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  • gcisadawg
    12-22 03:29 PM
    Well, my dear freind you obviously did not understand what I meant. I still maintain that Kashmir is the root of the problem and India has nothing to gain by keeping it. Caring for India and Caring for Kashmir are two different issues. The very reason , I want to cut off the cancerous finger is to prevent the spread of cancer to the other parts.

    On the other hand if some is attacking me in my home and/or hurting my family or freinds, I have full rights to defend and call of justice to prosecute the attacker.

    More than the people of Kashmir or the land of Kashmir, it is the waters of Kashmir that is becoming a huge issue. This hasn't gotten a huge attention in the media. I read an article in one of the foreign affairs magazine at a local book store and they have explained this issue at length.

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  • rongch60
    07-14 02:40 AM
    To be honest, do you think that a petition from 1 category from 1 country will change the way USCIS interpret the spillover rule? No way! Currently, the highest priority is to make sure that USCIS use up all visa numbers. Any waste will hurt both EB2 and EB3. EB3 petition will create confusion on the bills, waste times from USCIS, and potentially took advantage by anti-immigrant groups to stop spillover. Is there any law that clear stated the cross-country spillover? Please stop the fight and not take the risk of losing all cross-country spillover!

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  • Vsach
    01-09 06:14 PM

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

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  • sri1309
    08-13 07:43 PM

    We saw the September bulletin..
    We knew what to expect..
    But we were all a little hopeful to see some miracle happen.
    And we were doing this every month.

    NOW comes the count down we all were waiting for the last few months. Oct bulletin. In that, most of us are expecting some good news.. But what if it moves 3 months forward.. What if it moves 2 years forward. Then it will stop there for next 1 year, while we check every month.. Then it moves back.. Do we want this..
    Its not going to make much difference to most of us here.
    THIS IS THE TIME TO ACT NOW. We must all do some campaign may be flowers, may be cards, or I donno.
    I have written to all the six members or reps to help us, but a bunch of mails will not help. JUst imagine if all the people in waiting sent the letters. Imagine 100,000 mails going to each of them, or 100,000 flower bouquets going to all.
    Please please, lets act now. These small fixes cannot help us. If they want to put any quota limit, that should be at the main entry level whatever the non-immigrant category. Not at the other point when people start applying for GCs and suffocate here. We dont deserve this.
    Please Lets act now., ONce again.. We did it in the past and it helped..
    We need to do it again... Together we can do it. Together ONLY we can do it..



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  • greenguru
    04-08 02:17 AM
    I was discussing the same with a friend of mine...

    what will be done next is ...

    Have 49 employees and start a sister concern ( New firm ) after that ..

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  • Marphad
    12-25 12:20 AM
    What a tiresome thread!!!

    Several years ago, people actually made an effort to make IV an organization representing all skilled workers, from all parts of the world. Now, immigration matters are totally irrelevant on the forums. Heck, forget about being an exclusively India focused forum, as this thread demonstrates, it is a venue to vent on matters even more narrowly focused - My religion, my sect, my opinion, my petty prejudices. If this is not irrelevant enough, we have enough threads on red dot-green dots to justify a whole separate category of forums :rolleyes:
    Anyway, it does a pretty good job of turning off people. I guarantee you this thread alone has contributed significantly in influencing many planning on attending the March rally to change their mind. It sure did mine.

    Pineapple is mostly right. The thread went little too far.


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  • SunnySurya
    08-05 01:49 PM
    I think he knows quite a bit about the immigration rules. He raised a point that it is merely a guidance. What it means that it can be contested and challenged...unlike if it were a law.

    With all due respect, I totaly disagree with original poster. probably, he needs to know more about immigration rules..

