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.


  1. Oh yeah, Tti-G's name is certainly a narrative. I've believed that all along.

  2. Hi Brad, I hope your continuing discussion includes the following points:
    -- According to the Gusty video of this scene, it was taken at 5 PM ("live at 5"). How are the dark doors to be explained, when sunset was not until 8 PM. Blinds? Could be.
    -- The exif data says 11:30 pm,** although the year on the date is wrong.
    -- Dan Carpenter seems to be the one who released the photo as erikZipCode* and he also started working for SP only in Aug.
    -- No other people are shown wandering in these halls during the video, which seems more likely if taken at midnight than at 5 PM.
    -- Note there was another end-of-session in Aug, when similar boxes might have been found in the hallways.
    -- Styling on Palin is more consistent with RNC styling than Palin's look in April 2008. No scarf on Palin, sensible shoes, hair is both down AND combed. Face seems thinner than in the Todd+SP+Trig photos (on the Gusty video) taken a few days later.

    *KAO on PoGates figured out who erikZipCode-of-Gusty-home-town is: Dan Carpenter, the man at the left on the 3 Amigos photo. KAO found a photo-share site, his, in which he captions the photo as "Me, SP, McAllister." Dan's middle name is Erik and he is from the same town as Gusty. Dan did not start working for SP until Aug.
    **CheerioGirl noticed that the exif data on the pics shows 11:30pm, which fits with the dark windows a lot better than "live at 5" (sunset was 3 hrs later, at 8 pm that day).

  3. Can someone please answer these questions:

    **Did the "interview" of SP by Gusty actually air, on Alaskan TV, in April '08?

    **(re: Amy1's comment) I don't see any dark windows in either picture. I see the glass part of office doors. If the offices were closed and the lights were out, then they would appear dark- no? Where are the windows?


    I think Brad is right about looking at these photos in another way. The fact that SP announced her pregnancy the day after McCain's nomination is VERY important and telling.
    Either the fix was in OR Palin knew that someone very powerful was pressing her case with McCain.

  4. Many of us have thought all along that there was a wish on the part of the RW fundies to make SP the VP, and that they surely discussed it with her, and got themselves ready (perhaps with this photo), and were prepared to make McCain an offer no one could refuse (perhaps via Steve Schmidt's suggestion, as claimed in "Game Change," perhaps in some earlier and more arm-twisting way).

    As we all know, the party line is that Liberman was still the favorite for VP a week before the RNC.

    I guess Schmidt knows, but he is not saying.

    I think these two variations on Schmidt's thinking are pretty interesting:

    -- This 3-25-2010 Anderson Cooper interview gives the party line on how SP was picked, Schmidt says he is not second-guessing the vetting process and at 9:45 Schmidt says: "Had she not been on the ticket, our margin of defeat would have been greater than it would have been otherwise."

    -- In a later interview, "The New Yorker" interview on Nov 14 2011 at 06.25: "In hindsight it was a mistake. She was clearly not a person -- and I think she showed this during her performance during the 2008 campaign -- that was not [sic] prepared for the presidency. . . . We had a disorganized vetting process that did not serve John McCain well. And the reality is that she should not have made it through that vetting process* and I think that there are important lessons to be learned on it. It’s something I intend to write about, in detail . . . . In reality, both parties have nominated a person to the vice presidency in the last decade, neither of which should have been anywhere near the Oval Office: John Edwards for the Democrats; Sarah Palin with us. . . . I think she’s had a destructive impact on the tone of American politics, and I think she helped usher in an era of know-nothingness and mainstreamed it in the Republican Party to the detriment of the conservative movement."

    So maybe Schmidt will say still more if/when he feels like it. I'm eager to hear your new take on all of this, Brad.

    * I.e., "not my fault." LoL!

  5. CaL: The glass door are to offices with big windows to the outside. Lights off or on at 5 PM would not matter much. Venetian blinds tightly closed could make that dark look, but lots of light leaks through closed blinds in my experience. And I never see people in such offices closing up window coverings when they leave for the day or a few weeks. I admit this is only a clue, not a strong argument. The 11:30 exift data likewise, because the year is wrong.

    I emailed the anchorguy: he says that video aired as shown on the Gusty video. But to lie to me is not illegal, so the question is still open for me, of whether this interview was ever broadcast, and whether it was taped "live at 5" or not.

  6. Brad,
    You need to read Shays book if you haven't. It is the smoking gun. Palin wasn't pregnant. The square pillow was from having Lipo.
    Todd is involved in a National prostitution ring that a GRAND Jury needs to investigate.

    1. That's no kidding. Shailey Tripp recounts many trips to the lower forty-eight to serve men Todd Palin assigned her to. That's sex trafficking.

      Evidently, if I read the information in Shailey's book right, practically every facet of Alaska life is corrupt: the FBI presence, the local law enforcement, the judicial system, the telephone service industry, the oil industry. She didn't touch on other state agencies being corrupt in her book (like Fish & Game, etc.) but that's been discussed elsewhere, with data.

      It's not hard to imagine how pervasive this corrupt atmosphere might be in EVERY state where inexplicably nasty stuff goes on and is reported, with little to no legal repercussions.

      There have always been references to the Sicilian mafia, the Russian mafia -- Shailey in essence has revealed there's the Wasilla mafia and the Alaska mafia

  7. Re Iseman: I thought this story died because no proof of a relationship surfaced, only the staffers suspecting one and trying to keep them apart. The distance between 2000 and 2008 is a long time. Brad, you are saying the expose was the blackmail, the paying off of McC's staffers to anonymously recall the events of 2008? You didn't say "to be continued" this time: what about the Viagra?

