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Zaid Jilani
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Blog Entries by Zaid Jilani

Nebraska GOP Senate Candidate Deb Fischer Puts Out Bold Plan For Ethics Reform

(2) Comments | Posted July 11, 2012 | 10:59 AM

Deb Fischer shocked political observers recently when she came from behind and won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Nebraska. Although an endorsement from GOP icon Sarah Palin probably helped, it's worth noting that Fischer has also been campaigning on a strong proposal to reform the ethics and...

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How the Crop Insurance Industry Helped Buy a Multi-Billion Dollar Cut to Food Stamps

(50) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 3:48 PM

Late last week we reported how the U.S. Senate voted to sustain cuts worth billions of dollars from the food stamp program in the name of fiscal austerity while maintaining billions of dollars of subsidies and other price supports for the sugar lobby.

Let's look even deeper into the...

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Obama Campaign Attacks Romney's Bain Outsourcing - But Support for Outsourcing Is Bipartisan Corruption

(99) Comments | Posted June 23, 2012 | 2:27 PM

The Obama campaign just released a campaign commercial talking about how Mitt Romney, while working at Bain Capital, oversaw the outsourcing of Americans jobs to China and Mexico. The ad calls Romney a "corporate raider" for his role at Bain.

The media has picked up the Obama campaign's attack on Romney, amplifying its message. The overall narrative being created by the Obama campaign is clear: Romney has through his business practices supported outsourcing in the past, and is likely to in the future -- unlike President Obama.

Unfortunately, the story is not that simple. "We should not oppose offshoring or outsourcing," said one high-ranking presidential economic adviser at a conference of companies interesting in outsourcing last summer. The adviser then went on to compare opponents of outsourcing to "luddites who took axes to machinery early in England's industrial revolution."

Those quotes do not come from a Romney adviser. They come from Larry Summers, who was President Obama's director of the White House National Economic Council. And Summers -- who gave the speech after he left the White House -- is not a lone voice among Obama officials.

Obama once promised to re-negotiate the outsourcing-friendly North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he criticized on the campaign trail. Here's a copy of a mailer that Obama used during the 2008 election to talk about his opposition to NAFTA:

Shortly after taking office, Obama announced that he would not be doing this. His administration then went on to push for trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea that are predicted to cost the loss of over 200,000 American jobs.


Despite strong opposition from a majority of House Democrats, these deals were passed into law and are currently in the process of being implemented.

So, as the record stands, President Obama, too, is also supportive of outsourcing. But Obama did not pass these trade deals alone. He had strong backing from many Senate Democrats and from most of the Republican party. This support materialized despite the fact that there is strong public opposition to "free trade" policies that privilege investor rights and do not protect worker and environmental rights.

Powerful lobbies continue to push for a regulatory and trade structure that promotes outsourcing. As we covered earlier this year, one group alone, the  Automotive Free International Trade Political Action Committee, spent $696,000 on campaign contributions during the debate over the South Korean trade agreement. Of the 148 candidates it supported, only three went on to oppose the deal.

Meanwhile, most major American corporations, their trade associations, and their lobbyists backed these trade agreements. The Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft, Dow Chemical, General Electric, Citigroup, and others signed on in support, and there was no organized lobbying force fighting the agreements except a segment of the labor union movement and human rights and environmental groups (who are outmatched in resources and lobbying firepower by those big corporate interests).

But the pro-outsourcing lobbyists are not through hollowing out America's manufacturing base. The Huffington Post reported earlier this month that the Obama administration is secretly working with lobbyists to pass a new trade agreement that could have devastating effects on labor and environmental rights, and open up a whole new avenue for outsourcing. This agreement could be stopped or altered to promote fair trade, but it depends in part on whether the media is prepared to accurately report on the issue.


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Democrat Congressman Alcee Hastings Struggles to Explain His Support for Predatory for-Profit Colleges (Video)

(5) Comments | Posted June 6, 2012 | 3:50 PM

The for-profit college industry includes many schools that are scamming students and taxpayers. The industry accounts for 11 percent of college students but a whopping 44 percent of student loan defaults. Meanwhile, the industry has sucked up billions of dollars of taxpayer money through loans and grants without any proper...

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Charter Schools Association Is Using Taxpayer Money to Support ALEC's Radical Agenda

(5) Comments | Posted May 13, 2012 | 3:10 PM

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a powerful corporate front group that works to pass Big Business-written laws in state legislatures. Following the outcry over the group pushing "Stand Your Ground" laws, at least 15 major corporations, foundations, and other organizations have decided to end their funding commitments to...

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Retired General Bill Looney Paid to Advocate for For-Profit Colleges

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2012 | 12:21 PM

The predatory  schools of the for-profit college industry -- Kaplan, Corinthian, Bridgepoint, and others -- are on high alert. President Obama recently signed an executive order aimed at protecting veterans from bad behavior by these colleges. Speaking to U.S. troops at Fort Stewart, Georgia, the president called the conduct of...

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Exposed: Politicians Defending Corporate Front Group ALEC Get Money From Its Donors

(21) Comments | Posted April 19, 2012 | 9:51 AM

The corporate front group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is finally in the public eye. Americans everywhere are finally seeing how this group colludes with big corporations to pass laws all over the country that harm nearly every area of American life.

As ALEC has come under...

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As Donors Flee, Corporate Front Group ALEC Whines That Critics Are Trying to "Eliminate Discourse"

(20) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 4:29 PM

At least six major corporations and foundations -- Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald's, Kraft, Intuit, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation -- have now left or have pledged to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a secretive corporate front group that works to pass legislation in all 50...

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Retiring Lawmaker Rep. Jean Schmidt Won't Commit To Revealing Her Job Negotiations With Lobbyists

(0) Comments | Posted March 22, 2012 | 12:54 PM

Being a sellout pays when you're a member of Congress. We unveiled last week that retired congressmen and congresswomen got 1,452% raises for becoming lobbyists for powerful special interests.

So we sent a letter to the 35 retiring members of Congress asking them to disclose any...

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VIDEO: Superlobbyist Trent Lott Fumbles To Explain Why He's Shilling for Scam Schools

(3) Comments | Posted March 16, 2012 | 1:52 PM

Two weeks ago, America's subprime schools -- the for-profit college industry, many of whose members rip students off and demand that Uncle Sam pick up the tab for their shoddy education -- held a conference in Washington, D.C. We were there.

The association for these schools, America's Private...

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The Bipartisan Force Behind the For-Profit College Scam: Big Money

(1) Comments | Posted March 7, 2012 | 12:50 PM

As we head into an election year, we're going to increasingly hear that Democrats and Republicans fight like cats and dogs, that there is a civil war in Washington. This describes the state of play on some issues, but on others there is bipartisan agreement to do the wrong thing:...

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