All this could have

Seems that it is too easy to focus on what didn’t happen, what one didn’t achieve.

Then things cascade into such major and largely irrelevant negatives.

Even at the best of times, the sentiment can slip in.

Even at the worst of times, the sentiment can slip in.

A mother’s main message, a few days before death:

So much wasted time.

Plus, she spent her last days watching cooking shows.

Couldn’t quite figure that one out, at the time.

And smoking.

Could figure that one out.

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From Tim Stoffel (2002)
A Tribute To Marjan, The One-Eyed Lion
Photo credit: Laura Rauch, Associated Press

From The Taliban Shuffle (2010) by Kim Barker, in relation to the Kabul Zoo:

I had gone to the zoo, planning to use it as an interesting way to tell the history of modern Afghanistan. My hook was Marjan the lion, donated by Germany in 1978…

One afternoon at the zoo, a Pashtun fighter inexplicably jumped into the cage of Marjan, who promptly bit off the man’s arm. The man later died. The next day, the man’s brother went to the zoo for revenge. He threw a grenade into the lion cage, which sent shrapnel into Marjan’s muzzle, destroying one eye and almost blinding him in the other. The lion’s face was frozen in an expression somewhere between grief and a Halloween mask, with eyes that appeared to have melted into his nose…

When the Taliban finally fled Kabul in late 2001…(w)ith his scars and melted face, Marjan became the symbol of all the injuries inflicted on Afghans over decades of war, of all the pain. His picture appeared on the front pages of newspapers worldwide and sparked numerous tributes on the Internet. He was Afghanistan–battered, blind, blurry, but still strong.

Within two months, he fell down dead.

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Abbas Alizada, the Afghan Bruce Lee (R)
Darul Aman Palace ruins, Kabul, December 9, 2014
Mohammad Ismail, Reuters

Darul Aman Palace. All this hope in the early 1920s. Construction commenced by Amanullah Khan, prior to his ouster and exile in 1929.

And where to

Abbas Alizada, the young Afghan man bearing a striking resemblance to Kung Fu legend Bruce Lee
aiming to show another side to his war-weary nation.
Mohammad Ismail, Reuters

All in the

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Passing them by, and thought they were dead.

Line of trees, so carefully planted and potted, in a manner.

Then saw a few leaves on the ground. Seems like they gave up, early.

Too many cars, or too much indifference.

Gets to the fall

Posted in Ottawa Reflections, Trees | Leave a comment

The Repetition

Five years on.

Little changing but the degree of focus.

And larger numbers.

This being “Social Current Sinking“, published, June 15, 2012:

Bangladesh has turned away 15 boats carrying 728 Rohingya,
most of them women and children. (AFP/File, Munir Uz Zaman).
Source: Agence France Presse,
“Baby the latest refugee turned away by Bangladesh”
June 15, 2012

In Burma, they’re told they’re illegals who should go back to Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, they’re told they’re Burmese who should go back home. Unfortunately, they’re just caught in the middle. They have been persecuted for decades, and it’s only getting worse.

Chris Lewis, Arakan Project

People feel it very acceptable to say that “We will work on wiping out all the Rohingyas.”

Debbie Stothard, Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma

Both quotes from Todd Pitman, Associated Press, “Myanmar conflict spurs hatred for Asia’s outcasts“, as printed in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinal, June 14, 2012.

So far, there’s been six days of violence, 29 people killed and an estimated 30.000 people displaced. Boatloads of minority Muslims from Myanmar, fleeing violence against them by Buddhists, adherents to the majority religion in Myanmar. The Buddhists having publicly lynched ten Muslims, in apparent retaliation for the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Muslims. Now much talk among Buddhists in Myanmar about liquidating Muslims.

They flee in boats, and are turned back. More than 1,500 so far. They are denied citizenship in Myanmar. Myanmar, or Burma, has 65 million people, and 135 listed ethnic groups. The Rohingya Muslims are not on the list. They are denied citizenship, based on ethnic or religious origin. Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi has said nothing to date in opposition to the prejudice against the Rohingyas, nor has she condemned the violence against them.

Bangladesh, yet another great recipient of aid and concern from pluralistic democracies (remember the Concert for Bangladesh, organized by George Harrison?)–democracies that consistently demonstrate a willingness to help genuine refugees–and where the recipient of democratic aid behaves in a completely reprehensible manner. It shouldn’t matter that it is Muslims turning back other Muslims–a wrong is a wrong, irrespective of whether it is one of “our people”–though I find it difficult to comprehend adherents to a particular religion turning back persecuted members of their own religion. Pawns in a larger political drama, where life is devalued on all sides? In this case (or in all cases, involving ethnic or religious rejection and persecution), both Bangladesh and Myanmar behaving reprehensibly.

