One thousand three hundred and twenty days after he was first arrested, Binayak Sen has been sentenced to life imprisonment for sedition against the Indian state. Narratives on his guilt portray him as an �intellectual� coordinating Naxal attacks in the red corridor, just as narratives on his innocence are of a sainted doctor fingered by a vengeful state. But the only narrative that really matters is the legal case against him, and this in turn hinges on three distinct legal questions: Is the evidence against Dr. Sen enough to convict him? Are the laws applied to him fair? And finally, is the maximalist sentence (life imprisonment) justified?
Around a single event
The evidence against Dr. Sen centres on a single event. He is accused of having met a jailed Naxalite, Narayan Sanyal, 33 times and carried letters from him to a Naxalite, Piyush Guha. But Dr. Sen met Sanyal in Raipur Central Jail with the permission of the Chhattisgarh police; the jail superintendent who supervised the meetings told the Raipur sessions court that no letters were exchanged. At the other end of the �crime�, Piyush Guha did not name him when he appeared before a magistrate. He is alleged to have implicated Dr. Sen while in police custody. But this is legally barred from being weighed as evidence, since all custodial confessions are presumed tainted with torture.
The central allegation against him is therefore tenuous at both ends. Other attempts to link him to Naxalites are individually trivial (or downright dubious, like an unsigned letter from the CPI-Maoists allegedly found in his house, but which is not part of the official seizure memo). But taken together they have managed to convince Justice B.P. Verma of Dr. Sen's role in aiding and abetting Naxal groups.
The second concern is the fairness of the laws used against Dr. Sen. Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (Sedition) is a colonial-era law that has been previously invoked against Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Since it is a serious offence with the possibility of life in jail, in the 1962 case of Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar the Supreme Court limited the definition of sedition to the �tendency to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence.� Dr. Sen is convicted for acting as a letter courier between Naxalites; it is questionable if this �act� falls within the definition of sedition.
The other laws that Dr. Sen has been convicted under, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, make illegal a wide variety of actions that �support� unlawful activities: taking part in meetings or harbouring a Naxalite. These laws have been invoked against grain merchants and cloth traders who unwittingly sold their wares to Naxalites. Taken together, what all these laws do is to broaden the scope of what �guilt by association� means. Perhaps this is understandable in a State where Maoists are present in half of its 18 districts and requires an army of civilian supporters to sustain a war under forested cover. But fashioning a blunt legal tool to go after an elusive enemy enhances the risk of snaring innocents.
The final concern
The Congress party has declined to comment on the judgment, invoking the prerogative of an independent judiciary. It is no one's argument that the decision was politically determined. But political abuse includes the fairness of the laws formulated by the political class for judges to impose. After all, judicial independence must also consider the quality of laws that the Raipur sessions court had to enforce, and those laws define �guilt by association� so broadly that they blur the line between innocent and guilty.
The final concern is that of punishment. Dr. Binayak Sen has been sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to commit sedition. Sentencing ranges from three years to life in jail. Justifying the use of the maximalist sentence, Justice Verma's Hindi judgment points to �the way that terrorists and Maoists are killing ... paramilitary forces � and innocent Adivasis.� But surely there is a difference between CPI (Maoist) General Secretary Ganapati, a man with much blood on his hands, and a mere courier of letters between Naxalites? Even if Dr. Sen is guilty as charged, that charge is not of violence � something he has repeatedly spoken out against. To club varying actions together defeats the purpose of flexibility in sentencing, which is after all to permit the judge to recognise degrees of motivations and culpabilities.
The Raipur sessions court verdict is only the quarterfinal. Indian law affords Dr. Sen one automatic right to appeal, and another at the discretion of the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, given the visible disparity between the quality of allegations against him and the repercussions, the judgment is sure to provoke an outcry, if the national and international outrage over his two-year long arrest without bail is any indication (already Amnesty International has criticised the verdict).
The outcry will reverberate beyond one man. In 2009, a non-violent critic of the state was held guilty of sedition and sentenced to a lengthy spell in prison. That man's name is Liu Xiaobo, and the international focus on him dims the mandarin equivalent of India Shining. While the specific �crimes� of the 2010 Nobel Prize winner vary from those of Dr. Binayak Sen, the life imprisonment given to the Chhattisgarh doctor will surely discredit the justifiable struggle against Naxalism much as Mr. Liu's incarceration discounts the distance China has travelled since Tiananmen Square. Apart from the irreparable harm to the life of an individual and his family, the judgment risks tainting Indian democracy itself.
