Monday, February 16, 2009

The Purloined Letter...

…is Edgar Allan Poe’s famous story of the theft of a potentially damaging letter, and the clever way in which the amateur sleuth C. Auguste Dupin recovers the letter. Perhaps we “pathetic bloggers” are modern-day incarnations of Dupin, using our wits (and the Internet!) to try to solve the mystery of Trig Palin’s birth. In this spirit, let’s turn our attention back to another letter – this one is not “purloined” but is suspicious and certainly deserves more attention than it has received in this real-life “detective story.”

The Purloined Letter, like the CBJ letter, is a wonderful play between revelation and concealment. CBJ's letter would appear to be something simple but close examination reveals that the structure and contents are actually highly suggestive (one could say convoluted) and open to many interpretations.

To review: after delaying for weeks, at 10:30 p.m. on November 3, 2008, barely hours before Election Day, the McCain-Palin Campaign released a letter regarding Sarah Palin’s medical history. The odd timing of the release of this letter ensured that it would not receive any scrutiny prior to the election, and given their election defeat the next day, it has received little scrutiny since. In fact, ask most anyone who could be considered "pro-Palin," and they will tell you, indignantly, that of course Gov. Palin released her medical "records." In fact, she never did anything of the sort.

Questions surrounding the letter were raised several months ago on the blog, but I did not have the opportunity at the time to investigate or address them in any detail, so frankly, this issue went on the back burner. Then, in early January, there was an extraordinary email exchange between Governor Palin and the editor of the Anchorage Daily News, Pat Dougherty. These emails made clear that ADN had assigned reporter Lisa Demer to report on the conspiracy story itself, to document how, what Dougherty calls "nutty nonsense" has nevertheless persisted for so many months. In conjunction with this, Demer was to try to “report the facts of Trig's birth thoroughly enough to kill the nonsense once and for all.” The amazing thing is that the emails reveal that, despite contacting Dr. Baldwin-Johnson (and others), Demer still – as recently as two months ago - did not receive the information ADN needed to “put this nonsense to rest.”

How is one to interpret this? Reading between the lines, I believe that ADN contacted Dr. Baldwin-Johnson to corroborate the birth story on several occasions – but she has not, ever, in clear, simple, unequivocal terms, been willing to do so. This is - in fact - astonishing.

Cathy Baldwin Johnson has never given a simple statement that Trig Palin was born at Mat-Su Hospital on April 18th, that Sarah Palin is his biological mother, and that she - Dr. Baldwin-Johnson - was physically present at the delivery. She would not do this at the following junctures:
1. Back in April, when Trig Palin was allegedly born. She gave ambiguous statements to the press about the circumstances of the birth (several of which contradicted explicitly statements Gov. Palin made) and then she clammed up.
2. On August 31st (when announcing it would have scotched the necessity of announcing – the next day – seventeen year old Bristol's pregnancy);
3. In the letter released before the election
4. To the ADN in December when they asked AGAIN.

The questions that this leaves are astounding. Dougherty states unequivocally that he has no personal doubts that Sarah Palin is Trig Palin's mother, yet never is willing to confront – head on – the rank inconsistency that the Governor's own physician will not corroborate her birth story.

As a result, I decided that it was time to delve further into the questions raised by the letter, and Dr. Baldwin-Johnson’s involvement in this case. I asked one of my research assistants to summarize the problems with the letter; that summary is here. We are releasing it in pdf form as it is quite long - five pages - and contains numerous legal citations.

To summarize this pdf: This letter is the only documentation that has ever been provided by anyone about the circumstances of Trig Palin's birth. Yet it was not released by the doctor; it was not actually signed by the doctor; it has never been authenticated by the doctor; it contains information which the doctor could not know first-hand; it contains erroneous information; and most notably, it does not ever say that Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig Palin. The letter's unprofessional appearance, modified electronic signature and lack of clear factual statements give rise to numerous questions about its legitimacy, and some have suggested that these may be a deliberate ploy to allow Dr. Baldwin-Johnson “deniability” – that is, grounds to claim that she is not legally responsible for the letter.

