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  • nojoke
    04-15 11:59 AM
    Agreed, but then you have no way of knowing if you would have been less happier growing up in a bigger home. For all you know, you may have been more happier.

    That is the general line of thinking everyone has including all the people who are posting on this forum. If more money does not equate to a better life, then why are all these people taking the trouble to desert their home land and live in a foreign country? If more money => better lifestyle, then it follows a home can provide a relatively better environment to a child than an apartment.

    If all Americans live in rented apartments, drive only used Japanese cars (resale value), furnished their homes with scant used furniture and were focussed on investing their money than spending it, then the American economy will go down to the level of a third world country in less than 10 years.

    This does not mean everyone has to run out and buy a home. The point as I said earlier is to see a home as a home and not as an investment.

    No. It is not the general line of thinking. Let it go and don't defend the indefensible. You don't buy everything your kid wants. You get what you can and what you think is best for your kid.
    I have lived in apartment when I was a kid and so has so many others here. We were happy and never regretted living in apartments. More money doesn't always imply happy life. Less money doesn't mean sad life. This year alone 6 of my friends are going back to India because they choose to live in their homeland. They have greencard etc.
    And renting people are not poor either. They choose to rent for various reasons. The question is - is it a good time to buy? Having 485 or green card has less significance in this economy. The housing market is crashing and will fall for another 2 years. So rent save money and when time is right buy a house. For those of you who are not convinced then atleast hold on till you get greencard, so that you will atleast be able to comeback when you visit your parents. We are talking about recession and depression and you never know when your company is going out of business and when there is going to be a layoff.
    If you disagree and think it is a good time to buy, then show me the reason.

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  • mariner5555
    04-14 02:16 PM
    I cannot agree more. I have been trying to drill this into some peoples brain but they are so adamant on renting and has made this thread into a rent vs buy argument. I finally gave up. I am not saying that this is the right time to buy. Fast forward 2 or 2+ years, lets assume the market is good. Then when it comes to rent vs buy I advocate buying a house.

    Let�s say you have a small kid and you are living in an apartment, after 10 years you save enough money to buy a big house and you then eventually you buy it. Then you ask the your kid �do you like the house?�. He will reply �it�s very nice dad, but can you give you give my childhood now?.�. Go figure out guys. If you are not planning on going back for a very long time then at-least get a life in the country you reside and when the housing market is good.
    wow you come back to the same argument again ..and you tell others. maybe you should ask your child ..would you prefer that I spend more time with you or is it o.k if I see you only on weekends.
    you are saying the others are not understanding your point ..but at the same time you are not understanding the other side of argument.
    basically you are equating a bigger house means better childhood ..which is plain wrong. maybe your case or for few lucky people that maybe the case ..but I suspect for 99 percent of people ..maintaining and buying homes means they have to slog harder and that means less time for kids !!

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

    The call ended by the time I realized my 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


    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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  • nc14
    03-22 12:43 PM
    My PD is May 2004 in the same category. I think you should have also got your EAD (which gives the safety net). I bought my house in September last year and got a hefty discount from the builder (State - OH). I think, its a buyers market, if you have some stability at your job and if you also have the EAD than it is time to take the plunge.

    No doubt, It's a good time to buy (but also depends on where you are located). FYI, I bought a new house in a community which was getting completed and got if for a good price. The good thing about something like this is that since the community is over now, the builder is not competing with the existing home owners for the same buyer.

    My little contribution - $220 till date
    Flower Campaign + Sending letter to the President

    my greencard is filed under EB3 category and it looks like a long wait. My PD is 2003 Nov and i am an indian. We've been debating whether to buy a house when 485 is pending. what is the risk involved? how many people are in a similar situation? I have twin boys and they are 3 yrs old now and it's getting increasingly difficult to keep them in an apartment. Now with housing market going down as well, we are in a tight spot and have to make a decision quickly. I would appreciate any suggestion in this regard.


