Monday, July 4, 2011

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  • reddog
    07-14 03:33 PM
    Why do you write 'I know this mess is depressing for EB3 folks' ?
    Is IV not with Eb3 folks? Or are they not important.

    Let me clear somethings.
    Earning in higher 70Ks in the year 2003 and with over 5+ years of progressive experience, they still went ahead a filed my app under EB3. Was that a mistake? Not mine. My employer knew that Eb3 would be slower.

    What happened? cases like mine were eye openers and learning experiences for comrades who were going to file and they filed under EB2, I asked friends and relatives and classmates of mine to file under Eb2.
    Am i happy for them? No, I hate them. Of course, I am happy for them. Very very much.

    So, why would you not fight for us?

    If people like me and filers before me had not filed under EB3, and not shared our experiences, how would we have progressed?

    Suddenly, 'You Eb3 folks are depressed' from 'We folks are depressed'. lol for chauvinism.



    I commend the initiative. But I see a few issues with it:

    You are complaining to DOS about USCIS and DOL. That will not work. Every agency has a specific role

    You are complaining to the official who sets visa dates. He has no authority to give relief just because some applicant/s are asking for it. He has to follow the rule every month and his responsibility is only to set the dates based on the statistics received from USCIS. This official has a very specific and limited role.

    The reasons are not compelling enough. You cannot just say you are waiting long enough and thus your date should become current. Rules cannot be changed just for that reason.

    If economy was down in 2001- 2003 and you were asked to file in EB3 and people in Perm could file in EB2 is your strongest reason, it may not work in your favor. Because by law you can file again and convert to EB2 and port your date. DOL and USCIS does not stop you from doing that.

    If you are qualified for EB2 but your attorney and employer filed in EB3, then it is not a fault of USCIS/DOL/DOS. You must talk to the company and the lawyer for it. If the company or the lawyer has broken any rule or employer has exploited you, then the letter should be complain to the appropriate authority about them.

    Please also note that labor is filed based on the degree and experience requirement of the job. By law if the requirement is only undergraduate degree for the job, the employer cannot file in EB2 just because the applicant has a masters degree or more experience than needed. So you cannot really put this arguement here because it will be against the rules.

    So I personally do not think this idea will work.

    While this mess is depressing for EB3 folks, we need to have a more compelling argument, determined membership and effective plan to get things changed.
    The root cause of the problem is limited greencard quota for EB3. And the solution is to get recapture, get rid of country limits, STEM exemption. Any single relief itself will be huge for all of us. With 179 phone calls and $16656 collected in last 3 months, I do not see that happening. It will need a far more bigger and determined effort. Such amount can be spent on full scale lobbying in just one month. 179 phone calls are nothing if we have to make a compelling case for ourselves.





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  • nojoke
    01-04 01:11 PM
    I don't have a lot of time either. My wife is getting increasingly irritated; I might lose my laptop-privileges pretty soon.


    Its not because I am defending Dawood. Its just that when people talk about Dawood, the response from Pakistan has been that India is giving the list of the usual suspects, and trying to score points. [They also deny that he is in Pakistan]. So, I say, forget the past. Just focus on Bombay; get to the bottom of it, use it as an opportunity to improve relations between India and Pakistan, and move forward.


    First of all, 'I' won't be taking any action, regardless of what proof anyone provides.
    Secondly, I think Pakistan shouldn't need to be provided any proof. Pakistan should do its own investigation. And Pakistan and India should also cooperate in their investigations.
    And then Pakistan should charge those people with 'treason', and hang them.


    First of all, there is no 'we' as you mean it. This is not IndianImmigrationVoice, despite repeated and increasing evidence to the contrary.
    Secondly, this is a pretty good opportunity for Indians and Pakistanis who live in the USA to engage in a conversation about the relations between their countries. I don't think this thread is anything more than that. So, unless I start asking you to loan me a million dollars, 'trust' is a moot point.




