Patience is power; with time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes silk.
More than four years ago, Sarah Palin's pregnancy with Trig entered the spotlight. A broader audience was introduced to the theory that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy with Trig through a diary post at the Daily Kos from August 31, 2008, in which the poster "ArcXIX" claimed that Sarah Palin is a "liar" and not the biological mother of Trig. This explosive claim by "ArcXIX" came under fire immediately. For example, on the same day, journalist Lee Stranahan shot back in an article at the Huffington Post where he wrote: "The diary is uncited, breathless, and spins a story that's totally far-fetched." Only later did it become clear that the attacker Lee Stranahan is in fact a right-winger who now works for Breitbart. But the forceful early attacks by Lee Stranahan (also here) and others quickly became the "meme" in the media which survives to this very day: The claim that Sarah Palin's pregnancy with Trig was faked is nothing else than an outrageous internet conspiracy theory. Any other opinion is simply unacceptable, any serious investigation is not necessary. The original diary at the Daily Kos was, needless to say, quickly deleted.
Through the publication of leaked "Journolist"-emails by the "Daily Caller", which were written from August 30 to September 1, 2008, it later became known that liberal journalists did in fact discuss Sarah Palin's pregnancy in greater detail in confidential email exchanges (download them here). However, the final consensus between liberal journalists back then was that the matter should not be touched, as it could backfire politically. After these facts became known, prominent blogger Andrew Sullivan concluded: "This is your liberal media, ladies and gentlemen: totally partisan, interested in the truth only if it advances their agenda, and devoid of any balls whatsoever."
But more than four years later, many additional facts which were not known in September 2008 are out in the open.
The rumours that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy were not an "internet conspiracy." In fact, Sarah Palin was forced to fight against these rumours already in April 2008 - while she was still claiming to be pregnant. Already back then, she was unable to provide any evidence whatsoever that she was still supposedly pregnant. In addition, the rumours that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy were already well know within Alaska's political and journalistic circles throughout 2008, as Anchorage Daily News (ADN) journalist Michael Carey unwittingly revealed in a TV-interview on September 2, 2008, which has been preserved.
Only through the publication of the latest batch of Sarah Palin's emails in February 2012 we finally learned that the Anchorage Daily News had conducted a far more careful investigation into Sarah Palin's pregnancy with Trig than was previously known. Even more importantly, we also learned that Sarah Palin and her staff fought tooth and nail in December 2008 and January 2009 suppress the investigation of the ADN, as I detailed in three consecutive posts (here, here and here). In these highly revealing email-exchanges, ADN-journalists Lisa Demer asked straighforward questions and made requests like: "Would the governor make available a copy of Trig's birth certificate?" But Lisa Demer did not receive an answer to her inquiries - only insults. Sarah Palin and her staff bullied and intimidated the ADN until their investigations were finally dropped. No evidence whatsoever had been provided by Sarah Palin. I made the most relevant messages from these email exchanges available for download here.
From 2009 onwards, more pictures of the supposedly highly pregnant Sarah Palin were discovered which showed her suspiciously non-pregnant, for example the famous pictures from March 26, 2008, just about three weeks before she officially gave birth to a baby weighing more than six pounds. I discussed these pictures in several posts, for example here and here.
I might also add that we know through inside information from Alaska ever since spring 2009 that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy.
While blogs like ours tried to keep the issue of Sarah Palin's pregnancy alive, the investigation into Sarah Palin's pregnancy with Trig took a new turn when Brad Scharlott, Professor for journalism at Northern Kentucky University, decided to enter the public arena and in April 2011 published a research paper called "Sarah Palin, The Press, And The Incredible Birth Story", which was later also published by "Business Insider." Right after the paper by Brad Scharlott was published, the editor of "Business Insider", Henry Blodget, decided to break the "spiral of silence" and reported in great detail about Brad Scharlott's claims and conclusions. This story in Business Insider had a huge impact and has been viewed more than 450,000 times. Suddenly Sarah Palin's pregnancy was not a "taboo subject" any more. Also, for a while at least, Henry Blodget stayed on the case.
