The major Hollywood studios have told the Screen Actors Guild that if the union does not accept its final contract offer by Aug. 15 any proposed wage increases would not be retroactive, a person with knowledge of unreleased details of the offer said Wednesday.The producers threw down that gauntlet in their final offer, which they said included $250 million in additional compensation over three years, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and requested anonymity.
If the producers’ deadline passes before the union ratifies a contract, that means the actors could lose more than $200,000 a day in increases dating to July 1, the day the new contract would take effect.
The two sides appear headed toward an impasse in their contract talks. Producers have released only general descriptions on their offer.
But the producers’ chief negotiator, J. Nicholas Counter III, said in a letter to California’s state Legislature Wednesday that the alliance had presented its “last and best and final” offer to the guild.
The producers’ stance left open the possibility they could declare talks were at an impasse. If confirmed by the National Labor Relations Board, the declaration would allow them to impose certain clauses of their offer on the guild, said Witlin and Samnick, the two industry lawyers.
Conservative activists are preparing to do battle with allies of Sen. John McCain in advance of September’s Republican National Convention, hoping to prevent his views on global warming, immigration, stem cell research and campaign finance from becoming enshrined in the party’s official declaration of principles.
McCain has not yet signaled the changes he plans to make in the GOP platform, but many conservatives say they fear wholesale revisions could emerge as candidate McCain seeks to put his stamp on a document that currently reflects the policies and principles of President Bush.
A platform fight at the convention could disrupt that carefully choreographed effort by highlighting the stark differences in vision for the party separating McCain from some of the GOP’s most dedicated activists.
The battle may not be avoidable. The current GOP platform is a 100-page document, and all but nine pages mention Bush’s name. Virtually the entire platform will have to be rewritten to lessen the imprint of the president, who has the highest disapproval rating of any White House occupant since Richard M. Nixon.
McCain is “really out of step with the strong majority of his party,” said Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which opposes McCain’s positions on climate change. “He might get what he wants. And he might get a change. But I don’t think it’s going to sit well with a lot of Republicans.”
Officials in the Republican National Committee and in McCain’s campaign say they have much in common with conservatives. They say their conversations as they approach the convention suggest there will not be a nasty platform fight.
McCain will have to make peace with the conservatives, the hard core ones, if he is to get the totally support that he will need to be the president elect.
Mary McLeod Bethune, educator and civil rights activist, born – 1875
Today in Labor History is a bit lean, at much could be found that happened on this day….sorry.
The sharp and relentless push to the right by the Senator Barack Obama has evoked a flood of worried responses from some of those who had promoted illusions in Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee during the protracted primary season.
A series of high-profile statements by Obama, apparently calculated to disassociate himself from what is vaguely referred to as the “left,” are the source of this consternation.
In the space of barely a week, the candidate declared his support for a bill that he will vote for this week legalizing the Bush administration’s massive domestic wiretapping program and giving retroactive immunity to the telecom companies that facilitated it; opposed a decision by the US Supreme Court opposing the extension of the death penalty to crimes other than homicide and appealed to the Christian right with a pledge of double funding for “faith-based” programs
Among the more foul responses to Obama’s lurch to the right came from the former Vietnam War protester and longtime Democratic state legislator Tom Hayden. Together with Carl Davidson, an ex-Maoist shill for the Democratic Party, Hayden established a group calling itself “Progressives for Obama.”
In a July 5 column in the Nation, Hayden acknowledges that Obama’s “core position on Iraq has always been more ambiguous than audacious” while warning that “as his latest remarks are questioned by the Republicans, the mainstream media and the antiwar movement,” his candidacy could be placed “at risk.”
If the candidate is more openly promoting his right-wing agenda now, it is not in interests of gaining votes. Over two-thirds of the American people want an end to the war and the overwhelming majority is hostile to the Bush administration; he does not have to appeal to some vast right-wing constituency. On the contrary, Obama is making his pitch to the ruling elite, attempting to cast himself as “presidential,” i.e., someone who is prepared to do whatever it takes to defend the interests of American capitalism, both at home and abroad.