    I think you are unable to distinguish between an individual (me for example, or you), groups of individuals (any one of the militant groups), the state and the government (Pakistan or India), the media, and the public opinion.

    I know why you wanted to avoid this dawood Ibrahim. It clearly shows unwillingness for pakistan to take actions on these terrorists. Forget Dawood, what about azad (plane hijacker). You acknowledge he is in pakistan. If not him, can you find at least one guy from pakistan out of hundreds who have committed terrorist acts on India. Please don't hide behing 'past is past'. Do you see why we(not this forum members, but people of India) feel that pakistan government or ISI has some role in these incidents.
    Note: 'we' meant not this forum members. 'You' meant people of pakistan and government.





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  • nojoke
    04-06 04:50 AM
    Fide_champ,

    I am also looking for buying house in new jersey and as you mentioned all good places with good schools have hardly any effect from recession and housing down turn. But any way if you have to buy a house for long term then no point in waiting. The only thing bad times do to good places is value doesn't increase like it does in good times. Any suggestions on areas in New Jersey with good school and affordable (I mean something in 350-450k)? I know some very good areas where worst looking house starts at 700k which is out of scope.

    USDream2Dust

    I hope this is not a joke. You have any idea what kind of downturn we will be facing? Why did Fed jump in to bail out Bear Stearns against all the criticism? What they did is considered illegal by many. But still they did it anyway. Because the Government is very afraid of this shaky economy. We were just few steps away from bank runs.
    My friend bought house in Atlanta and within 3 months the builder sold the same model houses for 100k less. We are going to see a 30% to 50% reduction depending on the area.
    People who wanted to convince themselves said it will not happen in california. As things started unfolding, they said it will not happen in Bay area. Then they said it will not happen in San Jose and Santa Clara. Now they are saying not in their block.
    If you still think a good school will protect your house price, go ahead and catch the falling knife. To give you some idea of what people here are thinking -------------
    “Sinclair: ‘But the prices kept going up. At one time, our house was worth over $600,000. In fact, a model just like this they were asking $699,000 — and now things have entirely collapsed.”

    “A similar house down the street is already in foreclosure and the bank is entertaining offers for under $200,000.”

    “The Sinclairs stopped paying their mortgage in October when the payment jumped from $3,000 a month to $4,000. Now they’re basically squatting in their own home, living there for free. Sinclair: ‘We had to start making some hard choices, which included going into foreclosure on our house and kind of starting again.’”

    “Sinclair: ‘We would do it if the equity was there, but in a case where we’re already so behind… Imagine that for five years, say, we’re gonna pay four grand a month and then we’re just gonna be back up at what we bought the house for. We feel like we’re throwing away money.’”

    --------------------------------
    They are just walking away from their house because they see that their house value is going down. This all will feedback and cause further decline in the prices. Don't think that the prices will be back in 5 years. For someone who bought a house in 1989, it took 8 years to 9 years to get back to their purchase price. This time it will be worse.

    Guys, people are talking about Depression and you guys want to buy house in a good school district. These FB(search google what it means), are waiting for some greater fool than themselves to unload their burden. This is why you will be called "greater fool"
    If you want to loose your 200K in 2 years, go ahead. It is your money. Don't tell that you weren't warned, like all these mortgage companies and banks who are now saying - "who would have thought it would get this worse".

    Land is plentiful in california and NJ. There are building restrictions artificially imposed to keep the prices high. But this is past. No realtors are saying "we are not making any more land" these days. I have been following the housing blogs and they are laughing at Indians who are buying here in Bay area. Do some research before spewing the realtor propaganda and don't compare situation in India with US. Sorry for the rant. I am doing this with good intention to save atleast some of you guys.





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  • razis123
    12-18 03:17 AM
    Guys..

    If you believe in Science, you wont tend to believe in any religion or for that matter any God..

    God was created by man..

