George Zimmerman

eBay removes anti-Zimmerman artwork the same day Zimmerman’s painting sells for $100k


Is this yet another commentary on our divided nation

The Raw Story

Over the weekend, online auction-house ebay removed an anti-racist painting critical of George Zimmerman on the same day it allowed Zimmerman to sell one of his own paintings for over $100,000.

On Saturday, an 18-by-24-inch oil painting by “therealgeorgez” — better known as George Zimmerman — was purchased on eBay for $100,099.99. In the question and answer section beneath the auction, Zimmerman even said that “whoever wins within the Continental United States, will receive this painting deliver by me personally.”

Zimmerman’s medium is “regular household latex paint,” which he used because “I needed to put these visions onto the blank canvas as soon as possible.” George Zimmerman currently owes his legal team over $2.5 million. 

On the same day Zimmerman’s auction closed, ebay removed the anti-racist painting that artist Michael D’Antuono had created in the days after the death of Trayvon Martin. Fifty percent of the proceeds from D’Antuono’s auction were to have gone to the Trayvon Martin Foundation, and with five days left to bid, the price for the painting had already exceeded $25,000.

Then eBay “pull[ed] the plug.” On his blog, D’Antuono wonders why “Zimmerman was allowed to capitalize on his ill-gotten notoriety, [whereas] I was denied the opportunity to raise funds to help the very foundation named in honor of Zimmerman’s victim.”

In an email from eBay that D’Antuono shared with Raw Story, eBay claims that the painting violates its strictures that “[i]tems promoting or glorifying hatred, violence, or racial or religious intolerance aren’t allowed. Items that promote organizations with these views are also prohibited.”

According to the email, “[t]he painting you listed appears to contain images or icons associated with the KKK which are not allowed to be listed on our site as they represent an organization that glorifies hate and violence.”

D’Antuono told Raw Story that he was “outraged” that eBay would mistake a criticism of a hate-group for a statement that “promot[es] or glorif[ies]” one.

D’Antuono will attempt to auction the piece off privately, and remains committed to donating half of the proceeds to the Trayvon Martin Foundation.


Immigration Reform

Donors Pressure House Republicans To Act On Immigration Reform


Think Progress

With House action at a standstill on immigration reform, more than 100 Republican donors and fund-raisers urged House Republicans to take immediate action to legalize undocumented immigrants on Tuesday. In a move to sway House Republicans when immigration reform stakeholders have been unable to do so, the open letter calls upon members to fix the perception of a Republican party that “would rather see nothing done than pass needed reform.” Some House Republicans want to take a piecemeal approach towards immigration, while others are hoping that the momentum will die during the August recess.

Republicans signers told lawmakers throughout the letter that an overhaul for the immigration system would secure the borders, make it impossible to hire undocumented workers illegally, and give legal status for immigrants who pay a penalty and back taxes. Such requirements are already part of the approved Senate comprehensive bill.

Notably, the Republican signers support a legalization pathway, but did not explicitly support citizenship. Legalization is a point of contention among Republicans, some of whom are only open to granting citizenship to undocumented youths who were brought to the country by their parents.

The letter warned that “doing nothing is de facto amnesty.” While eleven million undocumented immigrants would argue that their current situation is hardly “amnesty,” the conclusion of doing nothing could be a real possibility. House Speaker John Boehner pointed to such a conclusion when he vowed topass an immigration bill only with a majority of Republicans supporting it.

The letter was written by former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and signed by several signatories including former Vice President Dan Quayle, former President George Bush’s aide Karl Rove, and Mitt Romney’s campaign finance director Spencer Zwick. Romney once called for self-deportation, a statement that later hurt him at the polls.

Over 430 prominent businesses like Facebook, eBay, Adobe, and the Intel Corporation also circulated their own letter urging immigration reform on Tuesday. Their letter emphasizes the economic growth of allowing legalized immigrants to “complement” the U.S. workforce by “generating greater productivity and economic activity that will lead to new innovations, products, businesses, and jobs” in the U.S. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is expected to publicly speak about immigration reform next month. During the Senate bill, Zuckerberg’s political group spent over $5 million on a pro-immigration reform campaign.

Earlier in July, former Republican President Bush voiced his support for immigration reform. But given that immigration reform collapsed under his administration, it remains to be seen whether House Republicans would be encouraged by the support of his former administrative staff.


The Federal Law Enforcement Officer Association (FLEOA), comprised of over 26,000 federal law enforcement officials from 65 agencies, threw its support for a comprehensive immigration reform bill on Tuesday. The letter addressed to Congress states, “While FLEOA understands the theory of the piece‐meal approach put forth by the House leadership, FLEOA questions if this will ever lead to any meaningful immigration reform legislation in the foreseeable future.” The letter further states that it hopes for the House to take up the Senate immigration bill.

Mitt Romney Lies

Analysis: Most of Romney’s new Twitter followers are fake

Romney, Maria Dryfhout :

Is there even a fiber of moral decency in this man?

The Raw Story

Most of Mitt Romney‘s newest Twitter followers are fake, according to an investigation of bogus social media accounts.

A pay-for-follower service most likely drove the presumptive Republican nominee’s recent and dramatic spike in online followers, concluded Baccardua Labs, a digital security company.

The widely reported surge in tens of thousands of new followers for@mittromney from 21 July – which provoked commentary and suspicion – appeared to have been purchased from a dealer, it said: “We believe most of these recent followers of Romney are not from a general Twitter population but most likely from a paid Twitter follower service.”

The analysis, part of a wider investigation into what the report called the underground Twitter economy, found telltale signals that about a quarter of the new followers were less than three weeks old and had not tweeted. Some 80% were less than three-months-old.

