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  • senthil1
    04-06 11:24 PM
    Basically the H1b Cap issue should be resolved. Either unlimited H1b or restriction in bodyshopping is needed to resolve the problem to keep H1b system working. Or current broken system will continue. Also gc is completed related to H1b you can take think what will be the impact. Situation is not good for GC seekers. If they increase h1b retrogession will increase. If they restrict H1b same gc seekers will be impacted. Basically this forum members have to ask unlimited H1b and unlimited GC to satisfy everyone. Is that achivable?

    what are you saying? The above post is totally incoherent





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  • mariner5555
    04-22 03:52 PM
    this is from schiller ..an economist ..I am sure he knows more about housing than others ..I guess this is a worse case scenario (if not the worst).

    http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080422/economy_shiller.html?.v=2
    ----
    Economist cautions housing slump could exceed drop of the Great Depression, require bailouts

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- An influential economist who long predicted the housing market bubble cautioned Tuesday that the slump in the U.S. housing market could cause prices to fall more than they did in the Great Depression and bailouts will be needed so millions don't lose their homes.

    Yale University economist Robert Shiller, pioneer of the widely watched Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index, said there's a good chance housing prices will fall further than the 30 percent drop in the historic depression of the 1930s. Home prices nationwide already have dropped 15 percent since their peak in 2006, he said.

    "I think there is a scenario that they could be down substantially more," Shiller said during a speech at the New Haven Lawn Club.

    Shiller's Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index is considered a strong measure of home prices because it examines price changes of the same property over time, instead of calculating a median price of homes sold during the month.

    Shiller, who admitted he has a reputation for being bearish, said real estate cycles typically take years to correct.

    Home prices rose about 85 percent from 1997 to 2006 adjusted for inflation, the biggest national housing boom in U.S. history, Shiller said.

    "Basically we're in uncharted territory," Shiller said. "It seems we have developed a speculative culture about housing that never existed on a national basis before."

    Many people became convinced that housing prices would increase 10 percent annually, a notion Shiller called crazy.





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  • Marphad
    12-27 08:44 AM
    I agree with you to a great extent. The Pakistani society is fractured right now, and there is nothing to unite the country than a conflict with India.

    Where I disagree with you is when you think that this is the calculus of the Pakistan army. I think the senior army (and civilian) leadership in Pakistan knows the Kargil episode too well. Kargil is fresh in their memories, and they know that a conflict with India is not worth the costs. Plus, if we are to assume that the Pakistan army was behind the 2001 Parliament attack, then again we know that the Pakistan army had to back down that time too....So, unless the Pakistan army is run by Beavis and Butthead who repeatedly touch a hot object and go 'ouch...ouch....ouch...ouch...ouch...', there is no reason for them to do this.....

    So I think, that its the militant elements that are being squeezed by the Pakistan army and NATO, and not the the Pakistan army, that pulled this off.
    (I must also add that I have a bias to believe that; thats just natural.) Everytime we see Indian and Pakistani relations improving, something blows up somewhere, and things are back to square one.




    I wonder if you attribute any of that to the media coverage of the event. Especially the 'live tv' aspect of it.
    I don't think a bomb blast with the same number of casualties would have had this much impact.
    I also think the media could have acted more responsibly than it did. I was somewhat disappointed by Pakistani media. I think there was too much bias and not so much objectivity in the coverage. I am afraid the Indian media would have acted in a similar manner too....

    Alisa, you sound like rational Pakistani who can think and judge the things by oneself. I wish % like you people increase in Pakistan.





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  • xyzgc
    12-27 12:45 AM
    Do you mean to say that the state and the government of Pakistan did this?

    Let me give you an example... Was Lebanon directly responsible for rocket attacks on Israel? No. Was Hezbollah responsible? Yes. Wasn't Hezbollah part of the govt of Lebanon and active in Lebanese politics? Yes. Did Lebanese govt disarm Hezbollah? No. Doesn't it make Lebanon responsible? Like abcdgc pointed out, ISI is very much a part of Pakistan.



