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The “C” in “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report” Doesn’t Mean “For Nerds Only”! Short Preview/Review Sampler (July 27, 2019).

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This post will be further edited after publishing.  I made a decision to “just publish” July 27, 2019. It has enough content for relevant reading. Links are all present, not all quotes have been included or smoothly formatted towards the end.  Bonus material keeps surfacing…and I am reporting in part on short-term (half-year) Workgroups on Custody (in one state) and trying to encourage all to, if necessary, take crash-courses on CAFRs and how government works, in part because of how it’s been working up til now!

This post came from More, Some Earlier, Sidebar Widgets Now Live Here (+ See Related July 9 post) [This one, Published July 19, 2019](shortlink ends “-ahh”) but you certainly don’t need that excuse to read it.  The terms CAFR, GFOA, GASB are searchable on this blog; look for posts with some of those acronyms in a title.


This Post is:  The “C” in “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report” Doesn’t Mean “For Nerds Only”! Short Pre-|Review Sampler. (Published July 27, 2019) (short-link ends “-ajs”) (about 8,500 words)

No, it certainly doesn’t.  CAFRs are not just for nerds!


I’ve been working some of these topics long enough that it’s second nature to know where to look and how to find illustrations; I have a labeling syntax, stored folders with date and time (for most), try to save all originating links.  Wrestling text (alone) or text and images into pleasant-looking blog posts is another matter; doing so with a nice, friendly tone and voice isn’t going to happen. Being sweet and friendly, long-suffering and above all patient seems just inappropriate to the situations developing right now in family courts inside and outside the USA.  Some mental lights need to start going on outside the assigned, typically given more “take-it-on-faith” leeway standard experts canvassing the country for recruits and trying to, as ever, federalize and internationalize their pet perspectives on “what happened?!?” when kids are getting hurt by virtue of decisions made within the family court system and NOT made regarding some of the same actions in the criminal system.

Private court divisions and sytems which have only been set up “just in time” for welfare reform are now embedded, so the debate about DIS-embedding them would affect existing political powers in, probably, every state.

Lack of understanding of other countries’ systems or innovators (i.e., private associations featuring civil servants), similar-sounding but different-meaning terms (like “family courts”!) and differences in levels of public accountability (theoretical at least) for private associations a.k.a. foundations/charities/societies), is an issue.

Similarly lack of understanding differences in systems of taxation — i.e., government itself — particularly when it comes to federal vs. state or (Canada) provinces or (UK) the various countries involved blurs the significance of what is taking place now, but which has been set in process decades earlier.  In other words, people who were thinking beyond their own generation of what they wanted the world (and I can speak for, the United States) to look like, are getting what they wanted now — chaos, division, exploitation, and, generally, a population which doesn’t bother or cannot read its own country’s financials, and know when it’s been lied to through withholding, or told the truth.  THAT’s a gullible population which can be prodded into voting against its own best interests nearly any time of day or night. What I’m saying — “it’s a massive cattle drive.”

“News Flash” Businesses charge fees and may charge enough to pay their own taxes (and still make a profit) but it’s governments who have the power to tax.  So businesses will ALWAYS be interested in keeping a hand in and on government affairs.  Businesses are always also interested in profits, which means workers remaining employees — not competitors; so population control, breeding, domestication, and education, are of course going to be key interests.

We can’t (logically) just “bail” on all skills involved in finding and reading financial statements (either public or private) and understanding where one intersects with the other (i.e., organizing principles) and expect to have some form of “justice” long-term.

CAFRs represent the government part.  They have a message to tell; they are not just for nerds.*

* UrbanDictionary definition * Wikipedia

nerd is a person seen as overly intellectual, obsessive, introverted or lacking social skills. Such a person may spend inordinate amounts of time on unpopular, little known, or non-mainstream activities, which are generally either highly technical, abstract, or relating to topics of science fiction or fantasy, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities.[1][2][3] Additionally, many so-called nerds are described as being shy, quirky, pedantic, and unattractive.[4]

Originally derogatory, the term “nerd” was a stereotype, but as with other pejoratives, it has been reclaimed and redefined by some as a term of pride and group identity. ..

Some of the stereotypical behaviors associated with the “nerd” stereotype have correlations with the symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome or other autism-spectrum disorders.[25]

Looking up Hans Asperger (Austrian pediatrician active during Nazi era, his paper on Asperger’s pre-dated another’s on Autism):  “Hans Asperger, National Socialism, and ‘race hygiene’ in Nazi-era Vienna” by Herwig Czech in Molecular Autism 9: article 29 (2018):  Wow… Read the Abstract! and (not too surprising).

That subject deserves its own post. Apart from the stunning similarities to situations today, the back-story on the article is about the journal it’s in “Molecular Autism”, and the co-chief editors. The co-editor in chief from the UK, who’s made a career, basically developing theories and running centers featuring Autism (with Asperger’s being deemed on the AS — Autism Spectrum), was until 2016 married to a well-known and apparently loved family rights lawyer and “OBE” Bridget Lindley (she died, unfortunately and suddenly, at home, in 2016. That’s not the story but should also be explored for fuller understanding of how these things can still be…)

Illuminating article for sure, and situation, and it’s formal layout (and being open-access) is definitely appreciated..


Don’t wait for any Governor, judge, Secretary of State (it comes up here as chairing a task force) and in general, I believe it’s fair to say, owner (editor in chief or publisher) of ANY major business media, to invite people to go look for the local government entities’ (plural) CAFRs, then move it up a few notches at a time, or even sideways (i.e., from City to County to State, and all the cross-jurisdictional ones inbetween, plus those school districts which (did you realize?) are generally not accounted for as part of county governments in the USA.


