Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?…' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

Look and See, Show and Tell! (Selected Media/Library Exhibits to this blog)

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Note. There are multiple font, line-height, and other differences, a factor of how wordpress free domain handles the copy and paste function essential to this blog, as I’m showing and telling factors affecting our family and conciliation courts, and of public interest as, guess who is funding them!

If you are short on time, but familiar with many of these concepts, then just click and look. However, my longsuit is connecting one piece of information to the other, with a view towards ACTING on the information.

Thank you for your patience with the other matters.  Again, remember to Look It Up and Consider the Context at all times. The bulleted items are the uploads.


70 grants here I believe is only about half; the “marriage” half.  There’s also “fatherhood” half allegedly (although the CFDA 93086 doesn’t distinguish one from the other, so the average person couldn’t sort by category and compare the two types from the database itself).

If you are new to this blog, you’ll see lots of charts like these… and be asked to think about their contents. Somewhere around 2012, I discovered “Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports” (a standardized government tool for counting its holdings, that is, cumulative holdings) and realized that looking at those provided more avenues (and probably a more practical one, once mastered) for seeing “whassup” overall, at least getting a grip on what ARE the activities of each branch of government, and how it’s organized (most CAFRs also have good introduction, Notes to the Statements, and many also have Organizational Charts).

Later I learned that the last grantee in that list (National Council on Family Relations — notice “action date” column reads many years earlier than the others) was a major player in pushing marriage, fatherhood, and “Family Impact Seminars” at the university and at the federal (Washington, D.C.) appropriations level; and pre-dates to the 1930s in this field.


Uploaded only 2013; referenced before.  My commentary on this one:

Concepts in this piece, or field may take a bit to process, but shed light on the real estate sector of courthouse corps.  Most of my blog, FYI, deals with more the programming and HHS grants sector — not the real estate and property issues.  But as one of the most profitable sectors around IS in real estate development, it makes NO sense to ignore this aspect (and the conflicts of interest, and financial black holes) when the real estate in question are courthouses.  


This is not my expertise, and may not be yours, but anyone who wishes to have better justice, had better think through this aspect of it — who OWNS and OPERATES the real estate in which judges (OR, in some fields, administrative, outsourced staff!) sign orders that change the flow of kids, and finances?  


I’ve found that the site “johnnypumphandle.com,” however well it did, or didn’t, explain things — has raised most of the critical issues affecting the courts, in detail — and about 10-15 years before it hit the mainstream.  If there’s one area he didn’t cover so much (and I and not enough others did), it’s the issue of the HHS grants affecting the custody processes (macro economics specific to the family courts). 


In short, readers could do a lot worse than to work through the articles on this site, particularly the one where Karen Anderson of Amador County reports (unfortunately, to the California Judicial Council, who were in on this through their AOC) the mis-use of access/visitation and supervised visitation funds in her court case, which involved sexual abuse of children.   IT’s the angle of approach and the evidence she looked at which reflects (badly) on a generation and a few different coalitions of advocacy groups making sure this does NOT take front and center stage of their reform efforts.


In cleaning up the blog, I saw the link to California’s own SEC Report on the Administrative Office of the Courts again, and am now using it as a exhibit to show the growth, expansion, practices, and operations of the AOC of one state’s court system (the nation’s largest) as a guide what to look for in others. That’s a three-post series (one published recently), so I’ll not say much more here.  It’s a BIGGG topic and comprehensive!


