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I'll Bet You've Put Yourself In A Really Bad Position Without Even Knowing It At Least Once

Did you know that you've very likely agreed to be forced to do something? Sounds confusing, I know. But it's actually pretty simple. You've probably given up more rights than you can even imagine — without knowing it.

I'll Bet You've Put Yourself In A Really Bad Position Without Even Knowing It At Least Once

Two words: forced arbitration.

Do you know what forced arbitration is? If not, you should. You've likely signed contracts with forced arbitration clauses. Basically, you agree to give up your right to sue the other party or to appeal the arbitrator's decision. If you're unhappy with something — like, say, the other party violating a law — the other party (usually a corporation much bigger than you with far deeper pockets than you) picks and pays an arbitrator. That's who decides who wins the case. That person is supposed to be a neutral decision-maker.


One word: unfair.

The system isn't really set up to allow a totally neutral person to serve as arbitrator, though. Does it sound like that person — again, who is selected and paid by the company you're unhappy with — is in a position to make a sound, fair decision?

Uhhh ... nope.

Two more words: one-sided.

If a company isn't happy with an arbitrator's decisions, do you think they'll hire that person again?

Uhhh ... probably not.

So common sense tells us that arbitrators juuusssst might not always be 100% neutral.

Wait, just how common is forced arbitration?

The good news: It's not your fault for signing agreements that contain forced arbitration clauses. You're not an idiot for failing to read the fine print. I went to law school. I don't sign anything without reading it carefully. And I still sign them all over the place, even though I know how crappy they are. It's not like we're going to tell the person who works for the cellphone company, "I'm sorry, I'm not cool with this forced arbitration clause. Can you take it out?"

'Cause we all know they're not taking it out.

And I pretty much need my cellphone. And my Internet access. And my car. And...

Yeah, they're everywhere. In fact, over 95% of all credit card debts are subject to forced arbitration. Almost all car sales, new or used, include a clause in the contract. Heck, over 90% of all nursing homes put forced arbitration clauses in their contracts. And an estimated 30-40% of American employees are subject to forced arbitration clauses.

Why's that so bad?

There's that old saying: "You can have all the justice you can afford." Well, when it comes to forced arbitration clauses, it really doesn't even matter what you can afford. The deck is that stacked against the party that didn't write the contract. Forced arbitration clauses can result in outcomes contrary to state and federal law. They can leave people who would otherwise be in the legal right financially (and emotionally) devastated. And they're becoming waaaay too prevalent.

These people were subject to forced arbitration ... and it didn't end well.

It all seems very abstract, but let's look at a handful of people who found out exactly how crappy forced arbitration clauses can be for the regular person. Watch this:

Speak out against forced arbitration!

If you're not down with being backed into a legal corner, start talking about forced arbitration. Companies are responding to public pressure. Congress is listening and is considering legislation. Consumer protection agencies are taking action. You can share this post to spread the word.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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