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  • Macaca
    12-28 08:03 AM
    House Members Spent $20.3M on Mailings (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/27/AR2007122700903.html?hpid=sec-politics) By DENNIS CONRAD | Associated Press, Dec 28, 2007

    WASHINGTON -- U.S. House members spent $20.3 million in tax money last year to send constituents what's often the government equivalent of junk mail _ meeting announcements, tips on car care and job interviews, surveys on public policy and just plain bragging.

    They sent nearly 116 million pieces of mail in all, many of them glossy productions filled with flattering photos and lists of the latest roads and bridges the lawmaker has brought home to the district, an Associated Press review of public records shows.

    Some offered advice on topics one would more commonly expect to see in a consumer-advice column.

    "Keep your car properly maintained" to improve mileage, suggested Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., in a newsletter on how to deal with rising energy prices.

    Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., offered tips on home improvements.

    And Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., who lost her primary race last year, sent out a taxpayer-funded newsletter a few months before the election that included this simple observation:

    "Convicted felons can vote," she said, if "your" prison sentence has been served, parole or probation completed and fines paid. While campaigning, McKinney, who is black, noted that blacks make up a disproportionately large share of the prison population, which she said dilutes their voting strength.

    A dozen House members spent more than $133,000 each to send 9.8 million pieces of mass mailings. Total cost? $1.8 million.

    Sometimes the lawmakers' taxpayer funded mailings topped what they paid for direct mail through their campaign funds.

    Of the 64 House members with at least $100,000 in taxpayer-funded mailing expenses _ and overwhelmingly for mass mailings _ 42 were Republicans and 22 were Democrats, the AP review found.

    In sharp contrast, 59 lawmakers in the 435-member House _ 35 Republicans and 24 Democrats _ spent nothing on mass mailings. They tended to be the more experienced House members, often with 14 or more years of service.

    Mass mailings cannot be blatantly political, but they still can have political benefits, said Pete Sepp, a spokesman for the National Taxpayers' Union, which has condemned mass mailings.

    "A taxpayer-financed mailing doesn't have to say 're-elect me' to have an impact on voters," Sepp said. "A glossy newsletter splashed with the incumbent's achievements in Congress can build useful credentials a lawmaker can take with him to the ballot box. The franking privilege is one of the main cogs in Congress' PR machine."

    Franking, practiced since the early days of the republic, lets members of Congress send mail with just a signature where the postage would normally be affixed. Although the mailings are regulated by a congressional commission to guard against overt political appeals and cannot go out within 90 days of an election, they still sometimes take a dig at the opposition.

    In a June 2006 newsletter, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., noted that under the Republican majority, Congress had passed tax cuts that "benefit the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working families."

    Stark has been a regular among the biggest users of the congressional franking privilege. For 2006, his mass mailings alone cost $172,357, an amount large enough to rank him among the top congressional mailers. House documents reported his overall mailing costs to be about $37,000 less. The AP received no explanation for the apparent discrepancy from spokesmen for Stark, the House Administration Committee and House administration staff.

    Some lawmakers defend the newsletters as a vital way of communicating with constituents.

    "One of the biggest complaints my constituents had (with) my predecessor was that they never knew what was going on in Washington," said Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla. "They never had the opportunity to do surveys, etc. I promised I would communicate with them regularly."

    Brown-Waite is one of the biggest users of bulk mail, with 657,951 pieces at a cost of $129,428 last year. That surpassed the approximately $110,000 her campaign spent on direct mailings and related costs.

    One taxpayer-funded mailing featured a picture of her and the headline: "Medicare Prescription Drug Update: The Time to Act is Now." Another, entitled "Constituent Service Guide for the 5th District," included a survey and information about how to obtain U.S. flags, assistance from federal agencies and an appointment to a military academy.

    The House Democratic Caucus encourages members to use the mailings to communicate with constituents, spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg said. She said it was a good way for congressmen to focus on an issue or, if survey questions are used, get a handle on what constituents are thinking.

    That argument doesn't persuade Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., who said he has never used the mailings in 13 years in Congress. "It's a waste of taxpayers' money," he said. "I don't believe in this self-promotion."

    LaHood argues that franking should be used only to answer constituent mail. He has repeatedly introduced bills to ban mass mailings and just as often the legislation dies in committee.

