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  • NKR
    08-05 08:38 AM
    Why did they not take the employer to court? Why make the EB2 line suffer for these employer's faults?

    If an employer wrongly files your case under EB3 instead of EB2 or EB1, then the onus is on you to challenge them and take them to court if need be.

    And start the GC process all over again?. well isn't there an easy option of converting to EB2?. :)





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  • senthil1
    05-16 11:33 PM
    Behave like a high skilled person. Do not use bad words just because someone is against your opinion. Again if you use everything is appilcable to you. That means you are losing track and you do not have valid argument. You do not have sense that this thread is not for discussion for gc. This thread is about the H1b issue and Durbin bill. This my last reply for you. I will ignore you hereafter if you behave like this. I wasted my time for replying you. So you also do not reply my arguments.

    The greater danger in life is not that we set our aims too high and fail, but we set them too low and still do � Michelangelo

    Your aim is to not get fired. You want to buy an insurance policy to a secure job as if you are the only one entitled to have a job. This is a lower aim so you are bound to fail i.e. lose your job.

    And how do you define �replacing some American workers�. There is a plant in Yuma, AZ manufacturing aircrafts for Kingfisher airlines in India. Doesn�t this mean that someone in India is being replaced by American worker???? Maybe we should stop all trade and we should have all needs of one country fill within its borders. Maybe we should say � from now on no one is going to do any business, collaboration, partnership and place orders to companies outside of the borders of the country where you live.



    The best argument of restrictionist is either talk about no H-1B or green cards or talk about unlimited H-1Bs and green cards as if the extremes make the only reality in this world. Have you ever seen numbers like 290,000 or maybe 450,000. These are called whole numbers in mathematics and reside somewhere between ZERO and INFINITY/UNLIMITED.



    Stop bickering in the name of American people. More than 99% Americans don�t even know what is H-1B visa or employment based green card. And one more thing, people�s opinion is the most foolish thing to look at when making a decision. Do you remember the % of people in favor of Iraq war in 2002? - More than 70%
    Do you know how many people are in favor of pulling out of Iraq now, putting all the blame on the Administration? � around 70%
    Do you know the % of �American people� saying that they screwed up by supporting the war in 2002? � 0%
    No one would come out to say the nations and millions of people got screwed up due to "MY" twisted ideology in 2002. So let�s keep this argument of �American People� out of this debate.



    In free market and capitalist economy, the measure of productivity doesn�t come from some lawmaker who is out of sink with reality or from the ideology of orgs like IEEE-USA or from posters like you. The measure of productivity comes from the employers and the companies. If employees on H-1Bs were unproductive then why are employers asking for more H-1Bs. I am sure my employer is not in love with me to give me check every two weeks. And if that is how it works best for the competitiveness and for the economy, society and the nation, then so be it. That is the reason why this society is more advanced. You may be afraid of such a situations/competitions but I am not scared of a scenario where someone who can perform a better job, either a citizen or someone on H-1B, takes my job. And I assure you that I won't whine about it. But that is ok, your way of thinking is all based on the premises that every one out is going to get you and some how you have to eliminate this competition at the soonest.



    You have used the argument of abuse, productivity, economy, outsourcing, country of origin and the color of Dick Morris� underwear - to argue against H-1B and against green card number increase. Time and again I have said that this is not about H-1B. We, the people on this forum, want to discuss about GREEN CARD BACKLOGS. But you want to keep the discussion away from green card backlog and want the discussion be in the arena of H-1B. I must share with you that I have received atleast 7 different private messages telling me to �not waste my time with idiot like yourself�.
    Like you ass, you keep your views and your opinions with yourself. Don�t poke your ass and your views into a place where they don�t belong. And please stop worrying about being displaced by someone else on H-1B. You have not even gotten green card and you have already turned into a restrictionist. Please wait for sometime and there will be enough time and opportunity for you to join the ranks of IEEE-USA. This makes me to think that there are 2 possibilities:
    1.) You have very low self esteem and you have a low opinion about yourself. Thus you are scared of the competition
    2.) You are not capable enough or you are not technically sound to compete with others around you. And just like IEEE-USA, you are looking for ways to eliminate your future probable competition using words/phrases like �displacement of US workers�.