The writer is a doctoral student working on law and politics in India
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Congress just completed ethics legislation designed to put distance between lawmakers and the interests that seek favors from them.
But the people in charge of next summer's presidential nominating conventions are busy selling package deals that would put them closer together.
The host committees of 2008's biggest political gatherings are soliciting corporations, wealthy individuals and others with a lot at stake in government decisions for seven-figure payments. In exchange, the givers receive all sorts of goodies, including access to lawmakers and other politicians. The more money the donors spend, the more access they get. Donors also garner valuable publicity for their businesses and the convention's locale, which has its own commercial payoff.
Microsoft and AT&T, to name two, have been high-profile donors to the host committees of previous conventions.
At the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, donors of $5 million or more will receive (among many other things) a private dinner and a separate golf outing with the Republican leadership, according to a list of benefits distributed by the host committee.
At the Democratic convention in Denver, a million-dollar contribution purchases invitations to a series of private events that feature Colorado's governor, Denver's mayor and members of the state's congressional delegation, among other special advantages.
The host committees do not hide their cash-for-access offers; they flaunt them. "As a corporate sponsor, you will be invited to exclusive forums and special events where you will interact with our state's and the nation's government and business leaders," the Democratic solicitation states. "In financial terms, your sponsorship is an investment in the future."
The host committees, which are run by local officials separate from the political parties, collect the tens of millions of dollars needed to put on the extravaganzas, which next year will take place for the Democrats in late August and for the Republicans in early September.
Yet the marketing comes at a sensitive time. Congress just passed -- and President Bush is likely to sign into law soon -- a bill that aims to restrain the amount of influence lobbyists and their clients will have at the conventions.
The legislation aims to stop lobbyists and lobbying groups from paying for lavish parties that honor the lawmakers and the congressional committees they are hired to influence most. Such parties, a staple of the previous conventions, have been criticized by government-reform groups as giving undue clout to interests that have lots of money.
But the bill is silent about other kinds of parties and events, including those put on by the host committees. And those not only will continue but also appear likely to proliferate.
Top givers to the GOP convention are invited to a private reception that will include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Norm Coleman and local mayors. They also will have the right to advertise in prime locations throughout the Twin Cities.
The biggest contributors to the Democratic convention get invitations to all events sponsored by the host committee and special recognition in all host-committee publications.
The nominating conventions, which are held in the late summer before presidential elections, have offered similar benefits packages before. Sponsors are the primary source for the money needed to put on these massive events, which bring together delegates from every state, a who's who of the nation's political establishment and journalists from around the world.
Host committee representatives said they are promoting their cities and are seeking funds from corporations and others who want to make an impression locally and to a large national audience. Acting as a go-between for lawmakers and the interests that want to persuade them is a much more minor concern, they say.
"We're not here to put on a bunch of parties to honor a bunch of individual members" of Congress, said Jeff Larson, interim chairman of the Minneapolis-St. Paul host committee. "We want to promote the quality of life we have here in Minnesota."
"We're reaching out to a lot of constituencies, not just members of Congress," said Elbra Wedgeworth, president of the Denver host committee. "We are hoping to promote the Rocky Mountain west."
Washington gadflies, however, see more calculation than that. Easy access to lawmakers and other senior Washington officials, they say, has long been a major attraction of these conventions and will remain so despite the recent legislation.
"It's ironic given that the last thing Congress did before the August break is pass lobbying reform that included a provision limiting the parties that can be thrown at these conventions," said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "That would suggest that they didn't mean it, which will really come as a surprise to no one."
Every point you make about the USCIS exercising extreme scrutiny for consulting/staffing company H-1Bs makes sense to me.
Which probably means that we can expect to see almost zero approvals this year for H-1B applications filed by small consulting companies (I had to add 'small' so as to not include the big 5 types in this group), would you agree?
And I assume the same applies to H-1B renewals as well.
That being said, do you think AC-21 job switches (on EAD) to small(er) consulting companies will also be dealt with the same type of scrutiny (as H-1Bs)?
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Looks like this thread is taking a different turn..
to set the records..I was never been on bench, always paid, and never out of status..
Also, I have sent all the docs to them
and I dont think they are looking into case suspecting something..mine was a random pick transferred to NBC.. last year.