    Imagine this :

    Take for ex : God is human.. How can a human being be supreme or whatever and manage other humans.. For ex if 1000 people commit crime how can a God being a instance of human being watch them.. Even if he watch them how can he punish them.. all not humanly possible.. so God cannot be human..

    So let us take like what Islam says.. God is not human nor he is physically presence.. In that case how an Supreme being again watch all of our deeds when even a human kind of thing is not possible.. So God cannot be supremely supreme to watch us..

    Earth all happened by itself and it evolved by itself.. It will destroy itself and it will retransform itself.. this is the absolute truth.. believe it or not..

    Everyone has some kind of inner consciensus.. you be afraid to that and answerable to that.. (You can call it as God if you want..)

    Other than that start believing in Science and be answerable to yourself.. Nothing else matters...

    You are saying all this out of sheer ignorance and you yourself dont know what you are speaking about your own creator. If you know little science you will go away from religion, if you know more science, you will come towards religion. You are a victim of the former.



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  • bharol
    01-06 09:22 PM
    Hamas has to be blamed for civilian deaths as well.
    Current propaganda by them portrays Hamas as innocent and puts all blame on Israel. Hamas has a history of using civilians as human shields. They are cruel even to their own people.

    see these to believe.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0wJXf2nt4Y

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBYtij4Q7sE





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  • dealsnet
    01-07 10:49 AM
    Satan (Lucipher) is trying to take people from god. He will not repent. He is taking more followers every day. They are called children of satan. They are brain washed. Prepared for hell. He want company of more human souls. So these things will repeat all over the world. I feel sorry for you guys.

    Keep barking the same thing again and again. This is not going to make even a small dent on my faith. The more you hate, the more we love our faith.



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  • ramaonline
    02-02 05:21 PM
    Both L1 and H1 visa holders pay taxes just like any othe US Citizen





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  • Macaca
    05-02 05:32 PM
    America is bleeding competitiveness (http://venturebeat.com/2011/04/28/brain-drain-or-brain-circulation-america-is-bleeding-competitiveness/) By Vivek Wadhwa | Entrepreneur Corner

    With anti-immigrant sentiment building across the nation, and clouds of nativism swirling around Washington, D.C., skilled immigrants are voting with their feet. They are returning home to countries like India and China. It�s not just the people we are denying visas to who are leaving; even U.S. permanent residents and naturalized citizens are going to where they think the grass is greener. As a result, India and China are experiencing an entrepreneurship boom. And they are learning to innovate just as Silicon Valley does.

    Some call this a �brain drain� others say it is �brain circulation.� It is without doubt, good for these countries and it is good for the world. But this is America�s loss: innovation that would otherwise be happening here is going abroad. Without realizing it, we are exporting our prosperity and strengthening our competitors.

    There are no hard data available on how many skilled immigrants have already left the U.S. My estimate is that 150,000 have returned to India and China, each, over the past two decades. The trend has accelerated dramatically over the past five years; tens of thousands are now returning home every year. Most authorities agree with these estimates. For example, the Chinese Ministry of Education estimates that the number of overseas Chinese who returned to China in 2009 having received a foreign education reached 108,000: a sharp increase of 56.2% over the previous year. In 2010, this number reached an all-time high of 134,800 (a significant proportion studied in the U.S.).

    Why is this important? Because, as research conducted by my team at Duke, UC-Berkeley, Harvard, and New York University has shown, 52.4% of all startups in Silicon Valley, from 1995 to 2005, were founded by immigrants. With all these immigrants leaving, and the next generation of foreign-born entrepreneurs trapped in �immigration limbo,� we won�t have as many immigrant founded startups in the future. The xenophobes who are lobbying against skilled immigration will cheer; but there won�t be more jobs for Americans; just less startups in the U.S. and more abroad. The U.S. pie will be smaller.

    My team researched the backgrounds of immigrant founders, and the U.S. immigration backlog. We learned that the majority came to the U.S. as students; 74% held graduate or post graduate degrees, of which 75% were in science, engineering, technology, or mathematics. On average, immigrants started their ventures 13 years after entering the U.S.

    During the last twenty years, we admitted record numbers of international students and highly educated foreign workers on temporary visas. But we never expanded the number of permanent resident visas that allow them to stay permanently. The result is that we have a backlog of more than one million skilled workers�doctors, scientists, researchers, and engineers, who are trapped in immigration limbo. They are working for the same companies and doing the same jobs as when they filed their paperwork for gaining permanent residence; this may have been 10-15 years ago. A foreign student who graduates with a masters or PhD in engineering from Duke or Stanford and joins the queue today will have to wait 10-20 years, perhaps longer, to gain permanent residence. They can�t start companies or progress their careers during the most productive period in their lives. Why would anyone put up with that?

    Indeed, a survey we conducted of 1,224 foreign nationals who were studying at U.S. universities in 2009, or who had just graduated, revealed that they believed that the U.S. was no longer the destination of choice for professional careers. Most did not want to stay for very long. Fifty eight percent of Indian, 54% of Chinese, and 40% of European students said that they would stay in the U.S. for at least a few years after graduation if given the chance, but only 6% of Indian, 10% of Chinese, and 15% of European students said they want to stay permanently. The largest group of respondents� 55% of Indian, 40% of Chinese, and 30% of European students�wanted to return home within five years. This is very different than what used to be the norm in previous decades: the vast majority of Indians and Chinese stayed permanently.

    Our surveys, in 2008, of 1,203 Indian and Chinese immigrants who had worked in or received their education in the U.S. and returned to their home countries revealed that although restrictive immigration policies had caused some returnees to depart, the most significant factors in the decision to return home were career opportunities, family ties, and quality of life. The move home also served as a career catalyst. For example, only 10% of the Indian returnees held senior management positions in the U.S., but 44% found jobs at this level in India. Chinese returnees went from 9% in senior management in the U.S. to 36% in China. The vast majority thought that quality of life, professional advancement, and family ties were at least as good at home as in the U.S.

    The majority of the people we surveyed said they planned to start a business within five years. When we published our research, many experts said that this is where returnees would face the greatest frustration�that the weak infrastructure in India; authoritarianism in China; and corruption and red tape and lack of funding in both countries would be a severe handicap. In other words, when it came to competition from startups in India and China, the U.S. had nothing to worry about.

    So, last September, we initiated a project to learn how the entrepreneurship landscape in India and China compares to the U.S. We wanted to learn why these entrepreneurs returned, what their perceptions of the entrepreneurial climate in their home countries were, what the advantages and disadvantages of working in India and China were over working in the U.S., and what types of ties they maintained to the U.S.

    We were really surprised at what we learned. In the next installment, I�ll discuss our findings.



    Standing Up for Guest Workers (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/02/opinion/02mon3.html) New York Times Editorial



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  • jkays94
    05-24 01:48 PM
    http://www.observer.com/20060529/20060529_Jason_Horowitz_pageone_newsstory1.asp

    He cautioned against ghettoizing immigrants, which he noted has brought about disastrous results in France, and criticized elements in his own party as �nativist� before lambasting the punditry of Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs and Michael Savage for helping to �fuel the problem,� according to two of the sources.





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  • satishku_2000
    05-16 10:40 PM
    Is this bill in the senate committee or scheduled for voting sometime?



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  • shantanup
    03-25 08:55 AM
    The main reason that I can't get behind lifting of the country quota is exactly this reason. You have a lot of companies run by the same nationality who will only recruit their own people. The staffing companies don't advertise in Indonesia, Germany, Brazil, etc. They only go after their own people. The whole monopolization of visas was used to prevent this type of behaviour.

    Did you not think of the would be immigrants of Indian origin not part of this "system" when you came to this conclusion? I am one such. Think how disadvantaged my position is.