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  • skd
    12-31 12:32 PM
    Only for Hindi speaking people...This Quote from Ramdhari Dinkar's Poem
    ...
    Kshama shobhti us bhujang ko
    Jiske paas garal hai
    Uska kya jo dantheen
    Vishrahit vineet saral hai
    ....

    Which means.....Pardon(forgiveness) looks nice if you are Strong and forgiving a weak...It will funny if a weak person says that he is forgiving a strong opponent.

    For reading whole poem goto this link (top is in English script /and Translation in English and scroll down to read it in Hindi)
    http://poems2remember.blogspot.com/2007/01/shakti-aur-kshama-strength-and-mercy.html





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  • sekharpurna
    03-24 01:17 PM
    ok..People its been more than 6 months since some adventure in my case :D

    OK..today morning I got a call from a lady voice saying she is from Immigration services..

    The call ended by the time I realized my senses..here is the short story

    Immig: We are verifying your details and need from information to process
    Me: sure.

    Immig: WHo do you work for
    Me: Blah Blah employer
    :

    gimme_GC2006

    You are lucky to recieve such call from USCIS. Just go ahead and send the details ASAP.

    Four months ago one of my friend got the similar type of call from USCIS asking for copy of marriage certificate and his daugthers birth certificate. Officers aksed him to mail it or fax it. My friend was in panic mode after this, he took call back number then faxed it and called him to check if officer recieved it or not. Officer joked with him that don't panic and give him al least couple of days to go over faxed documents. When my firend told me this story, I couldn't believe but I could see the glow and excitement on his face. After 4-5 days 485 was approved for his family.



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  • dpp
    05-17 10:03 AM
    I am not saying everyone else are less skilled that me. Read my posts please. Nor am I saying everyone are less honest than me. I am saying that people applying for an H-1B without having a FULL-TIME JOB from day 1 are DISHONEST.

    Everybody who employs H1B is on FULL-TIME JOB only. There is no exception to that. But the employer can ask his employee to goto any client place to perform the work that the company agreed upon, that is in between the employer and client/third-party vendor. There is nothing to deal with H1B here. H1Bs are always work on a FULL-TIME JOB only with their employer. I don't know what is your problem? You are misleading H1B program on how it works.





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  • nogc_noproblem
    08-05 02:25 PM
    Due to inherit a fortune when his sickly, widower father died ...

    ... Charles decided he needed a woman to enjoy it with. Going to a singles' bar, he spotted a woman whose beauty took his breath away.

    "I'm just an ordinary man," he said, walking up to her, "but in just a week or two, my father will die and I'll inherit 20 million dollars."

    The woman went home with Charles, and the next day she became his stepmother.

    ... when will men ever learn!



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  • sc3
    07-14 04:28 PM
    Because when Eb3 ROW were getting approved they had no personal friends getting approved but suddenly now with Eb2 India moving forward they know people who will get GC soon and this hurts, when then see these people (friends) in temple or get together who will be (soon) GC holders and so this cry of fowl play comes in behind the mask of anonymus user id a vieled attack


    Woah, I did not know I wanted my GC because I could tell my friends that I have my GC. Thanks for telling me about it. I used to think that I wanted my GC, so that I could be worry less about H1 status, think about buying house, maybe think of some business ideas etc. I did not know it was all so that I will feel ashamed of my friends.

    I guess you have the solution for all of use. We will stop my friendship with everyone, that way we dont have to worry about being the NON-GC guy among our "friends".

    Also, we will make friends with the undocumented workers, so that we can feel superior, which will boost our morale.





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  • Macaca
    07-23 07:48 PM
    Big Labor flexes its muscles in Congress � with mixed results (http://thehill.com/business--lobby/big-labor-flexes-its-muscles-in-congress--with-mixed-results-2007-07-24.html) By Ian Swanson, July 24, 2007

    The day after voters returned Democrats to power in the House and Senate last year, the AFL-CIO held a press conference at its Washington headquarters to announce that union members had come to the polls in large numbers to vote Democratic.

    They also promised to remind the new rulers of Congress that labor put them there, and that unions would be back in 2007 looking for support. So far, all indications show Democrats in Congress have been happy to oblige one of their most loyal constituencies.