To accompany (introduce) this upload, I want to upload a SINGLE numbered fund, relating to the Conciliation code, and I have blogged this one.  From the California Department of Finance, under “Accounting” “Index” etc.  I’ll put the same link below the explanation again:

You can google search these, but I recommend looking through the state finance department site (OR, one could also I suppose call ’em upee

CA.GOVDepartment of Finance SealWelcome to the State of California Department of Finance

http://www.dof.ca.gov/accounting/manual_of_state_funds/

“This manual is updated periodically as funds are created and / or deleted. In addition, you will note that some of the pages include a ‘Revision Date’. This ‘Revision Date’ was added to the template in April, 1998. Any Fund Manual additions or revisions after that time will reflect the date of addition or revision to the Manual. Write-ups completed prior to April, 1998 will not contain a ‘Revision Date’ as there is no history when the addition or revision was made. If you have any specific update information to be included in the manual you may contact the FSCU Hotline at fscuhotline@dof.ca.gov or by phone at (916) 324-0385.”

A few parts (again, from the BUDGET — not a CAFR assets/fund total….)

Domestic Violence Training and Education Fund 0642 Public Health, Department of FCS (pdf * – 64K)
Family Law Trust Fund 0587 Judicial Branch FCS (pdf * – 16K)

Yrs given are:  2011-12 // 12-13 // 13-14.  For Fund 0587, numbers stated in thousands, we see at the beginning of those years (respectively), $1.760 million; $1.836 million and then suddenly 13-14, it’s about half as much, $969K ($0.969 million).  Moreover, that “FCS” also links to other Judicial Branch fund (as an FYI)

I WANT TO POST THE 1-page form from the California Manual of Funds, for this Fund 0587.  Notice it tells us classification, when it was started (1997, replacing a prior 1992 one bottom of page) and other RELEVANT details.  Conciliation Code 1852 is listed (search this point), which also gives the Judicial Council the right to delegate control of this fund to another and that IF the fund is abolished and barring other determinations, what’s in it goes back to the general fund.  I also am about to post a simple listing (from that manual) of ALL funds by number ,at least those accessible on the California Dept. of Finance website in this manual:

FAMILY LAW TRUST FUND ACCOUNT #0587

Restitution Fund 0214 Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, California FCS (pdf * – 4K)
Registry of Charitable Trusts Fund 3088 Justice, Department of FCS (pdf * – 24K)

(I’m interested in Fund 3088 because I use that lookup site so much!)

Immediate and Critical Needs Account, State Court Facilities Construction Fund 3138 Judicial Branch FCS (pdf * – 16K)
Judicial Administration Efficiency and Modernization Fund 0556 Judicial Branch FCS (pdf * – 16K)
Juvenile Justice Account, Local Revenue Fund 2011 3181 State-Local Realignment, 2011 FCS (pdf * – 43K)
Juvenile Justice Growth Special Account, Law Enforcement Services Growth Subaccount 3230 State-Local Realignment, 2011 FCS (pdf * – 43K)
Juvenile Justice Subaccount, Law Enforcement Services Account 3225 State-Local Realignment, 2011 FCS (pdf * – 43K)
Juvenile Reentry Grant Special Account, Juvenile Justice Subaccount 3226 State-Local Realignment, 2011 FCS (pdf * – 43K)
Juvenile Reentry Grant Subaccount, Juvenile Justice Account 3194 State-Local Realignment, 2011 FCS (pdf * – 43K)

 

(obviously this is NOT all the funds, showing on this particular budget index.  More exist…).

Consider the next set — I remember when California was threatening to close many parks, because they were broke.  They were soliciting donations. Then someone (who worked in Parks and Rec) blew the whistle about $54 million sitting around in two different funds.  There’d been a coverup, heads rolled (department leadership stepdown), public embarrassment, back to business as usual.

I wonder if anyone, even a common every day Jane Doe or Joe Blow — might’ve found them in some funds like this– that’s 4 different funds for “State Parks.”

