Monday, November 24, 2008

Ongoing Questions about Trig Palin's Birthdate

Here's a comment that came in as a response to my previous post concerning the accurate dating of the "Pink" prom photos found on Mercede Johnston's MySpace page.

I believe you're right Audrey but even if the prom was held on one of the earlier dates, we received no proof of Trig being born on April 18th. Maybe he was several weeks old by that date...unless there's something I missed and April 18th was confirmed as the birth date.

Per se, you have not "missed" anything. However, I have been looking at all evidence on this matter for months now. I know that many different scenarios have been proposed. In a comment within the last couple of weeks someone suggested that Trig could have been born as far back as February, though I can't remember why the person thought that was possible and actually cannot locate that comment right now.

I certainly might be proved wrong on this issue, but here's my call. I believe that someone was in labor on April 17th. Without that fact, Sarah Palin's very public, very visible, very commented on, and extremely implausible trip from Texas to Anchorage, which commenced around 2 PM (Central Time - 11 AM Alaska Time) on the 17th and ended up 12 hours later at Mat-Su Hospital in Palmer makes no sense. The only reason we really have something to talk about now is because, on April 17th, she left a conference early, changed her travel plans, got on an airplane, told people that the reason she did this was because she was in labor, and then - voila - produced a baby six hours later. If Trig Palin was already born, and "stashed" somewhere, this trip (and dramatic production of baby the next morning) makes no sense.

Was Trig Palin born
1. at 6:30 AM on April 18th Mat-Su Regional Hospital in Palmer Alaska,
3.delivered by family practice doctor Cathy Baldwin-Johnson?

I think all three of those statements could be questioned. But I believe both his birth day and time were very close to this. While I will always look at new information as it becomes available, attempts to place the birth too far outside of this time slot are a distraction at best.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Prom Photo Dated Conclusively (aka Fun with Photoshop)

In several posts on this blog, we have discussed photos which were obtained from Mercede Johnston's public MySpace page. These images - and numerous others - were scrubbed from the Internet sometime during the late afternoon on September 1, 2008, shortly after it was announced that Bristol Palin was five months pregnant. These photos have been discussed in three other posts on this blog, The Smoking Gun, At Long Last, and The Prom Photo.

Fortunately, the links to these photos had been posted and many people saved them and entire screen shots before they disappeared.

We had identified the series of photos, discussed in "At Long Last," that contained Mercede Johnston, Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin, and Trig Palin as having been taken in the Palin's home in Wasilla. The date is unknown, though is almost certainly sometime between April 23rd and the first week in May, due simply to Trig's tiny size. He is definitely a newborn.

The final photo about which there were questions was discussed in The Prom Photo. Here it is again.

Here are the whole series of prom photos, listed on the MySpace page as "Prom 08." It's easy to see that the photo of Mercede and Bristol is squarely in the middle of the series, and Mercede's hair and jewelry match in every photo. There's absolutly no reason to think and no plausible argument to suggest that somehow the photo of Mercede and Bristol was taken on a different date.

But what date? That was the critical question. It's been stated on this blog multiple times that I believe that Gov. Palin has been dishonest about numerous aspects of her birth story. I believe that the evidence strongly suggests that she is not Trig's Palin biological mother. However, if that is the case, then someone else must be. The evidence has always suggested that Bristol Palin, seventeen last April, eighteen now, was the most likely candidate to be Trig's natural mother.

The "prom" photo, however, seemed to raise some considerable questions. Bristol Palin is clearly not visibly pregnant in the photo. Research into Wasilla area proms showed that there were three: Palmer High School Prom on April 5th, Colony High School Prom on April 12th, and Wasilla High School Prom on April 19th. If this photo was taken in conjunction with either the Palmer Prom or the Colony High Prom, AND Trig was born on April 18th, Bristol Palin could not have been Trig's mother. If the photo was taken on April 19th, it would have been theoretically possible for Bristol to still be Trig's mom (since it would have been taken 36 hours or so after the birth), though for practical physical reasons this would be very unlikely. If the dating on the photo was accurate to one of those three days, it would come very close to proving that Bristol could not be Trig's mom.

But I wanted to dig deeper. That made no sense to me. We KNOW that photos were scrubbed from the Internet frantically on the afternoon of September 1, including all of these. The McCain campaign's "big plan" to prove that Sarah Palin was Trig's mother was to prove that Bristol could not be. As we all know, to do this, they announced Bristol was five months pregnant. If a photo existed that could be reliably dated to early April which showed a clearly non-pregnant Bristol, why hide it? Why not broadcast it to the world? But they didn't.

And then I got lucky. I got a tip. There was a fourth prom, held at Burchell High School on April 25th. Burchell High is the Wasilla area's alternative high school. The tipster alerted me to the prom and also told me that Mercede Johnston had been there that night. Now, we had to determine whether or not this series of photos was taken that night.

Luckily, the local newspaper had published an article about the prom, which contained several photographs. Through careful Photoshop sleuthing, I was able to isolate a few details from the backgrounds of both the photos published in the Frontiersman and from the backgrounds of Mercede's photos which matched exactly. (There's something to be said for tacky decorations!)

Here's one of the original photos from the paper.

Here's a detail from over the girls' heads.

Now, here's one of the photos from Mercedes Johnston's page.

There's nothing there at all, you're probably thinking. But you're wrong. You'd be surprised how much detail is in the back of this photo that's just waiting for us to see if we adjust the contrast.

So here's the same photo with the contrast jacked up really high. Take a good look at the wall high over the young man's head. Though there's not much, the match on the black and white squares is definite. Here's a bit more of a close-up on that.

This was not the only match I found. I spotted strings of lights in one of the Mercede' photos that are also visible in the Frontiersman photo and got a match on the gym floor. Furthermore, the group shot of Mercede and her friends is in front of a backdrop that seems to have a faux stone look. We're told in the Frontiersman article that the prom's theme was Medieval Masquerade.

I feel very confident in dating these photos to April 25, 2008, seven days after Trig Palin's birth. While they certainly do not bring us any closer to knowing the truth about what happened on April 17th, 2008, this photo, taken seven days after Trig Palin's birth, does not preclude Bristol being Trig's biological mother.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Policy

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while has probably realized that I am new to much of the "Internet" thing. I have said more than once that my original idea was to do a website that would contain an archive of the photographic material that I and others had collected regarding this issue, along with links to articles, etc: A reference work.

The blog was something I had never even thought about doing, and I only added one to the site after my daughter insisted "You need a blog." I wasn't quite sure why I (or anyone for that matter) "needed" a blog. But I did add one to the site and I am glad I did.

Because of my inexperience, I wasn't quite sure at the onset about how to handle comments. Initially, comments were unmoderated; we changed that after lengthy spam posts, intended to crash the whole blog, started to come in. Now, since comments are moderated, I have to make a decision about each and every one. After I published an analysis of the photos that were copied from Mercede Johnston's MySpace page, many readers have added to the discussion by reviewing MySpace pages of other teens.

These teens' pages, as I understand it, are public. They are open on the Internet for anyone to see. For a minor to have a MySpace page at all at some level has to be a decision made by the teen and the parent, and I believe it is the parents' responsibility to set guidelines for Internet usage by any child (thought it's quite obvious from the open and blatant discussions of alcohol and drug use as well as sexual activity, that many of these "Valley" teens have minimal supervision in their lives.) As part of the discussion some readers of the site have posted links to certain pages, discussing some teens by name.

In spite of the fact that the pages are NOT private, I have made the decision to no longer approve any comments that mention any teens, minor or not, by name, or provide links to specific pages. If readers wish to "poke" around on social networking sites, that's their decision, and if something is discovered on a page that is directly germaine to this discussion, I hope the reader will pass it on to me privately. People are also still free to post comments along the lines of "Wasilla high school students seem to party a lot," etc. But comments that mention specific young people by name will not be approved.

I believe that questions about Sarah Palin's pregnancy are a legitimate news story and because of that it is not possible to leave her own children out of it. Bristol's current pregnancy status is directly relevant because it is the primary way that Gov. Palin and the McCain campaign chose to prove that Sarah Palin is Trig Palin's biological mother.

But, moving forward, any investigations that readers wish to do on various social networking sites need to be kept off this blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Truth or Lie?

A comment has been received that I believe makes a good basis for a post. It was added to the site on the "Biology Lesson" post at 11:24 PM on November 18th.

A written statement from her doctor is evidence. It may not rise to the level of documentary evidence that you insist upon, but it IS evidence.

True. It is evidence. And the fact that Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson said anything at all, after refusing to make any public comment about Sarah Palin's birth story for more than seven months (from April 21, 2008 to November 3rd, 2008), is noteworthy. It is undeniable that this physician states that Sarah Palin has given birth to five children. The exact quote is: "She had four term deliveries in 1989, 1990, 1994, and 2000, and one pre-term delivery at 35 weeks gestation in 2008." However, and this is critical, at least some of this information are not "facts" that Dr. Baldwin-Johnson knows because she was there. It's information she's repeating because she's been given it by others.