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  • mariner5555
    04-16 04:50 AM
    probably you have change your handle from iwantmygreen to iamgreenwithenvy. dude, first of all who made you the judge, second of all how and why did you assume that I bought a costly home?. I went in for a townhome not far from where Mr Marinner lives, going by his posts I know he lives in or near atlanta. also, we are on single income and I can happily afford the mortgage for my small home and ofcourse my kid is happy.
    hi NKR,
    if you went for a townhome and you are happy then it is fine. I am sure you are a smart person and the main point is that you are happy where you are.
    personally I am looking for a bigger place in alpharetta (where prices did go up a lot and is coming down ..websites show that there are foreclosures and my view is that I will find better deals in a year or so). at the same time I am happy with my decision and am having a great time.
    I was giving examples of some of my friends who rushed to buy. atleast 2 of them are repenting now (since they bought it far away at v.high prices) ..and one of them is about to sell it after staying there for a year.
    the point that nojoke and myself were making is that speculators (and careless people - those who could not afford but bought it, realtors, brokers etc etc) have pushed the prices to bubble territory. things are going to get much worse before it becomes better in most locations. there is no doubt about this. The other reason that I (and I guess nojoke) posted so many links was in good faith. i.e. we didn't want the hardworking immigrant to throw his/her money in a rush. this would only help the speculators and the other irresponsible speculators.
    let me make one last point since this is immi / GC forum. I was trying to get more support for the idea to have a plan B (and I failed ..which is fine since I may get GC soon and I have a plan B for myself).
    I agree (And hope) that IV has a good plan A (writing to senators, fasting , flowers etc) ..what I tried to say was that we should work on plan B (and maybe plan C too). if I was a core IV member then at the very least plan B would have meant ..meeting (or emailing - wherever and whenever it is legal) realtors, brokers or even senators etc etc ...and in turn use their lobby to lobby for our cause. if all the IV members were to do this at their local level --then who knows ..this may work. it is certainly worth trying.
    from what I have read builders are big contributors to congress ..

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  • senthil1
    04-08 07:34 PM
    IBM and Oracle will survive without H1B as they will hire US workers and set back will be temporary for them. So this bill is targeting the Indian bodyshoppers who are running company just by H1b persons. This was expected for long time. If it is not happening now it is going to happen in a few years. We knew that hundreds of US companies went out of business after 2000 as they were not able to compete with Indian consulting companies because of rate.

    What about professional services? Like IBM global services, Oracle consulting etc.... all these companies thrive on after sales customization and support based on professional services contract and there are thousands of h1b visa holders doing professional services. It is also outsourcing of a employee to a client implementing their system. Look at SAP, Siebel consultants, they are outsourced at client places for years together to finish implementations and their work locations are changed based on client's needs from time to time in between jobs - this is again a huge pool of H1bs.
    I used to work fulltime for a company in their professional services group and travelled on the job to a lot of places. The company thrives on h1b resources for their high pressured jobs and they always bring in people from outside the country to do their jobs.

    I think outsourcing employees to a different location is a part and parcel of H1b, and this bill is nailing exactly on that. It is aimed solely to purge out H1bs from the country.

    So all said and done, we may now go down based on a racially motivated bill. I am not sure what it takes to educate the law makers, I would like to see the senior personnel at IV and more analysts to look into what can be done on this bill.


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  • lfwf
    08-06 02:54 PM
    OP is long gone. Your post is full of big brave words and no substance. If you want to have a discussion and demonstrate your "intellect", please make some rational arguments and back them up. There is no lawsuit discussion here, just a debate on the merits of BS+5 PD porting


    When you give reds, learn to read the whole post. I pointed out that since Op was gone, no one here was really filing a lawsuit but we were debating the issue. The thread may be about anything, so what? The discussion ahd turned to a personalized bashing of anyone that dared file for EB2.

    Reading your posts I see that you got a red from someone, guess you decided to lash out in return. Fitting!

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  • srkamath
    07-13 12:11 PM
    I really admire this initiative for EB3-I by some members. We need a strong argument to put forth. This letter is very weak. The opening statement needs work. There are too many abbreviations.