    I thought the value of the Iseman connection was her lobbyist job. Just an affair, alone, seems pretty tame at this point. I believe McCain would have caved in order to win. Less likely to cave due to the blackmail of an affair, which they could both just deny. As they did.

    crystalwolflady: does Shay's book help us date the lipo to Apr 2008?

    1. Yes! She states that when Palin "announced" her "pregnancy" all the girls went back and looked at the files about what was done and were horrified.
      When Palin had the massage she stated her abdomen was sore b/c she had Lipo!!!

    2. Shailey Tripp's book, on pages 69 through 74, talks about her encounter with Sarah Palin in the spa, when Sarah Palin appeared wanting a massage. The first paragraph describing the encounter says, "The first week in March...[2008]"

      Shailey goes on to describe the massage in detail, including that Palin had mentioned the Lipodissolve procedure had occurred prior to that visit. Shailey said also that "she [Palin] was standing almost nude in front of me...I hadn't noticed anything to make me think she was pregnant..."

      There's much more detail about the shock Shailey and others at the spa felt when they heard the news of the "delivery" six weeks later.

      Get the book; it's a good read, with lots of detail and copies of her e-mails, court files and law enforcement reports.

  8. Amy: What I'm hypothesizing is that Paxson might have told told McCain he had further proof of the affair. For example, a copilot on the jet who might testify to McCain's amorous activities on the jet. (Does the jet have a bed?) Could the jet have had hidden video recording? Iseman was working for Paxson. Is it a stretch to wonder if she seduced him on the jet knowing it would be recorded?

  9. The Viagra part was meant to be humorous – I dropped that.

  10. Sarah doesn't believe in coincidences. "Tri-g" means something. "Paxson" means something. I can believe stupid people naming a child after Van Halen, but somebody would have had to point out the existence of Van Halen to them. They're just dense enough, and tacky enough, to pick a name like that... and if it has an alternate meaning, well, Sarah doesn't believe in coincidences.

    I keep thinking I'll lose interest in this trashy family. Maybe they're my substitute for "Jersey Shore" and the other nothing reality shows. (Although I love competitive reality shows like Top Chef and Project Runway and Chopped.)

  11. If this was a done deal, between McCain and Paxson only, we will never know. If Steve Schmidt suspected such a deal, why would he be taking varying amounts of responsibility for the Palin pick? Was all that waffling re VPs just for show? Considering Liberman right before the Palin pick just for show? I can see Paxson telling SP he is pushing for her and to be ready. I can see them congratulating ea other that this is "God's plan." (like she said to Schmidt.) What I can't see is any of this coming out as a news story, even if it is true. Or if it does, going beyond a "he said/she said" story.

    That's why I always thought the hoax was a good choice to focus on, an easy true/false item, unlike all the many unethical and illegal other -gates. But it hasn't been easy, and she's still getting away with it.

  12. The New York Times
    October 26, 2008
    The Making (and Remaking) of McCain
    By Robert Draper
    From page 5:
    “What about Sarah Palin?” Schmidt asked.

    After a moment of silence, Fred Davis, McCain’s creative director (and not related to Rick), said, “I did the ads for her gubernatorial campaign.” But Davis had never once spoken with Palin, the governor of Alaska. Since the Republican Governors Association had paid for his work, Davis was prohibited by campaign laws from having any contact with the candidate. All Davis knew was that the R.G.A. folks had viewed Palin as a talent to keep an eye on. “She’d certainly be a maverick pick,” he concluded.

    Fred Davis keeps a low profile, and he has such a common name it is hard to locate much about him. Fred Davis was McCain's media guy. (He also did the crazy sheep ad for Carley Fiorina.) The fact that Fred Davis had previously made ads for Palin's gubernatorial campaign shows he was familiar with her long before the others. I wish I could find a connection between Fred Davis and Bud Paxson besides the fact they are both in media and right-wing, with Paxson being an evangelical right-wing nut like Sarah.

    The "Van Halen" comparison did not come until a few days later. It is necessary to listen to Sarah Palin's FIRST interview on 4-21-08 which was 3 days after Tri-G's "birth". There was no mention of "Van Halen" at that time, and Todd seemed to abruptly interrupt Sarah when she was about to explain about Paxson, as if to shut her up before she said too much. Paxson is also Latin for "son of peace" which is only found in one place in the Bible, Luke 10, the same chapter about the Good Samaritan, from which Franklin Graham named his evangelical cash cow "Samaritan's Purse".

    Reporter: I know the other kids are named after Alaskan things. How did you come up with this name?
    Palin: Trig is a family name on Todd’s side, um, a Bristol Bay relative named Trig and I’ve always loved the name and it’s a Norwegian name that means true and brave victory so you know I had that name in my heart for… especially once hearing about challenges that Trig probably will be facing I knew the name would fit. And then Paxson is his middle name cause that’s an awesome..
    Todd: … a good place to go riding and excellent hunting.
    Palin: Yeah, it is. It’s great hunting area. It is. It’s God’s country out there. And Paxson…and then we’ve always liked the name Van Palin.
    Reporters laughing.
    Palin: So we just combined it all, yeah. And the kids voted and had their own ideas and we got so many cool suggestions from across the state of course lots of Alaskata names and uh, we got an email from an official in the NRA today saying ‘Oh, they’re going to love the name Trig,’ but you know they’re interpretation of what Trig meant was, you know, it’s them, anyway…

  13. One more thing about the "Van" in Tri-G's name: Thomas Van Flein is Sarah's attorney, and he very likely had a big hand in arranging custody documents for Trig so that Sarah and Todd could put Trig on their health insurance coverage. Since Sarah has never produced Trig's birth certificate, we can't be sure if they have formally adopted him or not. An amended birth certificate AFTER adoption would show their names, but it can't change his date of birth which was NOT 4-18-08. That's why she has not taken the simple measure of producing his birth certificate to end all speculation that she faked her pregnancy.

