LLR Pages

Monday, November 19, 2007

SEC Fails at Overseeing Self

The General Accountability Office (GOA) has concluded today that the Securities and Exchange Criminals....Ahem.....Commission (SEC), the agency that is responsible for all the financial oversight of all U.S. corporations under the umbrella of corporate America, fails at overseeing its own "internal controls." According to, the GAO has reported that all the "data related to accounts receivable balances is processed manually at the SEC in a manner that is prone to error and could result in inaccurate financial reporting by the agency." (Emphasis added.)

Here's what the rest of the piece says:

The news is a blow to the SEC, which was criticized by the GAO in 2006 for the same manual processes, but narrowly avoided a material weakness by putting in place extra controls to compensate for them. The GAO said those controls were not effective in 2007.

The GAO added that the SEC's material weakness also included other control deficiencies related to the SEC's period-end closing process, accounting for transaction fee revenue and preparation of financial statement disclosures.

The news is also a moral blow the agency, which is responsible for implementing and enforcing the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for publicly-listed companies. Section 404 of the act requires that companies maintain internal controls over financial reporting, and requires its CEO and CFO to attest to their effectiveness.

It is also intriguing to note that the article also states the following two paragraphs:

In response, SEC chairman Christopher Cox said that in 2008 the commission will introduce new software systems designed to eliminate the material weakness in the SEC's internal controls. "The SEC intends to remediate this material weakness before the end of fiscal 2008 and to address each of the findings and recommendations identified during the audit," said Cox in a letter to Comptroller General David Walker.

In its latest report, the GAO assured that the SEC's financial statements for fiscal 2007 and 2006 were fairly presented. It also noted that the SEC maintained effective internal control over compliance with laws and regulations material to its financial statements as of September 30, 2007. And the GAO did not find reportable instances of noncompliance with the laws and regulations it tested.

The fact that the SEC can't effectively and efficiently oversee its internal operations is scathing. This is a federal agency whose sole responsibility is to keep a close watch on the financial health of major Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500 companies and many other private companies and to enforce provisions of the diabolical and disastrous Sarbanes-Oxley 404 law, requiring private management to report on their firms' internal controls with regards to financial reporting. If the federal government's own SEC cannot hold itself financially accountable to its own internal operations, then how can we trust it to hold private firms accountable for their own financial malaise when it is incapable of doing the same thing?

As blogger Karen DeCoster recently pointed it out on her blog:

The SEC avoided a big fat "E" last year via its remediation of internal control problems, but this year the SEC's material weaknesses included control deficiencies related to its accounts receivable balances, "period-end closing process, accounting for transaction fee revenue, and preparation of financial statement disclosures.

The political jury is in: we must abolish the Securities and Exchange Commission and allow the free market to regulate the financial reporting of companies. Let's allow free enterprise to solve this problem, which has, in all fairness, plagued corporate America for many years. Goverment cannot solve the problem; only the free market can.

Sheldon Richman: 'War Is A Government Program'

In case anyone really believes that war is necessary to bring about peace and/or stimulates the economy, they ought to read Sheldon Richman's recently-penned op-ed at the Future of Freedom Foundation website, in which Richman lays out the argument that war "is a government program."

Here's a snip of his FFF op-ed:

It is always amusing to hear conservatives complain — as they are complaining now and used to complain during the Vietnam War — that if it weren’t for the politicians, the generals could win America’s wars. Those with this mindset believe the politicians are always getting in the way by subordinating military considerations to — ugh! — political considerations. Politicians, leave those generals alone!

This is amusing for a couple of reasons. First, these same conservatives claim to worship the U.S. Constitution, which, the last time I read it, subordinated the military to civilian authority.

Second, those who make this complaint seem willfully blind to the nature of war. At its most fundamental level, war is no more a military phenomenon than it is a scientific phenomenon. True, militaries fight wars, and military tactics is a meaningful discipline. But war also requires weapons that make use of the principles of physics. Does that mean wars are fundamentally the province of scientists? No, and neither are they fundamentally the province of generals.

Wars are political phenomena. You’d think the armchair generals and word-processor pilots would know that. It’s been 175 years since the publication of Karl von Clausewitz’s posthumous book, On War, which stated,

[War] is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means.

War is politics.