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  • pappu
    07-13 08:28 AM
    I commend the initiative. But I see a few issues with it:

    You are complaining to DOS about USCIS and DOL. That will not work. Every agency has a specific role

    You are complaining to the official who sets visa dates. He has no authority to give relief just because some applicant/s are asking for it. He has to follow the rule every month and his responsibility is only to set the dates based on the statistics received from USCIS. This official has a very specific and limited role.

    The reasons are not compelling enough. You cannot just say you are waiting long enough and thus your date should become current. Rules cannot be changed just for that reason.

    If economy was down in 2001- 2003 and you were asked to file in EB3 and people in Perm could file in EB2 is your strongest reason, it may not work in your favor. Because by law you can file again and convert to EB2 and port your date. DOL and USCIS does not stop you from doing that.

    If you are qualified for EB2 but your attorney and employer filed in EB3, then it is not a fault of USCIS/DOL/DOS. You must talk to the company and the lawyer for it. If the company or the lawyer has broken any rule or employer has exploited you, then the letter should be complain to the appropriate authority about them.

    Please also note that labor is filed based on the degree and experience requirement of the job. By law if the requirement is only undergraduate degree for the job, the employer cannot file in EB2 just because the applicant has a masters degree or more experience than needed. So you cannot really put this arguement here because it will be against the rules.

    So I personally do not think this idea will work.

    While this mess is depressing for EB3 folks, we need to have a more compelling argument, determined membership and effective plan to get things changed.
    The root cause of the problem is limited greencard quota for EB3. And the solution is to get recapture, get rid of country limits, STEM exemption. Any single relief itself will be huge for all of us. With 179 phone calls and $16656 collected in last 3 months, I do not see that happening. It will need a far more bigger and determined effort. Such amount can be spent on full scale lobbying in just one month. 179 phone calls are nothing if we have to make a compelling case for ourselves.





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  • yrspassby
    08-07 04:46 PM
    An old man visits his doctor and after thorough examination the doctor tells him: "I have good news and bad news, what would you like to hear first?"

    Patient: "Well, give me the bad news first."

    Doctor: "You have cancer, I estimate that you have about two years left."

    Patient: "Oh no! That's awefull! In two years my life will be over! What kind of good news could you probably tell me, after this??"

    Doctor: "You also have Alzheimer's. In about three months you are going to forget everything I told you."



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  • gomirage
    06-07 01:13 AM
    I felt the same way before. I said to myself I wouldn't buy a house until I get my GC. That was until a builder offered me a nice offer. I was renting a two bedroom apartment for $1200 as I have a family with 3 small kids.

    The builder offered me a 2,600 sq. ft., 4 bed-room home at $1450 per month, including taxes and insurance, fixed for 30 years. I guessed that the $250 difference from rent is nothing compared to the benefit of owning a home. The interest part of my first monthly amortization is about $800, $400 go to principal, and $250 go to taxes and insurance.

    Have you done your math ? Granted those $250 looks chump change for you, but what if it was invested for a return of 5% while the house may not be back at sales level for another 10 to 15 years ?

    No one will argue with you about buying a house for yours kids pleasure though.





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  • Marphad
    12-22 04:38 PM
    Alright! Let us be adults. It is like Sri Lanka going all over and telling the world that LTTE is as lethal as Al Qaida and is a threat to US, UK, Israel and Europe. Although US and UK has declared them as terrorist organization, I think it was more because they had a hand in Rajiv Gandhi's assasination.
    Agreed, LTTE is a terror org and their issue is Sinhalese treatment of Tamils.
    (another example of the tyranny of the majority against minority) .
    Lankans may be followers of Buddha but when it came to Tamils, they were far from being a Buddha and more like anti-buddha!


    And Israel did the same thing too. It projected its conflict with Palestinians as part of Bush's global war on terror, the centre piece of which was a war-of-choice in Iraq. Russians tried to project their conflict in Chechnya as part of Global war on terror. Now Georgia is trying to project it as a victim. The line between aggressor and the victim is becoming increasingly blurred. That is the reason I believe, this issue is much more than black and white with a shade of Gray all over it. We can argue till the cows come home but until the countries understand the motivation of (any) enemy, the enemy is not going to be defeated.