  14. Hi PCG! Do you have a thought about any strategy for getting the hoax revealed? Tieing in to the movie and Shailey's book seems like a window. Books haven't done it, McGinniss's good media efforts didn't work, lidia17's great video can't get viewed, no one has responded to my idea of using a fake-pregnant Amy Sedaris as VP on a Colbert-for Pres team (I sent story ideas to Letterman, Cobert, Sedaris, but no response, as usual). Our blogs don't do it -- I think they are too complicated. The nice Andrew Sullivan link the other day that had PoGates's traffic meter spinning seems like a flash in the pan. Lisa Demer doesn't seem like she will try to grab the Pulitzer Prize.

    I'm out of ideas, and as I start to see Southern Strategy in every Rush-type daily hoohaa, I feel it is ever more important to reveal the hoax, just as I am more discouraged at the prospect that it ever will be.

  15. I agree that any deal between McCain and Paxson, if there was one, will go to the grave with each of them. If there was such a deal, of course it would be great camouflage to let lots of chatter and speculation go as to who it might be – McCain had final say in the end, so recollections by his underlings about their discussions don't prove anything.

  16. @Amy1

    I know everyone here has read my comments and I'm sure are tired of me saying, "Bristol was never pregnant a second time." No one ever pays any attention to me and sometimes I wonder why I bother. It is so ensconced in everyones mind that -- Sarah had Trig -- and, Bristol had Tripp, that no one will even consider it.

    So, it's been over three years this fabricated story has been going around. You know, Bristol had Trig and he was a preemie and they put him in an NICU in Jan. or Feb., 2008, and Bristol turned around and got pregnant again. This started over at PD and has continued. However, Audrey was starting to get wise and examing Bristol's pregnancy during the RNC. As we know, shortly after, she was gone. How come no one talks about this or the Cornerstone posts?

    As long as people think there are two Palin babies, and keep saying Bristol has had multiple pregnancies (they keep repeating this so as to make it believable a 16/17 year-old girl delivered two babies in one year), I don't think the truth will ever come out. I know, Amy, you want to solve this hoax without bringing Bristol into it. That's impossible because her "supposed" son is the cornerstone that holds Sarah's lie together. Every comment made about "Bristol and Tripp" pours cement in the foundation of Sarah's lie that she gave birth to Trig.

    Also, was that really Bristol at the Red luncheon in Fairbanks after the 2008 Irondog? I think she was a girlfriend of Willows. The picture was so small and if I recall correctly, it was from the side. Can anyone enlarge it and let us know?

    I'd like to thank everyone that contributes to these blogs. Something is up. Why is she on Fox being asked if she would accept the VP slot again?


  17. Hi Ginger -- I am always interested in your comments. I've done my share of trying to understand what really happened, but at this point I no longer care about the details because the Mar 14 and Mar 26 photos (and other photos) reveal that SP was not pregnant as stated. No one has ever even ATTEMPTED to make the case that these photos are compatible with the pregnancy SP claims. Or that they are misleading in any way. Or that what they show us can be explained away. My first response when the RNC announced that Bristol was 5 mo pregnant was to laugh: fudging dates of pregnancies is a time-tested lie; it usually convinces the stupid ones and shuts people up even if it does not convince them; that is in fact what happened this time, too. We did not know then that SP is a well-documented liar. We do not have to know the exact nature of the lies to see with our own eyes that it is a lie. The complexity and ultimate uncertainty of all the circumstantial data is surely a turnoff for any newbie trying to understand the hoax. That is why I say we should forget about everything except the rock-solid data points: the photos.

    Even Shailey's assertion that in Mar 08 SP didn't look pregnant and that SP said she had had lipodissolve is not proof in the same way that the photos are. A skeptic can say Shailey is lying, and that a deranged pregnant woman could inject lipodissolve. I do believe that Shailey's account is credible; it is certainly and consistent with a non-pregnant SP. Ditto the anon claims of the carpool Moms who say SP said she'd had a tubal ligation.

    The photo proof is documented, unimpeachable, clear. Even a gov't-certified birth certificate would stand up poorly to an unimpeachable photo of a flat profile 5 weeks before "delivering" a 6-pound baby.

    Courts, sports events, and horse races accept photo evidence when the photos can be documented to be authentic. Brad: why don't you? Why didn't McGinnis? Why doesn't Andrew Sullivan?

  18. Amy: I do accept the authenticity of those photos; I agree they prove the alleged birth was a hoax. I'm not trying to make a living off my blog; I'm a college teacher. Sullivan and McGinniss have to make a living off their writing. They have decided saying Palin definitely perpetrated a hoax could hurt their livelihoods. I suppose they are right. I think they are both heroes in this mess for sticking their necks out as far as they have.

