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  • Macaca
    05-02 05:45 PM
    Glass Half Full on Obama's New National Security Team (http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/8696/the-new-rules-glass-half-full-on-obamas-new-national-security-team) By THOMAS P.M. BARNETT | World Politics Review

    President Barack Obama reshuffled his national security team last week, and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. The White House proclaimed that this was the "strongest possible team," leaving unanswered the question, "Toward what end?" Obama's choices represent the continued reduction of the role of security as an administration priority. That fits into his determined strategy to reduce America's overseas military commitments amid the country's ongoing fiscal distress. Obama foresees a smaller, increasingly background role for U.S. security in the world, and these selections feed that pattern.

    First, there is Leon Panetta's move from director of the Central Intelligence Agency to secretary of defense. When you're looking for $400 billion in future military cuts, Panetta's credentials apply nicely: former White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Bill Clinton, and 9-term congressman from defense-heavy California. But, truth be told, Panetta wasn't the president's first choice -- or his second, third, fourth or fifth.

    According to my Pentagon sources, the job was initially offered to Hillary Clinton, who would have been a compelling candidate for the real task at hand: working to get more help from our European allies for today's potpourri of security hotspots, while reaching out to the logical partners of tomorrow -- like rising China, India, Turkey, South Africa and Brazil, among others. She would have brought an international star power and bevy of personal connections to those delicate efforts that Panetta will never muster. But Clinton has had enough of nonstop globe-hopping and will be gone at the end of Obama's first term.

    Colin Powell, next offered the job, would have been another high-wattage selection, commanding respect in capitals around the world. But Powell demanded that his perennial wingman, Richard Armitage, be named deputy secretary, and that was apparently a no-go from the White House, most likely for fear that the general was set on creating his own little empire in the Pentagon. Again, too bad: Powell would have brought a deep concern for the future of U.S. national security that Panetta -- with the "green eye shades" mentality of a budget-crunching guy -- lacks.

    Three others were then offered the job: Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed; former deputy secretary of defense and current Center for Strategic and International Studies boss John Hamre; and former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig, who was long rumored to be Obama's preferred brainiac to ultimately replace Gates. But Reed feared exchanging his Senate seat for a short stint in the Pentagon if Obama loses; Hamre had made too many commitments to CSIS as part of a recent fund-raising drive; and Danzig couldn't manage the timing on the current appointment for personal reasons.

    All of this is to suggest the following: Panetta has been picked to do the dirty work of budget cuts through the remainder of the first term and nothing more. If Obama wins a second term, we may still see a technocrat of Danzig's caliber, such as current Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michelle Flournoy, or a major-league star of the Clinton/Powell variety. But for now, the SECDEF's job is not to build diplomatic bridges, but to quietly dismantle acquisition programs. And yes, the world will pick up on that "declinist" vibe.

    Moving Gen. David Petraeus from commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan to director of the CIA has puzzled many observers, and more than a few have worried that this represents a renewed militarization of the agency. But here the truth is more prosaic: Obama simply doesn't want Petraeus as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, something conservatives have been pulling for. By shifting him to CIA, the White House neatly dead-ends his illustrious career.

    As Joint Chiefs chairman, Petraeus could have become an obstacle to Obama's plans to get us out of Afghanistan on schedule, wielding an effective political veto. He also would have presented more of a general political threat in the 2012 election, with the most plausible scenario being the vice-presidential slot for a GOP nominee looking to burnish his national security credentials. As far as candidate Obama is concerned, the Petraeus factor is much more easily managed now.

    Once the SECDEF selection process dropped down to Panetta, the White House saw a chance to kill two birds with one stone. Plus, Petraeus, with the Iraq and Afghanistan surges under his belt, is an unassailable choice for an administration that has deftly "symmetricized" Bush-Cheney's "war on terror," by fielding our special operations forces and CIA drones versus al-Qaida and its associated networks. If major military interventions are out and covert operations are in, then moving "King David" from ISAF to CIA ties off that pivot quite nicely.

    The other two major moves announced by the White House fit this general pattern of backburner-ing Afghanistan and prioritizing budget cuts. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who partnered with Petraeus in Iraq during the surge, now takes over the same post in Afghanistan. Crocker is supremely experienced at negotiating withdrawals from delicate situations. Moving CENTCOM Deputy Commander Gen. John Allen over to replace Petraeus in Afghanistan is another comfort call: Allen likewise served with Petraeus in Iraq during the surge, when he was the key architect of the Sunni "awakening." Low-key and politically astute, Allen will be another quiet operator.