    So tomorrow if I loose a job and kill someone considering responsible for it is justifiable? Where is the gray area?



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  • chmur
    09-30 09:31 PM
    he is going to delay my GC further. Simple .I cannot vote but I would rather give my money to McCain if he is a better help in getting GC faster or atleast does not delay it any further.

    I am surprised at the arguments like "I know Obama will hamper our GC further but he is such good talker that my kids future will be safe "

    At best Obama will turn out yet another democrat pres . I doubt if he can match Clinton ...he will be more on Carter lines. Either way I could,nt care less.

    I guess it's time we focus only on our selfish needs ..which is GC ....why would something else be important in next 4 years for this community ...nothing else should matter ...





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  • LostInGCProcess
    09-29 12:36 PM
    After watching the debate the other day between Obama and McCain at the Ole Miss, I felt McCain was more truthful and talking from his mind. All these days I was hoping Obama was really going to make that "change", but after watching the debate, clearly it was McCain who, I personally feel, won the debate.

    Obama's speech was more like a prepared one. He was stumbling a lot, maybe he was nervous, I don't know. But McCain was cool all along, although he was not prepared for the debate...he changed his schedule in the very last minute.

    I am positive if he wins he would definitely do something about the broken Immigration System. Remember he has a daughter adopted from Bangladesh...of course, which has no connection with Immigration, but he seems to be the 'nice' guy.

    Cheers.:)



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  • Suva
    01-09 01:47 PM
    Civilians will die in any war. It's a fact. In this case Hamas started the fight by firing rockets for a week. Who was affected? Some civilians in Israel died due to this rocket firing. So this is natural that any country will give a strong reply against these rocket attacks. It's very sad that kids are getting killed due to this fight. But It is hamas faults not Israel. Didn't Hamas know that Israel would attack due to their rocket attacks. Didn't hamas know that they are hiding behind civilians and they would be bombarded by Israelis as a result of this some of the civilians would die. So before blaming Israel you should first blame Hamas.

    Now the killing has gone mad. Apart from killing the innocent civilians, crazy war mongers started bombing schools and killing innocent school kids. Today two schools were bombed and more than 40 children have been massacred.

    Its sad to see school children being brutally killed by missles and tanks. I don't understand how people could blow up innocent kids, women and men under the name of self-defence?

    This world has gone crazy and there's no one questioning about this in-human atrocities committed against fellow human being.

    Lets us pray for those who are going thru this hardship, and for an immediate end to this war crime.

    How many more innocent civilians including children they are planning to kill?. All these so called peace loving nations blocking the UN from making a cease-fire resolution. Looks like so called freedom lovers want more innocent lives.

    When Mumbai was attacked by terrorists, whole world was united and supported the victim(India). Now the same world is against the victim and encouraging more killing by not stopping the attrocities.





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  • mariner5555
    04-25 02:45 PM
    I also thought that pitching in the home buying by GC folks would make a great argument in front of law makers. But there was a very sensible posting by our spokes person Mark B.

    He said, he would not put home buying by GC folks as a main selling point for our cause. May be he will say this point as a half joke-half serious manner while discussing our core selling point. The core selling point being that the US is losing talent by not giving us GCs in a timely manner.
    let me give my views as to why Mark and others are missing the main point that I am trying to make. agreed using this as the main point may not work ..but this has to be a very important point. at the back of their mind - the policy makers know that some talent will definitely leave but lot will stay back (and they will keep paying USCIS money). even if people go back to India or China ..who will employ them ..it is the same MNC / big US corporations ..
    (so they know some talent will leak away ..but majority will stay back ..you just need to know the quota system / political system in India and china ..and automatically you will know that the talented guys will do everything to prevent their children from going through that ..)
    the second point is for the admin fix (which I guess can be done by president without congress approval) ..in every poll ..the President has a low ranking ..the last thing that he needs is to be blamed for this recession too ..
    so during their meetings if DHS or others were to suggest that more immigrants would buy more stuff here (rather than buying houses in India / china) ..if they were more sure of their status ..the admin fix would have greater chance of success ..



