The Hidden Science Behind Starbucks

Starbucks is under a lot of fire today after a video that surfaced on social media this past Thursday, gained nationwide attention with over 3 million views. The video taken at a Starbucks in Philadelphia Pennsylvania shows police handcuffing two African American real estate brokers and escorting them out of the Starbucks. The video shows a white male as well as a few voices that can be heard in the back ground telling the police officers “They didn’t do anything.” It was later reported that the police were called because these 2 African American men sat inside the Starbucks waiting on a friend to show up for a meeting without ordering anything. The friend eventually showed up to the Starbucks as the two black males were being escorted out in handcuffs and being sent down to a county jail. Immediate outrage on social media prompted Starbucks to issue a statement online, writing a public apology to the two individuals as well as customers who were angered by this racial incident. Starbucks stated, “We apologize to the two individuals and our customers for what took place at our Philadelphia store on Thursday.”

Early Saturday afternoon, the Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross addressed the racial incident on Facebook live. Commissioner Ross stated the 2 black men were “trespassing”, due to them being non-paying customers who wanted to use the restroom. When the Starbucks employees asked the two gentlemen to leave, they refused to comply with the requests which resulted in the police to be called. Commissioner Ross further states “The officers did absolutely nothing wrong.” Immediately following Commissioner Ross’s statements, social media responded to Ross’s claims to be absolutely absurd and incorrect. Shortly afterwards, a hash tag #BoycottStarbucks became a trending topic on Twitter Saturday afternoon. This is nothing less than a classic case of typical racial discriminatory and racial misconduct on behalf of a white owned establishment and the Philadelphia Police department.

In the wake of this incident, I want to take the time to address black America and all melanated people across the world. Many of us have tend to have this false notion that racism is a thing of the past and as long as we carry ourselves in a decent manner, we will have nothing to worry about. Many of us believe that fancy college degrees, having a professional career, and living in the suburbs will eliminate the threats of racism. This idea is easily debunked because the two men arrested in that Starbucks in Philadelphia were real estate brokers which most people would agree, is a rewarding professional career. We as a people, collectively, suffer from a case of extreme escapism and we place a high value on materials that gives us a psychological escape from reality. We don’t want to believe that racism still exists and Jim Crow still very much alive. When dealing with reality, one thing we must come to an understanding of is that we live under a global system of white supremacy. White Supremacy dominates all 9 areas of activity including Economics, Education, sex, labor, law, war, politics, religion, and entertainment. When it comes to all of the industries and the total wealth in the United States of America, African Americans own less than ½ of 1% of the total wealth therefore having no economic base whatsoever. When you belong to a group of people who have no economic base and no continuous flow of income within your community, you will always be susceptible to disrespect from other racial groups as well as being subjected to termination. This is why African Americans are the main targets for police brutality and institutional racism. This is why African Americans continue to deal with racial discrimination today just as much as we faced racial discrimination during the Jim Crow Era. Thanks to camera phones, the world gets to see the deleted scenes from the horror movie known as the Jim Crow Era.  Just 60 years ago, blacks were not allowed to sit in the same restaurants as whites. 60 years later, we are not allowed to sit in coffee shops without the police being called on us. Now I want you to ask yourself, did we really have any racial progress in America? Having an historical consciousness is simply not enough, we must build physiological and sociological awareness in order to combat systematic racism. It is well documented throughout historical records that Africans invented and created the foundation of almost all of the most profitable product the world consumes on a daily basis. This product includes coffee. If you actually pay attention to the Starbucks logo, you will see that the Starbucks logo in fact traces back to Africa.

Most people are not aware that the mermaid logo is indeed an African goddess named Yemaya also known throughout West Africa and the Caribbean as Yemoja. Yermoja is an Orisha goddess of the traditional Yoruba religion that came from enslaved Africans in the land of what is present day Nigeria. When the slaves were kidnapped and transported to the western world, Yermaya was said to be the one who protected the slaves on their journey and kept them safe. Yermaya is a very giving and nurturing goddess who rarely gets upset but when she does become enraged, she unleashes a massive hurricane. She is said to be the mother of the fishes in the sea which is why she is shown to the world as a two-tailed mermaid. It is no secret that many of the European owned franchises including Starbucks stole their ideas from African based spiritual systems and created the concept of their organizations as well as profited off the backs of Africans for centuries. Here you have an African goddess printed on the logo of a major franchise that outright discriminates and disrespects the very people it took their ideas from yet no consequences are bestowed upon them as result of that. This is where I want to gather all of the melanated people across the world and get each other on one code so we can establish a solution.

Starbucks should never benefit from the black dollar ever again. I want every black male and black female to see what we did as a people for the Black Panther film. I want every black male and female to see what we did as a people to the city of Montgomery during the Montgomery bus boycott. I want every black male and female to see what we did as a people to build Hollywood and the music industry. I want every black male and female to see what we did as a people to build black wall street. We are the people who hold the power to make and break businesses and industries. Segregation did not come to an end because the power structure finally realized that separating blacks from whites was wrong. Segregation came to an end because it became apparent just how essential the black dollar is to the economy. Without black consumers, the economy would be in shambles and the power structure will have no longer have a choice but to respect our demands. The most effective way to bring a person to their knees is to attack what they value the most and in this case, the American social order worships the almighty dollar. When you interfere with an individual or establishment’s ability to generate income, you immediately hold their undivided attention for as long as you wish. In order to get respect, we must demand our respect. From this moment forward, I advise all melanated people to get on code and never spend one cent in a Starbucks again. Please do not accept a simple apology from an establishment that wouldn’t even think to give you one otherwise hadn’t this story never reached a wide audience. Let us start demanding our respect and set an example of what happens when we are discriminated against.  The time is now to stand together and demand our voices be heard.

