Monday, January 31, 2011

Politicalgates welcomes Ennealogic, Leadfoot_LA and Blueberry Tart!

By Patrick

Politicalgates has exciting news, and we know that you all will love it:

Our friends Ennealogic, Leadfoot_LA and Blueberry Tart will join us as regular contributors on politicalgates!

We have great plans for this blog, and from now on, it's not just an "European" blog any more (which it never was supposed to be anyway). As many of you know, Kathleen is an UK citizen, and I am a German citizen. With taking three American citizens on board this blog will be an international effort, and can you betcha that there will be more American guest posters and possibly also more American regular contributors very soon as well.

But it's not just this aspect which excites us. Our new contributors have proven in the past to be excellent writers, and they all have their "special interests." We will therefore have a broad variety of topics on politicalgates, which will then hopefully result in lively discussions amongst our already thriving community.

All contributors will be individually responsible for their posts, and it's possible that we all won't always agree with each other on certain topics. But that's what we enjoy and appreciate: An open, stimulating and civil public discussion, ultimately with the aim of educating ourselves and our readers.

I hold the view that citizens are able to push the boundaries when it comes to blogging - the limits haven't been explored yet. Citizens can have a powerful voice, and we all should use this power for the good.

So let's start a new chapter. Especially during the next years, which might be very difficult times for America, a strong voice of the people is needed. Please join and support us in this endeavour.


Leadfoot_LA has already written her introductory post - here it is:

The top 10 most important things I have learned from this community

I am humbled that Patrick and Kathleen have asked me to be a regular contributor to Politicalgates. I already have a lot of ideas swimming around in my head and can’t wait to get to work!

As most of you know, my background is in entertainment PR. So my “beat” will probably be the tabloid-type stories and any area where politics meats Hollywood. I hope to be the more opinion-based yin to Patrick & Kathleen’s fact-filled yang. (Not sure that came out right!)

I am also a single mother to Bella, age 7 – so I’m sure she will be re-appearing from time to time. Since she is close in age to Piper, I also feel qualified to write about Sarah Palin’s parenting skills. I grew up in a racing family and love fast cars (hence, my nickname), so next time Sarah Palin (or any other teabagger) invades a NASCAR event, I will be all over it.

But I wanted to start my first post by saying that no amount of time investment can ever match what I have already received in return from this wonderful community. I have learned many valuable lessons from you all over the past year and a half – lessons I will carry with me throughout my life. So I thought I’d list them for anyone who might be new:

10. Always put lotion on your neck at night, so you don’t get a turkey neck like Sarah Palin’s.

9. Anyone can buy an empathy belly on the Internet for about $200.

8. If your dishes were made in China and get really hot in the microwave, they probably have lead in them. Throw them away.

7. Teenagers actually have a higher rate of pregnancies resulting in births of down syndrome babies than older women (because they have more babies overall than older women, and because they don’t get the tests for DS that older women get).

6. If your avatar has a cute pink wig, everyone will automatically assume you look just like her.

5. Nearly everyone has a right wing family member (or 5) and it is amazing how many of us have been involved with a sociopath in our families, places or work, or relationships.

4. A spudnut is a donut made from potatoes.

3. If you seek out in-person meetings with other Pogaters (that is what I am calling us now) in your area, you will likely make a new BFF. It is well worth the gas money.

2. Follow the money.Or the emails. Or both.

1. Yes, it is entirely feasible that a sitting governor would fake a pregnancy.

I’m looking forward to a 2011 filled with humor, friendship and justice. If you would like to contribute story ideas, please email me at


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sarah Palin: "Mr. Caribou has to take one for the team for the sake of energy independence" - UPDATE

By Patrick

Sarah Palin spoke at the Safari Club International on Saturday to an audience of 2500 people, and "The Daily Beast" published an excellent article about the event. Palin did her best to woo the hunters, and it appears that the event was a huge success for her. Her core base still goes mad for Sarah. I doubt very much that these people care for facts, figures or inconvenient revelations. They just love their Sarah.

In a recent brilliant article, which should be recommended reading for every journalist who examines Sarah Palin, Andrew Halcro, a moderate Republican and well-know Alaskan Palin critic, shares his observations from the 2006 Alaskan gubernational campaign about this phenomenon:

Voters loved Palin for who she was, not what she knew and therefore gave her a pass and accepted her glittering generalities as public policy gold. All her vague talk about new energy and transparency were more important than specifics on improving education or public safety.

During an August 2006 candidates forum, opponent John Binkley asked Palin what her vision was for the University of Alaska. For the next forty five seconds Palin prattled on about travelling Alaska, talking to Alaskans. "I've been travelling the state in a Jetta, not a jet (an obvious swipe at former Governor Murkowski's ill-fated jet) and they understand the importance of education."