I respond and post snapshots by cell-phone as well, but these are typically not so well annotated and are certainly not so well organized and labeled.  YET…. As I said (<~near top of the last post), I’m nice enough to work harder on the (blog) format, but not nice enough to shut up on the subject matter.

Preview:

I’d mentioned the topic again in the ‘Sidebar’ post (link in previous paragraph) and wanted a refresher on why they matter, just a flavor. Towards the top, I use a few acronyms (CAFR, GFOA, MD&A, etc.).  If you don’t recognize them, keep reading, they are explained later in the post; they’re all related, and the three I just listed are all related to the first one:  Comprehensive Audited Financial Reports, one section of which is the MD&A. I moved this material here to elaborate briefly on a just three different sources each giving a different perspectives of CAFRs.

Those links up front:   Of Just Three Sources:  One seemed intent to leave a sour aftertaste and scare people away (odd, considering where it was published, in “Governing.com“), another gave a short business “Purpose of the CAFR” summary (from “BizFluent.com“) and one is from the association that evaluates CAFR quality (“GFOA“) which thankfully, through naming its latest “Certificate of Excellence/CAFR Program” awardees, links to a sortable (by any column) database with links to pick any one and look at it.  Sources are from different years; all links repeated, most also quoted, below.  All three obtained from a basic Google search which itself shows the term IS well-known.. depending on who you are.

Then I added a segment to remind readers of  the significance and connections between the regionalization of the USA and the build-up of the department of HHS (with massive influence on anything children or family, of course), which due to HHS’s history brought up Reorganization & Regionalization.  The  Reorganization Act is key in US history, refers only to the Executive Branch, but what happens there impacts the whole country due to the economic structure, i.e. Federal/State and Public/Private relationships.  That segment emphasizes also why CAFRs, which show size and scope of operations, matter. I’ve blogged it, of course. (Search:  “David Mitrany,” among other things and see certain pages/sidebar links).

Here upfront are ALL the links in that sections:  Allgov.com, (on HHS); Securing’ the Nation: Law, Politics, and Organization at the Federal Security Agency, 1939-1953, Federal Regionalism: The Abolishment of Local Government (probably older; BarefootsWorld);**

**from internal reference there, Uniform Law Commission including 2019 acts in process which are likely to impact family law: it’s just a list, no internal links, but does contain bill numbers.  It being current, you might want to make a note: “Legislative Report by Act“.   Internal reference (link broken) to “The Buck Act,” found a Debunking The Story of the Buck Act” By Roger M. Wilcox (software type of guy with wide-ranging interests and a penchant for arguing the logic of any position; admitted atheist and mocking conspiracy/sovereignty theorists, which it seems he says the “Regionalism” reporter (Barefoot’s world) would represent)..The Buck Act has to do with state income tax collections on federally owned property and was passed in 1940).

PREVIEW COMMENTARY on REGIONALIZATION/ Re-ORGANIZATION TIMELINE/IMPACT within the USA:

Regionalization and how different Presidents used their authority under the Reorganization Act (starting probably under the FDR/ New Deal, “Between the Wars” era, i.e., 1930s) is not a new topic to this blog or to many scholars, and public, private or both-sponsored researchers (Think about it: MOST researchers obtain sponsors or give up: it takes equipment, communication infrastructures, internet capacity (of course), and usually a journal (…or fifty), staff, grants-writers, grants-administrators, and all that).  

But, the concepts of regionalization (generally, in the USA) and that what various Presidents have done (and in which decades) under the Reorganization Act in the USA may be unfamiliar to many less elitist or privileged, normal people (parents, “lay” members of the public, working professionals in fields OTHER than law, psychology, higher education, healthcare or social services… or the family court systems) …I’m hoping to reach through this blog and/or social media, for feedback on existing reform systems and encouragement to, on reading about the programs, also understand who’s running them and who or what is sponsoring them.

At most levels, that gets back to some public agency (if not the federal government), which becomes a tax issue. “Show us the money” is THE bottom line of accountability.  CAFRs and us all having some concept of exactly how many entities are operational (and which of them are in name only), how spinoff or new ones are made…is a key part.

THIS LEADS BACK TO THE IMPORTANCE OF READING CAFRs: So we’d best understand how connections and transactions are networked and made from something outside controlled media (or specific university centers which also take ongoing sponsorship and not afraid to name their benefactors… Just, so it would seem, reluctant to divulge any money trail FROM one TO that specific part of the university (“Centers” may be housed under one school, but are often deliberately designed to be university-wide, which, naturally, is impressive — but dilutes the accountability).

[You are still reading the “Preview” section]

Career academics are already who and what they are: often of a mindset I’ve been around (and had) enough to, generally, understand, but a mindset, due to my experiences — symptoms and evidence I couldn’t make go away —  I had to deliberately UNlearn in part, specifically the “if an academic isn’t reporting it, it probably isn’t worth looking into” or the habit of continually trying to redeem (salvage, literally) the moral reputation of whatever institution or profession they are involved (or dealing) with, and dragging along people with them into causes not based on, well, all the available, relevant information.  Causes constructed which only hold water if a lot of that information is just put aside, eliminated, silenced, or dismissed for the sake of an easier-to-swallow thesis and plan.