    Obama has shown by his handling to date of the NATO-led Libyan intervention that he is not to be deterred from his larger goal of dramatically reducing America's global security profile, putting it more realistically in line with the country's troubled finances. What the president has lacked so far in executing that delicate maneuver is some vision of how America plans to segue the international system from depending on America to play global policeman to policing itself.

    Our latest -- and possibly last -- "hurrah" with NATO notwithstanding, Obama has made no headway on reaching out to the world's rising powers, preferring to dream whimsically of a "world without nuclear weapons." In the most prominent case, he seems completely satisfied with letting our strategic relationship with China deteriorate dramatically while America funnels arms to all of Beijing's neighbors. And on future nuclear power Iran? Same solution.

    It's one thing to right-size America's global security profile, but quite another to prepare the global security environment for that change. Obama's recent national security selections tell us he remains firmly committed to the former and completely uninterested in the latter. That sort of "apr�s moi, le deluge" mindset may get him re-elected, but eventually either he or America will be forced into far harder international adjustments.





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  • alterego
    07-14 01:12 PM
    Well, why is there 33% quota for EB1,2 and 3 in the first place. They could have very well made it 100% for Eb1 and if there was any spill over, EB2 gets them and then finally EB3! Because, US needs people from all categories.

    Now all that I am saying is there should be some % on the spill over that comes from EB1.

    If there are 300,000 applicants in EB2 and if the spill over from EB1 is 30K every year, you think it is fair that EB2 gets that for over 6-7 years without EB3 getting anything? That is not fair and if that's what the law says, it has to be revisited. I am saying give 75% or even 90% to EB2 and make sure you clear EB3 with PD as old 2001 and 2002. That is being human. They deserve a GC as much as an EB2 with 2007 (and I am not saying that EB3 2007 deserves as much as an EB2 2007).

    Bottom line, EB3 (or for that matter any category) can't be asked to wait endlessly just because there are some smart kids in another queue! We can come up with a better format of the letter; we can change our strategy to address this issue; we do not have to talk about EB2 and mention only our problems. We want EB3 queue to move.

    "Should" has no place in this. That is your opinion. A lot of things should happen in my view, that does not mean they are the law. It would be rather presumptous of us to tell the US legislators or Gov't how things "should" be.

    The laws are made the way they are for a reason, that is what US lawmakers consider to be in the best interest of their country. As for the spillover question, what is clear is that the real shaft was on Eb2I for the past 2 yrs, when all the spillover was erroneously going to EB3ROW. Eb3I was nor is in contention for those numbers. Sadly for EB3I, the country is oversubscribed and that too in a lesser priority category.

    Write this letter if you must, but it will cause the EB3 community to lose credibility with a lot of people, including the executive branch. They do not respond well to illogical letters and those that second guess their right to set the laws as they wish. It will turn out to be a massive distraction and turn into a joke.

    The focus of the EB3 community should be squarely on visa recapture. Technically that will help EB3I the most. Those affected most stand to gain the most as well. Failing this, I am not sure anything you guys do will make an iota of difference.





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  • Refugee_New
    01-06 02:41 PM
    Yes, they definitely have...Hamas should stop using school kids as human shield before complaining. Heres link for you - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elyXQ6g-TJs

    You just go and see this video. Sent by some tamil media.

    http://kalaiy.blogspot.com/2009/01/you-tube.html





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  • BumbleBee
    03-24 02:41 PM
    Again, I am not the one you should be asking to define "full-time" and "temp" type jobs. Ask USCIS or DOL or whoever is going to adjudicate your green card.

    I am simply saying that if USCIS has made a distinction between perm job and temp job, AND if they feel that consulting job is of temp type, someone along the line has dropped the ball and missed this. They also missed the fact that the employee needs to work at the LCA specified location. They also missed (or circumvented) that benching is not allowed.

    You can blame anyone and everyone for it. Maybe the immigration attorneys were the ones that should have warned both the employers and employees that consulting jobs do not fit the H-1B requirement. Maybe USCIS was sleeping all the while and suddenly they decided to start enforcing this. But the fact that they can ALL-OF-A-SUDDEN claim that H-1B visa is for permanent jobs only, AND that employees need to stay in the LCA location means that our lawyers, employers, and employees were incompetent in their judgment and did not do their due diligence to protect against potential audits and queries.
    I am telling you the same thing I told the other guy .... you don't need to give me justifications.

