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  • redgreen
    08-05 10:03 AM
    Many are supporting 'porting'. Then why are they opposing 'substitution'??
    The original poster never said that an EB3 should not apply for EB2. But after a few years when they can apply in EB2 they should not be considered they were already in EB2 all those years! There is no logic in it. I understand the frustration of everybody who is waiting for GC for several years. But laws should be based on some logic. Consider people who didn't apply for GC for years even though they were eligible! Are you people saying that they should get priority over people who applied??





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  • go_guy123
    07-28 03:37 PM
    The most likely scenario next year is Republican House and Dem senate with lower seat difference. This is a disaster for any type of immigration. Senate would be only pro-illegal and house against any kind of immigration.
    On top of it the only political agenda would be 2012 Presidential election. So 2011-2012 are No-No years for anything good on immigration.
    On the other hand you can expect several anti-immigration bills passing with more and more venom in each bill as the clock ticks and enforcement drive firing on all cylinders.

    yes its a NO NO for any amnesty...things will get better once skilled immigrants can seprate from the illegal immigrant lobby. Thats what happened in 2000





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  • Macaca
    09-28 10:29 PM
    Forget the Israel Lobby. The Hill's Next Big Player Is Made in India (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/28/AR2007092801350_2.html) By Mira Kamdar (miraukamdar@gmail.com) | Washington Post, September 30, 2007

    Mira Kamdar, a fellow at the World Policy Institute and the Asia Society, is the author of "Planet India: How the Fastest-Growing Democracy is Transforming America and the World."

    The fall's most controversial book is almost certainly "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," in which political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt warn that Jewish Americans have built a behemoth that has bullied policymakers into putting Israel's interests in the Middle East ahead of America's. To Mearsheimer and Walt, AIPAC, the main pro-Israel lobbying group, is insidious. But to more and more Indian Americans, it's downright inspiring.

    With growing numbers, clout and self-confidence, the Indian American community is turning its admiration for the Israel lobby and its respect for high-achieving Jewish Americans into a powerful new force of its own. Following consciously in AIPAC's footsteps, the India lobby is getting results in Washington -- and having a profound impact on U.S. policy, with important consequences for the future of Asia and the world.

    "This is huge," enthused Ron Somers, the president of the U.S.-India Business Council, from a posh hotel lobby in Philadelphia. "It's the Berlin Wall coming down. It's Nixon in China."

    What has Somers so energized is a landmark nuclear cooperation deal between India and the United States, which would give India access to U.S. nuclear technology and deliver fuel supplies to India's civilian power plants in return for placing them under permanent international safeguards. Under the deal's terms, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty -- for decades the cornerstone of efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons -- will in effect be waived for India, just nine years after the Clinton administration slapped sanctions on New Delhi for its 1998 nuclear tests. But the Bush administration, eager to check the rise of China by tilting toward its massive neighbor, has sought to forge a new strategic alliance with India, cemented by the civil nuclear deal.

    On the U.S. side, the pact awaits nothing more than one final up-or-down vote in Congress. (In India, the situation is far more complicated; India's left-wing parties, sensitive to any whiff of imperialism, have accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of surrendering the country's sovereignty -- a broadside that may yet scuttle the deal.) On Capitol Hill, despite deep divisions over Iraq, immigration and the outsourcing of American jobs to India, Democrats and Republicans quickly fell into line on the nuclear deal, voting for it last December by overwhelming bipartisan majorities. Even lawmakers who had made nuclear nonproliferation a core issue over their long careers, such as Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), quickly came around to President Bush's point of view. Why?

    The answer is that the India lobby is now officially a powerful presence on the Hill. The nuclear pact brought together an Indian government that is savvier than ever about playing the Washington game, an Indian American community that is just coming into its own and powerful business interests that see India as perhaps the single biggest money-making opportunity of the 21st century.

    The nuclear deal has been pushed aggressively by well-funded groups representing industry in both countries. At the center of the lobbying effort has been Robert D. Blackwill, a former U.S. ambassador to India and deputy national security adviser who's now with a well-connected Republican lobbying firm, Barbour, Griffith & Rogers LLC. The firm's Web site touts Blackwill as a pillar of its "India Practice," along with a more recent hire, Philip D. Zelikow, a former top adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who was also one of the architects of the Bush administration's tilt toward India. The Confederation of Indian Industry paid Blackwill to lobby various U.S. government entities, according to the Boston Globe. And India is also paying a major Beltway law firm, Venable LLP.

