I sometimes wonder when people get caught up in paper crimes exactly what the law is they have violated. Lawyer James Ostrowski traces the law (as created mostly by judges and bureaucrats) that has landed Martha Stewart hot water: Wanted for Outsider Trading.

The actual law (meaning, something passed by Congress) which she violated is minimal. It is rather the Supreme Court's creation of law to interpret the SEC's creation of law interpreting the law passed by Congress, that Stewart has run afoul of.
In Pittsburgh you can go to the Carnegie Free Library. Here in Baltimore, I have a library card at the local public library system, which is called the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Why "free"? Aren't all libraries free by definition? No of course not. Free libraries evolved in this country as a philanthropic devotion of the rich. Before that there were libraries, run on a for-profit basis - private libraries. But a public library can always undercut a private one, which cannot tax. So private libraries don't exist anymore.

Or rather, private libraries don't exist called that. Private video rental libraries do exist - Blockbuster, Hollywood, etc. They aren't called libraries, but they are.

All of this reflection brought on by Lew Rockwell: Sell the Public Libraries. He's right, as usual.
Private libraries are not subject to the crazy political controversies that constantly afflict public libraries. Should public-library computers be able to access porn and hate sites? Should they carry Mark Twain? Shouldn’t they have a section designed only for blacks? What about gays and lesbians, who pay taxes to support the libraries. Why shouldn’t their interests be observed as well? But that offends other people who similarly pay for libraries.
I haven't blogged much in the last month.

There's a good reason for that - I haven't felt like it. But more than that; I didn't post for a weekend and I realized I was feeling guilty about it, as if I had the obligation to do so, even though I had nothing particular to say. I am a contrary sort; this realization made me determine to stay away from it for a while. I can stop any time I want - and I have.

But never fear. The world is still as unfree a place as it ever was, and I will continue to write about that. Just as I have for the last 15 years or so, on usenet, mail lists, personal email, and other places. But always intermittently. Politics is usually interesting, but it changes glacially and I am not always interested enough.
Speaking of Jim's blog, I really liked this post.
Statistics are wonderful in that they provide an authoritative measure of the harm that curfews and other Israeli actions cause, but they also serve to distract. They shift the discussion from morals to utility. The curfews are not wrong because malnutrition has doubled or tripled or quadrupled. They are wrong because innocent people should not be punished for crimes they did not commit. They are wrong becuase collective punishment is wrong.
Right on! I think the mass action in Nablus is very interesting. Mass oppression must work in part by keeping people separate, so they cannot join and oppose with their full strength. Protests like this may serve to give strength to the Palestinian people. Of course they have a power of sort from the actions of their terrorist minority. But this is different, because it is a power that should be theirs and that they are reaching for peacefully. The West must respect it. Peace is the way, not murder/war.
I had a letter from Jim at Objectionable Content, asking me what I thought about this post. Some guy in Georgia was apparently arrested for having 600 hand grenades. Yet the 2nd amendment would seem to apply. Jak asks:
Where in that Amendment is the line drawn between, say, a hand gun and 600 hand grenades? Or a ground-to-air missile? How do strict constructionist draw a line? Or do they?
I am no expert, but then I suspect most "experts" would draw the line somewhere around peashooters. To me the intent of the second amendment as written was to make sure that the people could form an army capable of beating the army of the US Government or the several States, if any of those governments turned despotic. Ergo, they need the same weapons as those possessed by the army. The use of a weapon by the army/navy/airforce is therefore defacto evidence that the weapon in question is permitted under the 2nd.

Should that mean that people can have nukes in their garage? The US has nukes, after all. According to a strict 2nd amendment, yes. However, my feeling is that nukes are inherently immoral; nobody should possess a weapon which by its very nature must kill innocent people if it is used. So I would draw the line somewhere between nukes and hand grenades, with the proviso that the government should not be on the other side of the line just as no individual should.

Now that's just me. Practically speaking, in the courts even a fairly strongly interpreted 2nd will end up being watered down considerably. For instance, they will almost certainly interpret it to mean weapons which an individual can "bear", meaning there is no right to possession of tanks, artillery, etc. That still leaves shoulder-launched rockets of various sorts that are fairly dangerous, but I expect that even these the courts will rule are not arms under the second for some reason or another, probably bad. The courts are not likely to uphold right simply based on original intent; they have to believe in them for current, practical purposes. They may well come to believe that armed citizens deter crime, because there is good evidence for that and such evidence will continue to pile up. (Look at poor Britain.) But the courts are arms of the State, and they will never see the utility of overthrowing the state by force of arms. So the 2nd will, practically, never be interpreted as much more than a right to carry around handguns and rifles.

That's enough original intent and construction. Constitutionalism was a great idea, but it has its limits. As I have mentioned before here, one of the nice things about anarchy is that it does not run into the problem of trying to define morality in a document or institutions, and then interpret. Rather it is a set of institutions which necessarily create a social situation with a moral logic. Some protection agencies may well have very strict limits on the weapons they will allow their client to keep and bear. Others may be very loose. Some will may even have nukes. The point is that all of them need not be the same. If you believe in gun control, then you can choose an agency which enforces it and try to avoid going outside the zones of controlled property. You will limit your life somewhat, yes. But that's your right. The law and protection will be created and supplied in response to demand, not via a command organization.
War Resisters: 'We Won't Go' to 'We Won't Pay'
"We will look back on war someday like we did on slavery"

Yes. And withholding taxes, though admirable, is not going to solve the problem. The problem is the state itself; inevitably it looks to its own health, which is war. Not paying taxes is a start, though. The problem is that only people with no assets can realistically use such a strategy. The rest of us, with real jobs and real assets, will have to work against war in less punishable ways.