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  • Macaca
    12-28 06:45 PM
    �We hope that India will be the number one investor in Indonesia' (http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/interview/article1011658.ece) Interview with Mari Elka Pangestu, Indonesian Minister of Trade | The Hindu

    With politics taking precedence over �economics and trade� and India entering into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the ASEAN bloc, commerce has become the new buzz word in intra-regional relations. India's ties with Indonesia, one of the biggest Asian democracies along with India, have grown stronger over the years. The Indonesian Minister of Trade, Mari Elka Pangestu, recently in India, talked to Sujay Mehdudia, about trade relations, commonalities among the two countries and giving a new fillip to the relationship during next month's visit of Indonesian President H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to New Delhi.

    How would you define the relationship between India and Indonesia?

    India and Indonesia enjoy a very warm and �strategic partnership� in the region and this has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. The trade between the two nations has outgrown the set targets well before schedule showing the strong bond the two nations enjoy. In 2005, both the countries set a target of achieving $10 billion trade turnover by 2010 against $4 billion at that time. We have been able to achieve that target in 2008 and hope to end the 2010 fiscal with $12 billion trade turnover which speaks volumes about the complimentary nature of our people and economies.

    How do you see this graph progressing in future and what in your opinion should be done to give a new dimension to this relationship?

    As the global economy is still in the recovery stage and the Western countries are still grappling with various economic issues, this provides a huge opportunity to both India and Indonesia to capitalise on the situation. Both the nations need to have a more diversified basket of goods and services to take the economic partnership between both the countries to a new level. We need to set up more institutional mechanisms for Business to Business and Business to Government negotiations. As I mentioned, India-Indonesia trade has already touched $10 billion during January-October 2010 and could cross $12 billon by the year end. This target is likely to be doubled to $24 billion when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visits India to be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade on January 26 and also holds talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    Although, the trade among the two economies has grown tremendously, people to people exchanges and international transport linkage remain an area of concern. What is your take on that?

    There have been some issues pertaining to direct links between the two countries but negotiations are on with the Indian counterparts to link Jakarta directly with major Indian cities. Tourism is another major area where Indonesia has much to offer to the ever growing outgoing number of Indian tourists. Efforts are on to have direct flights from Jakarta to New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata. It is important that with growing trade, both the nations should provide easy access to their people and the business community at large.

    What are the potential areas of investment that Indonesia could offer to the Indian business community?

    There is an exponential growth in inter-connectivity in Indonesia and this is a huge potential market for Indian investors in this sector. Indonesia offers huge potential and opportunity in the automobile sector, textiles, engineering products � heavy machinery being a good area for cooperation � electronics, consumer products, processed and manufactured goods, pharmaceuticals, creative industry, mining, agro-based products, oil and gas, mining support services, rubber goods, infrastructure and real estate. We hope that India will be the number one investor in Indonesia in the next few years.

    How do view the visit of the Indonesian President to India?

    My visit to India is aimed at a follow-up on a number of bilateral issues as part of efforts to improve trade between the two countries and to prepare for the visit of the Indonesian President to India in early 2011. Mr. Yudhoyono would be in India to enhance the two countries' economic partnership. The joint study group on the Indonesia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement has already submitted its report and a final view is likely to be taken during the visit of the Indonesian President. A number of important bilateral economic and strategic agreements are likely to be signed during Mr. Yudhoyono's visit. We need to take it further to have a far-reaching and wide spectrum agreement for giving a new thrust to future bilateral trade, economic development and investment cooperation between the two countries.

    How does Indonesia view the global multilateral trade talks, also called the Doha Round, for the future of the global economic recovery?

    There is little doubt that the multilateral trade links in developing countries will be a significant driver of economic recovery and growth. There is a very strong call to safeguard the world trade system. We need a strong political will for that. I cannot emphasise enough the risk of a failure in a multilateral trading system for a developing country. We firmly believe that for the global economic recovery, it is important that the Doha Round be completed without any further delay and an equitable trading regime is put in place.

    What are your areas of concern where you feel that the Indian economy could open up?

