Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So... Where's Tripp?


This isn't like an earring you lost in your carpet that you might not see for a couple of weeks or months, and then, voila, there it is. It's not like the remote that is surely down in your sofa. Or all those damn socks under your drier.

This is a baby. A baby that is the alleged result of a pregnancy that was the primary "proof" that Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, nominee for Vice-President of the United States, was the biological mother of Trig Palin, and had not faked a pregnancy last April. Since it is indisputable that there WERE rumors that Bristol was pregnant last spring, Tripp's birth is a compelling piece of evidence that Trig is Sarah's because it proves with near certainty that Bristol cannot be. So Gov. Palin should be eager to show him, to put this "ridiculous lie" to rest once and for all.

But no. What we have instead is a situation that, to quote a friend, "goes beyond strange into the incomprehensible." I could not have said it better.

So far, no one outside of the immediate family has claimed to have seen this child. No pictures have been released. No hospital has been identified as the place of the birth.

Let's review: On December 29th, late in the afternoon Eastern Time, posted an announcement that Bristol Palin had given birth. The source was Bristol's great-aunt (so the alleged baby's great great aunt,) Colleen Jones, who, we learned later had heard of the birth in an email from her brother-in-law Chuck "Sarah's Water Broke" Heath. Great-great-aunt Colleen, readers should be reminded, does not live in Alaska; she lives in Washington state. For your viewing pleasure, here are two interviews with Ms Jones, here and here (from during the campaign - nothing to do with the baby.)

It later was revealed that People had learned of the birth by cold-calling Ms. Jones. Over the next 24 hours, the actual day of the birth as well as the baby's birth weight fluctuated a bit, but the consensus finally was that the baby was born Saturday, December 27th, weighing seven pounds, seven ounces.

As far as I can determine, no news outlet EVER confirmed independently that the birth had occurred. Every media source that I can find that ran the story, including the Anchorage Daily News, did so by quoting the announcement.

Initially, Gov. Palin's office would not comment on the blessed event (though they certainly did not issue any denial stating that the story was not true.) I discussed this in a previous post. Then, however, five days after the alleged birth, and two days after the news "broke" in People, Gov. Palin's office did confirm that the birth had occurred.

Since then, what do we have? Lots of lovely pictures of the happy young mom with her precious newborn? What about impromptu shots with Grandma Sarah and Grandpa Todd? No and no. We don't even have Great-Granddad Chuck Heath holding the bundle of joy. (At least we got that with Trig!)

What we do have is ONE interview, again in the ever-helpful People, from "other" grandmother, Sherry Johnston. She is the only person who has actually stated that she has seen the baby, here in the online article, and again in the print version of the magazine, in the issue dated January 19th, 2008.

But... hold it. A few things just plain don't add up with Granny Johnston's interview. First, although the issue was dated January 19th, it was actually available ten full days earlier, on the ninth. Allowing for printing and distribution schedules, it's hard to place this interview any later than the fifth. OK, so that's nine days after Tripp's alleged birth. Given the fact that most moms stay in the hospital 36-48 hours after the birth, it's reasonable to suggest that Bristol and her newborn would have come home from the hospital on Monday the 29th. So... at the time Sherry Johnston spoke to People, Tripp could not have been home from the hospital more than a week. Keep that in mind when you read the quote:

In their first weeks as parents, Levi and Bristol shared parenting duties. By day, says Sherry, they tended to Tripp and sorted through gifts from well-wishers; by night they traded off diaper detail and the task of soothing a crying baby.
Weeks? A typo? Maybe.

But then, ouch! Another oddity rears its inconvenient head. On January 5th, the Anchorage Daily News reported that Levi had quit his North Slope oil job, and that he was flying home. Wait. Wasn't he already "home?' Wasn't he living with the Palins in their (according to People Magazine) four bedroom home that had just gotten "busier?" Wasn't he sharing diaper duty? From Wasilla to Alaska's North Slope is 700 miles. Travelocity lists only three flights a day from Barrow to Anchorage, at prices ranging from $700 to $1050 round trip. Not exactly an easy or cheap jaunt.

In fact, that Anchorage Daily News' article about Levi makes no mention whatsoever of the fact that he had "only recently returned" to the North Slope or "had only been back on the job a day since the birth of his child," or something similar... Read the article again, keeping in mind that People magazine claimed only four days later that Levi had been parenting Tripp for "weeks," and see if you find the omission as odd as I do. Was he ever actually in Wasilla? On the very day that Sherry Johnston is telling People Levi is cheerfully changing diapers at the Palin home, he's actually on the North Slope quitting his job. Hmmmmm........ It's my opinion that, in fact, the Anchorage Daily News article and the People Magazine article contradict each other directly. And if Ms. Johnston lied about Levi being home, did she lie about seeing the baby? It's a valid question. (She might have good reasons for doing as she's asked. Just sayin'...)

And there's another reason to question what the truth is here: A single comment left by Mercede Johnston, aunt of the alleged newborn, on a MySpace page belonging to a former Wasilla resident, Mellissa Wilfong. Mercede has posted to Ms. Wilfong's page on January 4th, telling Ms. Wilfong that she planned on visiting Florida later this winter (and, interestingly, did not mention her new nephew at all.) But then, on January 7th, we get another comment. As Ms. Wilfong's page is now set to private, it can not be viewed directly, but here is a screen shot.

Courtesy of Gawker, here is a translation:

Levi is in a bit of a haze right now... Umm, I'm not allowed to see my nephew and my mom isn't either. We aren't Palins so therefore we are white trash and Bristol doesn't want her baby around us. So mom and I are really upset over it. I just hope Levi pulls his head out of his butt and lets us see our nephew and her grandbaby.

What to make of this comment? First, is it real? We know it came from Mercede Johnston's real MySpace account. Second, is it TRUE? It's impossible to say. Most of the Wasilla teen's MySpace pages went private after Sarah Palin's nomination in September; it's possible that Mellissa Wilfong, an older person and outside of the Wasilla group never got the memo, and hers remained public; Mercede may have not realized this. Certainly, the comment has received a good deal of publicity and no one has issued a statement that it is a forgery or a fraud: it's just been ignored.

So what does it mean? Are we to assume that Mercede and Sherry have NEVER seen the baby, which would mean that Sherry lied to People Magazine OR does it mean just that they can't see the baby in an ongoing way? No one... typically... is talking.

What's the answer? I honestly don't know. What I do know is that this family has again provided a situation that simply does not make sense.

Tripp Johnston is the best proof that Sarah Palin has that she is Trig Palin's mother. Yes, other women could have been Trig's mother, but Bristol for many reasons was the most plausible alternative. The rumors and questions about Trig Palin's birth have not gone away. Recently, Gov. Palin and the Anchorage Daily News carried on a rather public email war in which the editor of the ADN stated that while he believes Sarah to be Trig's mom, he also stated explicitly that:
It strikes me that if there is never a clear, contemporaneous public record of what transpired with Trig's birth that may actually ensure that the conspiracy theory never dies.
A good place to start - a very good place - would be with a clear, contemporaneous public record of Tripp Johnston's birth. But it doesn't look like we are going to get that either.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some New Photos to Discuss - Part Two

I have a few more new photos I would like to share, with some analysis.

The first two photos are from March 22nd, three weeks and six days prior to Trig Palin's announced birth date.

This first picture was taken of Gov. Palin at the Alaska Governor's Prayer Breakfast on March 22nd, in Anchorage. The first thing that struck me when I saw this picture is that she looked quite rounded and definitely pregnant.

Now this picture was taken - I believe - the same day, March 22nd, at the Alaska Girls' High School Basketball tournament. However, the tournament had begun on a previous day, so it is also possible that it was taken on the 20th or 21st.

And both of these pictures were taken four days BEFORE this picture, which has been seen widely, and I first discussed in this post in December.

To my eye, it's hard to explain the differences between picture one of this series (taken on 3/22) and picture three (taken 3/26 - FOUR days later) with any known physiology of pregnancy. Jokes aside, there are no "low amniotic fluid days," and every pregnancy I've ever seen (and I've seen hundreds) gets BIGGER as the days pass, not smaller. Is it possible that at the prayer breakfast, an event Gov. Palin knew would be attended by hundreds of women (many of them mothers themselves, and far more tuned in to signs of pregnancy) she took more care to "appear" pregnant; at the Juneau Museum, doing a quick bill signing with mostly high school students, she was careless?

Here's an interesting find. On Saturday, March 29th, at the Governor's Mansion in Juneau, Gov. Palin hosted a luncheon for the spouses of the Alaska state legislators. At this luncheon, Gov. Palin signed a bill authorizing a special session, to begin in June. Here's a photo of her taken that day. This photo does not have the clarity of many of the photos I have published because we do not have an original photo; what this is is a screen shot of a pdf newsletter.

Here's a news clip showing the same day.

In general, I try to be charitable. However, I have to say that, out of the panorama of Palin's maternity "wardrobe," this is the worst. She's wearing a trench coat. Inside. In her own home. At a luncheon at which she is the hostess, and most everyone else appears to be dressed rather nicely. Does this not strike everyone as odd?

The second interesting thing is that Gov. Palin is photographed here with Willow Olson, the wife of Donald Olson, who is interestingly, also pregnant. Mrs. Olson is due in mid-July (and gave birth to her second child, a son, on July 20th). Two full months after Gov. Palin's announced due date, and three months after 6 lb 2 oz Trig Palin's announced birth. Who looks more pregnant?

Here's a screen shot from the news video, taken as she bent over to sign the bill.

Trig Palin was born twenty days later.

Here's one other shot I'd like to add. In general, I have hesitated to do any photo "manipulation" beyond lightening and darkening images. However, the image of Gov. Palin with Ms. Young shows a lot, in spite of the fact that it's not very high quality. If you look carefully, you can distinguish between her black top and her black scarf. One of my helpers went in and very carefully outlined what I believe to be the scarf, then simply changed the scarf area to another color - in this case an off white. Not very sophisticated or fancy, but something anyone could try. Here it is:

Once you isolate the scarf from the shirt, it's easy to see that the line of the scarf against her body is almost straight. For those of you who are curious about the small bulge on the far side of the coat, I believe that Gov. Palin has her left hand in her pocket, but this is just a guess.

Draw your own conclusions, but mine is that this is not a woman who gave birth to a six plus pound baby twenty days later. This is also not a woman who turned into this:

in sixteen days.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A note from the moderator

I originally covered these points in the comments section, but just so they won't get lost in the ongoing flood of input I thought I'd repeat there here, with Audrey's permission.

Some of you have noticed that all the comments made by "BluTx" - a Palin cheerleader - have been replaced by the text "removed by author." A number of you have inquired as to where they went, and one reader even went so far as to email me and ask whether Audrey or I had scrubbed the site of BlueTx's comments. To her credit, this reader did offer an apology in advance if she'd made the assumption in error. 

The following is my reply:

Your apology is accepted, as you are in error.

We did not remove the comments. When we switched over to requiring everyone to have a Google ID, the one drawback was that any author could go in and remove their comments if they wanted. Some people even pointed that out and worried that someone could - essentially - take their ball and go home in the middle of a debate by removing their side of the argument.

But it was a risk we took due to a string of anonymous comments that we were so numerous and confusing (it's hard to know who you're talking to when they won't sign their name) after getting repeated calls from readers to do something.

Neither Audrey nor I removed BluTx's comments. "Removed by author" means just that, and I don't know or care why BlueTx chose to do what he/she did. I did post a moderation message this morning noting that BlueTx has indeed removed her comments, but noted that we would not be discussing the decision on the blog since our focus is Sarah Palin and not other commenters.

There are constant and consistent efforts to derail the focus of this blog - through either wildly off-topic comments, red-herring issues, submission of topics we've already deemed off-limits, and - in this case it appears - a manufactured issue.

It's our policy to keep the blog conversation running smoothly, which means reading each comment individually, checking links and making sure overly redundant or prohibited material does not get through.

As I've pointed out before, our decisions aren't going to make everyone happy, but that's not the primary goal so we don't try. The primary goal is to run a thoughtful blog that explores the mystery of Sarah Palin's fifth pregnancy in a concise, intelligent way. I believe we are doing that, which is why our readership continues to flourish and also while we continue to attract and keep intelligent, civil commentators.

Thanks again for your suggestions and support. I hope I've addressed your concerns adequately.

Some people here have been asking about how many hits Audrey gets and how many are from Wasilla, etc.

Not to speak in her stead, but knowing her personally I can tell you it's not Audrey's style to crow about how much traffic this site gets. I can only tell you that the Feedjit stats are there for everyone to see at the bottom of the page.

We don't really keep up with what's coming in from where, as Audrey and Co. are too busy compiling information and moderating the blog to watch the stats.

Also, some of you have sent in links via the comments section to sites that either have either sketchy/libelous/clearly unvetted information on SP or that offer her home address and personal contact info. It's against our blog policy to associate ourselves with such sites, even through approval of comments that link to them.

The more salacious, personal stuff can obviously be found online if you wish to seek it out, but we prefer not to direct people to it ourselves.

Again, thanks for your understanding.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Some New Photos to Discuss - Part One

Through the last weeks and months, numerous photos have come to my attention that have not been published here on the blog or on the website. One reason I have chosen not to focus on them is that often I feel the photos are inconclusive precisely because of the way Gov. Palin chose to dress during late February, March, and April 2008. But there have been enough questions about some of them that I felt it was time to publish them, and tell what we know about them.

Gov. Palin has made conflicting statements concerning just how pregnant she ever looked. At one point, she stated explicitly that she never needed to do much to hide her pregnancy because she never showed much. However, elsewhere she made the statement that she DID hide her pregnancy, through "fashion-assisted camouflage," beginning as far back as the Vogue shoot in mid December 2007, when, according to the dates she released, she would have been around eighteen weeks pregnant (a very normal time for a fifth pregnancy to begin showing.) But careful analysis of her mode of dressing from December 2007 until February 2008 (Christmas events 2007, State of the State 2008 and other events) in fact shows NO attempt to disguse anything until approximately mid February, when Gov. Palin began dressing in jackets and scarves, and often wearing what were obviously winter coats indoors.

Gov. Palin announced her pregnancy on March 5th. Curiously enough, however, her "dress to disguise" did not cease. In fact, in general it increased, became more pronounced and in some cases almost bizarre. We have photos of her (they will be in part 2 of this post) at one event (a formal lunch for the spouses of the Alaska state legislators) AT THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION in which she is wearing a trench coat which looks like something someone could have picked up at the Salvation Army paired with a scarf that literally falls to her knees.

No sharp, stylish professional maternity clothes for Gov. Palin, which is sad considering how nice and attractive some of the designer maternity outfits are now and how really good she would have looked in them. (Quite a change from the eighties when I was pregnant and maternity "fashion" consisted mostly of floppy bows of varying sizes paired with checkered tops. As if, oh yeah, that'll hide her belly.) No, during HER pregnancy, our fashion-conscious governor favored mannish black jackets, trench coats, frowsy scarves, and winter coats worn indoors (several of which can be spotted in photos from other years fitting remarkably the same when she was "pregnant" as when she wasn't.)

Here, then is a gallery of photos that have not been widely seen before.

This first item is interesting. The event was an awards banquet for the Alaska Outdoor Council. Dating these photos was tough, because the organization's own newsletter says they were taken March 8th, 2008. Here's a screen shot of the page of the newsletter.

If that date was accurate, she would have been around 30 weeks pregnant. Further research however, has convinced me that the organization's own newsletter is wrong - and that actual date was February 9th. While not quite as dramatic a find as if this photo had been from March, Sarah Palin would still have been twenty six weeks pregnant with her fifth child here. We tracked this correct date down through this news article, from the Alaska Journal of Commerce, which contains an additonal photo.

Here's an internet picture of a woman at twenty six weeks just for reference. I posted the skinniest one I could find.

Hmmm. That's all I can say.

The next photo has been seen several places. Here it is:

This picture is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it was one of the first (perhaps the first) taken of Gov. Palin after she announced that she WAS pregnant on March 5th, 2008. It was taken in conjunction with an event, in Fairbanks, called Fur and Ice, on March 8th, 2008. This appears to be a reception of some sort, held in honor of "the diplomatic corps." Here's another picture from the state of Alaska website.

Another reason that we are very interested in this picture is it allows us to date a blog post made by blogger Elizabeth Eubanks. Her blog entry, dated April 26th, but clearly referring to photos and events that happened earlier, is one of the "proofs" of Sarah Palin's pregnancy. The thinking goes like this: A random out of state person saw Gov. Palin at the airport and said she was pregnant. She would have no reason to lie. Therefore, Gov. Palin must have appeared pregnant. Here's a photo someone at the airport snapped of Gov. Palin, with Ms. Eubanks and Piper Palin.

It's clear that Gov. Palin and Piper are wearing the same outfits that they were wearing in the other Fur and Ice photos. Given that, plus the fact that Eubanks says she saw them in the Fairbanks airport, and it's a reasonable assumption that the photo of Eubanks, Palin, and Piper Palin was taken on March 8th.

It's been suggested various places that Elizabeth Eubanks was "paid off" to say that Gov. Palin looked pregnant. I'd like to suggest a far less cynical or dire explanation: she was in Alaska precisely when the pregnancy was announced. It was on TV and in the papers. No doubt, she heard about it, may well have seen it discussed on TV within the 24 hours prior to her leaving Alaska, and when she saw Gov. Palin it was the first thing she thought of. Based on Palin's appearance at the other "Fur and Ice" picture, in which she looks completely unpregnant, it's hard to imagine any great change in belly size between then and the airport that evening. So, my conclusion is: Elizabeth Eubank's oft-repeated statement "Of course I had to check out the “Hottest Governor in the US” and quickly turned to see her pregnant (she has since had her baby) with bags and daughter in tote." is nothing more that her repeating what she had just heard on TV, and had nothing to do with Palin's actual appearance that day.

For further discussion, I'd like to offer this picture, taken just last December less than a month ago, from the state of Alaska website.

The fit of the jacket, in my opionion, is identical from last March (at roughly 30 weeks of pregnancy) and this December (at 0 weeks of pregnancy.) (We hope.)

The last photo in this group is a picture taken on March 11, 2008 in conjunction with a youth summit of some sort. I am still trying to learn exactly what this group is. Here's a photo of Gov. Palin from that day.

Sarah Palin was less than five weeks away from delivering a six plus pound baby in this photo. In spite of not being able to see clearly due to her ubiquitous jacket, I sure don't see a 6-7 months pregnancy here. In addtion, this photo illustrates what I was mentioning above: her almost bizarre penchant for wearing winter coats indoors. The incongruity is made even more clear in this series of photos since many of the young people are wearing short sleeves. One young lady, not in this photo but shown at the event in other photos, is wearing a sleevless top.

More pictures tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Birth Certificate... what would it really show?

Since the very beginning of this controversy, there have been calls for Trig Palin's birth certificate as something that would settle the matter. I have never joined this clamor, because I have known all along that it would not be conclusive. However, there is a curious irony here which has occurred to me only recently: while releasing the birth certificate would potentially prove nothing, NOT releasing it may be telling us a great deal.

What leads to this seemingly illogical statement? In short, how birth certificates are handled in the face of an adoption. I have researched this with the help of an associate who has interviewed an Alaskan attorney who handles adoptions. The path to adoption - and the paperwork involved - is as follows. This outlines what would happen in the case of a closed, private adoption, with the parents and birth mother knowing each other prior to the birth, and making some of the arrangements before the baby is born.

1. A baby is born. An attendant at the birth (can be any facility staff person, not necessarily the doctor) files a “Report of Live Birth.” The birth mom fills out the form with her name and the name of the father. Other info includes the name of the facility and the name of the doctor, if there is one. This document is confidential. In the case of a subsequent adoption, only parties to the adoption ever see this, like the parents (birth and adoptive) and their attorneys. This report is saved for 100 years but it is impossible to get because it is confidential. The adoptive parents would take the baby home from the hospital.

2. There is a hearing within a week or two. This proceeding is confidential.

3. A decree of adoption is issued. Once again, this is a confidential document.

4. A birth certificate with the child’s new name and adoptive parents’ names is issued by the state. You cannot tell by looking at that birth certificate that the child has been adopted so even if it is released, it would be of little value. The birth certificate contains ONLY the following information: the child's (new) name, the adoptive parents' names, the date, and place (city and state) of his birth. Here's an example of an "heirloom" birth certificate you can order for an Alaska birth. It's more decorative than a regular one, but contains all the same info.

Different people born at different times in different places may have other information on their birth certificates. When I was born (long long ago and far far away) the state in which I was born seems to have combined the "birth certificate" and the "report of live birth." My birth certificate contains not only my parents' names, my name, time, place, and date, of course, but the hospital of my birth, my parents' marital status, the number of my mother's previous pregnancies, and the attending doctor's signature as well.

Since the beginning of my investigation into this I have assumed that, if Trig is not Sarah and Todd Palin's biological child, by the time of the campaign, he would have already been long since legally adopted. Therefore, releasing his birth certificate would prove nothing, since it would list his adoptive parents' name, his name, the date, and place of his birth. It would be tell us nothing.

But then I started thinking about this recently. OK, maybe that's true, but then.... why NOT release it? It might not be proof positive for those of us who understand the adoption procedure, but it would have still given the Palins political points. "Look, [eyes rolling] we released the damn birth certificate. They asked for it..." [and many did] "... and we gave it to them. What more can these loonies want?" And those who might have tried to explain about the nuance of adoption law would, at least to many, appear as if they were again splitting hairs. I'll say it again... the Palins could have gotten a fair amount of mileage out of releasing it.

But they didn't. After numerous calls from multiple sources for many months, they still have not. Why not, when they should have had nothing to lose, and potentially at least something to gain? When the document should contain nothing but the names of Sarah and Todd Palin, and the information that Trig was born on April 18th, 2008 in Palmer, Alaska?

Well, here's one answer. Here's why my original statement was that, while releasing it would not have proved anything conclusively, NOT releasing it may be telling us a lot.

What changes when the child is adopted, from the "Report of Live Birth," to the "Birth Certificate?" The baby's name and the parents' names. That's all. What does not change, CANNOT change? The date and place of the birth.

If the child that we now know as Trig Paxson Van Palin was NOT born in Palmer Alaska on April 18th, 2008, his birth certificate would show us that, no matter who the parents are. Could this be the reason no birth certificate has ever been released? Not because they won't, but because they can't?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

KTVA Video Report

Last night, at 10 PM Alaska time, KTVA (CBS Affiliate in Anchorage) ran a two plus minute video segment discussing the photos that have been posted on the blog several times, notably here and here.

Here's the link to the segment. This segment contains a short video clip of the actual interview between Gov. Palin and Andrea Gusty on April 13th, 2008, as well as Andrea Gusty's unequivocal statement that both the photograph of her interviewing Gov. Palin and the photograph of Gov. Palin with Bill McAllister and Dan Carpenter were taken with her camera. According to Gusty, Carpenter took the photograph of the interview; she took the photo of Carpenter and McAllister.

Prior to the newscast, at this same link (at approximately 10 PM Eastern Time), a full eight minute unedited version of the actual newscast that had run that night was posted (with no comment whatsoever), including "weekend weather." (Clarification: The eight minute segment appears to have been around 9:30 PM Eastern (5:30 PM AK time) and remained up until some time after the ten p.m. newscast, when it was replaced by the report that Gusty actually did last night.) This contained a much longer version of the interview with Palin. I was unable to capture this prior to it being removed, and I regret this. If anyone reading this blog has it available, please contact me.

I did not post anything on this blog prior to the segment running, as we were unable to confirm until almost ten p.m Eastern that the segment was scheduled. The majority of the discussion in Gusty's report focused on another website; mine was only shown in a very brief flash, and I was never contacted for any comment, or for the credentials or identity of the individual who had done the Photoshop analysis for me. In an odd twist of events... someone, and we are still trying to determine who, emailed a large number of people who had at some point posted their email address in comments to my blog (for whatever reason) that the segment was going to run, yet I was never emailed.

Further comment on this development will be available later today.


Monday, January 12, 2009

New Post coming soon, but for now..

... a word from our sponsor.

No, just joking, there is no sponsor.

But I do need to announce a change of policy, beginning immediately . Perhaps many of you have been noticing that there has not been a new blog post for some days. You are probably wondering why that is. The short answer is that I have been so overwhelmed with the popularity of this blog - as illustrated by our comments - that two of us, working almost full time, are having a hard time keeping up.

We check every link that is posted. That means the comments that say, "Have you seen these pictures?" are all checked. My most recent post now has in excess of 400 comments. We have rejected hundreds more. Spammers, counting on our exhaustion, are promising great new links of never before seen pictures, and it's true that the pictures have NOT been seen on my site before, but that's because they are of "teenaged barnyard sex" or "hot new Russian brides." Other people - mostly new to the blog - continue to post links to things that have been up on the site (and discussed on the blog) for months. None of you want to know HOW MANY links we still get to the damn Bristol "baby bump" photos. But because they come in with: "Have you seen this?" and a link, we have to check it!

So for this reason, we have turned off the option of anonymous commenting. You now must have a google ID to comment on this blog. They are easy to get and free. We hope that the intelligent discourse that so many appreciate about this blog will continue, yet this policy will slow down the absolute mountain of anonymous comments that are really starting to get in the way of what we are about here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thanks... but no Thanks!

I am posting this in response for the increasing calls that I accept money (mostly via Paypal donations) for the work I am doing on the blog, and also so a P.I. can be hired to go to Alaska and investigate the story.

I am very fortunate to be at a position in my life where I can afford to take on a project like this on my own dime. I originally became interested in this story, not because of any feelings or doubts about Sarah Palin per se ... I had never even heard of her... but because as a childbirth educator and a natural childbirth advocate, I have been disgusted and frustrated through the years over the constant and chronic misreporting of childbirth and childbirth related stories in the main stream media. My original interest in Sarah Palin was very "one dimensional;" I assumed that some moron of a male reporter had gotten that birth story wrong, since, of course, it could not have really happened that way. It was only a bit later -when I came to understand that that was in fact "her story and she was sticking to it," that I started digging deeper, leading to... today.

But I digress.

As I said, I am in a financial position that I can put my time and energy into this, and I am choosing to do so. I believe that by not taking any money at all for anything, I keep things "cleaner," and this is how I will continue to operate.

Just as an aside, on the question of a private investigator: Obviously, hiring such an individual would be an enormously expensive task. I think all would agree that a local "man" could not be used, since, while I am sure anyone who was asked would protest that they were "fair, balanced, and unbiased," anyone from the local area could potentially have strong feelings about Gov. Palin (either pro OR con). Even if the person WAS completely unbiased, no one would ever believe that, and I think results would basically be worthless to the public at large.

This would leave bringing someone in from the outside, an impressively expensive task, considering a plane ticket from anywhere in the "Lower 48" (without, say, a two week advance purchase) would run at least $1000.00... and that's just to start. Then there would be the car rental, the daily rate, the hotel. Such a venture could easily top $10,000... and frankly, I doubt it would have much effect.

I have never mentioned this on the blog before, but I know of a rather prominent and well-funded free lance journalist who, in September, did exactly what we are proposing... flew to Wasilla on his own dime. He poked around for days... going to the hospital... trying to get people to talk to him. He tried to interview anyone from the Johnston family - no luck. He was unsuccessful in getting a single person who was willing to go on the record to say either that they knew Trig WAS Sarah's OR that they knew he was NOT.

After five days, he went home, though his final comment on the experience to me has always stuck with me. What troubled him the most was "how afraid everyone is of her."

So... to repeat... while I appreciate more than anyone can know the level of concern that people have shown (and the many kind letters of thanks I have received) I have made the decision not to accept financial backing of any sort for continuing to do this. Furthermore, many people have mentioned a "book deal" to me. This is the farthest thing from my mind, and not a goal at all, though I am enough of a realist to know that - depending on the outcome here - it's not an impossibility.

So I am making this statement here, now, publicly. Should that ever happen, any revenue I receive from any book will be used as follows: First, I have several "volunteers" who have helped my in my research enormously. Some of their names you know... others have stayed behind the scenes. I would use some of the revenue to provide a benefit to them as my way of saying thank you; a cruise or vacation of some sort for the whole group. However, any additional revenue beyond this will be donated to an apolitical cause that would have relevance to this issue: support for rape victims in Alaska, perhaps, or research on Down's Syndrome.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Good Questions, Clear Answers

In response to my last post, this succinct comment came in. I thought I would post the answers briefly, since they are very important. Here's the comment:

Could somebody point me to an explanation of how the 4/13/08 photograph came to be verified as legitimate and not some home PhotoShopper monkeying around with SP's head, some pregnant woman's body, etc.?

Has Sarah Palin ever said it was a photograph of her?

Has the reporter with the microphone and/or the cameraman said it's legitimate?

1. The photo of Gusty allegedly interviewing Palin has never been verified as legitimate. It was released on August 31st, after the controversy of Palin's not being Trig's mom swept the Internet, to an anonymous Flickr account. Neither the photographer nor the account owner (Eric95599) has ever identified themselves, answered how or why it was released on 8/31, or answered legitimate queries as to why - since there was controversy in Alaska since April concerning Trig's birth - it was not released prior to 8/31.

2. Sarah Palin has never commented on that photo. However, the McCain campaign (in conversations with Andrew Sullivan at has acknowledged the photo as one of the few in which Palin appears pregnant. I think it's fair to say they certainly implied that it is Palin and that it is legit.

3. Andrea Gusty told that the picture was legitimate. (According to, she also provided them with a higher resolution version of the photo, though has never released it; the version on their website is actually LOWER resolution than the one on Flickr.) She also told one of my research assistants that the photo was taken on April 13th and that is how Palin looked on that day. However, Gusty also said (to she had no idea how the photo was released to the Internet because she thought she was the only one who had it and she has not answered my multiple emails asking for clarification on the photo. We have so far failed to identify the cameraman conclusively.

It should perhaps be stated here - since I do not believe I have mentioned it before - that there have been persistent rumors that another version of this photo was seen on the internet early in September in which Palin did not look this pregnant, that the photo was at that point "inconclusive." I cannot find any legitimate source for this. No one that I consider credible has ever written to me and stated that they saw the photo, told me where or when, and certainly no other version of the photo appears to be in existence. I have worked with numerous people since I began researching this topic who jumped into the issue very early on and downloaded and archived absolutely everything they found. It is only due to very alert bloggers and researchers that we have, for example, full screen shots of Mercedes Johnston's Myspace pages. If another version of the photo existed, I believe someone would have grabbed it and no one did. Because of this, I do not believe that another version of this photo was circulating early in September.

Photo Discussion Thread

Much about this story has inevitably slowed down. Trig Palin is now more than eight months old and the birth of Bristol Palin's child was announced a week ago (with the birth itself allegedly occurring ten days ago.) This is, in most standard ways, not an "on-going" news story, though of course we are still trying to obtain some (any!) independent verification that Tripp Palin was actuallly born. Because of that, it's just not possible to post new information every day.

There remains a high level of ongoing interest, however, in the two famous photographs which show Gov. Sarah Palin looking expectant, allegedly taken on 4/13 and released on 8/31. So much so that at times analysis of these photos is overwhelming comments on other threads, and people are continuing to post photo commentary to newer threads that have nothing to do with the photos. I have received some complaints that the photo analysis is just to technical for a lot of the readers. They are not disputing it, mind you, but some readers just don't grasp it and don't want to. They feel when something conclusive comes in, I'll explain it to everyone... and that's where they want to leave it.

So... I've started this new thread here. Obviously, if I make any new posts specifically on the photos, people can comment on that thread, but until I do, we are asking all readers to post any comments releated to the 4/13 photos to this thread. I'll put a link to this thread in the side bar, so it will easy to get back to. I am considering opening a second blog... just for analysis and discussion of photos, since interest seems so high, but that is a few days off.

Due to the many many interesting comments that have come in on the photos I am having further expert analysis done, looking at, among other things, the vanishing point issues as well as the issues of sizes of the people relative to one another. I am hopeful that some additional information will come to light. I'll keep everyone posted.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Yes, Bristol Palin is 18...

Several people have commented on my last post, pointing out that Bristol is over 18 now and really any information about the baby needs to come from her and Levi, and if they choose not to release anything it's their call. This is 100% true and I cannot dispute that. The two young people are entitled to their privacy, and even though at times in my frustration over some aspects of this, I may get a little sarcastic or "snarky," truly I have nothing but sympathy for the two young people and wish them the best.

It is uniquely awkward however that this pregnancy - which was used deliberately and explicitly to prove that Trig had to be Sarah's - was "then" fair game and is "now" off-limits. I don't know how to reconcile this.

I don't agree that because the election is over that this is suddenly a non-issue.

For example, let's say a candidate has been widely rumored to have a history of domestic violence but he has denied it. He loses the election but is still being widely discussed as a potential player in the next election. Then, the facts come out after the election that the story was true all along. Heck yes, I think it would still be news and a valid topic for discussion.

Bristol is entitled to her privacy and it is her call whether we ever see a single photo of the child. No argument there.

This potential deception, however, is not like lying about a job, or an educational background. In this case - let's be clear - the potential hoaxer used another person (her own minor child) potentially to perpetrate her lies. And now, because that second person (oh so conveniently) has become an adult, she's off limits.

I don't have an easy answer to this one.

Witness for the Prosecution

In 1933, Agatha Christie published a short story entitled "Witness for the Prosecution." In this story, briefly, a husband who is accused of murdering an old woman whom he had befriended (and who had made him her beneficiary) is exonerated by evidence obtained from the man's wife. The wife, claiming to hate her husband, had been a witness for the prosecution, but the defense attorney was provided with evidence that proved the wife to be a liar. The evidence, of the wife's scandalous affair, only peripherally touched on the husband. When she was confronted in court, she confessed that she had lied. It is only later that the defense attorney comes to understand that he has been duped, and the evidence was false. The wife explains: Information that "proved" her husband's innocence, given willingly by a loving wife, would have counted for nothing. The same evidence, wrested from her by force, got him acquitted.

While there are obviously many differences between this story and what we have seen happen in Alaska over the past five days, there are some striking similarities.

Last night, the Governor's press office released the following statement: December 31, 2008, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sarah Palin has welcomed her first grandchild, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston, born to Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston on December 27.

(Follow the link to see the rest of the statement.)

Consider this scenario. On Sunday morning, December 28th, the Governor's office releases the following statement: "Yesterday, December 27th, the Governor's daughter welcomed her baby, Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston. We won't tell you where he was born, or who his doctor is. We won't tell you where Bristol is. We also will not release any pictures. Have a nice day."

Something tells me that would have gone over like a lead balloon. But... this is exactly what we have. Release my faux statement and the press would be screaming. But release essentially the same thing, after days of coy denial and yesterday's bizarre digression into discussing Levi and Bristol's educational status, and no one really notices that there is no verification at all. Wrest the information that the baby has been born from them reluctantly and the public will believe what they would never have accepted if it had been offered willingly.

Bristol Palin's pregnancy was not a private family matter. It was announced on September 1, 2008 by the McCain campaign with - I assume - the agreement of her parents for one reason: to "prove" that she could not be Trig Palin's mother and, by extension, "prove" that Sarah Palin was. For this reason, the birth is not a private family matter. The American people are owed concrete verification that it actually occurred, through either a joint press statement from the attending doctor or midwife accompanied by an administrator at the birth facility, or a birth certificate, and a current photograph of a non-pregnant Bristol with a newborn. No one is asking for explicit birth videos or photographs of Bristol struggling to breastfeed.

But to refuse to provide a single item of verification that this event occurred, and then hide behind the sanctimonious reasoning that it's private, is nonsense and Sarah Palin needs to be called on it.

Oh, and back to Witness for the Prosecution? At the very end of the story, the defense attorney, having discovered the wife's duplicity, protests his hurt to her: How could she have so little faith in him? He was sure he could have won the acquittal of an innocent man. She quickly makes clear her real motivation: She could not depend on that because ... she knew he was guilty.