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NOTES FROM A DYSLEXIC PUBLISHER # 8

Posted: 2021/09/14

The Point
As a publisher, sometimes you unexpectedly come across
a miscarriage of justice that needs to be brought into the light.
Consider the subject of guardianships—and no, it’s not about Britney.

I had entered the courthouse to be with my cousin Morris. He was fighting to become the legal guardian of his wife, Sophie, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s. Morris had been my father’s partner in a bakery business for many years—he and Sophie had always been part of my life growing up—and when he asked me for support, I had to go. Since he was Sophie’s husband, I thought it would be a simple procedure, but it was not. Due to an ongoing family dispute, Morris was denied the right to be his wife’s legal guardian. The judge had also refused to make any other immediate family member guardian. Instead, he asked if there was another relative available and willing to become Sophie’s guardian.

At that moment, Morris turned to me. I agreed to become Sophie’s guardian, and to have Sophie as my ward. While I consented to take on this responsibility, I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no problem overseeing the welfare of my cousin. However, what I would eventually learn was how a legal system—designed to take care of people who could not take care of themselves—had become a gold mine for unscrupulous individuals who knew how to “play” the system.

I must admit that I was naïve. In order to become a guardian, all I had to do was watch a video and take a test. It was only after I was approved that I was told that I was going to be “co-guardian” alongside a lawyer who specialized in this area. I served as Sophie’s co-guardian for several years, supposedly working with the first court-appointed lawyer. However, while I did all the work, the co-guardian did little except submit a continual flurry of bills for her time. When the question was raised about her participation in front of the court, she was smart enough to resign without raising any red flags. At about this time, Morris passed away, and the court selected another co-guardian. This lawyer seemed to know just what to do, taking over what I had been doing for years. While the family continued to squabble, the one good thing was that Sophie was being well cared for by one of her two daughters.

When the guardianship started, Sophie still had a sizeable estate in her name. As time passed, I watched the money in Sophie’s bank account being used to pay off more legal fees, not only for the co-guardian’s services but also for those of the lawyer’s associates. Yet this was only the tip of the iceberg. There were other non-lawyers called in by this new co-guardian who charged Sophie for their “services,” as well. At one point, one of the lawyers involved told me that I should be billing Sophie’s estate for the time I was spending as a co-guardian, but I had never wanted a penny. By the time Sophie died, all of the money in her estate was gone. And all I could do was watch as these “guardianship” players nimbly extracted the money that Sophie and Morris had worked a lifetime to accumulate—all done legally, and under the court’s “supervision.” I quickly learned that sending off all manner of emails to elected officials and organizations such as AARP and the JDL was a complete waste of time. I needed to do something—anything.

I needed first to learn as much as I could about how our system of state-based guardianships worked, and what I discovered horrified me. In each state, the system allows guardians to essentially take over the lives of their wards. They control every aspect of the ward’s finances, living arrangements, and medical care as well as visiting arrangements with other family members and friends. And should a ward own any property but no longer possess the funds to pay the guardian, the guardian is allowed legally to sell off the ward’s assets in order to get paid. The guardian can even cast ballots on behalf of the ward to vote in elections—something about which judges running for re-election are obviously aware. As many stories reported in the news have shown, some truly greedy guardians do get caught. However, the ones who know how to play the system most often do not. As a book publisher, I needed to do the only thing that I knew I could do. I needed to find someone sufficiently knowledgeable to write a book about this legally supervised miscarriage of justice.

As I reviewed possible candidates, several names emerged. One person, though, seemed to be on a special mission to help unite families whose relatives had been trapped in this system. Dr. Sam Sugar is a medical doctor who, through firsthand experience, had seen just what a guardianship could do. Soon thereafter, he co-founded Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG), a nonprofit organization designed to help expose the corruption at the heart of each state’s guardianship system. When I asked if he wanted to write a book about this system, he readily agreed.

One year later, we published Guardianships and the Elderly: The Perfect Crime ($19.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0433-9) to rave reviews (see below). To my surprise and continued dismay, the book has not yet brought about much-needed change. What it has done is provide a clear picture of how unwanted guardianships occur; establish a list of the crimes legally carried out by many guardians and their cohorts; and outline the options that families have at their disposal once a guardianship has been put in place.