    Legislation backed by labor that was left on the shelves when the House was under Republican rule has been dusted off by Democrats and moved to the floor. This includes so-called card-check legislation approved by the House earlier this year, which was the subject of a huge lobbying fight between labor and business.

    By contrast, free-trade agreements opposed by labor and negotiated by the Bush administration have been delayed, some apparently until after the 2008 election.

    �There�s been a dramatic change since January,� said Bill Samuel, a top lobbyist for the AFL-CIO who is in frequent communication with Democratic leaders. �Issues that have been long ignored are now getting the attention they deserve.�

    �I think they�ve done a fair job in recognizing what our priorities are and addressing them,� agreed Fred McLuckie, legislative director of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

    House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) agreed with the labor leaders, but put a different spin on the changing tides.

    �The brazenness with which they�ve paid back Big Labor is astonishing,� said Putnam, who thinks the loyalty will come back to haunt Democrats next year, particularly since labor unions now represent less than 8 percent of the nation�s private workforce.

    Putnam said the shifting fortunes for labor reflect �a blatant return to the old stereotype of Big Labor bosses pulling the strings of Democrats.�

    Few Democrats, however, seem to think helping labor will hurt them. For example, only two House Democrats voted against the card-check legislation despite intense lobbying by business groups and negative advertisements in some districts. In the Senate, every Democrat voted in favor of card-check on the floor, as did Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.).

    Pro-business Democratic Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.) said he has some differences with unions on trade. But he has no problem supporting card-check or other pro-union bills that he sees as helping low- and middle-income workers get a share of the economic pie.

    While card-check legislation, formally known as the Employee Free Choice Act, received the lion�s share of headlines over the first half of the year, dozens of other measures designed to help the labor movement have been inching forward.

    For example, lawmakers have attached to several bills language requiring that workers be paid a prevailing wage � and the tactic has helped highlight divisions within the Republican Party. Fifty House Republicans voted to keep prevailing-wage language in a water-resources bill earlier this year.

    In addition, the Teamsters and the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers won a provision in the House Federal Aviation Administration bill that makes it easier for employees of Federal Express to form unions, which could be a boon to the Teamsters and the machinists union. A second provision backed by labor would force the administration back to the negotiating table with air traffic controllers.

    And just last week, the House approved a bill providing collective-bargaining rights for firefighters and other first responders in all 50 states. The lower chamber also passed a Department of Labor funding bill that offers increased dollars for workplace enforcement offices like the Wage and Hour Division, which looks into claims that overtime is not being paid, while cutting funds for an office that investigates union corruption.

    In the second half of 2007, the AFL-CIO expects to push for bankruptcy law reforms as well as legislation overturning a National Labor Relations Board ruling that broadly defined workers considered to be supervisors. Overturning the decision could allow many more workers to qualify for collective bargaining rights.

    Furthermore, the Teamsters will continue to press Democrats to prevent the administration from carrying out plans to allow Mexican trucks access to U.S. roads, McLuckie said.

    Meanwhile, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which split from the AFL-CIO a few years ago, is lobbying aggressively on several broad policy issues, including an expansion of the State Children�s Health Insurance Program, according to Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger.

    The debate over ending the war in Iraq is also a top priority for SEIU members, who are even more anti-war than the rest of the nation, Burger said, explaining that the SEIU sees the Iraq war as diverting funds that could be used to provide universal healthcare and other priorities.

    Still, while union proposals have won momentum, only one union priority � an increase in the minimum wage � has actually become law. Other measures have been held up in the Senate by Republican-led filibusters or are threatened by presidential vetoes.

    While the AFL-CIO�s Samuel admits that moving from a defensive posture to offense has been exciting, he said there is frustration that labor issues have been held up in the Senate. And he insists Democrats have not given labor a blank check, even though he and his colleagues are spending more time in the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in this Congress. �You still have to argue your case on its merits,� he said.

    �For the last 12 years we were for the most part on the defensive,� Samuel continued. �It was other people who were making decisions which we were reacting to. I think now we are able to make decisions, to decide what issues to promote.�

    AFL-CIO officials meet weekly to decide which issues to push for. They are also in frequent contact with other labor leaders, who say there�s no evidence that Democratic leaders are playing favorites among the sometimes-fractious labor movement.