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  • GCScrewed
    07-13 08:29 PM
    I dont agree at all!!!!!!!

    How can you give consideration to people already in line at the expense of other people from a higher preference category also waiting patiently in line. Regardless of the duration of the wait EB3 is a lower prefrence category and will remain so under any interpretation. Remember that even under the 'old' interpretation EB3-I only got visa numbers after passing through the EB3 ROW and the EB2-I gate.

    Notwithstanding the 'new' interpretation, an argument can always be made that the 'old' interpretation was not only wrong but blatantly wrong where EB3ROW was given preference over an EB2 retro country.

    The only fix for this is elimination of country cap and/or increase in number of visas. The means to acheive that goal may be legislative or administrative. I'll defer to the experts on that!

    Can't beleive people can sound so arrogant. That's exactly some of the hispanic politicians unwilling to provide any relief to any employment based immigration. Some people think they are "superior" than others, the so called "smartest", "brightest", "highly skilled". A country like the US needs people from a diverse background. It does not need all the Phds or masters. It needs chefs, agriculture workers, doctors, nurses, business persons, all backgrounds. Can you imagine that this country only consists of Phds? That's why when arguing why EB applicants should be given relieve first and then illegals, we should not sound we are "superior". Rather we should simply state our confidence about the integrity of the legal system.

    As far as the so called "preference", how are you going to catergorize those under EB4, EB5, etc.? The so called "preference" is a myth. Otherwise, the law would only allow a "lower" perference to get a green card until all the "higher" ones get theirs. It is not the case, isn't? Rather it gives a % limit for each category.





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  • mariner5555
    04-22 03:48 PM
    this is what I had meant when I said that (for some people only) moving in to a very big house leads to lower standard on living. I repeat - this is only if you buy a big house beyond your means. this is from fortune
    ---
    Stay-at-home mom, 40, Apopka, Fla.
    We bought a home in Orlando, Fla., in February 2005, the height of the boom here. At the time, we could afford the home, the taxes and the insurance. It would be tight but we kept planning on "the bonus" or "the raise."

    We got all caught up in the "square footage" of the home. Well, what we didn't realize was that with our BIG HOUSE comes BIG EVERYTHING! Big taxes, big insurance, big water bills, big electric bills. The anxiety at the end of the month caused health problems for both my husband, Victor, and I.

    Last summer, we realized that we could not live like this any longer. We could not afford our home, we were prisoners of our mortgage. We couldn't enjoy life outside the house. We were literally trapped.

    We decided to "downsize" our life, our lifestyle and our home. It was a lot of soul searching but we both realized that it's not all about "square footage" or bedrooms or full baths. It's about being able to afford a mortgage (and all the add-ons) and still have money at the end of the month.

    Now, our timing could not be worse of course, for putting the big house on the market. We built a much smaller house, ranch style and I love it! My first electric bill was a third of what it used to be. Yes, we still have the big house, but we were able to rent it out and cover expenses.

    We are not making a dime on the rental, and when the market comes back, we will put it back up to sell. We wiped out Victor's 401(k) to pay off debt and put a down payment on the new house. We have established a savings account and there is actually money left over at the end of the month....whew!



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  • new_phd
    08-10 01:58 PM
    Sorry to post in this thread, but I was wondering if United Nations would be kind enough to answer two questions for me (well, actually one is from my colleague). They are kind of generic so it might help other people too, I hope. I posted this on other threads but I havent gotten any responses for the longest time, so Im posting here. Very sorry to those who are following this thread for the original topic.

    1) From my colleague: As per his family customs, his mothers FIRST name was also changed after marriage. Before marriage she was Vimla Patil, and now she is Anasuya Deshpande. She uses her married first name and last name on her passport, childrens birth certificate, etc. Only her school leaving has her maiden first name, maiden last name.