However, nowhere in the answer did she ever give any indication that she had an inkling of the role the University played in Alaska's future. In return, the audience swooned, as if she had just uncovered the cure for cancer.

If you read the article in "The Daily Beast", it appears that Sarah was in paradise during her speech. She found again the adoration that she feels is missing from the "lamestream" media, here it is:

Back in the Tuscany Ballroom, Palin is doing her part to cheer up the congregation, punctuating her remarks with one-liners that wouldn't have been out of place at Wednesday's dinner with Larry the Cable Guy. "My family loves animals in the wild—and also next to the mashed potatoes. "For most of these frou-frou, chi-chi types, the extent of their experience is in the Tiki Room at Disneyland." "We eat organic—we just have to shoot it first. And it comes wrapped in fur, not cellophane." The Safari Clubbers are going wild. (...)

Within seconds, Palin has pivoted to the real point of her remarks. "I'm knowing too, though," she continues, "how important it is, for their sake, for America's sake, that we do not allow the evil acts of one mentally deranged murderer [to] change America's way of life. We must not allow this tragedy to stifle our constitutionally protected rights, including our Second Amendment rights. Beware of what's coming. I really do believe that God has shed his grace on thee. We can't blow it. We can't allow an atrophy of the foundation that is America, that is so exceptional." With that, the Safari Club is on its feet again, and its keynote speaker is waving her way offstage.

But what was particularly interesting from my point of view were Sarah Palin's remarks about her TLC "alternate reality show", and how politics were included. "The Daily Beast" writes:

Warm welcome or not, it still takes a few minutes for Palin to hit her target. At first, she seems to address every topic except the aftermath of Tucson. She admits that she "threw a little politics" into her recent TLC reality show by dragging the crew to the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge on the pretense of hunting caribou. Her real purpose? Showing viewers that ANWR is a "barren, desolate, less-than-pristine place"--perfect, in other words, for lots of new oil drilling. "If a caribou needs to be sacrificed for the sake of energy independence," she adds, "I say, 'Mr. Caribou, maybe you need to take one for the team.'"

Well, isn't that interesting. Mr. Caribou needs "to take one for the team?" Isn't this how Sarah always conducts politics, that one need to take one for the team - meaning, "for Sarah?" If for example a caribou has to die, because Palin needs to prove on TV that she is a tough killer - no problem at all. The animal is just there to be eaten anyway. If caribou have to die in ANWR for oil - who cares? Sarah doesn't. It seems to me that this is also the concept that Palin applies to her "staff members", who always have to be prepared to "take one for the team" as well. Ask Rebecca Mansour. Ask Frank Bailey. Ask Glen Biegel. The list goes on. It's a long one.

Finally, Sarah Palin doesn't hide her real ambitions during her speech: The White House has to be hers:

In public, Palin tends be guarded about her plans for the future. But earlier in the evening, she dropped a small hint about her potential ambitions. After some boilerplate comments about how "local government is the most responsive and responsible to the will of the people" she paused for a moment and stared out across the ballroom. And then came this: "that's why I think every president should have a run at gaining experience by being a councilmember, a mayor, a governor, a VP candidate, a commercial fisherman, a hockey mom." As the attendees cheered, Palin made a halfhearted attempt to quiet them down. "No, I'm kidding," she said, beaming. "I try to be funny some times. I'm kidding." But they hoped she wasn't.

The faith is still strong in Sarah - certain parts of the population still adore her and they always will. Sarah Palin's "WTF moments" and the inevitable and justified harsh criticism won't rattle their beliefs. The upcoming presidential campaign promises to be a very rough ride.

(h/t to Juicy76 for the article in "The Daily Beast")



I forgot to mention other interesting fact from this event - Sarah told a new version of how she named her kids, this time specifically designed for the hunters.

She even cites her children's Christian names as evidence of her outdoorswoman cred. "Piper was named after Todd's airplane, the Piper cub, which gets us to the hunting grounds," she explains. "Bristol, Bristol Bay fishing grounds. Willow, a local sport-fishing stream. Trig, I pull the TRIG-ger. Track... I remember when we told my dad that his grandson was named Track, he said, 'Like TRACKing an elephant?'"

Earlier in her speech, Palin proudly told stories about how her children have hunting names associated with Alaska. Bristol is named after Bristol Bay. Piper is named after an airplane, Willow after a stream.

The kicker is her son Trig. Mommy and Daddy Palin lovingly named him after the part of the gun which fires the weapon. Just pull the trigger.

So she claimed on Saturday to have named Trig for "pulling the trigger", and Track for "tracking an elephant."

How strange! In October 2008, Huffington Post reported the following, quoting a KTUU-story which is not accessible any more:

The grandfather says Trig is named after his great uncle, a Bristol Bay fisherman, while the name Paxson comes from the well-known snowmachining area.

