Monday, July 6, 2009

There's a Birther Suckered Every Minute

So after having his previous five auctions pulled, Lucas Smith of Cedar Rapids, Iowa posted a sixth eBay auction on the evening of July 2. I don't know if he'd seen this blog, but he'd definitely seen the fallout on FreeRepublic:

So now eBay removes my listing for selling a picture? That doesn't sound bizarre to anyone? And I read that people are finding information about Smith posted on the internet which supposedly discredits him? Smith is a scammer? Give me a break.

And now when we go to log into InspectorSmith's Youtube account our password is not recognized. All this for a scam, huh, a good laugh?

Just the other day I noted that I was thankful for freerepublic dot com. Reminds me of a bunch off lukewarm turncoats. Change your opinion every time that the wind blows in a different direction. Here's another quote, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” - Alexander Hamilton. And what, what will be your opinion tomorrow? "O" was born in the USA? Make up your minds, have a little backbone.

I happened to stumble across the auction less than ten minutes after it was posted, and although I promptly reported it to eBay (with a link to my last post attached for good measure). Yet it's still there, four days later. And no, I'm not going to link to it.

At first, I wondered why eBay wasn't acting this time. Then I realized why: Lucas isn't breaking the rules this time. In fact, while I rather doubt this was his plan from the start, he's ended up engineering quite the ingenious little scam here.

Here's the relevant parts of the auction listing, stating exactly what the auction is for:

Autographed photo of Smith and Andylenny, abroad. In airport.

There won't be anymore eBay auctions for documents, stories or dissertations.

The photo in this listing is up for auction. On the left is Smith and on the right is Andylenny. This photo will be signed by Smith, as Smith. This will be the only autographed photo put up for auction. One auction, one winning bidder, one photo. No more. There wont be duplicate photos or other photos for auction later. (Though I might try a relist if eBay kicks this auction off before enough people have had the chance to see this photo.)

You are welcome to copy and paste, or save, the digital photo in this listing. This auction is not so much for $$$ gain. It's meant to give a face or two to the O proof story. If anyone comes forward with our O proof other than one of the two faces that you see in this auction then you'll know that it wasn't the proof offered in our five previous auctions. Also this picture will vouch for the credibility of the soon coming Youtube video. If you don't see one of the two faces that you see in this auction then you'll know that it's not our Youtube video.

For the record I want to state that this auction is for an autographed photo of Smith and Andylenny. Signed by Smith, as Smith. You are not bidding on anything other than that, there will be no accompanying documents. There will be no meeting at the Iowa Capitol Building. This is not an attempt to circumvent eBay policies.

This photo will be shipped USPS Priority Mail. It will be shipped free of charge (domestic addresses) to the winning bidder.

For this, Lucas's auction has so far received a total of 21 competitive bids, for a current high bid of $2,850.00. The starting bid was $100. And there are still over three days left.

He makes it abundantly, and repeatedly, clear that the auction is ONLY for the photo, and nothing else. He continues to talk the Birther talk, but still offers up nothing that actually backs up his previous claims. He doesn't even explicitly claim the photo is from his alleged trip to Kenya; it's just a photo of himself "abroad. In airport." Given what we know about Lucas Smith's history, and given the look of this photo and the other photos he previously posted, it's incredibly likely that this photo was taken in the Dominican Republic.

Yes, some gullible Birther is about to be the proud owner of a three thousand dollar Caribbean travel photo. Signed by some dude from Cedar Rapids.

The ingenious part of this is that after that transaction takes place, I'm not sure that Lucas Smith will have done anything actionable. He clearly states that he's auctioning a signed print of that photo. He, presumably, will deliver a signed print of that photo. This auction listing is not misleading or even ambiguous as to what's being offered for sale. The winning bidder simply isn't going to have anything to stand on if they complain to eBay; they bid for a photo, they won a photo. It's not eBay's fault or Lucas's fault that they were stupid enough to pay three grand for it.

I'm not even sure it's WorldNetDaily's fault, but they're definitely guilty of some willful journalistic ignorance on this. They've posted multiple stories on Lucas's auction, often burying mention of his failure to evidence his claims. And although they ran a front-page story on the appearance of this auction, they have run no stories about all the revelations that have come to light about Mr. Lucas Smith of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The most positive explanation for this failure is that WND has just somehow failed to see those reports; the negative explanation, on the other hand, is that while WND led its readers down the rabbit hole of believing this guy's fiction, they're afraid to admit their mistake now. And so rather than cop to it and look foolish, they're playing silent and allowing readers to continue believing in this guy enough to pay him thousands.

Of course, this doesn't tell us anything new about WND's journalistic integrity. But I think it does show us just how much contempt WND truly has for its own trusting readers. It could save some gullible reader a lot of financial pain by running a simple correction and apology; but while Joseph Farah is willing to pay ten grand for Obama birth witnesses, it seems that eating a little crow is more than he can afford.

Now of course, maybe the bidders aren't being serious either, and have no intention of paying. I'm not sure if we'll ever know the answer to that. But even then the great irony will be that they will be the ones violating eBay policy in this particular auction, not Lucas. He may be a crook and a liar, but doggone it if at the end of the day he hasn't managed to con the Birthers without actually promising anything he can't deliver. If it wasn't for the fact that he made it so easy to track down his real identity, I'd almost suspect he was a decent conman.


  1. With 2 days, 6 hours left, the number of bids has *dropped* to 18, and the high bid is now $2,247.22.

  2. Last night, the auction was removed entirely, and has yet to be relisted.

    Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily remains completely silent on the revelations about their favorite auctioneer.