Monday, October 29, 2007

Rep. Honda: LA Times Campaign Finance Story is Racist and Biased

Just Found this Press Release by California Congressmen Mike Honda. The post blasts the LA Times for their story from October 19th, "An unlikely treasure-trove of Donors for Clinton"
The story talks about the growing contributions from Asian Americans which Rep. Honda proclaims

“I am appalled by the irresponsible and biased portrayal of the Asian American immigrant community, published by the L.A. Times today. "

“Drawing a connection between the emerging political involvement of Asian Americans and individual cases of possibly suspect donations sends a strong message that the political participation of minority communities is undesired. Minority communities in America have been shut out of the political process through poll taxes, literacy tests, and other tactics throughout our country’s history. As leaders, we should be encouraging, not chilling, the legitimate involvement of underrepresented communities in our democracy." -Rep. Mike Honda.

I applaud Rep. Honda for this bold statement. Lately the names of a few sour Asian American donors have been used to make Indian American and Chinese American communities as illegal donors. Trying to brand all of these successful emerging communities to the likes of Norman Hsu and Sant Chatwal is just unfair, our communities have worked hard to become successful working towards the American dream. Almost every major newspaper has reported stories that hint at branding this and our friend Lou Dobbs (video below) has been the worst. It seems to me that they agree with Tom Tancredo's view that Immigrants are what is wrong with America.


HR 747: Officially Recognizing Diwali in the US

Our Friends at Sepia Mutiny are reporting something that Congress's website officially confirms. The Bill labeled HR 747: Recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali. This is continuing to show the growing role of Indian Americans in the political realm and that they will be an important community in the upcoming 2008 election.

The full resolution is below but with the US strongly pushing the 123 Nuclear Deal, Bobby Jindal winning as the first Indian Governor in the US, and IALI reporting almost a dozen Indian American Candidates nationwide. The community has a lot to be proud about but we need to move forward as a united community and issue strong responses when necessary. I still think the community needs to send a stronger message to Presidential Hopeful Fred Thompson for picking up George Allen as a national chair we reported a few days back.


DNA India Reports on Diwali Resolution
NDTV Reports on Diwali Resolution


1st Session
H. RES. 747

Recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali.


October 16, 2007

Mr. WILSON of South Carolina (for himself and Mr. MCDERMOTT) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


Recognizing the religious and historical significance of the festival of Diwali.

Whereas Diwali, a festival of great significance to Indian Americans and the people of India, is celebrated annually by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains throughout the United States and the world;

Whereas there are more than 2,000,000 Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains in the United States;

Whereas the word `Diwali' is a shortened version of the Sanskrit term `Deepavali', which means `a row of lamps';

Whereas Diwali is a festival of lights, during which celebrants light small oil lamps, place them around the home, and pray for health, knowledge, and peace;

Whereas celebrants of Diwali believe that the rows of lamps symbolize the light within the individual that rids the soul of the darkness of ignorance;

Whereas Diwali, falling on the last day of the last month in the lunar calendar, is celebrated as a day of thanksgiving and the beginning of the new year for many Hindus;

Whereas for Hindus, Diwali is a celebration of the victory of good over evil;

Whereas for Sikhs, Diwali is feted as the day that the sixth founding Sikh Guru, or revered teacher, Guru Hargobind ji, was released from captivity from the ruling Mughal Emperor; and

Whereas for Jains, Diwali marks the anniversary of the attainment of moksha or liberation by Mahavira, the last of the Tirthankaras, who were the great teachers of Jain dharma, at the end of his life in 527 B.C.: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

      (1) during this time of celebration, in order to demonstrate support for Indian Americans and the Indian Diaspora throughout the world, recognizes Diwali as an important festival;

      (2) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of the festival of Diwali;

      (3) recognizes and appreciates the religious diversity in both India and the United States and throughout the world;

      (4) acknowledges and supports the new relationship of collaboration and dialogue in international efforts between the United States and India; and

      (5) in observance of and out of respect for the start of Diwali, the festival of lights, acknowledges the onset of Diwali and expresses its deepest respect to Indian Americans and the Indian Diaspora throughout the world on this significant occasion.

Everything You Need to Know About the Recent Updates on the US-India Nuclear Deal

If you have been keeping up this has been a long week for the US-India Nuclear Deal. There has been a great deal of press on the comings and the goings of the deal and I'd like to bring you a comprehensive update. I will also include a thorough list of Links of Stories I have compiled for all of who are interested.

On October 16th We brought you Breaking News on the Nuclear Deal coming apart for all that could be done with this current government. The problems lay particularly in India with the governments not being able to resolve their differences.

This sparked worry both in India and the US so USINPAC (our parent group) put together an Emergency Delegation to help lobby for the deal in India with major groups. On October 18thUSINPAC put out a press release

The USINPAC delegation intends to assess the perspectives of all stakeholders in the Indian system -- political and technical -- and to provide an Indian audience with the viewpoints of key Indian-Americans who were actively involved in the public discussion of the nuclear exemption for India in the U.S. The Indian-American community played a crucial and unique role in this public discussion.

and a You Tube Video (below).

The video is essentially USINPAC founder Sanjay Puri discussing the importance of the Delegation and how it all came together.

A great deal of press resulted from this effort from USINPAC and Indian American leaders to help lobby for this deal to have a positive end result.
Daily India, The Hindu, NDTV all had great stories highlighting the Delegation and Effort. They mentioned the goals of the delegation and how some Indian American leaders thought the delegation wasn't worthwhile.