So I guess Chuck Heath, the "grandfather", didn't get the memo.

We even have another version - from msnbc news on April 19, 2008:

Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow would not elaborate on the special challenges. She said the governor would talk with reporters early next week.

The governor went into labor Thursday while in Texas at an energy conference. Her contractions let up enough for her to fly home on Alaska Airlines to deliver her baby in Alaska, Leighow said.

The name Trig is a Norse word meaning "true" and "brave victory," Leighow said. Paxson is an area of Alaska that both Palin and her husband, Todd, feel is "one of the most beautiful spots in Alaska," she added.

Sarah Palin, always the woman of many stories.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Civil unrest continues in Egypt - Will there be an "internet kill switch" in the USA's future?

By Kathleen

I had hoped by now that the civil unrest that is taking place in Egypt might have calmed down. It hasn't. Since Tuesday it has been estimated that approximately 100 people have been killed and the unrest continues to escalate.

On Friday the government shut down internet and telephone services. The services were blocked from receiving signals in a bid to suppress images and posts from revealing the full extent of the anti-government protests. You can see from the following graphic how the internet in Egypt suddenly "died" on January 27, 2010:

Egypt internet traffic

(h/t to our reader "nomadicjoe, who runs the blog "A Nomadic View" and published a post about this subject)

Despite the protests Hosni Mubarak refuses to step aside leading to tens of thousands of protesters congregating in the streets calling for his resignation and burning images of him. Earlier they ignored night curfew limits and attacked police vehicles, setting them on fire. The military were brought in to control the crowds and patrol the streets and the numbers killed rose dramatically. Despite the rising death toll the demonstrators are determined to stay until Mubarak steps aside.

Many western leaders have called for reform including President Barack Obama who called upon the Egyptian authorities to "refrain from attacking the protesters" and further added "those protesting in the streets have a responsibility to express themselves peacefully". He also stated that:

"Now, going forward, this moment of volatility has to be turned into moment of promise. The United States has a close partnership with Egypt and we've cooperated on many issues, including working together to adbance a more peaceful region. But we've also been clear that there must be reform -- political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people."

President Obama also told the Egyptian government to "reverse the actions that they have taken to interfere with access to the Internet, to cell phone services and to social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st century".

Coincidently, according to news reports, a bill was in the process of being floated by Senator Susan Collins, the Republican ranking member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which would grant the President similar internet killing powers.

According to, an aide to the Homeland Security committee described the bill as one that does not mandate the shuttering of the whole internet. Instead, it would authorize the president to demand turning off access to so-called "critical infrastructure" where necessary.

It seems clear to me that "critical infrastructure" can be interpreted to mean just about anything that the Government may want it to mean. If this legislation is passed Americans may wake up one morning to find their internet is no longer available to them and that their phone has stopped ringing.

The discussion about an "internet kill switch" in the USA has been stirred up by the events in Egypt. Dan Costa, Executive Editor of "PC Mag", commented on January 28:

"The U.S. telecommunication industry is much more complex and far more decentralized. To do something similar in the U.S. would require a lot more than four phone calls. There are simply too many connections inside the nation already for them to be silenced. Also, since our economy is more dependent on the Internet obstructing the free flow of information would be disastrous. Still, the push for a U.S. Internet Kill Switch is here, but no one understands the consequences.

The fact is, no one in the U.S. should ever have the right or the ability to take the Internet offline. As an editor of a purely online publication (we made the switch from print a few years ago), it's very clear to me that freedom of the press relies more than ever on the Internet. No one in the U.S.—or anywhere—should have the right to shut it down."

CBS reported about the internet shut down in Egypt in the protests:

It is clear that Egypt is in turmoil and that the problems there may only be settled by the people via free and democratic elections. How likely is this to take place? Mubarak shows no signs of leaving Egypt despite being advised to do so by the powerful Arab Cleric Yusuf al-Quaradawi cleric of the Muslim Brotherhood. It seems that until Mubarak leaves there will be no peace. And whilst Mubarak stays the violence will continue and more people will be killed or seriously injured.

"The Daily Dish" provides excellent "live" reporting about the situation in Egypt.


Please re-tweet:


Welcome to Politicalgates!

Kathleen and I have a new home: Politicalgates. The world doesn't just revolve around Sarah Palin, there are many more topics to cover, both positive and negative. We are very excited about this new venture, and hope to create a thriving community with lots of ideas and energy.

As it was the case in the past, the contributions of our community will be of huge importance. When I started blogging, my motto was: If you want something done, do it yourself. This still applies. This new blog opens a new path for all of us, and we will use the tools and strategies which have worked well in the past and we also intend to develop and improve them further.

Let's all educate ourselves and also have a little fun at the same time on politicalgates!

If anybody has ideas for posts or would like to write guest posts, please contact us at the following email addresses: