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Careers of a Dubious Nature

Is a seemingly swift route to relative job security always a wise choice?

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When thinking about careers in industries that exploit the masses – such as cigarette manufacturers or purveyors of violent entertainment – are those who pursue such careers are greedy or immoral. Does the belief that these paths are the swiftest routes to relative security drive such people?

A young man or woman who arrives at work at a tobacco firm, on the first day, is probably thankful to have a job and merely seeking to earn a living. Over the years, as some of these people progress through the ranks and eventually become top officers, their indoctrination has lasted so long that seemingly there is no other choice. This is the business they know. They have been immersed in their corporate culture for years or even decades. The rationalizations for doing what they do, however heinous, have been completely ingrained within them.

Denial of Reality

In another industry – the entertainment business – producers, directors, and screen writers of violent content perhaps spent the early years of their lives in less than favorable circumstances and are now reflecting back on their own childhood fantasies and fears. Or not.

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Although more than 3,000 authenticated studies, on the topic of children and violent media, show a direct correlation between watching violence and taking part in violent acts, the purveyors of violent media are in heavy denial. Like big oil company executives who stealthily hire research fellows to publish reports citing no long-term damage to the environment, media industry magnates have their own methods of both conveying misinformation and engaging in disinformation campaigns.

As Malcolm Gladwell deftly points out in his book The Tipping Point, at some juncture, a tipping point occurs. When numerous high profile individuals fall prey to lung disease, a close relative of the president is hospitalized and eventually near death as a result of cigarette smoking, or some other development of a similar nature occurs, the tipping point will be reached and the tobacco industry will be seen and publicly and lastingly castigated for what it is – a purveyor of death.

Defacto Approval

If tobacco companies and violent media producers have enjoyed increasing revenues over the last several decades (nowadays selling in foreign markets), it’s because the growth has been allowed. Yet, throughout history, one bold messenger applying pressure at the right place at the right time can make a profound difference.

Ralph Nader testified against General Motors and wrote the book Unsafe At Any Speed, which essentially halted manufacture of the Corvair. He wielded more leverage than 10,000 protesters outside GM’s gates. Generations of drivers have no awareness that higher levels of highway safety are due largely to Nader’s efforts.

Impact through Innovation

The ads sponsored years back by www.truth.org were not the first of their kind, but they served as a benchmark. In one of these ads, a bespectacled man in his late 50’s, who appeared to have the status of a corporate spokesperson, came on the air during March Madness to announce that, until it could offer customers a completely safe cigarette, the tobacco industry was making a dramatic product recall.

The ad spokesperson said that customers’ trust and health was of paramount importance. The ad closed by announcing that it was an April Fool’s joke. It wasn’t paid for by the tobacco industry; it was paid for by an organization that seeks to create the tipping point that brings the tobacco industry to a state of ruin.

Tellingly, while movie producers, induced by lucrative product placement fees, continue to write cigarette smoking into the scripts of the pictures they produce, science fiction shows a more factual reality. In any of the Star Trek movies, the old TV series, or in futuristic Sci-Fi movies, do any of the characters smoke? No. Why?

No credible science fiction writer would portray a future where people of a presumably enlightened age would knowingly choose to directly inhale carcinogens as if there were no severe repercussions.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

Wrongly Imprisoned Real Estate Broker Demands Investigation of Ohio Prosecutors

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The Obama administration targeted sole proprietors and small businesses in the real estate industry after the crash of 2008, while letting the big banks off the hook with bailouts. One of most horrific cases involved Republican real estate broker Tony Viola, who served nine and a half years in prison as a juicy target of Ohio Democratic prosecutor Dan Kasaris. He was convicted of supposedly tricking banks into offering mortgages with no money down. But in reality, the banks were knowingly offering those loans — evidence the prosecution withheld from him. 

Viola only got out of prison due to an employee of the prosecution, Dawn Pasela, becoming so disgusted with the suppression of evidence showing the banks weren’t tricked and other corruption such as missing computers full of evidence that she changed sides, helping Viola conduct a successful appeal pro se from prison.   

But nothing happened to Kasaris or the federal prosecutor involved, Mark Bennett. Pasela’s parents, Edward and Karen Pasela, who have remained fairly quiet until now, are so outraged that they participated in a a press conference with investigative journalist Brian Douglas last month exposing what happened in Viola’s case and how bad corruption is in the Ohio criminal justice legal system. 

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Douglas put together Viola’s story in a two-part series which included former colleagues of Viola’s testifying to his impeccable character. For his efforts, Douglas was threatened with a lawsuit by Kasaris’s attorney, which Douglas included in his investigation so people are aware of the intimidation. Douglas has been forced to hire his own attorney.