    SEIU and the Teamsters left the AFL-CIO a few years ago and formed the Change to Win coalition. But McLuckie said he hadn�t heard any complaints within the Change to Win coalition about access to Democrats.

    For their part, Republicans hope to use labor�s successes to portray Democrats as too compliant with union demands. For example, the National Republican Senate Committee is already trying to raise money from small businesses spooked by the card-check bill.

    It has produced an ominously scored video featuring grainy footage of Senate Democrats rallying for the card-check legislation to convince businesses to donate to the GOP next year. In the video, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tells the crowd, �We have a majority in the U.S. Senate because of you.� Meanwhile, the figure $1,389,489 flashes on the screen to reflect the contributions Reid has received from �Big Labor.�

    The video closes with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) promising to sign the bill into law when she is president, and notes Republicans need only two seats to regain control of the Senate.

    While unions are holding off on their presidential endorsements for now, the video reflects their long-term plan for card check. In 2009, labor hopes to have a Democratic president and a larger majority in the Senate, which would make business-backed filibusters more difficult.

    �I think it will be easier next time,� said Samuel, who thinks the labor agenda in Congress will help Democrats in next year�s elections. �I think these measures are generally very popular.�



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  • nojoke
    05-03 09:38 PM
    You think buying and selling a home a joke. You look on an average for 3-5 month to buy a home and one fine day u woke up and interest rate is high u plan to sell. This may be even possible only when u have bought house for pure investment.

    Once you move to ur first house with ur family. you will not sell ur house until u r forced to because of job/other extreme factors.

    Location is most important that any thing. It is very very localized. do u think manhattan house price went down..in fact it went up. Similarly DC metro area is relatively stronger compare to mid west.

    A bit of luck is always there in every single thing. Predicting bottom/peak is always challenge.

    One funny thing..people are planning how to sell before they even look for house to buy. lol..


    What are you talking about? I said to buy house when it is cheaper. If interest rates go up, then the house price will sure come down. If I buy low, I will be able to sell without a loss. I said it is better to buy a house cheaper at higher interest rate than paying 1/2 million at a lower interest rate. Got it?

    So Manhattan prices are rising and it is ok to buy else where? You are kidding.
    Yes real estate is localized. But this time it not if you area is falling down in price, but it is by how much. Some areas fall more than others. The prices will continue to fall in 99% of the place. Please stop quoting Manhattan. How many here live in Manhattan?

    Oh, predicting in this economy is easy. The housing will crash. No question about that. Only question is by how much. The lying liars(NAR) has just said that there is going to be a correction of 24% this year for california. If they are saying this, then you know it will go down by more than 40%.

    Did you watch today's program in CNN(housing meltdown). They said that this is a ponzi scheme. It is unsustainable. It is bound to fall.

    You seem to be living in your own dream world. Stop denying the fact. Go look around and read news. Just hoping for prices not falling is not going to stop the crash.

    I am not trying to talk about selling before buying. I am telling you to buy at a lower price so that you don't loose when you are forced to sell. Even otherwise it is always a good idea to buy low. Don't you look for bargain for your clothing. You don't sell them, but you still try to get at a good price. If you are doing this for buying clothes, why are you guys so eager to throw your money away when it comes to housing.:confused:

    Before throwing the sarcasm at others, learn about the economy and where we are in housing and where it is heading. You are just playing 'I don't hear any bad news, I don't see bad news...la la la la and everything is wonderful'. Look into all the links I posted and tell me why you are confident that house prices won't fall.





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  • unseenguy
    06-20 08:37 PM
    You actually nailed down exactly what i have been thinking...

    Its just seems impossible to get a decent house which is not 25+ in Cupertino, Redwood shores etc ..And my gut feeling is these places the homes will never be affordable, they may lose some value but not much.

    I have also been debating about Austin as an alternative. Again what field you work in also plays a big role in the decision. if you are a techie and work in a product based company Bay area has all the top companies you could wish to work for. Where as cities like Austin merely have satellite offices for these companies based in bay area. I guess if you work in the service industry you would have more choices to pick from. Plus reason to consider austin for me is that "Austin is very much like bay area" ... In that case i think why not live in Bay area itself :)

    But yes if you are in bay area, Paying 700+ for a decent place just does not make sense even with all the rebates.