Photo Credits:

usatoday.com

OJ Simpson: Not Guilty

More than two decades ago, the entire country stopped what they were doing and glued their eyes onto their television screen anxiously waiting to hear the verdict of the murder case that is known today as the trial of the century. As the earth-shattering verdict of not guilty rang through the ears of millions across the world, we saw a racial division and tension that could not be ignored.  Although the former NFL star has been cleared of all charges, the murder case of the People vs OJ Simpson continues to intrigue people all across the globe. Following the years after the bone chilling verdict, we have seen many documentaries being released detailing the case. We have also seen a Netflix special titled “The People vs OJ Simpson” starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and more recently, a lost “hypothetical” confession from OJ Simpson that was filmed 12 years ago which aired on Fox this past Sunday. This has yet again stirred up one of the most controversial debates of the century, is OJ Simpson in fact guilty of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman? Given the logistics of this case in regard to the evidence, the blood, the openly racist degenerate cop Mark Furman, the witness testimonies, and the background of the victims Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, one cannot simply believe OJ Simpson committed the crime of murder. In this blog, I will break down key points and facts from the case that was proven by the defense team led by the brilliant lawyer Jonnie Cochran. I will give you my insight on all aspects of this case and indeed prove to you why OJ Simpson is in fact innocent of the crime of murder.

The Hidden Background Of Nicole Simpson And Ron Goldman

The United States judicial system and mainstream media have always been unapologetic and never been ambivalent when it comes detailing the negative aspects of innocent African American lives taken by police officers. Victims such as Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Eric Gardner, Mike Brown and Sandra Bland have all been portrayed in the media as thugs, criminals, or a menace to society. Whenever a black life is taken by a white hand, the media wastes no time dipping into the background of the victim and discovering any small piece of dirt in order to defecate on the name of an innocent black life that was taken. This is done purposely to filibuster and attempt to place the victim on trial and ignore the real criminal.   Therefore, I will take the liberty in carrying on that same energy and dipping into the angel and soccer mom fairytale backgrounds of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. As detailed in Faye Resnick’s book “Nicole Brown Simpson: The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted”

Nicole Brown Simpson was far from an angel and the soccer mom that the mainstream media portrays her to be. Nicole Simpson was a known drug addict and carried on sexual affairs with men such as Marcus Allen who was friends with her ex-husband OJ Simpson. Faye Resnick was a good friend of Nicole and she detailed how her and Nicole would often hang out in Brentwood with known criminals engaging in sexual behaviors, drinking all night and snorting cocaine. Faye Resnick went on to explain how her and Nicole engaged in lesbian sex and Nicole would say that OJ Simpson molded her sexually and she can only be satisfied by Marcus Allen and OJ. Nicole began dealing with OJ Simpson while he was still married to his first wife Marguerite.

Nicole took on the role of a mistress before OJ left his first wife to marry Nicole. Ronald Goldman was a 25-year-old waiter working at Mezzaluna restaurant where he met Nicole Simpson. Ron was in shape and was a martial arts fighter which are some of the few qualities that attracted Nicole to him and he would often take Nicole out to dance halls with him. The pair grew close to the point Nicole and Ronald would often hang out at the Mezzaluna restaurant for more obvious reasons that the media failed to show. What most people don’t know is that the Mezzaluna restaurant was a known mafia hangout and an establishment where the mobsters would sell drugs at. A few of Nicole and Ronald Goldman’s friends were killed before and after their murders had took place. Michael Nigg was a 26-year-old waiter at the Mezzaluna restaurant and worked with Ron Goldman. He was involved in drug trafficking and was a small-time drug dealer leading up to his demise. On September 8, 1995 Michael Nigg was shot in the head while sitting in a car with a woman after being approached by two men who demanded that he hand over cash. Another friend of Nicole and Ron Goldman was a man named Brett Cantor who was also killed just a year before Nicole and Ron. Cantor was also friends with Faye Resnick and was a co-owner of the Hollywood night club/bar called The Dragon Fly. Nicole Simpson, Ron and Faye Resnick frequently visited this club. Eleven months before Ron and Nicole were murdered, someone broke into Brett’s home, and killed him in the same fashion in which Ronald Goldman and Nicole were killed. Given all of these murders of people who were friends of Nicole and Ron, is it far-fetched to say that the same killers linked to these murders are also responsible for murdering Ron and Nicole Simpson? Perhaps Ron and Nicole’s drug affiliated past had caught up with them? It was also documented that Ron Goldman was going through some financial troubles during the time of his murder. Could it be that Ron was involved in the same drug activities as his Mezzaluna coworkers?

Motive

Another important piece of information to note is the motive behind why OJ Simpson would kill Nicole in the first place. It is often said that OJ Simpson was a jealous and enraged ex who just couldn’t stand the fact that he could not be with Nicole anymore. He grew resentment and bitterness from seeing Nicole moving on and decided a year later after their divorce to go over to Nicole’s home at 9pm at night and murder his ex-wife before getting on his flight to Chicago. This theory for motive to commit murder is easily debunked for the simple fact that OJ Simpson wasn’t the one who wanted Nicole back. Nicole was indeed the one who desperately wanted OJ back. In fact, Nicole Simpson decided to write the love of her life OJ Simpson a thoughtful letter expressing her desire to work things out. If Nicole was seeking to work her marriage out with OJ then what reason would there be for OJ to kill her? Another piece of important information to note are the phone records that show Nicole exchanging phone calls with her mother on the night she was murdered. The prosecution refused to release these phone records and OJ’s defense team failed to obtain them. If Nicole Simpson was talking on the phone at 11pm then that would prove without a shadow of a doubt that OJ Simpson did not commit those murders. Those phone records would show Nicole being alive at the same time OJ Simpson was already in a limousine on his way to Los Angeles international airport.