State Park Contingent Fund 0952 Parks and Recreation, Department of FCS (pdf * – 13K)
State Parks and Recreation Fund 0392 Parks and Recreation, Department of FCS (pdf * – 13K)
State Parks Protection Fund 8076 Parks and Recreation, Department of FCS (pdf * – 13K)
State Parks Revenue Incentive Subaccount, State Parks and Recreation Fund 3238 Parks and Recreation, Department of FCS (pdf * – 13K)
State Trial Court Improvement and Modernization Fund 0159 Judicial Branch FCS (pdf * – 16K)
Unallocated Account, California Children and Families Trust Fund 0639 Children and Families Commission, California FCS (pdf * – 12K)
Unallocated Account, Cigarette and Tobacco Products Surtax Fund 0236 Public Health, Department of FCS (pdf * – 64K)

 

Youthful Offender Block Grant Fund 3115 Corrections and Rehabilitation, Department of FCS (pdf * – 3K)
Youthful Offender Block Grant Special Account, Juvenile Justice Subaccount 3227 State-Local Realignment, 2011 FCS (pdf * – 43K)
Youthful Offender Block Grant Subaccount, Juvenile Justice Account 3193 State-Local Realignment, 2011 FCS (pdf * – 43K)

Other states HAVE to list their codes somewhere, and smart citizens will go find that list — and compare it to budget, fund balances, consider the situation, and get to your local legislatures (making sure someone ELSE has copies of the material, safely, beforehand, in my opinion. See example of Gerald Klatt, below):

(all media should have a “caption” and “Description” page, I just chose to post this one’s here, also).

CAPTION: (For more info, process some info over at cafr1.com or realitybloger.wordpress.com on CAFRs.  Or look up CAFR in the dictionary!)

This 494-page wonder has a table of contents.  Only represents a portion (not collected accumulated assets) of California — the State (counties, etc. are separate; this is only state).   As a teaching point, there are Governmental and NONGovernmental Cost funds, and under Governmental, there are normal and special (see labels).  The Family Law Trust fund is under “other governmental” as I recall.

At the back it has a listing of funds (alphabetical) and on page 450 a list of holdings OUTside the State Treasury ($9.8 billion, mostly PUC, Scholarshare, and State Teachers Retiremt).

Scan list of funds for ones relevant to this topic, and do try to comprehend the basic outline and concepts.  It’ll make for better citizenship.  Can you read?  You can do it.  For which ones are relevant, see your local code, but I suggest “family law” “Children’s trust”  Child Support, and anything relating to training judges, foster parents, adoption, administrative office of the courts, judges, etc.

Note — some figures are stated in thousands.  Perhaps print out table of contents; it’s harder to view piecemeal on-line.  For every state AND every county (and more) there should be similar reports, it would seem.

DESCRIPTION:

The Family Law // Conciliation Codes are but one way of collecting funds from the public while the entities collecting have plenty to handle operations.  These statements reflect Budgetary/Legal basis only and are still mind-blowing.   They contain at the very back an alphabetical listing of funds (DO browse) with two columns (pages to charts showing their balances), and on those charts you can get in the column headings, also a # for the individual fund, and look up (separately, in the Manual of State Treasury Funds, etc. on the Dept. of Finance Site, their numbers. Family Law Trust fund is 0587.  Domestic Violence Restraining Order Reimbursement Fund is 0641.  Three types of Child Support related funds are numbered

Uploaded for the significance of where monies may be in any state — and of funds drawn on.  remember this at tax time and election time, and inbetween.  It’s a cathartic awakening indeed, and as neither gov’t NOR media (all of who get copies of CAFRs, let alone this) are going to talk about this, it’s up to the public to get a grip on the situation.  CAFRman.com  is a brief guideline on finding where gov’t stands.

To drive this point home — here are what this ANNUAL (not comprehensive, meaning cumulative holdings, but ANNUAL, “B/LBAR” table of contents.
This shows us that there are (a) governmental cost and NONgovernmental cost funds being held (here, by California — a State.  Probably True at other levels too — go look).
Under (a) governmental costs– there is a  “Special fund” designation with (here): “General Fund-Special / Feeder / Transportation / Other” subcategories..Under (b) nongovernmental costs— and this is where the awareness should start to wake up– there are:  “Bond / Trust and Agency / Public Service Enterprise (where fees are charged, and it’s a literal business producing income from those fees) / Working Capital and Revolving // Retirement // Trust and Agency – Other” subcategories.Each has its “statement of operations” and “Balance” charts.  That is a LOT of holdings, and many of these holdings are producing income — whether through interest, or investments.  Moreover at the very back, there’s a listing of money held in accounts OUTSIDE the State Treasury as well.  Interesting??

