As I have stated many times, it has always been my preference to focus on Gov. Palin's behavior and appearance regarding the "Who's Your Mommy? And What Does She Do?" conspiracy. I was - like so many other mothers - disgusted by Palin's behavior regarding her children during the campaign, first quite specifically her choosing to use the announcement of Bristol's then-current pregnancy as the direct - and sole - proof that Bristol could NOT be Trig's mother, meaning that Sarah then had to be, and second, the way she paraded and displayed the children like so many stage props. There's one video in particular in which she carries a rather inert Trig out on stage like a big stuffed doll, strides briskly around with him, then hands him off like a football. I literally cried when I saw it. (I can't find the link at the moment, but if I do I will update this post to include it.)
OK, rant over.
Anyway... I really have not wanted to focus on Palin's children but it has been inevitable that the children - in particular Bristol - had to be brought into the dialogue for the simple reason that Bristol was (and really continues to be) Sarah's only proof that she - and not Bristol - gave birth to Trig. No birth certificate, no doctor's statement, no happy family in the hospital photos, nothing. Just Bristol. (Oh, and "Sarah wouldn't lie." I guess we can't forget that.)
So Bristol's whereabouts, behavior, and appearance are regrettably "fair game." And recently, two discoveries have opened yet more legitimate queries into just where Bristol Palin was and what she was doing - and how she "looked" - in the fall of 2007.
When the rumors first hit the Internet the last few days of August, 2008 that Palin had faked a pregnancy to cover for Bristol, two photos were widely shown in which Bristol Palin purportedly had a "baby bump." The first, in which Bristol is wearing a green sweater, was taken at the Palin's home in Wasilla. I have felt confident dating this to 2006, based on the fact that we discovered another photo from the same shoot in which Todd is wearing a campaign button.
But the second photo was a bit more troublesome.
People said many different things about this photo. One of the first was that it was from February of 2008. (I always thought that was most unlikely unless Alaska is a whole lot warmer than I have been led to believe.) Fairly early on, a correspondent identified this photo as having been taken in Juneau - and sometime in the summer or early fall, as the mountain in the background - according to him - typically has snow on it by late September. That seemed reasonable, and from this we could date the picture with more accuracy. It had to be the summer / early fall of 2007. Why? In summer of 2006, Palin was not yet governor; by summer of 2008, Trig was born and he is not in the photo.
I have always been bothered by this photo because - frankly - I never thought that the person in the photo that HAD to be Bristol looked much like other photos available of her. And of course the reason we are looking at this photo is the alleged "baby bump." Is there one? Possibly, though it did not look much different than the picture I felt dated from 2006. What bothered me more - a lot more - was how different and frankly "fatter" her face looked! But all in all, it's hard to tell, and you can't deny that she does look "full" in the middle.
I never felt confident saying anything with any certainty, however, because dates just did not add up in my mind. Operating from the assumption that Trig was really "due" in mid May 2008 and born a month early, if this photo was taken "before the end of the September" whoever is pregnant here could only have been 4-6 weeks - at the most - too early to show no matter who it is.
But one rumor that has persisted since the onset of this investigation was that Trig was born much earlier than announced. People have based this on numerous (and frankly very divergent) "evidence," not the least being that Trig - from the very beginning of his public debut in September looked much older and larger than you would expect a baby who, on Sept 1, was 4 1/2 months old and had been born prematurely. Other researchers have found clear evidence of a jar of baby food for much older babies (nine months plus) in a photograph of Sarah's desk from August on 2008 when Trig would have been barely four months old. Numerous people have commented that Trig looked much older than his supposed nine months in a recent promotional video Sarah did for the Special Olympics.
And of course as was revealed on this blog several weeks ago - we have clear evidence that Bristol Palin's presence was "scrubbed" almost entirely from MySpace beginning approximately July 1, 2007. Why? We had our suspicions but could prove nothing.
However, with the discovery of some additional photos which clearly show that Bristol Palin experienced rather striking physical changes between June of 2007 and September of 2007 PLUS our discovery that the Palin family may have intentionally released a "Christmas 2007" photo which was actually from Christmas 2006, it's hard not to have our suspicion alert level go to orange, if not red.
Here's what we know:
Several weeks ago, an alert blog reader provided us with this link. Apparently, these photos have been available all along but languished, undiscovered, on a UK photo website. Here's the link and here's another. (For this second link, you need to enter the site and you can search either on photographer's name (Andrew Testa) or "Palin.")
