Friday, March 23, 2012

Photo analysis suggests McCain team likely saved campaign by stuffing pillow in Bristol's (actually Meghan's) dress at RNC

After going back and forth on this matter, I now think it is likely that Tripp, the son of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, was born after the officially given date of Dec. 27, 2008. Or if he was born on that date, then maybe something usual happened – for example, perhaps the birth was induced early. Keep in mind that the media would not see Tripp for nearly seven weeks after the alleged date of birth.

The issue is important, of course, because the McCain team, at the Republican National Convention in early September 2008, used the claim that Bristol was five months pregnant to argue that she could not be Trig's mother, since Trig allegedly was born in April (an allegation for which there is no real proof).

Is there a key to the truth? I think so. Here is the photo of Bristol at the RNC:

Bristol obviously has padding in the bosom area. But what about the belly? For you Photoshop freaks, here's the picture after some extreme adjustments with the color-curves controls to help show details:

Wow! Did they really just strap a round pillow to her midsection? It sure looks like it. Note how that round shape presses against the dress in the middle of the stomach area, but then there seems to be a space to the side where the material is loose. I don't think real pregnant bellies take that shape. Nor do your better fake-pregnancy empathy bellies. 

Also, that baby bump seems to defy gravity by riding so high on her stomach. Here is the RNC picture, now lightened, shown next to an Oct. 14 video capture of Bristol from an MSNBC newscast:

Note how much lower the belly bump on the right, which presumably is genuine, seems to be. What I imagine happened is that the pillow (or whatever) was placed correctly to start out with, but all Bristol had to do was sit down once and the material would be forced upward. (That's also what probably happened to Sarah's padding on March 26 at the Alaska State Museum, where her "baby bump" seemed much too high.)

So this really was a last-minute amateur job of making Bristol look five-months pregnant. Meghan McCain revealed that the Palins confiscated one of her dresses – Meghan, who is voluptuous, would have filled out that dress naturally.

Supporting the idea that Bristol is padded in the bosom and belly in the photo above is this photo from August 24, less than two weeks earlier:

Let's enlarge the midsection of this photo and adjust color to show details:

Bristol seems to have something heavy in the pocket of her sweatshirt or jacket – I'm guessing it's a camera – and it's pulling the material straight down. But the garment at the low point is a few inches away from Bristol's pants, so I suppose there is enough room for, say, a three or three-and-a-half month baby bump to be obscured; perhaps that was the point of wearing that loose-fitting garment.

Of course, even if Bristol was four months pregnant as of the start of the RNC on Sept. 1, that would not absolutely rule her out as Trig's mother. She had to be presented as at least five months along. And that called for extra padding.

The fact that the Palins and McCains agreed to let Bristol wear Meghan's dress while padded to fill it out suggests some real last-minute scrambling just before the start of the RNC. The McCain team surely knew of the birth hoax rumors before they all gathered in Minneapolis, and I suspect they knew of the hoax itself. They did not know that the hoax story would burn across the Internet after ArcXIX, on August 28, accused Sarah at the Daily Kos site of faking the birth. And maybe they did not know about Bristol's second pregnancy till they all met in Minneapolis.

What I suspect is that the McCain team brilliantly improvised by dreaming up the five-months-pregnant Bristol gambit. And by doing so they perhaps saved the campaign from crashing and burning in early September. Instead, the campaign slowly came unravelled as they, and America, learned how frighteningly ill-equipped Sarah Palin would be to one day, in the event of McCain's death, serve as president.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Was John McCain pressured into naming Sarah Palin as his running mate? Trig's middle name may provide a clue. 

Audrey, the tireless sleuth and excellent writer who ran the invaluable Palin's Deceptions site, was convinced for months that the picture of Andrea Gusty interviewing Palin on April 13, 2008, five days before the alleged birth of Trig, had to be a fake. Here is that picture:

She was so convinced, in fact, that she hired a Photoshop expert to analyze the photo to see if it had been doctored. Then Gusty, probably after being prodded by a Palin surrogate, did a newscast in late January 2009 where she showed that the alleged interview indeed took place. And for me, at least, that settled the question: the photo had not been doctored.

But I know what logic drove Audrey. She found it just too darned convenient that the photo (and a second one, below), should happen to appear in late August 2008, at the exact moment they were needed to quell the rumors of a birth hoax. This second picture shows Palin with, from the left, Dan Carpenter, a cameraman for KTUU, and Bill McAllister, the chief political reporter for KTUU, who would soon become her press secretary:

These two photos were taken minutes apart. Gusty has said she shot the lower one and that Carpenter shot the top one. She never, however, explained why the photos were taken. And as I argue at length here (pages 11-13), the odds seem excellent that the interview was arranged precisely to get photos showing Palin with an extremely large belly, which was certainly a fake-maternity prosthetic.

And as I explained in the last post, those pictures were held in reserve until late August 2008, rather than being posted right away, because they showed Palin looking far more pregnant than she had at any previous time in her remarkable six-week pregnancy.

So, one point I want to make is that Audrey simply looked at the Gusty picture in the wrong way. She seemed to think that a pregnant-looking image of Palin had been superimposed onto an earlier photo. What she should have focused on was the peculiar setting. Palin had been positioned at a very specific spot for the interview – where one hallway terminated at another – which allowed the still cameraman to shoot her big belly in profile while the video cameraman shot her head-on (from the shoulders up).