    Please do not make the letter sound like a whine or a rant about someone else who followed the rules getting ahead - this will not work, neither will a plea.
    Complaining to the USCIS or DOL or DOS that they are not interpreting the law favorably for a certain group will not make the cut. None of them have much discretionary authority here and definitely no arbitrary powers.

    The executive branch of the US gov (incl DOL, DOS, DHS) is limited to working within the law - they can revise their interpretation of a law if it converges with the intent of congress - not if it diverges from it.

    Immigration laws are written to benefit the US and not for fairness to potential immigrants - that is how it is. The DOS is presently interpreting the law the most accurately ever. The problem is the law - not the interpretation.

    EB3 badly needs backlog relief. This is a congressional matter and not executive.


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  • seattleGC
    02-21 11:24 AM
    He is such nut job that he is not worth talking about.

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  • jvordar
    08-03 12:36 AM
    I refer back to my earlier posting where I said I just read the memos and the law and thought this stuff was pretty simple. USCIS quite often goes above and beyond (tax returns rfe's, pictures of company inside/outside).

    I'll give you some examples of what they have done of which I have intimate knowledge of:

    1) Questioned company on I-140 why they had more 140's pending/approved then the number of people on payroll. Asked for all 140 info., h1, L1 and even the people who got employment base greencard and asked company to justify where they are

    2) Department of state for visa stamping; if they don't trust client letter; they refer the case to department of state fraud unit in Kentucky. They will then contact signer of letter and HR of company to verify that person signed the letter

    3) Department of labor is on a real war path of checking companies compliance with h-1b based on referrals made by department of state. I can tell you that there is no way any company who is h-1b dependent can be 100% compliant with h-1b. Patni got fined $3.5 million for violations.

    4) Department of labor made a home visit to an HR person who was no longer working with the company to ask and verify her signatue on labor applications in a fast processing state when they weren't registered to do business there

    5) Department of labor verifying that people were paid the greencard wage upon greencard approval (this was in conjunction with h-1b investigation). I can tell you that some states have very high eb2 wages and people aren't even close to the labor number; companies do it anyways to keep you happy but do they run that number once you do get the greencard?

    6) h-1b rfe's from california service center. when quota finished in one day; there was some rumors from california service center that they would be treating h-1b transfers/quota cases very harshly in that companies were engaging in speculative employment. These days if you are involved in software and you file an h-1b transfer or even extension with california service center; you have a very good chance of getting a four page rfe. One of the things they have started to ask for is a table of people whom h-1b's have been filed for. Table has to list name, social security number, receipt number, date of birth, joining date, termination date, no show, future joining date. California service center then intertwines this information with company unemployment compensation reports. I have actually seen 3 recent denials where USCIS examined the unemployment compensation reports and looked at people who may have been paid a lower wage and pulled those people's h-1b files and denied the present case saying they can't trust the company to comply with the h-1b, lca.


    These days; uscis/dol/dos really means business. I refer you to earlier posting of how evertime a company files a case; it gives uscis a chance to go through entire immigration history of a company. They have the resources and tools.

    ok now i'm really confused between AC21 and future employment debate....
    AC21 can be used after 6 months of 485 filing to change the job but then once u get GC you have to work for the original company that filed your 485 for few months?? so for e.g. if i change my job after lets say 1 year of 485 filing and lets say my 485 is approved after 3 years so now do i have to quit my new job and go back to my old employer to work for few months to get my gc? am i understanding this correct? i think i'm not... can you please clarify?? thnx


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  • pitha
    09-26 06:49 PM
    You are not a citizen, you are not even a green card holder, you and I are H1, and whatever i said is from an h1 point of view. Dont think like a citizen or green card holder, think like a H1b and you will realize obama will roast us. with mccain it might be 4 more years of bush nothing good for eb but definetely nothing bad. The reason behind this thread is not to discuss socialism or capitalism in the general sense but through the lense of eb folks. Once we agree that obama\durbin CIR would spell dooom for us we can decide either
    1. We contribute to IV and put one last fight
    2. pack our bags and leave or
    3. waste our time arguing about capitalism and socialism in the general sense, argue about health care, jobs, etc etc etc when we dont even have a green card.