Here it is, or see original for better formatting.  See “HERE” for simplified How To guide to the CAFRs.   While this here is NOT a “CAFR” this introduces people to the concept of how many other types of funds there are (i.e., not all are General Fund, and not all are Governmental Costs) which is basic.


Combined Statements

Combined Balance Sheet – All Fund Types …………………………………….6
Combined Statement of Operations – All Fund Types ……………………….8

Comparative Statements

Comparative Statement of Actual and Estimated Revenues

  – All Governmental Cost Funds …………………………………………………………………….12

Comparative Statement of Actual and Budgeted Expenditures

            All Governmental Cost Funds ………………………………………………………………..14

Notes to the Financial Statements ………………………………………………………………….18

DETAILED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Governmental Cost Funds – Special Fund Types

  • General Fund Special Accounts

Balance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………..32

Statement of Operations ……………………………………………………………..44

  • Feeder Funds

Balance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………..58

Statement of Operations ……………………………………………………………..60

  • Transportation Funds

Balance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………..64

Statement of Operations ……………………………………………………………..68

  • Other Governmental Cost Funds

Balance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………..74

Statement of Operations ……………………………………………………………..152

Nongovernmental Cost Funds

  • Bond Funds

Balance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………..234

Statement of Operations ……………………………………………………………..260

  • Trust and Agency Funds – Federal

Balance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………..288

Statement of Operations ……………………………………………………………..294

State of California • Budgetary/Legal Basis Annual Report

  • Public Service Enterprise Funds

Balance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………..300

Statement of Operations ……………………………………………………………..308

  • Working Capital and Revolving Funds

Balance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………..318

Statement of Operations ……………………………………………………………..326

  • Retirement Funds

Balance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………..336

Statement of Operations ……………………………………………………………..338

  • Trust and Agency Funds – Other

Balance Sheet …………………………………………………………………………..342
Statement of Operations ……………………………………………………………..370


This type of information kinda puts a different perspective on all the programs to help the poor and study why they’re poor, don’t you think?  Which the bulk of the family court operations are aimed at hammering home to the rest of us…

The following excerpts are from Gerald Klatt:
Gerald R. Klatt
Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Ret.)
Former:
Auditor/Commander, Air Force Audit Agency
Federal Accountant
(Qualifications can be viewed on site.)
Or, hover cursor. The guy was qualified!

From CAFRMAN.com site, again, this person (who died 2004 shortly after putting that website together at the request of Walter Burien, shows CLEARLY that by re-classifying end of year excesses (which would be “revenues”) many times as the following year’s ASSETS, ASSETS are allowed to accumulate year after year — while the public is continually clobbered over the head about “budget deficit” without understanding what “budget” is.   To better phrase this — the collective wealth of collective government entities throughout the United States of America (FEDERAL being only ONE of the many governments) has been accumulating.  A  primary violation of principle is moving (has been moving, and without intervention will CONTINUE to move, astronomically and unilaterally) wealth FROM private ownership by people who helped fund government (taxpayers) into Government entities themselves, who then do business with increasingly controlling “services” to monitor and restrict the movement of population throughout our basic institutions, including our COURTS.  See if after starting to understand this, you are ready to cry “foul!” — because doing this was a foul purpose!

The Problems 

There are three major problems with the current budget process in most State and local governments:

1. The funds not spent in one year are seldom recycled and considered in the next years budget, and tend to increase and accumulate year after year. The potential surpluses disclosed in the State and local government reports on this site clearly proves that surpluses are allowed to accumulate, and do not receive adequate consideration in the budget process.