So, I found about three references to quote on regionalization, two I’ve used and read before, and one I’d like to, although it seems to be in a law review I may or may not have access to as a non-lawyer.  I quote these.  One of the resources, in part, references the Uniform Law Commission.  I’ve referenced before, but included a quote and some images on it.  It also referenced in part, a “1940 Buck Act” as key.  Of the few Google search results on the Buck Act (which was a broken link on  the “Barefoot’s World” Regionalization pages), one was mocking the people who quote it (i.e., sovereign conspiracy theorists). So  I included that too (at least it’s interesting and entertaining).

Looking up the Buck Act a bit further (including here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/4 and Here (2006 short piece from the IRS to The City of Los Angeles referring to certain sections of US Code Chapter 4 (preceding link) as “the Buck Act” (subsections 105-110 specifically).  That is a search result, it is uploaded to IRS.gov, but I’m not qualified to discuss, although reading a bit more about it did help me understand better.  The Buck Act relates to taxation (do’s and don’ts, can and can’t, basically who ulimately controls federal lands within states (short answer:  the federal government).  When it comes to the domestic violence, field, a “National Health Resource Center” in that field just happened to move to federally-controlled lands in San Francisco before its federal grants began increasing drastically.  I never felt that particular location was coincidental, and (although this is “Preview”) , see next few paragraphs and images.

City and County of SF Opinion NO. 2002-02 on Praesidio Taxes (cites “the Buck Act”). Coherent explanation. “ReadMe” quality.

Because we are in ‘FamilyCourtMatters” here and because among those are domestic violence issues, and because a key DV “resource center” or whatever its (#1984FVPSA (<~for Twitter)) HHS grantee designation is, Futures Without Violence‘s (“Futures,” below) 2010 relocation to the San Francisco Praesidio (along with a name change and more overt international focus on operations) is of major interest and significance.  Because of that, I recommend reading through (it’s clear, large enough print, etc.) a Opinion 2002-02 by the City and County of San Francisco’s Attorney’s “Office of the City Attorney” requested by the Controller on the topic of “Praesidio Taxes.”  Terms like federal enclave, jurisdiction, exclusive legislative control, and some references to the Buck Act are within it.

“Futures” is an HHS partner and among the resource centers on DV, this one is focuses on HEALTH.  From the above link, you can see the emphasis:

The call for abstracts is now open! Submit to speak at the National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence by Monday, July 29th at 11:59pm Pacific Time

Visit nchdv.org for updates on the call for abstracts, registration, travel, and more!

Every two years the National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence hosts the National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence. The Conference highlights the latest research and promising practices to advance the health care system’s response to domestic and sexual violence, bringing together the field’s leading medical, public health, and domestic violence experts from across the United States and the world.

Over 1,100 leaders in the field joined us at the 2017 National Conference on Health and Domestic Violence in San Francisco, CA on September 26th-28th to share their work and learn about the intersecting issues of health and violence. The Conference hosted plenary speakers to discuss the connections between gender-based violence, migration, health access, anti-racism work, and community-based solutions to childhood trauma.

You can also click on Futures’ “Where we are” page (Boston and D.C. as well as the featured SF) and, from that page, that they are also obviously landlords, and taking support from at least two named (in that regard) foundations:  “the Open Square Foundation” and “Blue Shield of California.”  Notice the “around the world” emphasis, although Futures is a California domiciled 501©3 basically supported (majority) by US DHHS and US DOJ grants, as well as exchanging it seems grants with other entities, such as the NCJFCJ.

From human trafficking workshops to judicial training, this venue is designed to share research, knowledge and ‘lessons learned’ garnered by organizations directly confronting the epidemic of gender-based violence.

On the first floor, our 6,000 square foot exhibition hall is in development with support from Blue Shield of California, and will one day feature ongoing interactive exhibits and new technologies designed to share stories from around the world. Programming for the exhibit hall will be designed as a tool for teachers, parents, coaches, and others to engage their students, children, and the general public in critical conversation about the impact of violence and the choices they face in preventing it


So, the City Attorney’s Office “Opinion 2000-02” (long before Futures moved to the Praesidio) describes how California ceded exclusive control to the federal government; the federal government, in turn allowed certain (but not all) kinds of taxes to be administered by the state. Other searches on “the Buck Act” will either show decisions on it from a government source, or (lots of these) conservative websites about how fraudulent and tricky it was.

One (related) single page on “Birth Certificates” without subsidiary links or much explanation, does ring horribly true in how parents become merely “trustees” of their own children, and children can be removed “administratively” without, for example, being allowed to stand before jurors and defend their innocence or guilt.  While I’m not endorsing that sight, I certainly know how it feels — and that this occurred in the family courts in this century, makes me again, wonder about whether these courts are indeed considered “private” forums and not public, or exactly what jurisdictions they are under.

Several references cited to Howard v. Commissioners of Sinking Fund of City of Louisville, KentuckyWikiSource.  I find this interesting because (at least now) Louisville is a CityandCounty combination; I’m aware of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s self-descriptions on how family courts (or family court divisions) were instituted within my lifetime (very early posts on this blog featured it  (Footnote Kentucky Family Court System: 1991 single-county pilot, Nov. 2002, State Legislation Changed).  {Basically the footnote is just two images from that link).  (“City-County consolidation: What cities have merged?” syracuse.com in 2016)


Then, as I was writing this sentence (<~~REFERENCE TO  FAMILY COURT-RELATED CURRENT EVENTS IN TWO DIFF’T STATES):

People/We cannot understand what’s involved in any of the several famous causes associated with family courts (USA or otherwise) without comprehending some of the basic principles, and entity awareness (as in, organization charts of what is and is not involved in any government entity) which show up in the average CAFR….

http://bit.ly/2GoTZZH (6/29/2019 Twitter thread; note the groups mentioned include CJE & NCJFCJ; possibly where I heard about the Washington Post article on Maryland’s New Study Group and Washington Post article on what a positive step it is, why didn’t they follow the advice of the 2013 study Group (NEITHER of which referenced AFCC or Fatherhood groups known to be active right in that state…which’d step on too many political toes??