Mark Furman

The LAPD is famous and historically well known for being the most corrupt and  racist police force in the United States. In 2006, the FBI released a memo detailing that white supremacy groups have infiltrated law enforcement but the FBI was a little late on the tea as the cat has already been out of the bag since the 1940s. The chief of police at the time of the OJ Simpson case was a man named Daryl Gates who was no different from Mark Furman. Daryl Gates never denounced racism and he help start what later became known as SWAT.

He took on the same ideologies as the previous chief of police for the LAPD William Parker. The LAPD was terrorizing, mistreating, tampering with evidence and falsely accusing African Americans of many crimes for decades.  Mark Furman was the typical renegade police officer on the LAPD police force. He openly admitted his strong hatred for African Americans and being a white supremacy extremist. Mark Furman dedicated his life to mistreating and oppressing black people and even went as far as to discuss his racist views with Laura Hart McKinny. She recorded Mark Furman detailing how he falsifies police reports, how much he despises interracial relationships, how he would often plant evidence on black men, and his constant use of the N word (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6pymcUV8v4). She later took the stand and testified on how Mark Furman used the N word 42 times. The “OJ is guilty” community always try their best to avoid the Mark Furman topic and try to dismiss his role in this case due to these hardcore facts. Another woman named Kathleen Bell met Mark Furman at a marine recruiting station in 1985 and she explained how Mark Furman would described his hatred for African Americans. Mark Furman also had previous dealings with OJ Simpson and has been to his home on a domestic call in 1985. So now we know that the lead detective on the OJ Simpson case is a man who openly admits his hatred for interracial relationships, plants false evidence, and already had a hatred for OJ Simpson yet it is still crazy to assume the evidence at the scene was not tampered with?

Blood Samples

At the scene of the crime, a bloody sock was found behind the gate at Nicole Simpson’s home. The sock was said to have OJ’s blood all over it and his blood was also found on the gate of the house. They also said that OJ’s glove was soaked in blood and blood samples were taken from both Nicole and OJ Simpson after the murders. It was later discovered that OJ Simpson’s blood samples were missing from the lab and a chemical called EDTA was found sprinkled in OJ Simpson’s blood samples. EDTA is a chemical that is used for DNA extraction. It is an anticoagulant used to prevent clot formation. The prosecution was never able to explain why the EDTA chemical was found at the scene of the crime. The police initially said they overlooked the blood that was smeared on the gate and collected it several weeks later after the murders of Nicole and Ron Goldman. The defense argued that the police planted the evidence after the fact and the blood on the sock. There was also a cut on OJ Simpson’s finger and it was said that scratch came from Nicole Simpson. If there was a cut on OJ Simpson’s hand then that would mean there was a cut on the glove. It was shown later on that the same glove that did not fit OJ’s hands also did not have any cuts in it.

The Hypothetical Confession

The bottom line to this case is that OJ Simpson was found not guilty in a court of law. The prosecution failed to prove their case and just like all other cases, we should respect the law and get over it. We as a people are led to believe that OJ Simpson went to Nicole Simpson’s house, he was wearing a sweatsuit and a cap, stabbed Nicole to death, stabbed Ron Goldman who is a black belt and just so happen to beat Nicole’s House unexpectedly, got rid of the murder weapon, got rid of his clothes, managed to not get a bruise or a scratch on his body and still made it on time to catch his flight to Chicago. OJ Simpson must have been a superhero who possesses some undiscovered powers that no other human being has. These murders were professionally done and we all know that OJ Simpson has never been the sharpest knife in the drawer to pull off a murder to this magnitude. The whole purpose of the OJ Simpson case continuing to be brought up is because it generates a lot of money. Shortly after OJ Simpson’s acquittal, he was immediately a target in a civil case and the purpose was to erase any financial assets OJ Simpson had. They wanted to make sure that OJ Simpson had no major streams of revenue coming in and that is what led to the book deal. OJ Simpson was approached by a publisher to write a book titled “If I did it” where it was not a confession but a hypothetical on how he would commit the murders. Also, a part of that deal was to film a hypothetical confession on tape which was to be released 12 years later. OJ decided to do the book deal because he had no other ways to make money and his back was against the wall. There is a new generation of people who are not aware of the facts behind this case and the release of footage from 12 years ago is an attempt to keep the “OJ is guilty” money machine alive.

Photo Credit:

www.bustle.com

Big Baller Brand: Junior Basketball Association

A few hours ago, several sports media outlets reported the news of LaVar Ball’s desire to start a Junior Basketball Association, where High School Graduates who are looking to forgo attending college will have the option to begin a professional career here in the United States, receiving a monthly salary of $3,000 a month (or $10,000 if considered the league’s best). Per sources, Ball seeks to fund this league entirely through his Big Baller Brand. The players will in turn exclusively wear Big Baller Brand apparel and sneakers on the court.

From LaVar’s perspective, this idea is pure genius, if all goes as planned. This appears to be the only way to get somebody without the last name Ball to wear any of their BBB merchandise. Not to mention, if ten teams are formed out of a pool of eighty players (like he is seeking to do), this will generate a fair amount of revenue from game attendance, sponsorships, etc. This will give LaVar the platform to run what is likely to become a multimillion business, if all goes as planned.