    For the House and Senate combined, the cost of taxpayer-paid mailings, including mass mailings, letters to individuals and groups of up to 500 people, was $34.3 million for fiscal year 2006, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report. In 1988, before more restrictions were imposed on the use of mailings, the figure was more than three times larger, $113.3 million.

    The biggest senders in the AP analysis included freshmen in tight re-election fights and veterans who coasted to victory.

    Rep. Henry Brown, R-S.C., had the most pieces of mass mailings: 1,257,972. His mass mailings' cost of $171,286 was among the highest in the House, as was the overall cost of his franked mail, at $177,706.

    Murphy, who advised constituents to maintain cars, was one of the House leaders in sending out bulk mail, with 1,003,836 pieces. The price tag: $165,650.

    Among legislative leaders, the biggest spender was Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., who last fall became chairman of the House GOP Conference. He spent $133,053 to mail 844,336 pieces.

    Other leaders in the last Congress and the current one were not big users.

    The cost of postage is not the only expense for taxpayers. Printing and reproduction can add tens of thousands of dollars to a mailing's cost. The printing cost for one mailing from McCotter was $30,259.

    There is a practical limit on how much can be spent on mailings.

    Funding comes from a congressman's office budget, which ranges from $1.2 million to $1.4 million for payroll and other expenses. The more spent on mass mailings, the less money is available for such needs as staff, salaries and district offices.

    Senators can also send franked mail, but the amount for each senator is specific and generally based on the number of addresses in a senator's state. At no point may it exceed $50,000 a year for mass mailings. For fiscal year 2004, overall mail allocations ranged from $31,746 to $298,850.

    Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., who mailed 906,788 pieces last year and won re-election with 60 percent of the vote, sees the mailings as helping him do his job.

    "Ours is a representative government, requiring an active dialogue between elected officials and those they serve," Stearns said in a statement.

    Mike Stokke, a political aide to recently resigned Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., when he was House speaker, said he would advise congressmen to send out mailings when they've fulfilled an important promise, such as getting money for a bridge in the district.





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  • snathan
    01-06 05:15 PM
    Didn't Narendra Modi followed the footstep of Isreali counterparts by killing innocents in Gujarat?

    Its upto Indians to decide which type of leaders we need. Like Gandhi or Modi.

    Modi is the need of the hour andnot Gandhi....Grow up man.





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  • StuckInTheMuck
    08-06 11:14 AM
    Got past me too :)





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  • sumanitha
    12-19 03:04 PM
    Actually I am not against any religion

    Today science has found out that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. None of the religious book says story about Dinosaurs (Yes all the hippocrats of their religion will intrepret some wordings and make beautiful meanings out of it and will say it has already been quoted.. I have heard enough lectures on that and since you wont know the meaning of the actual word they will play with those words.. )

    I was actually amazed with the way every religious scholor tries to interpret the way they have said about the age of Earth.. How smartly people make use of one year is equal to 1 million year or whatever accordingly and try to bring the result of 4.5 billion years per their Religious versus which says 2000 to 5000 years.. man it is amazing..

    People's vision are covered with a glass called religion.. you need to take that out and see this beautiful world without it.. That will cure lot of problems..

    Dont come and say to me that the more knowledge in science will take you close to religion..

    I accept I have very little knowledge in Science but I admire it and I am thankful to it for all of its discoveries and inventions..

    Tell me one good thing about religion.. I can talk thousands of good things about science ..(Dont cite examples that Science creates lot of bad things.. people use it in a wrong way .. )


    Right, And u must the the enlightened one. And what do you mean by science: physics, chemistry , math or biology or theology

    Is there a difference between god and a religion. I have heard lots of bulls saying " religions are ways to get to the same god" . If that was true then preachers of Islam would not have preached to convert every one to Islam by force or otherwise.