    He was wondering how to put this info on his I-485/G-325a form. They ask for Mothers Maiden name in one column, and then first name in the next. If he puts down Patil and then Anasuya - it wont be correct as such a person doesnt exist. What is the best way to represent her name. (remember, the birth cert that he will be submitting for himself will have her name as Anasuya Deshpande)

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    2) My question (and this has been asked before, but no one has a rock solid answer). My husband's labor has been approved, approved I-140, his priority date is Oct 2006. I received a labor sub (please dont scream at me.. I dint have anything to do with the matching... it just came my way:o) , but pending I-140, my priority date (if I-140 is approved) will be Feb 2005.

    I wanted to know if we should only choose one of these two applications to proceed further or file two I-485 applications- One with me as primary and him as beneficiary, and the other with him as primary. There are these rare postings where people have said that USCIS can reject both applications/ drop both or deny one initially itself, or ask you to choose one upfront. No one has talked about successful multiple filings, so we dont have unbiased statistics in this space. What is your thought on this issue? Which way would you recommend we proceed? Frankly, I am nervous about my application until the I-140 clears, (and my I-140 was only applied in July 2007) ... yet my husbands pd is almost 20 months after mine. Please enlighten.

    Thanks!

    FYI, both of us have been in the U.S since 2000, but for various strokes of timely bad luck we couldnt file until Dec 2006, So I hope there arent too many hard feelings from people who have also waited as long as we have. I know the feeling.





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  • validIV
    06-08 08:23 PM
    You are a genius.

    Thanks but flattery will get you nowhere.



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  • Macaca
    08-17 09:12 PM
    Dem majority triggers mixed results for K St. (http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/dem-majority-triggers-mixed-results-for-k-st.-2007-08-15.html) By Jim Snyder and Jeffrey Young | The Hill, August 15, 2007

    Patton Boggs appears likely to continue as the reigning king of K Street with a revenue growth of nearly 9 percent, according to mid-year lobbying reports filed to Congress Tuesday.

    The law firm earned nearly $19.4 million from lobbying as defined by the Lobbying Disclosure Act, or LDA, for the first half of 2007, versus the $17.8 million it took in during the first six months of 2006. The firm finished first in the revenue race in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

    Elsewhere along Washington’s lobbying corridor, though, results were decidedly more mixed. While several firms reported revenue growth, a number have yet to shake off the doldrums of the last half of 2006, when legislative activity dropped off as members left town to campaign for the midterm election.

    For example, Cassidy & Associates reported a slight dip in revenues in 2007. It reported $12.3 million for mid-year 2007 versus the $12.6 million the firm reported a year ago.

    Van Scoyoc Associates, another big earner, reported flat revenues. Hogan & Hartson, a top 10 earner, reported a slight dip (see chart, P 9).

    The LDA numbers were due Tuesday, and several big names did not have their revenue totals ready by press time. These firms include Dutko Worldwide, which generated more than $20 million in lobbying revenues last year.

    (The figures will be added to the chart online at thehill.com as they become available.)

    The firms that did well attribute their success in part to the new Democratic majorities.

    Perhaps the biggest success story so far is Ogilvy Government Relations. The newly bipartisan firm, which was formerly all-Republican and known as the Federalist Group, reported mid-year totals of $12.4 million, versus the $6.8 million it reported for the first six months of 2006.

    “We have added talented Democrats that have contributed significant value to our clients and the firm,” said Drew Maloney, a managing director at Ogilvy and a former aide to then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

    Although the switch to bipartisan seems to have been a good one, the firm’s success can largely be attributed to one client. Blackstone Group, which is lobbying against a proposed tax hike on private equity firms, has paid Ogilvy $3.74 million so far this year. Blackstone paid Ogilvy just $240,000 for all of 2006.

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, a perennial top five earner, also grew. The firm reported mid-year totals of $15.2 million, compared to $13.3 million during the first half of 2006.

    Joel Jankowsky, who runs Akin Gump’s policy practice, said Democrats have been good for his firm’s bottom line.

    “The change in Congress has increased activity on a variety of issues and that has spawned more work,” Jankowsky said. Akin Gump now counts 186 clients versus the 165 clients it had at the end of last year.

    Barbour Griffith & Rogers and K & L Gates’s policy group each also reported a slight growth over their revenue totals of a year ago.

    Even firms that did less well were optimistic business was beginning to pick up, even though Democrats have sought to change the cozy relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists through new gift and travel limitations and other rules.