On the flip side, any parent who allows their child to enroll in this league is short sighted to say the least. While I understand that the thought of your son earning a $3,000 monthly income at age 18 may be very appealing to many, this will only generate an annual income of $36,000, assuming this league lasts for twelve months a year. $36,0000, depending on your location, is not very much money. It is barely enough for survival after taxes are deducted. Secondly, many seem to overlook the fact that a professional basketball career only lasts a small fraction of one’s life. The average NBA career lasts less than 5 years (assuming these players even make it this far). Once the said career is over, what else follows? This is where a college degree is beneficial. While college athletes do not get paid during their tenure at their respective institutions, they at least obtain a free education in exchange. This, in my opinion, is a fair tradeoff. It at least provides these young men with the tools to survive in the real world after a basketball career.

Lastly, and arguably most importantly, LaVar Ball’s development methods have not exactly panned out to be effective. While his son Lonzo was able to climb up the NBA draft ranks and get selected second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2017 NBA Draft, Lonzo’s game hasn’t exactly translated to the NBA level quite like one would expect. While I understand that he is still young and finding his niche in the league, his failure to emerge as a star early in his career provides further evidence that LaVar may not be as much of a developmental wiz as he may think he is. As a parent, I would be much more inclined to have my son receive guidance from the trusted coaching at a Duke University or a University of Kentucky as opposed to what will seemingly be an experimental run with this proposed Junior league.

In sum, while I believe that this would be a smart business move on the part of LaVar Ball and the Big Baller Brand, I do not believe that enlisting with his Junior League is a good idea for developing athletes. Going to a top-notch Division one school is likely to put them in a better position to succeed as a professional basketball player. Furthermore, a college education is likely to put these young men in position to succeed after a professional basketball career. Remember, life goes on after basketball. For the foregoing reasons, the proposed Junior Basketball Association is a good idea for its creators, but a bad idea for the prospective members.

Photo Credit:

https://solecollector.com

A Metaphor For Love

Consider a box. The box symbolizes your inner emotions and self that people don’t see. People generally don’t care to leave their box. You always have people that come knocking on your door, but most of the time you leave them on the outside and talk to them from the door. Occasionally you invite people in. However, these people are people you really trust. You don’t just invite anyone into your box, and preferably you invite one person at a time in. These people are usually family, best friends, and lovers. Whenever someone enters the box the environment changes, sometimes a bit sometimes dramatically. This is why we are so careful about who we welcome in.

However, there’s a big difference from loving and being in love. How I differentiate being in love with someone is when you two share a box. You live together, emotionally, in this box. Visualize a venn diagram pushing closer and closer until the circles are concentric. This is the process of falling in love. You and your partner will have twice as many people knocking on your door and you will talk to them from the inside you two share. You will learn to love your partners guests as he/she will learn to love yours. Sharing a box is the closest you can get to someone– that is being in love. Reconsidering the venn diagram image, the most intense love would be when the circles are concentric.

When you’re in love, your box isn’t individual anymore. The box– your box becomes unpredictable because another variable is present. But oddly, you don’t mind.

Photo Credits:

http://www.seniorservicesinc.org 

Looking Forward: 2017/2018 NBA Season

As the NBA season slowly approaches, the excitement for what’s to come is slowly building up. This NBA off-season has been entertaining to say the least. From the blockbuster trades, NBA draft, to the Ball family antics, NBA fans have had something to constantly talk about this past summer. With the season starting next month, however, it is now time to focus on what really matters.

First and foremost, the Golden State Warriors remain in a class of their own, atop the Western Conference (and the entire league for that matter). Despite the new additions of the likes of Chris Paul to the Rockets, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder, and Rudy Gay to the Spurs, none of these moves made any of these teams comparable to the formidable Warriors. I, for one, worry about the compatibility of the new Thunder Big 3. I have a hard time envisioning three ball dominant players gelling together without some type of friction at one point or another during the season. The Thunder will certainly be better (on paper at least) than they were last season; however, I do not think they will give Golden State that many problems when faced with each other. For the Rockets, the addition of another ball dominant playmaker doesn’t really help address the weakness that they have in the middle.

Secondly, Kyrie Irving showed the NBA world his true character: he is a self-centered young man who cares more about individual accolades than winning. Period. If he was truly primarily concerned with winning, like he and most other NBA stars claim to be, he would either a) remain on the Cavs and enjoy yet another trip to the NBA finals with the hopes of defeating the Warriors, as no teammate gives you a better chance of winning than LeBron James, or b) demand a trade to a team that would give him a better chance of beating the Warriors. By joining the Celtics, he is simply taking a step back as a winner, and will more than likely end up watching his former team in the NBA finals. The trade demand, as a whole, and the list of teams that he evidently mentioned to be his top destination choices, showed that he simply wants to be the center of attention in a big city, far away from LeBron’s shadow.