    They would not have preached the following:
    WA ILAHU KUM ILAHUN WAHIDUL LA ILAHA ILLA HU WAR RAHMAN UR RAHEEM
    -- In other words, there is no god but Allah (implying gods of Jews, Christians, Hindus etc do not matter)
    or
    INN AL LAZEENA KAFAROO WA MA TOO WA HUM KUFFARUN ULAIKA ALAI HIM LA NAT ULLAHI WAL MALAAIKA TI WAN NASI AJMAEEN
    -- Meaning : Those who disbelieve, and die while they are disbelievers; on them is the curse of Allah and of angels and of all mankind.
    Now, because I don't share your "ideas" you want me to be cursed. What kind of God will do that.

    Allaha has 100 names including the names like Saboor (99th), Rasheed (98th), Waris (97th) etc. But where are the names of the Gods that others beleive in.



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  • pmb76
    12-20 02:03 PM
    razis dude, I'm probably the most secular person you'll find on IV. Read my previous posts. However I have to disagree with you on this one and that too very strongly. Each of the places you mention Muslims are the Oppressors and not Oppressed.
    I completely support George Bush's doctrine of smokin' em out and ridding the world of Islamofascism. He is one of the best presidents this country has ever had. However he is misunderstood throughout the world. World over - jihadis and islamofascists hate Bush with a vengeance - which tells me only this - He must be doin' somethin' right. As long as we have more leaders like Bush we are in safe hands.

    We shall not tire, We shall not falter and We shall not fail - until Islamofascism is wiped out.
    Just my 2 cents.

    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.





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  • cinqsit
    08-06 01:27 AM
    We should stop these EB3'ers from wasting USCIS resources. Probably make them wear yellow stars with "EB3" printed on it at all times. They should not be hired by any company unless they have hired EB2's with excellent credentials like rolling flood. No EB3 should buy a car, house or lead a normal life at the cost of hurting EB2's like yourself.

    What kind of a sick immigration nazi are you ? Typical shallow minded mentality - "please please...(beg, beg) let me in but - stop everyone else from getting in (as soon as I am in)" ;-)

    Instead of wasting your time filing a lawsuit why don't you apply your "excellent knowledge in your field" to get a Ph.D from your reputed alma mater do extraordinary research in your "great" field and then cut in line by applying for EB1 which I think will always be current. Then you can port your EB2 PD and enjoy the fruits of PD porting ;-)


    cinqsit



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  • dixie
    07-17 02:46 AM
    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.

    For the record, we are neutral on the issue of H1-B visa increases. We neither support nor oppose increasing H1-B visas. The last thing we want to see is even more gullible H1-B folks with GC mirages being added to our midst. However, it often happens that ANY reform to the EB program is clubbed together with H1-B increases .. thanks to corporate lobbying or whatever .. in such cases we obviously have to support the broad package of high skilled immigration reform.

    We DO NOT deny the fact that H1-B has loopholes that make us vulnerable for exploitation .. that is one of our major reasons for pushing GC reforms. Our grouse with the likes of PG, lou dobbs etc is that they offer a one-sided criticism of the H1-B program full of half-truths, outright lies and insinuations about us "stealing" jobs. They highlight the exploitation part only to promote their agenda .. those occasional noises about giving GCs instead of H1-Bs is exactly that. Their real agenda is an end to all skilled immigration. Had they sincerely promoted balanced skilled immigration reform like tighter enforcement of H1-B provisions that protect US workers along with faster GC process for those meeting those tighter requirements, I would have gladly supported them.





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  • nk2006
    10-07 11:40 AM
    Asain-Americans seems to favor Obama overwhelmingly as per this survey. its interesting to read the survey - these immigrants who have gone thru the process themselves and might have friends/relatives in the process - didnt mention immigration as one of their important topic to decide on the vote. Understandably economy is the top topic but was expecting to see immigration atleast behind economy.
    http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=44144



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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-06 09:54 PM
    A little boy went up to his father and asked, "Dad, where did all of my intelligence come from?"

    The father replied, "Well son, you must have got it from your mother, because I still have mine."





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  • sk2006
    06-05 03:20 PM
    >> First off, a house is really both an investment and a home.

    If you look at the historical rate of appreciation vs. the risks involved - I think you will come to the same conclusion as I did - that it is a lousy investment in mature markets like US.


    Correct.
    Infact experts call an invest a good investment if
    #1 Returns are good
    #2 Expenses are low

    Investment in house does not meet any of these.. Returns historically are only slightly better than rate of inflation (forget the bubble years) and expenses which include property taxes and maintenance costs are too much to call it a good investment. And then you pay interest on the borrowed money.