I am not a lawyer, nor am I a politician or a hell-raiser. What I am is a publisher who still believes in the power of the printed word. It would be one thing if the co-guardians that I worked with had shown any compassion for my cousin. But for them, it was always about the money. Anyone who takes the time to read this book will understand that our parents, our friends, and even we can easily fall victim to this injustice. At least the reviewers who have read this book understand its important message. Here is what a few of them have said about this important book . . .

“A powerful voice in senior advocacy sounds the alarm on the guardianship industry’s gross abuses . . . explores the evolution of the guardianship process and its statutes, triggering scenarios, and mechanisms, offering clear, readable explanations of the legalities, appointed officials, and court probate structures involved . . . [Sugar’s] intent is to prevent others from suffering the financial and emotional struggle of a broken system and to empower readers to arm themselves with enough accessible knowledge and foresight to avoid the dizzyingly complicated guardianship arrangement altogether . . . smartly offers practical tips and alternatives to avoid abusive situations and to honor final intentions in the most respectful ways possible . . . A potent, important call to action for those preparing to assume or actively involved in the estate caretaking of an incapacitated loved one.” Kirkus Reviews

“Enlightens readers about the financial and psychological toll taken on vulnerable elderly people by corrupt court-appointed guardians . . . [author] Sugar, who estimates that as many as 14% of all guardianships involve some criminality, convincingly demonstrates that the system as a whole is broken . . . going beyond merely sounding the alarm, he recommends concrete ways for individuals to protect themselves and their loved ones . . . with the aging of the American population and the concomitant increase in expected guardianships, this is a timely and valuable cri de coeur [passionate appeal].”
                                                                                                                 —Publishers Weekly

“Guardians should be champions and protectors who look out for incapacitated people, but they too often take advantage financially of those in their care, argues Sugar, a medical doctor who founded Americans Against Abusive Probate Guardianship (AAAPG) . . . Readers who worry about the trustworthiness of court-appointed guardians who are supposed to protect the health, assets, and welfare of a ward will find their fears confirmed . . . this is certainly an informative look at an important yet little-understood subject.” —Booklist

And while these reviewers’ words have shed some light on these terrible injustices, it is only Britney Spears’ guardianship case that gets headlines. However, what Dr. Sugar’s book has done is create a small army of dedicated advocates around the country. All of whom have become knowledgeable about this system and its faults after reading the book. In addition, the book has served as a catalyst for change and legitimized the sincere and fervent complaints from victims and families nationwide. Until such time as the government mandates the collection of legitimate data on guardianships, it can be said that there is now no more reliable source for information about this problem than Guardianships and the Elderly. And at least now, for the family members and friends of those trapped in this system, Dr. Sugar’s book is there to help them see what lies in front of them—and what, if anything, they can do to help.

Kind regards,

Rudy Shur, Publisher
Square One Publishers, Inc.
www.SquareOnePublishers.com
Ph: 516-535-2010 x 111
Email: SQ1publish@aol.com

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Everyone's Talking about the President Who Ended War in Afghanistan—But What About the One Who Started It? This Novel Paints a Very Clear Picture.

Posted: 2021/09/07

Garden City Park, NY: Consider the following statistics:
US military deaths—4,431
US military wounded physically and/or mentally in action—300,000 (approx.)
Cost paid by US taxpayers—Over $2 trillion dollars (Note: $8,000 USD per avg. American)

Now add what you see below to the already worrisome facts above:

Iraqi violent deaths—151,000
Iraqi "excess" deaths (mostly civilian, "non"-military): 1 million, 33 thousand (approx.)

Taken together, what you have are the published casualties of the 2003–2011 Iraq War brought to the world arena by the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.

As reported only days ago by Washington Post reporter Ben Terris (to see the article, click here), "W." seems to have received a sizable facelift in contrast to the Trump presidency. In fact, America seems content now to regard Bush in relatively warm nostalgic terms—even as the media, Left and Right alike, wield a continued attack upon President Biden for ending the war in Afghanistan after twenty years.

And yet, what about the role played in all of this by President Bush—the one responsible for dragging the US into this mess in the first place?

Ask seven-time Emmy winning producer/director Terry Jastrow, and he will tell you that we need to reexamine far more closely the Bush presidency in the wake of Afghanistan . . . and on the eve of the 20th anniversary of "9/11."

