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.

HHS Grants Database “http://TAGGS.hhs.GOV status” is suddenly inaccessible [2wks in Dec.2013]

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2014 February 18 — an update on the nonresponse to HHS grants database going down may help us understand what it means to young people, and their parents, when the mainstream public engages in a universal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on their own governments operations; after a long day at work and with their family (if they’re lucky) at home, time to “unwind” with mainstream MEDIA information. The problem with this (and I do understand the need to detach and tune out by tuning in some nonsense or entertainment, believe me!) is that we NEVER get around to reading our own government’s operational “annual reports.” If we were invested DIRECTLY in a business, would we not do that? If we were contributing, say, to a nonprofit, might we not occasionally take a look at their tax returns and, as it applies, annual reports also? Let’s try this another way– if we were invested as private shareholders managing our own stuff (or, hiring a trader to) — might we not from time to time read the shareholders’ reports and SEC filings? Or want to get at least a sense of what we’re getting for the money?


There are no Securities and Exchange Commission reports on government itself, or some might be in jail for insider trading. Perhaps the closest indicators of WHO and WHAT our own rulers/leaders, etc. (legislators, executive branch civil servants, and all their administrative sector as well) IS — would be to read some of the grants databases — such as TAGGS here — and look things up, or to at least occasionally browse at least one or two “Transmittal letters” and “Notes to the Financial Statements” of the reports, called “CAFRs,” which basically outline operations — and then a little more followup.

Instead, the “normal” is, work for a corporation (for profit, not for profit) or work IN government, or for some, be a small business owner. Let someone else look at the books.

I have more than attempted to remedy lost time and fiscal ignorance on such things since ignorance of (such things) related directly to having my children stolen over night, contact cut off — with no due process and no legal or factual basis – and thereafter abandoned, once the child support arrears had been compromised (apparently part of the deal) and my income destroyed, and all of these systems interacting with each other, while I year after year kept insisting they were to start working (after all, those were public entities, right?).

I also came to understand, and talk daily and have known personally, more and more individuals — this also includes mothers, women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, who have become suddenly homeless through this same system intent on removing their kids from their care. Some of them had been battered or even in a battered shelter. Others I know were employed–but there wages were garnished below a living wage. ALL of this revolves around the custody, divorce, social service and child support systems which the public funds — but which do not serve the best interests of this same public.


This does not HAVE to happen. There are alternatives, but they are not emotionally comfortable for those who are worried about their own financial futures, or whose greatest nightmare is NOT being middle-class any more, and losing social status with their friends, or discretionary expenditures for consuming arts, sports, theatre, and/or getting their kids into the same with a view towards college.


The uncomfortable alternative entails understanding and personal change that “that’s just them, that’s not us” is a lie. They are there because of toleration of money-laundering and squandering of money held in the public interests. They are there from a collective cognitive dissonance on way too many things.


Recently, people have been picking up on this information and attempting to put it in front of candidates for Congress, and in one state, Governor. That’s great. However my real concern is education of others to comprehend, if you like citizenship, tracking (monitoring) government is a CIVIC duty. I can’t do it alone. I’m not genius intelligent — I’m just highly motivated, diligent and was disgusted by what I’ve seen in the past two decades in what would otherwise be a decent state to live in, California (it’s not my home state). Flattening of policies through certain technology and through corporate structures (i.e., see sidebars; through privatized government) means this is — and I can document it too — common in plenty of states. This is the new normal.


I am often on the phone with people in similar distress, and while this wasn’t me, many have come from families where Mom stayed married after Dad (or, stepDad) was molesting a teenager, or younger, girl. These women tend to leave home early, become independent early and sometimes end up with violent men they then have to leave, which is how they then end up, now as mothers, in this system. And this country wants to promote MARRIAGE above all and FATHERLESSNESS as a social plague? Where is the attached conditional statement to this religious (in essence) ideology?


Meanwhile, movements like “Half the Sky” talking about the treatment of women in OTHER countries is a waste of talent and a travesty. What about in North America, specifically, the USA with its marvelous tax system and expansionary HHS programming?

Read this post. Then read the update — I’ll publish it promptly. LGH/2-18-2014.


LGH @ 12/21/2013 morning. Still down. “Down for the count,” I guess!

