Tuesday, July 5, 2011

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  • Refugee_New
    01-07 02:40 PM
    All Muslims are NOT terrorists, but all terrorists ARE muslims.

    I didn't know Narendra Modi is a muslim. I didn't know those are committing genocide in Palestine are muslims. I didn't know those who attacked Iraq and commited war-crime under the pretex of WMD are muslims. I didn't know that these people are muslims.

    May be Narendra Modi was born to a Moghul Emperor. Others are born to ottaman emperors. What about you vghc? Are you a product of muslim?

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  • NKR
    04-14 03:37 PM
    Where do you get the idea that the child will loose the life in apartments and then get back after buying a house?:confused:

    Unfortunately time will never move in reverse and will move in just one direction. A childhood gone is gone. It will never come back. We all want good things for our kids. My perception of good thing is different from yours. If my kid says that he wants to live in an apartment I will move to an apartment, that�s a given.

    It would be nice if we can buy the house on the day one when we join the job. Or even nicer if our parents got us a house in US before we came here:D.

    Unfortunately there are circumstances that prevent us buying a house. The biggest one is this bubble and the madness of multiple bidding that insanely pushed the real estate prices, all the while the realtors and mortgage brokers where making 300K or 500K yearly income selling shoe boxes for half a million and generating slogans like "you will be priced out forever", "they are not manufacturing any more land", "housing is always a good investment", "renting is throwing away money".

    Agreed. The decision to buy rests on an individual and to his/her situation, no one wants to buy when things are not conducive.

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  • ohpdfeb2003
    06-27 01:35 PM
    Right, you pay for what you called "service", which is what your landlord is providing. And you pay him to let you stay in his house, which means YOU my friend are paying more than 80% of HIS mortgage. At the end of his mortgage, all his tenants would have collectively chipped in to pay more than 80% of HIS mortage and he has a house at the end of it all. What do YOU have? Zero, zilch, nada!

    No true in most cases espcially where housing is not affordable, is there a rule anywhere that tenants have to chip in 80%. There are several foolish housing investors, that I know of right now who arent even making 50% of their mortgage.

    If landlords are doing so well then who are the people undergoing foreclousures and bankruptices that we hear about :D

    Historically over a 30 year period, housing doesnt even return inflation adjusted value of money.

    What does a renter have in the end? He had the diversified returns from the downpayment money he has invested else where and difference between rent and mortgage compounded every month.

    Money paid as interest is the "service" cost of the money being loaned to you. You are paying so that you can live in the house you did NOT pay full cash for.

    My interest in a year is 2 times more than the standard deduction. I don't have a business yet, but when I start one, I'm going to have more deductions. Do the math!

    not forever, only the first few years. you will have to revert to standard deduction, that samething that renter's get years down the line.

    Right goahead and deduct your business expense from your personal tax return, IRS will pay you a visit:p

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  • optimystic
    04-06 02:08 AM
    Excellent analysis Jung.lee

    Summers are OK, but desis want their houses warm enough in the winter for a lungi or veshti

    I couldn't control my laughter. You have a good sense of humor too

    Wow...do people wear lungi at home in winter !! May be in the temperate climates of bay area and further down in So Cal :)

    But up here in North Cal (Roseville), where quite a few times the lawns freeze during early winter mornings, I feel cold even with full length fleece pants inside my home!! :D . But anyway, that might just be my excuse to not wear a lungi :) ....Never liked wearing it when I was growing up as well...preferred pajamas !


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  • pd_recapturing
    08-05 07:48 AM
    What a Bull Sh** ?? Are you saying that ppl who have applied under eb2 are the only ones who satisfy the eb2 criteria and eb3s can not satisfy the eb2 criteria ??? Come on ...this eb2 and eb3 thing is highly abused by lawyers, employers or employees .. I guess, you are in eb2 but I am sure if you go line by line of the law to recheck your eb2 eligibility, you might not even qualify for eb10,11, etc ....

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  • jkays94
    05-24 01:59 PM


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  • puddonhead
    06-05 05:22 PM
    Your leverage is $270,000 in this investment, and you pay 5% interest on it which is tax deductible. You don't suppose one can borrow 270Gs to invest in, per my example, S&P 500 to get 10% annually? Of course the you are able to borrow that much on a home is because it is considered relatively a safe debt for the lender. That can't be said for stocks.