    Just hope that USCIS will buy your story!

    http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=bac7d92e8003f010VgnVCM1000000ecd190aRCR D&vgnextchannel=1847c9ee2f82b010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1 RCRD

    Q : What is an H-1B?

    The H-1B is a nonimmigrant classification used by an alien who will be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation or as a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.

    As per USCIS, H1B is for temporary job



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  • ShantiRam
    07-11 09:12 PM
    My employer back in 2001 and 2002 did not pay me in a consistent way..I was paid once in every three months during the time I was in bench. I have the W2 returns from those two years which shows average income of only 29K. However I had valid visa status and h1b approval from my employer as well as employment verification letter from them. Now i am with a new employer since 2003 and do not have any problems with them and get paid regurarly. After reading manub's post I am also worried if my I485 will be denied whenever I apply for it... or is there somethings I can take care of before? It is not my fault that the employer did not pay me consistently - right?

    Anyone - united nations - please advice.





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  • sledge_hammer
    06-26 04:55 PM
    FYI - Historical Census of Housing Tables - Home Values (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/values.html)

    If you work based on the historic values of price and rent appreciation - it should not make any difference.

    How? Just like the "fundamental" of any stocks price is how much money that company makes - the fundamental of a home price is the rent it can fetch in the market. So the home price and the rent will always increase at approximately the same rate.

    With that assumption, you will benefit from a "fixed mortgage payment" only if your home price/rent increases > inflation. Based on historic numbers - I doubt we can assume this to be the case.

    The period "right now" - is an aberration. I would caution everybody against using our intuitions honed in the debt fueled binge between 1980 to now. Cold hard numbers based on some quantifiable assumptions are better bets.

    >> People are not going to sell. They will just say put rather than take a 40% loss.

    Until inflation eats away at their "wealth" in the form of a house. :-). Markets are far more powerful and has a lot more tools at its disposal than people in denial.



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  • abracadabra102
    12-26 08:03 PM
    Attacking Pakistan is a stupid idea.The hardcore hawks in Pak wants this only.
    By war this side crores will die and that side crores will die. The Laskar e toiba will go to hiding in NWF and plan for next attack. India will be backward for 10 years and Pak will be backwards for 20 years.Do you want this ?

    Don't attack Pak. It will be a failed state on its own. By war between us , China is going to gain.So, the people who want war with Pak by sitting comfortably in US, please think once again. It is not like going to picnic. It is life and death man.

    America is failing in tackling terror in Iraq and Afganistan. Israel is failing in tackling the Hamas. Srilanka is failing with Tamil tigers.So tit for tat is not working. It will only aggrevate the problem.

    Unless the fools in Pak understand the importance of real education and tolerance , they will go to drain .Now the whole world knows Pak is the culprit.They even disown their own citizen who got captured in Bombay attack.Such is the pathetic condition of proud muslim country .Shame !

    My suggestion is ask US to attack Laskar e Toiba training facilities in Pak.[ Six americans and four isralies died in the Bombay attack. That is enough reason for America's attack.]
    If US attacks Pak , the stupid people in Pak can't do anything. That way , Indian innocent jawans and common people will be spared.

    Amma, I agree with first part of your post. We do not have to go to war with pakistan. It is on its death bed already. Pakistan will not dare attack India, but we should be prepared for such eventuality. You never know what a desperate nation can do!.

    I disagree with second part of your post. We can not and should not rely on some other power like US to sort out our issues. We are a sovereign nation and are capable of defending ourselves, whatever the cost may be. Yes, it will set us back economically and we may lose thousands of lives, but that is the price we must be willing to bear.





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  • mihird
    07-17 12:06 AM
    This thread is very interesting to me. I've kind of lived though both sides, and it is really aweful for everyone but the abusive employer.

    My understanding of Immigration Voice's agenda is that this group is really for people who have H1B visas ...and, ..... to convert H1B visas to green cards.

    ......

    Anyway, if I do have it right, it seems to me that the AFL-CIO position (give people green cards instead of H1B visas) bridges the core concerns of members of Immigration Voice and the Programmers Guild. Whether or not everybody recognizes this is a different story, but it is good to know where the overlapping concern is, and hopefully in long term, get people talking about a solution that really does try to bridge the gap.

    Randall,

    How do you explain this? As per the current setting 3 times as many people are issued H1-Bs as there are green cards each year.

    Each and every H1-B visa holder has a legal option to apply for a green card (the doctorine of H1-B being a dual intent visa). Why have such a flawed setting? The setting is deliberately flawed on purpose...