Next, the acquisition of Dwyane Wade will not make the Cavaliers significantly better. While this pick up came at a very little expense to the Cavs, given the money being offered, it did not make the Cleveland Cavaliers a considerably better opponent for the Golden State Warriors. First, Dwyane Wade is…old (simply put). It is common knowledge that once an athlete in the NBA surpasses the age of 33, they are considered old. While one gets wiser with age, and so forth, father time is undefeated. Regardless of how wiser one may get, the inability of your body to correlate with the desires of your mind makes one ineffective. This is why players retire! Secondly, the Cavaliers need more floor spacers in order for the likes of LeBron and Isaiah Thomas to be effective. Although D-Wade noticeably improved his three point shooting in the playoffs last season, his shooting has never been his strength, and I do not foresee that changing. Unless D-Wade perhaps accepts a 6th man role and puts on his best Manu Ginobili impression, this acquisition may not only be a minimal improvement at best, but it may even be a hindrance to what already exists in Cleveland. Lastly, D-Wade is another ball dominant player who is mostly ineffective unless the ball is in his hands. This will take away from the likes of Isaiah Thomas, D-Rose, Kevin Love, and even LeBron. In theory, it may seem to be a big pick-up, but in practice, I don’t see it being that huge of a move.

Lastly, the recent Super Team epidemic that has plagued the league is slowly but surely destroying the NBA competition. While there are about four or five super teams out (the majority of whom are simply fighting for second place behind the formidable Golden State Warriors), the rest of the league is essentially filled with mediocre teams who aren’t really contending for much. I fear that NBA fans (outside of the true die-hard fans who root for their teams regardless of the outcome) may only tune in to watch marque games which feature the super teams going against each other. This isn’t good for the NBA brand, as advertisements, endorsements and overall fan support may be lost. I’m not certain as to what can be done to address what Kevin Durant is essentially to blame for, but something must be done. Either way, it should be an entertaining NBA season, although we all know what is likely to happen in the end.

Photo Credits:

Gq.com

gazettenet.com

cavsnation.com 

sportsnet.ca

Real Estate Transactions: Short Sales

As a settlement agent with a profound level of experience working out short sale transactions, I spend the majority of my days on the job advising realtors/real estate agents on how to go about the short sale process. For those of you who are new to the industry, a short sale is essentially a petition to a lien-holder (a bank that holds a mortgage on the property) to release the corresponding lien attached to the property for less than the money owed on the loan obligation. Say for example I take out a loan for 500,000.00 to purchase a home, and five years later the house is worth only 350,000.00; thus, a sale of the property will not be sufficient to pay off the lien in full. By the bank agreeing to accept whatever sales proceeds are available after settlement related costs (sales commissions, real estate taxes, etc.) are deducted, the bank is agreeing to a short sale.

To efficiently go about a short sale, here are some key pointers for realtors, in particular listing agents:

1. List the property like you would in a regular sale – One of the most common questions I receive from realtors on a sale transaction is what to list the property for. Once a realtor finds out that the transaction is going to be a short sale, they seem to treat the process differently. They in fact should not. I always advise realtors to list the property like you would in a regular sale. In other words resort to the mechanisms that you utilize with any other listing. List the property for whatever price you truly believe the property is worth. Just because it is a short sale doesn’t necessarily mean the property is devalued (unless of course it is in fact damaged, etc.; hence devalued). A short sale is not a clearance sale at a department store for example. Instead it is a normal sale with a bit of unusual circumstances. Treat it as such. The bank will of course have its own appraisal done to assess what they believe the property is worth; but keep in mind that as a realtor, you are the expert. The bank’s assessment isn’t always right. If there happens to be a huge price discrepancy, a comparable market analysis may be helpful; but for starters, list the property at what you truly believe it is worth.

2. Verify that there is a financial hardship – There are two major components to a short sale: a justifiable hardship making the seller(s) unable to make the mortgage payments in the foreseeable future, and a sufficient purchase offer that meets the investor’s guidelines. At times, agents lose sight of the fact that without the first component, the lien-holder will not proceed to the second. Without a legitimate hardship (death, divorce, unemployment, distance commute to work, long-term sickness, etc.), the bank is unlikely to approve the short sale. Unless the bank is able to verify that due to certain financially crippling circumstances a borrower is unable to honor the note obligation, they will not accept a loss. Thus, it would behoove you as a listing agent to verify that there is in fact a legitimate hardship, before going through with the listing process. Otherwise, you may put in all the hard work just to eventually uncover that the bank is not going to entertain a short sale, as there is no hardship. Remember, a short sale is mechanism for the lien-holder to mitigate their losses, not a means for the borrower to back away from a bad investment.

3. Be Proactive – A short sale, contrary to the moniker, is a very lengthy process. They could take several months for a bank to render a decision on the short sale request. For that reason, you as a realtor must take any steps necessary to try to proactively expedite the process. Once you make the determination that it will be a short sale (by verifying the current payoff amount with the projected sales proceeds), advise your client to either begin putting together their short sale package (consisting of the application, hardship letter, proof of income, bank statements, tax returns, etc.), or if already gathered to go ahead and submit the financial package to the bank. Ultimately, this will speed up the process once a contract is ratified. Ideally, the bank would’ve made a determination on the seller’s eligibility to move forward with a short sale (by reviewing their finances) by the time a contract is received by the title company, or whomever is working the short sale. This would then enable the facilitator to focus strictly on the numbers (net sales proceeds), as opposed to the underwriting process to determine eligibility.

4. Set realistic expectations – While this may serve as a bit of a deterrent factor to the parties involved, especially the purchaser, it is important to establish that a short sale isn’t exactly an overnight process. While this is pretty common knowledge in the industry, you would be better served by doing your due diligence of letting the parties know that a) there is no guarantee of a short sale approval, and b) the duration of the process is out of your hands (or anybody’s for that matter), and can be quite lengthy. By establishing this from the get-go, you are setting realistic expectations for the parties involved. That way if a buyer is running against a quick timeline, it would probably be in their best interest to not pursue such a property. This is of course more of the responsibility of a buyer’s agent; however it would be beneficial for you as a listing agent to remind the buyer’s agent. This will ultimately eliminate the pressure that may be placed on you from the buyer’s side, wanting to close immediately.