The main problem with including previous year’s fund balances (surpluses) in the next year’s budget is an accounting definition.

When revenues are allocated to a particular fund, these revenues are considered as revenues in the budget process during that year. However, at the end of the fiscal year these revenues are classified as part of the fund balance and converted to cash and investments. In other words, these revenues are no longer classified as revenues, but become “assets“.

In almost all State and local governments the budget process is described/ proclaimed/ decreed in laws, charters and constitutions as matching “Current Revenues” with “Current Expenditures“. Since fund balances are no longer considered revenues, but assets, only the income from the fund balances (interest and dividends) is classified as revenue in the next budget process.Hence excesses/surpluses are allowed to exist and accumulate. You will notice in the schedules below that “Investment Income” is considered a revenue source, but not the asset that generated the income.*

At one time there were three components of a budget, 1) balance brought forward (money not spent the previous year); 2) current revenues; and 3) current expenditures.

Somewhere along the line 1) balance brought forward was eliminated. The reason for this is unknown.

2. Governments do not use what is commonly called Zero-based budgeting procedures. The revenues will equal, not exceed, expenditures. What happens is that governments budget for a fund balance at the end of the fiscal year and do not adjust revenues to equal expenditures.

3. If an adjustment is made in the budget process requiring revenue increases or decreases, the adjustment(s) too often are made at the general fund level and not at the level that caused the need for an adjustment.

With a budget surplus there is a tendency to place the surplus in the general fund and then allocate the surplus as tax reductions/rebates to the more traditional taxes that benefit mostly the wealthy regardless of the revenue source that created the surplus. Also, there is a tendency by government to want to spend the General Funds immediately and indiscriminately.

The CBS [CAFR-Budget System, what he as recommending instead] addresses these problems and improves a government’s money management system.

*(c. Carl Herman talking about California’s $600 billion pension fund — that’s the asset!).

He (author) also talks about the TIMING, and points out that it’s “utterly ridiculous,” with computers, for it to take a full year to publish the prior year’s CAFR — they don’t do this with budgets!  It’s intentional, and signifies government NOT wanting the public to know about those CAFRS:

Timing is Important

The budget and CAFR are prepared at different times and this can cause a problem unless there is a system in place to prepare these documents in a particular order.

The budget for the next fiscal year is usually prepared and approved before the end of a government’s current fiscal year (FY). For example, if the fiscal year ends on June 30th, then the budget for FY 2003 is usually prepared and approved by June 30th 2002.

The CAFR is prepared at the end of the fiscal year. Before there were computers, the CAFR was usually prepared, audited and published within three to six months after the close of the fiscal year. However, now with computers it now takes six to nine months and in a few cases a full year for a government to publish the CAFR.

This is utterly ridiculous. What this tells me is that governments do not want the public to know about the CAFR and what it contains. This is very disturbing because with computers and the programs are already available, the CAFR could be prepared, audited and published within 60 days or less after the close of the fiscal year. Governments are able to prepare monthly budget statements in great detail for every section of the government to know where each section stands in relation to the approved budget. Yet, the CAFR takes months and months.

CBS Requirements and Steps

One of the requirements of the CBS is that the government prepare a final CAFR within sixty days after the close of the fiscal year. Old data is useless and elected officials know this.