    We strongly feel that India should open up its retail sector where Indonesia has a lot to offer through its own marketing chains. Similarly, banking is an area of lot of opportunity and that needs to be addressed by the Indian counterparts. We are hopeful that the India-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreement on services and goods would be put in place by March 2011 before the India-ASEAN summit. The ASEAN is in favour of 10 plus one formula whereas India wants a one plus 10 formula in this regard. We hope to convince India about the ASEAN stand which is unlikely to change. We hope India would see reason and is able to finalise the deal by March next year.

    Dhaka: fastest growing megacity in the world (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/asia/100831/bangladesh-megacities-part-one) GlobalPost


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  • Macaca
    10-14 11:06 AM
    Getting Around Rules on Lobbying: Despite New Law, Firms Find Ways To Ply Politicians (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/13/AR2007101301275.html?hpid=topnews) By Elizabeth Williamson | Washington Post Staff Writer, October 14, 2007

    In recent days, about 100 members of Congress and hundreds of Hill staffers attended two black-tie galas, many of them as guests of corporations and lobbyists that paid as much as $2,500 per ticket.

    Because accepting such gifts from special interests is now illegal, the companies did not hand the tickets directly to lawmakers or staffers. Instead, the companies donated the tickets back to the charity sponsors, with the names of recipients they wanted to see and sit with at the galas.

    The arrangement was one of the most visible efforts, but hardly the only one, to get around new rules passed by Congress this summer limiting meals, travel, gifts and campaign contributions from lobbyists and companies that employ them.

    Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) found bipartisan agreement on maintaining one special privilege. Together they put language into a defense appropriations bill that would keep legal the practice of some senators of booking several flights on days they return home, keeping the most convenient reservation and dumping the rest without paying cancellation fees -- a practice some airlines say could violate the new law.

    Senators also have granted themselves a grace period on requirements that they pay pricey charter rates for private jet travel. Lobbyists continue to bundle political contributions to lawmakers but are now making sure the totals do not trigger new public reporting rules. And with presidential nominating conventions coming next summer, lawmakers and lobbyists are working together to save another tradition endangered by the new rules: the convention party feting one lawmaker.

    "You can't have a party honoring a specific member. It's clear to me -- but it's not clear to everybody," said Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate ethics committee. She said the committee is getting "these questions that surround the edges -- 'If it's midnight the night before,' 'If I wear one shoe and not the other.' "

    Democrats touted the new ethics law as the most thorough housecleaning since Watergate, and needed after a host of scandals during 12 years of Republican rule. Prompted by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's wheeling and dealing and the jailing of three members of Congress on corruption charges in recent years, the law, signed by President Bush on Sept. 14, was heralded by congressional leaders as a real change in Washington's influence game.

    But the changes have prompted anxiety about what perks are still permissible. In recent months, the House and Senate ethics committees have fielded more than 1,000 questions from lobbyists and congressional staffers seeking guidance -- or an outright waiver -- for rules banning weekend trips and pricey wedding gifts, five-course dinners and backstage passes.

    Looking for ways to keep spreading freebies legally, hundreds of lobbyists have been attending seminars at Washington law firms to learn the ins and outs of the new law.

    At a recent American League of Lobbyists briefing, Cleta Mitchell of the Foley & Lardner law firm said that while the law bans lobbyists from buying lawmakers or staffers a meal, it is silent on picking up bar tabs. A woman in the third row asked hopefully, "You can buy them as many drinks as you want, as often as you want?"

    No, Mitchell said, not unless the drinkers are the lobbyist's personal friends, and she pays from her own pocket.

    If that rule was clear to some, two charity dinners allowed hazier interpretations.

    Most of the 40 lawmakers dining on red snapper ceviche and beef tenderloin at the recent Hispanic Caucus Institute gala at the Washington Convention Center got their tickets from corporations, said Paul Brathwaite, a principal with the Podesta Group lobbying firm.

    Brathwaite said about a dozen of Podesta's corporate clients bought tables of 10 for $5,000 to $25,000 for the Hispanic dinner and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gala over the past three weeks. The companies then gave the tickets back to the foundations -- along with lists of lawmakers and staff members they wanted to invite. Some lawmakers did buy their own tickets, Brathwaite said, but many did not.