  19. Brad: Oh, good. So glad we agree on the photos. Thank you for responding and reminding me. Yes, I know you are right re hurting livelihoods: McG (almost) said that; implied that his book would be taken less seriously if he were viewed as a tin-foil hat person. As it is, he didn't get adequate traction to get the hoax exposed. I agree they are both heroes for doing what they did. Your paper, too! Very courageous.

    And of course, our interest in exposing this hoax is not about SP: it's about how can such a dirty trick be perpetrated and then covered up (by failure to examine in the MSM). It's about the power of the RW fundies to suppress the Oct-Nov 2008 ADN article about it that cajunboy described and that Lisa Demer surely knows a lot about. It's about Steve Schmidt withholding knowledge of this hoax (I know, he will say he didn't know. Anyone believe that? Can Steve Schmidt read? Does he have researchers at his disposal?) And our MSM continues to pander to the base that SP energizes by her shenanigans, Rush ditto; Komen's attempt to cut off PP ditto, all these voter-restriction laws coming along ditto. Southern Strategy! Yes we see an outcry against it, thank goodness, but I don't underestimate it for a moment. As Ginger says, above: {{{"Shudder!"}}}

    I'm feeling that with the movie and Shailey's book, and perhaps any energy from the Audrey/Fred issues -- this is the moment to knock SP out of the national dialogue, where, as SSchmidt says (see quote above) "I think [SP]'s had a destructive impact on the tone of American politics, and I think she helped usher in an era of know-nothingness and mainstreamed it in the Republican Party to the detriment of the conservative movement." And to the detriment of our national dialogue overall.

  20. Hey there Ginger - So just to be clear on your theory: You agree that SP did not birth Trig(s) or any other child in 2008. But you are of the view that a) BP birthed Trig in April '08 and that b) BP did not birth another child (Tripp) within the next year.

    Is that correct?

    I, too, agree that there is something very fishy about BP's "pregnancy" and "birth" in late'08. All of the events surrounding this "birth" - Sherry's arrest, fires, etc. tell me that something is wrong with the story.

    But, there are many other reasons to believe that Trig was born earlier than April '08.
    I would like to hear your thinking as to why you believe that is not the case. I know about the e-mail asking the Palins for the BC. It has been discussed a great deal recently and we know now that they did not have a birth certificate in May '08. But that could have been the case if he was born earlier.

    I would also like to hear your thinking about the frequency of photos of BP with Tripp.
    I know that any photo can be planned and posed for public consumption (like SP with Trig), but Tripp seems to be with BP much of the time. Also, what do you make of the licence plate request in March'08 for the name TRIPP?

    @Amy1- Thanks for answering questions above

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. @Amy1: You seem to be using the names Tripp and Trig interchangeably. Is this on purpose?

    There are clearly two different children now, Trig and Tripp. The licence plate was for TRIPP. Trig was supposedly born 4/18/08. But we've been told by some at IM that at first 'Trig was Tripp," or something like that. So I am imagining that BP asked for a licence plate with the name that she had chosen for her child--Tripp. But SP intervened, selfishly, claiming the child as her own, re-naming him Trig, and setting the hoax in motion on March 5, 2008.

    To this day, I do not know what to believe about the child currently called Tripp. He does look big in the 5/6 GMA interview and comatose -yes!

  23. In addition to Tripp's size, Kyle Massey's description of him in an interview regarding the filming they were doing for a "reality" series emphasized how precocious and smart he was --- way ahead of his age. He couldn't get over it. He had never seen a kid like that.

    1. I'm not aware of the Kyle Massey quote. Do you have a link and a date? I'm also not recalling that event where Tank drove Levi and a too-old baby Tripp somewhere. I'll look for those.

    2. Sorry, Amy1, all I can find is this from an interview Sept. 8, 2011:

      "But forget Bristol Palin and co-stars Kyle and Christopher Massey, the brothers insist toddler Tripp is the real star of the new Bio Channel reality show! We can’t wait to see him in action!

      “Tripp is the man,” confesses Kyle, who met Bristol, 20, when they both tangoed on season 11 of Dancing With the Stars . The 20-year-old adds, “He’s just such a good kid.”

      “I think one thing that’s really great is that people are going to be able to see Tripp, how he really is and see him grow up in front of their eyes. It’s going to be cool.”

      Christopher Massey, 21, thinks Tripp has what it takes to be a star for real, telling Wetpaint, “Look out for the little one; he’s just like a character. It’s funny to just watch him.”

      Even Massey matriarch Angel admits she’ll be tuning into the show to watch Tripp — not her sons! She says, “All I have to say is, Tripp is so super smart, it’s ridiculous. He’s going to give people a run for their money.”

      We can’t wait to see Tripp in action. He’s DEFINITELY the most interesting member of the Palin family!"

      In the above quote, it appears that all are impressed with Tripp, but the one who states that he is really smart is Kyle Massey's mother. Sorry for misremembering it as Kyle being impressed with how precocious he is. However, I think that a mother is the best authority on what to expect from children at what age. The cite for the interview is :

  24. ****CaL: You are right, I mixed up the names. Sorry: Brain damage. Below is my corrected version. I've deleted the original comment above.****

    CaL and Ginger: Is my understanding of your scenario correct:

    BP gives birth to TriPP before Mar 08, let's say before Mar 6 08, when SP announces she is pregnant. TriPP might have been premature, in NICU, and was kept out of sight. That's why Levi looks so young in some of those earliest baby photos, and why that baby looks so tiny; Piper too, in the lobby photo with the winter coats all about.