    The U.S.-India Business Council has lavished big money on lobbyists, too. With India slated to spend perhaps $60 billion over the next few years to boost its military capabilities, major U.S. corporations are hoping that the nuclear agreement will open the door to some extremely lucrative opportunities, including military contracts and deals to help build nuclear power plants. According to a recent MIT study, Lockheed Martin is pushing to land a $4 billion to $9 billion contract for more than 120 fighter planes that India plans to buy. "The bounty is enormous," gushed Somers, the business council's president.

    So enormous, in fact, that Bonner & Associates created an India lobbying group last year to make sure that U.S. companies reap a major chunk of it. Dubbed the Indian American Security Leadership Council, the group was underwritten by Ramesh Kapur, a former trustee of the Democratic National Committee, and Krishna Srinivasa, who has been backing GOP causes since his 1984 stint as co-chair of Asian Americans for Reagan-Bush. The council has, oddly, "recruited groups representing thousands of American veterans" to urge Congress to pass the nuclear deal.

    The India lobby is also eager to use Indian Americans to put a human face -- not to mention a voter's face and a campaign contributor's face -- on its agenda. "Industry would make its business case," Somers explained, "and Indian Americans would make the emotional case."

    There are now some 2.2 million Americans of Indian origin -- a number that's growing rapidly. First-generation immigrants keenly recall the humiliating days when India was dismissed as an overpopulated, socialist haven of poverty and disease. They are thrilled by the new respect India is getting. Meanwhile, a second, American-born generation of Indian Americans who feel comfortable with activism and publicity is just beginning to hit its political stride. As a group, Indian Americans have higher levels of education and income than the national average, making them a natural for political mobilization.

    One standout member of the first generation is Sanjay Puri, who founded the U.S. India Political Action Committee in 2002. (Its acronym, USINPAC, even sounds a bit like AIPAC.) He came to the United States in 1985 to get an MBA at George Washington University, staying on to found an information-technology company. A man of modest demeanor who wears a lapel pin that joins the Indian and American flags, Puri grew tired of watching successful Indian Americans pony up money just so they could get their picture taken with a politician. "I thought, 'What are we getting out of this?', " he explains.

    In just five years, USINPAC has become the most visible face of Indian American lobbying. Its Web site boasts photos of its leaders with President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and presidential candidates from Fred Thompson to Barack Obama. The group pointedly sports a New Hampshire branch. It can also take some credit for ending the Senate career of Virginia Republican George Allen, whose notorious taunt of "macaca" to a young Indian American outraged the community. Less publicly, USINPAC claims to have brought a lot of lawmakers around. "You haven't heard a lot from Dan Burton lately, right?" Puri asked, referring to a Republican congressman from Indiana who has long been perceived as an India basher.

    USINPAC is capable of pouncing; witness the incident last June when Obama's campaign issued a memo excoriating Hillary Rodham Clinton for her close ties to wealthy Indian Americans and her alleged support for outsourcing, listing the New York senator's affiliation as "D-Punjab." Puri personally protested in a widely circulated open letter, and Obama quickly issued an apology. "Did you see? That letter was addressed directly to Sanjay," Varun Mehta, a senior at Boston University and USINPAC volunteer, told me with evident admiration. "That's the kind of clout Sanjay has."

    Like many politically engaged Indian Americans, Puri has a deep regard for the Israel lobby -- particularly in a country where Jews make up just a small minority of the population. "A lot of Jewish people tell me maybe I was Jewish in my past life," he jokes. The respect runs both ways. The American Jewish Committee, for instance, recently sent letters to members of Congress supporting the U.S.-India nuclear deal.

    "We model ourselves on the Jewish people in the United States," explains Mital Gandhi of USINPAC's new offshoot, the U.S.-India Business Alliance. "We're not quite there yet. But we're getting there."





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  • Macaca
    12-29 07:31 PM
    Suicides in India Revealing How Men Made a Mess of Microcredit (http://washpost.bloomberg.com/Story?docId=1376-LE3PZI1A1I4H01-0F7HGVAGBBTBG4G4S2I5PL8TJ5) By Yoolim Lee and Ruth David | Bloomberg

    Tanda Srinivas was lounging in the yard of his two-room house in the southern Indian village of Mondrai shortly after noon on Oct. 28 when his wife, Shobha, burst out of the door covered in flames and screaming for help.

    The 30-year-old mother of two boys had poured 2 liters of kerosene on herself and lit a match. The couple had argued bitterly the day before over how they would repay multiple loans, including those from microlenders who had lent small sums to dozens of villagers, says Venkateshwarlu Masram, a doctor who called for the ambulance.

    Shobha, head of several groups of women borrowers, was being pressured to pay interest on her 12,000 rupee ($265) loan. Lenders also were demanding that she cover for the other women, even though the state had restricted microfinance activities two weeks earlier, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its February issue.