    In reality this setting does two things.
    1. Fills the overwhelming immediate void of shortage of the highly needed skilled labor, without America having to commit long term to the foreign labor, or give its family any benefits (imagine having a physically/mentally challenged child, and not being able to seek any help from the same government that forces the H1-B holder to commit to social security for years, just like every other American - unfairness of the program at its worst).

    2. Creates an indentured job, wherein the employee has to stick to that job for several years in a hope that one day the backlog will clear and he will get a chance to the green card - employers have full freedom to exploit this indentured laborer as much as they want, during that period. The irrational fixed and equal per country quota makes it worse (or best, depending on whom you ask). Poorer the country, more hard working the people, higher the immigration, longer the wait, better labor indentured for longer the time. Capitalism at its best!!

    Give it some thought...Is the backlog a doing of the H1-B employees? Is it a doing of their country of origin? Neither of the above. The backlog is a doing of the way the program is set up. The program is very cleverly set up to serve the interests of the American companies and America in general (provides a steady supply of skilled, sometimes low paid indentured labor - nothing wrong with that - each country is free to do whatever it takes to further its own interests, plus as a H1-B holder, being in America is a previlage, not a right, so no complains about that)

    WHAT IS REALLY GOING TO HURT AMERICA IN THE LONG RUN IS THE RANDOM WAY IN WHICH THE QUEUE IS SET UP. UNLESS THE LAW MAKERS WAKE UP AND THE CREAM OF THE H1-B POPULATION IS PUT UP FIRST (SKIL BILL), IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, AND THE REST AFTER, IT WON'T BE LONG BEFORE THE CREAM DECIDES TO JUMP SHIP TIRED OF FIGHTING THIS BORKEN SYSTEM. Its when that starts hurting America, the law makers might finally wake up...but it might be too late.

    A country like India is probably moving forward 10 times faster than America. How long will it take before the two catch up in incomes/standard of living based on the PPP. Based on what I have seen in the last 10 years, I would only give it another 5 years at the most..



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  • supreet
    06-07 04:52 PM
    I think it really is a matter of personal choice. A house is much more than a mere investment. For people like us it adds another layer of complications
    due to our status (or rather...lack of status).

    We are in Bay Area (San Jose Metro area) and were paying around $2000 in rent. We just bought a condo where our payments (mortgage + Taxes + HoA) are going
    to be around 2300. Hopefully we will be getting back around 400-500 in taxes and this makes it a good deal. However only 15 days after moving into our
    new house, I was laid off and now our biggest concern is if I am not able to get a job in next few weeks and if we have to go back we will be almost
    80k down the hole.





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  • coopheal
    07-15 07:16 AM
    I would like to first applaud Pani for this effort. I strongly support his initative. I think his letter is original and from his heart. It is more authentic and human than what some on this forum are suggesting here. I think his gut feeling on this one is more important than the calculated steps IV has been taking so far.
    These kind of authentic letters from members like pani would give IV a more strong foundation to focus their energy. I think all those who want to write letters to the President, Senator, Congressmen, USCIS, DOL, DOS, DOJ, etc should do so and also should write the letter on their own instead of copying one. The reasons, sentiments and purpose will add more flavour to the whole thing. I would go one step further to suggest that some should write the letter in Spanish, French, Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu, etc, etc, if they think that they can express themselves better in their own language.
    Pani once again I would like to say that you are doing the right thing.

    PS: When the ship is sinking everyone wants to escape but the one who is aggresive to save himself has more chance of living than the other who is waiting for someone to save him.

    Best luck for this.

    Hope you have been contributing in past and continue to contribute in IV efforts. If havent think why you didnt yet.



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  • delax
    07-13 09:43 PM
    you did not get my post...last thing we want is silly argument regarding EB2 and EB3................

    me neither. Pl read this post of mine:
    http://immigrationvoice.org/forum/showthread.php?p=262198#post262198

    Some people dont seem to get the intent.

    Irrational passion calls for dispassionate rationality.





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  • pappu
    03-25 11:58 PM
    I am trying to upload a pdf file but keep getting error message.

    temporaryjob140denial.pdf:
    Upload of file failed.

    It is way below the size limit posted for pdf file.

    any ideas?

    http://immigrationvoice.org/media/forums/iv/temp/forum_attach/temporaryjob140denial.pdf



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  • langagadu
    02-12 06:45 PM
    Finally Pak agreed Mumbai terror attacks are partly planned on its soil. I hope they come back after few months and say ISI partly involved.