    Gregg Hartley, vice chairman and chief operating officer for Cassidy, said the firm’s business was rebounding from a slow 2006.

    “I see us on the way back up,” he said.

    The Cassidy figure does not include revenues reported by its affiliate, the Rhoads Group, which reported an additional $2.2 million in revenue.

    Van Scoyoc Associates, another top five firm, reported Tuesday that it made $12.5 million this year, roughly the same it reported during the comparable period a year ago.

    “We held pretty even in a very difficult environment and I would consider that a pretty successful first half,” said Stu Van Scoyoc, president of the firm.

    Scandals have made it a difficult political environment for lobbyists and clients have moved cautiously because of uncertainty about new congressional earmarking rules, Van Scoyoc said.

    The LDA filings paint only part of the picture of these firms’ performances. Many of the large and mid-sized firms have lucrative lines of business in other areas.

    Firms like Patton Boggs and Akin Gump that operate large legal practices are also benefiting from the more active oversight of the Democratic-led Congress, for example.

    Democrats have held an estimated 600 oversight and investigation hearings so far, and many clients under the microscope have sought K Street’s counsel.

    “The overall congressional activity is through the charts,” said Nick Allard, co-chairman of Patton Boggs’s public policy department.

    “Lobbying reports are up, but they are just part of what we do, and underestimate what is probably a historic level of activity in Congress and as such a historic level of representation of clients before Congress,” Allard said.

    The investigations also often lead to new legislation, which further drives business to K Street.

    The LDA numbers also do not capture work done under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), which is reported separately. Most public relations and federal marketing work, both of which are growing revenue streams for many firms, are also not reported under LDA.

    Cassidy, for example, made an additional $1.4 million from FARA, public relations and federal marketing, Hartley said. Van Scoyoc also will report at least $300,000 in FARA revenue.

    Moreover, the LDA itself provides firms with wide latitude in how they define lobbying activities, and thus what revenue must be accounted for in their semiannual filings.

    While some firms blamed stagnant revenues on the unfavorable (and, they add, unfair) scrutiny the lobbying industry has received from the Jack Abramoff scandal, most lobbyists don’t see the recently passed lobbying/ethics bill as a threat to their businesses.

    Patton Boggs’s Allard, for instance, believes the new rules may benefit firms with legal practices and larger lobbying firms that may be better equipped to manage the intricacies of the new law.

    “The need for public policy advocacy doesn’t go away,” he said. Firms that relied on relationships, however, may well be hurt. Potential clients are “are not going to go for the quick fix or silver bullet or glad-handing,” Allard said.

    Lobbyists will have to report more frequently. The new law requires filing quarterly rather than semi-annually.

    The continued focus on earmarks, though, may eventually hurt firms that have built their practice around appropriations work, said Hartley.

    “There is a potential for a dramatic impact on that part of the lobbying industry,” said Hartley.

    Cassidy was once just such a firm. Until recently, as much as 70 percent of Cassidy’s lobbying revenue came from appropriations, but a four-year restructuring effort has dropped that figure to 51 percent, Hartley said.

    Now 67 percent of new business is tied to non-appropriations work, he added.

    The Democratic takeover of Congress also spawned a growth in all-Democratic lobbying firms.

    Elmendorf Strategies, founded by Steve Elmendorf, reported revenues of nearly $1.9 million, despite having just three lobbyists. Elmendorf is a former chief of staff to House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and is a sought-after party strategist. His firm is six months old and has 19 clients.

    The firm Parven Pomper Schuyler reported revenues of $750,000 in part by targeting business-friendly Blue Dog Democrats. Scott Parven said the firm has 13 clients. It recently signed on to lobby for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. The contract was not included in its mid-year filing.
    K Street's Top Firms (http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/k-streets-top-25-2007-08-15.html) By Jim Snyder and Jeffrey Young | The Hill August 15, 2007





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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
    12-28 07:12 PM
    Blending the Rules as We Go Along (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/28/world/asia/28iht-currents28.html) By ANAND GIRIDHARADAS | New York Times

    I wanted it to be right after breakfast when I asked Priya to marry me. The other elements were still forming, but that one felt important: a proposal to know together a thousand moments as simple and whole as this moment on a quiet Sunday morning.