We have no way of knowing where much of the information came from. Actual files that were physically transferred to her office? Or a medical history that Sarah Palin filled out? And when might she have filled out this history? 1992? Or November 2, 2008?

This physician was not even practicing in Wasilla at the time of Palin's first two births. Yet the information about Palin's birth history is reported with all births listed equivalently: Births that Baldwin-Johnson may have attended and births that we know she could NOT have attended. So... which is which? No distinction is made.

We're supposed to "assume" that the information about the 2008 delivery is something that Balwin-Johnson knows about first-hand because it's "recent," but this is never explicitly stated. My guess is that this is exactly what the framers of the statement hope readers will assume. We've been told by Sarah Palin that Cathy Baldwin Johnson was at Trig's birth, but it's never been confirmed by anyone, in particular Cathy Baldwin Johnson. This statement also says that Trig was eligible to be born at his community hospital, but does not say he actually was. These ommisions are strking.

(And interestingly enough, there appears also to be a factual error in this supposedly "rock-solid" statement. Piper's birth year is listed as 2000. In every other source I can find, she's listed as being born in 2001, which jibes with her being seven throughout the campaign, and six when when the announcement was made that Sarah was pregnant in March. If she was born in 2000, at no point in 2008 could she have been six years old. Not a big deal, but one would think that this statement would not contain any errors, no matter how trivial!)

Again, everything else is just speculation. I don't care what birthing histories people have had. I don't care what people have read in text books or had described to them by medical members of their family. EVERYTHING being discussed here (of a medical/obstetric nature) is PURE SPECULATION.

It is NOT evidence. Of anything.

There are specific standards of care which are widely available. I am a medical professional who can comment "professionally" on all aspects of lactation and breastfeeding. I have attended over 100 births in a support/coach/midwife's assistant capacity, so while I am not a midwife or obstetrician, I have a solid - factual - grounding in exactly how laboring women behave and how labor is managed. My husband is a board certified physician who has reviewed most everything of a technical medical nature that has been posted by me, and he's written some of it. To say that it is not appropriate for a woman who has stated that she is eight months pregnant and who has stated that her amniotic fluid was leaking to be taking long airplane flights is not speculation. It's a fact. It's dangerous, ill-advised, and I challenge you to find one physician anywhere who will disagree with that. To say that the majority of women with a medical history similar to Palin's will give birth within 24 hours of amniotic sac rupture is not speculation. The majority will. This is a fact.

Numerous physicians who have posted on this site and others, and have given statements to the main stream media, have all agreed that from a medical standpoint, Sarah Palin's actions on April 17th, 2008 cannot be defended. It is evidence of either a blatant disregard for the health of her child and the comfort, well-being, and safety of her fellow passengers, OR it is evidence of untruthfulness.

Statements by SP's father - hearsay. Tick-tock on the day of the birth - speculation and hearsay.

Sarah Palin's father told KTUU news in an interview that Gov. Palin's water broke in Texas. How is this hearsay? He said it, and Palin confirmed it on 4/21. "Tick-tock" on the day of the birth comes from a variety of sources, but most notably Palin's own interview with the Anchorage Daily News (audio file here / transcript here). Palin herself describes her 4 AM contact with her doctor, her determination to give the luncheon speech, Todd's efforts to change the flights, and their decision to skip the evening reception. Alaska Airlines only has so many flights, and I have personally confirmed with the airline that their schedules have not changed significantly since April. Palin confirms their arrival back in Anchorage around 10:30 PM. How is this speculation and hearsay?

This is 3 people's highly personal medical histories that are being commented upon. It is a witch hunt. If we don't have the medical records, we cannot make assertions as to the factual nature of the circumstances.

In many cases, we cannot make absolute statements without medical records. But we don't have those records because they've never been released. Neither has a birth certificate. Nor has a simple, three sentence statement from Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, to wit: "Trig Palin was born on April 18th, 2008 at Mat-Su Hospital in Palmer, Alaska. Sarah Palin is his biological mother. I was personally present at his birth."

Much on this website is speculation. But much is not, and ironically this commentator has chosen to call into question some of the best documented information available. Most of what we know concerning the timetable of the events from 4/17 and 4/18 is from Palin's own words, or from sources that we should be able to consider absolutely reliable like official press releases from the State of Alaska press office. Most of what we know of her labor is from her own words.

The question is not: fact or speculation?

It is: truth or lie?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welcome to New Readers

Thanks to a link from Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish today, I can see from my traffic stats that I have many new readers. Welcome.

Please be aware that, in addition to this blog, there is a large website. In fact, the website came first; the blog was an afterthought. On the site there are countless pictures, links, and, I hope, a somewhat coherent catalog of a great deal of information regarding this issue.

Since the link from The Daily Dish went live, I have received a lot of email. I appreciate every one. However, many emails asked some very basic questions that have been discussed in depth on the blog and website; others contained pictures or links to information that are on the site, most with notes that say: I didn't see THIS on your blog. As I said, I do appreciate the sleuthing efforts of everyone, but do review the website first. However, then, if you have something you don't see on my site, by all means, send it on! Just today, I received a link to a new video from March of a Palin speech that I had never seen before.

My email address is: I welcome email as well as comments on the blog. We do moderate all comments, but there are two of us checking so typically most comments are reviewed within an hour or two (from 7 AM - 12 AM).

Again... welcome.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Biology Lesson

In November, 2003 (ironically five years to the day of this year's election) David Letterman's wife gave birth to a son. I was watching that night on November 4, 2003, when Dave came on stage. He sat down, looked at the camera, and said, "What a biology lesson that is!" I just laughed.

Yeah, childbirth is a biology lesson. It involves a lot of, at times, not particularly appetizing details regarding very private parts of the female anatomy. One reason, I believe, that some of this "deception" has been allowed to go on for so long is that no one will confront Gov. Palin on some of the "private" details, and just how implausible her story is on the specifics.

The single specific piece of information that we have that has caused the most scrutiny of her birth saga is that she traveled back from Texas to Alaska on April 17th leaking amniotic fluid. Yet, she has never once, as far as I can tell, been asked pointed questions about the very real specifics of this. It would be a bit like someone calling in sick at work because he has cut his arm very badly, then never showing any physical signs - like blood, or stitches, or going to the doctor, that it ever happened, yet being defensive about having to "prove" it.

The leaking of amniotic fluid is an indisputable, unmistakable sign of the onset of labor. Flying at eight months of pregnancy is ill-advised. Flying at eight months with leaking amniotic fluid is insane, particularly for a woman who has boasted about her easy (past) births.

According to one obstetric source that I found, a woman with Palin's trouble-free history had about a 66% chance of giving birth within ten hours from the time her membranes ruptured. Although different texts and sources might give slightly different numbers, this is close. I've stated this before, but it bears repeating: It was not possible that Palin would give birth before she got back to Alaska. It was PROBABLE.

First, though, a bit more of our biology lesson. What is amniotic fluid? Most people know it's what surrounds the baby, but where does it come from? It is not something the mother produces, at least later in pregnancy. By the eighth month, the majority of what makes up amniotic fluid is the by-product of the fetus's urinary system; quite bluntly, it's the baby's pee. By 34 weeks, in a normal pregnancy there is about a quart of amniotic fluid. The quantity diminishes a bit by 40 weeks.

Many labors begin with some leaking (or even a large full-blown rupture) of the amniotic sac. For other women, the sac will rupture at some point during labor. If labor is left to progress fully naturally, sometimes the sac never ruptures and the baby is born still encased in it, though most birth attendants now will artificially rupture the sac before this point. (Being born still in the sac (the caul) traditionally was considered good luck, even magical. Here's an article from Wikipedia about it. )

When membranes rupture prior to any other signs of labor, what does this mean? What should be done? I've read some more extreme comments that membrane rupture is an "emergency," and Gov. Palin should have immediately called an ambulance and rushed to the hospital. Most birth attendants would say that that is a bit much. However, it is considered absolutely mandatory that once membranes have ruptured, within a sensible time frame of an hour or two, someone needs to check the baby's heart tones. Why? Because as soon as there is any leakage of fluid, additional compression can be put on the umbilical cord. It's possible in rare cases for the cord to actually slip down between the baby's head and the side of the uterus, at times even coming out through the cervix. This IS a MAJOR EMERGENCY, and the only way to rule out cord problems is to check the baby - fairly promptly. However, it's pretty clear that almost twenty four hours passed from the time that Gov. Palin first has stated that she saw some signs of amniotic fluid until she actually saw a physician.

Where did the story come from that her membranes had ruptured? Interestingly, it seems to have come from her father, Chuck Heath. Let's do a quick review of a timetable.