    This is complete non-sense. See the fact of capitalistic approch. Reckless free market approch brought the country to (wall) street. If no regulation and control by the government, the CEOs/Captialist screw you and me. see Enron. See WAMU. The CEO of WAMU walks away with millions of $ after screwing the bank. Where did you studied socialist goverment do not create high tech job? Captalistic form of government is good only if, the CEOs/capitalists are Gandi/Budda.

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  • manub
    07-08 10:51 PM
    We won`t get any letter from that comapany as my husband din`t exit in good terms.(Ofcourse if they won`t pay him for months).
    I do believe in our case the reasons are more to do with the officer dealing the case than with actual technical issues.
    In the NOID they said the reason mainly was( he changed from company A to B to C but when he reentered he entered on B instead of C .at that time was not very knowledgeable about all this stuff)he reentry was not legal and was willful misrepresentaton of facts.
    Then our lawyer in our reply sent that as long as both visas are still valid it is legal.Then now they state ok his reentry is not wrong only the paystubs part is wrong and stating he never worked for that company chose to deny.


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  • mariner5555
    03-26 03:34 PM
    I am still confused about the whole GC issue in buying and selling a home. Why is GC an issue in owing property or even taking overseas vacations? I have done both with absolutely no issues-caribbeans, europe, India. I have owned a home, and then decided to change jobs-move to a different city and sell my house. Heck I sold my house when I was on vacation in India. I did everything by phone and fax, and this is not some few years ago, this is 2 months ago.
    I totally agree with the fact that location and the condition of the house being the key factors. Maybe the fact that I have been here for a few years makes me resident alien for tax purposes helped me? I am not entirely sure.
    Folks mentioned that what if you lose your job, and have to leave the country etc. But like I mentioned a house can be sold from abroad. And if you have a GC and you lose ur job, how will you make mortgage payments etc. So some problems will stay the same.
    Any thoughts/comments on my dilema?
    Perhaps someone can elaborate on why GC is a factor?
    it depends on a persons risk amount - I guess. where did you sell yr house --was it for a loss ? maybe you are lucky to have sold it in last 2 months or something is not correct here.
    you can sell the house from abroad - but what if it does nt find a buyer for 6 months do you make the mortgage payments.
    for me GC is important - for one - I don't have to worry about status / DHS .
    getting a job on GC is easier than on a EAD (u see some threads here already). on GC you can get a job is another field / part - time..without worrying about DHS / DL ..from abroad, I guess you give everything to a RE agent ..I can come up with tons of issues with it (but I know you will come up with counter explanations - so I won't bother). BTW I hope you are not a realtor right ?? some of desperate realtors do anything to convince people nowadays ..the latest I heard was telling me to buy before Hillary comes to white house ..with a mumbo jumbo explanation

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  • ZeroComplexity
    08-05 03:07 PM
    Nothing great ever happens by trying to undermine each other. Laws are laws, some fair and some unfair, just deal with it and focus on remedying the whole broken system.


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  • abracadabra102
    01-02 11:39 AM
    Non-state actors are mentioned a lot here. Who are these non-state actors and who is responsible for acts of these non-state actors? If a few Pakistani citizens cross over and strike Indian cities at random and disappear back into Pakistan, what are India's options? Just to pray that in some 30-50 years into future all Pakistani terrorists will somehow realize their folly and turn into saints?

    We are also missing the elephant in the room. India has 150 million muslims and we have our share of Hindu fundamentalists. These Hindu fundamentalist groups have been trying for a long time to equate terrorism to Islam (targeting Indian muslims) and Indian public at large rejected this notion so far (rightly so) and that may change in future and it may not be long before a Narendra Modi becomes Prime Minister. It will be a shame if a few terrorists destroyed that very tenet of India - "Unity in Diversity".

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  • Macaca
    12-29 07:32 PM
    �Can�t Be Done�

    Gibbons, 70, says he learned that lesson when he tried to raise 4 million pounds ($6.2 million) from two wealthy London- based nonresident Indian investors in November 2006.