These links were critical because it allowed us to date - absolutely - that the photo of the Palin family on the balcony was taken on September 13th (or 14th - there seems to be a bit of confusion about the date, but a one day discrepancy is not an issue.) We already had suspected this because Palin's agenda, released under a FOIA request, indicated that official family portraits had been taken in Juneau on these dates, but we could not prove that THIS photo was taken then. Now we could.
One thing that is striking about these photos is that Bristol clearly shows signs of a weight gain, both in her face and in her body, when you contrast these shots with ones taken of her only three months earlier, on June 10, 2007.
She is slim hipped, lean through the face, completely flat in the belly, and frankly not very large on top. And three months later - we have this:
This is another photograph that we recently ran across. It was - we think - supposed to have been the "official Palin family holiday portrait for Christmas 2007" and it was obviously taken the same day as all the other photos in September. It was released for use in the Alaska Business Journal's December issue, but I still have not been able to determine if it ever appeared on the state website, or any where else for that matter. It could have been - but considering the fact that we have never seen this photo before now, my guess is that sometime between when it was released to the Alaska Business Journal and Christmas, the Palins changed their mind about using it. Hmmm. Wonder why....
Want another comparison between June 10 and September 14? Here it is:
And this brings me to the second interesting little tidbit that my ever vigilant helpers discovered. One of the things that has always struck us is the complete dearth of any photos of Bristol Palin between (now we know) September 14, 2007 and April 25, 2008 (when she posed in a candid shot with Mercede Johnston before Mercede attended the prom at Burchell High School.)
Bristol supposedly went with her mother to New York City in October of 2007. She is mentioned briefly on the state of Alaska website as having attended a license plate art ceremony (now there's some fun!) in early January, 2008, and again - according to travel reimbursement forms Palin filed, Bristol was also supposed to have attended an American Heart Association event in Fairbanks in mid February, 2008 though no photos of Bristol that we can locate seem to exist for any of these. (Queries to the Heart Association about this event have been met with a surprisingly, even shocking amount of obfuscation and stonewalling. More on this in a future post.) But other than that, the public record is amazingly silent on the whereabouts of Bristol Palin between September 2007 and April 2008.
One "sole" official photo seemed to exist, this Palin family photo released in the Kaylene Johnson biography of Palin, and dated to Christmas 2007. Here - naysayers have claimed - HERE is a photo of Bristol. Nothing to see here. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it, you Trig Truthers you.
Except, not so fast.
Here's the picture released in Kaylene Johnson's book:
It's clearly dated 2007.
But here's a picture released in another Palin biography, Lorenzo Benet's Trailblazer.
It's dated 2006. Every person in the photo is wearing the same clothes, so it's reasonable to assume it's from the same year. But which year is it? Who's wrong? Kaylene Johnson or Lorenzo Benet? How to know?
Conveniently, every year at the Governor's Mansion in Juneau, the Governor of Alaska hosts an open house. Many high quality and reliably dated pictures are available of this event from mainstream media for both years. Careful analysis of the photos have shown that the decorations - specifically ornaments on the wreath visible behind the Palin family - are consistent with 2006 NOT 2007. It's not easy to see in the photo released in the Benet book, but when you really look, the conclusion is obvious.
Here's the wreath from the Lorenzo Benet book:
Here's the wreath from Christmas 2006, according to the official state of Alaska website:
Here's the wreath from Christmas 2007, again from the official state site:
It's obvious that the wreath in the photos from both the Kaylene Johnson book and Lorenzo Benet book is from 2006. A "typo" on Kaylene Johnson's part? An OOPS on the Palin family's part? Whatever the answer, this photograph is not from 2007. It's from 2006. Yet another "possible" sighting of Bristol from the time period in question is proved false.
So - what can we conclude?
1. In spite of rigorous efforts to locate one, not a single piece of photographic evidence exists of Bristol Palin from mid September 2007 until April 2008. This is a girl who had many friends with social networking pages. This is the daughter of the governor of Alaska, who prior to this time, had required her daughter to attend numerous "First Family" events.
2. Photographs that do exist show a striking amount of physical change in Bristol Palin during the early months of the time when "someone" would have been pregnant with Trig.
3. The one photograph ever released "officially" by Palin which purported to show her daughter in December of 2007 was misdated. By whom, we do not know.
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