1. April 17th - 4 AM Texas time, 1 AM Alaska time - Gov. Palin calls her doctor to report, "there was an idea there that he might come early." I am not sure exactly what this means. Did she have a dream that her baby might come early? A vision from above? Did a little bird whisper it into her ear? Or did she have some clear physical indications that she might be in labor?
2. April 17th - Around 11 PM Alaska Time - Palin arrives at Mat-Su after remaining in Texas to give a luncheon speech then taking two separate four hour flights, and having a two hour layover in Seattle.
3. April 18th - 6:30 A.M. Trig is born at Mat-Su Regional Hospital in Palmer.
4. April 18th - Afternoon - KTUU (Anchorage NBC Affiliate) goes to Mat-Su in Palmer and does an interview with Sarah Palin's parents. It was at this interview that apprently Gov. Palin's father states that her water broke in Texas. So while it seems that Gov. Palin might have wished to be a bit more discreet about the details, her father was not so reticent.
5. April 19th - The Palins leave the hospital with Trig.
6. April 21st - The Palins, at Sarah's office in Anchorage, give an interview. (This was not published until the next day, the 22nd.)

It was during this interview, that Palin was asked specifically about her water breaking, and was told that her father had said that. She clearly does not want to discuss it, but she doesn't deny it. Why? Because it's true? Or because it is the story that she gave her parents for why she left Texas early, and now can't backpedal or THEY will get suspicious?

Here's the exact quote from the Palin interview:

Reporter: So did your water break?

Palin: Well, if you must know more of those type of details, but, um…

Reporter: Well, your dad said that and I saw him say it so that’s why I asked.

Palin: Well that was again if, if I must get personal, technical about this at the same time, um, it was one, it was a sign that I knew, um, could lead to uh, labor being uh kind of kicked in there was any kind of, um, amniotic leaking, amniotic fluid leaking, so when, when that happened we decided OK let’s call her.

So, we have it, in Gov. Palin's own (convoluted) words, that her amniotic fluid began leaking at 4 AM in Texas, and they called her doctor. As has been stated so many other places, it is incomprehensible that a doctor would not have told Gov. Palin to go to a hospital immediately and get checked out. And it's also interesting to note that Dr. Cathy Baldwin Johnson has never confirmed that the Palins called her at this time. In fact, she stated that that "things" (a precise medical term if I ever heard one) had already "settled down," (more precision) by the time the Palins called. (Or, as my physician husband has quipped: "I must have missed that day in medical school.")

So... someone is lying.

Amniotic fluid "leaking:" What does this mean to the layperson? What it means is that they probably don't want to think about it. What does it mean to a birth attendant? It means, frankly, a rather untidy mess. When we would attend a home birth, we would set up in the birthing room a full-sized trash can. (Not the kitchen size, your standard outdoor size.) By the time wee-one came along, it was almost always full.)

How did Gov. Palin handle this mess? How did she protect the hotel furniture and bedding, and her business suit during her speech? Did Todd promptly call a cab or the hotel car, rush out to the nearest CVS, and buy hospital grade sanitary pads and/or some Surecare or Chux bed underpads at 4 A.M? When I was still a home birth "helper," we would sit the mom on disposable pads (no panties, and certainly nothing in the vagina like tampons, since that would increase the chances of infection) which were changed scrupulously every half an hour or so. And once membranes rupture, it's not just a drop or two of clear fluid. Women who are going into labor start losing mucous, also known as "the mucous plug" which has sealed up the cervix. What does this look like? For lack of a better description, it looks like bloody snot.

So, morning in Texas, April 17th, we have the Governor of Alaska, with small gushes of fetal urine and bloody snot leaking out of her vagina putting on her business suit (including pantyhose?) preparing to give a speech... which by all reports, she did.

(Good God, does anybody still believe this story?)

(And don't forget, this was a conference! Not only was there a luncheon speech, but I imagine there were panels or discussions or workshops during the "morning session." Never has it been indicated that Palin did not participate... it would have caused comment if she had not. My guess is that she DID participate. We don't have direct proof for that, but we do have the Governor of Hawaii's statement that “Nobody knew a thing. I only found out from my security detail on the way home that she had gone into labor and that she had gone home to Alaska.” Only the Governor of Texas suspected that something was up (probably where the rumors later heard by Lingle's security detail came from), and that was only because the Palins had rushed off so quickly after her speech, refusing to confirm either way whether she was in labor.)

And how would she have handled it if the "leak" had become a full-fledged rupture during the speech or while sitting in some workshop? "OOOPS. Sorry. My bad."

This has personally happened to me. (Not during a speech at a Governors' Converence, of course.) But I had some leaking which all of a sudden turned into a flood. I "popped." And if you don't think a quart of fluid is a lot, I suggest you all get up from your computers right now, take a quart of water, and dump it on the floor between your legs. Now picture that happening up on a podium in front of the other Governors. It would have been the most memorable Republican Governor speech on record, I promise you that.

That anyone would have taken this risk is so implausible it is ludicrous. But no one really wants to "go there" in terms of confronting Palin. (Not that anyone has really been given the chance!) No one really wants to confront her with questions like: How DID you protect your clothing, Gov. Palin? What WOULD you have done had you started leaking a lot of fluid on the floor during the speech? Did you need to call housekeeping and have your bed changed in the middle of the night?

Birth is not a tidy process. Gov. Palin has given, as "proof" of her labor, information that she was in the midst of one of the more untidy parts, yet has given no indication that she behaved in such a way that would support her own contention. And, because it's "private," we're not allowed to ask.

But... of course... the adventure is just beginning, because we are now supposed to believe that she sat on airplane seats for EIGHT additional hours, all the while the flight attendants not noticing anything out of order. People in Alaska knew she was pregnant. The flight attendants certainly should have been aware of it, though they may not have realized the exact due date. If Gov. Palin had been getting up and going to the bathroom every few minutes (clutching her carry-on bag, because of course she would have needed her bag to carry into the restroom the hospital grade sanitary pads she should have been changing), you don't think the flight attendants would have noticed? They would not only have noticed, they would have been worried. But no one observed anything unusual in her behavior during TWO four hour flights. This is completely inconsistent with someone whose "membranes are leaking."

And a note about infection: once it's been determined that there's no compression of the umbillical cord after membrane rupture, the next worry is infection, that because the sterile sac is now compromised, bacteria can enter and begin to grow. It's why most midwives in a home birth setting will not even do an internal exam on a woman whose membranes are leaking until labor is well-established; you do not want to do anything to risk introducing infection. You don't bathe (you shower) and observe very careful hygiene while using the bathroom. You keep everything as clean and dry as possible.

(Now... think about airplane toilets.)

I've read other places that perhaps the logical explanation was that it was not amniotic fluid at all; it was just a bit of urine. We should leave Gov. Palin alone because none of us know for sure. Certainly urine leakage can happen. You sit a six plus pound kicking baby on top of a woman's bladder and, yeah, you betchya, there can be "mishaps." But there are several arguments against this. First, Trig Palin was born at 6:30 a.m. on April 18th . If Gov. Palin had arrived at Mat-Su with no signs of labor (considering that she was just 35-36 weeks) they would have sent her home. There are easy tests that can detect the presence of amniotic fluid in the vagina. The physician would have performed the test and if none had been detected, they would have sent her home. The fact that a baby was born the next morning indicates that someone was in labor that night.

The second thing is that she didn't deny it. She was asked specifically about the "water breaking" on 4/21 and she confirmed her story. She could have told the interviewer on April 21st that her impression in Texas that she was leaking fluid turned out to be wrong; that she'd been mistaken. But she didn't. That she was leaking amniotic fluid in Texas is HER story and she is sticking by it. This is not something "bloggers" have fabricated out of nowhere.

So what do we conclude from all this?

If Palin's story is completely true, if she is Trig's mother, and everything happened the way she has claimed, she took utterly unacceptable medical risks with her infant's life. She did not have him checked when her membranes ruptured, to rule out the possibility of cord prolapse. She would have had to be dressed and to comport herself in a way that would have increased the chances of infection for almost 24 hours. She risked having to give birth with no medical assistance in the aisle of an airplane. She risked disrupting the travel plans of hundreds of other people. And, if Palin's story is completely true, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson should lose her medical license.

If Palin's story is partially true, what parts are a lie? My guess would be that she had no contact at all with Baldwin-Johnson, at least prior to their layover in Seattle. It's a complete fabrication that she called her doctor from Texas. She took utterly reckless chances with her baby's safety as well as the comfort of everyone else on the airplane... and she beat the odds. And THIS is why Cathy Baldwin Johnson has appeared to cut off most contact with Palin and her crazy birth story... because Palin's lies have actually jeopardized Balwin-Johnson's professional reputation. She can't come clean about the birth without telling the world that Palin is a liar. She's reluctant to do that. While I admire loyalty, in this case I would say it's misplaced.

If Palin's story is entirely a lie, and the physical realities of membrane rupture which I have seen and dealt with countless times make me lean very strongly in that direction, then the only answer is she was never pregnant at all.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Request for Contact

Would the person who is posting comments as "Reader in Ohio" please contact me privately at:



Friday, November 14, 2008

A Bit More About Jaundice

A few questions have come up in comments about the possible timetable of the treatment for jaundice. I did post a comment to respond, but enough additional people have asked questions that I thought I would clarify here.