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  • dealsnet
    09-29 12:45 PM
    It will be disaster for the country, if a man with only four year of national experience, out of which two year spend on primary campaign to run the country. Immigrant people only can talk loud. But he sensible american people will vote McCain to power. This openion poll is non sense. Demoratic party is like congress party in India. Trying to be socialist, not socialist, support everything all evils to get vote and support. Pleople planning to spend money for Obama is waste. Instead support IMMIGRATION VOICE.



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  • chanduv23
    03-25 02:11 PM
    If he indeed was affiliated with the USCIS, I would want to hear his take on this even more. We are trying to understand what can and cannot be done in terms of self employment while on AOS and who better to answer this, than a USCIS representative.

    No one is trying to break the rules, just trying to understand what the rules are so they aren't unknowingly broken.

    And I know you were just joking, tee hee.

    Ok, in all seriousness - I used to confront with UN on Rajiv Khanna forums thinking that he is talking crap. But I later realized that he always tries to explain to you the other side of things and how perspectives differ.

    Back home - people think h1b visa is a gateway to USA. A lot of people think flight ticket, boarding pass, visa , passport everything in the same range.

    Before my wife came to US - someone told her - if she completes all USMLE successfully her status automatically changes from h4 to h1 - thats how people are there

    Once people come here perspective changes.

    Now among us, we share common ground so have same perspective - and thats what UN is trying to say - think from the other side. Look at the perspective from other side.





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  • Better_Days
    12-28 03:28 AM
    Since more than a few hours have past since this thread was started, I can think that we can sleep in peace knowing that there won't be a war.

    Having said that, I am startled at the number of Indians who seem to be sold on the idea that war is the answer. I went over to an Indian friend of mine and was shocked at the type of coverage. It seemed so much like the US media before the Iraq invasion.

    Exactly what will India accomplish by squandering away the economic clout it has gathered? Yes India is a regional power and probably an emerging global power. Yes, in a long drawn out conflict, Indian will probably win. Happy now? But at what price? PLEASE, Indian is no US and Pakistan in no Iraq.


    Pak has nukes, but their delivery mechanism is not sound and before Pak launches any nukes, US will disarm them and even if a few are launched India had a very good anti missile shield which will intercept and destroy all warheads before it enters Indian air.


    What I need to know is that what %age of Indian population believes this and the whole "Chinese-made" nuke crap? Is it being spewed out on TV by arm-chair generals and defense analyst? This will explain why everyone is sold on the whole War idea. And this after the debacle that US finds itself in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    Does anyone understand the concept of a nuclear doctrine? I have been out of it for a while and I don't think that Pakistan has published its nuclear doctrine but it has been speculated upon. The general consensus is that, at least initially, Pakistan will use the nukes on its own territory. Both as a means to inflict casualties on advancing Indian troops and as a means of area denial as neither army is equipped to fight large scale battles in a NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) theater. Forget Pakistan but do you have any idea what the fallout do to the fertile agricultural land in India? And this is not even considering that the Pakistani leadership may decide to go down in a blaze of glory and launch strategic strikes against major population centers.

    War is no answer and should not (and probably will not) happen.

    Disclaimer: I am a Pakistani. While I am in IT, at one point in time I was considering a career in Strategic Studies and was serious enough that I started applying at various colleges. Had to drop the idea as I could not secure funding.



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  • sab
    01-08 01:50 PM
    Both these incidents make you shudder in disbelief and disgust for those who believe in wars and bloodshed.





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  • suavesandeep
    06-26 03:05 PM
    Would you share what calculator are you using.

    I used one here:
    Mortgage Calculator - Bankrate.com (http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/mortgage-calculator.aspx)

    Loan Amount: 600K (Note much less than million dollars)
    Period: 30 years fixed
    Interest Rate: 5% (On the lower side using historical averages)
    Monthly Payment: 3220.93

    Total Interest Paid across 30 years: 559,534.71

    In general the thumb rule is across 30 years you will always pay interest which is approx equal to the principal you signed up for.