Please re-tweet this post and see if someone can access the following database, which has been down almost a full week now.  Thanks for feedback.  I am getting the “[my browser] can’t open the page http://taggs.hhs.gov because the server where this page is is not responding.”   Try it:  “http://TAGGS.hhs.gov”    ( TAGGS “who”??? )

“TAGGS” = the “Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System”

It’s a database uploading awarded grants, and from the public perspective, free to look up who got what.  It’s informative and searchable, and although reports are limited how they display (i.e., it’s going to look like a chart), they tell us valuable information not just about what the US HHS is spending — but literally about what is DOING.  Patterns are observable. Its reports or search results can be a starting point to see, in motion, multi-state initiatives which would NOT show if one weren’t in the habit of looking and then comparing similar grant series.  Not for, “who can give my group the next grant?” (for that, go see Grants.gov, or similar site.  Attend a workshop…) — but for, as citizens, “what is my dept of HHS doing with my tax revenues?”  It provides who, what, when, and How Much from which program office information on the grants already awarded. From the Health and Human Services page (“updated 11/20/2013”): If it was updated 11/20, 2013, why the “server inaccessible” less than a month later?

Public Information Systems

Information systems play an important role in the tracking and management of Federal financial resources. Below is a list of sites that can be used to learn about grant, contract, and data management in the Federal government:

HHS

Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System (TAGGS) – A robust grant reporting tool. The TAGGS database is a central information repository for grants awarded by the eleven HHS Operating Divisions (OPDIVs). TAGGS tracks obligated grant funds at the transaction level.

How much money our government, this agency, gives away.  For a concept –although the next figure is CONTRACTS, not GRANTS, it is only for today — and  2nd column, year-to-date.  Obtained from Fedmine.com:

TODAY’S TOP CONTRACT AWARDS BY AGENCY –   NESTED BY NAICS CODES & CONTRACTORS Total Agencies : 38
AGENCY NAME Dollars Obligated Aggregated, Actual Figures
POSTED TODAY 12/17/2013 YTD FOR AGENCY
    7000 – HOMELAND SECURITY $ 35,949,771 $ 458,883,012
    2000 – TREASURY $ 33,495,483 $ 577,777,885
    8000 – NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION $ 30,556,150 $ 887,839,435
    7500 – HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES $ 20,054,943 $ 417,810,503
    1900 – STATE $ 15,939,792 $ 95,436,598

Meet a blog I set up — but didn’t get to finish posting — in October 2013.  Why?  (My personal situation heated up…working with people in certain other states… blogging supervised visitation, etc.)….

I started this blog  during a Government Shutdown to provide a pictorial representation an unfiltered (no “select”) report (recipient search results) on a United States Health and Human Services public-access (free) grants database  –HHS being merely one of the largest grant-making federal agencies in the United States.


Guess What:  If you have an inspiration — like the one above — and don’t move promptly, sometimes the opportunity expires. Right now — it looks like this entire database is “down for the count,” and has been since, that I noticed, at least last week (Wednesday, December 11, 2013)”  You cannot access it at all.

Considering how RUDE that is,  even though almost no one seems to regularly USE the database — it’s got data back to 1994, 1995 — and is a statement that someone cares, at least believes that a gesture towards the public ought to be made for accountability and access to where specific types of grants are going (as citizen participation in monitoring government grants, or goofs). Well, it doesn’t seem HHS wants to.  And until I see a message telling the rest of us W.T.F. the H.H.S. is doing with U.S.$$$ Congress has appropriated to it, may I apologize on their behalf:

Oops, SOO Sorry, back up soon!  As you know (see recent government shut-down) the US Dept. of HHS is broke, and it’s so hard to find good hired help.

“So (the going HAS been getting tough) we are out shopping for last-minute holiday gifts, and reviewing our list of who gets them.  

“Call 800-goodluck if you need some information about what we DID do, as opposed to what we PROMISED to do..

“Ta-daah!” 

Hmmm.   Last Week Wednesday Dec. 11 2013, inbetween revising something else, I decided to slap up a link to the valuable reference tool.  Throughout this FamilyCourtMatters blog you will find chart after chart from TAGGS (the HHS grants received database), in the characteristic navy blue headerline and a variety of fields: with Grant numbers Grantees, Principal Investigators, CFDAs (the Number of the Categories of Federal Domestic Assistance) and in general, a real nice indicator of how HHS is distributing its largesse.

Such a playground — it does deepen any conversation on:  child support enforcement, food stamps, family courts, courts, fatherhood, faith-based grantees, the mix of church and state, abstinence funding, “compassion capital” (how our government first helps set up corporations, then funnels funding towards them).  It is another major checkpoint.

Moreover, every one of those thousands of grantees, sometimes actually in the form where HHS’s version of their name does match their corporate name, can then be looked up on state corporation or nonprofit registry pages, and you can read their tax returns.

Alternately, find that (sometimes) their corporation licenses were revoked in YearX, but funds continued in the millions, through Year X+5. .  Collectively, it gives at least a visual on many topics, if not completely reliable, at least a wonderful impressionistic canvass of what our government thinks of the hard-earned efforts of income-taxed Americans. Including misappropriation of funding and the little tricks of mis-spellings that are going to indicate little mice running around nibbling away at the public’s energetic contributions to Social Security and — well almost anything having to do with HEALTH and HUMANS and SERVING them.

ALSO LAST WEEK WEDNESDAY (that I noticed) and SINCE THEN –this database has been “server down” with not even an error message, apology, or promise to get back up again.  I confirmed this is the status in at least three different states in three different regions of the country.  It’s apparently out for the count. Try yourself.  If you get through, please submit comment ASAP to this post, copy and paste any message you got.  Thanks! Maybe it’s the overload from Obamacare.  Maybe someone thought that, while the public is signing up for their sponsored healthcare plans, they might take a side detour into HHS.taggs.gov accidentally and get too curious. Or maybe this did have something to do with four years of yakkin’ about this, not just here, but in my other on-line circles, on comments to articles all over the net, and my continuous urging, when I do have phone contact, of people to just LOOK THE DARN STUFF UP! — that prompted a decision to SHUT THE DARN THING DOWN! The following draft was saved (not posted) Wed. Dec. 11, 2013.  I felt it was important enough to become the top post on the blog

A lot of what I think and learn, comes from hours spent on this database of HHS grants.  Warning:  Consistent use will change your perspective on the family court systems, if not our government itself (for example, why are we paying people to upload data who can’t or won’t spell?  Why cannot the Advanced Search option actually key in a DUNS# or EIN# (as simple Recipient Searches) can?  Would that reveal just how many grantees have none?  And if the data entry isn’t regulated or consistent, then obviously a SEARCH on any thing (in which several entries were mis-spelled) will miss, like, those records.And why does it “Hang up” each time when I try the “ALL YEARS” selection; why can’t you view a clear listing of ALL CFDA’s (Categories of Federal Domestic Assistance) in one place, or even, using the cursor, simply copy and paste them?).  Are there little mice running around in the software such that the thing sorts ALL CAPS differently from Initial  Caps, and why is there no standardized form for entering the name of a state into there either?TAGGS (Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System) (DHHS Office of Grants)TheTAGGS database is a central repository for grants awarded by the twelveDHHS Operating Divisions (OPDIVs). There are 3 search options:

  1. TAGGS Advanced Search: a refined search of over 500,000 awards enabling one search by a combination of title keyword, agency, type, year, state, PI name and many other criteria in various combinations. Results are downloadable to Microsoft Excel. No abstracts.
  2. TAGGS Abstract Search: searches over 85,000 award abstracts by keyword.
  3. TAGGS Advanced Abstract Search: enables search criteria such as keyword, agency, type, year, and state to be used in many combinations to search over 85,000 award abstracts.

Secretary of State Corporate Registration Pages (which are sometimes in flux, and sometimes now are starting to require user registers.  Some even require payments). [Thanks to this site for reminding me, time to at least put the database near the top of the blog.  Check back for updates, I’ll explain more later.]


HHS GIVEAWAYS, GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWNS COUNTING THE ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM (TAGGS.HHS.GOV OCT 2013 SAYS 44,783)

A short discussion of the issues, and some examples, still show at the link.



