Not sure if that defines a "hero", "astute" politician is perhaps the better term.
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Anybody who voted for Snowden being a hero, you might not ever be able to work for the NSA. Sadly, the way the economy is going, government jobs will be one of the few jobs left...
Government spies on citizens.
A citizen leaks out that government is spying on citizens.
Government charges citizen for spying.
Sony definitely lost their way ever since they went into the content business. Eventually the content executives took over and started calling the shots. No longer was technology the main driver of the business. Now technology only exists as a way to deliver their content. This is why Howard Stringer is the CEO. He's a media guy who worked in the media business for over 30 years before he worked at Sony. This is why Sony failed to capture the MP3 player market, or the cellphone market. They were more capable than Apple in creating an iPod or an iPhone, but their content division crippled them.
Likewise, buying or selling a house should be the same. If you need to fix up the house before selling it, employ a home repair person. Need advice about neighbourhoods or values, search it online yourself, or hire a specialist.
The problem is that with a home, your choices are limited. You are paying 3% regardless of the job your real estate broker is doing, even if you don't need one. To those who say a real estate agent does this and that, or how valuable their agent was, wouldn't that be the same if you employed a specialist and paid them hourly? Let's see $5000 / $50/hour is 100 hours... that should be enough time for you to employ any specialist to fix up your house, drive you around, do some research for you.
One way to break this monopoly is to first create a national database of homes sold along with contact number of the person selling. Make it required by law. After everyone is enrolled in this database, make it available to the public.