That is exactly what Jastrow has done in his new novel, The Trial of George W. Bush ($16.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0506-0). In his book, Jastrow imagines what would happen if President Bush were to be whisked off a golf course in Scotland and brought to stand trial for war crimes at the Hague International Criminal Court in The Netherlands. Though a fictitious scenario, Jastrow believes that there is a very compelling case to be made for President Bush's prosecution. As he now says, "Much is being made right now of America's withdrawal from Afghanistan, but what's barely mentioned is that George W. Bush caused the problem in the first place. Still unable to capture Osama bin Laden a year and a half after the '9/11' attacks here in the US, Bush instead turned the nation's attention to Saddam Hussein in Iraq . . . who had nothing to do with the attacks or bin Laden."

"Working from the claim," Jastrow continues, "that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq—again, history shows us now that he did not—President Bush then waged an eight-year-long war that killed or wounded hundreds of thousands of people, Americans and Iraqis alike, and cost us trillions of dollars."

Now with both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan declared over, the fervently anti-war Jastrow thinks that it is time for George W. Bush to be held accountable for his crimes. Or is he somehow above the law? Well, read Terry Jastrow's novel, The Trial of George W. Bush, and judge for yourself.

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Fulbright recipient Daniel Sherrell wins the 2021 “Bruce Piasecki & Andrea Masters Annual Award on Business and Society Writing”

Posted: 2021/09/06

Garden City Park, NY: Here at Square One, we are proud and happy to announce that our author Bruce Piasecki, PhD—the globally-minded sustainable environment trailblazer and bestselling business author of Doing More With Less and New World Companies among others—has bestowed the 2021 Bruce Piasecki and Andrea Masters Annual Award on Business and Society Writing upon Brown University Environmental Studies graduate and Fulbright grant recipient Daniel Sherrell.

Mr. Sherrell's award-winning essay, with its strong focus on climate change and his continuing role as Campaign Director for the Climate Jobs National Resource Centercan be read by clicking HERE.

Daniel Sherrell's first book, Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World (PRH) was published just last month and is available now on Amazon and wherever else books are sold.

Before becoming a bestselling author in his own right with the book Doing More With Less ($16.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0426-1), Bruce Piasecki made his mark as founder of the AHC Group Inc., an internationally successful general management consulting firm specializing in growth, energy, environment, and sustainability. In addition to his impactful business titles Doing More With Less, Doing More With Teams, and New World Companies (all now available through Square One Publishers), it is Piasecki’s memoir Missing Persons that has perhaps brought forth his highest accolades to date from such estimable sources as Publishers Weekly (a “compulsively addictive memoir, combining rich cinematic touches and psychological elements of memory and dreams”), Foreword Reviews (“more than a memoir; it is wonderful entertainment and a celebration of memory”), and Literary Aficionado (“luminous, especially for those of us who are finding ourselves reflecting on the past”) among others.

We at Square One congratulate both Mr. Sherrell for his win of this important new writing award, along with our author Dr. Bruce Piasecki for this successful inauguration of his brave new writing award. In light of all that seems to be going wrong in the world nowadays, it's always a pleasure to read about something going right.

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NOTES FROM A DYSLEXIC PUBLISHER # 7

Posted: 2021/08/09

The Point
As a publisher, you never know when one book can turn into three.
When we published Taking Woodstock, the story behind the gay man who saved the
legendary 1969 Woodstock Arts & Music Festival, that was only the first tale of his amazing life.


Garden City Park, NY: Several years ago, I was introduced to a gentleman who wanted his manuscript to be published. His parents had owned a motel up in Bethel, New York from the late 1950s into the 1960s called the “El Monaco.” As it turned out, in 1969 this man had become the president of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce—and in this position, he had the ability to grant legal permits for the staging of parades, theatrical shows . . . and outdoor festivals.

As he explained it to me, he was the one who had invited the producers of the Woodstock Festival to come to Bethel in hopes that their concert might be held on his parents’ land. About fifty miles away, the town of Wallkill had just revoked the Woodstock Ventures’ permit to hold the festival there, and the producers were in a bind. This gentleman, named Elliot Tiber, made a call to the Woodstock producers. That same day, their core team came to the motel. Unfortunately, most of the El Monaco property resembled a vast wetland, and the Woodstock team quickly rejected Elliot’s offer as they felt their feet sinking into the ground with each step. As they were leaving, in equal parts of desperation and chutzpah, Tiber suggested to Woodstock leader Mike Lang that he and his people next visit a neighbor’s nearby dairy farm instead. Elliot knew the farm owner, and he would be happy to call and see if Lang and company could come by while they were still there. Tiber made the call, and the rest is history. Max Yasgur agreed to rent his property, and the Woodstock Arts & Music Festival of 1969 was soon to become a legendary event—care of Elliot Tiber’s being able to grant them that crucial festival permit.