    Am i missing something here ?



    Yes its not clear cut but lets replace your X, Y and others with numbers

    Suppose your rent is 1500$ a month

    You pay 540,000 $ in 30 years

    so your point 1 - the interest payment is always going to be less than rent if you look over the 30 year term of mortgage since there is no way to pay 540,000 dollars in interest in 30 years looking at the amortization table unless you are buying a million dollar plus house. ( I assumed 5 % rate of interest )



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  • desi3933
    08-05 03:39 PM
    Don't remember exactly, I can look into the wording of the law but I think post bachelor 5 year experience for EB2 is a law and not Memo.

    Incorrect. Law does not mention 5 years. It simply says advanced degrees or their equivalent. Read for yourself (again!)

    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    INA: ACT 203 - ALLOCATION OF IMMIGRANT VISAS

    Sec. 203. [8 U.S.C. 1153]

    ....
    ....
    ....

    (2) Aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or aliens of exceptional ability. -

    (A) In general. - Visas shall be made available, in a number not to exceed 28.6 percent of such worldwide level, plus any visas not required for the classes specified in paragraph (1), to qualified immigrants who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent or who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States, an d whose services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States.


    .....





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  • nojoke
    04-10 12:13 AM
    we may be thinking that the points below are a worst case scenario but according to the famous economist Roubini - this is a likely one.
    on the lighter side - if this really happens then even the mighty GC would become finally just a card (or a Garbage Can as my friend points out) .:rolleyes:
    --------
    1. We are experiencing the worst US housing recession since the Great Depression and this housing recession is nowhere near bottoming out.

    Unfortunately this is where we are heading. Lowering the interest rate and inflating everything else is not the solution. If they let the housing fall quick, the economy will probably recover quickly.It will be painful, but short. Fed is just delaying the inevitable and making it slow and painful. They wouldn't be able to save the housing and they will inflate everything else:mad: Unless we stop throwing the money into the iraq black hole, this will be another depression.





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  • bfadlia
    01-08 09:56 AM
    Dear Admin,
    I didn't understand what you have said about me. I never used in my life any vulgar language. What I did is copy and paste a PM send by the guy started the tread to enlist support for the terrorist. Eventhough I have received my GC, I did visit the IV site every day and share my experience, expertise. I never used this site for any personal or religious agenda. You can check my previous post rather than this tread.
    But what made me furious is, the guy started the tread, already got GC, and his only aim is to make hatred and make support for terrorists. He is from India and he didn't like people in this forum discuss about the Bombay attack. So to challege that he started the tread. (READ HIS EXPLANATION ABOUT IT IN THIS TREAD). That is why many including me become furious. Many in this forum came from India, it is natural that they used to speak about some politics, natural calamity, accident etc. But this guy want to discuss about some thing not related to 99.99% of the people. He want to abuse the Jews. They are abused from all quarters from 2000 years. Now they have a voice.
    I never contribute or visited any religious or any forums before. But after read his view, I did a research and give him reply. But he responded with vulgur language, which I did pasted. It is your responsibility to see to stop putting these kind of posts. If some one post anything religious things, others will respond.
    DON'T ACCUSE ME OF PUTTING PROFANE LANGUAGE.
    I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND.

    you called all non christian nations "satanic nations that will be wiped out", called 95% of egyptians war children, brain washed bastards and terrorists.. u r right, u don't use vulgar language, only racist hate speech..