I had discovered some “anomalies” which appear to prove that the records are not sorting on the visible grantee name field, but some subterranean (embedded) method. At least from what shows up when I produced a “no sort” database. This, plus already knowing the erratic style of naming grantees, entering name fields, and no consistent styles enforced (for example, is it “Alabama State Department of….” or “AL ST DEPT” or neither, but just in Alabama (State field), “Dept. of?” Common sense says that, if records aren’t entered consistently (or accurately), any search will miss the ones that don’t match the (completely unpredictable) style. In addition, there were the what seem to be intentionally mis-spelled (and never fixed) spellings of words such as “Responsible” “Fatherhood” “Marriage” “Alliance” (etc.) which, one would think might be user-accessible common words. (See link for more). SO, I was going to simply post them all — but on a separate blog, as no way is this blog going to even load if I burden it with the HHS grantees, at least about 45,000 of them split up by posts. But it would be good to see.

VISUAL:  Organizational Chart from http://www.hhs.gov/about/orgchart/index.html

HHS Organizational Chart

Select an Office below to see specific organizational charts. Also, see the text version of the HHS Organizational Chart with links to agencies and their charts.

HHS Organizational Chart, as of November 29, 2013

What concerns me almost even more is that among people in the family courts who know that several of these programs are literally dangerous to women and children (5 at least of them, see that link to Ms. Stevenson’s 2012 Huffington Post article I keep quoting), and have been alerted, aren’t particularly raising hell about it (yet).  Child Support Enforcement and Family Support alone is about $ 4 billion ($4,000,000,000) a year, lots of which is getting lost as “undistributable” to the intended recipients, like households with kids in them. We are also talking all TANF grants to states (Title IV-A), including those nice diversions into marriage/fatherhood promotion, and the Title IV-D, OCSE diversions or waivers to see if more noncustodial parenting time will persuade certain people to pay up (and of course will help set up or support more of the types of programs my blog focuses on “outing”:  Mandatory mediation, supervised visitation, forced parental education (through the courts, I mean), etc. Let alone Medicaid, and the huge expenditures in hospitals, training of health professionals, and last but not least, direct grants to churches or other faith-based providers for any and all of the above:  Cryo-Embryo Adoption Awareness, you name it.


Suppose some couple wants a baby for Christmas?  How are they supposed to find out where to order one if the HHS database is shut down.  “How inconvenient!”

Or, if the boy or girl  already in the home of a near relative, how to find a GAL to persuade the courts that neither of the parents are any good for that particular youngster, or all of the youngsters, should be IMMEDIATELY removed for protection from (parental alienation, abuse, you name it…) and placed in the home of a near relative, then producing some nice billings to the mother or father in exchange for seeing their own children again..


— – – – – – – – A recent HHS/OIG/OAS* report on a Connecticut Adoption Agency said they were not running criminal background checks on foster families and recommend terminating the Title IV-E payments to the families in question (did anyone thing about checking on the children’s safety and finding them some households which passed a criminal background check?)  (*search the phrase, you can find it!  Use common sense!)


Two PAGES (not posts) on the right sidebar here  that the United States has still been organized into 10 Federal Regions for better management, and that at least as of 1939, the Reorganization Act functioned to centralize power in the Executive Branch, set up the Executive Office of the Presidency so we could be a truly muscular force in the world, vis a vis other empires, and hold our head high as able to throw this weight around on behalf of God, Country, Commerce, and (almost forgot) “Democracy.” (OK, “Related links” below explains the references).


No, Seriously: It is a very big deal that this data is down.  It also makes (instantly) all the formerly active links to TAGGS grantees on hundreds of my posts here, inactive, and means no one can run similar reports to fact-check.  I also will mention that on Sund. 12/15/2013 and Monday 12/16/2013 while writing (on other matters) I lost, each day, nearly five hours of solid work, which had been saved, on time-sensitive topics, and that twice while typing this post (the “OOPS sorry part”) my text was suddenly wiped out.  I have been a professional word processor and know that it wasn’t just hitting a stray key on my input device.

We shall see what comes of this.  Please raise hell, or help obtain other sources of information:  Is the database up, but the address changed?  Is it undergoing radical transformation (like cleanup) and a facelift?  Is this server tied into the “everyone sign up for healthcare now” server — and if so, WHY?  

. . . .