Here is a quote from a medical info site:

The cause of normal, physiological jaundice is well understood. During life in the uterus, the red blood cells of the fetus contain a type of hemoglobin that is different than the hemoglobin that is present after birth. When an infant is born, the infant's body begins to rapidly destroy the red blood cells containing the fetal-type hemoglobin and replaces them with red blood cells containing the adult-type hemoglobin. This floods the liver with bilirubin derived from the fetal hemoglobin from the destroyed red blood cells. The liver in a newborn infant is not mature, and its ability to process and eliminate bilirubin is limited. As a result of both the influx of large amounts of bilirubin and the immaturity of the liver, bilirubin accumulates in the blood.

This is "normal" jaundice. The problem comes in when some infants, for whatever reason, can't keep up with the "cleaning" of the blood and the bilirubin levels rise too high. These are the babies that need to be treated. Typically, this "higher than normal" level of build up does not become obvious until at least the second day of life, and in my experience it's usually 3rd - 4th day.

When a baby is born jaundiced or becomes noticeably jaundiced in the first 24 hours of life, doctors become a lot more concerned. This is not "normal" jaundice. It can have some far more serious causes. It would be very rare that a baby would be treated for jaundice in the first 24 hours of life... and still released at 36 hours. So while it's not impossible that Trig became jaundiced immediately after birth, was treated, and still went home the next day, it's very unlikely.

This is why I am stating that based on Cathy Baldwin Johnson's statement it sure sounds like Trig was readmitted to the hospital at some point after the 3rd day of life. This would be a typical course for this sort of jaundice, particularly in a baby that was a bit early. I find this statement inconsistent with the schedule that we have been told Gov. Palin kept in those first few days. Don't forget, her home in Wasilla is almost an hour drive each way from her office in Anchorage. We know she was in Anchorage that Monday at her office. We know she was in Anchorage that Tuesday, at Mears Middle School for an all-important speech to the Junior National Honor Society.

And I never meant to be "snarky" about the prayer requests. However, in my experience with families who attend the sort of congregations that it is my understanding the Palins do attend, they are very upfront in requesting prayers for hospitalized/ill members.

If Trig Palin was readmitted to the hospital on the 3rd - 4th day of his life, I find it very very surprising that no one knew about it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yet Another Oddity

The questions never end. Nothing about this story makes sense. For a woman who apparently ran for the governorship of Alaska on the platform of "transparency," Sarah Palin has more unanswered questions and more unresolved inconsistencies swirling around her than anyone I could ever imagine.

I noted the following at the time that Dr. Cathy Baldwin Johnson's utterly lame "medical statement" was released but with the election and all the activity since then, I never returned to it.

Today, since the publication of last night's Prom Picture, many people have written to me questioning whether or not Trig Palin actually was born on April 17th. Obviously, I don't know; I wasn't there. My position is that Gov. Palin was in a huge hurry to reach Mat-Su Hospital in Palmer Alaska on April 17th. A HUGE HURRY. So much of a rush that she traveled many hours, in a very public way and in a way that caused her to come under considerable scrutiny. I've said from the start that I doubted very much that it was because they had wonderful birthing rooms... but of course I could be wrong.

This renewed interest in that aspect of the story though reminded me of something that I had read in Dr. C. B-J's statement that had caused me to pause at the time. It still does. Here is the statement:
He [Trig] had some minor problems with jaundice that required phototherapy in the hospital and at home for several days.

In the hospital? When? Trig was released from the hospital on April 19th, a Saturday. On Monday (21st), Gov. Palin was back in her office. On Tuesday, she gave a speech... we have photos. So when was this baby back in the hospital? Why was nothing said to the press?

This is a woman who supposedly believes, devoutly, in the power of prayer. I know of folks who attend churches and congregations like Gov. Palin's. They have prayer chains, and prayer circles, and prayer trees, and I don't know, prayer coffee klatches. She refers to herself as a "Prayer Warrior" in her interview with Dr. James Dobson.

As a lactation consultant, I know that when the decision is made to readmit a newborn for jaundice, the docs are fairly concerned about the baby. If the situation is not treated properly and promptly, serious long-term mental retardation can result. While not an "emergency," the situation is NOT trivial. I have visited many such families in the hospital, and comforted weeping mothers as they sat vigil by isolettes, watching their newborns, eyes covered with a little mask. In spite of my reassurances, the mothers are often inconsolable with worry. When a baby is readmitted for phototherapy, it's not an outpatient procedure. They typically keep babies 2-3 days. It CAN be treated at home... but Dr. B-J STATES that he was treated in the hospital.

Given what we know about Gov. Palin's belief in the power of prayer, it's incomprehensible to me that there would not have been some sort of public announcement that little Trig was back in the hospital for several days, with requests for "your thoughts and prayers." And surely there would have some adjustment in Sarah Palin's schedule? Some sign that her child was hospitalized? Why hide this from the press? But again, as with so many other factors of this birth, we have nothing. A blank. It's like Trig came from nowhere and promptly went back to nowhere.

Just another thing - to be added to the long list of things - that doesn't make sense.


If you read nothing else today, read this from Andrew Sullivan.

If you do nothing else today, please write to Mr. Sullivan. Tell him how much you appreciate his staying on the story. Tell him you agree with him. Tell him not to stop.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Prom Photo

(Update: Please see the blog post Prom Photo Dated. This photo has been conclusively dated to April 25, 2008, eight days after Trig Palin's birth.)

So many have written and asked about this today, both in private Email and in the comments section that I need to address it. Here's the photo. It was posted below, but I am reposting it here, as a screen shot. You can see both the "Prom 08" reference as well as the caption.

There appear to have been three proms in the Mat-Su Valley in April, 2008. Palmer High School Prom on April 5th, Colony High School Prom on April 12th, and Wasilla High School Prom on April 19th.

I do not know which prom this would be. Levi Johnston attended Wasilla High School so it is reasonable to assume that his sister did as well, since in general you go to a school in a specific district. But that does not mean Levi's sister might not have attended another school's prom, if her boyfriend or date went to that school. Clearly, Mercedes is attending the prom; the other young woman is not, unless fashion is really being put on hold.

I believe that the dark-haired young woman is Bristol Palin. It looks like her and the "sister-in-law" identification would fit.

(However, one caveat to consider: If it's Wasilla's Prom, however, why is Bristol not attending? She's dating a "hot" senior, and I can't believe that young people in this community that, by all reports doesn't offer teens that much to do, would skip prom. So, if Mercedes is going to Wasilla's prom on April 19th, why is Bristol not going with her?)

So, what is to be made of this? Clearly, it would seem that this photo could well be proof that Bristol Palin could not be Trig Palin's mother. If the date of this photo is April 5th or 12th, there's no way this young woman is about to have a baby. If the photo is the 19th, the day after Trig's birth, it's hard (though not completely impossible) to formulate a scenario where Bristol would be photographed. Sometime during the day on the 19th, Trig and mother were released from Mat-Su. I supposed it is just vaguely possible that Mercedes, on her way to prom, would stop by to see her friend, and this photo could be somewhere in the Palin home (it looks like a basement "teen" space to me), but this is a huge stretch and I know it. It's also possible that Mercedes somehow was invited to a prom in another town (Anchorage perhaps) and this was several weeks later... then the idea that Bristol would be photographed next to Mercedes in her dress, is not so much of a stretch, and then the photo is meaningless.

But we just don't know.

If this photo was taken April 5th, April 12th, or April 19th, why remove it from the website after "babygate" broke? This would be the closest thing to REAL proof that Bristol did not give birth to Trig. "Look," Mercedes could say, "here's a picture of me and Bristol as I got ready to go to prom on... " The McCain campaign could also have released it, (and been very snotty about it.) End of story. Game over. But no one said that. No one did anything with this photo... other than see it was scrubbed from the Internet by mid afternoon on 9/1, and tell us the same day that Bristol is five months pregnant.

I can't believe that the people that did that ARE the dumbest people on the planet. They would have had to looked for a better way. The only reason that they announced Bristol's pregnancy on September 1 is because they did NOT have a better way. They had no other choice. They had no doctor who was willing to give a statement, no medical records they could release. Nothing but a five month pregnant teen.

I don't have answers at this point.

And while I've said all along that just because Bristol did not have Trig does NOT prove that Gov. Palin DID, we know the reality: Bristol was always by far the most plausible "other mother," for a large number of reasons. Take Bristol out of the equation, and while some will always have other suspicions, the story goes from very tough to impossible pretty damn quick.

As I have said often before on this website: you decide.

Additional photo commentary

I have been rather shocked at the number of people who have written to me today to counter the photo analysis... stating that the photos posted yesterday are not in the kitchen of the Palin home in Wasilla. (Just as an aside, another question that has come up is why does the kitchen look so different from the kitchen in the Elan Frank videos. The answer is THAT kitchen is at the governor's mansion in Juneau. They look so different because they are different.) First, I have numerous other screen shots that I did not post... I thought the one I did post was conclusive. But in some of the other shots you can clearly see the upholstery and the arms on the chairs... it matches the chair that Mercedes is sitting in. You can also see that the family uses the wall to the left of the refrigerator to post papers, etc. I am 100% sure of this identification.