Pasela was threatened by several FBI agents with prosecution if she did not leave the state and avoid testifying. They said they would bring charges against her for violating an NDA — but she never signed an NDA.

Pasela was found dead the day she was supposed to testify in court in Viola’s defense for the first time, and it was blown off as alcohol poisoning with no real investigation. The parents of Pasela want a full investigation into their daughter’s death. 

Kelly Patrick, who was married to John Patrick, the brother of Kasaris, revealed how she discovered that Kasaris intervened as county prosecutor to prevent his brother from being prosecuted for domestic violence against her and for a marijuana growing operation. She also has evidence that Kasaris was having a longterm extramarital affair with the prosecution’s key witness, Kathryn Clover, documented by over 100 pages of Facebook messages with his wife Susan. Bennett admitted that Clover, who was a paralegal for the prosecution, not really much of a fact witness as she was portrayed, had committed perjury but would not let her recant her testimony on the witness stand, even though she wanted to. 

Elsebeth Baumgartner also spent several years in prison due to legal corruption in Ohio. She discovered $1.4 million being misspent related to schools, and, as a lawyer, initiated federal racketeering lawsuits against those responsible. Kasaris got her indicted for intimidating a judge with the lawsuits — even though no federal judge ever ruled that her lawsuits were without merit. 

She believes she was targeted because she ran a blog exposing all the corruption. She said the corruption and cover-ups are so bad she’s been unable to get any justice, “There is no place to go to bring public corruption charges against a public official.” 

Brenda Bickerstaff, a private investigator, explained how as part of her job, she tried to talk to a witness in a high-profile case, and Kasaris threatened to have her indicted if she did. 

Bob Grunstein, who wrote “Bad Minds, High Places” about how powerful people in the criminal justice system in Ohio misused the system to attack him after he dared to criticize an Ohio judge, relayed how common the corruption in Viola’s case is. He said the problem is the corrupt are untouchable. “Any new rules and laws don’t matter since they won’t follow them, and no one will hold them accountable. No one will come forward because they’re terrified of what they’ll do to them. The federal courts protect their friends in the lower courts, because that’s where they came from.” 

Viola said his case comes down to four key facts: First, the prosecution has never turned over the $20 million it collected as “restitution” to the “victims,” big banks. Instead, it’s been used as sort of a “slush fund” for prosecutors, buying laptops, hotel rooms, etc. Viola calls it money laundering. Second, the FBI admitted it did not know about 10,000 documents in its possession — many that exonerated him — for 10 years. 

Third, the judge in his case, Federal District Court Judge Donald Nugent, sealed the records regarding Clover so Viola and others cannot use the evidence of her role to expose prosecutorial corruption in his case and others. And fourth, Kasaris used a Yahoo email account with his official signature on it to conduct official business, using it as a backchannel way to communicate with criminal defense lawyers. 

Mariah Crenshaw of the criminal justice reform organization Chasing Justice said the laws can be changed to stop this kind of abuse. She is proposing legislation that will allow prosecutors to be charged with criminal negligence for withholding potentially exculpatory evidence, and wants to allow defense attorneys to present their side to grand juries instead of leaving it exclusively to prosecutors.  

Viola wants Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to suspend Kasaris and conduct a full investigation into his wrongful prosecution, as well as a DOJ investigation of Bennett. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) asked the FBI in November to enlist the Inspector General to investigate the FBI’s actions in Viola’s case, but so far there’s been no response. 

Maybe Viola will finally get somewhere because he’s gotten such a broad spectrum of people interested in his case. Even Black Lives Matters is involved. When you have people all across the political spectrum expressing outcry over a criminal case, perhaps the corrupt players

responsible for putting an innocent man in prison will finally be investigated — and exonerate over a thousand others in the real estate industry who were likely also wrongly prosecuted.

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Business

Doing Our Best in Handling What Was Unforeseen

Despite obstacles, there is a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish

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By now, everyone has mentally marked 2021 as one strange year. (Actually with Biden and Harris ‘leading’ the United States of America, it was already marked to be a disastrous year).

While we can’t guard against the unknown, we can do our best with what we have. Each day when you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day?

No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the tasks, unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that still could throw us off.

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How do you react when you are humming along, and all of a sudden, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on a task or project immediately. Maybe a client calls and needs something ASAP. Maybe something gets returned to you that you thought was complete.

Stymied No Longer

If you are like most people, you might become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day.

Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?  There is, and it involves first making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately encapsulates the new task that you need to handle.

Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Anticipating the Unexpected

Unforeseen issues and tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations. Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions on our workday take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting.

Hereafter, when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed with the mindset that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course. The key question is ‘Can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions?’

The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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