Of course, this was not the initial focus of Elliot’s material. His manuscript was about the bands and singers who stayed at the El Monaco motel, in a way that read more like a stand-up comedy routine than a book. While his work was funny, its story didn’t add that much to the dozens of other books already out there on Woodstock. As I soon learned, however, he was someone who did not give up very easily. He called me numerous times, and while I advised him to look elsewhere, he chose not to do so. As we continued to speak, I asked him more questions about the events that preceded his call to the Woodstock producers along with the many paths his life had taken during that time frame. How, for instance, did he wind up working at his parents’ ramshackle motel? As we chatted, I learned how similar his childhood had been to mine. He and I both had wacky Jewish mothers named Sonia. He discovered he was gay at a young age, and as luck would have it, he had been caught up in the Stonewall Inn riots of late June 1969. For myself, I discovered I was straight at a young age as well when I fell head over heels for Shirley Jones as “Marian the Librarian” in The Music Man—and as luck would have it, 1969 was the year I married my wife, Erica.

The more that Elliot and I talked, the more I realized that he had a real story to tell—one that did not center on the Woodstock festival, as much as it did on his own life at that time. From that last conversation, I introduced him to the talented writer, Tom Monte, and the book he had wanted—with a great deal of twists and turns—was soon on its way to being written. Anthony Pomes, our marketing director, came up with the perfect title, Taking Woodstock: The True Story of a Riot, a Concert and a Life. About six months after the book was released in the early spring of 2007, we received a call from Oscar-winning director, Ang Lee, who wanted to make the feature film adaptation of the book—and in the Summer of 2009, forty years after that first Woodstock of 1969, the movie was released. The book was better, but then again, I might be a little biased. But there was more to Elliot’s story.

Over the next few years, Elliot and I became friends and continued to talk. He filled in further the many details of his growing up in Brooklyn, his early feelings about being gay, his becoming a successful interior designer in Manhattan, and how it all came crashing down one night. That was the night he and his idol, Judy Garland, had to hide behind a table together in the dining hall to avoid the fight that had broken out aboard the ship they were on—and why he wound up working at his parents’ motel on most weekends, away from the city. I thought if that story were put together, it would make just as fascinating tale as the first—and so did Elliot. A year later, Elliot handed in his prequel, Palm Trees on the Hudson: A True Story of the Mob, Judy Garland, and Interior Decorating. The book received rave reviews such as “Thought-provoking, fun, meaningful, educational, and historical . . . supremely fantastic writing,” (Feathered Quill Book Reviews), “Exceptionally well-written . . . [a] rags-to-riches-and-back-again riveter,”(BookPleasures.com ), and “[Tiber’s] recollections of Manhattan society and being gay in the 1960s are priceless” (syndicated columnist The Bookworm Sez), among many others. Just this past year, Palm Trees also won the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Book Award in the category of “Best Audiobook – Nonfiction.”

As our friendly banter continued, a third book emerged, After Woodstock: The True Story of a Belgian Movie, an Israeli Wedding, and a Manhattan Breakdown with a Foreword by Ang Lee. To quote the Publishers Weekly review, “Tiber delivers a wonderful account of survival while wrestling with creativity, loss, tragedy, and disconnection from traditional family values.”

Elliot Tiber led a most interesting life filled with dreams, adventures, successes —and yes, his fair share of failures. And yet, he imbued each of his stories with the unique humor of someone who chose never to give up. Elliot passed away in August 2016. The truth for me as a publisher, though, is the fact that his life story could not have ever been told in just one title. It took three books to embrace his rich and ultimately triumphant life. I will continue to miss our talks—but then again, I can always re-read one of his books whenever I need to be in his world again. You might enjoy reading them as well.

Kind regards,

Rudy Shur, Publisher
Square One Publishers, Inc.
www.SquareOnePublishers.com
Ph: 516-535-2010 x 111
Email: SQ1publish@aol.com

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The Poisons in Our Foods—Finally Exposed

Posted: 2021/08/01

Garden City Park, NY: So far this year, we shared a story here at Square One—“America—Land of Toxic Babies (new report names top baby food manufacturers, and a lax FDA, as the culprit)"—about how, after last being reported in October 2017, it was reported that our nation’s top baby food manufacturers have “knowingly sold baby food that contained high levels of toxic heavy metals” according to documents released in a congressional investigation back in February.