See also here, this is re: how suddenly and mysteriously Klatt died AFTER putting this material out.  You can see he uses examples “2002-2003” — he was found to have died in 7/11/2004.  This information is a game-changer, and perspective-shifter, IF you actually check it out:
Government Wealth Disclosure over the years
by Walter Burien – CAFR1.com – 07/24/13100'sClint Richardson is a sharp cookie!  [[[I agree.  That’s why I keep linking to his stuff!/LGH]]I started briefing him back in 2009 to 2010 and I did not have to repeat something twice. He picked up everything, snap, snap, snap. Within a year he took the ball and ran with it to present.My National CAFR disclosure started in 1998 and Gerald Klatt (CAFRMan.com) I briefed at the end of 1999, and he as a federal auditor after being briefed on the “collective totals” and massive specialty investment accounts, three months latter after looking and confirming, he called and said to me: “Walter, what we have here in this country is 100% Communism under the guise of a free market capitalist system. The government owns and coontrols everything.”I challenged him at that time, being that he was a retired federal auditor of thirty years, to launch a site focused on CAFR surplus reviews. Six months latter he launchedhttp://CAFRMan.comHere is a copy of the first letter Gerald sent me from way back when –http://CAFR1.com/STATES/1KLATT1999-Read.pdfMr. Klatt died on his birthday, July 11th 2004 two months after having put up a fill in the blanks excel CAFR review program for cities, counties, school districts, and states. Here is the “State” CAFR review program I rescued from an archive of his site –http://CAFR1.com/CAFRprograms.htmlAfter his death the review programs were stripped from his site by some unknown tactic. (creating that review program could have been the cause of his death. An open source CAFR review program made available to one and all)

Next

Media/Library Upload (this one, over 100 pp, double-spaced):


[I quoted recently in commenting — sarcastically, it’s the only appropriate mode for the situation, unless you choose “incredulous” as in, “Seriously?  This is seriously an explanation of what’s going on in ONE county’s court operations? (INCIDENTALLY the county in question was Lackwanna and (see above) the courthouse, the one that the FBI raided for evidence not too long ago, is in Scranton– that bankrupt city.  Maybe some connection between one and the other? )]


[one of my pet peeves is this mis-statement. They aren’t “broken” they are a tool for accomplishing certain ends. Pay attention to sound bytes in use to push initiatives to promote (xyz personnel) usually to fund something. And if there’s any group which is probably NOT hurting for funding, it’s the Cummings family foundations, involved here, with certain others from BMCC, CJE, and a variety of fields hoping to clean up the practice of psychology, rather than to chase it out of the courtroom and see what, if anything, is left after it’s gone…!]


(see Los Angeles Courthouse Corps link, above!)


Language blips in family court programming ….

I started reviewing the definitions of “intransigence” and decided I’m happy with mine.  I’m looking at the language of the  AFCC crowd — and have come to understand how true, how true, that Ph.D. is — in SOME fields — simply  ”Piled Higher and Deeper.”
These words are admirable, in SOME circumstances.  However, AFCC seeks to characterize them as always BAD (and not to be applied to themselves):
[[post points out some major issues and individuals, like Justice Judith Kaye of the NY Unified Court System pushing parenting education (required) and collaborative courts model]]


(9-17-2011 post) [image is of a woman who got caught] (this has an attempt to find out where Termini and Boyan were actually registered and several other miscellany.  I think it’s interesting enough.)


09-4-2011 post


08-10-2011 post, don’t forget the last few paragraphs, which is someone else (for a change) commenting on some of the grants, and the one-month (including a major holiday) timeframe in which to apply for them, and how only $6,000,000 for incarcerated Dads, vs. $52,000,000 for the others just ain’t fair… And a few reminders about the history of money, along the way.


Expanding the Administrative Presidency into “faith-based” groups leaves women (in particular) on the horns of a dilemma . . . .


If instinct is a clue, I “got” this group three years ago, in Oct. 2010 (post) — after which (this year, 2013) I eventually discovered a Santa Clara Connection to Mr. Bancroft’s DV/fatherhood affiliations (conference circuit activities of 2011) while he was telling a battered mother (Claudine Dombrowski), to “tone it down” so we can all have Healing and Hope. Claudine, replying, didn’t . . . and so was officially “anathema.” She got the Scarlet Letter, was excommunicated.

