'We used to make shit in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket.'

Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced a great big labor bill that would outlaw "right to work" laws and other practices aimed at squelching unions. Called the "Protecting the Right to Organize" (PRO) Act, the bill takes aim at several of the Right's cherished weapons for attacking organized labor. As we know all too well, for most of American history, government has joined business interests in fighting against workers' rights, particularly in the past forty years, resulting in a steady decline in union membership and a huge wealth gap. The PRO Act is a step toward letting workers have some real rights at work again.

The bill is sponsored by a raft of Big Names in both houses. Its House sponsors include Democrats Bobby Scott (Virginia), who as head of the Education and Labor committee is taking the lead on the bill, as well as Frederica Wilson (Florida), and Pramila Jayapal (Washington). In the Senate, the sponsors are Patty Murray (Washington), Jacky Rosen (Nevada), and Sherrod Brown (Ohio), all of whom have wide labor support.

One of the first things you might notice about the bill itself (and the Democrats' talking points about it) is that "right to work" isn't mentioned by name, presumably because that's a union-killing scheme that, like Voldemort, shouldn't be said aloud. Seems fair enough, since of course those "right to work" laws never explicitly say they're out to kill unions. "Right to work" laws can't ban unions -- instead, they undermine unions by removing their ability to collect a "fair share" fee from non-union members, which covers the union's costs of negotiating on workers' behalf. Here's the explanation from the Dems' detailed summary of the bill:

Many states have passed laws that prohibit unions and employers from requiring fair-share fees from workers who benefit from representation but are not members of the union. These laws create a free rider problem, where individuals enjoy the benefits from representation without paying any of the costs, which shifts the costs of free riders onto the shoulders of coworkers who elect to join the union and pay dues. The PROAct permits unions and employers to agree to require fair-share fees, regardless of state laws, to cover the costs of collective bargaining and contract administration.

And that there is your reversal of "right to work."

In addition, the bill would crack down on a whole bunch of other corporate abuses. It would ban companies from hiring permanent replacements for striking workers, prohibit management from holding "captive audience" meetings while union elections are being organized -- where workers are herded in and forced to hear anti-union messages. The bill would crack down on the fun games corporations play where they misclassify employees as "managers" or "independent contractors," cleverly making them exempt from many labor laws. It would also put an end to mandatory arbitration, which forces workers in labor disputes to give up their right to sue employers.

In addition, the bill would strengthen the right to strike, including a removal of the current prohibition on secondary strikes and boycotts in support of other striking workers. And here's a really big one: The bill would empower the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to impose fines and penalties not only on companies that violate employees rights, but also on "corporate directors and officers who participate in violations of workers' rights or have knowledge of and fail to prevent such violations." Let's call that the Stick It To The Man clause.

But wait, there's more! The bill would also streamline the process for unionizing workplaces and prevent employers from interfering in union elections -- and if a union election fails due to provable management interference, then the company would be forced to recognize the union anydamnway. Plus there are provisions to "streamline procedures" at the NLRB -- stuff that gets a little weedsy but is damned important when it comes to ensuring labor violations get prompt attention. (No, there's nothing about giving workers weed, pay attention.)

All in all, it's a hell of a good set of proposals heading into 2020, and we hope it gets some love from the Dems running for president. And if anyone asks what can be done about all the robber barons in this New Gilded Age, let's all point to this -- and to the Green New Deal, and to Elizabeth Warren's Eat the Rich wealth tax, and good lord there's so much work to be done. Fortunately, doing it together is what unions -- and filthy sex jokes on Wonkette -- are all about.

[House Committee on Education and Labor press release / PRO Act fact sheet / PRO Act summary / PRO Act bill text / Josh Eidelson on Twitter]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.

Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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