Oct. 22nd: With the delegation beginning, USINPAC released another press release talking more about the delegation as it happens and how they plan to meet with the leaders of the BJP, Communist & Congress Parties, the Indian Ambassador, and the Prime Minister.

Oct. 23rd: The Delegation meets with the Prime Minister Singh
We met the Prime Minister who received us very graciously, and found him determined to take the U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Agreement forward despite some opposition typical in a vibrant democracy like India, said Mr. Puri.

Very good news being that with the setbacks the PM was still on board and confident and optimistic that all parties will be able to meet in the middle. As you can imagine a great deal of very bold news stories resulted from this message the PM sent out after meeting with the delegation. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Business Line, and many other media outlets reported this on the 23rd.

Oct. 24th: Delegation continues meetings. The PM delivered a message of assurance to a special nonpublic event with the Indian Military forces as reported by The Telegraph.

A source said Singh spoke “at great length on the deal and he talked about the necessity and the future of the deal”. -Telegraph Reports

Also on the 24th the International Media began to carry the PM Singh's message of confidence including: Reuters , The Hindu, Christian Science Monitor, India Daily, Business Standard

But sources from New Delhi says that PM office has officially told the Left parties that Indian Government has abandoned the implementation plan of the 123 agreement with US. It is up to the next elected Government to look into the matter and do what is necessary.
-India Daily Reports

"Many members of Congress are growing increasingly skeptical of what the Bush administration is negotiating," says Rep. Edward Markey (D) of Massachusetts, a longtime supporter of multilateral nonproliferation efforts. "It's heartening to see the members coming over to me and shaking their head at what the Bush administration went so far to accept." -Christian Science Monitors Report

While the PM riled the troops and the International media carried his message, another important player joined back in the diplomatic fight, Under Secretary of State Burns. NDTV reports Burns urges that Indian leaders sign on to the nuclear deal.
''The Indian Government now needs to make a decision. We do not intrude into the Indian domestic politics, but we do believe that the Indians need to make a decision at some time. We hope the decision would be positive to go ahead because this agreement has enormous benefit for us, " Secretary Burns said to NDTV.

All this was happening while the Delegation continued lobbying as CNN described it "Left-Right and Center". The delegation met with leaders of the BJP and Communist parties as the story describes in the video post below.

Oct. 25th: Several stories summed up the meetings the delegation had with the the Left and the BJP. The Economics Times, DNA India, New Wind Press, and several others with a great quote below.

"We need to brief our constituency, the Indian-American community, as well as Capitol Hill,'' said Sachdev . He admitted that the purpose is also to “request, push and nudge the leadership to find a way forward”. He also added that what is needed is innovative thinking to reconcile differences. -DNA India

Oct. 26th: Sify does a story on the Delegation meetings, while Business Line editorial writer B.S. Raghavan talks about Why the US is pushing the deal so hard. Where he estimates the deal could rake in as much as $100billion for the US and “an increasingly powerful India represents a singularly positive opportunity to advance (the US) global interests”. Great piece I thought.

The Times of India also ran an editorial piece by Sumit Ganguly entitled "Save the Nuclear Deal". The piece gave great insight from a real scholar on US-Indian relations

The abrupt halt in the quest to move the nuclear deal into a safe harbour has now cast serious doubt about the willingness and ability of any government in New Delhi to act in a responsible, predictable and reliable fashion. -Sumit Ganguly

Oct. 27th: The Australian Reports
that as the nuclear deal seems to go sour the worst reports are coming out that could be troubling for India's leading party and PM Singh.

REPORTS that India's redoubtable Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seriously considered resigning this week are among the most disturbing recent developments in international politics. -The Australian

As the roller coaster of this deal and the Indian leadership continues it seems that the parties continue to value political destruction versus building whats good and right for the country. This report deeply saddens me as I agree with Mr. Ganguly, this could serious prevent strong relations between the US-India in the future.

Oct. 28th: And the roller coaster continued with Henry Kissinger being interviewed by CNN-IBN watch the video below where he pretty much proclaims a failing of the deal would be worse for the US.

The interview is pretty good as Kissinger really puts the deal into perspective, something Secretary Boucher and Congressman McDermott had assured to USINPAC at a briefing back on September 18th. The deal as important as it is to India is more important to the US and would just be a minor setback in the future of US-India relations.

The Hindustan Times also did a piece somewhat recapping the delegation, recalling how the Indian American leaders became Conduits between the opposition parties in India.
To sum up the delegation in one line is a quote from Sanjay Puri to the newspaper.

"We are taking the message back to Washington that the prime minister is committed to the deal, but it is in a delicate situation," said Puri.

Oct. 29th: Indian Ambassador to the US, Ronan Sen is going to testify before the Lok Sabha in India. CNN-IBN Captures it below.

I will try to brief on this as it happens.

He was concerned that with 2008 being the presidential election year, it would be difficult to shepherd legislation with congressmen and senators distracted by campaigning.

"Time is an enemy," stressed Puri, who was concerned that the next occupier of White House may not be as enthusiastic a backer for the nuclear deal as the incumbent.

-Hindustan Times October 28th.

Time is the problem as the future president won't care as much about this deal and presidential politics well can complicate things. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Below are some blog links as well to some interesting articles I found.

India Blitz: Nuclear Deal
E-News India
India Times

-Varun Mehta