..two recent examples came to mind which had just crossed my path  within the last 24 hours.  I worked hard and fast (on my cell phone only) at follow-through. One was from Connecticut, the other from Maryland, but both illustrate the issue of ignoring government financials as a force field in custody outcomes, family court practices & involved lines of work.

[Another force field is major community foundations:  Just remembering my posts on how the  Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (<~links to just one ‘InsidePhilanthropy.com (March 2018) article, but do that Google namesearch only, or search its EIN#066032106 (<~search specs for 990Finder) or website (CFGNH.org) on this blog for more info) was (not) exposing its grantees list ($129M or so) on the IRS Schedule I which says “Grantees”).  See posts for exact details.

Link to searching that EIN# on this blog reveals two posts from June 2016 with a drill-down, and I see that then, as well as now, at least the FoundationCenter.org was about TWO years behind in reporting (i.e., posting) tax returns, which it says it gets from the IRS.  Sometimes Apps.IRS.gov/app/eos may show a single year later’s returns, but c’mon now — it’s July 2019, and there are now results shown for EITHER FY2017 (ends Dec) or FY2018 (ends Dec also).

Guess which well-known university resides in New Haven, CT?  (Starts with “Y” and has four letters).  See above link for why I bring it up in this context.  



(Yet) Another Example:  A Change.org petition I saw today (Peter T. Szymonik) who I believe was involved in some of the 2010-2012 issues involving AFCC in Connecticut and problems with GALs (among other things) which came out around those times, is seeking, apparently, state legislative reform or oversight of that system, while ignoring how much of the problem and incentives might come from existing state legislation targeting family composition, i.e., the family courts. It also makes no reference to the AFCC.

Mr. Szymonik’s Twitter account is @Szymonik (Glastonbury, CT): joined in 2009, but barely active (following 24, followed by 51).The related petition (seems to have been going for seven years now) has almost 1,500 signers. The Twitter home page website  GALreform.org redirects immediately to the Change.org petition, labeled (i.e., addressed to):

“State of Connecticut Judiciary Committee:  Reform the State’s Corrupt and Broken Guardian ad Litem System.”

Corrupt is one thing.  Broken is another.  Broken implies specific breakers and a prior UNbroken state.  It’s also a built-in assumption, which automatically precludes (or ignores a possibility) that the system might not be at all “Broken” from the point of view of those profiting from it.  The word corrupt, if true, should be shown (which his petition seems to).

Here, language matters, and that type of language dilutes the impact of “corrupt.”

The addition of the word “broken” is highly subjective — which is fine, but it’s a word also overused regarding the family courts which, in its basic meaning, defies proof.  No one that I’m aware of, in complaining about their current conditions, makes any attempt to portray or even refers to a previous time when they were not “broken.”  The word “broken” isn’t just a present tense state — it also implies, by definition of the word itself as (it comes from the word “BREAK” — and any “BREAK” presumes a previous NOT BROKEN state, and some force BREAKING it.  By sheer physics, it also implies that something with less force is fractured by something with more force.  Where in that reference, are the breakers and what is the “can’t resist the powerful forces attacking it” actors?

Again, this word has been fed into conversations by specific entities who have “fix-it” proposals.


Of any state which might ought to understand by now that this might involve AFCC operating unregistered (for decades) straight out of a courthouse, or how judges (who “just so happen” to be known AFCC members) can help establish specialized dockets and courts to suit the particular purposes of that organization more than of the involved families, it ought to be Connecticut.  This petition may have even been generated out of some momentum about five years ago when such things came to light.

The petition outlines what seems to be a fair enough (though doesn’t go FAR enough) dramatic description of the problem, and concludes asking for “immediate legislative action” without specifying of what type.  (Updates do give more specifics but the petition does not). Again, presuming a legislative solution because the judiciary is hopeless hasn’t, perhaps fully explored how the two relate (i.e., a state legislature/budget is going to appropriate resources including to the judiciary…)

“Immediate legislative action and reform is needed now, because our judiciary has proven itself to be simply incapable of protecting the actual best interests of Children and families of divorce, and is instead casuing very real and long lasting harm. (para) Our state must and can do much better for families and children of divorce.”


Some more drill-down on the GALreform.org (Peter Szymonik) situation can be found (when published) HERE:

and some, combined with more statements on the Maryland situation, may be found (when published, probably before the one above) HERE:


A Positive Step Forward, or, Again, Sidestepping THE Key Issues? || For example, in Connecticut. Or, for example, in Maryland. (State-level Study Groups, Partial Reforms, Cont’d.)  (short-link ends: “-alS” where the middle character is a lower case “L” (“l”) not a capital “i” (“I”) or a number (“1”).  Hard to tell the difference in my default font for these posts.)

(I can see at least two more posts off both of those, but believe the limits of what can be conveyed in posts alone, or posts + Twitter alone, is nearing its limits…another way to communicate this information has to be found soon.)