    How/where else will you earn $15,000 (equity) per year by spending $13,500 (interest).

    Now we are getting into another different fun topic - how does a real estate "investment" compare with other forms of investment.

    1. Leverage = speculation = risk. By taking the leverage and buying the house - you lock in a 3-5% return and a lot of risk (for a 200k house - that would be 10k/year max). The 3-5% comes from long term price appreciation trends.

    If I did not buy that 200k house - I would invest the initial 40k and the rest of 160k gradually every month. For simplistic calculations:
    return from 40k - 5% (I can show you reward checking accounts with that rate even now). Inflation protected TIPS could be a good place if you are afraid of hyperinflation
    Earnings = 2k.

    You save 3k each year by renting.
    Running Total = 5k.

    Every year - you put in some money to your investment vehicle = mortgage amortization. So over 30 years - you would have been earning investment income on $80k @5% on an average = 4k.
    Running Total = 9k.

    So you are making 1k more by buying - AND taking a lot of leverage = risk.

    Inflation can upset this calculation - but not much. 1980 - 2008 was an unusual period of low inflation and high growth = high housing price increase. Any bets on how sustainable that would be? Typically housing price appreciation would be at or below inflation - which would favor other investment vehicles over real estate.

    I personally would need much more compelling reasons than the above to buy.

    This calculation does not take into account the flexibility in relocation if you do not buying a house. It alos does not consider the risk associated with having the largest chunk of your portfolio invested in a single non-diversified house instead of having a properly diversified portfolio.

    Probably not very relevant - but you can get a lot of leverage if you have the stomach for it by opening a brokerage account with 40k (your initial downpayment). A good semi-professional one would be IB (interactivebrokers.com). Margin accounts give a 3X/4x leverage any day. Buy a few interest rate, currency or commodity swaps with that - and your leverage can reach stratospheric levels. I know I dont have the stomach for that.

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  • shuyaib
    12-24 10:24 AM
    How old is the technique of discrediting my links to win the argument. Of course, if I tell you of all the atrocities of Indian army in Kashmir, or punjab, or assam, to you I am a muslim, and my default I hate India. Of course, it wouldn't matter if good old amnesty internationl would raise a red flag against india...

    wait they have raised a red flag a million times, anybody paying attention, or just shaking head in disbelief?
    or you do not want to loose your right to dance on murder of muslims had it not been a country like India where Modis, advanis, uma bhartis can roam freely....
    ...oh wait, but India also denies any trials against in military in Kashmir, so they can do what they want, and never be challenged in court of law, and amnesty's report goes to garbage, because this is Hindu india, and minorities like Sikhs, Bodos, muslims, dalits, dravidians will have to put up with their hegemony...

    ... and yes, if somebody losses his mind because his home has been bulldozed by indian army, or women raped and murdered ... he will be branded terrorist and shot.


    ... but of course this is a rambling of muslim, and all muslims are terrorists, and all hindus are protector of bharat mata, so when a hindu kills a muslim, he kills a terrorist, but if a muslim rebels in lack of justice and equality, he is a terrorist.... it's a fair game!


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  • mirage
    02-12 08:57 PM
    On the ground does it solve any purpose ? India remains as prone for more attacks as it was 2 months or 2 years ago...
    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.


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  • dealsnet
    01-07 08:21 PM
    Our leaders have no guts to speak to these people.

    You know what is your problem?
    From Ottaman, Genghis khan, Temur, to recently Laden all did terrorism to innocent people. When any person or nation protect this terrorism, you guys calling them terrorist!! Bush senior and Bush junior punish terrorist act, you are calling them terrorist. When Israel give answer, you are calling terrorism. When Narendra Modi react against Muslim terrorism, you calling him Terrorist. You guys only like people who don't give answer like current Indian government.
    Now world has changed attitude. World has decided to compromise on Human right to fight with terrorism. Earlier only Israel has policy but after 911, many countries have policy not to negotiate with Plane Hijackers.

    Now read following Australian PM's statement and call him terrorist. You if don't change your mind set, one day you will find board at every country; "Muslims are not welcome"
    Read this Australian PM's bold statement.