Another thing that has been mentioned numerous time is this photo.

I have had several people insist that wherever the Mercedes Johnston photos were taken, this one of the Heaths was taken in the same place. Several people have agreed with MY identification of the Palin kitchen, but then said that since this was taken the same day as the birth, with Gov. Palin's parents, this proves there was a home birth! They seem to be basing this on the similar tone of the wood.

This is not true. The photo of the Heaths was taken at Mat-Su Hospital. KTUU TV in Anchorage sent a film crew; according to the website, the interview was filmed at some point during the afternoon of April 18th, which was the day Trig was born.

Here is another picture of another family with a baby, from the hospital's website. While I am not 100% sure it's the same room (there seems to be a nook of some sort visible in the room below behind the mother which is not visible behind Mr. Heath, though it could just be a quirk of the camera angle) there's no question that the drapes are the same, as is the cabinetry. Also note the match on the top of the sofa visible behind the dad in the picture below.

I want to be very accurate about photos. Why? Because a picture IS worth a thousand words. When this story "broke" on August 30th, the two "top" pieces of evidence cited over and over were two photos of Bristol allegedly showing a "baby-bump." I am not going to repost them here, but they are at this link on my website if people want to look at them again. (Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page.) One picture, it turned out had been taken in the summer of 2007. I still don't know for sure when the other was taken but it was probably fall of 2006. Neither photo showed Bristol Palin during the time period that "someone" was pregnant with Trig. When these two photos, on which so many had based so much, were disproved, panicked, a lot of people who had started questioning dropped the story... when they should not have. There were still many valid questions about the birth story itself. Many legitimate paths for investigation. And the opportunity was lost because many jumped to what might have been a true conclusion, based on false (and disprovable!) evidence.

So if it seems that I am a bit of a stickler for accuracy in photo identification, that's why.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Whoa! I didn't think of this!

This comment came in as a response to my post "At Long Last" earlier today.

From Jen: There is no reason whatsoever for MJ to refer to Trig as her NEW baby brother unless he is related to her blood-wise….

I think this is critical enough that I want to comment on it specifically. I spent a great deal of time in doing that post looking at cabinetry, and chairs, and trying to figure out family trees. I spent so much time trying to put together what some comments might "mean," that I neglected to try to figure out how a seventeen year old girl thinks. (And I should know since I recently had three of them. Not all at once, thank God.) I was looking at reality. I should have been looking at emotion. And emotion comes through in these pictures, loud and clear.

Jen's comment got me thinking. Really thinking. How do seventeen year old girls feel about babies? Specifically, I thought about how I would have felt if a good close friend of mine had had a new sibling come on the scene when I was seventeen. You know what I came up with? I would have felt mostly grossed out that her parents had had sex. (I mean, come on! They're in their forties! Forty year old people don't have SEX. Do they?)

And then, secondly, probably a little pissed off because I would be worried that baby-sitting tasks might interfere with our future good times. And thirdly, in this case, given the fact by the time Mercedes visited it would have been known that Trig had Down's, I think I would have been very put off by that as well. "Oh my God. First they had a baby, and now he's retarded." It sounds cruel and selfish, but I am being honest. I think this is exactly how I would have felt at age seventeen about the "special-needs" newborn sibling of a friend; I wonder why we think Mercedes Johnston is any different.

"Jen," who made the above comment, has hit a bull's eye with this one. If Sarah Palin were Trig's mom and Bristol her really really good friend, Mercedes certainly might have come over to see the baby and brought a small gift. It would be good manners. But it doesn't matter how she regards Bristol, in late April or in the future. It doesn't matter how she thinks of Gov. Palin. And you know, it really doesn't even matter that inexplicably she refers to Trig as her "brother." It doesn't matter what she's saying. What matters is how she appears to be ACTING.

Jen is correct. Mercedes Johnston's enthusiasm for Trig is best explained and in fact only makes sense if Trig is something TO her. Something WAY beyond the younger sibling of a good friend. ( And yes I know that there have been bizarre suggestions all along that somehow Trig is TRACK'S child by Levi and Mercedes Johnston's MOTHER, but there is absolutely no evidence that this is the true and no earthly reason I can think of that Sarah Palin would fake a pregnancy in that case.) If Trig IS Mercedes Johnston's blood relative, given everything we know, by far the most plausible explanation is that he is her brother's child.

Then the baby becomes part of your group. Part of your "set." Part of your paradigm. She's possessive about him: she uses the possessive pronoun MY as in "my new baby brother" specifically. Then, posting his picture on your MySpace page and gushingly referring to him as "most adorable little man ever" makes sense in a way that it could not if he were the child of the parents of a friend.

Spin Spin We Almost Become Dizzy

(Actually, the line from "Dancing Nancies" is "Turn, turn we almost become dizzy," but I am sure Dave Matthews, an ardent Obama supporter, would not mind my paraphrase.)

The spin machine continues. Luckily, I am not weak of stomach, because if I were I'd be puking (excuse me: vomiting) by now.

In at least two interviews over the last 48 hours, Gov. Palin has specifically mentioned the Trig Palin birth "question," and promptly dismissed it, at least in one case, as "goofy." The spin that is being put on this... which seems to have started a week ago with Anchorage's Daily News's "Ear" column... is that this is an Internet-created rumor, started by bloggers "in their pajamas in their parents' basements." It did not start until after the VP nomination on August 29th, and (oh, how silly this all is) could have been easily disapproved if reporters "had just done their homework."

Let it be stated as sharply, as specifically, and as clearly as possible that this is a lie. Two lies actually.

FIRST LIE: This story began after Palin's nomination.

1. Sarah Palin's own spokesperson confirmed to the Anchorage Daily News that she discussed the rumor that Bristol was pregnant with him PRIOR to her own pregnancy announcement on March 5th.

2. A post to the Internet "rumor" site, reddit, reported the possibility that Bristol WAS pregnant and Sarah was NOT in early April, two weeks before Trig was born.

3. The Anchorage Daily News, on August 31st, confirmed that they had asked the governor's office about these specific rumors "numerous times" prior to August 31st.

4. I have in my possession emails from a Anchorage Daily News reporter who was working on the story in "mid-summer." As I have pointed out in a previous post, this timing is odd, very odd. It's far too late to be something that the paper looked into "casually" around the time of the birth, and way before her nomination. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that as of midsummer, the ADN clearly felt that there might be something to the rumors.

5. Wasilla caterer Sue Williams stated to the Mudflats blog that she'd heard rumors in Wasilla in April, prior to Trig's birth, that Bristol was pregnant.

No way, no how, was this something started in August. Pajamas or no.

SECOND LIE: Reporters could have disproved this easily if they'd done their homework.

Reality: This is the funniest thing I have ever heard. Seriously.

How, pray tell? How in the name of God was anyone supposed to get any information about this question, in the face of no medical records, no concrete statement from hospital or physician-in-attendance, and the position of the campaign that "Bristol-is-five-months-pregnant-and-families-are-off-limits?"

So why bring it up? Why mention something in at least two interviews that NO ONE had asked about? Here's Audrey's dish on it. Gov. Palin is aware that all of the main stream media's demands for her medical records were back door and thinly-veiled requests for info about the birth. No one (I don't believe) seriously thought she had breast cancer, or multiple sclerosis, or the heartbreak of psoriasis or anything significant that would have impacted her ability (health wise) to serve as vice president. The MSM, en masse, backed off from the Trig story on September 1; I believe that most outlets felt they did not have a choice. With the one exception of Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic, no national media figure has stayed on the story.

But skepticism remained. It's why I've said all along that I doubted that anything "weird" could or would happen to Bristol's alleged pregnancy (Ooops, she had a miscarriage... Goodness, did we forget to mention that?); the scrutiny, while quiet, was simply too high. The failure to produce the records allowed those who were already suspicious to pursue the question in an acceptable context ("We're not asking about the birth... we just want the medical records."); the failure to produce the records caused those who were NOT suspicious before to become so. Bottom line, now EVERYONE is suspicious, and because of this, she's got to talk about it. She's GOT to make an attempt to get her spin out there.

Why? This is complete speculation... I am stating that up front. But since this is my blog, I can speculate if I feel like it. So... why? Because I believe that Bristol Palin is NOT going to produce a baby by Christmas. The story that Bristol was five months pregnant seemed like a good one (translation: they couldn't think of anything else to do) on September 1; now, on November 11th, it's gotten a lot more sketchy. And when Bristol's biology doesn't comply, Gov. Palin's career is in the toilet. Permanently .

At Long Last...

I have promised for many weeks to do a post regarding the photographs that were found on Mercedes Johnston's MySpace page. They were grabbed by a number of social-networking savvy folks (I am not in this group!) but, according to several sources, disappeared at some point during the day on September 1, 2008. I had done one previous post on one of these pictures, early in the blog, entitled The Smoking Gun.

Just to review the timetable, McCain's VP pick was announced on Friday, August 29th. Throughout that weekend, (Saturday, the 30th and Sunday the 31st) the Internet rumors grew that Trig was Bristol's child. On Monday, September 1, which was Labor Day, the McCain campaign announced that Bristol was five months pregnant, in a direct attempt to "prove" she could not have been Trig's mother which theoretically "proves" that Sarah is. (Which of course it doesn't.)

And, again, apparently some time on September 1, 2008 the photos that we are going to be discussing here were either removed or "made private" on Mercedes Johnston's MySpace page. I don't know which, and if anyone out there can clarify the exact time table and process on this that would be great.

There are four pictures total, three clearly taken simultaneously as follows:

The first photo is of Mercedes Johnston alone with Trig, the second of Gov. Palin with Ms. Johnston, and the third is ... I believe... Bristol with Mercedes Johnston. Originally several websites identified the young woman in the third picture as Willow, an identification I originally agreed with, but now I am almost certain that it is Bristol.

Each of these photos had a caption. Here's a screen shot showing all three of the photos with their original captions.

The "breaking news" from Audrey is that I now know where the photos were taken. One of the reasons I have hesitated doing a post about these photos is that I could not pinpoint either their location or their date. It's been stated that they were taken in a birthing suite, probably at Mat-Su. This was important because it would have required that Trig would have been less than 48 hours old, and we would have been looking at a photos of both Bristol and Gov. Palin at a point less than two days after (it was most likely) that one of them had given birth.

I can now state that these photos were taken in the Palin home. I had always felt that the location might be a kitchen due to the tile floor and what I thought was part of a refrigerator to the left in the picture with Gov. Palin,. I also had suspected that it might be the Palin home from the beginning, given Gov. Palin's bare legs (which would be unlikely in Alaska in April unless you were at home... not really "going out" attire.) But I couldn't prove it. Now, however, thanks to several interviews done in the last 48 hours, we have solid video of the inside of the Palin home - and there's no doubt. Here's a screen shot.

The door, the corner of the island, the refrigerator.. they all match.

So.. what does this change? Where does this leave us? Well, first, by proving that this is in the Palin home, we lose the "datability" of the photos that we would have had if it could have been proven that they were taken in a hospital setting. While Trig is young here - very young, he could be as old as several weeks, in my opinion. If he is, say, three weeks old, (and he could be) saying, "Gov. Palin doesn't look postpartum here," is moot. She doesn't look postpartum. Neither does Bristol. So... I would conclude that these photos per se are now useless for drawing any conclusions about who "appears" more likely to have had a child.

What we're left with are these odd odd captions. Mercedes refers to Trig as "My new Baby Brother," and Sarah as Mommy in Law. In another photo, not taken the same day, Mercedes refers to Bristol as her "sister-in-law." Here's that photo. I thought I had a screen shot of it with caption intact but cannot find that. If anyone has it please send it or post the link. However, I believe that the full original caption is: "My sister in law. Oh how I love her."

First, nowhere has it been published or stated in any way that Levi and Bristol are married or were married as of early spring 2008. It's been stated officially that they plan to marry next summer. So Mercedes referring to Bristol as her sister-in-law last spring is clearly a term of endearment based on a future event. She thinks of her already as family. But does she think of her as "sister-in-law" because Bristol has already had a child with her brother, or does she think of her in that way merely because the two teens plan on marrying? We can't know. However, within the frame of mind that her brother Levi and Bristol Palin are an established and going to be married couple, she visits the Palin home after Trig is born.

Then she refers to Sarah as Mommy in law. Why? One possibility is that she's thinking about Sarah completely based on her (Sarah's) future relationship with her (Mercedes') brother, and using this term in that context, something that has nothing to do with Trig. Because vis a vis Trig, Sarah is either Trig's mother or her grandmother. But she's Levi's "future" Mommy in Law so "she's sort of my Mommy in Law now too." This isn't a great explanation, but it's possible.

The "my new baby brother." This is the most puzzling. One possibility is that because she already considers Bristol her "sister," any of Bristol's siblings are her siblings too. This is again weak but it is an explanation. (In spite of the fact that even after a marriage, if Trig is Sarah's child, Trig would be Mercedes' brother's brother-in-law, and NO relationship to Mercedes at all.) But if Trig is Bristol and Levi's child, then Trig is Mercedes' nephew. Does Mercedes not know this term and she's substituting the only thing she can think of? I honestly don't know.

I've thought about this for a long time, and have come to the conclusion that it's almost impossible to draw any resonable conclusion.

First, we cannot date these photos reliably. When people believed they were taken within a couple of days of the birth, they had some value as Gov. Palin does NOT look like someone who has given birth literally hours earlier. But now, saying that they could have been taken anytime between around the 22nd of April and the 10th of May, they lose all value.

Second, Mercedes' captions make no sense if Sarah is the mom, or if Bristol is the mom. In neither scenario is Trig Palin Mercedes Johnson's brother, and in neither scenario is Sarah Palin Mercedes Johnson's Mommy in Law. Either way, you can't make it fit.

However, we are left with two interesting observations. If Sarah Palin was NOT Trig's mom, if there was a huge guilty secret to hide, would you really let a teenager come in with a camera, take pictures and glibly walk out of the house? That seems very unlikely.

Then, though, there is the other side of the coin. Like many other pieces of evidence that may have pointed to Sarah Palin not being pregnant/ Trig's mother, these were scrubbed from the Internet on or around September 1, 2008. If there is a completely innocent explanation, why didn't Mercedes Johnston give a simple statement to the press as to when the pictures were taken, and her thought process behind the captions? Being casual and nonchalant about these photos would have been a very strong piece of evidence that Sarah is Trig's mom. They didn't do that.

So... again... the only conclusion I can come to is someone is trying to hide something. What?

Monday, November 10, 2008

You've Probably Already Seen This...

But I can watch it more than once.

What I'm Up To...

Hi to everyone... thanks for continuing to read and comment over the weekend. I was out of town and thought I would have Internet access, but it turned out I did not. It was a much needed break.

This website and blog are moving into a sort of secondary phase. As Morgan said in her last post, the urgency of this issue has diminished somewhat. However, it's still very clear that there are many (no doubt including Gov. Palin herself) who see a future for her on the national stage. Just this morning on the A.M. news program I was watching, the confident prediction was made that Gov. Palin will be the next Senator from Alaska. As I understand it, she cannot appoint herself to Senator Stephens seat, but she can "make an arrangment" with her Lieutenant Governor, then resign as Govenor, then be appointed by the new Govenor. This is all perfectly legit... it's happened before in other states, and she's perfectly within her rights to do this. (Correction: Apparently, according to this article, Gov. Palin cannot appoint herself - or resign and have her successor appoint her. There must be a special election.)

This website and blog has never been about trashing a person with whom I disagree with politically. I disagreed with numerous others who had been on McCain's short list; however, had any of them been selected I would not have done a website or blog about them! I think one of the things that frustrated me about this from the beginning is that, because I am a mom (full time for many years, stay at home, La Leche League, etc.) this is important to me. Really important. I was always very surprised that people would put being dishonest about a birth in a different category than, say, lying about having a law degree. To me, the character issues and credibility questions would be identical. And for this reason, I do intend to keep working on questions that have been raised. I think when I started this, I felt that within a few days I would run across something that would prove the issue either way. After two months I have not seen a definitive answer. And it just defies logic that it's not out there.

One thing that occurred as my website and blog became more popular (particularly in the two weeks prior to the election) is that I began to be flooded with (and I am not exaggerating here) hundreds of tips and suggestions. Links to articles in obscure Alaska publications that *might* show some previously unknown connections that *might* be helpful. I never could work on this full time - though some days it felt like it! - and many of those tips have still not been even looked at. I also feel very bad that some I was never even able to acknowledge! But I will be working back through email now, and trying to check out literally everything I was sent.

Frankly, much will depend right now on the pregnancy of an eighteen year old young woman in Wasilla Alaska. If Bristol Palin has a baby sometime before Christmas, while I will still have my quetions and doubts about what exactly happened, with the lost of by far the most plausible alternative mother, the issue may become unprovable. On the other hand, if Bristol does not deliver on schedule, I think this issue will return - nationally - to the forefront with a vehemence that will astonish people.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Please don't fret....

Hi folks.

This is Morgan, and I'm writing on behalf of Audrey who is out taking a much-needed break with her family tonight and for much of tomorrow. 

While approving comments today in her absence, I have noticed a disturbing number of them seem to assume that Audrey is closing this blog and/or dropping her quest for the truth about Sarah Palin's Curious Pregnancy.

I just spoke to Audrey and she has asked me to assure you all that nothing is further from the truth.  

Given the outcome of the election, the urgency to get to the bottom of this story certainly has been somewhat alleviated. But that doesn't mean the threat of Sarah Palin's return - or Audrey's pursuit of the truth - has gone away. It just means there is now more time to investigate the story as the Religious Right tries to buff out the dents Palin received during the campaign so they can roll her back out again in 2012. 