And My case was almost approved last Aug2008..during the interview..but visa numbers were exhausted already for the fiscal year (remember.DOS bulleting said visa #s are there but in reality they were long gone..they only gave statement so in the Mid sep2008)..
so..I think since it was lying there laying eggs, a different officer started looking into it all over it again..apparently, I assume earlier officer didnt put any note on it
And yet, some people in my location are thinking about nothing but resale. They are not able to see a home as anything other than an investment and I am referring to such people in my earlier post.
ofcourse it is not going down everywhere. but it is going down in majority of the places that were polled. you are right home is not (and won't be an investment for a long time). In the end if you are desperate for more space (or if you get a super offer and have permanent status) etc then buy but if you are a person who doesnot want to pay more for an item than it is worth ...then wait. (especially if you are on EAD or H1).
also some feel (And say to others) that they have to rush to buy since many say it is a best time to buy and prices will go high v.soon ..the answer to this is a big No. (prices won't go up any time soon ..instead it will fall some more. and in most locations there will always be plenty of houses for sale).
If AC21 is so difficult to use what about EAD?? Is all these apply to EAD too??
No; it is not hard to use.
However; the way people use labor substitution, future base employment, labors in fast processing states, going from consulting companies to "permanent jobs"; job descriptions not matching, companies getting ability to pay queries on approved cases; uscis changing their interpretations of laws/regulations, people getting off h-1b after six years.... all of these things add a lot of complexities.
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in your case, if he re entered into the country in 2002, the previous status should not be considered...but we can never argue with the immigration officers,once it gets into their head,they can be the most 'sanki' guys..
take appt with Rajiv Khanna/Murthy without wasting any minute further..
What were they thinking? They were just provoking Israel, and when it retaliated, suddenly all those Palestine and Hamas sympathizers are crying foul asking for mediation and intervention. I would say Israel has a right to wipe out any element that was involved in attacking their civilian population.
If some cowards are hiding behind their own women and children and launching attacks, rockets on Israelis then shouldn't they be asked to stop using innocent civilians for cover and fight like soldiers?
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This is taking into consideration bay area good school district ....
say you are currently in a 2 bedroom paying around $1900 rent (say cupertino school district)
you buy a townhome for around $500k putting down 20%
so loan amount is 400k
@ 5% instrest your annual intrest is $ 20k.
Say 3k HOA anually...
Property tax....as a rule of thumb, I believe (and have heard from others) whatever poperty tax you pay comes back as your mortgage intrest and property tax is deductable.
So not taking property tax into account....your annual expense is 23k.
now here is the nice part....
you get 8k (or is it 7.5k ?) from FED for buying a house (first time buyer)
If you get a real estate agent who is ready to give you 50% back on the comission you can get back around 7.5k (assuming the agent gets 3% comission)...I know those kind of agent exist for sure !!
There is something I have heard about CA also giving you 10k for buying new homes...but I am not sure of this so will leave it out of the calculations...
so total amount u get back....8k+ 7.5k = 15k approx..
1st year expense = 23k
1st year actual expense = 23-15 = 8 k
which mean monthly rent = 8k/12 = $666 per month (it is like paying $666 rent for a 2 bedroom in cupertino school district)
Will the property value go up ? I do not know (I wish I knew)...
Is there a risk ? I would think yes....
Percentage of risk ? I would think keeping in mind current prices the risk is low...
I am not telling that you should buy or not buy....just provided one piece of the calculation....-;)
All the best !
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To pull off a fraud that humiliates the cream of the global financial elite, you need to have some friends. And where better to have them than at the local bank?
The fraud at Longtop Financial Technologies, a Chinese financial software company, was exposed this week in an amazing letter from its auditors, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. It appears to be a tale of corrupt bankers and their threats to auditors who had learned of the lies.
Deloitte, which had given clean audit opinions to Longtop for six consecutive years, apparently was well on its way to providing a seventh, for the fiscal year that ended March 31. But for some reason � Deloitte did not say why �the auditor went back to Longtop�s banks last week to again seek confirmation of cash balances.
It appears Deloitte sought confirmations from bank headquarters, rather than the local branches that had previously verified that Longtop�s cash really was on deposit. And that set off panic at the software firm.
�Within hours� of beginning the new round of confirmations on May 17, the confirmation process was stopped, Deloitte stated in its letter of resignation, the result of �intervention by the company�s officials including the chief operating officer, the confirmation process was stopped.�
The company told banks that Deloitte was not really the auditor. It seized documents, Deloitte wrote, and made �threats to stop our staff leaving the company premises unless they allowed the company to retain our audit files.�
Despite the company�s efforts, Deloitte learned Longtop did not have the cash it claimed and that there were �significant bank borrowings� not reflected in the company�s books.