    "--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Until AD 1100, everybody in Egypt are christians, the arabs conquer there and killed many and convert them. Few are left as christians. Now only 10%. Ask any egyptian christians. They need to pay JAZIA to be live as christians. The language COPTIC now only in church. Coptic sound similar to Latin. Abrabs imposed their language, where ever they conquer. They cut the tongue of people, who spoke native language. See in India, moguls made Urdu and make Arabic script for it.Egyptian christians are only real egyptians. Muslim egyptians are mixed people with Arab warriors. War children.
    Real egyptians are here in USA, you can talk to them, they are nice people no terrorist, brain washed bastards. Go to a coptic chrch and see these people.
    Same happened in Kashmir. Pandits are the real Kashmiris. The Kashmiri muslims are children of the Kashmiri women and arab invaders. Now they kicking real Indian pandits out from kashmir, and they live in own country as refugees.
    In the end all terrorist, satanic nations wiped out at the second coming of Jesus. Those good muslims belive him will be saved. Others will go to hell.".





    Macaca
    05-13 05:42 PM
    What if you had to buy American? (http://money.msn.com/how-to-budget/what-if-you-had-to-buy-american.aspx) By Katherine Reynolds Lewis | MSN Money

    Legions of patriotic Americans look for "made in USA" stickers before buying products, out of a desire to support the country's economy.

    But what if we all were restricted to purchasing only those goods that were made in America?

    Our homes would be stripped virtually bare of telephones, televisions, toasters and other electronics, and many of our favorite foods and toys would be gone, too. Say goodbye to your coffee or tea, and forget about slicing bananas into your breakfast cereal -- all three would become prohibitively expensive if we relied on only Hawaii to grow tropical crops.

    We'd have to trash our beloved Apple products because the iPod, iPad and MacBook aren't made in the U.S. Gasoline would double or triple in price, given that we now import more than 60% of our oil. And you couldn't propose to your true love with a diamond ring: There are no working diamond mines in the U.S.

    Moreover, a complete end to imports would actually hurt the U.S. economy, because consumers and domestic companies would lose access to cheap goods. Trade protections, whether through tariffs or quotas, cost the economy roughly $2 for every $1 in additional profit for domestic producers, said Mark Perry, an economics professor at the University of Michigan-Flint and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

    "If we restricted trade to just the 50 states, what would happen immediately -- and would increase over time -- would be a huge reduction in our standard of living, because we wouldn't have access to the cheap goods we get from other countries," Perry said. "We also wouldn't have any export markets, so companies like Caterpillar and Microsoft would have a huge reduction in sales and workforce."

    So what do we make of heartfelt pleas to save U.S. manufacturing by buying American, or the many websites (see one here) that catalog U.S. sources for an array of products? Or the Buy American Act, which curbs government purchases of products that are made overseas?

    Do such efforts actually hurt the country they're trying to help?

    The argument for buying American

    Marc Kruskol, 53, a publicist based in Palmdale, Calif., goes out of his way to purchase products that are made in the U.S. because of his concern over the decline in manufacturing employment.

    "I truly believe that we could go a long way towards fixing the economy if we would just put people to work making things in this country that are made in other places," said Kruskol, who spends hours scouring made-in-America websites or visiting brick-and-mortar stores in search of U.S. products.

    He recently spent $10 on a pair of salad tongs made in America, which he tracked down in a restaurant supply store, after rejecting 99-cent foreign-made tongs. And he was happy to spend $650 on a domestically produced barbecue grill rather than a $450 imported one, just to support his countrymen.

    But financial experts say that it's best for America if you buy the cheapest product you can find without sacrificing quality. Their explanation rests on the concept of efficient manufacturing. An efficient producer creates the most valuable goods with the least possible expense, selling those items at lower prices than competitors who are less efficient. A country benefits when its manufacturers become more efficient.

    When you spend more on an equivalent product simply because it's made in the U.S., you're wasting your money -- and supporting an inefficient manufacturer that, by rights, should become more efficient or go out of business. Moreover, the additional $9.01 or $200 that Kruskol had spent on an inefficient U.S. producer could have been spent on something else, helping the economy further. Or it could have stayed in his savings account and been funneled by his bank into the financial system, which in theory allocates capital to the most efficient producers.