    Prime Minister John Howard - Australia

    Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

    Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques. Quote: 'IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.'

    'This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom'

    'We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society Learn the language!'

    'Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.'

    'We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us.'

    'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.'

    'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.'


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  • unitednations
    08-02 11:57 AM
    I am on H1 since 1999 with same employer except for a long interval of 16 months. I filed my labor in April 2001 (assuming 245(i) will cover me). I was not on payroll during Aug 03 to Dec 04. So my W2 for 2003 is 33% less than LCA and no W2 for 2004. I last entered US in Sept. 03
    I filed my I-485 in June 07. I-140 was approved under PP.
    My question is that what are my chances of being approved?
    Also is there anything I can do now to rectify it?
    I have no issues with the employer. He is willing to help me out in any way.
    Thanks a lot

    As long as you hadn't overstayed i-94 card by more then six months before you left and re-entered then you still have 245i protection in case uscis should dig further. Just pay the $1,000 penalty when they ask and you will get approved.

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  • pthoko
    07-11 02:39 PM
    Hi UN, Please take a look when u get a chance

    First of all my sincere gratitude to you for your patience and the time you put in to give a detailed reply to all cases.

    Here's my situation(I think a case of status violation)

    I did an L1 to H1 transfer in 2005. My L1 was valid till APRIL 2006. So my intention was to work with L1 employer till April 2006 and then switch to H1 employer.

    H1 employer also applied for a change of status, which I was not aware of that time. I asked the H1 company's lawyer whether I could continue with my L1 employer after getting the H1 and she said it's fine.

    So I got the H1B approval in Oct 2005, but still continued with L1 employer till APRIL 2006, then switched to H1.

    Recently I came to know that this could be an issue. When I was filling the G-325A form, I wondered if I specify that I worked with the L1 employer till APRIL 2006, would they catch this?? Even if they catch , how big an issue would this be??

    If I put the dates to reflect the dates to show that I quit my L1 employer in Oct 2005 itself, would this be an issue?? I guess in this case, if by any chance they ask for any further evidence like pay stubs or W2 in that period of time, I would be in trouble.

    From what I have read from the forum, A lawful re-entry should clear the violation in my case right?? I haven't filed the I-485 yet. My I-140 is pending.
    Do they catch this during I-140 stage??


    Can I go to Canada/Mexico for stamping? where would I get an appointment at the earliest??



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  • GC_US_64
    12-26 04:29 PM
    Kudlow and company are airing a debate on Lou Dobbs Goofy economics and skewed numbers at 5pm eastern time.

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  • pani_6
    07-12 11:29 PM
    EB3-I..please print the attached word doc and sign and mail it to Department of state..this week

    Moderator could you makes this Sticky please

    Could somebody also post the adderess of USCIS please..


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  • unitednations
    03-26 04:51 PM
    We had similar case. It was in 2002. Company was ready to issue another future offer letter. Local USCIS office at Buffalo NY did not agree to continue process. They said job offer is gone the I-485 is gone and has valid reason the denial. They asked my friend to refile I-140 and I-485.

    What eventually happened to the case.

    The baltimore case I mentioned happened in 2005 which was certified by AAO.

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  • srikondoji
    08-14 09:11 AM
    On TV, when someone barks without any research backing it up, there is no one to counter him.

    Only few shows have a chance to counter, but again the anchor is so smart that he will make sure that his guest receives little time to attack the host.

    Guys the world is all about who is powerfull.

    It is time to go to gym.

    How the hell did he arrive at that figure ? the whole trouble with lou is he fabricates "research" such as the above statement with absolutely nothing to back it up. So much for the Harvard educated economist in him.


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  • yrspassby
    08-06 03:44 PM
    16). A plain computer illeterate guy rings tech support to report that his computer is faulty.
    Tech: What's the problem?
    User: There is smoke coming out of the power supply.
    Tech: You'll need a new power supply.
    User: No, I don't! I just need to change the startup files.
    Tech: Sir, the power supply is faulty. You'll need to replace it.
    User: No way! Someone told me that I just needed to
    change the startup and it will fix the problem! All I need is for you to tell me the command.
    10 minutes later, the User is still adamant that he is right. The tech is frustrated and fed up.
    Tech: Sorry, Sir. We don't normally tell our customers this, but there is an undocumented DOS
    command that will fix the problem.
    User: I knew it!
    Tech: Just add the line LOAD NOSMOKE.COM at the end of the CONFIG.SYS.
    Letme know how it goes.
    10 minutes later.
    User: It didn't work. The power supply is still smoking.
    Tech: Well, what version of DOS are you using?
    User: MS-DOS 6.22.
    Tech: That's your problem there. That version of DOS didn't come with NOSMOKE. Contact Microsoft and ask them for a patch that will give you ! the file. Let me know how it goes.