    Talks failed because of differences over expectations for returns on equity and other contract terms, he says.

    �That�s what made me think this just can�t be done,� he says.

    Indian microlenders differ from Yunus�s Grameen Bank in key ways. To protect depositors� money after bankruptcies among nonbanking financial companies in the early 1990s, India�s Reserve Bank in 1997 made it more difficult for them to meet the requirements needed to take deposits from the public. Only 36 microlenders are registered as nonbank financial companies, according to information supplied by the Reserve Bank.

    �I Feel So Sad�

    Indian microlenders themselves borrow from banks at 13 percent or more on average and extend credit to the poor. They charge interest rates that can rise to 36 percent, says Alok Prasad, chief executive officer of the Microfinance Institutions Network, which represents 44 microlenders. He says all 44 firms are registered with the Reserve Bank.

    SKS Microfinance gets funds at about 12 percent interest and lends at 24.52 percent in Andhra Pradesh, spokesman Atul Takle says.

    In Bangladesh, Grameen Bank got a banking license in 1983, which allowed it to take deposits. It charges 5 percent for education loans and 8 percent for housing loans. Beggars can borrow for free, and interest on major loans is capped at 20 percent, Yunus says.

    �Microfinance has been abused and distorted,� he says. �I feel so sad because that�s not the microcredit I have created.�

    Indian microfinance has roots in decades-old informal community financing.

    Nongovernmental organizations pioneered cooperative lending, known today as self-help groups, with seed money from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. Encouraged by these projects, the state-backed bank worked to tie borrowing groups to local bank branches in 1992.

    For-Profit Companies

    Nonprofit organizations subsequently got involved as middlemen between the banks and the borrowers. By 2005, nonprofits such as SKS and Share Microfin had turned themselves into profit-making enterprises.

    Akula�s SKS attracted investors such as Khosla Ventures, Sun Microsystems Inc. co-founder Vinod Khosla�s venture capital firm.

    Capital flowed into the new industry from commercial banks, venture firms and private equity.

    Sequoia Capital, in Menlo Park, California, and Bangalore- based Infosys Technologies Ltd. Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy were among the backers. George Soros�s Quantum Fund has a 0.37 percent stake in SKS.

    Private-equity investors alone have put $515 million into Indian microfinance companies since 2006, research service Venture Intelligence says.

    �Explosive Growth�

    More than half of the 66 Indian microlenders tracked by Micro-Credit Ratings are for-profit firms. Some 260 microlenders had 26.7 million borrowers and 183.44 billion rupees of loans outstanding as of March, according to the Microfinance India State of the Sector Report 2010.

    �Over the last two years, we�ve been seeing explosive growth,� says N. Srinivasan, who wrote the report. �Microfinance institutions found that it�s easy to make money. Not that making money is bad, but when you go overboard and say you require money for growth, you get into problems.�

    Polelpaka Pula, a mother of two, says she saw microlenders rushing into her village of Pegadapalli to compete for business -- with tragic results.

    Her husband, Prakash, a painter who made 250 rupees on a good day, first borrowed from a group of villagers to build a house. Each participant of the so-called chit fund contributed 1,000 rupees a month and took a turn collecting the entire sum.

    Microfinance officers from L&T Finance Ltd., Spandana Sphoorty Financial Ltd., Share Microfin and SKS began offering loans in the village starting in 2004, she says.

    The couple, already contributing to their village fund, took five more loans totaling 64,000 rupees. That saddled them with payments of 7,300 rupees a month, more than Prakash�s 5,000 rupee maximum monthly income.

    Loan Shark

    When Prakash ran out of microlenders to borrow from, he went to a village loan shark, who charged 100 percent interest.

    With no way out and debt from multiple lenders ballooning, Prakash hanged himself in November 2009, his wife says.

    The small house he�d dreamed of was never completed. Only the foundation stands next to the home of his parents, a tiny structure with a roof of palm leaves.

    Spandana says that neither of the couple�s names is in its database. The company says the media wrongly attribute harassment cases to microfinance, especially when Spandana is mentioned.