Unless they are also heads of state, generals don’t start wars. Politicians start wars. In fact, generals have been known to oppose wars, having a more realistic sense than politicians of what wars really entail.

Politicians start wars for political reasons. (This is not to imply that economic reasons aren't involved.) They may seek to control resources or a foreign population. Or they may seek to secure existing interests that could be at risk without the war. The mark of a global empire is that nothing can happen anywhere in the world without its potentially involving the interests of the imperial power and requiring, under the appropriate circumstances, war to protect those interests. This well describes the United States for the last half-century at least. The military is the means to a political end. The politicians cannot be concerned with military matters exclusively because that might cause them to ignore important political considerations, both domestic and foreign.

The False News Channel and Benito Ghouliani: Unfair and Unbalanced

Benito Ghouliani's very own False News Channel has been exposed as the unfair and unbalanced network it truly is in every sense.

{Thanks goes to Lew for unveiling this at LRC.)

Bush's Homeland Stupidity....Errr.......Security Advisor Resigns

It's official: Bush's top Homeland Stupidity....ahem....Security Advisor Frances Fragos Townsend steps down after 4 1/2 years while being under the supervision of DHS Secretaries (and Bush clods) Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff. Interestingly enough, the reason for her departure is conveniently withheld from the White House and is not given in the Washington Post piece.

This is another fatal strike against Bush and his collectivistic stooges whose empire is about to crumble.

UPDATE: Bush issued a public announcement of Townsend's resignation but refused to disclose the reason for her departure. Could it be that the recent series of exits from the Bush administration, with Townsend being the latest one, are a signal of the administration's fall in light of the calamitous war in Iraq, out-of-control spending deficits, the sinking economy and dollar, and massive entitlement programs?

Boston police wanting to search teens bedrooms

Would you allow police to come into you house and search your child's room for guns?

The Boston Herald has reported that parents in the higher crime areas of Boston want police to be allowed to search their teens rooms for guns. (Not with a warrant but with the parents permission.) This procedure was requested by
BPD Commissioner Edward Davis and Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley due to a lot of interest of activists and the family of a 13 year old boy who was killed by gang gunfire.

The boys mother, Kim Odom is very thankful for this program. Now, as a parent, I kind of understand her wanting this program put in place but I feel this is just another step in the "Policed States of America". I can only imagine what it would be like to lose a child but from an outsiders perspective, this plan is a terrible thing.

The idea is that police will ask to search a child's room based on reports from the child's school and/or schoolmates. Now, more than likely they will come to the "suspected" child's house and say something on the line of "I'm gonna have to ask you to let us search your child's room." The problem with this is that many people will take this as not asking, but ordering. That isn't so. If they had the right to come in, they wouldn't ask to come in, they would show you a warrant and just come in.

At first glance, it may look like a good idea as long as they are asking. Well, I strongly disagree! Once you give police permission to come into your home anything they see or find is fair game. Anything they see that is contraband or any other things that maybe you shouldn't have will give them the right to cease and then charge you for. Yeah, I know some of you are saying "Well, if you don't have anything to hide......" That's bull! There could be something in your home you didn't know was there and if they find it, you're screwed! Wake up, sheeple! You are being lied to and mislead by your government. This country is continually giving up its personal rights.

If you think your child's room should be searched then be a damn parent and do it yourself.

Sectarian Violence in Iraq Dips to Pre-February 2006 Levels

The U.S. Military reports that the sectarian violence on Iraqi soil has dropped to pre-February 2006 levels.

This is what the following New York Times excerpt states:

BAGHDAD, Nov. 18 — The American military said Sunday that the weekly number of attacks in Iraq had fallen to the lowest level since just before the February 2006 bombing of the Shiite shrine in Samarra, an event commonly used as a benchmark for the country’s worst spasm of bloodletting after the American invasion nearly five years ago.

Data released at a news conference in Baghdad showed that attacks had declined to the lowest level since January 2006. It is the third week in a row that attacks have been at this reduced level.

But this is where it becomes more interesting. It further notes:

To be sure, the level of violence in Iraq is still high. Even as military officials announced the figures, Iraq had one of its deadliest days in weeks, with at least 22 people killed. Among the killed were nine civilians in Karada, a mixed neighborhood in central Baghdad, when a car bomber rammed a convoy carrying Iraq’s deputy finance minister. The official was not hurt, but a guard was among the wounded.