    When Srinivas, 35, tried to snuff out the flames with a blanket, his polyester clothes caught fire. Within three days, both parents were dead, leaving their sons orphans.

    Now, on this November morning, the boys� ailing 70-year-old grandfather and blind grandmother say they are caring for Aravind, 10, and Upender, 13, in the farming village where many men earn a living gathering palm extract to make alcoholic beverages.

    None of the boys� relatives can support them full time, says their 60-year-old grandmother, Saiamma, breaking into tears.

    India�s Microlending Hub

    The horrific scene in Mondrai, 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the city of Warangal, has played out in dozens of ways across Andhra Pradesh, India�s fifth-largest state by area and the site of about a third of the country�s $5.3 billion in microfinance loans as of Sept. 30.

    More than 70 people committed suicide in the state from March 1 to Nov. 19 to escape payments or end the agonies their debt had triggered, according to the Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty, a government agency that compiled the data on the microfinance-related deaths from police and press reports.

    Andhra Pradesh, where three-quarters of the 76 million people live in rural areas, suffered a total of 14,364 suicide cases in the first nine months of 2010, according to state police.

    A growing number of microfinance-related deaths spurred the state to clamp down on collection practices in mid-October, says Reddy Subrahmanyam, principal secretary for rural development.

    �Every life is important,� he says.

    Perverse Turn

    On Nov. 8, police arrested two managers of lender Share Microfin Ltd. on allegations of abetting another suicide, this one of a 22-year-old mother. Share Microfin didn�t respond to requests for comment on this story.

    As India struggles to provide decent education, health care and jobs to millions still locked in poverty, microlending -- the loaning of small sums to the world�s neediest people to help them earn a living -- has taken a perverse turn.

    Microcredit has become �Walmartized� by unrestrained selling of cheap products to the poor, says Malcolm Harper, chairman of ratings company Micro-Credit Ratings International Ltd. in Gurgaon, India.

    �Selling debt is like selling drugs,� says Harper, 75, the author of more than 20 books on microfinance and other topics. �Selling debt to illiterate women in Andhra Pradesh, you�ve got to be a lot more responsible.�

    Opposite Effect

    K. Venkat Narayana, an economics professor at Kakatiya University in Warangal, has studied how microfinance lenders persuaded groups of women to borrow.

    �Microfinance was supposed to empower women,� he says. �Microfinance guys reversed the social and economic progress, and these women ended up becoming slaves.�

    India�s booming microlending industry is part of a global phenomenon that began as a charitable movement but now attracts private capital seeking growth and high returns.

    Banco Compartamos SA, a former nonprofit that�s now the largest lender to Mexico�s working poor, raised about $467 million in its 2007 initial public offering. The August IPO of SKS Microfinance Ltd., India�s biggest microlender, drew further attention to the industry.

    SKS began operating in 1998 as a nongovernmental organization led by Vikram Akula, 42, an Indian-American with a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

    The company raised 16.3 billion rupees by selling 16.8 million shares at 985 rupees each. SKS shares peaked at 1,404.85 rupees on Sept. 15. As of Dec. 28, they�d fallen to 652.85 rupees.

    Andhra Pradesh Crisis

    On Oct. 15, the government of Andhra Pradesh imposed restrictions that bar microlenders� collection agents from visiting borrowers and required companies to get local authorities� approval for new loans. The rules have crippled lending and repayments. Loan collection levels in the state have dropped to less than 20 percent from 98 percent previously, according to an industry group.

    The upheaval in Andhra Pradesh is a long way from the vision of Muhammad Yunus.

    The former economics professor won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his pioneering work in Bangladesh providing small sums to entrepreneurs too poor to get bank loans.

    Yunus, 70, discovered more than three decades ago that when you lend money to women in poverty, they can begin to earn a living, and most of them will pay you back.

    Yunus started the Grameen Bank Project in 1976 to extend banking services to the poor. Since then, it has lent $9.87 billion and recovered $8.76 billion; 97 percent of its 8.33 million borrowers are female.

    �Wrong Direction�

    Yunus says he�s not against making a profit. But he denounces firms that seek windfalls and pervert the original intent of microfinance: helping the poor.

    The rule of thumb for a loan should be the cost of funds plus 10 percent, he says.

    �Commercialization is the wrong direction,� Yunus says, speaking in a telephone interview from Bangladesh�s capital of Dhaka. �An initial public offering is the triggering point for making a lot of money personally as well as for the company and shareholders.�

    David Gibbons, chairman of Cashpor Micro Credit, a nonprofit microlender to the poorest women in India�s Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states, says public, for-profit lenders face a conflict.

