Saturday, May 4, 2013

US Forest Service attempts to Suppress 1st Amendment

On April 25th, 2013, I received the following email:

This email was in response to some artwork I made last year which went fairly viral among the 
Anti Fracking Movement:
Upon receiving this letter, I called my friends at the NY Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. They directed me to a helpful person who directed me to Evan Sarzin, a NYC attorney who specializes in copyright law. He was kind enough to compose the following rebuttal letter as a pro bono favor to me because he believes my case has merit.

There was a time when I believed that the Forest Service really cared about the environment. I grew up with Smokey the Bear telling me 
"Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires"
They created this meme to inspire people to care about our Forests.
Well, it worked. I not only care about our Forests, I care about the water, air, soil, plants, animals and human communities which depend on the environment to live and thrive in this world. In the late 80's and 90's I participated in direct actions with Earth First! against the clear cutting of old growth forests. The US Forest Service failed to protect the forests then and now 
I have recently discovered that they want to Frack these same Forests that they ostensibly protect. 

That's right, The USDA Forest Service wants to Frack the Forests.

Read about it here:
 and here:

Considering their current position advocating for Fracking in our National Forests, it comes as little surprise that the USDA Forest Service is choosing to attempt to suppress this artist's 1st Amendment rights.
This fair use parody of Smokey the Bear is 
confronting them with their own cognitive dissonance.
I think it's time that Smokey was liberated from the cage of hypocrisy that the 
US Forest Service keeps him locked up in. 

To the US Forest Service I ask this question:
How can Smokey Bear put out a Forest Fire with Flaming Water??

To their attempt to censor me I say this:
I will not cease nor desist in my 1st Amendment right to engage in Political Speech.
I will continue to promote the protection of our environment.
I will continue to make art about whatever I chose to make art about.
I will not destroy it, delete it nor discontinue to distribute it.

Occupy Smokey 

If you would like to donate money to support a possible lawsuit, please go here:
Legal Support for LMNOPi

Postscript (May 16th, 2013)
I learned yesterday that my 1st Amendment Rights were not threatened, yet, because the US Forest Service didn't actually serve me a cease and desist letter. They hired a corporation to do it for them. Corporations can't violate the constitution by restricting free speech. The US Forest Service basically hired an accounting firm to attempt to intimidate me. I am not intimidated. Bring it on USDA, make my day.

Creative Commons License
Smokes Bear by LMNOPI is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. If you exchange the word fracking with fucking you get closer to the point

  3. Wow! You go girl. It all seems so hopeless...I don't know how you keep fighting but please, please do. You give me hope. And will you have more t shirts available soon? I need 2 :D

  4. There is also the idea that the forest service, OWNED BY THE PEOPLE, has absolutely no right to dictate to the people who own it what they can or can not use THEIR PROPERTY for.

    Especially in such a case as this, where the image is being used for the sole purpose of it's original (alleged) creation: The protection of nature and natural resources.

    If the forest service no longer supports the protection of nature, natural resources, or of the life of the people who pay for their salaries, retirements, pensions, et cetera, then perhaps the best thing to do here would be to simply defund what can now be taken to be a fraudulent organization, operating against it's own stated principles.

    When the government grows to the point that it tells The People what to do, it's time to take stock of whether that government deserves to continue to exist at all, or whether it's time to replace it with something that DOES work FOR the people again.

    Note: The government should NEVER even insinuate that "it is losing profit", because no government is supposed to be about generating profits in the first place! They exist to SERVE THE PEOPLE WHO CREATED IT! Nothing more. And here we find the true roots of the problem that needs to be addressed.