Our blogger alter ego, the Liberal Grouch, received an answer from the online "make your own t-shirt store" Zazzle.com yesterday regarding why they removed a design of his and claimed it was the intellectual property of Karl Rove.
It was all a mistake.
Yeah. You seen, on July 2 when "Mike" at the Content Review office of the popular online store Zazzle sent the Grouch 36 separate e-mails (one for each product bearing this design) that they were being removed from the shelves because the design was someone's intellectual property, the Grouch responded by asking just whose intellectual property he was stepping on.
The folks at Zazzle were quick to respond.
Well, as we reported yesterday, the Grouch tried and tried to get a response from Mr. Rove or someone in his office to explain why Rove would claim intellectual property to an image in which he was not pictured, unless he was the photographer thereof.
Two months later, Lori Moore, an investigative journalist from Alabama, looking into the railroading of Gov. Don Siegleman, found out about this little kerfuffle and wrote to Rove & Company. She received an almost immediate reply.
So, the Grouch wrote directly to the Rove flack and received the same answer. After several back and forth e-mails with the Rove flack playing word games, we posted the actual image and asked a direct yes or no question.
Did Karl Rove & Company order Zazzle to remove this particular image?
No way to weasel around that one.
The flack wrote back.
"No, we did not ask Zazzle to remove the image."
Oh ho! So now all the Grouch had to do was contact Zazzle, get a copy of the takedown order and prove Rove's flack was a liar.
After waiting for hours, Zazzle came back with an excuse that reminds a father of seeing a child standing next to a broken cookie jar, crumbs on his face and shirt, telling daddy that a monster broke the cookie jar and he chased the monster away.
To sum up, here is what Zazzle wants us to believe.
1. In late June 2012 the Grouch opened a store on Zazzle that -- at the time -- had but one design image. This image. It is GOP operative and ex-con Ali Akbar, widely rumored at the time to be Karl Rove's "very good friend" (which is as good a euphemism as we care to use this morning), wearing a Barack Obama mask, waving money in the face of whoever is taking the photo, a person whom, given the angle of the flash, is using a camera phone at or near Akbar's belt level.
2. For some reason, Zazzle receives what they called a "takedown order" for this image, and removes all 36 or so items that bore the image from the Grouch's store. Which, at the time, meant the Grouch had nothing in his store.
3. Zazzle informs the Grouch that Karl Rove and Company demanded the design's removal.
4. The Grouch writes to Rove through various channels, gets no reply.
5. The intrepid and doggedly determined Lori Moore, an investigative reporter from Alabama stumbles across the Grouch's story while doing research on how Karl Rove may have been involved in former Alabama Governor Don's Siegleman's railroading into jail. Using the same contact form as the Grouch, she contacts Rove's office and gets a nearly immediate reply saying "we don't remove items that are not our intellectual property."
6. The Grouch contacts the Rove Flack and after several back and forth e-mails where the flack parses and dances around words, she answers a direct yes or no question. "No, we did not order the design's removal."
7. The Grouch contacts Zazzle and asks them to look at their takedown order to see who ordered the item removed.
8. Several hours later, the mealy-mouthed reply from Zazzle that it was all a mistake and they got a takedown order from Rove but it wasn't meant to include the Grouch's design and they took it down by mistake, but then at the Grouch's request, they contacted Rove's flack who told him "these are not the droids you are looking for" and now, all of a sudden, the takedown order that ordered the takedown of the Grouch's item was NOT a takedown order of the Grouch's item and now it's back up online for everyone to buy it, ha ha, hey hey, ho, mistakes happen.
9. The Grouch, knowing when he is being lied to, wrote back to Zazzle demanding to see a copy of the original takedown order to see who demanded the item be removed from his store. No reply.
Were the Grouch a suspicious sort, he might wonder whether or not Rove's sudden "Jedi Mind Trick" on Zazzle is related to the fact that Rove apparently has moved on from his "very good friend" relationship with convicted debit fraudster Ali Akbar and is now plowing new and more profitable farmland -- so to speak. This means, one could suppose, that Mr. Akbar has been abandoned by what some believe has been his "Sugar Daddy" since those heady days when they met in South Carolina and, suddenly, Akbar went from campaign hanger-on to running his own business, bereft of education, a visible source of income, or anything in his favor other than his good looks.
Be that as it may, pending a reply from Zazzle, the Grouch suggests that anyone wanting to sell t-shirts, hats, cups, mugs, etc. online with their own designs do so where Karl Rove doesn't seem to wield as much influence. Cafe Press would be such a place, where one can buy merchandise such as this, now available here.