    �The trigger factors for suicide are manifold, such as stressful situations at home,� the company said in an e-mail response to questions about the death.

    Subprime Parallel

    SKS spokesman Takle says its staff has practiced responsible lending for the past 12 years. Its employees are not paid based on the loan size or repayment percentage.

    �This ensures against giving out larger loans than what a borrower can repay,� Takle says. A spokesman for L&T Finance declined to comment.

    Overlending in Andhra Pradesh calls to mind the U.S. subprime crisis, says Lakshmi Shyam-Sunder, director of corporate risk at International Finance Corp. in Washington, which invests in microlenders.

    �Subprime lending was initially seen as extending homeownership to poorer people, doing good,� Shyam-Sunder says.

    As the industry expanded, making a profit became more important to some lenders, she says. �Tension arises when you work on activities with both social goals as well as commercial interests,� she says, adding that it�s important to strike the right balance.

    Companies chasing profits amid poor corporate governance are undermining the intent of microfinance, Cashpor�s Gibbons says.

    �Lending Gone Wild�

    During the past five years, the number of microloans in India has soared an average of 88 percent a year and borrower accounts have climbed 62 percent annually, giving India the world�s largest microfinance industry, Micro-Credit Ratings says.

    �This is unrestrained consumer lending gone wild,� Gibbons says. �It�s not about poverty reduction anymore.�

    Sumir Chadha, managing director at Sequoia Capital India Advisors Pvt., says that without a profit motive it�s hard to find anyone who will lend to the poor.

    �Capitalism doesn�t have to be a bad thing,� says Chadha, whose firm has a 14 percent stake in SKS. �If you can�t profit off the poor, it means that no companies will service the poor -- and then they will be worse off than earlier.�

    Chand Bee�s Tale

    For Chand Bee, a 50-year-old who led three borrowing groups in Andhra Pradesh, too many loans almost became her undoing.

    She says she ran away from home after collectors began harassing her. She took out multiple loans beginning in 2005, and she names Spandana as one of the lenders.

    Some of the money paid for the funeral of her eldest son. When she fell behind on payments, she says loan officers threatened to humiliate her in front of neighbors and pressed her to sell her small grandchildren into prostitution.

    She left her slum in Warangal, where she lived with her deaf husband, some of her eight grown children and more than a dozen grandchildren.

    After living as a beggar for a year, Chand Bee returned home in early November when family members told her that the state ordinance that went into effect on Oct. 15 had suspended some collections. A Spandana spokeswoman says none of the company�s four customers in the district with the name Chand Bee has had trouble repaying.

    Almost every household in the slum of 250 people -- where barefoot children play in lanes between rows of dilapidated shacks -- has taken several loans. So many microlenders ply their trade that residents refer to them by the days they collect: Monday company, Tuesday company and so on.

    Debt Free

    Rabbani, a widow with four children, is one of the few women who are debt-free. She started a spice shop with two loans, which she repaid with her small profit. After seeing her neighbors� pains, she vowed never to seek another microloan.

    SKS says 17 of its clients have committed suicide, none because of loans being in arrears or harassment.

    �Suicide is a complex issue,� Akula says.

    Sitting in the second-floor conference room of SKS�s seven- story headquarters in Hyderabad, where posters of smiling women running handicraft and tailor shops decorate the doors of elevators, Akula says there�s nothing wrong with seeking profits.

    �What does it matter to a poor woman how much an investor makes?� says Akula, dressed in his trademark knee-length kurta shirt from Fabindia, a seller of ethnic clothes made by rural craftsmen. �What matters to her is that she gets a loan on time at a reasonable rate that allows her to earn higher income.�


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  • LostInGCProcess
    08-05 02:59 PM
    Seems to me he started the flood and left....I was going thru this thread, and after couple of pages Rolling_flood seems to have vanished. I think he got what he wanted...a pointless debate. It was funny though to read... :D

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  • Macaca
    05-01 05:40 PM
    Why China�s Crackdown is Selective ( By Minxin Pei | The Diplomat

    For a one-party state that tolerates practically no open defiance of its authority, Beijing�s gentle handling of hundreds of striking truckers in Shanghai who had paralyzed operations at one of China�s largest container ports seems an anomaly. Instead of sending in riot police to break up the blockade last week, the authorities in Shanghai agreed to reduce fees levied on the truckers, who were angry over the charges and rising fuel prices.