A few days later, Deloitte said, Longtop�s chairman, Jia Xiao Gong, told a Deloitte partner that there was �fake cash recorded on the books� because there had been �fake revenue in the past.�
The stock has not traded since that confrontation. The final trade on the New York Stock Exchange was for $18.93, a price that valued the company at $1.1 billion. At its peak in November, it had a market capitalization of $2.4 billion.
It now seems likely that the stock is worthless. It is a real company, but its revenue and profits probably were a small fraction of the amounts reported. The existence of the �significant� debt means that whatever assets are left are likely to be owned by the banks, not the investors.
Deloitte may have decided to check the numbers again because it knew a growing group of bears on the stock had been challenging the Longtop story as too good to be true, questioning both its financial statements and the claims it made for its software. A month earlier, Deloitte resigned as the auditor of another Chinese company, China MediaExpress, in part because of questions about bank confirmations.
It is never good for an auditor to have certified a fraud, but Deloitte seems to have acted properly. It got bank confirmations, and it got them directly from the banks rather than relying on the company to provide them, as PricewaterhouseCoopers had done when it failed to notice a huge fraud at Satyam, an Indian technology company.
But the confirmations were lies.
�This means the Chinese banks were in on the fraud, at least at branch level,� says John Hempton, the chief investment officer of Bronte Capital, an Australian hedge fund. He was one of the bears who questioned Longtop�s claims and now stands to profit from the stock�s collapse.
�This is no longer a story about Longtop, and it is not a story about Deloitte,� he added. �Given the centrality of Chinese banks to the global economy, it�s a story much bigger than Deloitte or Longtop.�
The Securities and Exchange Commission has started an investigation, and no doubt more details will emerge, including the names of the banks involved. Just what, if anything, Chinese officials choose to do could provide an indication about whether defrauding foreign investors is deemed to be a serious crime in China.
Fraud in Chinese stocks is not new. But it had seemed that the worst problems were in small companies without Wall Street pedigrees. Many of the fraudulent companies went public in the United States by the reverse-merger shell route, a course long favored by shady stock promoters. That route allowed companies to start trading without going though a formal underwriting process or having its prospectus reviewed by the S.E.C. And many used tiny audit firms based in the United States that seemingly did little if any work.
What is stunning about Longtop and some other recent disasters is the list of smart people who were fooled.
Longtop did not go public through a reverse merger. Its initial public offering, in 2007, was underwritten by Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. Morgan Stanley was a lead manager in a 2009 offering of more shares. Major owners of the stock included hedge funds run by people known as �tiger cubs� because they got their start at Julian Robertson�s Tiger Fund.
On May 4, only a couple of weeks before the fateful struggle at Longtop offices, an analyst for Morgan Stanley, Carol Wang, wrote:
�Longtop�s stock price has been very volatile in recent days amid fraud allegations that management has denied. Our analysis of margins and cash flow gives us confidence in its accounting methods. We believe market misconceptions provide a good entry point for long-term investors.�
By then, Longtop officials had begun to scramble. According to its last audited balance sheet, cash accounted for more than half of Longtop�s $606 million in assets. Bears were asking why the company needed all that cash and were questioning whether it existed.
In mid-March, just after the fraud at China MediaExpress was exposed, Longtop announced plans to put some of the cash to use by spending up to $50 million to repurchase its own shares. On April 28, the company tried to assure analysts that the fraud claims were bogus. Derek Palaschuk, a Canadian accountant who served as the company�s chief financial officer, wrapped himself in Deloitte�s prestige, saying that those who questioned Longtop were �criticizing the integrity of one of the top accounting firms in the world.�
�For me,� he said, �the most important relations I have other than with my family, my C.E.O., and then the next on the list is Deloitte as our auditor, because their trust and support is extremely important.�
Mr. Palaschuk had an explanation for why the company had not repurchased any shares. It had some very good news that it had not yet released, and �we were advised by our securities counsel that we should not be in the market purchasing our own shares in the event that this would be considered insider trading.�
Longtop is not the only Chinese fraud that caught prominent Americans. Starr International, an investment company run by Hank Greenberg, the former chairman of American International Group, invested $43.5 million in China MediaExpress and had a representative on the company�s board. Starr has filed suit in Delaware against the company and Deloitte.