Key lawmakers, including Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, criticized the Bush administration Wednesday for increased exports to Iran despite tough talk about its nuclear ambitions and meddling in Iraq.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the value of U.S. exports to Iran has grown significantly during President Bush’s years in office — from about $8 million in 2001 to nearly $150 million last year. The exports, made under agricultural, medical and humanitarian exemptions to U.S. trade sanctions, included cigarettes, bull semen, corn, soybeans and medicine, among other goods.
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman, remarked on the growth in U.S. trade during comments on the European Union’s recent move to toughen financial sanctions on Iran.
“It’s time for them to take far more significant steps along the lines of cutting off all significant commerce with Iran, as we did years ago — or at least I thought we did. I’m not so sure, after yesterday’s Associated Press report that U.S. exports to Iran have increased nearly twenty-fold during the Bush administration years, up to nearly $150 million in 2007,” Berman, D-Calif., said at a committee hearing Wednesday.
But I thought we were cutting therm off from the outside world. Apparently I missed something in the news and in the analysis.
The Iraqi armed services are likely to target widely-hated American security contractors when they lose their immunity to Iraqi law under a new agreement between the US and the Iraq.
The main American concession, during prolonged and rancorous negotiations over a Status of Forces Agreement (Sofa) that would determine the future military relationship between the US and Iraq, has been to agree to lift the immunity hitherto enjoyed by the 154,000 contractors, of whom 35,000 are private security men.
The ending of immunity will have serious consequences for the 142,000 US troops in Iraq, who are highly reliant on contractors. Mr Chalabi says it is likely that the Iraqi security forces and judiciary will go out of their way to arrest foreign security men who break Iraqi law, which they have so far flouted.
He also said that the loss of immunity of American contractors would make US intelligence operations more difficult because private companies have been used to maintain links with opponents of the Iranian regime based in Iraq, notably the Mojahedin-e Khalq. This enables the US government to deny that it has contacts with such groups.
The Senate gave final approval on Wednesday to a major expansion of the government’s surveillance powers, handing President Bush one more victory in a series of hard-fought clashes with Democrats over national security issues.
The vote came two and a half years after public disclosure of the wiretapping program set off a fierce national debate over the balance between protecting the country from another terrorist strike and ensuring civil liberties. The final outcome in Congress, which opponents of the surveillance measure had conceded for weeks, seemed almost anticlimactic in contrast.
Wiretapping orders approved by secret orders under the previous version of the surveillance law were set to begin expiring in August unless Congress acted. Heading into their political convention in Denver next month and on to the November Congressional elections, many Democrats were wary of handing the Republicans a potent political weapon.
The issue put Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, in a particularly precarious spot. He had long opposed giving legal immunity to the phone companies that took part in the N.S.A.’s wiretapping program, even threatening a filibuster during his run for the nomination. But on Wednesday, he ended up voting for what he called “an improved but imperfect bill” after backing a failed attempt earlier in the day to strip the immunity provision from the bill through an amendment.
Obama had promised to fight this, he did not and in essence he has help shred the 4th amendment. This and his public financing thing will only lead to more and more attacks as a flip flopper, and in this case, it is well deserved.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives gave preliminary approval today to a bill that could someday rid the state of the Electoral College system and put presidential elections more directly in the hands of voters.
If the measure is approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor, the state would become the fifth state to join a movement toward switching to a popular vote.
Under the current system, it’s possible for a candidate to win the presidency without winning the popular vote. That happened three times in the 19th century, and it happened in 2000, when Al Gore lost, despite garnering more votes than George Bush.
Proponents of the change say that the current system is confusing and causes candidates to focus on a handful of battleground states. Critics say the change could result in quirky situations in which a state like Massachusetts, typically a Democratic stronghold, would have to pledge its votes to the Republican candidate.
The states have the power under the US Consitution to allocate their electoral votes. Under the proposed bill, all of the state’s electoral votes would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most popular vote nationally.
Slowly but slowly, people are working on ridding the political process of this outdated piece of trash. Everyone should work hard to pass a similar plan in their state and then the election of a president would truly be in the hands of the people.