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  • s_r_e_e
    07-14 04:29 PM
    What would happen this time before it retrogress again is, some low hanging EB2s from 2005 end & 2006 will get GC while many 2002 & 2003 EB2 are still waiting. More frustration and even more stress with tracking , soft LUDs, Hard LUDs, info pass , uscis calls!! what a mess!





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  • StuckInTheMuck
    08-08 04:40 PM
    Two alligators are sitting on the edge of a swamp. The small one turns to the big one and says, "I don't understand how you can be so much bigger than me. We're the same age, we were the same size as kids. I just don't get it."

    "Well," says the big alligator, "What have you been eating?"

    "Immigration attorneys, same as you," replies the small alligator.

    "Hm. Well, where do you catch 'em?"

    "Down at that law firm on the edge of the swamp."

    "Same here. Hm. How do you catch 'em?"

    "Well, I crawl under a BMW and wait for someone to unlock the door. Then I jump out, bite 'em, shake the crap out of 'em, and eat 'em!"

    "Ah!" says the big alligator, "I think I see your problem. See, by the time you get done shakin' the crap out of an immigration lawyer, there's nothin' left but lips and a briefcase."



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  • Refugee_New
    01-07 09:30 AM
    But why just Israel? Jordan and Egypt also got the slice of the pie. Why not fire rocket at them? Blame Israel just because it's the only non-muslim country in the region so they should pay?

    Secondly, Hamas is this powerful today just because people of Palestian allowed them, supported them, elected them now why shy from facing the fallout?

    It's sad and unfortunate that people are dying but they are dying because of their bad choices not Israel's so called "aggression".

    Its because they are the one that occupies others land and murdering innocent civilians brutally under the guise of self defence.





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  • Marphad
    12-30 04:20 PM
    I think I agree with quite a lot of what you say. But I think there is some truth in Pakistani fears that India is already supporting anti-state actors in Pakistan, like in Balochistan.



    I don't think we all want that.
    I don't think even all Indians want that.
    I don't think its in the interest of India, or anyone else for that matter, to have a huge Afghanistan on its Eastern border.

    Well my personal opinion, I don't believe it is true. Actually Pakistan doesn't need India for all this. It is capable by itself. By sheltering Dawood and Azhar Masood what do you expect? A university of peace?



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  • punjabi77
    12-18 11:04 AM
    I dont see anything wrong in what Auntlay asked for.. he has asked for investigation as to how Karkare was killed.
    his initial verbage was not good.. but what he asked later was completely justified..
    All the people in the van, in which Karkare was killed, died except one Hawaldar..
    And all the top cops in the same van at the same time, somethings needs to be justified..





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  • langagadu
    12-26 11:29 PM
    I would say india should start war and move every a** out of POK.



    Amma,

    I agree with you. We can start the war. But what next? How to end it? US is struggling to end the war in Iraq. And India is not US and Pakistan is not Iraq. It would be a closely fought battle although we have some edge.

    Whenever talka bout war breaks out, Pakistan does nuclear sabre-rattling.
    Indian leadership should tell the world in no uncertain terms that if pakistan uses any unconventional weapons, then all pakistan's cities and towns would be wiped off. Yes, we may loose people but 'proud nation' of pakistan would disappear from the map. I'm against death of innocent but my point is to remove the threat of nuclear weapons.

    India should say that our options are not limited by presence of absence of nuclear weapons. If pakistan uses nuclear weapons, then the guy that pulls the trigger should know that there wont be pakistan anymore. We shud deploy some of the weapons in South and in Sea to give a fitting reply in case one is lobbed at us. This response should be the default option and ingrained into the psyche of Military leaders. And PM and all military chief should sign a declaration to that effect. Again, I'm against innocents but my point is to remove the threat of nuclear weapons.

    Having said that, we need to do a conventional warfare. But I guess that, it would be more of a dogfight that would bleed us economically. Meanwhile, we need to strengthen the laws but also ensure it is not abused ( corruption and bias are something that is prevalent among people with power..it wud be very hard but people with power shud be very disciplined). Diplomatically pressurize the failed nation of Pakistan and do undercover ops in Balochistan and NWFP. Collaborate with Sindhi Mujahirs and create a division between Urdu speaking Punjabis and Sindhi speaking Mujahirs and Pashutun groups.
    IK Gujral stopped the covert ops. It need to be restarted.

