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Archive for December 6th, 2012

Holy Giant Squid! (Our Govt’s Amazing Anatomy and Habits) or is it, Rodin’s “The Thinker (Sitting Over the Gates of Hell)”?

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This post is out of sequence,* but perhaps somewhat timeless.

*(unrelated to the Rhodes empire, Diamonds, or the Scramble for Africa, etc.).  it also happens to be about 10,680 words (much of it quotes as usual) and have some choice insets from the US GAO report on the state of our fiscal affairs.  After you wade through the discussions on symbols, and a few descriptions of the ones I picked.)

I’m considering various symbols (and symbols deal with the affective/emotion more than only cognitive/intellect).  Originally just three, but in the revisions, I added a fourth…

Again, being a woman, mother, and having to deal with my own emotional response to some cold,hard.fact$, and knowing many, many other women who have gone through this also — perhaps it may help some of them.  Hopefully it also alerts “neutrals” to what time of day it is — your income taxes are getting lost in the system and feeding a very dangerous “beast.”  “Think” about whether you wish to preside over these “gates to hell.”

Whether it’s the creature from the depths, or time to think about “the Gates of Hell,” we need symbols as tools to grasp — really — our present situations.  In the USA, is it a “fiscal cliff” and a huge national debt?

We also need tools to assess the symbols being shoved in our face as the collective social consciousness we are supposed to adopt (or else…..) 

“We audited and expressed an unqualified opinion on the Schedules of Federal Debt managed by Treasury’s Bureau of the Public Debt (BPD) for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2011 and 2010.(fn26)

For these 2 fiscal years, the Schedules reported (1) approximately $10.1 trillion (2011) and $9.0 trillion (2010) of federal debt held by the public;(fn27)”  [link below, this inset is repeated….]

An UNqualified opinion that the public (2010, 2011) — who are they? — held $1.1 trillion MORE debt in 2011 than in 2010. Although, this is certain (an “unqualified opinion”) that someone is going to, someday, go after that public for the trillions, they cannot express ANY opinion on the following, including (on closer examination, and in many categories) sometimes several hundred billions. This being from the USGAO’s Audit Report to The President (Currently President Obama) and the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. That’s who gets these reports. We can get them too, if we know that reports like this exist and might be worth looking at. GAO stands for “Government Accountability Office” and what they are auditing is described in the next inset.

The fine print gets real interesting if you pay attention to the adjectives and think about some of the noun phrases:

[To:] The President ~ The President of the Senate ~ The Speaker of the House of Representatives


The Secretary of the Treasury, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget {{“OMB”}}, is required to annually submit financial statements for the U.S. government to the President and the Congress. GAO is required to audit these statements.1


[[OK, two parties submit the statement and the GAO audits their submissions. We are now looking at the cover letter to that audit for the years referenced below…]]


This is (1) our report on the accompanying U.S. government’s accrual-based consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2011 and 2010 [ONLY]; the 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007 Statements of Social Insurance [[Why 5 yrs’ worth in a row? Not done annually for the other years?]] ; and the 2011 {{only?? why??}} Statement of Changes in Social Insurance Amounts; and (2) our associated reports on internal control over financial reporting and on compliance with selected provisions of laws and regulations. As used in this report, accrual-based financial statements refer to all of the consolidated financial statements  {{CAFRs to us}} and notes, except for those related to the Statements of Social Insurance and the Statement of Changes in Social Insurance Amounts.2

OK, now they are SURE about the $10.1 trillion dollar debt (up $1.1 trillion in one year….), but read what comes next (actually, the above quote on the public debt was from later in the report), starting on page 1.  It’s several statements — just diagram the grammar (subject|verb|object) — what are they saying, literally?

Management of the federal government is responsible for (1) preparing annual consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP); (2) establishing, maintaining, and evaluating internal control to provide reasonable assurance that the control objectives of the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA)3 are met; and (3) complying with laws and regulations.Also, the 24 Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act agencies are responsible for implementing and maintaining financial management systems that substantially comply with the requirements of the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996 (FFMIA).4 Appendix I discusses the objective, scope, and methodology of our work.