Both examples overlapped with the main topic of this blog, and post, so I started talking about them.  One involved a newspaper article, the other a Change.org petition; I found both while on Twitter, then off-ramped most of them.

Both states are key states for different reasons, and contained many other organizations and university centers’ I’ve already researched and done various drill-downs on over time; so I have a general sense of which organizations and professionals know more than they’re saying about each other, and more probable causes than, say, “parental alienation theory” or corruption in the GAL practices only, as a cause of the major problems in the family court systems.

Meanwhile, generally speaking, few people show interest in this type of follow through, resulting in more re-circulation of ideas by organizations and task forces which haven’t even been vetted for conflicts of interest.

I’d debate that most people lack the capacity.  (Capacity develops with use, not neglect!)

Of those two examples making (dis)honorable mention there, both are classic “let’s not talk about it” where the “it” has everything to do with my post title here, and why this blog is obviously not yet disruptive enough to that status quo.

[END, “Preview”]

Now, back to:

This Post is:  The “C” in “Comprehensive Annual Financial Report” Doesn’t Mean “For Nerds Only”! Short Pre-|Review Sampler. (July 21, 2019) (short-link ends “-ajs”)

No, it certainly doesn’t.

So why did “Governing.com” publish an article saying, basically, it is? Check it out (I’m quoting it in this post).  Then towards the very end of that article, “sorta-kinda” reversing the position by quoting someone who said, if you pay attention to more than one, or over time, yes they can show you which end’s up, and predict what may be coming soon.

Judging by that article, I say you could learn more reading as many paragraphs from ANY CAFR’s MD&A pages, or “Note 1” to the financial statements, or even a single paragraph from the GFOA’s** page describing their “Certificates of Excellence” (CAFR Program), paragraph one, with GFOA being who grades them.  **Some of which I’ll also quote below.

This short though not so sweet** post is yet another plug for bringing CAFR discussions more “to the people” and not just the business or government sector media.  I’ve been doing this since 2012 (and taken minor on-line flak for doing so), and don’t see what’s so “nerdy” about noticing how many people already in power (i.e., in government or making a living from doing business with it) just don’t want “the people” to even comprehend them, let alone make a habit of discussing them.  Or why organizations with guaranteed ongoing revenues (like some of those “First 5” commission in California) just quit filing theirs.  **(On that attempt to discourage people from reading their local CAFRs as not that helpful in the context of a pre-2008 government meltdown the author says, those who read the CAFRs couldn’t even see it coming)

Anyone learns by exposure — and reading — and most people can pick up some vocabulary terms here and there (or more) if it means better understanding how governments are managing what their own life energies put into working — minus all taxes and access fees involving said governments.  True, a basic high school diploma and functional English (I DNK how many CAFRs in the USA come in other languages; maybe they do…) and math will come into play, but I question why ANYONE in a publication aimed at and run in part by people with experience in government auditing, would even consider directing readers away from such reports, or verbally trashing them.

Because that one article is seven years old (2012), I’m not seeking out that author, but I am going to post, if nothing else, as an object lesson in how useless reporting even from reputable sources can be when it comes to such matters, compared to actually looking at whatever reports, documents, or entities (looking at by finding and reading their financials, compared to their promotions) the reports are describing.

I could’ve ignored that “CAFR” search result and used others only, but it does indicate there’s an issue with encouraging financial literacy among ALL people, not just those who wish to profit from the substantial contracts, subcontracts, investments, and grants dealing with government entities.

I intend this post to be SHORT, but my sentiment certainly isn’t that SWEET on the topic.

People/We cannot understand what’s involved in any of the several famous causes associated with family courts (USA or otherwise) without comprehending some of the basic principles, and entity awareness (as in, organization charts of what is and is not involved in any government entity) which show up in the average CAFR.  Getting a grip on this information will shed light on whether or not efforts to sell solutions A,B,C or D fall short — and how short they fall — on addressing the underlying problems.



Even understanding that, generally (a link herein will illustrate easily) that school districts are not usually under general county government.  Also knowing that the higher up and further away any controlling entity is (especially when cross-jurisdictional), the more dangerous to basic human and civil rights “out of sight, out of mind” becomes.

Also please be reminded or understand here (see ALLGOV.com for some background, and I’ve talked about it) the history of the USA Dept. of HHS over time had previous names and predecessor organizations with more functions (i.e., HEW).  Between World Wars I and II, FDR (President Roosevelt) in addition to the Social Security Act, and with the FDA already created — which now includes tobacco/smoking issues — notice the reference to bringing agencies together in 1939 under the “Federal Security Agency” (FSA).  This topic impinges upon legal jurisdictions and the existence of state legal and subject matter-jurisdiction boundaries.

The U.S. Constitution doesn’t recognize ten federal districts for determining budgets, policies, and finances.  It recognizes states and territories.  The federal courts — yes, those districts, I get, and don’t take issue with.

Attempts to enlarge the populations under long-distance control through substitution of federal regions was (and, when done functionally — economically, administratively under the Executive Branch of government, if not technically unconstitutionally), that is an attempt to undermine the boundaries, and limits of power under Federal authority, which (as I understand it) are there in part to prevent a dictatorship.  ONE way to understand at what stage this is must at some point involve looking at the assets accumulated and controlled — not just the budgets.

Annotated image: ALLGOV’com HHS History (partial 1902-1980) viewed 2017Nov22 WED||This link added to caption 2019July21 MON ALLGOV.com (HHS, DeptID 570)

Only in 1953 did that become (basically) “HEW” — Health, EDUCATION, and Welfare.

