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 (email@example.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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how luxurious for you to use ur common sense while victims still suffer after their stories were corobrated by unbiased witnesses
I agree with you on most things you have said in your post and if you take a honest vote among the folks on this thread, you will find the overwhelming majority on the following views:
1. The human loss and suffering of the innocent Gaza people is sad and horrific.
2. Israel has reacted too strongly and used aggression to unacceptable limits.
3. Palestine deserves its own state and power to govern itself.
Now, the reason you have the same majority of folks respond in a manner that you, refugee and rayyan object and feel offended about is due to the following:
1. You fail to acknowledge the role of Hamas in initiating this conflict AND not resolving this conflict. Even if you personally did, others have very ineffectively shied away from this point.
2. There seems to be a lack of similar anguish and sympathy offered by you guys when it came to the mumbai attacks. Not saying you applauded the attackers but you didn't denounce them with the same vigor you are using to denounce Israel.
3. Finally, the biggest reason you are getting such unwarranted and to an extent shameful posts on your religion is because you are not only ready to defend it when it's followers are the victim BUT also when it's followers are the aggressors (like in Mumbai attacks). And with all due respect to Palestinians, there seem to be more muslim aggressors in today's world than victims.
In conclusion, I have nothing against you or the others. I am sure if I met you socially you will be a decent person. Lets hope peace is given a chance in Gaza and despite the differences educated people like us unite to fight for the common good...in these forums, it is EB Green cards.
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My two cents.
Buying a house is the best decision no matter what, if you can get for a good price(price u can afford) at a GOOD LOCATION!!!. I think location is more important...
As far as real estate investment is concerned.. It is
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION..
Nothing...else..!! .. Even if you are in H1B or GC if you know that u can stick to one job for a while and u get a house in a good location... this is the best time to invest!!
The petition you are asking us to sign doesnt have legal standings. It doesnt have any strong argument to change USCIS's interpretation of allocating the spill over VISA numbers.
Instead we should all focus our enrgy in getting Rep Lofgren's bill for recapturing the wasted VISA numbers.
IV has launched the initiative by sending the Petition/letter to your local US congress reps and senators.
IV petition is urging US congress and senate to consider Rep Lofgren's imigration relief bills for the legal immigrants, which will recapture the wasted VISA numbers and they are in the range of about 200,000, this will be good to retrogressed countries. Apart from IV their are other pro legal immigrant lobbiests who are working hard to get these pro legal immigration relief bills passed this year, but due to slowing economy anything US congress wants to do for immigration relief comes under scrutiny by anti-immigration forces and they try to kill these relief bills, on the other hand their are some groups in US congress and senate who wants the amnesty for all illegal immigrants and they are strongly opposing any kind of relief just to legal immigrants.
Its a long battle ahead of us, and hope staying together and working with IV will help us rather than having war of words between EB-3 I and EB-2 I.
Current letter writen by pani is inappropriate and it doesnt make our case strong.
For Pani too, I am perosnally not against him, we all are frustrated with this GC situation, but unless USCIS gets more VISA numbers from congress, they can not do anything.
I guess illegal immigrant lobby and some of the anti immigrant forces in Washington DC are strong enough and at this time they are influencing the law makers to not pass any pro legal immgrant relief.
Our only hope is if IV succeed in getting some relief from US congress...or at some point the nurses from india and phillipines stop consuming the EB-3 quota. Remember when we were all stuck in the state employment agencies and DOL backlog centres, they were allowed to file I-140 without labor certifications and they were the major beneficary for some of the recaptured VISA numbers and the July 2007 VB fiasco when USCIS approved some unprecedented EB-3 India VISA numbers.
Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant states the following: "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (the Cedar tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Muslem).
Article 22 claims that the French revolution, the Russian revolution, colonialism and both world wars were created by the Zionists. It also claims the Freemasons and Rotary clubs are Zionist fronts. "You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.
I am not supporting Hamas or their core belief. I am not going that far. What i'm saying is, how can one country kill school kids and go scot-free???
When we cried for terror victims, why don't we do the same for palestinians who are victims of state sponsored terrorism???
If we want to discuss about Ideology of other faiths and different groups, we can open one more thread. You wouldn't want to open another thread. Because you know how nasty those ideologies are? Every religion/group have their own ideology and they are nothing but brutal.
Oh, I meant that, the quote is what Lou Dobbs would have said if Space.com would not have failed. Sorry about the confusion.
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1. Buy a house now and live in it for 10-15 years and build up equity.
2. Put the house for sale a month or two or six months (depending on the real estate market in your area) before your PD becomes current (2025).
3. Live in a rented house for one or two or six months in 2025. Better than living in a rented house from 2009 - 2025. Correct?
4. But bigger house after GC gets approved OR go back home.
2025: Congratulations!!! You just made 30-40% profit on your home. Go back home and retire.
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This is a small incremental step - but it may help with using up a few 1000 extra numbers.
Out of all these causes, you got EB2/EB3 interfile cause? Shame on you! Please stop saying that you are from IIT. I have done B Tech from IIT and I do not remember that system producing garbage like you!