Goldman Sachs was not the underwriter of ShengdaTech, a Chinese chemical company traded on Nasdaq, but its investment arm, Goldman Sachs Investment Management, had accumulated a 7.6 percent stake in the company before its auditor, KPMG, refused to sign off on the company�s 2010 annual report and then resigned in late April. KPMG cited �serious discrepancies� regarding bank balances and �discrepancies between KPMG�s direct calls to customers and confirmations returned by mail.� Just as at Longtop, it appeared that auditors had been given false confirmation letters.
In each of those three cases � Longtop, China MediaExpress and ShengdaTech � the auditors discovered discrepancies, but only after signing off on financial statements. That was not the case in this year�s other � and perhaps most embarrassing � resignation by a Big Four auditing firm.
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Today science has found out that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. None of the religious book says story about Dinosaurs (Yes all the hippocrats of their religion will intrepret some wordings and make beautiful meanings out of it and will say it has already been quoted.. I have heard enough lectures on that and since you wont know the meaning of the actual word they will play with those words.. )
I was actually amazed with the way every religious scholor tries to interpret the way they have said about the age of Earth.. How smartly people make use of one year is equal to 1 million year or whatever accordingly and try to bring the result of 4.5 billion years per their Religious versus which says 2000 to 5000 years.. man it is amazing..
People's vision are covered with a glass called religion.. you need to take that out and see this beautiful world without it.. That will cure lot of problems..
Dont come and say to me that the more knowledge in science will take you close to religion..
I accept I have very little knowledge in Science but I admire it and I am thankful to it for all of its discoveries and inventions..
Tell me one good thing about religion.. I can talk thousands of good things about science ..(Dont cite examples that Science creates lot of bad things.. people use it in a wrong way .. )
Right, And u must the the enlightened one. And what do you mean by science: physics, chemistry , math or biology or theology
Is there a difference between god and a religion. I have heard lots of bulls saying " religions are ways to get to the same god" . If that was true then preachers of Islam would not have preached to convert every one to Islam by force or otherwise.
They would not have preached the following:
WA ILAHU KUM ILAHUN WAHIDUL LA ILAHA ILLA HU WAR RAHMAN UR RAHEEM
-- In other words, there is no god but Allah (implying gods of Jews, Christians, Hindus etc do not matter)
INN AL LAZEENA KAFAROO WA MA TOO WA HUM KUFFARUN ULAIKA ALAI HIM LA NAT ULLAHI WAL MALAAIKA TI WAN NASI AJMAEEN
-- Meaning : Those who disbelieve, and die while they are disbelievers; on them is the curse of Allah and of angels and of all mankind.
Now, because I don't share your "ideas" you want me to be cursed. What kind of God will do that.
Allaha has 100 names including the names like Saboor (99th), Rasheed (98th), Waris (97th) etc. But where are the names of the Gods that others beleive in.
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None of us should take this bill lightly. There is a saying - "one should never watch sausage or law being made". The guys who vote on the bills, in most instances, don't actually know what they are voting on. Most lawmakers may vote in favor of this bill as the anti-lobby is warpping this bill around a message "this bill is to enhance protections for American workers, so are you going to vote against American workers?" As such most lawmakers could vote in favor of this bill. The current environment is very dangerous where most people watch news in the sound-bites and half of the Senate is running for President. In such an environment, if you ask Obama, Hilary, Dodd, McCain etc., they are all likely to vote in favor of this bill, without going into the nuances and actual implications of this bill. None of these guys would want to be headlines saying something like �Obama is against American Works�. No one will actually care to look at the long term implication of such a bill whereby most of the IT jobs will be outsourced.
From tomorrow, we should all email and inform everybody that we can, including our employers. What is the direction from IV core? We are all waiting for the matching orders��.
There was some discussion about H1B Program in CNN's Lou Dobbs program today and not surprised, as usual it was all against H1B... He had people form Programmers Guild speak and they mentioned about this Durbin-Grassley Bill and he also mentioned that in the house a similar Bill will be introduced by Congressman Bill Pascrell.
Looks like, the Anit-Immigration / Anti- H1B/L1 are executing an already well planned strategy. We need to do something on this� else as someone wrote in some forum; this will be a slow-bleed and will eventually kill the h1b program. Now or never, we need to join hands and have to do what is possible to assist the core and ourselves.
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These kind of authentic letters from members like pani would give IV a more strong foundation to focus their energy. I think all those who want to write letters to the President, Senator, Congressmen, USCIS, DOL, DOS, DOJ, etc should do so and also should write the letter on their own instead of copying one. The reasons, sentiments and purpose will add more flavour to the whole thing. I would go one step further to suggest that some should write the letter in Spanish, French, Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu, etc, etc, if they think that they can express themselves better in their own language.