    I am hoping my gut feeling is proven wrong :)

    I moved out of bay area last year to WA. I had mixed feelings about making the move, but except for the weather, I think it was a good decision. One year down the line, I feel happy about it. The home you get for 700K in bay area, you can get for 550K in Seattle. Not much different, but somewhat cheaper.



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  • pd_recapturing
    08-05 10:55 AM
    Rolling_Flood, great idea to benefit just U'r own GC cause. If you are positive about U'r logic why don't you go ahead and file a lawsuit. Looks like your true intention of creating this thread is to create a divide among IV members. Already members had a tough few weeks (in terms of unity) after the Aug bulletin. Now you are poking another rift.

    The EB classification is for a future job. Since the person is qualified, he ports to EB2 midway so what. The GC is for a future job, and when the person gets his/her GC, he/she is qualified for that position at that time. So what is U'r logic??


    If you want to truly fight the system them fight for a common basis for EB classification. There are cases where the same job title has been classified under all 3 categories. Example

    Senior Programmer (say Bachelor's with 5 yrs exp)

    Files under EB1 : because he/she came L1, qualification might be few yrs exp.
    Files under EB2 : because he/she has 5 yrs of exp and the attorney was smart to classify it as EB2.
    Files under EB3 : because of company policy or based on bad attorney advice (conservative approach).

    The above example shows that if U'r company and attorney is smart U can get U'r GC faster.

    If you are keen on doing a lawsuit why not
    File one against USCIS for wasting thousands of visa's over the past few years, which is the source of this backlog.
    Or file one against DOL for taking n number of years to get the LC done.
    Or file one against 245 filers who clogged the USCIS system which is causing USCIS to be inefficient.
    Man, you hit the nail on the head !!! Thats precise the point, I was trying to say in my last post (somewhere on page 1) ... The whole eb2/eb3 qualification, job requirements etc can be rigged easily by employer/lawyers ...There is no black and white in this game ..





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  • just_wait_for_gc
    08-11 11:53 AM
    this moron has failed to realise the unfortunate fact that UK has been(and continues to be) the head quarters for all terrorists. In fact they need to fix their immigration system .
    Anyway I dont give a shit to this freak. My favourite website is no more CNN...



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  • Beemar
    12-29 12:01 AM
    Sorry everybody. The war did not break out as I was anticipating. I thought Indian leaders have developed some spine. I should have known better.

    India is no Israel. Israel launched a war on Gaza in retaliation for some rocket attacks which killed, well, zero Israelis. They at least know what the most effective defense is, its called offense.





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  • pete
    04-09 10:29 AM
    Why should others suffer because of consulting firms?
    You get a job at company A you work for them. When you move to company B that company does your H1B.. if required again. Why should company A do your H1B than the individual work for somebody else as "consultant". This has been going on for too long affecting everybody especially scientists and doctors and academic community. These consultants are delaying GC for us. The bill takes care of that problem and I think its fair.

    Also if the new bill requires repeating labor certification every time we move so be it. You are "best and brightest" correct.. prove it!



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  • funny
    10-01 05:17 PM
    I was thinking of buying a car but I have decided to hold off on it untill the presidentials elections are over. If obama is elected president I will not buy the car and will basically go into 100% saving mode because you never know when Obama\Durbin might kick us out. Nobody knows what sort of draconian rules are going to be put in place for EB community by Obama and Durbin. I have no confidence in Obama\Durbin to show any compassion\fairness towards Eb community. There might be hundreds of thousands of people holding off on purchasing a house, car or any big ticket item because of Obama\Durbin cir and there hostility towards Eb community. Hope I am proven wrong but I have not heard a single positive thing out of obama regarding EB community. Even when he was specifically asked about the green card delays faced by EB community he gave a evasive reply. He is always boasting about support for legal immigartion i.e family based immigration and not eb. I am not a obama hater nor a mcccain supporter but just a worried EB guy worried about his bleak future with Durbin lead cir.