    The TriPP license plate is purchased by Todd in Mar 08.

    Levi claimed that SP lobbied to adopt TriPP, and that effort failed. But it gave SP the idea for the hoax, and she arranged to get her hooks on TriG for the 4-19-08 "birth." (From CBJ? From her church? From relatives? From Todd's prostitution business? Doesn't matter.) But with no birth cert, or not one that can be shown as verifying SP's delivery as stated. And the fake preg belly is a good way to disguise the multiple lipodissolve treatments to prep for the RNC.

    At the RNC, BP's post-partum-ness is accentuated with the bolster dress to look like the 5-mo pregnancy SP claimed.

    TriPP is awfully big in the May 06 09 GMA interview -- looks more like a comatose 14-mo-old than a 6-mo-old.

    I know we have other circumstantial datapoints, but is this the scenario you are thinking of, Ginger? Is there anything that does NOT fit this timetable?

  25. Thank you, magnus. So Tripp is precocious. Hmm.

    I went back and re-read the IM post where it says "According to Tank, Levi entered the house and later emerged with a young boy that he estimated to be about a year old. As Levi put the boy into his car seat he kept referring to the child as "Tripp."

    Now remember this was in March of 2009, when Tripp would have been no more than three months old. According to Tank he then drove them to a house, NOT his mom's house, and dropped them off.

    I recommend a re-reading of that IM post.

    So if we believe Tank, a Tripp born before Mar 08 would fit his story. As would the Kyle Massey mom's quote that "Tripp is super smart."

    So who would Ruffles be? Don't know, don't care. The idea of borrowing a baby of the right size for any given photo op seems so obvious and easy: in the Greta interview where Bristol first shows Tripp, we see little of his face, and it could so easily be just any random baby, borrowed for the interview from wherever SP got Trig.

    I am thinking too about the odd church video where SP is on the stage with a baby in a sling that looks suspiciously like a doll, and she squeezes the head like a tennis ball and takes her hands off the "baby" for a moment (leaving head unsupported). I don't have the energy to find our detailed discussion about that video some time ago.

  26. @conscious at last

    Why do you think Trig was born earlier than March, 2008? I've never found any evidence that he was. Listen, I've read, studied and watched every TV program any Palin or Johnston has been on. Most of what they say are lies but there is some truth there. You just have to be able to figure it out. And, what the bloggers say, I treat the same way. Personally, I think most of them that have "donate" buttons up, know the truth but want to keep this going as long as they can.

    Why would Bristol, a healthy 16 year-old girl, have a premature baby? Like I've said a million times, I think she got pregnant the end of July, 2007. And, she carried Trig for nine months like most mothers do. This ties in with the date Sarah said Trig was born. Only I think Bristol had Trig on April 17, 2008, (not the 18th), while Sarah and Todd were in Texas. Who started the rumor of a preemie being born in early 2008? If Sarah wanted the VP slot, she had to agree to go along with this and parade Bristol around the campaign stage looking pregnant because they didn't have time to deal with Babygate. So, how could they pacify all the bloggers who were saying Sarah faked a pregnancy? Spread this rumor all over and make way for a second pregnancy for Bristol. What's so difficult to understand about this? If you read Frank Bailey's book, you would know Sarah was a master at spreading rumors.

    We all pretty much know Sarah faked a pregnancy. How long did it take Audrey to convince some people? I'm in this because I had a baby at 16. Trust me! The last thing in the world I would have done would be to turn around and get pregnant again. And, I didn't have a mother who was governor of a state and, I wasn't on birth control pills, nor did I have a buddy doctor like CBJ to guide me. After a certain age, Bristol had to practically raise Willow and Piper. And to all the people who say, "Sarah took her baby away from her so she got pregnant again so she could have her own child." Stop and think: Bristol had to take care of Trig and nurse him. Sure, Sarah had DR. CBJ, who was treating Bristol, put all the medical papers in her name so she could use her insurance, but Trig was still Bristol's baby and they all lived in the same house. Right? Why in the hell would she want to -- at that age -- go through another pregnancy and have another kid to take care of? It Just doesn't make sense. I think Tripp is someone else's child they have under contract. JMO...

    Something tells me she wants to be VP again, only this time, with Romney. Shailey's book and Game Change will be water under the bridge by Nov. 6, 2012. She doesn't want the POTUS job. That would be too much work. I know, it's almost impossible to think this could happen but who else do the R's have to energize their base? All this, plus I think she has a b/c for Trig.

    Woe is me...

    1. Sorry Ginger,
      Tripp looks, unfortunately, WAY too much like creppy Chuckles to Not be a Palin. I think you are right about having a kid under contract though, and that kid is a Tri-G child. Your ideas still fit if TRipp is older than we think and is Bristol's kid. Levi said Sarah wanted to adopt Tripp. Who konws. All we DO know, right, is that Tri-G was not born from Sarah's loins at MatSu, with CBJ as attending physician, on April 18,2008. And since that is Sarah Palin's official story, that is what will be part of her massice epic downfall.

    2. I'm sorry, too, COP, that we don't agree. You really think that cute, darling Tripp looks like Chuckie? Yikes! Yes, Levi told Vanity Fair that Sarah wanted to adopt the baby. However, he didn't say which, "baby." Like I said above, most of what they say are lies but there is some truth there.

