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Karl Rove Squashes Zazzle Product Meant to Raise Funds For Parkinson’s Disease Organization

Industry: Awareness

When he created a product line on the popular web service Zazzle with the aim of poking a little fun at a rising star in the GOP and to raise a little money for the National Parkinson Foundation, a 57-year old Maryland man had no idea he would incur the wrath of Karl Rove.

United States (PRUnderground) July 6th, 2012


“It was meant to be a little product line of chotskies, designed for a liberal clientele,” said Bill Schmalfeldt, a former writer/editor for the National Institutes of Health, forced to take an early retirement last year when his 12-year battle with Parkinson’s disease made the daily commute impossible.  “It was a line of items – bumper stickers, key chains, hats, shirts, whatnot, that contained the image of a rising star in the young GOP firmament, wearing a Barack Obama mask, waving fistfuls of $20 bills at the camera,”

Schmalfeldt said.  “As I do with my books and everything else I ever sold on Zazzle and CafePress, 100 percent of the profits were going to be donated to the National Parkinson Foundation.”

Unfortunately for the NPF, the item was pulled from the Zazzle online shelves at the demand of an influential right wing figure.

“First, I get a notice telling me the product line was approved and would be available within 24 hours,” Schmalfeldt said.  “Then, I got 37 separate e-mail notices, one for each product, telling me the items were being pulled because someone claimed intellectual property rights to the image.”

Schmalfeldt shot an e-mail to Zazzle asking who was claiming intellectual property rights.  The response floored him, he said.

“Here they were, telling me that none other than Karl Rove claimed these intellectual property rights. There was no image of Rove on the design. The word “Rove” is mentioned, but unless Karl has rights to that word, there is no copyright here.

Then, Schmalfeldt recalled seeing an online report questioning whether Karl Rove and this rising star in the GOP, a young operative named Ali Akbar, were having a sexual affair.

“Where I come from, 2+2 still equals 4,” Schmalfeldt said.

Schmalfeldt says he wrote to Rove through his website asking for an explanation.  He is still awaiting a response. “I also wrote to his media contacts.  Same results,” Schmalfeldt said.

Schmalfeldt said this incident casts further suspicions on how Akbar, who in 2007 was convicted on charges of theft, robbery, breaking into a van, stealing a debit card and trying to use it, a man who was only released from probation in May of this year, could rise so quickly through the Republican establishment with no college education, no visible means of support, and nothing else going for him except for this rumored connection with Rove.

Still, Schmalfeldt says, sexual orientation is not this issue.  “I don’t care if Karl and Ali are eating scrambled eggs off of each others chests every morning,” Schmalfeldt said.  “Sexual orientation is not the issue, although Ali does work every day to further the interests of those who would gladly put homosexuals into a permanent second class citizenship status through a Constitution amendment.  And we all recall how Karl Rove got George W. Bush reelected in 2004 by getting people out to the polls to vote against gay rights legislation.  It is their right to be closeted, self-loathing gay men, if that is indeed what they are.”

But Schmalfeldt draws the line at Rove trying to keep him from raising money for Parkinson’s disease research, and for assistance to patients and their caregivers.  He says he has tried to contact Rove through his website but has not received a response. He also tried to get information from Rove’s media handlers, but had no luck there, either.

“Every nickel of profit I make from the sales of my books and these items on Zazzle and CafePress goes right to the National Parkinson Foundation,” Schmalfeldt said.  He has written books on the subject of his own battle with the illness – “Put On Your Parky Face,” which tells the story of his participation in an experimental brain surgery to determine whether people in the earlier stages of Parkinson’s disease could survive the procedure known as Deep Brain Stimulation.  Schmalfeldt had the experimental surgery in 2007.  He has also written humorous books on the topic, such as “You Never Miss the Dopamine Until the Brain Runs Dry” and “No Doorway Wide Enough.” All are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million and most other online booksellers.  Again, Schmalfeldt points out that all profits from the sales of these books are donated to the National Parkinson Foundation.

“All I want to know from Mr. Rove is, ‘How can you claim intellectual property rights to an image you were not in, on a product that does not bear your name or likeness? Why are you stopping me from trying to help the one million Americans with Parkinson’s and the 50-thousand new cases that will be diagnosed each year?’”

Schmalfeldt blogs about his PD experiences at and he writes political satire at

About Deep Brain Media

Bill Schmalfeldt retired from his job as a writer/editor at the National Institutes of Health when his 12-year battle with the progressive neurological condition called Parkinson’s disease made the daily commute impossible. Now he spends his days trying to raise public awareness about this disease that afflicts one million Americans with 50-thousand new diagnoses each year.

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