If you read Audrey's last post you'll see that she never said she was closing the blog. She only plans to ramp back the coverage a bit, which is understandable. As a close friend, I can assure you that she has an extremely busy professional and personal life. In fact, I've often wondered how she juggled things before she started titling at the Palin Windmill.

So for those of you wringing your hands, please note that when Audrey said it was "over," she meant the campaign, not the blog. Tips, communication, and input are still welcome. Posting will continue, although it may not be daily unless something big breaks.

The Palin Deception Web site and blog are still very much alive. And Audrey remains on the case.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Audrey has been quiet today. Audrey had way too much wine to drink last night.




As a result, on a creativity scale of 1-10 I was through most of today, hovering in the 0 range.

I do want to thank everyone who took the time to write to me today to thank me for the blog and the research I've done through the last two months. I don't know if, in the end, I made one whit of difference, but it doesn't matter. I felt strongly the day I started this that there was something wrong here, and someone had to do something. I became that someone. I don't regret a moment of it.

People want to know what my plans are.

I still have numerous posts "in me" that have never been made. I've done research on the board at Mat-Su Hospital that I've never put together into a final post. I have some thoughts on the Mercedes Johnston photos that I've never made public.

So here's the answer to that question: First, I have considered seriously today what impact the "medical statement" will or should have. My conclusion: not much. While it is more than we had before, and it does contain the statement that Sarah Palin is Trig Palin's mother, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson never states that she was actually present at the birth. As I pointed out in my last post on the topic of the statement, it also contains the information that Sarah Palin was pregnant in 1989. This was data provided to CBJ and accepted as true, probably without supporting documents, just like any of us might tell a current doctor we had chicken pox in the 1970s.

There is no clear distinction in this statement between information provided to CBJ in "history," and information CBJ knows because she was personally involved or present. The pronoun "I" is used multiple times, except in the paragraph relating to Trig's birth, where it is not used once. Is the information about Trig's pregnancy and birth derived from "medical history," or "first-hand observation?" We're supposed to assume it's "first-hand," an assumption were encouraged to draw because it's recent, but the fact is there is no way to tell from reading. No way at all.

This bland and mostly useless statement took weeks to produce. It is crafted with excruciating care. Andrew Sullivan referred to it as "giving the finger to the press," and he's dead-on, partly because it has almost no new info about her health, and partly because it was released less than eight hours before the first polls opened. The McCain campaign KNOWS that we were waiting for the simple statement from CBJ that she was personally present at the birth of Trig Palin on April 18th, 2008. They did not give it to us. There could be many reasons for this, but the most plausible is that she would not say it because she was not there.

My feeling is that the statement is not nearly conclusive enough that I am willing to accept it in toto and cease my efforts to get a final answer on the questions I still have about the birth of Trig Palin.

So... I'm not going anywhere. I will continue to post my thoughts, impressions, and any new research I unearth, definitely through December... then we'll see. Perhaps not quite as often as I have posted the last two months, but certainly 2-3 times a week.

Thanks for visiting... thanks for reading... thanks for all the kind comments and compliments.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Interesting Tidbit

I'm watching an interview with Gov. Palin as I type this. She's got Todd by her side as she stands in a parking lot in Wasilla Alaska. It's 11:22 Eastern Time, so I guess it's 7:22 in Alaska.

Her 18 year old daughter decided not to come with her to vote this morning.

How odd is that?

Early Morning Musings

Well, at approximately 10:30 PM last night - less than 8 hours before the earliest polls open on the East Coast - a 1 1/2 page letter was released from the long-silent Cathy Baldwin Johnson. (She lives. She breathes.)

First, let me digress to say that I woke up to almost 60 links to the text of the statement in my "approve" box. I rejected most of them, simply because they provided a duplicate link with no comment. Anyone who made a comment or had an insight I approved. So if you don't see your link here don't let your feelings be hurt!

If you haven't seen it yet, you can download your very own copy of the letter by clicking here.

The timing is so bizarre it's hilarious. With all hell breaking loose as people start to vote this morning (my husband already tried and could not get into the parking lot at the community center - he returned home for additional fortifying cups of coffee and will try again later when hopefully many have gone on to work) this statement will get minimal coverage today, to say the least. I've been watching CNN on and off now since about 5:45 A.M. Eastern Time and have not heard it mentioned once. (Switched to MSNBC around 9:30. Hasn't been mentioned there either in the last hour.)

This is not "medical records" by any stretch of the imagination. It is a summary of what Dr. Baldwin Johnson knows or believes to be true regarding Gov. Palin's medical history. It could have been written by any member of the practice. (And yes, I know Obama released roughly the same thing. But, as I must say to my squabbling kids on a regular basis, we're not talking about him. We're talking about you. We're not talking about Barack Obama, we're talking about Sarah Palin.)

This statement is probably based at least in part on what Gov. Palin has told the practice in a history. We've all gone to new doctors and filled out medical forms, usually containing umpteen pages of questions like "Have you ever turned blue while chewing Juicy Fruit gum?"

But seriously, how many of us have actually transferred medical "records" between doctors? I've changed doctors probably ten times in my adult life, and had at least that many insurance companies. I've never transferred a single "record." I've never once called Doctor A and instructed the office to send my "file" to Doctor B. My medical file at my current doctor contains what I told him the first day I was in his office, and anything he's added since. And that's it.

In this specific case, for example, Dr. Baldwin Johnson did not deliver any of Gov. Palin's first three children. Two were born before Gov. Palin began visiting the clinic at which Baldwin-Johnson works. Here's the exact statement:

She had four term deliveries in 1989, 1990, 1994, and 2000, and one pre-term delivery at 35 weeks gestation in 2008.

How does she know those first two births occurred? When Sarah Palin first visited the office in 1991, she told the clinic on a form that they did. Perhaps she had files transferred. But if the deliveries were low-risk and problem-free, perhaps she didn't.

I've been saying for weeks that I have been waiting for a statement from Dr. Baldwin-Johnson that Sarah is Trig's biological mother. This letter contains that. And it does contain it strongly enough that, should it ever turn out to be not true, I suspect Dr. Baldwin-Johnson's medical license would be in jeopardy.

However, I still must ask the question: Is the information about Trig's birth something that she believes to be true - based on Palin's statements to her - just like she "believes" that Palin had a delivery in 1989, or is it something she knows to be true based on first hand observation? Although this will infuriate detractors, I think this very carefully crafted statement still leaves that door open. Dr. Baldwin Johnson never states that she was actually at the birth, that the birth occurred at Mat-Su (only that it could have), or even that the birth occurred on April 18th.

Considering the number of plausible troubling questions which have surrounded this birth from day one, I for one find the lack of these precise specifics very frustrating and still suspicious. It would have been easy to say those things. Saying these things on August 30th would have precluded having to announce that Bristol was pregnant. The McCain campaign knows that those of us who have questioned this were waiting for just those exact statements. And somehow, we still did not get them.

And after reading this, I still must ask one more question: What took so long? What is there in this insipid benign generic letter that took almost two months to cough up? Why do I get the feeling that there was a whole lot of behind the scenes wrangling required to produce... this? Why? There's nothing here. I could have typed this up in my spare time while cooking dinner last night.

One thing hasn't changed. It still doesn't make sense.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Audrey's Bedtime

Audrey has to go to bed... kids to get to school in the morning. I've been googling for the last twenty minutes to get the full text of what the campaign released... so far no luck.

IF the statement from CBJ contains the actual statement that she has given birth to five children, it will certainly be something we will all have to consider.

IF the statement from CBJ contains YET another utterly lame thing like "she's only been hospitalized for childbirth," I'd say it gives us absolutely nothing new... and nothing even worth talking about.

People said in comments that Dr. Gupta had something about this around a half an hour ago, but I have been watching since 10:50 or so and they haven't even mentioned it again. CNN clearly doesn't consider it very important. The "breaking news" is that McCain is holding a rally. Hmmmm.

Medical records

This just up from the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sarah Palin's doctor in Alaska says she's in excellent health with no known health issues that would interfere with her ability to function as vice president if she and Republican John McCain are elected Tuesday.

McCain's campaign released a summary of Palin's medical history Monday night.

Palin's personal family physician, Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, says Palin has only been hospitalized for childbirth. Palin is 44 and has five children. She gave birth to her fifth child, son Trig, earlier this year.

Palin had a breast biopsy in 1992 for what turned out to be a benign lesion. Her vital signs, including blood pressure and pulse, have been normal.

The doctor also said Palin takes no routine prescription medications and exercises regularly.

OK, so here's my question: Was Baldwin-Johnson's statement that "she has only been hospitalized for childbirth" or was it "she gave birth to her fifth child..." etc.

Still looking.

This from CNN:

(CNN) — Just hours before Election Day, the McCain campaign released a summary of Gov. Sarah Palin’s health — a physician’s letter saying the vice presidential candidate is in “excellent health.”

Palin was the last contender on the presidential tickets to release her medical history in some form.

The November 3 letter from her physician, Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, says, “Governor Palin is in excellent health and has no known health problems that would interfere with her ability to carry out the duties and obligation of Vice President of the United States of America.”