    The rules require that charity sponsors do the inviting and decide who sits where. But "at the end of the night, everyone is happy," said Hispanic Caucus Institute spokesman Scott Gunderson Rosa.

    "The corporate folks want us at their tables, of course," said Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who sat at a Fannie Mae-sponsored table at the Hispanic dinner.

    Another provision of the new ethics law bans House members from flying on corporate jets. But senators, including the half-dozen presidential candidates among them, can still do so. Previously they were required to reimburse plane owners the equivalent of a first-class ticket, but now they must pay charter rates, which can increase travel costs tenfold.

    The Senate ethics committee decided not to enforce that rule for at least 60 days after it took effect Sept. 14, citing "the lack of experience in many offices in determining 'charter rates.' "

    The decision surprised some Senate staffers, Mitchell said, one of whom e-mailed her to say, "Welcome to the world of skirting around the rules we pass."

    "Breathtaking. . . . In my view, they're not complying with the plain language of the law," Mitchell said. "I think it should be easier for members of Congress to travel, not harder. But what I don't appreciate as a citizen is Congress passing something but then interpreting it so it doesn't mean what the law clearly says."

    The law has dragged into view several such perks that members long enjoyed but didn't reveal -- until they sought exemptions to the new rules.

    Lawmakers for years have booked several flights for a day when they plan to leave town. When they finish work, they take the most convenient flight and cancel the rest without paying fees, a privilege denied others. But after the new law passed, some airlines stopped the practice, worried that it violates the gift ban.

    Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) appealed to the Senate ethics committee to allow multiple bookings. Then Reid and McConnell added language to the defense bill that, if it passes, would extend the perk to staffers, too.

    New bans on corporate-paid fun could hit hardest at the 2008 presidential nominating conventions. The law prohibits parties honoring a lawmaker on convention days; some lobbyists say the wording means such parties before or after those days are okay. House and Senate members have asked the ethics committees for guidance.

    "That's one of the issues that's going to need some clarification," said Senate ethics panelist Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), whose home state will host the Democrats in August.

    Meanwhile, lobbyists are booking up Denver's trendy warehouse district and Minnesota's Mall of America, near the GOP convention site in Minneapolis-St. Paul, for the pre-convention weekends. Host committees for both conventions say they will honor state delegations, including members of Congress who take part.

    "I think you'll see a lot of umbrella invitations," said Patrick Murphy, lobbyist for mCapitol Management, who is planning Democratic convention parties. "Invite 'Friends of Montana' and see who shows up."

    One of the most fought-over parts of the law requires that lobbyists who bundle multiple campaign contributions totaling more than $15,000 file reports every six months. But lawyers say that a fundraiser for Hillary Rodham Clinton signals a way to avoid public reporting when that rule kicks in Jan. 1.

    Female politicos have been e-mailing each other a slick online invitation to "Make History With Hillary," a summit and fundraiser on Wednesday. The invitation encourages women to bundle for Clinton by promising them online credit for each ticket they sell. Women who have already donated their legal individual limit of $2,300 cannot attend unless they bring in another $4,000.

    "It's a universe of junior bundlers under the radar screen," said Kenneth Gross, a campaign finance lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. For the lobbyists among them, the amounts are so small that "you don't have to worry about tracking them, and it would add up to a material sum over time" -- but less than the $15,000 limit.

    If a lobbyist asked his advice on the practice, Gross said, "I'd say 'Go for it.' "

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  • GCA
    08-05 02:11 PM
    Good points, but let me put a counter argument. Two people , one is named SunnySurya and the other is named Mr XYZ. Both came to the USA at the same time in 1999. The difference was SunnySurya came here for his masters and the other guy came here through shady means.

    Mr XYZ was able to file his green card in 2002 in EB3 category based on his shady arrangements with his employer, whereas Mr SunnySurya continued to do right and socially acceptable things i.e. studied, got a job and then after several years this big company filled his green card in EB2 category in 2006.

