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War, death, violence, irony, satire, senseless killing.
As an artist, liberal activist, civil libertarian, and general thorn in the ass of all authoritarianism, I've given much thought to the subject of "freedom of the press" and the guarantees of the First Amendment.

Once upon a time, I wrote hard-hitting editorial essays for a small newspaper in which I took on the Bush/Cheney assault on the living spirit of our Constitution, on the violation of our civil liberties in the name of some fantasy they called "safety" for some place I'd never heard of called "The Homeland."

I attacked and explained the utter immorality of torture, whatever one calls it -- and I did it well because I am a philosopher and was an ethics instructor at a university. I did it clearly, so normal humans could understand the arguments and issues: that there is something more important than survival for the human being, that we live and depend, not on biological needs, but moral ones, and that life without these virtues is not a truly human sort of existence.

I argued we could not define enemy soldiers or criminals as something outside the capacity of law to face and examine: there is no such thing as an "enemy combatant" devoid of human rights we can toss in a hole for perpetuity from sheer revenge; that habeas corpus is not something that can be abolished forever and have America remain America -- it might be "The Homeland" or "The Fatherland" or whatever, but it won't be the United States anymore.

And I attacked what was revealed of domestic spying: illegal, immoral, uncalled for, that reduced all citizens to de facto criminals before the commission of any crime.  That is, citizens in name only.

I wrote these things and more in a community that was ultra right-wing and was impressed the editor allowed me to speak at length for 5-and-a-half years before I was banned due to pressure from 21 readers and who knows what else.

And it revealed for me, no matter how unjust I thought it was, no matter how frustrating, that, as I wasn't the editor, publisher, and printer, I had no freedom of speech without the owners of the press.  Yes, I could talk on the internet or street corner, but I could not target the audience that needed to be faced with the ideas I presented.  I can't force anyone to allow me to speak in the media.

And so, I moved on to making political comic books and satires -- underground comix as they are known in the trade.  But that has its own problems, as I have found, as the times and the situation have changed since the first undergrounders published themselves in the 1960s and 1970s, problems I'll elaborate below.  

I've given it long, hard thought: I need to become not only a publisher, but to own a printing press; a small used CMYK press that can be employed for my message and the messages of a small group of similar artists and writers.  Targeted, niche print media isn't dead; you're just not going to become William Randolph Hearst with it, and who wants to be that son of a bitch anyway?  

I have an Indiegogo campaign to raise cash for the press and for some truly free speech aimed at the people, not academics and specialists, something to play a small but effective role in counteracting hate radio and Fox misinformation and mindless entertainments towards no point.  Something else needs to affect our culture, or just small pockets of it, and I have the antidote, or one of them.  Read my campaign page and think about helping in any way you can.

Give us the tools; we'll do the job.

Underground artist and liberal activist needs to buy some printing equipment.

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Dominant convictions, for good or ill, disclose the shared fate of a people; the convictions going out of favor do the same.  

Politics, in my way of thinking, is at best a tertiary or later phenomenon: by the time we get to such matters, decisions have been made and emotions stoked based on underlying beliefs which, usually, escape most people's conscious thought.  They are usually not so much chosen as reflexively defended as ontologically irrefutable, the very ground beneath one's feet and the air which allows the lungs to expand.

They were integrated into one as basic interpretations of the world worked out by various people and forces within one's culture, one's community, one's family.  In fact, initially, a large part of "who one is" is determined by the interpretations and roles one is assigned by the culture of one's birth or upbringing.

Yet these beliefs... are capable of being doubted.  Often, they are little more than prejudices and abbreviated remnants of more complex, nuanced ways of looking at the world.  They are at all times in need of review and expansion, if not revision, editing, or abandonment and renunciation.  Circumstance and integration of many perspectives on one's circumstances are necessary... necessary, yet completely avoidable as the ready-made interpretations of tradition are always strongly calling us to cease struggling with such matters, to rest, to follow, to perpetuate, to impose.

All of this comes before and after something like politics, which is one effect of convictions and perspectives and even theories.  It grows out of life, but is not human life; and as such it can hinder or assist in the activity that is living.  Usually and unavoidably it does both at the same time and forms yet another thing we must struggle with as part of our circumstance, something to change and constantly adjust (in a democracy); or escape and resist (in an authoritarian setting).

These meditations intend to explore these issues from all levels and many points of view -- the level of life and conviction, the level of ethics, the level of theory, and the level of politics.  Some essays will be on a technical level, others on a common, conversational level, depending on the subject matter.

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