In 1980, President Carter, HEW saw the Department of Education split off, leaving “HHS” handling “Welfare” issues.  In 1991, the HHS (incidentally) added its “ACF” (Administration for Children and Families), at the tail end of President Bush (Sr.)’s time, after which (1992-2000) the Clinton Administration, dueling with the Republicans over “Contract with America,” passed Welfare Reform of 1996, i.e., major restructuring (“block grants to states” and much more) of that Social Security Act of 1934.   Oh — it’s also the largest “civilian” department and the sidebar says, has a $707 billion budget.  No idea how current that reference is, but give you an idea of the size….

(The above two paragraphs in lieu of my taking time to annotate a recent screenshot taken for that post, an excerpt from that Allgov link on HHS.  On going to upload today’s image, I found one already annotated from 2017.  They appear to have similar content, but I added the link grabbed just today).

Looking for more on the FSA, I think this abstract (posted at “law.Stanford.edu,” i.e., a private well-known (Northern/Silicon Valley) California university, but quoting the University of Chicago Law Review) describes the “elastic” definitions of “security” which are again relevant now, in the context of FDR administration and Reorganization Act of 1939 (which I have a page or two on also).

This same ‘regionalization” into, I believe it’s TWELVE regional operations HHS centers as well as determining somewhere in there that FAMILY STRUCTURE, i.e., Divorce, Custody (and Child Abuse/Domestic Violence Prevention etc.)  was game for federal agency influence even though the family courts are under state jurisdiction.

This abstract doesn’t speak of state/federal differences, but it does talk about domestic/international and how it impacts politics.  Good to be aware of (Citation is followed by quotes from its Abstract):

American public law is affected by two important dynamics impacting the relationship between citizens and their government: how the executive branch defines national security, and how politicians compete to secure control of the vast public organizations through which governments implement the law. This article analyzes the intersection of these dynamics by investigating the now-forgotten history of the U.S. Federal Security Agency (FSA) and drawing perspectives from separation of powers, organization theory, and the study of American political development.

In 1939 the Roosevelt White House overcame strong political opposition to centralize vast legal responsibilities within the FSA. Soon after its creation, the agency had acquired responsibility for social security, education, drug regulation, protection of the food supply, civil defense preparedness, supplying employees to war-related industries, facilitating the relocation of Japanese-Americans, anti-prostitution enforcement, and biological weapons research. By 1953, the FSA engendered one of the most important American bureaucracies of the 20th century: the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Yet little is known about precisely how or why the White House fought to create the FSA, why the agency pervasively mixed domestic regulatory and national defense functions both before and after World War II, or what its creation wrought for the legal mandates entrusted to the agency. …

[Closing paragraph-plus.]…The creation of the FSA also appears to have fomented more subtle (intended and unintended) impacts on matters such as the organization of congressional committees overseeing the agency’s legal functions, and the prospects for bureaucratic autonomy among the agency and its bureaus.

These dynamics illustrate limitations in prevailing theories of law and organization emphasizing deliberately engineered bureaucratic failure or purely symbolic position-taking. They also showcase the connection between the design of public agencies, separation of powers, and the ambiguities inherent in the definition of “security” as a category of government responsibility. History reveals how presidential administrations and bureaucratic actors once used that ambiguity to bolster political coalitions supporting social welfare and regulatory mandates. The recent spike of interest in homeland security is furnishing similar opportunities to reshape the domestic regulatory state.


The description of the time period in which Federal Regions were legislated (in violation of the U.S. Constitution which forbids creating, in effect, new states within the jurisdiction of one or more existing states) –under President Nixon, citing to the Reorganization Act authority — is perhaps best described  with a timeline here, at “Barefootsworld.org”) Federal Regionalism: The Abolishment of Local Government: (Copying as text only took out some original font-changes.  Anything you see there was added by me after block-copy-and-paste here):

..Demeaning the authority of elected officials and replacement of these officials by appointed Federal “administrators” is a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER to representative government posed by Federal Regional Government. Outlawed by the Supreme Court decision of January 13, 1982 (Case #80-1350, “Community Communications Co, Inc v City of Boulder, CO) the ten regional capitols were dismantled by President Reagan’s Executive Order #12407 on February 22, 1983. However, grant making agencies of the ten Federal Regions remain in place assuring continuity of control over all Americans and their elected representatives by the central government. Federal grants to state government are the fuel which make the Regional engines “go.” The individual Union States are blackmailed, through the withholding of federal funds, if federal legislation is not enacted into State law, thereby opening the door to a power base for the silent revolution of Federal Regionalism. There is a clear pattern of uniformity in all laws passed. On the state level, all fifty legislatures appear to become simultaneously concerned about solving a particular problem in an identical fashion. On the local level, the same thing happens in thousands of City Halls and County Seats. This strange coincidence is never publicized by the press, thereby it is rarely questioned by the public. Unknown to most of the public, all our laws are written by the Uniform Commission on State Law, also known as the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. (ACIR)

I think “all our laws” might be an exaggeration, but there’s proof of attempts to make many of them, and that commission does exist.  So do (not mentioned there) is the virtual “shadow” network of nonprofits echoing state functions which take either jurisdiction, appointed/elected civil servant function, or sometimes functions as large as state legislatures, or state courts.  Come to think of it, although more of a mixed bag, the title Association of Family and Conciliation COURTS is a claim to be representing those courts.  In fact, how true is such a claim?  Some courts, we’ve discovered over time, due to their presiding judiciary or interconnectivity (of society members — and AFCC is, technically speaking a “society” membership organization) with other functions or levels of government, perhaps saying “courts” is close to the truth.