But the retribution from the media, notably the liberal outlets, was swift. The mantra that the claim of a hoax being performed by Sarah Palin was just a crazy internet conspiracy theory could not be abandoned. Sarah Palin's pregnancy hoax finally was being discussed in a variety of media outlets, however, the media was unable to admit that they had in fact been fooled by Sarah Palin.
Following the publication of Brad Scharlott's paper, I did my best to debunk some of the worst media articles which subsequently were attacking Brad Scharlott and/or his theory: First and foremost, "Salon.com" reached the lowest point ever by publishing a deeply flawed "definite debunker" by Justin Elliott. In addition, Megan Carpentier published an article in the UK Guardian in which she viciously slammed the "Trig Truthers", but thankfully we were allowed to publish a response in the UK Guardian in return. Maybe worst of all, the ADN themselves waded in with an atrocious piece called "Make.It.Stop" by ADN-journalist Julia O'Malley, who officially declared the question as solved (no hoax existing), once and for all. It should be noted that this article was published several months before it eventually became known that the ADN had been relentlessly bullied and intimidated by Palin's staff in late 2008 and early 2009 to drop the investigation. The ADN declared the question as solved despite the fact the ADN had not received a single piece of evidence from Sarah Palin.
Now, more than four years after the first rumours reached the national stage, we can add a new chapter to the "Babygate-Saga." We can finally reveal that Sarah Palin undertook a vicious attempt to shut Professor Brad Scharlott up, by having her attorney write a lenghty and highly revealing letter to the Dean of Kentucky Northern University on January 19, 2012. This letter is yet another important and revealing document regarding "Babygate" as it proves the extent to which Sarah Palin tried to silence a critic, not by taking him to court, but instead through exerting enormous pressure by confidentially writing to his employer. Sarah Palin's lawyer John J. Tiemessen called Brad Scharlott's beliefs "insane", and went even so far as to demand that the University "abandon this inquiry." It is apparent that this letter was written only after Brad Scharlott's activities and posts (which can be read at his blog "Scharlott's Beacon"), came "too close for comfort."
Sarah Palin's lawyer displayed great interest in the letter that this matter was to be handled in a confidential way, without involving the media - which comes as no surprise, as one important thing was of course missing from this astounding document, including the 100 pages (!) of attachments: Actual proof that Sarah Palin is the biological mother of Trig!
Please note: No copy of a birth certificate for Trig, the most obvious piece of evidence, was attached to the letter.
Download the letter by Sarah Palin's lawyer John J. Tiemessen as PDF here.
Alternative download 1.
Alternative download 2.
Full text of the letter:
CLAPP PETERSON TIEMESSEN THORSNESS JOHNSON LLC
Matthew K. Peterson, Of Counsel
John B. Thorsness
Linda J. Johnson
Monique R. Renner
Chester D. Gilmore
Devin W. Quackenbush
Liam J. Moran, Of Counsel
James D. Gilmore, Of Counsel
John J. Tiemessen
Lisa C. Hamby
David A. Monroe
Marcus R. Clapp 1942 -2009
Kevin Kirby, Ph.D.
Interim Dean, College of Informatics Northern Kentucky University
GH 500 Nunn Dr.
High Land Heights, KY 41099
Re: Associate Professor Brad Scharlott
Our File No.: 2537-1
Dear Dean Kirby:
My office represents former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. This letter is to inform you of a disturbing "hobby" of one of your professors, Brad Scharlott, concerning Governor Palin and her family. It is also to inform you that he has used both his position as an associate professor at NKU and NKU letterhead to pursue this interest. The puryose of this letter is three-fold: to inform you and your institution of this disturbing behavior; to inquire whether NKU has any direct involvement; to seek reassurances that the activity will cease; and to demand an apology for the improper and potentially illegal intrusion into
Governor Palin's and her minor child's medical privacy rights.