Meanwhile, I still can’t find PMA as a corporation, at least not in Florida. Reminds me of AFCC; good luck finding a state-level incorporation where it’s doing business. (See more recent postings, incl on “What’s with Women Judges….” actually a text widget on the sidebar also… (commentary here 11/2013, right after yet another “DV Awareness” month comes and goes…


Melissa L. Breger* Albany Law School November 23, 2010

Law & Psychology Review, Vol. 34, p. 55, 2010 
Albany Law School Research Paper No. 29 

[downloaded 11-10-2013 from SSRN [Social Science Research Network — free downloads] after discovering a reference and abstract to it on a family lawyer’s blog.

“Melissa L. Breger, Professor of Law, former Director of the Family Violence Litigation Clinic, Albany Law School; J.D., The University of Michigan Law School; B.S., Psychology Honors Program, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Thank you to Professors Annette Appell, Christine Sgarlata Chung, Leigh Goodmark, Deborah Kearns, Mary Lynch, Timothy Lytton, and Jane Spinak for sharing their valuable and constructive insights. Thanks to Bob Emery and the phenomenal library staff at Albany Law School. Tremendous thanks to the research assistance of Melissa Gonzalez, Lela Gray, and Jennifer Kim.”

This was an accidental find while looking up another article on a DV appeals case.  I uploaded it to see whether this person talking about Family Court institutional groupthink is going to even mention some of the nonprofit trade associations where this is formed.  Looks like, probably not.  (Is she “AFCC”?)  I guess groupthink, like parental alienation, just descends from the sky like rain, or comes up from the ground like fresh dew, and was not formed, intended, strategized, or disseminated, then?

(It’s only 36 pages, so what the heck!!)  Interesting footnotes.

Below here, or at least the “lavenderblush” background-section, is just my commentary on the find, groupthink, and psychology in general. It’s also the last upload on the page.

Footnote 8 shows some of her scope:

My hypothesis is, however, drawn from sixteen years of family court work within and across two states and seventeen counties across those states, as well as a decade of discussion with other family law professors and practitioners in family court about the culture and nature of family courts. Additionally, I draw from the existing academic literature on the topic. I am not positing that all family courts in all jurisdictions nationwide are constant and unvarying; however, there are strikingly similar parallels across every jurisdiction. A future article is in progress that will infuse these hypo- theses with qualitative data of a slightly different focus, introducing the concept of organizational court culture through the overlay of other psychological theories, such as cognitive dissonance. This article is part of a larger project which analyzes family courts as well as the lawyers, judges, and parties that come before the court.

Footnote 28, is kinda cute, and I responded to it:

“28. Some psychologists still remain skeptical about the validity of groupthink because it has never been empirically tested. However, experimental testing may not be a realistic possibility as it would be extremely difficult to artificially create group cohesion or devise a highly stressful situation comparable to a real-life crisis. **Thus, even though the theory of groupthink has not been conclusively proven through scientific testing, it is still widely considered a viable theory despite its inherent testing limitations.”

Interesting.  Psychologists admitting that they can’t empirically test psychological theories is skirting dangerously with the issue of “Is psychology science?”  If the answer is “NO,” there goes the profession.  Perhaps it’s NOT, therefore all psychologists have already been indoctrinated into the belief that they are scientists on an equal footing with those whose professions they wish to imitate by dosing their material with words from medicine, like “Clinical” “forensic” and attempting to get Rx privileges, ,as in “psychopharmacology.”  They also tend to have an inferiority complex, or at least a certain in-house competition with psychiatrists, who CAN Rx…

As to ** it’s difficult to artificially create group cohesion or devise a highly stressful situation comparable to a real-life crisis (???  What defines “real-life” is individuals have devised highly stressful situations — it happens in all kinds of training environments; boot camp, schools, leadership training, religious groups, initiation rites, etc.  The sentence doesn’t even make sense! (circular reasoning).