    We need to do all we could do to tell Pakistan that this wont be a free ride ANYMORE!!

    One of the Pakistani General remarked to Benazir saying "Madam, creating trouble in Kashmir using Jihadis is like maintaining an extra brigade with no cost to tax payers"

    We need to show that it comes with a COST. War is not an option.

    Typically, the media and Indians living abroad beat the drums of war a bit more than people actually living there now.

    If you have any Pakistani friends/neigbors/colleagues in USA, how many of you have talked to them about this situation? And what is the response?


    Peace,
    G



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  • Macaca
    12-20 08:12 AM
    A glance at year-end actions in Congress (http://www.mercurynews.com//ci_7761858?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com) Associated Press, 12/19/2007

    A look at actions in Congress on Wednesday:

    BUDGET BATTLE

    Congress sent President Bush a $70 billion bill to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The money is inside a $555 billion catchall spending bill that combines the war money with money for 14 Cabinet departments. Bush and his Senate GOP allies forced the Iraq money upon anti-war Democrats as the price for permitting the year-end budget deal to pass and be signed. The vote in the House was 272-142. The spending legislation affects virtually every part of the government other than the Defense Department's core programs.

    ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX

    Congress sent President Bush legislation blocking the growth of the alternative minimum tax. The House voted 352-64 for a one-year fix of the tax, which was created to make sure very rich people did not totally avoid paying taxes. But since it was never adjusted for inflation, it affects a greater number of middle- and upper-middle-level income people every year. Without the fix, those subject to the tax would have risen from 4 million in 2006 to about 25 million in 2007, with the average levy of $2,000 a taxpayer. The main beneficiaries of the tax relief would be people in the $75,000 to $200,000 income level. Bush said he will sign the bill because it does not include tax increases or other new sources of revenue to pay for the $50 billion cost of the tax relief. The legislation will shield some 21 million taxpayers without a means to cover the cost to the Treasury.

    GUNS

    Congress approved legislation that would make it easier to flag prospective gun buyers who have documented medical problems. The legislation clarifies what mental health records should be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which gun dealers use to determine whether to sell a prospective buyer a firearm. It also allows the attorney general to penalize states beginning after three years if they do not meet compliance targets. The bill requires federal agencies to notify people flagged as mentally ill and disqualified from buying a gun and to notify people when or if they have been cleared. Propelling the long-sought legislation were the April 16 killings at Virginia Tech, when a gunman killed 32 students and himself using two weapons he had bought despite a documented history of mental illness.

    HEAT AID

    Congress acted to give extra home heating assistance to cash-strapped families. The government's Low Income Home Energy Assistance program would get roughly $409 million more in a year-end budget bill sent to Bush. The program provides heating and cooling subsidies for the poor. Millions of poor and elderly people on fixed incomes rely on heating assistance to help pay their heating bills.

    SCHIP

    Congress sent an extension of a popular health insurance program for children to Bush. Lawmakers supported a $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Bush vetoed two bills that would have provided the additional money but is expected to sign this version. The extension through March 2009 was part of legislation that also gave physicians a 0.5 percent rate increase when they treat the elderly and disabled in Medicare. Physicians had been scheduled to take a 10 percent cut. The reprieve for doctors will last until June 30. The bill also includes a moratorium on new regulations that would reduce Medicaid payments to schools.

    TOY SAFETY

    The House approved a bill that lawmakers hope will make children's toys safer and increase the powers of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Under the bill, anything more than a minute amount of lead would be banned in toys meant for children under 12. The bill also increases the agency's budget to as much as $100 million for the agency by 2011, gives $20 million to modernize the commission's testing lab and bans industry-sponsored travel for the commission. The bill would also ban the sale and export of recalled products, require tracking labels on children's products to aid in recalls and require mandatory third-party testing by certified laboratories. The legislation now goes to the Senate.