    The outcome of this incident couldn�t be more different from another recent event: the arrest of Ai Weiwei, one of China�s most prominent political activists. Ai has repeatedly defied the ruling Communist Party and, despite his international stature, Beijing decided to put him behind bars, ignoring widespread international condemnation.

    The contrast between these two incidents raises an intriguing question: why does Beijing tolerate certain forms of protest, but represses others?

    One obvious reason is that it depends on the nature of the protest. As a rule, a frontal challenge to the authority of the Chinese Communist Party, as Ai�s activities embodied, practically guarantees a harsh response from the government. But protest inspired by specific economic grievances, such as truckers� ire over excessive fees, seems to fare better. In the eyes of the ruling party, the former constitutes an existential threat and so no concessions are seen as able to appease political activists rejecting the very legitimacy of the regime.

    In contrast, the discontent generated by well-defined economic grievances can be treated with specific concessions. One quote, allegedly from a sitting senior Politburo member, says it all: �What are the contradictions among the people?� the Politburo member supposedly asked. �(These contradictions) can all be solved by using renminbi.�

    But things are a little more complicated than this. The reality is that even when dealing with protests or riots fuelled by specific socioeconomic grievances, the behavior of the Chinese authorities isn�t always consistent. Sometimes, government officials pacify protesters through the use of the renminbi, while other times they mercilessly crush such protest.

    So how do we make sense of such apparent inconsistencies?

    It seems that the type of response to social protest�harsh or soft�depends on a complex mix of factors such as who the protesters are, the resources and organizational capacity at their disposal, the economic sectors in which they are located, and the social repercussions of their protest. Generally speaking, highly organized protesters (such as truck drivers, discharged soldiers and officers of the People�s Liberation Army, and taxi drivers) tend to fare better. They also possess resources that can be easily and effectively deployed. Taxi and truck drivers, for example, can use their vehicles to paralyze traffic and produce instantaneous and widespread social and economic disruptions.

    Former PLA servicemen, meanwhile, have a strong institutional identity and are well-connected with each other through ties forged during their military service. Research conducted by Chinese scholars shows that protests organized by former PLA servicemen tend to get the most attention�and the softest treatment�from the government. In contrast, protests by peasants are handled more harshly as they are less organized, possess few strategic assets, and have little impact beyond their villages.

    Another important factor is the political calculations of local officials. Despite the popular image of the Chinese state as a hierarchical, top-down system, there�s no uniform national manual for handling protests. This leaves a great deal of discretion at the hands of local officials, but it also places them in a political quandary. Whenever a mass protest erupts, local officials have to think and react fast, but deploying riot police and using force against protesters isn�t necessarily the preferred modus operandi since this could prompt an escalation in violence. Local officials who mishandle mass protests risk demotion or even dismissal, so they must calculate how to end such demonstrations peacefully and quickly, while ensuring that their actions won�t also encourage future protests. It�s a difficult balancing act.

    So what influences the political calculations of local officials?

    As I�ve said, it�s in large part the nature of the protest, the strength of the protesters, and the likely effects of the protest�all are critical variables. Local officials usually avoid using violence against protests inspired by economic discontent and organized by workers in strategic sectors (transportation and energy, for example). Another factor at play is simply the amount of renminbi available to local officials for buying off the protesters. In the case of striking truckers, the Shanghai municipal government, the wealthiest local jurisdiction in China, has plenty of money. But in poorer areas, the renminbi option just doesn�t exist.

    Another factor is media glare�the more media coverage (particularly international media coverage), the more constraints on local officials� use of force. Last, the location of the protest is key. When such protests happen in remote villages or towns, they are quickly and ruthlessly crushed. But when they occur in urban centres, the government (usually) responds more cautiously and gently.