    I gave a prologue, then asked. She cried, then answered. A ring was worn. And, in less time than it takes to mow a lawn, we had rewritten our fates � our fate � forever. Done deal.

    Or so we thought.

    In the coming days, we were reminded of what it means to belong to a tribe of people that straddles multiple cultures and multiple degrees of technological involvement � and, as a consequence, holds a rich variety of opinions about an engagement. We received an education in the nuances of doing a very old thing in these new globalized, digitized times.

    The first hint of engagement Babel came in a phone call to Priya�s grandparents in New Delhi, minutes after the proposal. Joy filled their voices when they heard our news; blessings poured forth, punctuated by the colonial remnant �all the best, all the best.�

    Her Nana, though, could not let the conversation end without asking a question:

    �But, Priya, how exactly does one get engaged?�

    The bride-to-be said something about a question being asked and a ring being given, and that was that. What we didn�t appreciate then was that, in India, it doesn�t count as an engagement when two impressionable young people make a decision all by themselves.

    Calling India to say that you have gotten engaged, but without any family present, without any rites having occurred, is like claiming to have clapped with one hand.

    Thanksgiving time soon came, and the two of us went to Washington, where our six parents live. Two celebrations of our engagement were planned: a dinner at Priya�s mother and stepfather�s home, the other a tea at my parents� place.

    Our new family traces its roots to cow worshipers in Benares and cow slaughterers in South Dakota, to Chennai in south India, to a piece of the Punjab that is now in Pakistan, to Iowa, to New Jersey and to a hamlet called Blaxall in Britain. We count among us those who worship the multitudinous Hindu deities, the lone Christian one and no divinity at all. We are speakers of English, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, French and Spanish. Many of us bear the passport of a country in which we were not born.

    All of which is wonderful until you have to choose an engagement ritual.

    After some debate and soul-searching, we decided to invent our own rites. We lit candles. We held hands. We told stories. We traded gifts. We laughed. We ate.

    But, back in India, there was still some confusion. Priya�s grandparents, 10 and a half time zones ahead of us, were aching to hear our voices on the night of that first Washington celebration. My grandparents phoned several times during the tea at my parents� home four days later. The way they saw it, this was the engagement � this coming together of families at the home of a certified adult. The earlier thing, as they saw it, was more like a sweet gesture.

    So, two weeks after we got engaged by our own definition, my grandparents congratulated me for getting engaged. Priya�s Indian cousins BlackBerry-messaged her they were delighted to be able, at long last, to congratulate her � now that it was �official.� Other relatives wrote seeking pictures of our �engagement ceremony.� We tried to explain that we hadn�t had one. But in this definitional spat, we were clearly outnumbered.

    When, today, is an engagement valid in the eyes of the world? Is it, according to the Western contractual idea, when two people declare their commitment to each other in private? Or when love mingles with economics in the giving of a ring, the first step in a gradual entangling of fortunes? Is it when two families gather and drink and toast? Or when a certain traditional ritual is done � or, in our case, a new ritual?

    Or is it when you change your Facebook relationship status?

    We had been so consumed with family, and with the intricacies of the Indian and American rules of engagement, that we ignored our virtual tribe. We had called some friends on the phone immediately after it happened, and e-mailed some others. But then the celebrations of the nonvirtual world took off, and we were absorbed into that love and tumult, and our engagement went unrecorded by the digital sphere.

    Just when we thought we had satisfied every possible definition of engagement, marking it in ways suitable to ourselves, our parents and our extended clans, Priya�s stepsister brought up Facebook. Why hadn�t we updated our relationship status to proclaim the engagement? It was peculiar, this omission: The absence of a Facebook update could be read as the presence of something amiss. What were we trying to hide?

    Relationship statuses, like ideas, have derived their authority from different sources over the millenniums: A relationship could be valid if properly certified by the ancient rituals; or valid if faithful to the words of the holy texts; or valid if codified in a contract recognized by the correct governmental agency; and now, in 2010, valid if etched into one�s �Info� tab on Facebook.