Mr. Schalott's obsessive interest is known colloquially as "Trig Trutherism," a belief in a conspiracy theory that Governor Palin faked the pregnancy, delivery, and birth of her fifth child, Trig Palin. As parents, the Palins find these allegations hur1ful and malicious. Although Trig is too young (he soon will celebrate his fourth birthday) to yet know of these vicious untruths, he will soon reach the age where he will use the internet and likely leam of this theory. Will he also learn of NKU's purported involvement by Mr. Scharlott's misuse of letterhead and his title? This letter is intended to give NKU an opportunity to correct the implication that NKU is involved.
Enclosed at Tab A is a letter that we received from Associate Professor Brad Scharlott on Northern Kentucky University letterhead. He signs the letter in his capacity as a professor at NKU. Attached to the letter is an "article" that Professor Scharlott states he intends to publish. He later (rather generously) refers to the article as a "paper," implying that it has passed some sort of professional peer review. Our review of the article indicates that it is not peer reviewed and seems to rely exclusively on rumor, innuendo and internet-fueled conspiracy fantasy. It appears that Professor Scharlott has joined the small
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fringe group of conspiracy theorists who believe that for various reasons (they tend to vary based on the authors' particular political or personal bias), Governor Palin faked the pregnancy, delivery, and birth of her fifth child, Trig Palin.
From the questions that Professor Scharlott asks in his NKU letter, it appears that he is also in a sub-camp of the "Trig Truther" conspiracy theorists who believe that Governor Palin not only faked the birth, but then publically presented multiple infants to the public as Trig Palin (and then somehow got rid of them). Without going into detail, this conspiracy sub-theory involves fantastic allegations of multiple babies, fake babies (live or dolls), hidden children and even infanticide. Most of these theories sound like bad movie plots but you can find them if you waste some time on. the internet. Professor Scharlott's allegations appear to be based on his lay "analysis" of various photos he retrieved off the internet and then digitally enlarged.
Additionally, Professor Scharlott's NKU letter then questions the Palins about the Governor's then-minor daughter's confidential pregnancy and delivery history. This appears to be pursuing the long-discredited rumor that Trig's delivery was faked to somehow cover up a daughter's pregnancy. The question of course ignores the fact that the pregnancy and birth of the Governor's first grandchild was a widely reported media event. The NKU letter concludes with Professor Scharlott threatening the Palins that if they do not dignify the letter with a refutation he has somehow insulated himself (and presumably NKU) from a defamation suit. You may wish to consult with your own counsel about the durability and thickness of Professor Scharlott's purported insulation.
We have also recently learned that Professor Scharlott, again in his capacity as a professor at NKU and on NKU letterhead, has been contacting Mat-Su Regional Hospital (formerly known as Valley Hospital and the hospital where Governor Palin delivered her children, including Trig) directly. Attached as Tab B is a letter he sent to Sterling Grover, the Director of Marketing at Mat-Su Regional. This letter acknowledges the HIPAA patient privacy act, but then advises Mr. Grover that HIPAA may not apply "in the case of fraud." What is NKU's support for this exemption to HIPAA law? What is NKU's factual support for the allegation of fraud? I question whether your colleagues at the College of Health Professions share Professor Scharlott's interpretation of federal health-care privacy law.
This letter also purports to demand information "under Alaska and federal Freedom of Information statutes." I am both a health care attorney and am fairly well versed in public records law. Could you please direct me to the statutes that NKU is referencing that would supporl a demand for information related to an individual patient's health information as part of a FOIA request? This is parlicularly intriguing considering that Mat-Su Regional is directly and indirectly owned by a partnership and is not a public hospital.
Attached at Tab C is a November 14 letter from Mr. Scharlott addressed to John Lee, the CEO of Mat-Su Regional. This letter is not on NKU letterhead. In this letter, Mr. Scharlott again asks a series of questions. If there was any question as to whether these questions were part of legitimate inquiry or merely rhetorical Mr. Scharlott lays it to rest when he answers his fourth question "of course not." Mr.
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Scharlott again threatens Mat-Su with exposure for perpetuating a fraud or a hoax if they do not answer his questions.