5. Use an experienced facilitator – While the decision to be made on a short sale falls entirely in the hands of the bank, using experienced role players can be critical as well. First, the seller should use a real estate agent who has some exposure doing short sales, or at the very least is seasoned in conducting real estate transactions as a whole. Even further, using an experienced facilitator is key. I am a huge believer in the theory of exposure being the greatest teacher. Adequate exposure in the form of education, or experience, makes one an expert in the field exposed to. The same applies to short sales. Using an experienced settlement agent or third party liaison to work out your short sale can make the experience much more efficient. First, an experienced facilitator can provide you with an accurate overview of how the process may turn out per lienholder. While short sales are standard for the most part, each lienholder has certain nuisances that make their process difference. An experienced facilitator would be able to point out the differences in the beginning of the process, to make things move quicker. Secondly, and most importantly, an experienced facilitator is key whenever the parties run into issues. Troubleshooting is key in short sales. For example, what happens when the bank counters the offer? What happens when title work reveals more liens/judgements than what was previously disclosed? What if there is an IRS lien? An experienced facilitator would be able to provide guidance on how to address these issues.

In sum, while short sales may seem to be pretty complex transactions, they are very manageable when approached properly. While each short sale varies on a case by case basis, these steps provided above, if followed, can put a realtor on the right path to obtain a short sale approval and close on a short sale transaction efficiently.

Photo Credit:

Go Clean Credit

Nevada Senate Bill No. 538 – Internet Data Collection Bill

On June 12, 2017, Nevada’s Governor, Brian Sandoval, signed Senate Bill Number 538 into a law requiring internet website providers to disclose the type of information it obtains from internet users in the state of Nevada.  The bill, sponsored by Senate Majority leader Aaron Ford and Assembly speaker Jason Frierson, received overwhelming support from the Nevada Senate.  It requires any company or person who owns or operates an Internet website or online service for commercial purposes that collects information about Nevada residents and maintains minimum contacts with Nevada to make available a notice explicitly listing the personal information that the said operator is to collect from its clients.  In addition, the operator must allow the consumer to review and request changes to this information.  Failure to adhere to this regulation will first lead to a 30-day period to remedy a failure, or face a civil penalty imposed by the state attorney general.

In essence, this bill provides privacy protection to Nevada residents in lieu of the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband privacy rules which have been repealed by newly elected President Trump.   The FCC privacy rules, which were set to take effect later this year, were designed to ban Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from collecting, storing, sharing and selling private information obtained from customers without their consent.  These set of rules would have required ISPs to obtain consumer permission before selling information such as web browsing history, location details, and app usage history to third parties for advertising purposes.  The repeal deprives consumers of this type of federal protection, leaving it up to the states to perhaps take steps in furtherance of privacy protection.

Nevada is one of several states to undertake such a measure to protect the interests of its residents.  Illinois is another state that has taken steps to protect the privacy interests of its people. For example, Illinois is working to implement the Right to Know Act in its state.  This law would require the operator of commercial websites or online services to make available certain personal information that has been disclosed to a third party, and to provide a way for customers to inquire further about said information, whether via email, or telephone.

While I do not believe that it is illegal for entities who own or operate an Internet website or online service for commercial purposes to obtain personal information from its users, I do think that they should have an affirmative duty to disclose to their clients the information being obtained, how it is being obtained, and how it is being used.  The onus shouldn’t be on the user to have to opt out of these arrangements after being essentially bound to a unilateral agreement by default.   After all, it is the commercial website service that gets to benefit financially from this endeavor.  Thus, the burden of seeking consent should be placed on them.

As a consumer, it isn’t unusual to expect that the information I provide to another party will be used solely for the intended purpose, unless otherwise stated.  Put differently, if I were to tell a secret to another party, it is implied that the secret would stay between the recipient of this sacred information and I, unless I were to agree for this message to be passed on to others.  Likewise, I believe it is reasonable to expect that the same principle would apply here in this context.

Opposition might argue that the majority of internet users will not willingly agree to have their information used for advertising if they in fact knew how their information was being used.  Others might also argue that the use of this information is for the benefit of the users themselves, as it will provide convenient shopping amongst other benefits.  To the proponents of the first oppositional point, I think this may present a challenge for perhaps new innovative ways of marketing, without necessarily infringing upon privacy rights.  To the proponents of the latter, if this disclosure would in fact educate users of the benefits of such information gathering, there ought to be overwhelming support, hence no foreseeable problems.

Further, I am not saying that entities who own or operate an Internet website or online service for commercial purposes shouldn’t be allowed to sell this information to third party clients.  Instead, I am simply asking that they seek the consent of the individuals who are essentially having their privacy rights infringed upon.   Since the users do not get monetary compensation, the least they can be provided is the ability/opportunity to give informed consent.  This would require simple disclosure, and the opportunity to grant or decline consent.  Since the Federal Government is taking a step back in providing this protection to citizens, more states should follow in the footsteps of Illinois and Nevada, and protect the privacy of residents.

In sum, I am in favor of Senate Bill Number 538 being passed as a law, as I believe it is a step in the right direction towards protecting the privacy of consumers online.  Entities who own or operate an Internet website or online service for commercial purposes should have the affirmative duty of disclosing to its users the type of information being obtained, how it is being obtained, and what it is being used for.  This will enable users to make an informed decision as to whether or not to provide this information and/or continue to use the service(s) being provided.  More states should follow suit.