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http://www.zazona.com/LCA-Data/ then choose advance search, then
all visa types
all job categories
2 pages of cases appear.
PS: I am sure that the intention of these guys was not for us to use it, I am happy that this is the situation
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I totally aggree with you. I am also from socal and a regular visior to irvinehousingblog.
Currenly I am in apt and tired of living in apt, but I am definitely in no rush to buy and would probably find a good private home to rent.
Please check your PM.
I think you missed my point. I was not trying to connect the ARM reset schedule with write-offs at wall street firms. Instead, I was trying to point out that there will be increased number of foreclosures as those ARMs reset over the next 36 months.
The next phase of the logic is: increased foreclosures will lead to increased inventory, which leads to lower prices, which leads to still more foreclosures and "walk aways" (people -citizens- who just dont want to pay the high mortgages any more since it is way cheaper to rent). This leads to still lower prices. Prices will likely stabilize when it is cheaper to buy vs. rent. Right now that calculus is inverted. In many bubble areas (both coasts, at a minimum) you would pay significantly more to buy than to rent (2X or more per month with a conventional mortgage in some good areas).
On the whole, I will debate only on financial and rational points. I am not going to question someone's emotional position on "homeownership." It is too complicated to extract someone out of their strongly held beliefs about how it is better to pay your own mortgage than someone elses, etc. All that is hubris that is ingrained from 5+ years of abnormally strong rising prices.
Let us say that you have two kids, age 2 and 5. The 5 year old is entering kindergarten next fall. You decide to buy in a good school district this year. Since your main decision was based on school choice, let us say that your investment horizon is 16 years (the year your 2 year old will finish high school at age 18).
Let us further assume that you will buy a house at the price of $600,000 in Bergen County, with 20% down ($120,000) this summer. The terms of the loan are 30 year fixed, 5.75% APR. This loan payment alone is $2800 per month. On top of that you will be paying at least 1.5% of value in property taxes, around $9,000 per year, or around $750 per month. Insurance will cost you around $1500 - $2000 per year, or another $150 or so per month. So your total committed payments will be around $3,700 per month.
You will pay for yard work (unless you are a do-it-yourself-er), and maintenance, and through the nose for utilities because a big house costs big to heat and cool. (Summers are OK, but desis want their houses warm enough in the winter for a lungi or veshti:))
Let us assume further that in Bergen county, you can rent something bigger and more comfortable than your 1200 sq ft apartment from a private party for around $2000. So your rental cost to house payment ratio is around 1.8X (3700/2000).
Let us say further that the market drops 30% conservatively (will likely be more), from today through bottom in 4 years. Your $600k house will be worth 30% less, i.e. $420,000. Your loan will still be worth around $450k. If you needed to sell at this point in time, with 6% selling cost, you will need to bring cash to closing as a seller i.e., you are screwed. At escrow, you will need to pay off the loan of $450k, and pay 6% closing costs, which means you need to bring $450k+$25k-$420k = $55,000 to closing.
So you stand to lose:
1. Your down payment of $120k
2. Your cash at closing if you sell in 4 years: $55k
3. Rental differential: 48 months X (3700 - 2000) = $81k
Total potential loss: $250,000!!!
This is not a "nightmare scenario" but a very real one. It is happenning right now in many parts of the country, and is just now hitting the more populated areas of the two coasts. There is still more to come.
My 2 cents for you guys, desi bhais, please do what you need to do, but keep your eyes open. This time the downturn is very different from the business-investment related downturn that followed the dot com bust earlier this decade.
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I am sure you were not born in this country and brought up. Think about the enjoyment you had when you were young. Playing with 10 kids of your age everyday, running stairs up and down, cycling around the communities. Don't our kids deserve the same?
They should not end up as "GC" victims.
(my final thoughts ...)
well one point is clear - those who have a house will justify it and those who rent will justify the same.
I don't expect those who bought house to say that they made a mistake ..they have to justify (rightly) their decision even if they paid more. and I agree with them.
both have their valid points but from what I have observed quality of life actually goes down a little when you buy a house at inflated prices or buy a house beyond yr means (as both hus / wife have to work etc etc ..many even end up cooking food once a week - if u know what I mean).
I am from bombay -- and actually we had more fun in the buildings / apartments because you end up spending more time outdoors with friends. now ofcourse people will say they stayed in bungalows in smaller cities and they had fun too ..and I agree. similarly I know few people / friends who bought houses here (in USA) in such isolated / wealthy surroundings that their kid / kids have no friends !! ,
similarly other in a hurry brought a house so far from work / city that they are in a soup !! some of their wives simply cannot drive or will take years to learn or they have only one car ..the net result - husband goes to work from 8 to 7 (including transit time) - kids end up at home (ofcourse they run up and down the stairs - watching TV). whereas in an apt - the chances that you would find someone in similar position is more (i.e. kids of same age who can play together is higher). maybe when they grow and go to school - things will be better -- I guess in the end it is personal.