    We promptly made things right. As it turns out, we were Facebook-engaged around the time that the site�s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, was named Time magazine�s Person of the Year. We made it �official� for the third time, our union ordained by this new minister of the universe.

    At last, the engagement is properly established before our American, Indian and virtual tribes � and, now, before the readers of this newspaper. The wedding looms, and with it another inevitable contest of definitions.

    I can already hear the question forming: �But how exactly does one get married?�





    satishku_2000
    05-16 05:50 PM
    Very true. If it was a simple think to do -- tracking down all the illegals and deporting them in the course of an afternoon, I would be all for it! Fact is, it isn't that simple. That is why we have to cope with the situation at hand and make the best of it. The best of it, regarding the illegals, is to prevent prevent the problem (heavily increased borders and border patrol) and get an overview of the illegals already here.

    Regarding the vast H-1B abuse by people NOT POSSESSING REAL, FULL-TIME JOBS, the solution is a much simpler one -- stop the abuse by stopping the 'consultants' on the bench.

    Because its hard to deport you are not for deportation. Are you for local police getting powers to enforce the immigration laws too?


    Now I see where you going , I think your views are much more in alignment with ALIPAC , NUMBERSUSA , PROGRAMMERS GUILD and Minute man project in my own home town ...


    As far as i know none of the consultant friends i know are on "bench" for past 3 years and they make much more money and pay much more money in taxes than people who are in "permanent" jobs.





    redcard
    12-19 12:22 AM
    be it Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan Somalia,Darfur,Chechnya, Kashmir, Gujarat... everywhere muslims are killed for being muslims...noone goes to cuba,srilanka,north korea,zimbawe or whereever for watever reason...just imagine God forbid someone comes into your house, occupies it, kills your family, your brothers and sisters in front of you and kicks you out of your home and you are seeing no hope of justice... you wont stand outside your home sending flowers like munna bhai's gandhigiri.. trust me you will become a terrorist.

    I am surprised that you have been brainwashed by your religious leaders into believing what you wrote... just to refresh your memory,,
    When Islam arrived in India, the Hindus welcomed the Muslims with open arms as brothers. In return Islam destroyed the entire Hindu civilization...over the years the followers of Islam killed over 100 million people. It has been documented that the largest genocide the world has ever witnessed was killing of over 100 millions hindus in the Hindukush region by Muslims. The muslim leaders �educated� Muslim men to rape Hindu women as this was a method to destroy the Hindu race. Infact raping Hindu women was part of what being a Muslim man was about! Temples were razed to the ground and villages were burned. Those who refused to convert to islam were either killed or raped if you were women. The reality is that islamic religious leaders wanted to destroy every religion from earth so that Islam the youngest religion in the world could prevail.Even today that is the aim of the islamic fanatics and cause of all the problems. Even in the recent past in this decade only.. the Taliban destroyed the Budha Statues in Afghanistan.. and people call this religion a religion of peace..., its a joke.

    Islam is a religion which does not even preach to treat your own wife with respect. Its a religion which teaches men to kill their wife incase they don't obey them. Even today women are treated like doormats and "things" of pleasure for men in this religion.

    Lets face it the fact is that Muslim community is now being cornered by the western world is because the violent front of the religion has become the face of Islam and the moderate religions and community in the world cannot take this anymore. That is the reason why the Muslim are suffering. Its like saying in Hinduism.. the Karma is catching up with you.

    Its sad that even today in India the muslim which is a minority community is holding the whole country back.. they continue to fight the hindus where ever they can and whenever they can in places like Kashmir and unfortunately the Indian leaders and Hindu community continue to follow the principle of Non Violence which is not working.

    The islam religion is not a religion of unification on the contrary the religion teaches the Muslims that non-Muslims are infidels and that they should be killed and that is the reason why Isalm was instituted through coercion and violence. So lets face Islam is everything but a religion of peace.. and yes I think the world is now waking up the violence of this religion and sooner or later the Islamic religion has to evolve into a moderate religion, failing which it will die its own death..



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