{{what they just said — “Mgmt of the Federal Gov’t” (who runs/manages this place anyhow?) is to: 1, 2, 3.  They are to: 1.  Prepare the statemts; 2. establish internal controls to reasonably convince (assure) someone {the GAO?}  that the [1996?] FMFIA Act control objectives are met and 3.  Comply with laws and regs.}}
Re: the 24 Chief Financial Officers Act (the act dates to 1990; <=<=that’s it’s link), that’s another topic (<=<=<= that’s a 20yr review).  Among several findings, in 1990, Congress found, #3, that “Billions of dollars are lost each year through fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement among the hundreds of programs in the Federal Government.”   As we can see, in general, this is still true, only make it probably HUNDREDS of billions, if not trillions (when it comes to Dept. of Defense.  You name the agency — it’s not balancing its books.  HHS especially)…

“I think it an object of great importance…to simplify our system of finance, and to bring it within the comprehension of every member of Congress…the whole system [has been] involved in impenetrable fog. [T]here is a point…on which I should wish to keep my eye…a simplification of the form of accounts…so as to bring everything to a single centre[;] we might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books, so that every member of Congress, and every man of any mind in the Union, should be able to comprehend them to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them.”

Thomas Jefferson April 1802

(cited up front the 20yr [=2011] review of that “Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990)

But here’s the (2011) list of which agencies are meant:

he current CFO Act agencies include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services [HHS], Homeland Security [DHS], Housing and Urban Development [HUD], Interior, Justice [DOJ], Labor, State [the State Department] , Transportation [DOT], the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; Environment Protection Agency [EPA]; General Services Administration; National Aeronautics and Space Administration [“NASA,” right?]; National Science Foundation; Office of Personnel Management; Small Business Administration; Social Security Administration; U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID]; and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The Homeland Security Financial Accountability Act of 2004 included the Department of Homeland Security to the list of CFO Act agencies in place of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


In summary, we found the following:
Certain material weaknesses5 in internal control over financial reporting and other limitations on the scope of our work6 resulted in conditions that continued to prevent us from expressing an opinion on the accompanying accrual-based consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2011 and 2010.7  {{i.e., on the collective net worth (assets/liabilities, etc.) of USA, Inc.!!!
Significant uncertainties (discussed in Note 26 to the consolidated financial statements), primarily related to the achievement of projected reductions in Medicare cost growth reflected in the 2011 and 2010 Statements of Social Insurance, prevented us from expressing an opinion on those statements as well as on the 2011 Statement of Changes in Social Insurance Amounts. The Statements of Social Insurance for 2009, 2008, and 20078 are presented fairly, in all material respects, in conformity with GAAP .
• Material weaknesses resulted in ineffective internal control over financial reporting (including safeguarding of assets).
• Our work to test compliance with selected provisions of laws and regulations in fiscal year 2011 was limited by the material weaknesses and other scope limitations discussed in this report.

Nevertheless, despite being completely unable to even express an opinion (that’s the US GAO talking) on the state of our federal government’s fiscal affairs because of (this, that and the other) OR for that matter on the Statements of Social Insurance (Social Security?) — we DEFINITELY (we, the public) are in the hock to the tune of — as of 2011 — $10.1 trillion.

Would you voluntarily “get into bed with” (contract) or continue partnering (continue to contract with and advance money to) with a HUGE business that admits it can’t tell you where it stands?

Suppose this were about sexual relations and not commerce:  How about if it was already a sexual partner and you got back a report even close to the quality of this report on the fiscal status of the US — “It sucks, and we’re raising taxes to correct the situation.  However, no, I don’t really know how many prior partners we were in business (bed) with, or the state of commerce (intercourse) among them.  Pending our figuring it out, please continue business as usual, and give us our cut of your profits…”

(No seriously, how different is it, really, from:   Current partner: “Do you have STDs?”  Answer: “Well, due to certain material weaknesses and lack of internal controls, I can’t express an opinion on that..my other partners I’m doing business with can’t tell me if they’re STD-free.”)  What would be the normal response:  “let’s have some more sex and make some more babies together?” or “Let me know when you can, til then, count me out — and by the way, I may be presenting you with some health bills.…”

Having found this out, would you then want this partner in charge of teaching your children about safe sex, abstinence, or for that matter marriage, family, fatherhood (motherhood), in fact anything?