    All this means that the happy ending for the striking truckers in Shanghai shouldn�t be taken as an encouraging precedent for workers in other sectors who might think the government will back down in the face of economic demands�however justifiable they might be.

    Minxin Pei is a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College

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  • new_horizon
    09-26 11:01 AM
    though its very tempting to support obama with all his elequent talk, I think action speaks louder than words. he has absolutely no history of doing anything in the senate, and has not worked in a bi-partisan way with the republicans to pass any thing. do you think all of a sudden as prez he's going to get things done. further his stance on matters changes as the wind blows. meanwhile mccain has a history of making things happen, even sometimes going against his party. Dem will be more interested in helping the illegals become permanent, and not the legals 'coz their sights are on the vote banks. reps in general are more pro-business, and will favor the legal as opposed to illegals. of course there are some who are against.
    someone pointed out the days were better in the 90's...i do agree that was a period of boom in the us economy with the rise of the dot com companies. but towards the end of the 90's, the dot com going bust, the us economy was heading in recession. and adding to that the rise of other economic powers like china, india, russia, the competition grew intense, and started to hurt the US economy much. However to the credit of the repub prez the SU economy came out from the inital recession, and the overall unemployment % was only ~5.4%, the lower in several decades incl the 90's. I think it was only through the right economic and pro-business policies of this admin that helped in this. of course the wars and the housing bubble has brought us to this new economic situations. It would require the next admin to frame policies that would keep US out of next recession.
    but with dems policies of higher taxes on business (of course higher taxes on you and me), and more govt spending using mine and your tax dollars (of course our ss which we might never see) to hand it out to the lazy, and good for nothing people, you'll def see the US economy going into deeper recession. on top of that the universal health care would see us going the way of CA and europe with health care rationing, and long lines.
    I could go on adding the benefits e.g. favorable deals with india the repubs would bring, but I thinks this is good for now.
    so I would suggest stop going with the age old mentality and blindly believing that the dems are best. Start to think rationally.

    12-30 06:53 PM
    Oppression born of fear
    There is fear at the heart of the Chinese and Russian systems. (
    Daily Telegraph Editorial

    An over-mighty state crushes those whom it deems its opponents. Yet in doing so it exposes its weakness. Take the cases of Liu Xiaobo, who yesterday marked his 55th birthday in prison in China, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, currently on trial in Russia. The reaction of the Chinese government earlier in the year to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Mr Liu was hysterical. Because the dissident and his family were not permitted to attend the ceremony, the prize was placed on an empty chair, a potent symbol of the oppressive nature of the Communist Party; in short, a diplomatic disaster.

    The relentless pursuit of Mr Khodorkovsky has likewise further tarnished Russia's image. The former head of the oil company Yukos is likely to be sentenced to a six-year term this week for embezzlement and money-laundering, shortly before he completes an earlier, eight-year sentence for tax evasion. The charge that he stole �16.3 billion of oil revenues between 1998 and 2003 is absurd. And the political nature of the case has been made crystal clear by Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, who said earlier this month that "a thief must sit in jail". Mr Khodorkovsky's cardinal sin, in Mr Putin's eyes, is to have provided funding to opposition parties. His second sentence will mean he will be out of the way well beyond the presidential election scheduled for March 2012.

    These two men are being hounded because they challenge the status quo, which in China is the political monopoly of the Communist Party, and in Russia, bureaucratic cronyism. In both countries, those who have grown rich and powerful under such conditions want to keep things as they are. Yet the very intensity of the persecution reveals a fear at the heart of each system that its authority is more fragile than it might appear. Does the emperor have any clothes?

    Ivory Coast election crisis: A roadmap for African political reform ( By Frazer & Berggruen | CSM

    06-05 12:27 PM
    Buying a house would be a BIG Mistake right now..

    Sub-Prime losses we have been hearing in main stream media is just the begining.
    Wait until 2010 when Alt-A and ARMs taken in 2005/6 start resetting.
    It will be a big mess.



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