    It is not clear what will happen to the existing applications, I don't think it would be simple to throw all the pending EB based GC applications out of the window and have everybody fall in line again in the new point based system....





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  • DSJ
    05-17 03:01 PM
    You said it.


    Consulting requires ability to learn quickly and ability analyzie the problem quickly and honestly consulting is not a profession for every one.



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  • HawaldarNaik
    12-26 07:14 PM
    I beleive enough is enough ( after saying no for years, i am now convinced), that the only way, i repeat, the only way to put an end to this is a Full Fledged WAR....otherwise they will keep on bleeding us like 26/11.
    We all know that they are nothing but a bunch of paper tigers and will go to any extent to harm India, but now the time is up with regards India's Patience.
    By not taking this step will make us sitting ducks for the next stage of attacks that will strike our cities.....
    If Indira Gandhi was alive (quoted by Priyanka Gandhi her grand daughter), she would have...taken decisive and clear cut action by now...and given a fitting reply.....
    The whole world is backing us and watching....Can India take action against all these atrocities happening for years now....or shall we just sit back and keep putting 'pressure' (which has been going on for a month now with no corrective action from the other side).
    Also no economic relations or cricket or entertainment relations (like a entertainment major did they cut off relations)......do not give an INCH.....boy oh boy....enough is enough.......after 26/11....i truly beleive so otherwise they will come up with more sinister plots....

    Even Mahatma said, if by being non violent the opponent feels you are a coward...then stand up....and give a fitting reply (something to that effect)





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  • vdlrao
    07-13 09:48 AM
    EB3-I..please print the attached word doc and sign and mail it to Department of state..this week

    Moderator could you makes this Sticky please


    Hi Pani, people like you could change the system. You have done really a nice job.





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  • decipher
    07-09 01:05 AM
    If the past employer didn't pay salary, you can file a complaint with DOL regarding unpaid wages (I believe that there are some time limits for such complaints - please check).

    Even if you are not going to file such a complaint, you might be able to use it to get the required experience letter from the past employer if needed.





    Macaca
    02-20 10:20 AM
    Some paras from A Few Degrees of Separation From Hillary Clinton's Top Adviser (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/19/AR2007021900972.html), By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum (http://projects.washingtonpost.com/staff/email/jeffrey+h.+birnbaum/), Please send e-mail tokstreet@washpost.com

    Mark J. Penn is a man who wears many hats: high-paid political and corporate pollster, chief executive of an international communications and lobbying company, and chief strategist to New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

    Enough connections for you?

    Well, there are more. Penn's firm, Burson-Marsteller Worldwide -- with 2,000 employees and $300 million a year in revenue -- owns BKSH & Associates, the major lobbying firm chaired by Charles R. Black Jr. That's right, Black, counselor to Republican presidents, reports to Clinton's top strategist.

    The connections get even more entangled. Burson-Marsteller is a subsidiary of WPP Group, a London-based advertising and PR giant that owns many of the biggest names on K Street. These include Quinn Gillespie & Associates, Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates, Timmons & Co., Ogilvy Government Relations Worldwide (formerly the Federalist Group), Public Strategies Inc., Dewey Square Group and Hill & Knowlton.

    To be more precise, Penn's parent company employs as lobbyists and advisers an ex-chairman of the Republican National Committee (Edward W. Gillespie), a former House GOP leader (Robert S. Walker), a top GOP fundraiser (Wayne L. Berman), and the former media adviser to President Bush (Mark McKinnon).

    WPP's Democrats are just as well known. They include an ex-aide to President Jimmy Carter (Anne Wexler), an ex-aide to President Bill Clinton (Jack Quinn), an ex-Cabinet officer for Clinton and Bush (Norman Y. Mineta), and a former top presidential campaign adviser for Al Gore and John Kerry (Michael J. Whouley).

    The range of interests represented by these people is a staggering list of corporate America's who's who, with Penn himself a longtime adviser to Microsoft.

    "This is a classic example of how big money has inextricably intertwined the campaign advising and lobbying worlds of modern-day Washington with potential conflicts of interest all over the place," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a watchdog group.