    On the other hand after strugling for several years Mr. XYZ has collected enough years on his resume to be elligible for EB2. Now he want to port his PD

    SunnySurya's PD is 2006 and Mr. XYZ PD is 2002. Now if Mr. XYZ want to stand in EB2 line, I wonder what problems SunnySurya can have???:confused:

    Sounds great. Just missing the hypothesis 'anyone comming to USA otherthan for higher studies comes thru' shady means'..


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  • validIV
    06-25 03:59 PM
    He bought his house after he got a job offer from his mentor�Ben Graham, when he could afford it. Prior to that he was renting. He purchased a five-bedroom stucco house in Omaha, where he still lives, for $31,500. Guess how much that house is worth now?

    And who was rich first and does not consider his house as an investment!

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  • soarin3655
    08-12 04:43 PM
    I know the Whole Truth ****

    At school a boy was told by a classmate that most adults are hiding at least one dark secret, and that this makes it very easy to blackmail them by saying, "I know the whole truth."

    The boy decides to go home and try it out. He goes home, and as he is greeted by his mother he says, "I know the whole truth."

    His mother quickly hands him $20 and says, "Just don't tell your father."

    Quite pleased, the boy waits for his father to get home from work, and greets him with, "I know the whole truth."

    The father promptly hands him $40 and says, "Please don't say a word to your mother."

    Very pleased, the boy is on his way to school the next day, when he sees the mailman at his front door. The boy greets him by saying, "I know the whole truth."

    The mailman drops the mail, opens his arms, and says, "Then come give your father a big hug." :D


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  • nojoke
    04-07 10:40 PM
    exactly ..and housing is worse then stocks i.e. it takes longer to recover. for lot of people like me ..it definitely makes sense to rent. 3 of my close friends are literally cursing their decision to buy (pressure from spouse and trying to keep up with others) ,.. there is one other major point for people on EAD. once you get a GC you may get a super duper job offer somewhere ..if you are stuck in a house then you are severly handicapped by that house (i.e. you cannot relocate easily).
    btw even the realtors are saying that it will be atleast end 2009 before any possible housing recovery (if realtors say end 2009 then it means atleast 2010 before price decline stops).

    Desis who come here are all engineers and well educated. I couldn't believe that some of them are falling for the realtor tricks. I know someone who last year paid 200K more on an advertised price of 1million. He said the realtor told him that there was bidding war and he kept rising it and eventually got the house for 1.2million. What stupidity. Doesn't he know about phantom bids that realtors use to jack up the price.:( This is last year end when housing here started crashing. I asked him how he is going to pay when his arm resets. He says he will refinance. God save him.

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  • Pineapple
    07-07 10:04 PM
    Do you have a good, competent lawyer you trust? That is the most important thing.
    Forums are great if you need ideas or information, but in genuine, critical cases like these, you first need a proper lawyer on your side. If you are relying on these forums alone, you are in bigger trouble than you realize.
    On the positive side, most experienced lawyers have seen worse, so there should be some way out.. my best wishes are with you and your family.


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  • nojoke
    09-26 07:17 PM
    though its very tempting to support obama with all his elequent talk, I think action speaks louder than words. he has absolutely no history of doing anything in the senate, and has not worked in a bi-partisan way with the republicans to pass any thing. do you think all of a sudden as prez he's going to get things done. further his stance on matters changes as the wind blows. meanwhile mccain has a history of making things happen, even sometimes going against his party. Dem will be more interested in helping the illegals become permanent, and not the legals 'coz their sights are on the vote banks. reps in general are more pro-business, and will favor the legal as opposed to illegals. of course there are some who are against.
    someone pointed out the days were better in the 90's...i do agree that was a period of boom in the us economy with the rise of the dot com companies. but towards the end of the 90's, the dot com going bust, the us economy was heading in recession. and adding to that the rise of other economic powers like china, india, russia, the competition grew intense, and started to hurt the US economy much. However to the credit of the repub prez the SU economy came out from the inital recession, and the overall unemployment % was only ~5.4%, the lower in several decades incl the 90's. I think it was only through the right economic and pro-business policies of this admin that helped in this. of course the wars and the housing bubble has brought us to this new economic situations. It would require the next admin to frame policies that would keep US out of next recession.
    but with dems policies of higher taxes on business (of course higher taxes on you and me), and more govt spending using mine and your tax dollars (of course our ss which we might never see) to hand it out to the lazy, and good for nothing people, you'll def see the US economy going into deeper recession. on top of that the universal health care would see us going the way of CA and europe with health care rationing, and long lines.
    I could go on adding the benefits e.g. favorable deals with india the repubs would bring, but I thinks this is good for now.
    so I would suggest stop going with the age old mentality and blindly believing that the dems are best. Start to think rationally.