Attached as Tab D is a November 14 letter from Mr. Scharlott addressed to Wayne Smith, the Board Chair, President and CEO of Community Health Systems, the hospital management company that manages Mat-Su Regional. Again while not on NKU letterhead, this letter now elevates the evidence of a hoax to a "near certainty" and threatens Mr. Smith to "come clean" or face the consequences of the "Penn State debacle."
I have attached as. Tab E a disturbing series of postings from Mr. Scharlott's Twitter page. What is disturbing is the obsessive volume of these tweets (e.g. t24 on December 24 alone) as well as the clear political motive demonstrated in the titles. Examples of the political motive include „Palin 2008 birth hoax was aimed at manipulating right-to-life base, to help GOP win presidency," "Palin birth hoax in 08 was political & should be exposed b/c GOP had to know about it, could aid Dems in 2012," "Palin birth hoax in 2009 was political not personal & should be exposed b/c GOP had to know after 8/30." Again, Mr. Scharlott has a right to his own political beliefs, no matter how patently insane they may be. However, when these beliefs motivate false statements, and unsupported allegations of fraud, they raise a specter of defamation based on actual malice. When those same statements appear on NKU letterhead, they implicate NKU in the malice.
Attached as Tab F is a series of blogger articles Mr. Scharlott has authored and posted on his blog "scharlott's Beacon." Again these articles show the degree of Mr. Scharlott's obsession with this subject.
Finally, attached as Tab G are three highly disturbing documents. The first is a public demand for Mat-Su Regional to issue a "press release" in violation of patient privacy. Northern Kentucky University is identified in the press release. Mr. Scharlott again repeats his (and, through use of letterhead, apparently NKU's) position that patient privacy does not apply when someone alleges fraud.
The second document in Tab G is a $10,000 "reward poster" that Mr. Scharlott posted to induce individuals to leak proof that Governor Palin gave birth in 2008. In this poster, Mr. Scharlott is asking for parties to leak "medical records, a birth certificate, or a signed notarized statements from the delivering obstetrician" (earlier versions requested statements "on hospital letterheads from medical personnel involved in the delivery"). Mr. Scharloft has apparently solicited donations to pay for this reward. Also attached is a "Truthometer" showing that Mr. Scharlott has apparently solicited $22,380 in donations or pledges. The fact he is soliciting and collecting money or pledges for this enterprise is more than a little disturbing and raises an issue of whether the solicitation of such funds without registering with the Kentucky Attomey General's office is legal under Kentucky law, see e.g. KRS §§367.650 - 367.670.
The last document in Tab G is a classified advertisement that Mr. Scharlott ran this week in the Anchorage Daily News. The advertisement has since been taken down for violation of the ADN policy against illegal advertisements. This advertisement states "Writing Sarah Palin book. Seeking answers re
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Trig's birth at Mat-Su hospital. Up to $5,000 for notarized statement. 859-426-5309
firstname.lastname@example.org." It appears Mr. Scharlott bypassed the ADN classified ad screeners by entering the advertisement online. Again, Mr. Scharlott is offering money (apparently now only $5000) to individuals who are willing to leak confidential medical information about Governor Palin and her son.
This advertisement raises many of the same issues outlined above. He is clearly offering money in Alaska to induce Alaska residents to violate medical confidentiality and vital statistics confidentiality laws. The ADN advertisement also raises an issue of what happened to the $22,380 in donations? If there is only $5000 left for the reward, it appears that Mr. Scharlott may have converted a significant portion of the money he claimed to have previously collected. In addition to the potential criminal penalties for violation of the Commonwealth's fundraising statutes, Mr. Scharlott's actions may have numerous and varied potential civil legal consequences, both for himself and for NKU.
You are no doubt aware that medical records or any information contained in them is private and confidential. As part of the implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the Privacy Rule, which addresses the use and disclosure of individuals' protected health information by organizations subject to the Privacy Rule. The Office for Civil fughts has responsibility for implementing and enforcing the Privacy Rule with respect to possible civil money penalties. Every health care provider, regardless of size, who electronically transmits health information in connection with certain transactions, is a covered entity under the Act. The only way for any medical provider (or employee of such a provider) with access to records covered by the Act to divulge information to Mr. Scharlott is through a direct violation of this law. By offering money to induce an individual to violate medical privacy, Mr. Scharlott is soliciting a violation of federal law.