    CIA DESTROYED TAPES

    The CIA agreed to produce documents to Congress relating to the destruction of interrogation videotapes of two terror suspects. The CIA decision came after the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee threatened to subpoena two CIA officials to testify about the tapes.

    CONFIRMATIONS

    The Senate confirmed more than 30 of President Bush's appointments. They included Steven Murdock, the state demographer of Texas, as the new director of the Census Bureau, and Julie L. Myers as director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Critics had questioned her qualifications to lead the government's second-largest law enforcement agency.





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  • ImmiLosers
    01-09 07:43 PM
    What a waste of time & energy!! :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:



    Why can't we all plan a strategy to get the Green Card process going....rather waste time discussing something like this????:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::m ad::mad::mad::mad:

    Yes, one strategy could be to join Israeli Army. Thay way US would put your GC processing into EB0;)





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  • smisachu
    01-04 02:55 PM
    I am a reserve in the territorial Army. I have family members serving in the army (18th grenadiers, Rajputana rifles & the Jat regiment). I am tired of my countrymen getting slaughtered and India bleeding slowly due to terrorism and I want India to attack the terrorist manufacturing organizations in Pakistan and end this problem once and for all. So we could concentrate on growth and economy. Till this problem is solved we are held back from development. If you can read the article in Barrons this week. They are suggesting investors to stay away from India based on Valuation and problems due to terrorism. Do you know what this will do? Investors will keep withdrawing from Indian markets. Sensex will keep falling even to the 5K level and beyond. So not solving the problem of terrorism will affect India's economy.
    What this in turn means is that many of you working in India based companys like Infosys, WIPRO etc may end up loosing their jobs. Which will endanger your dreams of immigrating to US.

    So you see everything's connected.


    oh thats the price YOU are willing to bear? How? By staying comfy in the US? Its easy to say dude when you are 7000 miles away. If you (and i know you are not) or anyone in your family is in the military, you would not dare to make such a stupid statement.

    This whole thread is ridiculous and should be deleted. It has no place in immigration forums.





    Macaca
    05-16 05:52 PM
    China�s recent obstreperousness may yet backfire, frightening the United States and its Asian partners into doing more to balance against its growing power. For now, however, the alarming news is that China�s strategy seems to be working much better than America�s. Washington has made basically no progress in pushing China toward democracy, nor has it succeeded in persuading Beijing to abandon ambitions�like controlling the entire South China Sea�that threaten the interests of America�s allies. For its part, China�s Communist Party remains firmly in command. Meanwhile, as China�s economy and military have matured, it has begun to mount a serious challenge to America�s position in Asia.

    Beijing has now become the most important trading partner for the advanced industrial nations of Northeast Asia and Australia, as well the comparatively poor countries on its frontiers. It is a leading investor in infrastructure development and resource extraction across the region. These thickening commercial ties have already begun to complicate calculations of national interest in various capitals.

    China�s rapid economic growth has also enabled a substantial expansion in military spending. And Beijing�s buildup has begun to yield impressive results. As of the early 1990s, the Pacific was, in essence, a U.S. lake. Today, the balance of military power is much less clearly in America�s favor, and, in certain respects, it has started to tilt toward China. While its arsenal remains comparatively small, Beijing�s ongoing deployment of intercontinental ballistic missiles will give it a more secure second-strike nuclear capability. Washington�s threat to use nuclear weapons, if necessary, to counter Chinese aggression against its allies is therefore dwindling toward the vanishing point. As happened during the cold war, once the Soviets achieved a form of nuclear parity, the burden of deterrence will fall increasingly on the conventional forces of the United States and its allies. And, here, the trends are, if anything, more worrisome. Since the mid-1990s, China has been investing heavily in so-called �anti-access� capabilities to deter or defeat American efforts to project power into East Asia. People�s Liberation Army (PLA) strategists appear to believe that, with enough highly accurate, conventionally armed ballistic and cruise missiles, they could, in the event of a confrontation, deny U.S. forces the use of their regional air and naval bases and either sink or push back the aircraft carriers that are the other principal platform for America�s long-range power projection.