Photo Credit:

https://themerkle.com/nevada-legislators-want-to-improve-online-privacy-protection/ 

Social Media Posts: Intersection of Privacy Rights and Free Speech

While many countries allow their citizens the freedom of expression through the press and other forms of communication, there is sometimes the need to limit this freedom, when it interferes with the reasonable expectation of privacy that others also have.  That was seemingly the case in Canada this past week. In the week of June 12, Canadian police arrested a Jeffrey Williamson, a man alleged to be the administrator of a “CanadaCreep” Twitter account.  This account is known to post photographs and videos of women, placing an emphasis on their “private parts” i.e. breasts, buttocks and groins.  While this account is known to have a variety of such footage, the charges were limited to only three videos which contained “upskirt” content of women in public places.  These videos were the only ones that were found to be a violation of the Canadian voyeurism laws on its face.  The other content of this page and others, while arguably a violation of one’s privacy, are seemingly permissible, despite the apparent invasion of a reasonably expectation of privacy.  With that, the lawmakers are faced with the difficult task of refining the criminal code to limit the freedom of expression afforded to citizens, in order to protect the privacy of all citizens. Of course, the question of where to draw the line is one that is very difficult to answer.

Canadian Law:

Canada, much like the United States has it set of rights and freedoms that govern the country.  The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Part I of the Constitution Act of 1982 outlines these said rights and freedoms provided to its citizens.  In the second “amendment” of this rule of law, labeled fundamental freedoms, the following is outlined:

  1. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

The freedom of opinion and expression is for the most part unlimited, unless it is clear violation of an existing criminal code.  For example, the three “upskirt” videos that Jeffrey Williamson was arrested for are seemingly a violation of R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 162, otherwise known as the criminal code on Voyeurism.  Under this code:

(1) Every one commits an offence who, surreptitiously, observes — including by mechanical or electronic means — or makes a visual recording of a person who is in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy, if

(a) the person is in a place in which a person can reasonably be expected to be nude, to expose his or her genital organs or anal region or her breasts, or to be engaged in explicit sexual activity;

(b) the person is nude, is exposing his or her genital organs or anal region or her breasts, or is engaged in explicit sexual activity, and the observation or recording is done for the purpose of observing or recording a person in such a state or engaged in such an activity; or

(c) the observation or recording is done for a sexual purpose.

As evidenced by the code, the scope of prosecutable crimes is fairly limited to instances where nudity, or an expectation of the ability to be nude exists.  This essentially allows “perverts” to get away with other invasive acts which do not violate this code on its face.

What Can Be Done?

As it stands, the code on Voyeurism enables culprits to invade a reasonable level of privacy that many Canadian citizens may have.  While R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 162 1 (c) leaves room for argument by criminalizing such content obtained “for a sexual purpose,” this said purpose is fairly hard to prove.  As with most crimes, intent is hard to prove.  In this particular case, many could argue that these said pictures and/or videos are simply slice-of-life footage as part of “street photography.”  With that being said, it will be extremely difficult for Canadians to rely on subsection 1 (c) of the Voyeurism code to provide the privacy protection needed.

Peter Jacobsen, a media lawyer and member of the board of directors of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, has called for an amendment of the criminal code to encompass protection of the victims affected by the acts of individuals like Jeffrey Williamson which go unpunished.  While Jacobsen is the equivalent of what we would consider a Free Speech advocate here in the United States, even he is in favor of amending the Criminal Code in a way that outlaws “creep” photography.

While legal theorists like Jacobsen believe that amending the current Criminal Code is easier in theory than in practice, they are exploring ways to perhaps revise the language of R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 162.  The revision is in the works, but I believe that a tweak to subsection 1 (c), or perhaps an addition of a subsection 1 (d) could be the solution.   Ultimately, the legislature should find a way to incorporate a provision that covers pictures and/videos that are objectifying by a reasonable standard.   For example, I believe subsection 1 (c) should be revised to read as follows:

(c) the observation or recording is done for a sexual purpose, or is objectifying in nature, by a  reasonable standard. 

This will ultimately open the door for the judicial system to assess such instances on a case by case basis, while maintaining somewhat of a reasonable standard.

Conclusion

In sum, governing bodies have the tough task of empowering citizens by allowing the freedom of expression while at the same time protecting certain liberties such as privacy.  In order to keep a balance and protect the innocent victims such as those preyed upon by the “CanadaCreep” and others of the like, the criminal code, i.e. R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46, s. 162 must be amended to adequately protect the subject class from such intrusive acts.

Photo Credit:

http://debatepost.com/2017/06/18/canada-creep-facing-child-porn-charges/ 

Given, Not Earned: The Kevin Durant Championship Run

This past Monday,  Kevin Durant accomplished something that many NBA players never get to experience over the course of their professional careers:  win an NBA championship.  Winning a championship is something that many will agree to be the ultimate goal of any NBA player.  While some NBA stars and legends have gone on to have long, successful careers, failure to win a championship tends to leave a void that no other individual accomplishment can seem to fill.  Fortunately for Kevin Durant, this is a problem that he may no longer have to face.

