NSA Tries to Shut Down Criticism of Government?
September 2, 2013
Via Mark Steyn, this is pretty interesting (and so unconstitutional): Someone creates a shirt making fun of the NSA, and puts it up for sale on Zazzle; it quickly gets yanked. Salon has the story: “The parody shirt the NSA doesn’t want you to wear”
Two days after the world learned the National Security Agency logs practically every American phone call, the agency had started cracking down on entrepreneurs who made fun of it.
That’s according to Dan McCall, founder of politically themed T-shirt company Liberty Maniacs.
. . . McCall put up a handful of T-shirts and bumper stickers for sale on the custom goods marketplace Zazzle, which distributes most of Liberty Maniacs’ goods. Each of those items had the NSA logo, plus a common joke as a slogan: “The only part of the government that actually listens.”
“Within an hour or two,” as McCall told the Daily Dot, Zazzle emailed him to say the shirt had been removed from the Zazzle site.
Why? Well, apparently the NSA at first had no comment, then released a statement that it’s against the law to use the letters “NSA” without their permission (!), then released a further statement claiming, “NSA has not sent a cease and desist letter to Zazzle since March 2011 regarding a mug they were selling using the NSA Seal.”
Just for the record, we are totally allowed to make fun of our government. Call it our first freedom: Here is what the First Amendment still says (for now, as of this writing):
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech . . . .
As the T-shirt creators, Liberty Maniacs, point out, though taken down by Zazzle, their T-shirt is still (for now, as of this writing) available for sale on Cafe Press. Even better, they have a crowdfunding campaign (for the next eight days) where you can get the T-shirt for a reduced price and support their legal fund, now that they’re possibly under threat of federal prosecution.
Go ahead, buy one, while this is still a free country. (I just bought three.)