    1 hour later.

    User: I need a new power supply.
    Tech: How did you come to that conclusion?
    User: Well, I rang Microsoft and told him about what you said, and he started asking questions about the make of power supply.
    Tech: Then what did he say?
    User: He told me that my power supply isn't compatible with NOSMOKE.

    This one cracked me up so hard, I had to go out to patio to laugh hard and come back to my cube...This is awesome ... especiall the last part:

    "User: He told me that my power supply isn't compatible with NOSMOKE":D:D:D

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  • Rolling_Flood
    08-05 09:00 AM
    Show me where it says in the law that a "person's eligibility decides EB1/2/3"?
    Your job demands an EB3 and no higher, thus your company filed an EB3.

    If you think you should be EB2 instead, then find another job or another company. What do you not understand?

    And please refrain from using foul language, this is my first, and final, request to you, sir.

    I am not anti-immigrant, just anti-porting and anti-interfiling.

    As i said earlier you have Zero understanding of these things and that's why you came to waste peoples time. You could be an anti-immigrant as well.

    "GC is for future Job and one single person could be eligible for EB3 / EB2 / EB1 any kind of jobs - its the person's ELIGIBILITY which matters " - understand dumbo ?

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  • Macaca
    05-16 05:51 PM
    Future Tense
    Are the United States and China on a collision course? (http://www.tnr.com/article/world/magazine/87879/united-states-china-diplomacy-taiwan)
    By Aaron Friedberg | The New Republic

    In October 2008, a month after the collapse of Lehman Brothers�with the United States�s financial system seemingly about to buckle and Washington in desperate need of cash to prevent a total economic collapse�a State Department official contacted his Chinese counterpart about China buying U.S. securities. To his surprise, the Chinese, who had previously displayed an insatiable appetite for U.S. Treasury bills, suddenly balked at lending a hand. The reason, the Chinese official said, was the recent announcement of an impending sale of U.S. armaments to Taiwan.

    This not-so-subtle threat, detailed in a memo released by Wikileaks, turned out to be a bluff, but it signaled a striking shift in the tone and content of Chinese foreign policy. Over the course of the past two years, Beijing has adopted a more assertive posture in its dealings with Washington, as well as with many of America�s allies in Asia. Among other things, China has threatened for the first time to impose sanctions on U.S. companies involved in arms sales to Taiwan; intensified its claims to virtually all of the resource-rich South China Sea; and conducted its largest-ever naval exercises in the Western Pacific.

    America�s �China hands� have long attributed any tensions between the two countries to misunderstandings or readily correctable policy errors. But with the passage of time it has become increasingly apparent that the differences between China and the United States spring from deeply rooted sources and aren�t likely to be resolved anytime soon. Indeed, as recent events suggest, it appears that the two nations are in for a long, tense, perhaps even dangerous struggle. And, most disconcerting of all, it�s a struggle in which, at least for the moment, China seems to be gaining the upper hand.

    If you look back over the last 2,500 years�from the days of Athens and Sparta through the cold war�there has inevitably been mistrust, rivalry, and often open conflict between leading global powers and rising states that seek to displace them. In these scenarios, the leading power has wanted to preserve its privileges, while fearing that emerging challengers would seek to overturn the international order that it dominates. Rising powers, for their part, chafe at hierarchies of influence that were put in place when they were relatively weak.