Despite winning the Finals MVP award for his incredible performance in the 4-1 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, many are refusing to give Kevin Durant the credit that he seemingly deserves, for a multitude of reasons.  For starters, many can’t seem to get over the fact that Mr. Durant joined the team that came back from a 3-1 deficit to eliminate his former team from championship contention in the 2015/2016 season.  Rightfully so.  As a competitor, one would think that Kevin Durant would’ve used this past failure as motivation to come back better, stronger and more focused to overthrow the defending Western Conference champions.  Instead, he took what most consider to be the easy way out, by joining them!  Considering the Warriors won 73 regular season games in the 2015/2016 NBA season, and were one game away from completing what could’ve been the greatest season in NBA history, it is crystal clear that they did not need the services of Kevin Durant to be a formidable team.  In fact, one could make the argument that they may have very well have won the championship had Draymond Green kept his composure and played the entire series; but I digress.  So, for Kevin Durant to weigh out his options and decided to join this team would constitute what Stephen A. Smith categorized as a weak move.

Many of Durant’s fans have made the counter argument that this move was similar to LeBron James’ decision to join the Miami Heat in 2010.  That, my friends, is absolute malarkey.  LeBron James did not leave the Cavaliers to join the Boston Celtics team that had just eliminated his team from championship contention.  He did not leave a top 5 type talent sidekick, with a bonafide deep roster.  Instead, he left a team that continuously failed to assemble a roster with enough help to contend for a championship (and no, an old and ailing Shaq does not count as help either). There is simply not a cogent argument to be made there.

Secondly, to join a team that essentially deprived you of what you should have considered rightfully yours is as cowardly of a move as I’ve ever seen. It is almost like walking in on your friend being assaulted by a group of men, and instead of helping out, joining the mob in this endeavor.  As a man, I am not quite sure how one’s pride could perceive the situation any differently.  I suppose the saying “if you can’t beat them, join them” was taken literally.

Lastly, this road to a championship was about as easy of a playoff run as we’ve ever seen.  The 16-1 record that the Warriors tallied up is indicative of that fact.  Besides the game 4 loss, the close contest in game 3, and game 1 of the Western Conference finals (prior to Kawhi Leonard’s injury), the Warriors did not break a sweat.  Kevin Durant was not challenged.  With two of the greatest shooters in NBA history on the same team as him, who would dare to double-team?  Kevin Durant’s high shooting percentages are indicative of the ease at which he operated.

Again, his fans make the argument that his efficiency is simply an illustration of his greatness; but let’s face it, all NBA superstars would feast if they had 1 on 1 coverage each time down the court.  What NBA superstar doesn’t face double teams?  Especially one who stands at 6’11 with the ball handling skills of a point guard, and the shooting range of a sniper?  He is literally a walking mismatch for any defender.  His 30 plus point average was about as easy of an exhibition as I’ve ever seen.

The bottom line is this:  although Kevin Durant a) finally won an NBA championship, b) ended up with the finals MVP, and c) did so averaging stellar numbers, this accomplishment will always come with an asterisk next to it, simply because it was given and not earned.  It was a given that he would win an NBA championship simply by joining the Warriors (just ask David West).  Let’s face it, if your mom has to convince you that you earned it, because even you don’t seem to truly believe that you did, then you probably did not.  The lack of tears or any great emotion after the win goes to prove my point.  Kevin Durant is not deserving of credit for this championship.

Photo Credit:

sbnation.com

NBA: “Rest” Epidemic

Imagine calling out of work at the last minute; not sick or on vacation, but simply needing to “rest” inexplicably.  How well would your superiors or upper management take that?  Even worse: imagine your superiors at work asking you to take a day off to “rest” inexplicably.  How well would the clients who rely heavily on the impact of your work, and pay thousands of dollars to create your salary, feel about such a move?  This is unfortunately a feeling that many NBA fans can relate to in modern times.  There is nothing more disappointing than a kid who has spent four months looking forward to a Cavs v. Wizards game, to which he was given tickets as a birthday present, only to find out on Game Day that while LeBron James is healthy and in the arena, he will not be playing.  What a bummer?

With this ongoing, and ever so prevalent “rest epidemic,” the NBA is slowly jeopardizing its brand.  While in my biased opinion the NBA is the greatest sports league in the world, I am in complete disagreement with what seems to be a trend that was started by the San Antonio Spurs organization and Greg Popovich.  I am all for protecting the players and taking steps to prolong their careers; however, sitting out regular season games for no apparent reason does not appear to be a necessary step in furtherance of this objective. Michael Jordon, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, etc., did not sit out games inexplicably, during what appears to have been a more physically daunting era of basketball; so, why is it acceptable now?

It shouldn’t be.  It is not fair to the NBA fan, simple.  An NBA fan shouldn’t be hesitant to buy tickets due to the fear of a favorite athlete unexpectedly sitting out a game.  TV audiences shouldn’t have to tune in to a marquee match up game just to see their favorite players on the bench drinking coffee and laughing it up.  This is a surefire way to lose fans, and to have ticket sales decline.  I shouldn’t have to tune in to an an ABC Saturday night matchup between the Cavs and Clippers, just to see that LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, while healthy, are all sitting out to “rest.”  The even more disappointing part is that they will all suit up the following day to play the even more inferior Laker team.  How disappointing for us NBA fans?

If NBA fans begin to lose interest and revenues go down from reduced ticket sales and loss of endorsement deals, these extremely pampered NBA players will no longer enjoy the luxury of the ridiculous contracts they have been signing lately.  If I do not have the liberty of calling out of work randomly at my five figure salaried job, neither should these eight figure salaried athletes.  For crying out loud, you are getting paid to play basketball; something that many of us would love to do for free! So, Adam Silver, please save the image and brand of the NBA and put an end to this “epidemic.”  NBA players, do your job; play basketball.

Photo Credit:

ESPN.com

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