The problems with the November 3rd letter raise new questions about Dr. Baldwin-Johnson’s involvement, not only with the letter, but with the entire mystery of Trig’s birth. It is time to explore the medical, ethical and legal issues regarding this case.

To be continued…

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Once and For All...

I hope I can more or less accurately date this photo:

This has been one of the most enduring images of this entire debate. It appeared in the very first Daily Kos posting on the controversy, on August 30th, 2008. The fact that so much stock was put into this picture and Bristol's "baby bump" was very unfortunate. When the dating of the photo was challenged - successfully - mainstream media en masse backed off from the story, leaving, in my opinion, many extremely valid questions about Sarah Palin's spring 2008 pregnancy unanswered and ignored.

Just recently, including in comments here on this blog and in other places, the debate about this photo has rekindled. AGAIN. A common tactic has been to compare the photo to photos absolutely known to be taken at Sarah Palin's inauguration on January 19, 2007. Many people have stated categorically that the children - Piper in particular - look younger there, than in the "mystery" photo. And since the photo in question is obviously taken in the fall or early winter (no leaves on the trees) this means it must have been taken fall 2007. If that date is accurate, potentially Bristol Palin could already have been in the early stages of pregnancy.

One item that has been stated about this picture is that it was published in several places, and then after Sarah Palin's nomination as VP, the dates were changed. It is hard to keep up with all of these allegations though web pages have definitely been changed. I originally stated that I felt that the photo could not be conclusive because, last fall, at this link , the Anchorage Daily News had a reprint of an article. Several months ago, it contained this picture in which the Palin family is clearly wearing the same clothing as in the other shot:

The link also contained the information that the story was originally published on 10/23/07, proving that the photo had to be taken on or before 10/23/07. Now, this page has been changed, and this photo is gone from the ADN link. Now, the information is that the story was originally published on 10/23/06. More sneakin' around?

I don't know why the story was changed and the picture removed but we have located this additional photo from the same shoot.

Todd's plaid shirt is clearly visible here and inside the house, the lighting is the same, as is Gov. Palin's sweater, hair, glasses and jacket.

This last photo allows us to date the entire shoot definitively to the fall of 2006. Why? Because Todd Palin is wearing a red Palin/Parnell campaign button. Upon enlargement, it is easy to see. And, unless one wants to go to ludicrous extremes (such as Todd was just so proud of this button he kept it on his jacket for a whole year) this dates the photo to at some point during the campaign, prior to the election. In spite of the "suspicious" date change on Anchorage Daily News, I believe that the date of 10/23/06 is likely for the shoot. (Or perhaps a day or two before... 10/23/06 is the day the ran the article initially, apparently.)

There are many compelling reasons to believe that Gov. Palin faked a pregnancy in spring of 2008 and at least some reasons still pointing to Bristol Palin being pregnant simultaneously.

The "green sweater" photograph of Bristol Palin was taken in the fall of 2006 and is not one of them.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


We have received numerous queries today in comments asking whether I have received personal threats. This queries have been precipitated by the disappearance of a short-lived blog and website, which was taken down yesterday, supposedly in response to threats.

I can state categorically that I have received my share of what I consider "hate mail," filled with suggestions about what I should do and/or how I should do it. Many contain explicit anatomical suggestions, aspersions on my education and parentage, and many interesting accusations and theories about who I "actually" am. (My favorite of all time was the suggestion that I am actually Andrew Sullivan, and the writer was positive of this. His reasoning was brilliant. Andrew and Audrey both start with the letter "A." Voila. Proof positive that we are the same person. While I am flattered that anyone could think that my writing is any where near the caliber of Mr. Sullivan's, this is not, in fact, true.)

Another popular topic in negative mail is to speculate on the "true" source of my funding. It's interesting to me that I have received about an equal number of letters accusing me of being a shill for the Democrats and being a front for "other" conservative Republicans (think Huckabee or Romney) who "hate" Palin and want her out of the way.

Hate mail aside, I want to reassure all readers: I have never received a piece of email that I consider actually threatening in any way, shape or form.