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?
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