To me, this is a variation on how minorities get set up for liquidation, by first being denied civil rights, followed by a process of dehumanization, where expulsion or liquidation is a matter of public discourse. This was seen in Rwanda, where the Tutsis were regularly referred to as “cockroaches”, prior to the attempted genocide. It was also seen, perhaps most comparably, in the denial of civil rights to Jews in Germany and throughout Eastern Europe, follwed by mass liquidations, during World War II.

Canada’s attitude towards a similar occurrence, where a boatload of a persecuted minority arrived on its shores? Turn them back, to further prejudice and. ultimately, death. That’s what Canada, the United States and Cuba did, in relation to Jews on the MS St. Louis, in 1939.

One can memorialize a wrong, but never undo it. Hopefully, there will be no need for a memorial to Canadian and global indifference to the plight of the Rohinghya Muslims. Quite a liquidation possible; they number over one million.
Postscript, June 17, 2012: Suu Kyi urges all expatriates with grievances against the government to work to support the ceasefire. Seems to assume that persecuted Muslims have been able to achieve expatriate status. Possibly not reading or hearing the news in relation to Bangladesh.

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Conceptual Revision

So many speaking for a need for a conceptual framework in accounting. Something like a constitutional document, providing one with the first principles in accounting, from which others may be deduced or evaluated deductively. Needing the first principles in order to effect the deduction. The basis for an evaluation of a particular accounting principle as appropriate or inappropriate, as referenced to the broader boundaries.

Omitting to consider that accounting standard-setting is a delegated legislative activity. Perhaps more similar to according to an administrative tribunal the power to make regulations, where the residual power to make such regulations, similar to the residual power to establish accounting standards, rests with government. Therefore, no real need for a broad, conceptual framework, but rather a more modest definition section plus perhaps a preamble as to legislative intent. No entity other than a legislature can actually promulgate legislation, so accounting standard-setting rights are more closely associated with a subordinate role of regulation formulation, within a broader legislative framework.

Also means that definitions and terms can be changed within specific regulatory components, to more precisely reflect the regulatory intent. The “good” or “bad” evaluation through deduction is also perhaps unwarranted, since a legislative act may need not be deductively defensible, but rather assessed as “good” or “bad” in terms of effective implementation of regulatory intent. And where the ultimate justification is referenced to general public reaction, as balanced against effects on behaviours of the regulated.

Basic points: The ideal accounting standard is one that is viewed by financial statement users, including the general public, as addressing related interests or concerns, while equally viewed by those making financial disclosures as being a fair constraint or compulsion, in relation to such disclosure.



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All but fair

In relation to “All in the taking“, concerning accounting principles being interpreted on the border, similar to the Criminal Code or the Income Tax Act, the issue was raised as to how auditors could be found at fault, when the practices adopted were borderline, but still onside.

Fundamental principle overlooked. Fair presentation. Where fairness in presentation is legally assessed from the perspective of the users of the financial statements, and where the initial oversight evaluation of fair presentation is that of the auditors, in agreeing or disagreeing with such determination by those who prepared the financial statements.

This goes back to the case of U.S. v. Simon, 425 F.2d 796 (2d Cir. 1969). where the appellate court rejected an argument on behalf of auditors that compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles was a sufficient defence to an allegation of fraud. Instead, Judge Henry Friendly held that the critical test was whether the financial statements, taken as a whole, fairly present financial position and results of operations. Proof of compliance with generally accepted standards was “evidence which may be very persuasive, but not necessarily conclusive that [the auditor] acted in good faith, and that the facts as certified were not materially false or misleading.” As summarized by Harvey L. Pitt, then Chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in a 2002 speech, ”Judge Friendly held that if literal compliance with GAAP creates a fraudulent or materially misleading impression in the minds of shareholders, the accountants [and, presumably, the auditors who agreed with them] could, and would, be held criminally liable.”

Without referencing the Simon case, a similar concept has been developed in Canada. In the 1997 case of Kripps v. Touche Ross & Co. [1997] 6 WWR 421, the majority of the British Columbia Court of Appeal came to a similar decision: compliance with generally accepted accounting principles did not necessarily mean that the financial statements were associated with fair presentation. Writing for the majority, Mr. Justice Finch commented as follows, at paragraphs 65 and 66:

[65] …the paramount aim in auditing and in providing an unqualified audit is to ensure that the financial statements “present fairly” the financial position of the company being audited. GAAP is a tool to achieve that fair presentation. But in my view auditors intend unqualified auditor’s reports to mean that the financial statements present fairly the financial position. The tool used – GAAP – is intended to result in such fair presentation and when it does not the tool is revised…

[66] …auditors cannot hide behind the qualification to their reports (“according to GAAP”) where the financial statements nevertheless misrepresent the financial position of the company…


And where to

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