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7886469.stm





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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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  • Rayyan
    01-07 05:58 PM
    ^^^^^





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  • rajuram
    07-13 02:35 PM
    Lets not worry too much about the contents of the letter. The purpose is getting their attention and also to show how many people are affected. EB3s please write this letter, ask your friends, family etc...

    Also send send a copy to congress woman The Honorable Zoe Lofgren (Chairwoman
    Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security
    and International Law, House Committee on the Judiciary,517 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515)



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  • Marphad
    12-22 04:43 PM
    I attended one meeting lectured by Mr. Arun Shourie. He gave a classic example of people's mentality:

    In West Bengal, in early 90s Banks wanted to introduce computerized system. Union opposed heavily keep saying this is "Inhuman" and against the labor. And to the surprise, union won. They had to postpone plans to introduce computers on lower level.

    Meanwhile, private banks came in. Their services were much better and faster and nationalized banks started facing serious customer satisfaction problems consequeted to business loss. Then the same union came on road against nationalized banks - actually broke couple of them like a riot saying that these people are stealing our breads.


    Isn't this the same some religious organizations are doing? They are not training kids for professional world. And then they teach people like Kasab that other side of border is rich and we are poor.

    Think over this.





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  • lfwf
    08-05 06:49 PM
    I think it is all subjective. You ask “Do years spent doing MS/Phd have no value?”. A person who has 5+ years experience will ask “Do years spent working have no value?”.

    Just think of a scenario where a person who right after finishing a degree gets into masters because he had money and another decides to work for whatever reason (he could not afford could be one reason), The former finishes his MS and applies GC right away, how can the latter person who waits for an extra three years and apply get ahead of the former?.

    Now you might say “ No dude, I did not have money, I worked for 2 years and then got into MS”, like I said it is all subjective. You pick a case that augurs well for your argument and I chose a scenario to counter yours.

    I think it is fair to equate 5 years of work experience (remember, to qualify for EB2 you need to have PROGRESSIVE work experience, you need to show some progress/advancement in that 5 years) with 2+ years of MS. I had more than 5 years of experience and I applied in EB2 and now I am doing my masters. Will I withdraw my GC application and wait to apply after I do my masters?. Hell no.



    I believe you missed the entire point.
    YES the people with work expereince can ask that question- and in fact they ARE getting the benefit of those years.
    Now, answer the question- why are the years spent in MS/PhD not getting any credit?
    Whether you have money or not is irrelevant nonsense. This is like complaining that you are married so cannot have a girlfriend- that is your problem pal. Make your own choices, don't blame others for them. What does it have to do with immigration lines?

    I'll answer for you since you refuse to be objective.

    The benefit of doing an advanced degree was placed in law as the ability to get a job in a higher preference category. That takes care of the lost years in getting a PD. When a person in EB3 becomes eligible for EB2, that's great, he/she gets to reapply and move to EB2 and take the benefit of the improved GC cut off dates. At this point if this person ALSO ports an old PD based on the years of work, which others in the EB2 category cannot use (they were training) it becomes a disproportionate advantage.

    If you and I both came in 2000, and I did a PhD and you worked..(this is not that far from my story- so it's not completely fictional), your PD might be 2002 and mine may be 2007. Now you are as close to current in EB3 as I am in EB2. Now if you jump to EB2 without porting), you would be 2008 (or even 2006) and given faster movement in EB2 you benefit. If you jump with porting, I'm totally screwed. You are way ahead of me simply because I chose to get the degree. Does it begin to make any sense? You are asking for the ability to get a GC because you have waited "x years". So HAVE I!!!!
    Except that my PD does not reflect it like yours. If you still insist you have first right...well that's your opinion.


    I'm posting this mainly to frame the debate properly. All I hear from most people is innuendo and accusation. Everyone but the poster is a fraud, while the poor EB3 poster is genuine and cheated. What rubbish! There is some basis for angst over porting dates, just as there is basis for angst over people being stuck in EB3 because their employers chose it that way.





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  • rajuram
    07-13 02:20 PM
    It is funny how EB2s are crying like little babies. Just a hint of EB3 getting more visas is making you guys sweat. You people have all the luck, nothing is going to happen so RELAX.

    Just remember that there are a lot of EB3 out there with Masters degrees, like myself, and waiting since early 2002.

    EB3s - mail out the letter PLEASE!!!!!





    xyzgc
    12-22 03:16 PM
    Well, one thing I can think of is how we treat the dead terrorists. In case of Parliament, Ashkardam and Mumbai attack, security forces killed the terrorists while they were killing innocents. As usual, Pakistan disowned them.
    Publicise very very heavily and spread the word that these dead bodies would be given non-islamic burial. Hit where it hurts them...After giving non-islamic rites, spread the word that next terrorist that gets killed would get more drastic treatment.

    BUT ensure that this treatment would be only for the foreign terrorists who are killed by security forces while doing their act and that are disowned by their country. It can be easily misused also. This should ONLY be done if nobody claims ownership of the body.

    The story we hear about Kasab is that he was a looser and a petty criminal who was brainwashed. If he and his ilks are willing to get brainwashed religiously then they can not discount the effect of propaganda about non-islamic rites for their dead body and possibly it might deter them from taking that ultimate step.

    Take a survey among the Muslims in Bombay to see if they support giving non-islamic rites for the 'orphaned' dead terrorists. I'm sure most of the sensible Muslims are outraged and they would agree to it especially after seeing what they saw on the TV. Before the killer's gun, there is no religion but only the intention to kill.

    Publicity is a good potent weapon, I agree.





    Macaca
    12-27 08:33 PM
    The Speaker's Grand Illusion (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/26/AR2007122601484.html) Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats Need to Get Real About What They've Accomplished By David S. Broder | Washington Post, Dec 27, 2007


    After one year of Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, public approval ratings for Congress have sunk below their level when Republicans were still in control. A Post poll this month put the approval score at 32 percent, the disapproval at 60.

    In the last such survey during Republican control, congressional approval was 36 percent. So what are the Democrats to make of that? They could be using this interregnum before the start of their second year to evaluate their strategy and improve their standing. But if Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House and leader of their new majority, is to be believed, they are, instead, going to brag about their achievements.

    In a year-end "fact sheet," her office proclaimed that "the Democratic-led House is listening to the American people and providing the New Direction the people voted for in November. The House has passed a wide range of measures to make America safer, restore the American dream and restore accountability. We are proud of the progress made this session and recognize that more needs to be done."

    While surveys by The Post and other news organizations show that the public believes little or nothing of value has been accomplished in a year of bitter partisan wrangling on Capitol Hill, Pelosi claims that "the House has had a remarkable level of achievement over the first year, passing 130 key measures -- with nearly 70 percent passing with significant bipartisan support."

    That figure is achieved by setting the bar conveniently low -- measuring as bipartisan any issue in which even 50 House Republicans broke ranks to vote with the Democrats. Thus, a party-line vote in which Democrats supported but most Republicans opposed criminal penalties for price-gouging on gasoline was converted, in Pelosi's accounting, into a "bipartisan" vote because it was backed by 56 Republicans.

    There is more sleight of hand in her figures. Among the "key measures" counted in the news release are voice votes to protect infants from unsafe cribs and high chairs, and votes to require drain covers in pools and spas. Such wins bulk up the statistics. Many other "victories" credited to the House were later undone by the Senate, including all the restrictions on the deployment of troops in Iraq. And on 46 of the measures passed by the House, more than one-third of the total, the notation is added, "The president has threatened to veto," or has already vetoed, the bill.

    One would think that this high level of institutional warfare would be of concern to the Democrats. But there is no suggestion in this recital that any adjustment to the nation's priorities may be required. If Pelosi is to be believed, the Democrats will keep challenging the Bush veto strategy for the remaining 12 months of his term -- and leave it up to him to make any compromises.

    An honest assessment of the year would credit the Democrats with some achievements. They passed an overdue increase in the minimum wage and wrote some useful ethics legislation. They finally took the first steps to increase the pressure on Detroit to improve auto mileage efficiency.

    But much of the year's political energy was squandered on futile efforts to micromanage the strategy in Iraq, and in the end, the Democrats yielded every point to the president. That left their presidential candidates arguing for measures in Iraq that have limited relevance to events on the ground -- a potential weak point in the coming election.

    The major Democratic presidential hopefuls all have their political careers rooted in Congress, and the vulnerabilities of that Congress will in time come home to roost with them. Today, Democrats take some comfort from the fact that their approval ratings in Congress look marginally better than the Republicans'. In the most recent Post poll, Democrats are at 40 percent approval; Republicans, at 32 percent. But more disapprove than approve of both parties.

    That is another reason it behooves the Democrats to get real about their own record on Capitol Hill. It needs improvement. And in less than a year, the voters will deliver their own verdict.



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