    Much of the tension in today�s U.S.-China relationship is a reflection of this familiar dynamic. But this tension is exacerbated by an additional factor that has only sometimes been present in great power rivalries of the past: deep ideological differences. One often hears it said that, because China is no longer truly a communist country, ideology has ceased to be a factor in its relations with the United States. This misses the point. Today�s Chinese leaders may no longer be anti-capitalist Marxists but they govern as Leninists and, as such, are determined to preserve the Communist Party�s exclusive monopoly on political power. China�s rulers see the United States as intent on spreading its brand of democracy to every corner of the earth. For their part, the American people continue to eye with suspicion a regime they see as repressive and autocratic. Ideology may not be sufficient, in itself, to provoke conflict between the United States and China, but it aggravates and amplifies the geopolitical tensions between the two.

    This backdrop of great power rivalry and sharp ideological disagreement helps to explain U.S. policies toward China and Chinese policies toward the United States. In contrast to the cold war strategy of containment, America�s strategy for dealing with China has never been codified in official documents or given a name. But over the past two decades, roughly the same strategy has been employed by both Republicans (Bush 41 and Bush 43) and Democrats (Clinton and now Obama). Broadly speaking, the aim has been to discourage Beijing from seeking to challenge America�s interests and those of our allies in Asia, while at the same time nudging China toward democracy. To accomplish these ends, American policymakers have employed a dual approach. On the one hand, they have sought extensive economic and diplomatic engagement with China. The hope has been that these interactions will �tame� China by giving it a stake in the existing international order�and, over the long run, encourage the growth of a middle class and the spread of liberal values, thereby pushing the country gently and indirectly down the path toward democracy. At the same time, Washington has worked to preserve a balance of power in East Asia that is favorable to its interests and those of its allies. This began in earnest following the Taiwan Straits crisis of 1995-1996, when Beijing test-fired missiles in an attempt to influence the outcome of Taiwanese elections, and the Clinton administration dispatched two aircraft carriers in response. Since then, the United States has taken steps to strengthen its military capabilities in the region, while solidifying bonds with partners old (South Korea, Japan, Australia) and new (India).

    China�s strategy for dealing with the United States developed somewhat more deliberately. In the wake of Tiananmen Square and the collapse of the Soviet Union, China�s leaders recognized that the previous rationale for cooperation with the United States no longer applied. They feared that, having toppled one communist giant, the Americans would turn their attention to the other. Surveying the scene in 1991, Deng Xiaoping circulated a brief memo to his top party colleagues. The essential message of the so-called �24 Character Strategy� was that China had little choice but to �hide its capabilities and bide its time.� That meant avoiding confrontation with other states, especially the United States, while working to build up all aspects of its power�economic, military, technological, and political.

    Recently, Chinese foreign policy has taken on a more assertive tone; but its overall aims have not changed much in two decades. Above all, the current regime wants to preserve indefinitely the Chinese Communist Party�s grip on political power; it seeks, in effect, to make the world safe for continued CCP rule. In part for this reason, China�s leaders want to restore their country to its place as the preponderant regional power. This requires reducing the influence of the United States in East Asia, constricting its presence, and perhaps eventually extruding it from the region. Chinese officials allude to this objective with varying degrees of subtlety. When I worked in the Bush administration from 2003 to 2005, I had several conversations with Chinese diplomats in which they said, almost in passing, that, while the United States might be a Pacific power, it was, of course, not an Asian power. Rather more bluntly, in 2007, a Chinese admiral reportedly told his American counterpart that their two countries should divide the Pacific between them, with China taking everything west of Hawaii.

    04-09 10:51 PM
    we've found that the more compelling arguments tend to be those related to US competitiveness. If I was to use the housing argument in a meeting, I would use it in a light hearted way while making a serious point.
    For most, common sense of justice is an issue, in which case housing can be brought up, but again, not an issue to focus on too much, more in the context of 'it is ironic that many of us want to buy houses but GC wait is what prohibits that, not the credit crunch'. Can be mentioned in passing, but not worth focusing on.
    Mentioning it in light hearted way would help too when you have predictions like this (latest report) from International Monetary Fund.
    House prices have already fallen by around 10% in the US by some measures, and the IMF says that they may be over-valued by more than 20% in the UK, Ireland and Spain.
    It is forecasting further falls in US house prices of 14% to 20% this year.
    GC is definitely the main issue for atleast 10 of my friends (and I guess it is an issue for many others). our view is why invest in immovable assets while we are at the mercy of a govt agency.
    ofcourse - I would guess that many of the govt advisors must have suggested the link between immigration and housing to the policy makers. in the end it is supply and demand.
    there are other ways too ..US laws are influenced by lobbyists and I am sure there is a huge builders, realtors lobby ..maybe IV could explain the issue to them ..and in turn expect them to explain this issue to lawmakers ..

    a quick note - I am not saying that if a person gets a GC then he will run and buy a house. but for many GC is the first thing that has to happen before he/she even starts to look around.