In addition, The Alaska State Constitution, Art. 7, S 22, states that "[t]he right of the people to privacy is recognized and shall not be infringed." Alaska state courts recognize a cause of action for invasion of privacy when a person intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his or her private affairs or concems. A false light invasion of privacy claim arises when the defendant publicizes a matter that places the plaintiff before the public in a false light.
Mr. Scharlott's offer also would seem to encourage and solicit unauthorized individuals to illegally obtain vital statistics records and may therefore amount to solicitation of fraud in violation of Alaska statute AS 11.31.110. He has directed his actions at Alaska residents and made contact with Alaska. Because of his use of NKU letterhead, his actions have implicated NKU.
Finally, under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and related law, a public figure can win damages for defamation where they can prove that the defendant published the defamatory statement at issue with actual malice. Given Mr. Scharlott's blog posts which show clear personal animus toward the Palin family and ad overt political motive, the prima facie case for malice appears to be established.
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Mr. Scharlott's personal obsession with pursuing insane conspiracy theories, while disturbing, is his frankly his own business. What disturbs us is whether Northern Kentucky University is pursuing or at least legitimizing this inquiry? By using University letterhead and by signing his letters and press releases in his official capacity as an Associate Professor of the University, Mr. Scharlott is clearly pursuing his inquiry in his capacity as an employee and a representative of Northem Kentucky University. As noted above, at a minimum, he is improperly using his position as an associate professor to legitimize his inquiry without authority. This clearly begs the question of whether your institution is chasing down nonsensical conspiracy theories, inducing others to violate privacy laws, and harassing
individuals across the country or is Mr. Scharlott doing this on his own and without your knowledge?
We would appreciate a prompt response to this letter, specifically to our questions about the interest that Northerrr Kentucky University has in this issue and whether it supports Mr. Scharlott collecting donations and then repeatedly offering to pay money for confidential medical and vital statistics information. We would like to know whether NKU is supporling the use of its letterhead in making the inquiries contained in these letters. We are presently giving the benefit of the doubt that the College of Informatics and NKU leadership had no knowledge of Mr. Scharlott's activities prior to this letter.
However, we would like that assumption confirmed in writing. We further request written assurances that NKU has now abandoned this inquiry. We also ask for written confirmation that Mr. Scharlott will cease using NKU resources and letterhead and will cease his attempts to coerce individuals to disclose confidential medical records and vital statistics information. Finally, we ask for an apology to Governor Palin and her family for this attempted intrusion into their family medical records by one of your employees. We believe that two weeks should be sufficient time for you to investigate these allegations and answer these questions.
As you are likely aware, we have considerable access to the national press. We have, in the interest of the Palin family's personal privacy and as a demonstration of good faith, refrained from issuing a press release about Mr. Scharlott's disturbing actions, his use of NKU letterhead, or this inquiry. We would hope that NKU respects this action and does not compound Mr. Scharlott's errors and indiscretion by making this inquiry public. It is our sincere hope that this matter can be resolved quickly, professionally, confidentially, and definitively. I truly believe that the proper answers to the above questions and an apology could resolve this dispute at this point.
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Please do not hesitate to call if you have questions for concerns.
Direct Dial : 907-479-7707
Enclosures: As stated
Dr. James C. Votruba, President (with enclosures)
Nancy A. Barone, Chair, Board of Regents (with enclosures)
Sara L. Sidebottom, Vice President for Legal Affairs (with enclosures)
(END OF LETTER)
This was the first known attempt ever that Sarah Palin used her lawyer to actively suppress the "Trig Truthers" (a term which was not chosen by us, by the way, but originally used in a mocking way by the Palin-fans).