The report’s author, Jason Ding, said there was no way of identifying whether it was the work of the Romney campaign, a Romney supporter or an opponent out to discredit him.

“Romney’s newest followers could have been paid for by himself, his associates or by his opponents. So far, there is not a feasible way to confirm who is responsible.”

Authentication was not required when buying Twitter followers from eBay or other websites, he said, and anyone could buy followers for other Twitter users.

mitt romney twitterAs of Wednesday, Romney had nearly 800,000 followers.

Zac Moffat, the Romney campaign digital director, denied that his side was responsible. “The Romney campaign does not buy Twitter followers,” he told CNET. “We have reached out to Twitter to find out additional information regarding the rapid growth.”

By Wednesday afternoon @mittromney had more than 792,800 followers. He gained 116,922 in a single day, 21 July. Around a tenth have since been suspended by Twitter.

Barracuda said this fit a wider pattern of clandestine Twitter trading which it began studying in May. “Our team set up three Twitter accounts and purchased between 20,000 and 70,000 Twitter followers for each of them from eBay and another website searched from Google.”

It identified “dealers” who charge an average of $18 for 1,000 followers. A dealer can earn up to $800 a day for 7 weeks of selling followings if they can control 20,000 fake accounts, it said. They can earn extra revenue by selling tweets and re-tweets.

The report defined dealers’ clients as “abusers”, with the average abuser boasting 48,885 followers. The phenomenon of fake accounts is not new. The oldest was said to be @krails, created on 15 January 2007. Dealers controlled the following speed and total following number of fake accounts to avoid being suspended by Twitter. “Dealers can apply obscure techniques to make them hard to detect, eg randomly following some famous and some average people, or posting tweets grabbed from the Twitter stream, etc.”

Prices for 1,000 followers ranged widely from $2 to $55 depending on how “real” they seemed. “This underground Twitter business is just blooming,” the report said.

GOP Access for Sale

MN Republicans Literally Auctioning Off GOP Congressmen And State Lawmakers To Highest Bidder

So much for town halls and giving people free access to their representatives.  These days, it seems that government access is only available to the rich and corporations.

The constant Tea Party cry for liberty seems rather fake now…

Think Progress

A Republican committee in Minnesota has been caught creating an eBay-style auction site to sell access with politicians, including top lawmakers like Rep. John Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), as well as State House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-MN). With bidding starting at $250, the committee offered opportunities to “get up close and personal” with each lawmaker. The announcement for the auction was reportedly sent to area lobbyists.

Yesterday, the progressive group Common Cause called out the Carver County Republican Party, the committee sponsoring the fundraising effort, for crossing the “line on what is acceptable behavior for some of the most powerful members of the Minnesota legislature and U.S. Congress.” The GOP committee quickly deleted its website, but not before Common Cause took a screenshot:


“It’s time we take the ‘for sale’ sign off our government, so that it works for working and middle class Minnesotans,” said Mike Dean, Common Cause’s Minnesota director.

Related articles


Rush on to recycle ‘old’ iPads for cash

Boston Herald

Time is running out for Apple fans who want to get top dollar on a trade-in of their “old” iPad and upgrade to a new iPad 2 when the gadget goes on sale Friday.

“We’ve already facilitated the trade of 10,000 iPads,” said Anthony Scarsella, chief gadget officer at Boston-based, a top electronics recycler.

Recent iPad buyers may have been miffed when Apple announced on March 2 that it was ready to start selling a second version of the hot-selling tablet computer, but disgruntled gadget owners can still flip their “old” one for good money to plunk down for a new one.

But seller beware: the adage “time is money” certainly applies to Apple products.

As of yesterday, was offering $300 for the base model iPad, the 16GB Wi-Fi version that originally sold for $499. Still, that trade-in value is $75 lower than it was the day after Apple’s iPad 2 unveiling last week.

Scarsella urged iPad owners looking to cash in to do so soon, since the price will continue to drop as more used iPads flood the market.



Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman Pays $144 Million for her Own Campaign, $5,500 to Her Housekeeper

So, Meg Whitman settles with her housekeeper to the tune of $5,500.  You would think that paying her housekeeper that pawltry sum would have bankrupted the ex-CEO of eBay.  Putting everything in context, Ms. Whitman spends $144M of her personal funds for her California gubernatorial campaign with not so much as a blink.  Yet, she witheld wages from her housekeeper after discovering the woman was undocumented.

The Nation

Meg Whitman, the Republican who spent $144 million of her own money running for governor of California, has agreed to pay her former housekeeper back wages of $5,500.

The housekeeper, Nicky Diaz Santillan, had charged that Whitman underpaid her and then fired her when she learned that she was undocumented. The housekeeper’s press conference, a month before election day, provided the final nail in the coffin of Whitman’s campaign. Latinos were outraged over the mistreatment of someone Whitman said was like a member of her family, and Republicans were outraged that Whitman merely fired her housekeeper and didn’t report her for immediate deportation. 

On election day, Whitman won the votes of only 13 per cent of Latino voters. She lost to Jerry Brown, 54 – 41 per cent. 

The back pay settlement came after a three-hour hearing before the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement on Wednesday.

The LA Times noted in an editorial that Whitman’s campaign expenditure of $144 million amounted to $36 for every vote she got, and that the $5,500 she owed her housekeeper amounted to “the price of a mere 152 more votes.”

Fox News called the settlement “chump change.” With the money she spent on her campaign, they calculated, Whitman could have settled with 25,455 housekeepers.

The lesson for candidates seems clear: the people who work for you should be paid what you owe them.

Actually that lesson applies not just to candidates, but to all employers.