    How is giving tax break to the business helping us in the time of recession? If your company is not selling products, it will hire more to do what? The tax cut will simply go to executives and there will be layoffs. Trickle down economy is a scam.
    Did you compare Obama's tax plan with McCain's. Go to CNN and you will that you will get more from Obama than from McCain's tax cut. How is universal health care bad? There are 50million without healthcare here. Soon your company will say that it cannot pay your healthcare plans because it is getting costly. The middle men(insurance companies) maybe eating more of your money than the actual health care costs. The long lines are due to less available doctors, not because of universal healthcare.
    "A Commonwealth Fund study of six highly industrialized countries, the U.S., and five nations with national health systems, Britain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, found waiting times were worse in the U.S. than in all the other countries except Canada. And, most of the Canadian data so widely reported by the U.S. media is out of date, and misleading, according to PNHP and CNA/NNOC."

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  • hpandey
    08-08 01:12 PM
    Birds of a feather flock together and crap on your car.

    The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.

    Did you ever notice: The Roman Numerals for forty (40) are " XL."

    If you think there is good in everybody, you haven't met everybody.

    If you can smile when things go wrong , you have someone in mind to blame.

    The sole purpose of a child's middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.

    Did you ever notice: When you put the 2 words "The" and "IRS" together it spells "Theirs."

    Aging: Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.

    The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

    Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.

    First you forget names, then you forget faces. Then, you forget to pull up your zipper.
    It's worse when you forget to pull it down.

    Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft.
    Today, it's called golf


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  • immignation
    04-06 02:31 PM
    how's the market conditions in the San Jose/Santa Clara belt. houses there were really heated up avg 600k+. has it cooled down or still that crazy..

    I have been house hunting here in central NJ (west windsor, plainsboro and vicinity and am having a sticker shock just looking at the property taxes.. about 2%). What I understand from talking to people here is that these places are supposed to be a very good school district and schools receive most of their funding from property taxes (and very little from state). Good schools attract families with kids which increases the burden on schools and again property taxes have to be increased to build more schools/expand existing ones..

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  • Beemar
    12-27 12:40 AM
    So what in your opinion is the reason for the state and the government of Pakistan to provoke India, with the risk of starting a war with India that Pakistan cannot win, at a time when the economy is in a very very bad shape and there are multiple insurgencies and regular suicide attacks within Pakistan?

    There is no coherent state or government in Pakistan anymore, there are only personalities pulling the country in various directions. So let's only talk of personalities. My hunch (and that of the many world intelligence agencies too) is that Kayani did it! He was being pushed to a corner by Zardari, who was rapidly chipping away at his power at the behest of US. Apparently Zardari is wiling to give US a much freer hand in western Pak than Kayani. Kayani feared that Zardati may topple him and appoint another COAS. So he played this masterstroke. Zardari and Gillani were taken completely off guard by this hit.

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  • nojoke
    04-06 04:00 PM
    It was crazy till last year. Things started going south from this year begining. I am seeing foreclosures and auctions here in bay area. There are price reductions of 100K in the mls listings. This is just starting. It is a matter of time. Some more quotes...
    “Bay Area home sales have plummeted to their lowest level in two decades, making the wait between commission checks unbearable for many agents. Bonnie Stevens, an agent in Pleasanton, began her real estate career in 1995, at the end of the market’s last down cycle.”