    �They have to decide between the interests of their customers and interests of their investors,� he says.



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  • chintu25
    08-05 11:55 AM
    I am requesting an amendment to the spelling of "mahaul".
    I think it would sound better if we spelled it as "mahole" :D

    Mohol --> :D





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  • xyzgc
    12-22 01:53 AM
    It is one of the obvious facts that D-Company has financed and supported(ing) lot of terror activities in India. I'm not able to understand why the Indian government is not taking steps to crackdown their illegal empire in Bombay. If the funding is stopped there will be a huge decrease in terrorist activities.

    Yes, India may not be able to go to war and catch Dawood in Pakistan but they can definitely start taking action against all the business and people supporting Dawood in Mumbai. I was surprised why nobody has talked or taken any action about this. Up to the time government start taking some sincere actions Indian people have to suffer like this.

    Agreed, lot of issues are internal. There are internal enemies and external.
    The govt is corrupt. What else can we say? Most of the elections are run on illegal money.
    Believe me, friend, there is going to be another attack, in some other city probably, and strong-minded indian citizens are going to ignore it like its another mosquito bite.
    If your parliament can be attacked and you can ignore it, you can perhaps survive anything.



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  • alterego
    07-13 02:09 PM
    Having a cut off date of April or Dec 2001 for the past few years is as good as VISA being unavailable. So India EB3 was unavailable for the last 3 years or so (except last july).

    That's not the case with EB2. EB2 on paper has preference, I agree. That does not mean EB2 should have ALL spill over numbers. Split it 75-25 if not 50-50. Dec 2001 for a retrogressed country is just unfair. When you issue some EB2 2006 numbers issue some to EB3 2002 people as well. Is it too much?

    Fairness is not what this is about. That is the whole issue. Is it fair that EB2 India has been waiting for years while EB2ROW has been current? Is it fair EB1 is over supplied with visas while EB2 India even EB2NIW was left heavily retrogressed? Worse yet, is it fair that the USCIS interpreted the law wrongly and gave visas to EB3ROW at the expense of EB2I? Was Labor Subs. Fair?

    It is not about fair my friend. I am not unsympathetic to your plea for more EB3I relief. There absolutely should be some, and through a legislative fix. However the executive branch of Gov't has to implement the law as it stands.





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  • Macaca
    11-29 08:43 PM
    Breaux to leave Patton Boggs to start own firm with son (http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/breaux-to-leave-patton-boggs-to-start-own-firm-with-son-2007-11-28.html) By Jim Snyder | The Hill, November 28, 2007

    Former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) is leaving Patton Boggs to form his own firm with his lobbyist son, John Breaux Jr.

    Breaux has worked at the lobbying firm since retiring from the Senate in 2004. He said in a statement that he may continue to have an association with the firm, which was co-founded by fellow Louisianan Thomas Boggs.

    �Tom Boggs and the Patton Boggs firm have been a professional family for me since I retired from the Congress almost three years ago. It has been a rewarding experience in which I have learned a great deal from my colleagues, who are also my friends, but the challenge and opportunity to start a new business with my son is something that I cannot pass up,� Breaux said in a statement sent to Patton Boggs employees.

    Breaux and Patton Boggs were continuing to discuss how Breaux could continue to serve as counsel and provide strategic advice to the firm, according to the statement.

    Breaux�s announcement comes two days after the surprise retirement of Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who is expected to begin a lobbying career. Some lobbyists have speculated that Lott and Breaux, both known as dealmakers in the Senate, might go into business together. Lott�s son Chester is also a lobbyist.

    Chester Lott told Bloomberg News that his father was considering lobbying with Sen. Breaux, and said the two have a �great relationship.�

    Thomas Boggs praised Breaux in a statement announcing the former senator�s departure: �We have all benefited immeasurably from our personal and professional association with John, we wish him well in his new venture, and look forward to continuing our personal friendship and professional collaboration for many years to come.�



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  • Macaca
    03-19 01:23 PM
    Lobbying in a Web World (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/18/AR2007031801138.html)

    Speaking of doing better on the Hill, sign up now for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's April 3 lobbying workshop: "Getting Heard on Capitol Hill." It's part of a four-workshop series, "Winning in a Web World; Online Strategies for Grass-Roots Advocacy." (If you don't yet have grass roots, you can find out how to create them. )

    The three panels on April 3 include one about using the Internet and another on "activating the grass roots." There's also a Q&A session on how lobbying reforms and new Federal Election Commission laws might affect your online efforts.