      Here's my thinking on that: After Bristol got pregnant (I still say the end of July, 2007), she started dating Levi after school started in Sept., 2007. The rumors started flying around after they pulled her out of school in Nov./Dec., 2007? Levi found out she was pregnant and befriended her. It's interesting to note that a local politician's son (Gatto?) got out of town when the rumors started. But Levi had no fear as he wasn't the father of Trig. Maybe during this time Sarah made suggestions to Bristol about adopting Trig. As it turned out, there was no need to adopt him. An adoption would open too many doors. Having Dr. CBJ put all the medical documents in Sarah's name, would solve that problem and give her a b/c to take with her for the VP run.

      You are right about Sarah not giving birth to Trig. But, Trig was born at Mat-Su to Bristol. Dr. CBJ told us she delivered him at that hospital. She just didn't say from "whom." The biggest reason for my thinking Trig was full term, is the fact Dr. CBJ delivered him there. Mat-Su will not even allow twins to be born there -- let alone a four or five week preemie. The e-mail from the SOA, Benefits Div., confirms they were holding claims that needed to be paid awaiting the b/c for Trig. It was dated May 21, 2008. They said they needed it within 60 days of the date of birth. I assumed 30 days had gone by and they were giving her 30 more days to send it in. Do the math.

      Bristol's reward for walking around the campaign stage looking five months pregnant (horrors), were promises of fame and fortune. To accomplish this, Bristol needed a baby. Her whole persona would be based on being a "teenage mother." Then, she could do her abstinence gigs, reality shows, etc. Now we know she couldn't use Trig -- right? He's Sarah's baby! But she based all her talks about the experience of giving birth, around her giving birth to Trig -- not Tripp. Not only did this bring riches to Bristol, it solidified Sarah's story that she gave birth to Trig and Bristol had Tripp.

      Get it?

    3. Shailey's book may be forgotten by November but it sure as hell won't happen if Palin were to be named as the VP nominee. There is far too much info in her book that is proof that Todd was involved in a prostitution ring. She names people without hesitation. As far as Romney choosing Palin? LOL, it would NEVER happen. He may be wooden, stiff and unable to relate to the middle class but he's not that stupid nor is his campaign staff. Game Change and Shailey's book will seal Palin's fate. She will NEVER hold a political office again. The media may be ignoring Shailey's book, Boys Will Be Boys, at this point in time but they would never overlook it if she were to be nominated. NEVER!

    4. Ginger, what do you make of the fragile small baaby Mercede held in the Palin kitchen with the ruffled ears compared to the robust baby the Heath's held in MatSu? You think Tripp is a stand in and Bristol had Tri-G. Are the ruffle ear and MatSu baby the same?

    5. @AKRNHSNC

      How I hope you are right! Who, pray tell me, will ever hold the Palins accountable for anything? And, the movie Game Change? Before I read Allison's blog I made a comment over at PG, stating the same thing. That movie will make her the most famous woman in the world. All it does, from what I've been able to tell, is let us know how unprepared she was for the VP slot in 2008. It makes her out to be a good mother and a hard worker. They can reinvent her and say, "Sarah's ready now."

      The other night, I saw her on CNN. She had just voted in Wasilla for the R's primary. She said she voted for Newt. Did you believe her? I think she's in the tank with Romney and acts like she doesn't even know he exists to throw everyone off. Granted, I don't think Romney likes her but he is too moderate for the R's. You know all those Southern states he just lost? Sarah will help him pick those up when she's on the ticket with him.

      I pray I'm wrong...

    6. @COP

      The fragile baby Mercede was holding in the Palin kitchen, Ruffles, in my opinion, belonged to a girlfriend of Mercedes. The baby being held by Sally, at Mat-Su, was Trig. Yes, I think Bristol gave birth to a full-term baby (Trig) on April 17, 2008. I based this theory on the e-mail from the SOA, Benefit's Div.

      On Allison's blog, if you can find the thread, I made a comment about Ruffles. After that, she took his name off the headline and changed it.

      About Tripp? If Bristol had given birth to this child, she would have sold the pictures. Rumors were People Magazine was offering up to $300,000. I believe that. There are so many other reasons why I don't think he is her child, I can't list them all.

    7. Ok I'm listening.
      I am now curious if Bristol's statement "Now I am a mother to that duck" fits your theory timeline. If she had Tri-g full term as you say, then got a replacement baby to raise, it could fit her statement.
      However, I just think Tripp looks too much like a Palin and there is also the photo of Levi holding a baby that looks like a very small newborn Tripp , Levi wearing a parent bracelet. Why would Levi be at the birth of Bristol's replacment baby? Re: People, she may have declined becasue the birth didn't happen when she said and didn't want to chance giving that away?

    8. Also, it seems a real stretch for a friend of Mercede's baby to be in photos with Sarah in her kitchen, esp with the caption " Triggt bear, cutest baby brother ever" or some similar caption. If this is the case, then Levi, Mercede are all in on the giant hoax as well, which is of course possible, but improbable to me. Improbable because If Mercede and Levi were involved in photo ops with borrowed babies being called TRi-G, seems they would have a hell of a lot of leverage to out the Palins and get their mom free of her set up drug charges. Levi and Mercede have alot of leverage.

    9. @comeonpeople

      No, that facebook page comment "now I am a mother to that duck" does not fit my timeline. I think that was in March (or May?) 2007. McCain's team went to Wasilla and scrubbed all the computers but left a few comments up. This comment, and the picture of Mercede holding Ruffles with the caption under it saying, "Triggybear," have caused confusion that exists to this day.

