Queen's Speech Lays Out Tory Agenda -- Queen Elizabeth II read out the speech written for her by the Conservative government yesterday, informing the world of Prime Minister Cameron's intentions now that he has a majority of seats in Commons. The program, as laid out, is unabashedly Tory, and it underscores the Conservative penchant for austerity. However, the EU referendum, Parliamentary boundary reform and the devolution bills are the most important. [28 May]
Sanders Challenges Clinton for Democratic Nomination -- Vermont's independent and self-proclaimed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders announced yesterday that he is running for president as a Democrat. This challenge to Hillary "Inevitable" Clinton represents a serious political problem for the former Secretary of State. At the same time, he offers Mrs. Clinton a way to secure the centrist vote she will need. If her team believes Mr. Sanders is running to win the election, they will probably botch both the threat and the opportunity. Mr. Sanders is running to promote ideas and force traditionally Democratic solutions to America's problems back into the mainstream of political debate. [27 May]
Irish Referendum Opts for Marriage Equality
-- Last Friday, the Republic of Ireland decided in a popular referendum to amend its constitution to acknowledge marriage equality. On a turnout of 60.5%, 1,201, 607 (62.1%) voted yes, and 734,300 (37.9%) voted no. All Irish citizens resident in Ireland and at least 18 years old were eligible to vote. Of the Republic's 43 constituencies, only Roscommon-South Leitrim voted no (even there, 48.6% voted for the amendment). Next, the legislature (the Dail) must pass a law implementing the amendment, and same-sex marriages will likely be possible by autumn. [26 May]
Banks Plead Guilty in FX Rate Fixing Case, No One Jailed -- Five major banks have copped a plea in a major foreign exchange rate fixing scandal, In re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, 13-cv-7789 (S.D.N.Y.), Barclays PLC, Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC pled guilty to violating US antitrust laws. UBS AG pled guilty to wire and mail fraud. These are criminal, not civil, misdeeds. The fines that come with the pleas total $5.8 billion. The banks have already paid $4.3 billion to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the UK Financial Conduct Authority, and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) over the same matter. Nevertheless, not a single, natural person has been charged with a single offense. Needless to say, no one is facing any jail time.[21 May]
Los Angeles Boosts Minimum Wage to $15 by 2020 -- The Los Angeles City Council voted 14-1 to increase the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour by 2020 for all businesses with 25 employees or more. Smaller firms would get an extra year to make the adjustment. The measure must be voted on again before it can take effect, but that seems a foregone conclusion. LA joins Seattle and San Francisco in raising the wage to this level. The economic impact is likely to be positive. [20 May]
Copyright 2015 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.