...also just because someone buys a house - doesnt necessarily mean higher std of living and simarly those who rent - it doesnt mean that they have lower std of living ...in the end it is personal decision !! but in present scenario --- looking before leaping definitely makes sense. rather than buying a house quickly - just because everyone else is doing the same ..).
BTW there are lots of articles out there which explains why renting is not throwing money away !!
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Draft of this letter itself is an invitation for the investigation into Labor certification process for the individual who are suggesting they were qualified as EB-2, but their attorneys or HR reps told them to file under EB-3.
Entire LC process is certified under the assumption that the employer in good faith has tried to hire US citizen and since he couldnt find a qualified US citizen for a that Job position, the employer is hiring an alien ( foreign national).
I am not supporting this petition, even though i am a victim of the backlog centres and my labor took 4+ years for approval.
We should all support IV's initiative for recapturing of wasted VISA numbers from the past years.
Fighting among indian EB-2 and EB-3 is useless and it defeats the purpose of IV unity.
IV seniours should immediately intervene in this matter and stop further discussions on this useless petition which doesnt have any legal standings and in itself is an invitation from DoL and USCIS to investigate the individuals who signed the petition and messed up their immigration process.
PD: India EB-3 June 03.
I-485 filed in Aug 2007 at NSC.
awaiting I-485 approval...which will be 2-3 yrs down the road, if no relief from US congress.
Right now enjoying the freedom using EAD.
I have my disagreements with the letter content and have let it known in my posts on the thread.
Pani you are an old IV member with IV experience and I trust that you would give second thoughts based on my comments.
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There is too much data out there which says housing will go down for at least another year, and will then stay flat for a long time.
I know home is not an investment. But buying something when you know its gonna lose value just does not make sense even with all the credits + low interest rate out there. For me the most important thing is the total principal you pay to buy the home. Everything else are cheap gimmicks. Its like a car salesman saying you monthly payment for this car is only $200, but wait you will be paying this $200 for the next 10 years instead of 5. Or a Bank saying you get $50 to open an account etc. Also as others pointed out even in 2004/2005 there was enough data being floated that the housing bubble will crash, but i guess lot of people just ignored it.
If you need a house for luxury, Go ahead and rent one for the next couple of years. Not sure why people think renting restricts them to only small apartments. I am pretty sure renting a house in today's market will be lot cheaper than buying. I am currently renting a home and very happy in it.
Also consider that housing market is not as volatile as the stock market. So once the correction is complete it will take a long time for the appreciation curve to kick in. So timing the housing market dynamics would be different compared to the stock market.
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Go and search for Lou Dobbs in this forum.
This forum is purely for discussing issues related to problems and difficulties of high skilled legal immigrants., affected by inefficiency of backlog centers, LCs and lack of visa numbers, GC issues and the consequent retrogression.
I haven't gone to the link you provided, because I don't need to. Has Mr.Dobbs advocated our issues, our goals anytime in his effort to highlight immigration issues? I don't think so. He does what is convenient for him and for his ratings and viewership.
So, please let's end this discussion here and please refrain from quoting and promoting the foul mouth Lou Dobbs.
I hope you will understand. Thanks.
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I do feel that this porting rule is a double edged sword with both pros and cons.But the question is : is it flawed enough to scrapped??
I must add though, I see were Rolling flood is coming from.Just consider this scenario: Two guyz A&B graduate with a Bachelors degree at the same time.A decides to pursue higher studies and B takes up a job. After a year they file for B' EB3 at his work, while A is still at school.By the time A graduates and a EB2 is filed for him , B is also eligible for EB2.But here is the catch,B gets a much earlier PD than A.So was A a dumb dude that he decided to go to grad school.Does academic experience count for nothing against work experience???
Its something to ponder upon.
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I would greatly appreciate a response on my situation.
I currently work in a big IT consulting firm (company A) thru H1. My uncle owns a very small (less than 100 ppl) consulting shop (company B). I want to join his company, but i dont want to transfer my h1 since B is small and there is lot more job stability in company A. S i want to go through the route of future employment.
I will be joining company B in the same job desc as im working in company A. As it looks right now, I might have to take a small cut in salary to join company B, however im sure that salary difference will be a lot more once it gets to the 485 stages.
What do you think are the risks as compared to having a GC sponsored through a company where u already hold a H1? I understand that my intention to join might become an issue because of the salary issue, but wouldn't that be the case even if i filed for Company A, since company A would file a LC based on current wage and by the time of 485, I will be making a lot more.
well..my current employer got email from dhs and he is sending out all details..but what about my previous employers..??
Lobbyists are scrambling all over Capitol Hill to prevent any of their clients from becoming a "pay-for."
The Democrats' new pay-as-you-go budget regimen means that lawmakers who want to spend more on one program have to either cut another or raise taxes to pay for it. Similarly, if they want to cut taxes, they must fund the cut by trimming programs or raising other taxes to make up the difference.
Those budgetary offsets are called pay-fors -- a new Washington buzzword striking fear in the hearts of special interests.