      In that "mother duck" comment, Bristol told a girlfriend her mother "thought" she was pregnant. She didn't say she "was." This was misconstrued over at PD as meaning she "was" pregnant. It is the biggest reason for the rumors she had a baby in Dec. or Jan. But, I don't think she was at that time. I saw a picture of Bristol taken in the summer (could never find a date) of 2007. She was in a boat and looked thinner than I had ever seen her.

      Are you talking about the picture Levi had in his book where his father is "supposedly" holding him when he was a child? That child looked like the real Tripp, to me. I don't think that was Levi as a child. Also, I don't think Levi was at any hospital whenever or wherever Tripp was born. Aren't hospital bracelets made of plastic? Wouldn't it be possible to cut one with a scissors and then scotch tape it back together? That picture was so grainy -- how could anyone tell.

      I've also told this story about the Johnstons, many times. However, I do realize it's impossible to read all the comments. From what I read and could tell, it sure didn't look like Levi wanted to attend the RNC. Many have said Levi just went along so Sarah could have a fiance for Bristol since they had to make her appear pregnant. He sure looked uncomfortable. My thinking, in order to get Levi to attend, there was some incentive offered by Sarah. We all know Sarah would never part with her money. But, I came up with two thoughts. The job on the slope? And the other? This is pure speculation on my part but it could be a possibility:

      Just maybe Levi and Mercede wanted to get help for their mother, Sherry, and wanted to get her into a rehab program for her Oxy use. I have no way of knowing this or how bad her problem was. If Sarah agreed to help, we know darn well she wouldn't pay for it. Rehab programs are very expensive. So, have her arrested and let the State of Alaska pay for it. Sherry's arrest was the dumbest Keystone cop scenario and very fishy. Arresting a middleage woman, for selling 10 of her own prescription pills, plus the FBI was supposedly involved, just didn't make sense.

      Stop and think about this: Levi did Sarah a favor by playing the fiance and going to the RNC. Why would she turn around and have his mother arrested? Another scenario that doesn't make sense. Yes, Levi and Mercede were in on the hoax but if they got involved to help their mother, I think that was pretty noble of them. The Johnstons have no leverage against the Palins. If I'm right and Levi did not father "any" Palin child (Wasilla High gives out condoms and I think Levi had his pockets full), why would he tell anything and ruin the gig he has going as the "supposed" father of Tripp. He has made thousands of dollars from this and so has Mercede.

      Last May, when Levi turned 21, he got a free trip to Las Vegas to host a party and celebrate. Plus, he was paid $20,000. Funny, Bristol "supposedly" turned 21 last October and she is way more famous than Levi, but no party for her? Maybe they did lie about her age at the RNC and she really was 16 (not 17) up until Oct., 2008.

      Whew, that's enough for today!

    10. There is a picture of Levi holding a tiny Tripp, it is not the picture of Levi and his dad. I have seen the picture often, I think it was on the Tyra show as well. On P'gates there is a copy somewhere, but don't know where to find it off the bat. Definitely TRipp, little, newborn with a cap on, squishy face, receded chin, definitley Tripp. Levi is standing. Definitely wearing a hospital bracelet.
      RE: your comment below. Yes, we need to remain vigilant. This country is effed up enough that I beleive Rove would be a double agent re Palin. After the 2000 and 2004 elections, I am very afraid of election fraud. If aTMs can give out receipts, why cant Diebold voting machines????

    11. @comeonpeople

      I just saw your comment. You have to forget some of the pictures that have been thrown at us by the Palins. How do we know what baby Levi is holding? Even in Frank Bailey's book, I think the pictures he used are not of "Bristol holding Trig," like he is trying to tell us. I think it is someone elses baby.

      The pictures, like all the Palin lies, are put out there to deceive and obfuscate.

  27. SUPER article by Dunne, in which he quotes S Schmidt from The New Yorker panel cited above. If it is true that Schmidt will write his own version of the campaign, perhaps it is possible he will reveal the hoax. Although surely he can't say too many negative things about the uber-power-masters, or he would have no future jobs. So far, in my view, he has been the most forthcoming and honest in his assessments, although, as Dunne says, "cautious." As well he should be, considering all the dirt at his disposal.

  28. Hi Ginger -- Thank you for sharing some of your story with us. Clearly you've been through some very hard times. I really respect survivors. I'm sending you good, good wishes.

    Your points (which I agree are good ones!) illustrate why it is almost impossible for us to come up with an accurate scenario of what happened. So many intentional red herrings strewn about, as a start, as we know. But also, your sense that no teen would choose back-to-back babies is logically sound but empirically inaccurate: there is a noted pattern of DS parents of any age wanting to try again for another child right away. Not the main pattern, but enough of one that the DS literature discusses it. The new Mom of any age (perhaps thinking that lactation is a sure contraceptive) who has another child born within the year is enough of a phenomenon that a term has evolved for it: Irish twins.

    SP's real story will never be clear, if we have confirmed liar SP contributing info about it. Plus there are so many angles, detours, crimes, etc. that obfuscate everything. Like the idea that Tripp might be much older than announced. That's why I say: it's not the exact scenario that matters. It's not important who Trig's bio-Mom is or where Trig came from -- not important to the simple reality that SP did not give birth as she repeatedly, relentlessly, deceptively has stated.

    All a newby needs to do is look at the flat-profile photos 5 weeks (and 3 weeks) before the birth. No need for us to explain it. Let SP and her co-conspirators try to explain it (the photos, the details, the scenario, the motivations and justifications -- all of which are of little interest to me: only the political reality of this hoax matters to me now). I say "try" because we have seen that SP & Co. are unable to tell the truth about anything.