In other words, the logistics of the setup should have let us know that picture was real – and raised an even more interesting question: Why had someone gone to so much trouble to arrange the Gusty interview and get the still pictures? Only two answers seem to make sense.

First, some person, be it Palin or McAllister or someone else, was so foresighted and cautious that they decided to stage the interview and get the still shots just in case Palin got picked in the fall. I doubt that was the case. That's just too much planning and effort for what should have seemed like a long-shot.

Which brings us to the other possibility: that the fix was in by the time that photo was taken for Palin to be the VP pick in the fall. I think that is the correct view: the fix was in. And that being true, the conspirators knew the hoax would hit the fan after McCain announced Palin as his pick – and therefore some big-belly Palin photos needed to be staged in the spring to smother the inevitable hoax rumors in the fall.

And the fact that the baby's full name is Trig Paxson Van Palin may contain important clues concerning the fix. The tale of how Palin came to be assured of the VP slot by that spring perhaps involves sex and political pressure.

Trig Paxson Van Palin: What's in a name?

Trig's two middle names can be taken to mean different things. Let's start with "Van." Odd as it may sound, Palin has suggested Van Halen, the rock band, inspired that name – Trig would have the similar sounding "Van Palin" as the last half of his name. The following announcement of Trig's birth in fact contains a picture made to look like an album cover, plus over Trig's head, a "VP" symbol similar to the VH logo used by the rock band.

And why did Palin give Trig the other middle name, "Paxson"? She has said he's named after a popular snowmobiling area in Alaska called Paxson. Is it just a coincidence that VP can also mean vice president? Since she was actively being touted as a VP prospect at the time, that would be hard to believe. And if not a coincidence – if that VP graphic deliberately suggested the political office – shouldn't we likewise expect the name Paxson to contain a hidden meaning?

*     *     *    

In early 2008, someone tipped off the New York Times that John McCain, whose brand rested on being a political reformer, may have essentially traded his political clout for sex in 2000. It was an accusation that could have sunk his campaign.

On Feb. 21, less than two weeks before Super Tuesday, when McCain hoped to clinch the nomination, Times story about the alleged affair appeared, starting thus:

"WASHINGTON — Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

"A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity."

This was a bombshell, and it had all the marks of a setup. Somebody with tremendous power or wealth must have targeted McCain. Only such an individual, using money or other lures, could have induced McCain's former staffers to betray him in this way to the Times.

And who could this powerful person be? A tipoff might be the story's revelation that the female lobbyist had flown with McCain "on a client's corporate jet." That client was Lowell "Bud" Paxson, the media mogul who made much of his great fortune by co-founding and then selling the Home Shopping Network. And the lobbyist was the beautiful Vicki Iseman, a partner at the high-powered PR firm Alcalde & Fay. Some have said Iseman (below, left), who is more than 30 years McCain's junior, bears a striking resemblance to Cindy McCain (right), John's wife.

If Paxson in fact induced McCain's former aides to spill to the Times, what was he after? Paxson, it should be noted, is an evangelical Christian, and his commitment to his faith is so great that in the 1990s he founded Pax-TV, an entire network devoted to uplifting programming infused with Christian principles. He sold that network several years ago – it's been renamed Ion Television – but it still stands as a testament to his faith.

What indeed could McCain give to Paxson? Let me caution that what follows is speculation on my part; the only evidence is circumstantial. But the circumstances suggest McCain might have agreed to put an evangelical Christian on the ticket: Sarah Palin. 

Iseman denied to the Times that there had been an affair. But I'm guessing that if – and that's a big if – McCain and Iseman got amorous while flying around on Paxson's jet, Paxson might have had even more damning beans to spill the Times. (Did airplane personnel happen to see something romantic?) To be blunt: Paxson could have applied pressure to McCain to accept Palin as his running mate – and even if nothing explicit was said between them, if McCain knew that Paxson knew about shenanigans, that might have given Paxson's urgings great weight.
*     *     *    

Does the scenario I paint above seem plausible? Would Palin have actually given Trig a middle name that paid tribute to a man who helped her secure a spot on the GOP ticket? Would she have given him a second middle name that allowed her to enjoy a private joke that involved putting "VP" above Trig's head on a birth announcement, perhaps as a way of saying, "This Down syndrome baby will help me win the vice presidency"?

Only a very disturbed woman would do such a thing – a woman who might name a baby after a disability, such as Tri-G.


As a matter of basic fairness, I wish to stress that concerning Lowell Paxton and John McClain, I have no information other than what I reference above, plus obvious Internet sources like Wikipedia. In other words, I have no reason – apart from the weird circumstances I outline – to think Paxton might have pressured McCain in 2008. So what I present above is a hypothesis that may be proved wrong. I'll gladly publish a rebuttal from any of the parties mentioned in the story. I used the word "blackmail" in an earlier headline for this post; after consideration, I find the word "pressure" preferable. Blackmail may be considered illegal, but not pressure. I don't wish to suggest possiblly illegal actions by the above parties, even in a speculatice way.

In the same vein, let me present what the New York Times has appended to the end of its story that I link to above:

A Note to Readers: February 20, 2009
An article published on February 21, 2008, about Senator John McCain and his record as an ethics reformer who was at times blind to potential conflicts of interest included references to Vicki Iseman, a Washington lobbyist. The article did not state, and The Times did not intend to conclude, that Ms. Iseman had engaged in a romantic affair with Senator McCain or an unethical relationship on behalf of her clients in breach of the public trust.