Then in May, a submitted legislative bill called California Senate Bill SB 651 was publicized, only to be tabled without action. The bill calls for the requirement of warning labels on foods that contain synthetic petroleum-based food dyes as ingredients. As Dr. Dufault has noted, “Both the European Union [EU] and the UK already require these warning labels on foods that contain the dyes yellow #5, yellow #6, and red #40. All of these ingredients are tested and certified to ensure that only the allowable levels of lead and inorganic mercury are found in each batch.”

And now, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for more data about two heavy metals in food products. According to this recent Food Safety News article, the heavy metals in question are “methylmercury and total mercury in orange roughy, pink cusk-eel and all toothfish" while the second (and more immediately damning, when it comes to a large group of normally processed foods) is “lead in cereal-based foods and ready-to-eat meals for infants and young children; dried spices and culinary herbs; eggs; sugars and sugar-based candies."

Of course, the United States continues to turn a blind eye to all of these findings—a frustration that our author, and former FDA food safety investigator turned whistleblower Dr. Renee Dufault, has wrestled with for nearly two decades.

While her book with us, Unsafe at Any Meal: What the FDA Does Not Want You to Know About the Foods You Eat (Square One, $16.95), lays out the definitive argument for why Americans should remove all heavily processed foods from their daily diet, Dr. Dufault feels that the ongoing COVID pandemic has heightened this issue even further. In fact, she cites a recent Jerusalem Post article about how almost 60% of the patients now hospitalized by the Delta variant of COVID in Israel were vaccinated months ago with the Pfizer vaccine but have caught COVID anyway due to their age and underlying conditions. This means that maintaining a healthy diet is more important now than ever before.

According to Dr. Dufault, “As the American government and press continue to try to convince people to get a vaccination, they need to understand that what we are up against may even defy vaccination to some degree. We need a better plan than what we've got—after all, this virus is only getting smarter. We here in America need to try to reduce those underlying conditions that arise over time as we consume the Standard American Diet, which of course stands for 'SAD.' Healthier bodies will be better able to fight off the Delta COVID variant and all other future viruses—but we need to avoid these heavily processed and therefore 'unsafe' meals."

In an effort to push the public that much closer to measurable action, Dr. Dufault also wants to remind American citizens just how bad things truly are in the US when it comes to heavy metals' effect on child development. Dufault is the lead researcher/writer on a new article in the World Journal of Methodology entitled “Connecting inorganic mercury and lead measurements in blood to dietary sources of exposure that may impact child development " (Dufault RJ, Wolle MM, Kingston HMS, Gilbert SG, Murray JA. Connecting inorganic mercury and lead measurements in blood to dietary sources of exposure that may impact child development. World J Methodol 2021; 11(4): 144-159 [PMID: 34322366 DOI: 10.5662/wjm.v11.i4.144]).

As Dufault points out in her book, and reiterates in her new article, children with autism and/or ADHD-related complications all over the world have been shown to have elevated inorganic mercury and lead levels in their blood. In fact, it has now been proven that sixteen percent (16%) of all children in the US have an ADHD diagnosis.

Dr. Dufault’s own extensive research in this area actually dates back over more than a decade to 2005, when she was still working as a health investigator for the Food and Drug Administration. That was the year when she discovered that baby formula was comprised largely of corn sweeteners and vegetable oil. As she notes in chapter six of her book ("Spotlight on Autism and ADHD"), many baby formulas "contain corn sweetener in the form of corn syrup or corn syrup solids. Some formulas contain more corn sweetener than any other ingredient. I found one baby formula product in my local grocery store with a food ingredient label that claimed 54 percent of the product was made up of corn syrup solids and 26 percent of the product consisted of assorted vegetable oils."

COVID doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. So in addition to getting the vaccine, this is the time for everyone in America to make healthier choices at mealtime. With her ongoing research in one hand and her book Unsafe at Any Meal in the other, everyone stands a chance at coming through 100%.

For those who want to more fully educate themselves on this issue right nowUnsafe at Any Meal is now available in paperback/eBook formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and everywhere else books are sold. It is also now available in audio book format, as narrated by Diane Neigebauer—to check out a "sample" of the book in audio, click here.

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