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OpenMarket: Evan Banks

  • Government-Funded Journalism is More Dangerous Than Corporate-Funded Journalism

    June 4, 2010
    The following is part of a conversation I had with a journalist friend (who shall remain unnamed) on the future of the journalism industry, and the idea of government saving the news, a hot-button topic at this years' Personal Democracy Forum in New York City. Check out CEI's own @RichardMorrison and Cato's @Chris_Moody on Twitter right now for live coverage of that event.

    This was my response to my friend's claim that corporate-funded journalism is just as dangerous as government-funded news:

    Well yes, corporate ownership of newspapers does mean that newspapers aren't as independent as they could (and sometimes should) be. But the same argument applies to government funding. The point is that no matter who is putting up the money (private corporations or the government), the danger...
  • Pennsylvania's IRS Knows Where You Live

    May 6, 2010
    The IRS might have a lot of dirt on you...but do they have to be so creepy about it?

    The incredibly Orwellian video below has been making the rounds lately, but I thought it would be worth a repost.

    What makes this video so chilling for me isn't the simulated satellite camera feed or the narrator's synthesized voice, but the notion that the IRS knows the power it has over the taxpayer and openly flaunts it to a degree approaching parody. The truth is, there's nothing funny about paying taxes. Taxes are an act of force initiated by government against an individual.

    If you think about it, there are basically three ways of making money:

    (1) It's given as a gift.

    (2) It's earned by trading a good or sevice.

    (3) It's stolen or taken...

  • On this day in 1835...

    January 8, 2010
    ...the national debt was zero. Zero!

    It was the only day in our nation's history we've been out of the red. With debts incurred during the American Revolution and it's aftermath, we started $75.4 million in the hole when the debt was first recorded in 1791.

    Even adjusted for inflation, $75.4 million is a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to today's debt, which is projected to be $14.46 trillion, according to (.pdf, page 128).  That's 98.1 percent of the nation's GDP, and would buy a lot of Hessian mercenaries back in 1791.
  • The Financial Crisis Made Easy, Radio Edition

    December 21, 2009
    Some of's readers may know that I'm in the middle of earning a Master's of Journalism here in D.C. I'm concentrating in Broadcast and Online Production, and for those concerned that journalism is dying a slow death, I'm living proof that a new generation of journalists are being bred with the Internet in mind--but that's another story for another day.

    As one of the requirements of a Public Affairs Reporting class, I've written a piece on last year's financial crisis specifically exploring the role of the Federal Reserve and the Community Reinvestment Act and attempting to give, in layman's terms, a reasonable account of what happened that the average person would be able to understand.

    I'm a firm believer that one should not have to be a banker to make sense of the...
  • DOJ Asks For News Site's Visitor Info

    November 16, 2009
    Declan McCullagh is reporting that earlier this year the Department of Justice subpoenaed the left-of-center news aggregation site for information including visitor lists and IPs, then issued a gag order forbidding them to talk about it unless authorized to do so. From
    The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded "all IP traffic to and from" on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers' Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.

    This gag order presents a particular problem for any news organization in a nation...
  • Argumentum Ad Governmentum

    July 30, 2009

    One of the most popular logical fallacies I’ve encountered has been a heavy reliance on what I’ve come to call argumentum ad governmentum.

    Relying on government to fight our ideological battles for us is a shaky means of convincing others to see things our way by arguing for majority standards and controls over minority beliefs. At its worst, argumentum ad governmentum is a way of getting others to act and think the way we would like them to by using a collective force of will to persuade local and central governments to exercise force against others on our behalf.

    Unfortunately, utilizing government and legislative force as a value-laden battering ram will never win over hearts and minds to a cause, no matter how noble or...

  • The Folly of 100%

    July 28, 2009

    The same groups that have been insisting for years that there is something fundamentally wrong with the United States' international broadband ranking are also the most strident advocates for the necessity of broadband’s total market saturation, even to the point of calling on benevolent old Uncle Sam to subsidize broadband deployment nationwide.

    Consumer advocacy groups and even some telecom companies are lining up at the FCC’s door with petitions in hand and supplicant requests on their lips, claiming that access to broadband is a basic public necessity and should be meticulously regulated as such, right here and right now.


  • Can the Blogosphere Be Regulated?

    July 1, 2009

    The Federal Trade Commission seems to think so. A fresh set of proposed Federal Trade Commission guidelines, if approved this summer, would potentially allow the agency to police the relationship between bloggers and advertisers, forcing bloggers to disclose any revenue, gifts, or freebies they have received for publishing consumer reviews of goods and services. These guidelines mark the FTC’s first systemic foray into regulating the blogosphere, a Herculean task if ever there was one. An example, excerpted from the aforementioned guidelines:

    Example 7: A...

  • The Irony of the Liberty Bill

    June 21, 2009

    H.R. 2854, a proposed bill making its way through committees, would require the Treasury Secretary to give the greenback a makeover. The bill aims to replace the Great Seal of the United States (which Franklin Delano Roosevelt incorporated in 1935) on the reverse of the dollar with excerpts from the U.S. Constitution including the preamble, a list of Articles, and a list of Amendments in the founding document. The bill, cited as the “Liberty Bill Act,” states that Congress believes that “many Americans are unaware of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States” and that the proposed new Federal Reserve notes would “remind the American people of the historical importance of the Constitution and its impact on their lives” and “remind Americans of the blessings of liberty. . .[and] of the...

  • E-Cigarette Smokers Could Be Left Out in the Cold

    June 21, 2009

    The “smokes” may be different, but the Food and Drug Administration’s ever-vigilant watch to keep us safe from ourselves in its quest to quantify and purge all health risks from society continues. Their latest target? Smokeless cigarettes, or so called “E-cigarettes.”

    The devices in question utilize an atomizer to vaporize a nicotine and propylene glycol (a substance commonly found in fog machines) solution that the user inhales and exhales as a vapor. Since there’s no tobacco, combustion, smoke, or smell involved, savvy individuals have taken advantage of the devices, which can be bought online or in mall kiosks here in the States, to get around heavy taxes on tobacco products and stringent smoking bans in public places.

    But that hasn’t stopped the FDA, which as of this writing has "refused [the...

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