Murtaza Hussain at The Intercept investigates how banksters have gotten their grubby mitts on our state pension funds. You remember from living in the real world that the most important thing about a pension fund is not that it makes buku bucks, but that it's there when you need it to be, which is why their managers used to invest conservatively. But investing pensions in things like hedge funds don't even make the pension funds more money -- they only make banksters money, through exorbitant fees. At least the provincial government of Quebec instructs us how to do it right.
A Rasmussen poll finds more Americans thinking that private corporations spy on them more than their government does. But that's not an illuminating comparison -- corporations can spy on you to make you see ads and induce you to buy stuff, and in rare instances fire you, but your government can spy on you and put you in jail. And Americans who profess to worry little about government spying often forget that what's lawful today might become "terrorism" tomorrow. In any case, Rasmussen also found that nearly three in four Americans think our government's violated their privacy, which is the result I would have led with.
Noam Scheiber warns us that startups like Uber and TaskRabbit, which connect folks who need tasks done with folks who do them, could wind up turning us all essentially into temp workers. Yes, it is easy to imagine a Dystopian future in which we all get up in the morning worrying about whether some Amazon warehouse will need us to pull orders, or whether some wealthy bankster will need furniture moved. For a more historical perspective, I point you to Echidne of the Snakes, who also reminds us how organizations like Uber transfer risk "downstream" -- i.e., to workers.
Senka Huskic profiles the Southern Essex County (MA) Register of Deeds, John O'Brien, who continues to pursue the fraudulent foreclosure documentation foisted upon us by banksters, long after the Obama Administration settled with the big banks. Mr. O'Brien audited his county's mortgage assignments in 2010, and declared it "a crime scene," and not just because of robosigning. I'm glad he's fighting on, but it is unfortunate that right-wingers, constantly squealing about property rights in other contexts, have been largely quiet about how badly banks have screwed with property rights in America.
Finally, Europe's Parliament calls for breaking up Google. The vote was lopsided but non-binding, as the European Parliament has no jurisdiction over anti-trust matters -- but the European Commission does, and the vote could wave the stick of bad PR against the Commission enough that they act. What would action look like? "(C)hanges in its business practices and even possibly a big fine," the Times says -- so it would look like America's action, plus the changes in business practices and the size of the fine, of course.