    12-23 11:04 AM
    'D' in Democrats means Do-Nothing (http://www.mercurynews.com//ci_7792528?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com) BUSH, REPUBLICANS GET THEIR WAY ON MOST ISSUES DESPITE VOTERS' MANDATE TO CHANGE DIRECTION Mercury News Editorial, 12/23/2007

    When the Democrats won control of Congress a year ago, they promised bold new leadership. Things would change, they said. They had a mandate.

    But they didn't have the votes to stand up to veto threats by Bush and filibusters by Senate Republicans. They didn't have the bold new leadership, either. A year later, Congress is lamer than the lame-duck president.

    On the Democrats' No. 1 issue, the war in Iraq, it's been a year of defeat and surrender. They were going to "bring the troops home." Instead, President Bush sent more troops to Iraq. The "surge," coupled with a new counter-insurgency strategy, has led to a sharp decline in military and civilian deaths. All attempts to link war funding to a withdrawal timetable fizzled. Giving up completely, Congress passed $70 billion in no-strings war funding before the Christmas recess.

    Democratic leaders blame their impotence on Bush's obstinacy. Bush didn't compromise. He didn't have to.

    Democrats talked about limiting the excesses of the Patriot Act, banning cruel CIA interrogation tactics and closing the Guant�namo Bay internment camp. Didn't happen.

    Instead, Congress authorized warrantless surveillance for six months by passing the Protect America Act before the August recess. Democrats were forced to push discussion on making the surveillance rules permanent into January. Bush will likely win this one, too.

    After months of wrangling, Congress approved an omnibus budget bill that gave Bush the spending levels he wanted.

    Promising fiscal discipline, the Democrats vowed to pay for any tax cuts with tax increases elsewhere or spending cuts. That "pay as you go pledge" was put aside to pass a popular bill protecting 23 million middle- and upper-middle-class taxpayers from paying $2,000 extra under the alternative minimum tax. Since the tax was originally designed to prevent the super-rich from using tax shelters, conservative Democrats tried to close tax shelters used by super-rich hedge-fund managers to cover the $50 million revenue loss. They lost.

    Congress made baby steps toward fiscal discipline by trimming "earmarks" for pet projects by 25 percent from 2006, estimates Taxpayers for Common Sense. But legislators OK'd more than $15 billion for more than 11,000 pork-barrel projects.

    President Bush didn't win them all: Social Security reform went nowhere, reauthorization of No Child Left Behind was postponed to 2008 and he couldn't rally enough Republicans to pass a complex and controversial immigration bill.

    But this wasn't supposed to be his year. The triumphant Democrats made big promises a year ago, but delivered modest results. Democrats increased the minimum wage, enacted the Sept. 11 commission's recommendations into law and expanded student loans.

    Most notable was the energy bill, which included the first increase in fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks in 32 years.

    However, Democrats dropped plans to repeal tax breaks for oil companies and require more use of alternative energy. Bush insisted. Congress caved.

    On other issues, Congress acted and Bush vetoed. Congress expanded health insurance for children and approved federal funding for stem cell research, but couldn't overcome Bush's "no" vote.

    Stymied repeatedly, Congress saw its approval ratings fall to record lows. When you're less popular than George W. Bush, you're pretty darned unpopular.

    "I don't approve of Congress, because we haven't . . . been effective in ending the war in Iraq," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco told reporters in response to the polls. "And if you asked me in a phone call, as ardent a Democrat as I am, I would disapprove of Congress as well."

    2008 will be a year of partisan politics. No doubt Republicans will run against the do-nothing Congress. That could backfire. Democrats will tell voters that if they want Democratic policies - and most people tell pollsters they do - they need to put a Democrat in the White House in 2008.

    For the next 11 months we can expect more of the same from the lame duck and lamer Congress.

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