    Macaca
    12-20 08:47 AM
    Resolve To End Hyper-Partisanship (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/12/resolve_to_end_hyperpartisansh.html) By Mort Kondracke | Roll Call, December 20, 2007

    Suppose Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) wins the Democratic nomination and picks Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) or Independent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as his running mate. Or, suppose Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) wins the GOP nomination and picks Independent Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) as veep.

    Suppose even further that, over this year's holidays, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and President Bush all resolve that next year they'll really try to live up to the pledges they all made in early 2007 to work across party lines to - as they all said - do the problem-solving work voters elected them for.

    Is it all fantasy? Perhaps it is, given the hyperpartisanship of contemporary politics. Yet, every poll on the subject indicates that Americans are fed up with their politicians' incessant tribal warfare and inability to address problems everyone agrees are becoming more serious from inattention.

    If the two parties' presidential nominees reached out across party lines to pick their running mates - Obama and McCain seem the likeliest to do so - it would serve as dazzling notice that times were changing.

    It would be even more astounding if Congressional leaders and Bush could decide that, instead of repeating the dismal, few-achievements record of 2007, they'd resolve to solve at least one major problem in 2008 - say, pass tough but compassionate comprehensive immigration reform.

    Over the holidays, America's political actors - and observers - would do themselves and the country a favor by reading Ron Brownstein's new book, "The Second Civil War," whose subtitle begins to tell it all: "How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America."

    Brownstein, formerly with the Los Angeles Times and now political director of Atlantic Media Co. publications, vividly describes the historical origins of "hyperpartisanship," a term he borrows from a sometime practitioner of it, former Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman.

    More importantly - Brownstein eloquently laments the consequences of the disease and offers some fascinating remedies, some derived from former President Bill Clinton, whom he interviewed at length. Brownstein doesn't suggest picking vice presidents across party lines. Those are my radical imaginings - though they are derived from conversations with participants in presidential campaigns.

    Brownstein has this right: America is the richest, most powerful nation on Earth, but its leaders can't agree on a plan to reduce dependence on foreign oil, can't balance the budget, can't provide health insurance to a sixth of its population, can't align its promises to retirees with its ability to pay the cost and can't agree on strategies to combat Islamic terrorism.

    Why not? Because solutions to these problems require bipartisan "grand bargains" that polarized politicians are unwilling to make.

    "Our politics today encourages confrontation over compromise," Brownstein writes. "The political system now rewards ideology over pragmatism. It is designed to sharpen disagreements rather than construct consensus. It is built on exposing and inflaming the differences that separate Americans rather than the shared priorities and values that unite them."

    Brownstein puts primary blame on conservative Republicans for the rise of "warrior" politics, especially former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Texas), Bush and his former guru, Karl Rove, and their allies on talk radio.

    But he observes that Democrats are catching up in hyperpartisanship, flogged on by MoveOn.org and leftist bloggers. Mainstream media, too, encourage conflict over consensus. And the public has become ideologically "sorted," as well, making the GOP more conservative, Democrats more liberal and moderates torn.

    Brownstein gives rather more credit to Clinton than I would as a model centrist. He was that on policy - the "Great Triangulator" -but his personal misdeeds, slipperiness and tendency to respond savagely to threats made him as divisive as Bush, the "Great Polarizer."

    But how can we end the war and engender vigorous, substantive debate that leads to consensus? Brownstein recommends that states banish closed primaries and allow registered independents to participate in picking candidates.

    He also advises that political leaders look to a growing corps of cross-interest coalitions - such as the Business Roundtable, Service Employees International Union, AARP and National Federation of Independent Business - working to develop consensus solutions to problems such as health care and entitlement reform.

    But the prime requirement is presidential leadership - a willingness to spend time with leaders of the opposition party, include them in policy deliberations, really heed their concerns and try to build electoral coalitions and Congressional support of 55 or 60 percent, not Bush's 50-plus-one.

    "Imagine ... that such a president told the country that he would accept some ideas counter to his own preferences to encourage others to do the same. Surely such a president would face howls of complaint about ideological betrayal from the most ardent voices of his own coalition.

    "But that president also might touch a deep chord with voters. ... It has always been true that a president can score points by shaking a fist at his enemies. But a president who extends a hand to his enemies could transform American politics." Amen.

    Think about it over Christmas.



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