    This being the Chamber of Commerce, the panelists are weighted toward the conservative end: former Bush aide Tucker Eskew, who had the spectacular title of White House director of global communications, and Stephen Hoersting, former general counsel at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. But there's also Winnie Stachelberg, former political director of the Human Rights Campaign who's now at the Center for American Progress, and some media folks and academics.





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    08-05 10:19 AM
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  • xyzgc
    12-26 04:21 PM
    Look at stratfor.com

    Let us prove India is not a land of cowards, let us show that we are strong and we don't allow terrorists to attack our cities and our senate with impunity.

    Remember, even your favorite Obama would not have hesitated to attack Afghanistan and Iraq post 9-11. He maintains he was opposed to the war on Iraq, but he has never said anything about Afghanistan. In fact, nobody did.

    Most americans have supported the attack on Afghanistan, where Osama is believed to hiding along with other terrorists. Most americans oppose war on Iraq, because over 10k american soldiers have died, Isince the Iraq war began and the economy is in shambles and Iraqis are a drain on the failing economy.

    In Obama's reminders that he opposed the Iraq war in 2002, he contrasts his record with that of Hillary Clinton, who voted for the war.
    Yet a comparison of all 85 votes the Senate has held on Iraq since Obama entered the chamber shows he and Clinton differed only once -- when Obama voted to support the nomination of Gen. George Casey, the top commander in Iraq for nearly three years, to become the Army chief of staff.





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  • Macaca
    03-06 09:02 PM
    General Process for FY 2006 and Subsequent Fiscal Year H-1B Filings (http://www.uscis.gov/propub/ProPubVAP.jsp?dockey=3f06c12454f6742a078d4244f6905 45e)
    Characteristics of Specialty Occupation Workers (H-1B): Fiscal Year 2005 (http://www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/H1B_FY05_Characteristics.pdf) November 2006
    Visa Statistics (http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/statistics/statistics_1476.html) Report of the Visa Office Department of State

    The Report of the Visa Office is an annual report providing statistical information on immigrant and non-immigrant visa issuances by consular offices, as well as information on the use of visa numbers in numerically limited categories.

    Visa Statistics (http://www.dhs.gov/ximgtn/statistics/) Department of Homeland Security

    Nonimmigrant Visas Issued by Classification (Including Crewlist Visas and Border Crossing Cards): Table XVI(B)

    Fiscal Years 2002-2006 (http://travel.state.gov/pdf/FY06AnnualReportTableXVIA.pdf)
    Fiscal Years 2001-2005 (http://travel.state.gov/pdf/FY05tableXVIb.pdf)
    Fiscal Years 2000-2004 (http://travel.state.gov/pdf/FY04tableXVIb.pdf)



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  • Macaca
    08-01 08:15 PM
    Lobbying Reform, at Last (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/30/AR2007073001552.html) Congress should finish it before going home, July 31, 2007

    IT WASN'T EASY, it took too long, and it's not done yet -- but before Congress leaves for its August recess, it should have completed a lobbying reform bill that would, for the first time, require disclosure of the bundles of campaign checks that lobbyists bring in for politicians. We say "should have" because the measure -- having not gone through the normal conference committee process -- needs to clear significant hurdles in both the House and Senate. Lawmakers of both parties, in both houses, must ensure that that happens before going home to face constituents who appear increasingly unhappy about a Congress they perceive as looking after its own interests, not theirs.

    The lobbying package makes important changes, some of which were written into House rules in January. It would prohibit lawmakers and staff members from accepting gifts or travel from lobbyists and their clients. It would end lawmakers' ability to fly on corporate aircraft at cut-rate prices; senators and White House candidates would have to pay regular charter rates for such flights, while House members would simply be barred from accepting travel on private jets. It would lengthen, from one year to two, the revolving-door prohibition on senators and Senate staff members; the House limit would remain at one year.

    It would require that senators pushing pet projects known as earmarks make that information available at least 48 hours in advance of a vote and certify that they and their immediate family members have no financial stake in the items; earmarks added in conference could be challenged and would have to receive 60 votes to survive. Lobbyists would also have to report gifts made to presidential libraries, now a financial disclosure black hole.

    Most important, the measure would require lawmakers to include on their campaign finance reports the identities of lobbyists who raise $15,000 or more for them during a six-month period -- shining a needed light on an important source of influence. Keeping this requirement part of the bill was a difficult, and important, achievement.

    This agreement will be brought up on the House floor today, under rules allowing it to pass quickly with two-thirds support. Then it goes to the Senate, where it is expected to run into opposition from Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) over whether the earmarking rules are strict enough; because it involves a change in Senate rules, 67 votes will be needed for passage. Leadership from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) will be critical to ensure that the complaints of a few senators are not allowed to derail a change that is badly needed and long overdue.