For a perspective on the scope of the issue, look for a CAFR (financial report– excuse me, I think the link was simply to a regular annual report, or GAO audit; see post) for the United States of America and read the Introduction (Transmittal letter, Notes to Financial Statements) on what they have to say about their own accountability.  HHS Grants were named, recently, as a problem area.  I believe I blogged it several years ago, search the term “GAO” on blog titles or contents.


Related links: FamilyCourtMatters Pages:

  • HHS GIVEAWAYS, GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWNS COUNTING THE ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM (TAGGS.HHS.GOV OCT 2013 SAYS 44,783) (intro page only, but helpful)
  • Courts=Govt=Business,Part III: Stunning 2011 Admissions from the USA GAO to The President and Congress: USA Can’t Really Audit Itself, and DNK where it stands financially. (Nov. 12, 2012)
  • Parts A, B & C below illustrate the situation A is short. B is almost funny. C is the kicker. Eye-opening Information lies in these Details. (Hang in there!)

    [LGH note: This post, 11/12/2012 (Veterans’ Day) below the graphics of “The Thinker” (seated Rodin Statue) sitting over the gates of heaven & hell, actually has an example from the City of Industry, California of how Governments can simply “incorporate” and then legislate into place, subsidiary governments, for the purposes of raising money. It gives a visual of the process, and the problem with the process. City of Industry is WITHIN California near Los Angeles, and is — well, very interesting (it’s an international trade-friendly area; keeping in mind that L.A. is a major seaport).

  • Are you a Citizen Intermediary? Then read the USA CAFR 2011 & what the GAO Audit thinks of it. (Then relay the message, because MSM* won’t!) [*MainStreamMedia]
  • (from the beginning — see post!) actually found where the government admits that it doesn’t REALLY intend its financial statements of cumulative net worth ,etc.** for everyone, just internal control, analysts and citizen intermediaries like the news media. Then in the next breath it also says, it wants every American citizen to know, which must be why they are sinking their (not properly reconciled and monitored) funds into things like federal clearinghouses on marriage, fatherhood, domestic violence, to promote abstinence and expand welfare participation through the child support system, etc. . . . . and not into distributing and publicizing the fact that these (embarrassing, to the USA) [CAFR] reports exist. And why [isn’t] a condition of graduating from high school being able to get on a computer and find the CAFR of one’s own high school district (probably a “Unified” school district), and a diagram of local government which is usually in the front of every CAFR. (**which the GAO disclaims uttering any opinion on anyhow, because there are too many problems with the underlying reports from, oh, ca. 35 federal agencies…). . .(quoting from the introduction to the 2011 US Comprehensive Annual Financial Report on — itself, the US….):

    The U.S. government is the largest, most diverse, most complex, and arguably the most important entity on earth today. Useful, timely, and reliable financial and performance information is needed to make sound decisions on the current results and future direction of vital federal programs and polices…. “The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has previously estimated that grants to state and local governments represent roughly 80 percent of all federal grant funding, with the balance going to recipients such as nonprofit organizations, research institutions, or individuals. In a time of fiscal constraint, continuing to support the current scope and breadth of federal grants to state and local governments will be a challenge.”


System for Award Management page lists who is registered to do business with the government, but not the awards themselves.  May be helpful looking up legitimacy of specific contractors:

What is SAM?
The System for Award Management (SAM) is combining federal procurement systems and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance into one new system. This consolidation is being done in phases. The first phase of SAM includes the functionality from the following systems:

* Central Contractor Registry (CCR)
* Federal Agency Registration (Fedreg)
* Online Representations and Certifications Application
* Excluded Parties List System (EPLS)

How will SAM benefit me?
The overarching benefits of SAM include streamlined and integrated processes, elimination of data redundancies, and reduced costs while providing improved capability.

For example, I looked up one grantee, it gives basic data, and who are the Point of Contact personnel.  But this doesn’t give awards data (at all):

FUTURES WITHOUT VIOLENCE
DUNS:  618375687     CAGE Code:  1FPZ4   
Status: Active
100 MONTGOMERY ST., THE PRESIDIO
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 94129-1718 , 
UNITED STATES
Entity Record

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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

'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.

iakovos alhadeff

Anti-Propaganda

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