    "He gave effectively $9 to an inefficient producer to motivate them to keep producing inefficiently," said Ken Fisher, the founder and CEO of Fisher Investments in Woodside, Calif., and the author of "Debunkery." "I understand the well-intentioned view. Doing that would be terrible for America."

    The most efficient producers are best-positioned to create more jobs and return profits to their investors, and to the government in the form of tax revenue. "We make the country better by allocating resources towards the ones that can use them best," Fisher said.

    The complex manufacturing question

    At the heart of the issue are the interconnected global economy and the changes in the manufacturing sector.

    There's no question that U.S. manufacturers employ far fewer people now -- about 11.7 million in April -- than when the sector peaked at 19.6 million workers in 1979. But the decline in jobs is largely due to technological advances that have reduced the number of workers needed to run factories, Perry and Fisher pointed out. The average worker today is responsible for $180,000 of manufacturing output, triple the inflation-adjusted $60,000 of 1972, Perry said.

    Despite that increase in productivity, a March report by IHS Global Insight put China's manufacturing output ahead of the U.S. for the first time ever, at $2 trillion in 2010, compared with $1.95 trillion for the U.S. That's up from $1.69 trillion for China and $1.733 trillion for the U.S. in 2009, based on U.S. and Chinese government data.

    But Perry argued that exchange-rate fluctuations and differences in data sources caused the IHS Global report to skew the comparison between the U.S. and China. Based on U.N. data for 2009, the most recent available, the United States' manufacturing output was 14% ahead of China's, he said.

    Moreover, as manufacturing has declined as a share of the U.S. economy while the service sector has grown, most of the world has followed the same trend. The proportion has held steady in China.

    "We've left the Machine Age, and we're in a new Information Age. It makes sense that manufacturing would be less important," Perry said, noting that as other countries have taken over clothing and other low-end manufacturing, the U.S. has become more competitive in producing pharmaceuticals, software, aerospace technology, industrial machinery and medical equipment. "We're still world leaders and at the cutting edge of those higher-skilled, higher-valued-added areas."

    Not convinced yet? The other conundrum in trying to buy only U.S.-made products lies in what that really means.

    Do you accept products that are assembled in America but contain components from all over the globe? For example, U.S. companies in February imported $58 billion worth of industrial supplies, such as petroleum and plastics, and $40 billion in capital goods, from computers to engines and laboratory equipment.

    What about products that are assembled in China yet include parts from U.S. suppliers and were designed by American engineers? Every time you purchase such an item, the money will flow back to those American engineers and suppliers.

    Cars.com's American-Made Index illustrates U.S. industries' complex trade relationships. The website ranks vehicles built and purchased in the U.S. based on sales, the origin of the cars' parts and whether assembly was in the U.S. The top two cars -- Toyota Camry and Honda Accord -- are produced by Japanese companies through their U.S. subsidiaries.

    "On the surface, it seems like it might be plausible to have these 'made in the USA' campaigns," Perry said. "It all gets real tricky in a global economy with parts."

    When buying American helps

    That's not to say you should ignore the origins of the goods you buy.

    When comparing two products of equivalent price and quality, feel free to choose the U.S.-made one out of domestic pride. It may make sense to buy a U.S.-made product if the quality or safety is superior.

    Alex Kaplan, 41, the owner of Celebrity Laser Spa in Los Angeles, recently bought a pair of ottomans online for $120, only to find them cracked and cheaply made. After returning the made-in-China set, he found a craftsman through Etsy who made similar ottomans for $160 but allowed customers to choose the fabrics.

    "It's much more satisfying," said Kaplan, whose blog chronicles his attempts to find products made in the U.S. "The most important thing when it comes to buying American is being aware and asking yourself, 'Where is this made?'"


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    By Annie Lowrey | Slate





    Rayyan
    01-08 11:35 AM
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