The majority of these workers are full time employees and primary providers for their families, contradicting the view that most working in fast food are teenagers working their first job.
Governor Gavin Newsome has now signed into law a bill that sets the minimum wage for fast food workers at $20 an hour. This will be a big boost for workers whose median wage is currently $16 an hour in a state with the 2nd-highest cost of living.
The bill also sets up a state-level sectoral council for the fast food sector which will have representation from workers, fast food employers, and state regulators. For the first time, the new council will give fast food workers a seat at the table in setting wage standards and working conditions. Going forward, the council will also set annual wage increases for workers.
More than half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenians have fled
Last week, the Azerbaijani government launched an attack on its ethnic Armenian enclave region of Nagorno-Karabakh. As a result, the region’s breakaway government will dissolve officially in January 2024. Fearing a campaign of ethnic cleansing, more than half of Karabakh’s 150,000 ethnic Armenians have now fled towards the border with neighboring Armenia.
This brings to an end a decades-long struggle that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Armenians have lived in the region for centuries. Despite age-old conflicts of culture, language, religion (Armenians being mostly Christian while Azerbaijan is majority Muslim), the Soviets were able to keep a lid on ethnic tensions while Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union.
Now as then, Russian peacekeepers have had a major role to play in the most recent conflict. In this instance, however, Russian troops appear to have been instrumental in helping Azerbaijan finalize its takeover of the region. Many Armenians say they feel betrayed by the Russians, who are fellow Orthodox Christians. In recent years, Armenia has become more aligned with the West, undermining Russian interests in the Caucasus region.