    If the PLA also develops a large and capable submarine force, and the ability to disable enemy satellites and computer networks, its generals may someday be able to convince themselves that, should push come to shove, they can knock the United States out of a war in the Western Pacific. Such scenarios may seem far-fetched, and in the normal course of events they would be. But a visibly deteriorating balance of military power could weaken deterrence and increase the risk of conflict. If Washington seems to be losing the ability to militarily uphold its alliance commitments, those Asian nations that now look to the United States as the ultimate guarantor of their security will have no choice but to reassess their current alignments. None of them want to live in a region dominated by China, but neither do they want to risk opposing it and then being left alone to face its wrath.


    When he first took office, Barack Obama seemed determined to adjust the proportions of the dual strategy he had inherited. Initially, he emphasized engagement and softpedaled efforts to check Chinese power. But at just the moment that American policymakers were reaching out to further engage China, their Chinese counterparts were moving in the opposite direction. In the past 18 months, the president and his advisers have responded, appropriately, by reversing course. Instead of playing up engagement, they have been placing increasing emphasis on balancing China�s regional power. For example, the president�s November 2010 swing through Asia was notable for the fact that it included stops in New Delhi, Seoul, Tokyo, and Jakarta, but not Beijing.

    This is all to the good, but it is not enough. The United States cannot and should not give up on engagement. However, our leaders need to abandon the diplomatic �happy talk� that has for too long distorted public discussion of U.S.-China relations. Washington must be more candid in acknowledging the limits of what engagement has achieved and more forthright in explaining the challenge a fast-rising but still authoritarian China poses to our interests and those of our allies. The steps that need to be taken in response�developing and deploying the kinds of military capabilities necessary to counter China�s anti-access strategy; working more closely with friends and allies, even in the face of objections from Beijing�will all come with steep costs, in terms of dollars and diplomatic capital. At a moment when the United States is fighting two-and-a-half wars, and trying to dig its way out from under a massive pile of debt, the resources and resolve necessary to deal with a seemingly distant danger are going to be hard to come by. This makes it all the more important that our leaders explain clearly that we are facing a difficult long-term geopolitical struggle with China, one that cannot be ignored or wished away.

    To be sure, China�s continuing rise is not inevitable. Unfavorable demographic trends and the costs of environmental degradation are likely to depress the country�s growth curve in the years ahead. And this is to say nothing of the possible disruptive effects of inflation, bursting real-estate bubbles, and a shaky financial system. So it is certainly possible that the challenge posed by China will fizzle on its own.

    But if you look at the history of relations between rising and dominant powers, and where they have led, what you find is not reassuring. In one important instance, the United States and Great Britain at the turn of the twentieth century, the nascent rivalry between the two countries was resolved peacefully. But in other cases�Germany and Britain in the run-up to World War I, Japan and the United States in the 1930s, and the United States and the Soviet Union after World War II�rivalry led to arms races and wars, either hot or cold. What saved the United States and Britain from such a clash was in part the similarity of their political systems. What made conflict likely in the latter scenarios were sharp differences in ideology. And so, unless China undergoes a fundamental transformation in the character of its regime, there is good reason to worry about where its rivalry with the United States will lead.

    Aaron L. Friedberg is a professor at Princeton University and the author of the forthcoming book A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia

    Dr. K�s Rx for China (http://www.newsweek.com/2011/05/15/dr-k-s-rx-for-china.html) By Niall Ferguson | Newsweek
    The China Challenge (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703864204576315223305697158.html) By Henry Kissinger | Wall Street Journal
    Henry Kissinger on China (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/books/review/book-review-on-china-by-henry-kissinger.html) By MAX FRANKEL | New York Times
    Modest U.S.-China progress (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ed20110514a1.html) The Japan Times Editorial
    U.S.-China's Knotty but Necessary Ties (http://www.cfr.org/china/us-chinas-knotty-but-necessary-ties/p24973) By John Pomfret | Council on Foreign Relations
    Do Americans hold �simple� ideas about China's economy? (http://curiouscapitalist.blogs.time.com/2011/05/12/do-americans-hold-%E2%80%9Csimple%E2%80%9D-ideas-about-china%E2%80%99s-economy/) By Michael Schuman | The Curious Capitalist





    pmb76
    01-10 03:12 PM
    With Israel on the offensive and so many jihadis getting whacked - don't you think that there'll be a serious shortage of virgins in jihadi heaven :D



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