  29. @ Ginger, thanks for your explanation. I am still unclear about one point that you made above.
    You say--"Who started the rumor of a preemie being born in early 2008? If Sarah wanted the VP slot, she had to agree to go along with this and parade Bristol around the campaign stage looking pregnant because they didn't have time to deal with Babygate. So, how could they pacify all the bloggers who were saying Sarah faked a pregnancy? Spread this rumor all over and make way for a second pregnancy for Bristol. What's so difficult to understand about this? If you read Frank Bailey's book, you would know Sarah was a master at spreading rumors."

    Are you saying that SP told us that Trig was pre-mature(in her own hoax lies) but actually, Trig was born full term to BP in April? I may be wrong about this, but aren't there verified photos out there of BP in the relevant time period showing that she didn't look pregnant in late March?

    1. Yes, COP, I've said this before. Sarah gave her due date out (May 25/21,2008) to be about four or five weeks before Bristol was due. It was all planned to say Trig was a preemie. His weight, 6lb. 2oz., I don't think was correct. Chuckie released a picture of Sally holding Trig at Mat-Su. He looked like he weighed close to 8lbs., to me. I'll bet Sarah was furious with him.

      I've never been able to find a picture of Bristol from Oct., 2007 (the MTV show), until I saw her walk out of Mat-Su on April 19, 2008, with her family and Todd was holding Trig. There were supposed sightings of her in Jan., and Feb., 2008. We know she registered at a high school in Anchorage in Jan. I'm sure it was really cold and she probably had on a scarf plus a heavy coat or jacket. She would have been into her sixth month, but I think she could have hidden it pretty well. From what I understand, she only attended a couple of classes. Then, she had a slight auto accident near Dr. CBJ's clinic
      in Feb. The young fellow who hit her had no insurance and when asked if he thought she was pregnant, he said he didn't know.

      I did see a thumbnail picture of Sarah, Willow and Piper at the Red luncheon ater the Feb., 2008 Irondog. There was another girl there, with Willow, that people have said was Bristol. She didn't look like Bristol to me. I wish someone would look into this. Personally, I think Bristol was in hiding. Not living in Anchorage with her Aunt Heather. She lived there during the summer of 2007 and worked at a coffee shop in Anchorage. Starting around Jan. 19, 2008, the state legislature was in session so Sarah and Todd were living in Juneau most of the time with Willow and Piper. This was the time we were told Brisol was "supposedly" living with her Aunt. I think Bristol was living in their house on the lake while Sarah and Todd were gone and then, when they would come home, she would go off and hide so Piper couldn't see her.

      Any other questions?

  30. @ Ginger-

    In your response to "comeonepeople" you indicate that you see many reasons why you do not think that Tripp is actually Bristol's child. Can you please share some of these reasons?

    We all agree that SP did not birth Trig. But there is so much more to this. I believe it is helpful to look at it from many different angles. That is why I am truly interested in what you have to say re:BP and Tripp. Sometimes another view is fresh air for the mind.
    Thank you!

  31. Brad, love your revised blog header. Thanks for acknowledging Audrey's good work.

    Hope Game Change creates some Palin Googles that find your site. Sounds like the movie will make Palin's instability clear without touching Babygate. Perhaps it will make a few more people willing to consider the possibility that she was crazy enough to fake a pregnancy while in the public eye.

  32. Before I answer any of your questions, conscious at last, I'd like to say something. Last night, after making several comments here, I went over to IM. It was late and I was tired but the post on Karl Rove dissing Palin for endorsing Newt, caught my eye. In most of the comments, people were laughing at Sarah for picking such a loser and assuring themselves she wouldn't be around much longer. Well, do you know how long I've been waiting for that rat (Rove) to do her in? It's been since the last election and I can't count the times, when he's been on Fox, that he has acted like she's toast.

    It's taking him too long and I'm not buying his story anymore that he doesn't like her and pretends the R's will get rid of her. They are desperate to get P.O. out of office. They are all in this together -- all of 'em! Rove wants us to sit tight and forget about Sarah. They will probably do more PR to convince us she's out of the picture. Have her lay low and stay out of the spotlight. Let's watch.

    Today, on CNN, Wolf Blitzer ran a couple of clips of the movie "Game Change." After that, he had a discussion with some gal who is on the show with him. One comment she made startled me. She said, "maybe Romney needs a game changer, too!" She didn't allude to Sarah, but it still made me nervous.

    Be vigilant...

  33. Ginger, I like your thoughts above re what incentive did SP offer Levi to go to the RNC. SP wrote a recommendation for Levi for the slope job. I wonder if it was dated before or after the RNC. Clearly Levi could not have gotten that job on his own w/o a h/s degree. And yes, the weirdness of the Sherry arrest has yet to be explained.

    I also agree with your sense about Rove. In most of these blogs, we are all overly informed about SP, and most of us are not attracted to her brand of charisma. But as the movie makes clear, that charisma is there for many people. And I am positive that dirty tricks, excessive money, and voter fraud will surely be part of the GOP effort to unseat Pres Obama. They are already on record as saying the end justifies the means. We laugh at the GOP klown kar kandidates, but the RW is laughing all the way to the bank, as they have been smart enough to alter wealth distribution in the U.S. in their favor, and we 99%ers have NOT been smart enough to prevent it. So underestimating is not at all safe IMO.

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