Pani once again I would like to say that you are doing the right thing.
PS: When the ship is sinking everyone wants to escape but the one who is aggresive to save himself has more chance of living than the other who is waiting for someone to save him.
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Had he run the business properly he would also have been a .com success story by now and would have been a key note speaker at Diwali and Navratri functions in NJ.
�I am a .com success story because of you hard working H1B�s�-------- Dobbs.
�But now I make a living by bashing them.�
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prices are holding up in most suburbs. interest rates are pretty good right now.
when you look at the inflation rates, interest rate could probably go up.
so if you have been thinking about owning a home for some time, i would say this is the best time in the last couple of years.
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Efforts to improve relations between India and Pakistan, and Hindus and Muslims in South Asia, can hardly make any headway if this indispensable task continues to be so sorely neglected.
How Terrorism Still Looms Over Asia (http://the-diplomat.com/2010/12/29/how-terrorism-still-looms-over-asia/) By Luke Hunt | The Diplomat
Yes ... this leads to a pale and worried Lion keep worrying that whether he should stay with the current zoo for n number of days before taking a new position at some other zoo.
Looks like a story plot for Madagascar III
But only time can tell, right? All I'm doing right now is to satisfy myself that I made a right decision. Should I find out that it's a mistake, I should be truthful to myself that I did. There's no reason to lie to my ownself. JunRN, My comments are not about your individual situation but rather a broader analysis. Individual cases may be different based on location preference and affordability and other social factors.
Historically, during the summer time, home prices will marginally increase as many people are expected to or will go around to buy homes. If you look at any listing which shows the historic prices such as trulia.. you will see that Builders are resorting to same tactics.. 20000 increase... some time around mid May 2009.... It will continue for couple of months.. but will not sustain in this situation. During the end of Fall into winter, it is going to come down and by Mid 2010.. based on popular economic forecast the prices will floor.
Think about this, Every one knows that Home prices cannot go up in the midst of job losses and recession....unless there is Inflation, in which case, House prices will be the last thing to rise.. after all the consumer goods and services start to peak.. The media in this country is messing around with people's head with their opinion playing it over and over again as if they got it all figured out... to drive people to make stupid decisions and take up huge financial commitments..
Lot of builders are already filing for bankruptcy and banks who lent them, end up owning the properties... What do they do with all those houses if no one can afford to buy them? .. they wreck the new houses... Yes.. This is going to be another round of collapse comming our way unless.. they reform immigration policies to allow more educated folks who can buy those homes..... I should say its happening... Let me give you an example..
No Sale: Bank Wrecks New Houses
A Texas bank is about done demolishing 16 new and partially built houses acquired in Southern California through foreclosure, figuring it was better to knock them down than to try selling them in the depressed housing market. Guaranty Bank of Austin is wrecking the structures to provide a "safe environment" for neighbors of the abandoned housing tract in Victorville, a high-desert city about 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles, a bank spokesman said.
Victorville city officials said the bank told them the cost of finishing the development would exceed what they could sell the homes for. The bank also faced escalating city fines as vandals and squatters took over the sprawling housing project, leaving behind graffiti and drug paraphernalia, city officials said. "It's unfortunate," said George Duran, the city's code-enforcement manager. "We would have hoped for these houses to be finished. But it's up to the owner to see what is best for them." Home prices in San Bernardino County, where Victorville is located, have fallen 60% from the housing peak in 2006, according to DataQuick, a research firm. The median new-home price in Victorville is $265,990, according to Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, a housing-research firm. Homes in the Victorville development were priced at a range of $280,00 to $350,000 in early 2008, according to Hanley Wood.
Demolishing vacant houses in economically troubled, inner-city neighborhoods is common. But the demolitions in Victorville show how the housing market is weighing on lenders even in once-booming suburbs. The houses were built by a California developer less than two years ago, according to city records. Guaranty Bank has significant exposure to construction loans to home builders. Last month, its parent company, Guaranty Financial Group, was issued a "cease and desist" order by the federal Office of Thrift Supervision, citing the firm's "unsafe and unsound banking practices."
Many lenders, like Guaranty, have been foreclosing on home builders whose projects have gone bust. Regulators told Guaranty to come up with a plan to dispose of its foreclosed properties. But finding buyers is difficult, as home values remain under pressure. ... read the full story here.. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124148169574985359.html
I believe after the correction, 2010 is going to be a better year for deals on homes..