SO…???

See, that’s what comes of swimming around in an ocean and not knowing the ocean.  That’s what comes from not understanding what “citizenship” means — from not knowing who we are doing business with — because it’s just too d@mn big and powerful, too “pervasive” and because “everyone else is doing it.” (contracting to do business with this federal government).

OK, looks like, after showing the statements, I pulled in a fourth category of symbol:  Having sex with someone.  Well, both engaging in unsafe sex and engaging in unconscious business relationships with this federal government are unwise.

Moreover, if you want to take a history of the past partners of this particular entity, continue the “long and winding rhodes” series; that’s who it is, and basically what government is about.  Government is a form of corporation..that not only makes rules it doesn’t play by itself, it makes different rules for you than for itself.

And when it has the (unidentified — because it can’t express an opinion on how those statements, right) assets, and you have the debt — plus it has the enforcement power, and controls “commerce” {{other than black market commerce, and possibly even that:  narco-dollars}} then perhaps this is not much like being controlled by a very powerful pimp.  RIGHT???  How would the benefits (going with the flow, keeping some of your take, handing over the rest, and hoping not to get into too much trouble while “working,” and hoping to dear God you also don’t lose the ability to attract business (cf. hold a job) in a culture that’s obsessed with youth — or try to break free, at possibly greater risk?

Period.

Socially and emotionally, who should a person align with, when it comes to sheer survival and hope for a future?  how about for preserving and protecting one’s kids?  Or ARE they really (legally) our kids — in the huge state system called “Social Security’ where each of us is numbered (etc.).   Should the courts be reformed?  Who the heck are the courts anyhow — what are they there for?  What are the police there for, also — when they are tossing parents into jail for protesting inappropriate removal of their (alleged) children from their (alleged) homes when a piece of paper said, “no can do”?  How about when a piece of paper says someone else owes you some money?  Should  you hire a lawyer, or an expensive law firm (called “the big guns” to shoot at the other side, verbally that is?  if you pay an attorney a whole lotta moulah — is that attorney on your side?

Bottom line, what’s the best description of the (current) landscape, for someone who is wanting to know, which way next?    What if you’re a family court refugee, or displaced person?  What if the beast just kidnapped one of your kids, but if you go after that kid, by the time you return, home (and job) will be gone?       What emotional/social/ and intellectual stance should be taken?

(note:  I don’t have YOUR answers, but am giving a few analogies that seem right to me.  Try them on for size — maybe one will seem to fit the scenario)….

Diagrammed, nice and neat:

Giant squid have eight arms but use their two long feeding tentacles to seize prey.

Around Veteran’s Day, 11/12/2012 (we had already voted as a nation), I was starting to comprehend just how large and how grossly inaccurate (and dangerous) the system of centralized accumulation of unmonitored and unrestrained wealth — by repeat shearing of the many, to be domesticated by the few –the whole operation has become.

At the time, I was looking at the US GAO report on the United States of America (Financial Statements, that is), including the parts mentioning where it can’t issue an opinion because the component parts are discrepant by, oh, a few hundred billion here and there…   Seeing this produced an (affect) emotion in me, when compared to what I personally endured, and know so many, many others also have, in prolonged distress and disruption to basic functions of life.

Automatically, I again thought of “The Giant Squid,” which I still say is a great analogy for even the family court system alone (let alone for government itself as a whole).  The image works for me because it’s a predator – -it’s a live; there are many aspects in which the image speaks to me.

However Google also that day had as its display the image of Rodin’s The Thinker” (one of the best-known status in the world, we are told).  On learning it was designed to sit over a larger ensemble, namely “the Gates of Hell,” I figured, time to talk about these symbols, before applying them.

Finally, I brought up again the inappropriate phrase (which is a symbol) “Our Broken Family Courts.”  Every part of that phrase is inappropriate except, they are “courts” (and corporations).  So here it is.

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Written by Let's Get Honest

December 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm

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