    “‘This is actually worse than 1995. There are agents in my office who have been in the business for 30 years telling me that this is the worst they’ve seen,’ she said.”

    “During her 13 years as an agent, a good year for Stevens has meant selling 15 to 18 homes. So far this year, she’s sold only one.”

    04-17 08:40 AM
    To Conceal Donors, Some Political Groups Look to the Tax Code (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/16/AR2007041601352.html), By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Tuesday, April 17, 2007

    An increasing number of organizations working to influence elections also are working to hide who is paying for their activities.

    Several political organizations colloquially known as 527s are relying more on or switching into 501(c)(4) groups, the type of tax-exempt entity that the tax code uses for advocacy groups.

    The 527s must disclose who gives them money; 501(c)(4)s do not have that requirement.

    The trend, which was discovered by the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, runs counter to one of the basic tenets of modern-day election law -- broad public disclosure. Voters generally have the right to know who is helping to elect their representatives and senators. Armed with such data, they can decide for themselves who, if anyone, is trying to buy their congressional representatives.

    A lot of political influence is at stake if such transformations proliferate. In last year's elections, 527s spent $143.2 million. The biggest outlays on the Democratic side came from the Service Employees International Union, Emily's List and America Votes, a coalition of liberal groups. On the Republican side, the big spenders were the Progress for America Voter Fund, the College Republican National Committee and the Presidential Coalition.

    There are many reasons that 527s might want to alter their stripes. The main one has nothing to do with concealment: The Federal Election Commission has been cracking down on 527s, insisting they cannot explicitly press for the election or the defeat of candidates.

    But in trying to sidestep the crackdown, several 527s have chosen an alternative structure that is harder for the public to track. Tax-exempt groups of various types have always been able to keep their donors anonymous (except to the Internal Revenue Service). The exception to this, made in 2000, is the type of electioneering funds called 527s, which have to publicly name their contributors.

    In recent years, one group that has leaned more heavily on its 501(c)(4) is Progress for America, once one of the largest GOP-leaning 527s. Another group is converting outright: the Club for Growth, which supports conservative, anti-tax candidates. According to a letter obtained by the Campaign Finance Institute, the club sees many benefits in its transformation, including secrecy. "Unlike in the past, your donations to the Club will not be disclosed to the public, except in very limited circumstances," wrote Patrick J. Toomey, the group's president.

    Some experts doubt that the Club for Growth will be widely imitated. An organization cannot simply change its label to a 501(c); it must also alter its function so that it no longer primarily works on elections. Last week, Public Citizen, the liberal gadfly, formally complained that Americans for Job Security should not be allowed to operate as a 501(c)(6), or trade association, because of its large-scale electoral involvement.

    Veil of Secrecy
    A sample of entities involved in politics that operate as 501(c), (4), (5) or (6) groups, which are tax-exempt and do not have to disclose their donors publicly.

    Organization and Examples of 2006 political activity

    AFL-CIO Spent about $40 million on its pro-Democratic political program.
    Americans for Job Security Ran an estimated $1.5 million in ads on behalf of then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).
    Chamber of Commerce Spent $10 million on ads thanking largely GOP incumbents for pro-business positions.
    Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund Spent $1.6 million on election-related activity, including voter education and mobilization.
    Focus on Family Action Sponsored radio ads in several competitive Senate races.
    League of Conservation Voters Spent more than $1 million on TV ads, mailings and other political outreach.
    NARAL Spent more than $740,000, mostly to rent voter lists for Internet communications.
    National Rifle Association Campaign war chest (excluding PAC funds) was reportedly $9 million.

    SOURCE: Campaign Finance Instititue

    05-29 08:27 PM
    Lobbying is like bribery - but legalized here in US....the smart people here didnt want to get caught....so legislators can make lobbyists like Jack Abramoff and ilk - scapegoats.....