The mainstream "government" media is spinning this to make it sound like the violence has completely stopped altogether, yet the above-mentioned paragraph from the Times story points out that the sectarian violence levels are "still high." Adding insult to injury, the piece tries to justify the spinning by suggesting "factors" contributing to the drop, such as the military attacks "weakening" an Al Qaeda group in Mesopotamia and new Sunni volunteers teaming up with American forces to counter the Iraqi insurgency, without citing any evidence to back them up.

Even if they did contribute to the decrease, this latest report is only indicative of a short term drop. In the long term, the violence levels are high enough to indicate that the civil war between the Sunnis and the Shiites is still brewing with no end in sight.

Isn't it about time that, not only that we withdraw our troops from Iraq and bring them home, we also withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, Germany, Spain, and over 170 countries around the world? Isn't it also time that we close down the bases in those countries as well?

Kudos should go to Ron Paul for urging for a new foreign policy, one that would demand non-interventionism, peace, diplomacy, and true free trade.

American Thinker's Andrew Walden: "Ron Paul Is a Useful Man for Democrats"

A collectivistic, pro-welfare-warfare statist Neo-Con goes out of his way to smear Ron Paul by claiming that he's a "useful man for the Democrats."

Here's the following excerpt of the piece:

The Ron Paul story never seems to end -- and yet never seems to quite make it into the mainstream media. That's because, in the political equivalent of a bank shot, Paul's fringe support helps bleach embarrassing stains from the Democrats.

First there is the revelation that Jim C Perry, the "Orthodox Jewish" head of "Jews for Paul" also calls himself a gay pagan Unitarian.

Now it turns out that Perry, Paul's point man in response to questions raised by the Jewish Telegraph Agency, is also accused of stealing money from the local New Hampshire branch of the Libertarian Party. What a great guy! It's only an accusation. And the "Libertarian" Perry was in 2006 running for New Hampshire Legislature as a Democrat.

Oh yes: Then the federal raids started.

It turns out that some folks actually buy-in to Ron Paul's blither about US dollars being "phony money". Here Paul is talking about "phony money" at a recent Ron Paul rally outside the Philadelphia Mint with a large crowd including -- surprise, surprise, -- some more white supremacists. (Who show they fully understand the New Orleans protocol.)

Some of Paul's gold bug supporters been trying to pass so-called "Liberty Dollars" off as real currency at stores nationwide. Sleepy clerks have given them change in US currency for purchases. Raids have been conducted in the last few days by the FBI and Secret Service at Liberty Dollar HQ in a strip mall office in Evansville, Indiana, (that's not where I would be keeping three pounds of gold, but I digress) as well as Asheville, NC (here the segregationist ‘Council of Conservative Citizens' is very concerned) and a private mint located in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Arrests were also made recently in Wisconsin (on their blogsite, these geniuses detail three places where the spent Liberty Dollars as if they were legal tender). In 2006 two arrests had been made in Buffalo, NY. The Evanston raid netted a huge load of "Ron Paul Dollars" apparently just delivered from Idaho and backed perhaps by the full faith and credit of... Ron Paul?

Prince George County Judge to Parents: Vaccinate Your Kids in Court or Go to Jail

A Prince George County judge in Maryland coerces parents to either appear in his courtroom for school vaccinations or risk a 10-day jail sentence.

It is THIS reason that the state of the American family is in utter decline, because of the state's never-ending, ruthless anti-family, anti-parent interventions, which are a significant contributing factor to the cultural, moral, and ethical decline of our society. Collectivistic, social-engineering-loving Republicans who claim to be pro-family values, pro-parent, and pro-moral values have, for the longest time, stood in the way of parental rights and parents' right to control their children's education and health care. They talk a good game, but they don't measure up to their claims at the end of the day.

The same goes for the collectivistic, social-engineering-loving Democrats, except that, for decades, they have been for the welfare state and its destructive force against parents and their right to raise and educate their children and control their children's health. At least they never had to hide behind the "free market" rhetoric like the Republicans do.

This is one more reason on top of a plethora of reasons to abolish the state and its utopian and fascistic practices. Any socialist/fascist who argues against this point and urges the state to move forward and continue its coordinated efforts to undermine parents and their families must be exposed, no matter the costs.

(Thanks to Tom Knapp's Rational Review News Digest for providing a link to this piece.)