I really like that Is Psychology Science? article.  Take a few moments to read the intro, and notice that author (“Paul Lutus“) shows a background in math (science & technology and computer science — which requires the ability to reason!  I admit that mostly I’m fed up, however, with the psychologization of the courts; you would be in my shoes, too.  As one blogger wrote “no one over eleven believes it’s working.”

A. Three Principal Antecedents of Groupthink

The convergence of three principal antecedents creates groupthink.31 The first antecedent is cohesiveness within a group.32The second antecedent is the presence of structural faults within the organization of the group and can include insulation, lack of impartial leadership, a lack of methodical procedures, and social and ideological homogeneity among group members.33The third antecedent is the existence of a provocative situational context, which often encompasses high external stress and mor- al dilemmas.34

Cohesiveness is a multi-faceted construct and is frequently examined.35 Despite extensive research, many psychologists disagree about how cohe- siveness is actually formed. Some studies have found a link between “self-categorization and social identity aspects of cohesiveness, rather than . . . mutual attraction.”36

Other studies have shown that group identification and social attraction are more positively linked to cohesion than actual friendship.37In fact, one study has found that cohesiveness can exist with- in a group without the group members even liking each other.38

. . .

B. Three Overarching Symptoms of Groupthink

Next, we look at the three overarching symptoms that would be present in cohesive decision-making groups operating under groupthink bias.44 These symptoms may be categorized as: (1) overestimation of the group’s invulnerability or belief in inherent morality and insulation of the group from the judgments of outsiders; (2) close-minded, stereotyped images of outgroups; and (3) pressure towards uniformity or the leader’s promotion of her preferred solution.45  Janis was surprised at his findings, particularly in the context of a group’s adherence to group norms and the pressure towards uniformity.46 He explained that:

Just as in groups of ordinary citizens, a dominant characteristic appears to be remaining loyal to the group by sticking with the decisions to which the group has committed itself, even when the policy is working badly and has unintended consequences that disturb the conscience of the members. In a sense, members consider loyalty to the group the highest form of morality. That loyalty requires each member to avoid raising controversial issues, questioning weak arguments, or calling a halt to softheaded thinking.47

When a group displays all or most of these symptoms, the symptoms of defective decision making often follow and lower the probability of a successful decision.48 It is important to note that groupthink was not intended to address situations in which a group leader makes clear what the decision should be with others blindly following his lead.49 Instead, groupthink seeks to analyze the “subtle constraints, which the leader may reinforce inadvertently,”** thereby preventing individual group members from thinking critically and independently.50

**”may reinforce inadvertently” or it may be intentional.

SSRN I remember was key to some of my earliest understanding of some of the original nonprofits involved with the AFCC — I looked up, as I recall, Jessica Pearson, Nancy Thoennes, and/or Jane Venohr, and found who they were publishing with — which led to this site:

Based on your IP address, your paper is being delivered by: 
New York, USA Illinois, USA Brussels, Belgium Seoul, Korea California, USA

Written by Let's Get Honest

November 11, 2013 at 7:59 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Hi!
    How are you?
    I have been praying for you.
    Hugs

    Bruce Levine

    November 11, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    • Thanks, I see FBI has a notice on Ms. Ross’s husband having been slightly dinged for tax evasion. Suppose the rest of ’em got off with business as usual (Termini et. al working out of the courthouse without contracts?).

      I’m OK. Prayer was very appropriate at said date, and now.

      Let's Get Honest

      December 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm

  2. […] Look and See, Show and Tell (Selected Media/Library Exhibits to this Blog (published 11/11/2013, just now…) […]

  3. […] Look and See/Show and Tell (Selected Media/Library Exhibits) (Plus some narrative of course). Nov. 11, 2013. Example: Center for Children & Youth Justice (Washington state). I have blogged (use search). MacArthur is focusing on the juvenile system, pushing diversion vs. incarceration. See here, note the Kids For Cash Luzerne County (PA) case prominent. […]


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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

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