Interesting how that Uniform Law Commission (UniformLaws.org, “Better Laws, Stronger States”) it says, goes back to 1892, before (but only one generation before!) the Amendment authorizing the federal income tax in 1913.

(I don’t want to get too much into this today; have mentioned it before on the blog). It shows a Chicago, Illinois address and I do not recall whether it’s called an instrumentality; the website is clearly not going to call it a nonprofit corporation or association (which seems unlikely), and its membership is restricted as described on the website. I will post this quote, and below or footnoted, a slideshow (image gallery; small screenshots) from a recent ULC report which would seem to indicate, yes they are writing many such laws.

Uniform Law Commission | Projects (diagramming input process), image taken 7-21-2019.

Stronger States

The ULC promotes state autonomy by providing a process for state governments to collaborate on issues where uniformity of law is necessary but federal oversight is not. Uniform acts provide rules and procedures that are consistent from state to state but that also reflect the diverse experience of the states when appropriate.

Learn More About Our Process

(The above diagram also clarifies how “bypassing the people” takes place) 

Here’s also a link to the ULCs “Legislative Report by Act” (with which states and bill numbers under each act, all acts listed alphabetically) the other option being “by State”) and it shows 2019 only.  Of the 8 pages, nearly ⅓ of those introduced were passed (58 out of 172; 60 out of 180 would obviously be ⅓).  I picked out some which might seem to pertain to family law, child support, visitation, or parent access issues; they are in this next slideshow gallery, FYI.  What this signifies beyond their existence, I don’t know and (in the immediate context) it doesn’t say, either:

Because that (“Barefootsworld.org”) Federal Regionalism: The Abolishment of Local Government link contains a reference to the 1940 Buck Act (link broken), I’m including a longer, also single-spaced and footnoted  “Debunking The Story of the Buck Act” By Roger M. Wilcox** Last edited 15-March-2019 from (surprisingly?) RogerMWilcox.com.  I read several paragraphs and skimmed, then scrolled down.  I did not read the whole thing (though what I read about “Federal Areas” that far made sense), picked up on the tone, and what I’m saying is not dependent on the interpretation of a single 1940 Act.  It’s an overview, based on ten years of (yes, this is “investigative blogging” at which I’ve applied myself diligently, as well as noting impacts, and people involved over those years.

For who the heck is Roger M. Wilcox (There’s a Bradley Wilcox I expect is of a different fabric), judging by this website, a guy who “writes stuff” (variety of topics), has posted thumbnail headshots of himself over the years (most look pretty similar to each other), indicating I hope at least a sense of humor about his own self-interest, and the resume shows, a B.A. in Music Composition (UCLA, 1987, cum laude) followed by a two more computer-related degrees (CalState Northridge, UC SantaCruz) and a progress list of short-term (gigs?) from the 1990s up through 2006, last seen in the Silicon Valley area, understandably.  I get it (music & computers; brains and reasoning tends to work a certain way)….or otherwise might not have included the link as a backdrop or counterpoint to barefoots world.  I also agree with several of the (short, pungent, but show some consideration for at least translation) “Bad Arguments Against the Bible which we atheists should stop using,” Last modified on 31-January-2016.

And I am an eyewitness of how intergenerationally unfair and destructive it is to be subjected at the county and state level to policies set long ago and far away, NOT written into the laws governing divorce and custody.  And there is no question that the federal government does, basically extort the states into compliance, or that its largest grant-making agency, which only acquired its name and certain inherited functions, in 1980, and which predecessor agencies, until the namechange in (obviously:  see the date) post-World War II era (I.e., the 1950s), were indeed called “Federal Security Agencies.”



The terms CAFR, GFOA, GASB are searchable on this blog; look for posts with some of those acronyms in a title.

Any basic Google search will show domain-names mentioning CAFRs may end in *.com, *.org, or typically *.gov (with an extension) when posting a specific city or county (or retirement fund’s) report.  I even found an article (dated Sept. 2012) trashing ‘CAFRs” as being able to predict anything on ‘Governing.com’ (a media purchased, it says, from ‘Congressional Quarterly’ in 2009 by e.Republic which runs three brands.  Mark Funkhauser, former mayor of Kansas City, Missouri (“KCMO”), Publisher).  as the GFOA website says, the purpose of CAFRs isn’t to predict things, but to get information in the hands of concerned people so they may be able to do so.  The link provided leads to over 4,000 awardees (in a database you can filter, search, and sort on any column AND which holds direct links to the awardees’ financial report, which’d be for most CAFR’s 2017 (https://www.gfoa.org/award-programs/certificate-achievement-excellence-financial-reporting-program-cafr-program).  As their own website says, the “Comprehensive” part is in addition to basic “financial statements” for this purpose:

The GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (CAFR Program) in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal. The goal of the program is not to assess the financial health of participating governments, but rather to ensure that users of their financial statements have the information they need to do so themselves.  (<~~Link to this page)

Compare with an article apparently which passed editorial standards, complaining about CAFRs being so dense, from “Governing.com”

Are Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports Useless?, BY  | SEPTEMBER 2012, in ‘Governing|The States and Localities’

(The topic sentence, further emphasized because the rest of the article is only below a large photo, is admitted by the bottom of the article to in fact be false.  One might ask why would an on-line (and/or print) publication geared towards (a) government leaders published by a company this, realizing this is a $3.2 trillion-dollar-plus market (says some of its website), is promoting itself to those doing business with govenments!):

For all their charts and graphs, CAFRs don’t tell public officials — or the public — anything about fiscal sustainability or whether a locality’s finances might be trending south.

Has this guy even opened a CAFR?  Does he understand what a “financial statement” is?  CAFRs have a lot of text and unless by “graphs” he means those financial statements (which I doubt), he’s complaining about the incidental parts — or he’s been looking at a common substitute for full, audited CAFRs (with Management Discussion and Analysis, Letters of Transmittal, and AT LEAST “Accompanying Notes are an essential part of the financial statements” or similar phrase usually on the footer of any page which is all “graphs” (or spreadsheet-style labeled rows and labeled columns with numbers showing things like:  Revenues, Expenses, Assets, Liabilities, and Activities (etc.).  

Purpose of a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,  in BizFluent (under ‘Accounting’) Updated September 26, 2017, by Gilberto Fuentes (and see nearby image)##.  This is BASIC knowledge.

A comprehensive annual financial report serves a number of purposes for the general public, investors and other interested groups. One of the most significant purposes of a comprehensive financial report is that it provides a valuable insight into how city or state officials manage public finances.**
(**not to mention school district, county, or any other entity.  The United States of America (federal government) produces one….).
This post will be further edited after publishing.  I made a decision to “Just publish” July 27, 2019.


Footnote Kentucky Family Court System: 1991 single-county pilot, Nov. 2002, State Legislation Changed

(see images.  Since I posted on this (some years back) and showed the about 12 different divorce education programs being referenced (and which ones showed strong AFCC elements, or actors), it’s been drastically reduced (website revamped, etc.  May have happened anyway, but…)

Now just one link referencing “FIT” (Families In Transition) StatewideProviders (a key AFCC promoted theme, along with the “high-conflict” designation for more “Focused Interventions”).  Provider list last updated, contains no active links, does not mention who authored or owns any curriculum, or in general, much help other than could be pursued by calling or looking them all up, individually.  “Cute…”  Looking it up (Search Site: https://app.sos.ky.gov/ftsearch/, the only entity by that name (written out) had the extension ” — 38″ and existed 2007 until it was administratively dissolved for not filing in Oct 2017.

I (not for the first time) searched the phrase at both the FoundationCenter.org (outfits in several states; not all referred to divorce education — some to homelessness, etc.) and found at least one where the associated tax return’s business name had no reference to “Families in Transition” (at all). Not for the first time in such a search (results names with no bearing to uploaded tax return names; this happens for multi-million-dollar tax-exempt foundations too, not just small 501©s).  I then did this (by organization name only) at the IRS, a list of 29 surfaced.  In both cases, none were from Kentucky and California had the most.

This is inconclusive:  As the Kentucky Courts website doesn’t identify whether “FIT” is just a program others run (without indicating that its list of providers are actually described by their business names on the list available there), finding out much more would a research project, which doesn’t seem accidental when providing full business entity names (of the statewide providers) — and who owns any such standardized curriculum being run there — could’ve been easily shown!

Before this revision go the court website, I’d been able to look up curriculum providers, which was how I discovered one listed there, business entity address, Georgia, and known to be running classes in (at least) Pennsylvania.  “Go figure” (I refer to “Kid’s First” which I’ve posted on earlier).


I went looking JUST a little further (on-line) this time for who was running those “FIT” classes.  In Bullitt County, Kentucky, a whole page at a single law office (only one lawyer’s name shown) is both telling and disturbing.  There is a “Families In Transition (F.I.T.) Divorce Education Page including a schedule.  The page is dated last March, 2019, and shows classes scheduled through the summer, going to ONLY two individuals (Make checks out to..) Cynthia Feathers @ (a P.O. Box address), and the other, the ONLY other provider listed, is to a Stacie Sylvester, which says “Cash or Money Order Only” and has no address (of the individual being paid) and held out of a Plumbing Office, it seems.  $65.00 each (for parents: kids are free). Spouses must attend separate classes (i.e., $130.00 per required attendance / (divorce or custody modification, or whatever the order requiring attendance says).  They are 4-6 hour classes.

Before the class schedule, a paragraph or two (faint font, as usual) briefly introduces that this lawyer was also divorced, attended a class, and “for further reading” recommends (some classic AFCC stalwarts, and very old ones too:):

For those parents who are concerned about the impact of divorce or legal separation upon the child(ren), I recommend you buy and read The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study by Judith S. WallersteinJulia M. Lewis, and Sandra BlakesleeThe Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study is the 1st and only long term study of the the impact of divorce on children measured over 25 years where the author interviewed 131 children, ages 3-18 years old when their parents either divorced or decided to remain married even though the relationship was not great. The author(s) interviewed the children at time 0, 5 years later, 10 years later, 15 years later and 25 years later to understand the impact of divorce or legal separation on children over time.

The more disturbing aspect, however is being forced to pay cash or money order to classes held by someone not identified as being a professional, or associated with any business, and at a plumbing company’s office, too.  (The other one is at a Catholic Church).. I’ve (“we’ve” when I include on-line and reviews/comments on various parent education classes) heard complaints of being forced to pay cash, no receipts given (probably no invoices either).  If I lived in Kentucky, I’d get right on that, but this is not my focus in 2019.

 

Written by Let's Get Honest

July 27, 2019 at 7:09 pm

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