On The Record from Misty: Some Bristol School Questions Clarified

As those of you who have been following the blog for a time know, we had several posts from a woman who goes by "Misty," stating that she had personally seen Bristol in Anchorage in early 2008.

I invited Misty to contact me directly, so I could get an "on the record" statement from her. She did so. She has given me her real - full - name and her contact info. Numerous personal details are verified. I am confident she is who she states she is, and lives in Anchorage.

She has gone on the record with me concerning what she knows about Bristol Palin's whereabouts in early 2008, and her impressions of the entire situation. I think this statement answers numerous questions about Bristol's whereabouts and puts to rest some other gossip and rumors that have been present since the beginning of the situation.

Misty knows Levi Johnston and Track Palin through the fact that her son played "league" hockey with them. She's met and chatted with Gov. Palin several times. She knows of Bristol because she was part of a group of friends that included her son when she came to West High School, though she has never spoken to Bristol beyond saying "hello."

Bristol showed up at West High School in Anchorage after Christmas, 2007. Misty was told by her son that she was attending West, and staying with her Aunt Heather Bruce, because she did not want to go to Juneau with the rest of her family. Misty also stated that he had heard that at that point Bristol and Levi Johnston had more or less broken up. She also heard suggestions that the Palins were interested in "cooling the relationship" between Levi and Bristol and that was one reason for her coming to Anchorage, but this would have to be considered second-hand hearsay. [Comment from Audrey: This would explain the "change" from what had been stated to the Alaska Magazine in December - that the intention was that Bristol was going to remain in school in Wasilla. Perhaps, if her parents wanted to "cool the relationship" they thought it would be better that she would be living in Anchorage with her aunt instead of in Wasilla with ? Her grandparents, perhaps? This is certainly reasonable.]

Misty saw Bristol on several occasions between early January and spring break, mostly at sporting events but once in her home, when she came over with a group of young people for lunch. Around the end of February (but definitely before spring break - March 10-14, 2008) Misty became aware that Bristol was no longer in school. Her son told her it was because Bristol had taken 'distance learning classes' and had finished early.

She did not hear any more information on Bristol until her son told her in very late April or early May that Bristol was pregnant. She cannot date this precisely but is sure it was before her son - who was a senior - was finished with school. (Last year (spring 2008) the last day of school was May 22nd, but seniors finish early. Last year, seniors last day was May 12th.)

Misty states that she never heard anywhere that Bristol had mono. She was as surprised as everyone else when Gov. Palin announced her pregnancy in early March, but never connected it to Bristol, since she had never heard any speculation whatsoever that Bristol was pregnant. She never heard any suggestion prior to Trig Palin's birth that Sarah was "covering" for Bristol. She had never heard any rumors, gossip, or speculation that the pregnancy was fake until the questions hit the Internet after Gov. Palin's nomination on August 30th.

Misty has told me she is as mystified by some of the aspects of Gov. Palin's birth story as anyone but does believe that Bristol is pregnant now...and that the pregnancy commenced sometime in the late winter/early spring of 2008."

Comments from Audrey: Misty's statements allow us to put some of the rumors that have plagued this story from the beginning to rest.

1. It's been said that Bristol was out of school for "five months," "eight months," "all of her mother's pregnancy." That does NOT appear to be true. She appears to have attended high school in Wasilla until Christmas and then West High School in Anchorage for January and February.

2. No source for "Bristol has/had mono" has ever been documented. Although this rumor was repeated everywhere (including on my own website) from the beginning of these questions, Misty states that she never heard that. Her son told her that Bristol left school because she had "finished early" due to distance learning classes.

I am glad to be able to go on the record with some reliable information about this.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Anchorage Daily News: Come On. Ask Why.

We have this today from the Anchorage Daily News.

48 HOURS LEFT . . . As we wind down to the election, supporters on both sides get nuttier by the day. On Thursday, editors and reporters at your Favorite Good Morning Newspaper arrived at work to find dozens of e-mails, and even some phone calls, from Obama supporters all over the country imploring us to "do the right thing" and quit suppressing an "investigative report" on the "mystery" of Trig Palin.

They got a lot more than dozens. I personally was copied on dozens... and I did not ask to be copied. The primary call to do this did not come from my site/blog. It came from Cajun Boy who I suspect has a huge readership compared to mine. I would not be in the least surprised if they got thousands. So... why the need to downplay the number?

Groans could be heard across the newsroom as people signed on to their computers and discovered the spam, which resurrected an Internet myth that surfaced, then thankfully died, right after Sarah got nominated for VP.

OK, ADN. Let's review. This was not some fruitcake urban legend that appeared out of the blue on August 30th. The allegation appeared on the Internet from an Alaskan poster before Trig was born, in April, that Sarah was not pregnant and Bristol was. Palin's own spokesperson, formerly with the ADN, confirmed that Palin had discussed rumors that Bristol was pregnant with him PRIOR to announcing her own pregnancy in March. The ADN has confirmed that they looked into it around the time of the birth. And I have been provided with email that proves that the ADN had a reporter on the story in midsummer. Curious timing, actually: Too late to be something they were checking into casually around the time of the birth and long before she got the nomination. Whether he found anything or not, someone at the ADN must have believed that there was enough of a chance that something was there that he was still looking into the allegations 2-3 months after Trig's birth. But now it's "nutty?" "Stupid?"

According to the anti-Sarah mythology, Trig is not her baby. She faked her pregnancy to cover up a Bristol pregnancy.

The list of reasons why this story is stupid are legion, starting with Sarah obviously feeling no need to hide a Bristol pregnancy. The myth also ran into gestation issues when Bristol's actual pregnancy was announced, but conspiracy theorists never seem to let facts deter them. They assure us the current pregnancy is fake.

Again, let's fact check here. Sarah Palin only announced a relatively advanced BRISTOL pregnancy publicly when it appeared that this was the only way it could "proved" that SARAH gave birth to Trig in April. Never, in any way, shape, or form, has the "fact" that Bristol was as of September 1st "five months pregnant" been confirmed. And I have never asserted Bristol's current pregnancy is fake. I don't know anyone who has looked into this seriously or responsibly who has. In fact, I think there's a strong chance it is not. Furthermore, it cannot be stated sharply enough that saying that Bristol could not have had Trig does NOT prove that Sarah did.

Ear usually refers such callers to Lisa Demer's interview with Sarah's doctor, who delivered Trig but, alas, this too rarely works.

What Lisa Demer "interview?" Alas, the only article I can find could hardly be considered an interview. It is the often-linked ADN 4/22 article which contains a few Cathy Baldwin Johnson classics such as: "Things were already settling down by the time she talked to me," (which appears to be a direct contradiction of Palin's earlier statement that she talked to her doctor "around" 4 AM as soon as something started to happen) and "I didn't think it was unreasonable that she continue to fly back." And my personal favorite: Contractions had slowed to one or two an hour "which is not active labor." This is a medically true statement which could well have nothing to do with the birth in question. And slowed? Slowed from what? Are we really to believe that either an experienced physician OR an experienced mom (who has boasted about her fast easy births) felt confident about her getting on two separate four hour flights because "things" had "slowed?"

On Thursday, an exasperated reporter was heard shouting into the phone: "We saw the belly!"

Really? When? A few photographs of a woman "appearing pregnant" prove nothing if the allegation is that the pregnancy was faked.

Come on ADN, do your job.

Let's ask some real questions.

Ask why Sarah Palin told YOUR reporter on April 21st that you could not tell by looking that Trig had Down's and why she told People in September that a fourteen year old spotted it in the hospital.

Ask why Sarah Palin told numerous outlets last spring that Trig's Down's had been diagnosed in December, and why she's said recently that it was at thirteen weeks (which would have been 4-6 weeks earlier.)

Do some critical thinking about why a woman who supposedly would never terminate a pregnancy has now claimed she had testing done at a point in pregnancy where risks are much higher.

Wonder why any woman would not tell her own mother she was pregnant until seven months.

Ask why no photos of the family exist from the time of the birth, even though it's claimed that all three of the Palin daughters were at the hospital.

Ask why Gov. Palin claimed in September that no one realized she was pregnant because she was actually "hiding" it via scarves and blazers, yet numerous photos exist of her at a point at which any reasonable person would think a 44 year old on her fifth pregnancy would be showing, yet she shows NO signs of pregnancy and no signs of "fashion-assisted camouflage."

Ask why a woman who supposedly is competent to handle nuclear arming codes if Codger McCain drops dead would risk having to lie down on an airplane, spread her legs, and push her baby out.

And most of all, ask why Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, a very respected Alaska family practice doctor has flatly refused to give any statement about this birth since 2-3 days after it occurred. Even when doing so could have prevented a seventeen year old minor from becoming the most notorious pregnant teen in the world.

Sarah Palin's birth story makes no sense and I am not going to be intimidated into pretending like it does. Find one medical professional who is willing to go on record and say that her story is even plausible to say nothing of defensible.

Come on ADN. Ask some questions. And don't denigrate those of us who are doing your job for you as nutty or silly or stupid.

Do your job.