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  • randallemery
    07-16 11:22 PM
    This thread is very interesting to me. I've kind of lived though both sides, and it is really aweful for everyone but the abusive employer.

    My understanding of Immigration Voice's agenda is that this group is really for people who have H1B visas and are in the country already to bring their spouses and children here with full rights to travel and work, make sure renewals of H1Bs happen so you can stay in the country, and, even better, to convert H1B visas to green cards.

    My understanding is that the only reason that Immigration Voice supports increased H1B visa numbers is because people whose current visas are about to expire, and family members, are counted in these same numbers.

    Please correct if I'm wrong. I really would like to get this right.

    Anyway, if I do have it right, it seems to me that the AFL-CIO position (give people green cards instead of H1B visas) bridges the core concerns of members of Immigration Voice and the Programmers Guild. Whether or not everybody recognizes this is a different story, but it is good to know where the overlapping concern is, and hopefully in long term, get people talking about a solution that really does try to bridge the gap.



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  • Macaca
    12-16 09:22 PM
    Democrats Assess Hill Damage, Leadership (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/16/AR2007121600306.html) By CHARLES BABINGTON | Associated Press, December 16, 2007

    WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats will have plenty to ponder during the Christmas-New Year recess. For instance, why did things go so badly this fall, and how well did their leaders serve them?

    Partisan players will quarrel for months, but objective analysts say the debate must start here: An embattled president made extraordinary use of his veto power and he was backed by GOP lawmakers who may have put their political fortunes at risk.

    Also, a new Democratic leadership team overestimated the impact of the Iraq war and the 2006 elections, learning too late they had no tools to force Bush and his allies to compromise on bitterly contested issues.

    Both parties seem convinced that voters will reward them 11 months from now. And they agree that Congress' gridlock and frustration are likely to continue until then _ and possibly beyond _ unless the narrow party margins in the House and Senate change appreciably.

    In a string of setbacks last week, Democratic leaders in Congress yielded to Bush and his GOP allies on Iraqi war funding, tax and health policies, energy policy and spending decisions affecting billions of dollars throughout the government.

    The concessions stunned many House and Senate Democrats, who saw the 2006 elections as a mandate to redirect the war and Bush's domestic priorities. Instead, they found his goals unchanged and his clout barely diminished.

    Facing a Democratic-run Congress after six years of GOP control, Bush repeatedly turned to actual or threatened vetoes, which can be overridden only by highly elusive two-thirds majority votes in both congressional chambers.

    Bush's reliance on veto threats was so remarkable that "it's hard to say there are precedents for it," said Steve Hess, a George Washington University government professor whose federal experience began in the Eisenhower administration.

    Previous presidents used veto threats more sparingly, Hess said, partly because they hoped to coax later concessions from an opposition-run Congress. But with the demise of major Bush initiatives such as revamping Social Security and immigration laws, Hess said, "you've got a president who doesn't want anything" in his final year.

    Bush's scorched-earth strategy may prove riskier for Republicans who backed him, Hess said. Signs point to likely Democratic victories in the presidential and many congressional races next year, he said.

    That is the keen hope of Congress' Democratic leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. They have admitted that Bush's intransigence on the war surprised them, as did the unbroken loyalty shown to him by most House and Senate Republicans.

    Empowered by Bush's veto threats, Republican lawmakers rejected Democratic efforts to wind down the war, impose taxes on the wealthy to offset middle-class tax cuts, roll back tax breaks on oil companies to help promote renewable energy and conservation, and greatly expand federal health care for children.

    Pelosi on Friday cited "reckless opposition from the president and Republicans in Congress" in defending her party's modest achievements.

    Americans remain mostly against the war, though increasingly pleased with recent reductions in violence and casualties, an AP-Ipsos poll showed earlier this month. While a steady six in 10 have long said the 2003 invasion was a mistake, the public is now about evenly split over whether the U.S. is making progress in Iraq.

    Opposition to the war is especially strong among the Democratic Party's liberal base. Some lawmakers say Pelosi and Reid should have told those liberal activists to accept more modest changes in Iraq, tax policies and spending, in the name of political reality.

    "They never learned to accept the art of the possible," said Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., a former majority leader who is partisan but willing to work with Democrats. "They kept going right up to the limit and exceeding it, making it possible for us to defeat them, over and over again," Lott said in an interview.

    He cited the Democrats' failed efforts to add billions of dollars to the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which Bush vetoed twice because of the proposed scope and cost. A somewhat smaller increase was possible, Lott said, but Democrats refused to negotiate with moderate Republicans until it was too late.

    "They thought, 'We're going to win on the politics, we'll stick it to Bush,'" Lott said. "That's not the way things happen around here."

    Some Democrats say House GOP leaders would have killed any bid to forge a veto-proof margin on the children's health bill. But others say the effort was clumsily handled in the House, where key Democrats at first ignored, and later selectively engaged, rank-and-file Republicans whose support they needed.

    Some Washington veterans say Democrats, especially in the ostentatiously polite Senate, must fight more viciously if they hope to turn public opinion against GOP obstruction tactics. With Democrats holding or controlling 51 of the 100 seats, Republicans repeatedly thwart their initiatives by threatening filibusters, which require 60 votes to overcome.

    Democrats should force Republicans into all-day and all-night sessions for a week or two, said Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar for the right-of-center think tank American Enterprise Institute. The tactic wouldn't change senators' votes, he said, but it might build public awareness and resentment of GOP obstructionists in a way that a one-night talkfest cannot.

    To date, Reid has resisted such ideas, which would anger and inconvenience some Democratic senators as well as Republicans.





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  • 485Mbe4001
    09-29 06:22 PM
    So you are ok with "colateral damage" to your GC ? I have never seen a school force creationism on a child, as for reading its the same everywhere (i remember in india my catholic shool was at pains to teach us that Ramayan was a legend...i didnt change my religion because of that). How many wars were fought during regans adminstration? Do you remember the tax rate during the Carter years? people were shelling out 17% on home loans while banks were paying 13% interest on their CD's. Media driven pontification is ok as long as you can substantiate them with valid reasoning. (Clinton years were good for us but some say that it laid the foundation for the dot com crisis, which lead to easy credit and so on)


    I have been here since 1997. An Obama win may just restore my faith (which was severely damaged after Bush relection) in the average intelligence of a voter.

    I know that chances of passing of a bill favorable to skilled immigrants are greater with Republicans, but there are other issues far more important to me. For e.g. with a Republican win, the chances of "collateral damage" (deaths of innocent abroad) increase tremendously. I do not want that to be funded through my tax money. Neither do i want my child to read about "creationism" in school (despite paying for all that private school fees!). These issues are more important to me than tax cuts or getting a green card sooner. just my two thoughts...



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  • Macaca
    12-30 06:53 PM
    Oppression born of fear
    There is fear at the heart of the Chinese and Russian systems. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/telegraph-view/8229075/Oppression-born-of-fear.html)
    Daily Telegraph Editorial

    An over-mighty state crushes those whom it deems its opponents. Yet in doing so it exposes its weakness. Take the cases of Liu Xiaobo, who yesterday marked his 55th birthday in prison in China, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, currently on trial in Russia. The reaction of the Chinese government earlier in the year to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr Liu was hysterical. Because the dissident and his family were not permitted to attend the ceremony, the prize was placed on an empty chair, a potent symbol of the oppressive nature of the Communist Party; in short, a diplomatic disaster.

    The relentless pursuit of Mr Khodorkovsky has likewise further tarnished Russia's image. The former head of the oil company Yukos is likely to be sentenced to a six-year term this week for embezzlement and money-laundering, shortly before he completes an earlier, eight-year sentence for tax evasion. The charge that he stole �16.3 billion of oil revenues between 1998 and 2003 is absurd. And the political nature of the case has been made crystal clear by Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, who said earlier this month that "a thief must sit in jail". Mr Khodorkovsky's cardinal sin, in Mr Putin's eyes, is to have provided funding to opposition parties. His second sentence will mean he will be out of the way well beyond the presidential election scheduled for March 2012.

    These two men are being hounded because they challenge the status quo, which in China is the political monopoly of the Communist Party, and in Russia, bureaucratic cronyism. In both countries, those who have grown rich and powerful under such conditions want to keep things as they are. Yet the very intensity of the persecution reveals a fear at the heart of each system that its authority is more fragile than it might appear. Does the emperor have any clothes?


    Ivory Coast election crisis: A roadmap for African political reform (http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Global-Viewpoint/2010/1230/Ivory-Coast-election-crisis-A-roadmap-for-African-political-reform) By Frazer & Berggruen | CSM





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  • riva2005
    04-12 01:14 PM
    Its important to understand the root cause for the retrogression. Illegals dont have categories and categories in the EB GCs are there for a reason. It makes a world of a difference for somebody who is EB2 or EB3 if the person was from say.. Bangladesh. If EB2 he is all set if EB3 he will be languishing here. I am EB2 and am in trouble because of CONSULTANTS and yes I have a problem with that.

    Yes, we are all in trouble because of consultants. Nice attitude.

    I can say that I am in trouble because of everyone else in the queue of 500,000 highly skilled H1 and L1 people waiting for GC. Everyone else other than me and my family is causing trouble for me.

    If all others in the queue were to vanish or die somehow,my PD would become current and I can file for 485.

    Isnt that the attitude of IEEE-USA. We are in trouble because of competition from Indian and Chinese professionals.

    They have a problem with Indian and Chinese engineers whether they come here, or dont come here. They have problem with H1B, they have a problem if they dont come here and merely work on jobs in India and China that are outsourced from here to there.

    Just like IEEE-USA has problem with existence of competition, you have problem with the existence of consultants because that sub-community within this community is also asking for Greencards. And your solution is to eliminate competition.

    Consultants can say the same thing...that we are in trouble because of these perm-fulltime jobs holders who stick to one job for 10 years and we have a problem with that.

    How can you justify, with reasonable objective arguments that perm-fulltime jobs holders should be ahead of the queue from consultants and they are more deserving candidates for Greencard than consultants? I am not a consultant myself but I'd like to hear your reasoning behind this. Dont tell me crap that consultants pad their resumes. Everyone does it. Whether its consultants or perm-fulltime jobs holders, and whether its H1B or citizens, EVERYONE who is desperate for a job would pad his/her resume. You would do it too if it meant getting yourself away from filing bankruptcy.





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  • nojoke
    04-07 04:54 PM
    In early 2000 when the stock market was going crazy, every pundit worth his salt was proclaiming at the top of their voice to buy stock. And then the whole thing collapsed.

    In the same time period, not many experts recommend buying a house. I remember in 2002 a community near my work was selling town homes for around 200,000 and there were no buyers. Today (after correction) those same houses are still selling at around 450,000.

    I 100% agree with you that this is a good time to buy. I know many people are saying that the market would crash another 20%. But the fact is that you can negotiate 10-15% from the advertised price. And there are enough homes in the bank-repo and short sale categories where the prices are 20-30% below the price mentioned in zillow.

    Having owned a town home for the last 2.5 years, I can very confidently say that the yard work and house cleaning etc. etc. are not such a big deal. Actually we mow our lawn with a manual push mower (may not be practical if you have more than 10 cents to mow) and clean the snow using a $10 snow shovel. Who said a little exercise is bad for you? I have also helped my single family friends in their yard work and never thought working outside is such a bad thing.

    But there is a risk. And house is big ticket item, you have move cautiously.

    Your reasoning is flawed. Lot of people made money in the dot com boom era selling stocks. Just like you, lot of them said during the midway of crash that the stocks had fallen and is very attractive to buy and is a buying opportunity bla bla. Many fell victims. All those stocks became worthless.

    We are in the middle/start of the correction. Housing takes a long time to correct, unlike stocks. It took 6 years for the last real estate crash(1989) to bottom out. No way it is attractive to buy at this time.





    VivekAhuja
    06-23 12:23 PM
    If you are buying a house as an investment ONLY, then do NOT buy a house on this planet (not just USA). If you are sensible enough, buy a house to LIVE IN. Buy something you like, not something just to sell and make money.
    If you begin to think like this, you will come to a simple conclusion - if my family & I like a particular house in a particular neighbourhood and I can afford it, I will buy it NOW!!

    Everything else you hear in the media and on IV is hogwash - ignore it!!





    Pagal
    06-08 05:34 AM
    Hello,

    Great discussions...remember a similar thread that was hot in 2008.. :)

    IMHO, buying house has little to do with 'status' in the country, but much more to do with your financial capabilities, location and timing...

    1. Financial Capabilities
    a) Can I afford to make payments even if I've to leave US and settle somewhere else?
    b) Does buying house give me any tax breaks in US that I otherwise won't get?
    c) Do I have 'reserve' funds (5-6% of purchase price) to take care of maintenance etc of the house?

    2. Location
    a) Is the neighbourhood dependent on a stable source of economic activity (e.g. tech industry areas like Bay Area or traditional industry areas like Texas)
    b) Can the house be rented (if not, I would be cautious)?
    c) Is the demographics well off (if not, bad economy may have a larger impact)?

    3. Timing
    a) Has housing appreciated by more than 2-3% per annum in the neighbourhood since 2000 (if yes, I would be cautious)?
    b) Can I get 1-time tax benefits?
    c) Can I make more money through other investments (leverage adjusted)?

    The final decision is always personal and is neither right or wrong...its just a choice that the individuals make... good luck to those who are considering home ownership....

    @pmpforgc,

    Make as low a down payment as possible as the money supply is cheap as of now....if interest rates are higher than what you can get as investment return in the market, then making as large a down payment as possible makes sense... as of now, cost of money is at 5-6% and you can get more than that through investments...just my 2 cents!