But what exactly set Sarah Palin off? After all, Brad Scharlott had already published his paper in April 2011. The letter by Sarah Palin's lawyer was sent only in January 2012. The possible answer can be found in the letter: Brad Scharlott's new "project", which consisted in offering a reward of several thousand dollars to anyone who could prove that Sarah Palin did in fact give birth to Trig, came in fact "too close for comfort."
Finally, a pattern emerges: Start to investigate "on the ground" in Alaska, and Momma Grizzly Palin starts to lose her sleep and screams at her lawyers to take action!
Although logic is sometimes abandoned when matters regarding Sarah Palin are being discussed, there is only one logical conclusion for Sarah Palin's behaviour: She desperately has to hide the secret surrounding Trig's birth - and she has to suppress any investigations. However, and this is very important, without having to provide evidence herself. Because she simply cannot produce any evidence. Trig is not her biological child, which is just a simple fact, and Sarah Palin and her family have embraced this lie to the point where she will not hesitate to viciously attack the people who speak the truth. What more vicious attack can be imagined than directly approaching the employer?
Fortunately, the attack on Brad Scharlott was not successful. Sarah Palin did not manage to shut him up. Brad just recently published on his blog a new summary about Sarah Palin's "incredible birth story", which is one of the best summaries about "babygate" ever written.
The only consequence resulting from the letter by Palin's lawyer was that Brad Scharlott does not use the University letterhead any more when he is writing "Palin-related letters." By the way, Brad did not, as the lawyer claimed in the letter, collect any money through the "Truthometer", he simply collected "pledges", knowing very well that the amount would never have to be paid - as no evidence for the fact that Sarah Palin is the biological mother of Trig will ever be found.
So let's hope that people will finally start to wake up. I do not think that Sarah Palin, who built a whole vice-presidential campaign around the fact that she gave birth to Trig should be allowed to keep her secret forever. It is in the public interest to find the truth.
It is also very interesting to note that Sarah Palin's attorney concludes in the letter that the accusation that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy constitutes "malice." If this is correct, why has Sarah Palin never sued any of the other Trig Truther bloggers? Also, why has she never presented any evidence? By doing do, she could have seriously damaged the reputations of the more prominent "doubters", notably Andrew Sullivan, Joe McGinniss and Brad Scharlott. But in this dispute, one thing has always been missing: Any evidence that Sarah Palin is in fact the biological mother of Trig.
As the perfect addition to this post, interested readers should check out the details about the "Sarah Palin pregnancy pictures" from March and April 2008, which showed her dramatically non-pregnant shortly before giving birth to a six-pound-baby (also HERE).
One final note:
"Insane" people sometimes become much less insane quite quickly when their allegations are proven to be true. A high-profile case in Germany just revealed how "insane" opinions can suddenly transform into the truth. Gustl Mollath, a businessman from Bavaria, Germany, has been held against his will since 2006 in a Bavarian mental hospital. The main accusation, made by a Bavarian court: He is "dangerously paranoid", because he has claimed for nearly ten years that his former wife, a banker, illegally transferred large sums of money for her customers to Switzerland, in order to help them evade taxes. The only problem: These "insane" accusations were true, as has now been discovered (see this report in the UK Guardian from November 28, 2012, in which some aspects of this complex case are being discussed). Nobody believed poor Mr Mollath, who was locked up, and as he refused to refute his claims, it was decided every year over and over again that he is still "insane." Only several weeks ago it emerged that the bank itself had already in 2003 made a comprehensive internal investigation which came to the conclusion that Mr. Mollath's accusations were in fact correct. It now appears that this man is not insane at all, but suprisingly "normal", and the whole affair now has the dimension of a huge judicial and political scandal.
I do hope that the "Trig Truthers" do not have to wait for many more years like the poor Mr. Mollath for the truth to finally come to light.
Palin-biographer Joe McGinniss: "I think the Politicalgates archives are the best single available resource for anyone wondering why questions are still being asked about Sarah really being Trig’s birth mother." (from August 28, 2011)
Kathleen Baker, editor of Politicalgates, writes in the UK "Guardian" about Sarah Palin's faked pregnancy: "Sarah Palin, unreliable narrator"
Read all posts at Politicalgates about Sarah Palin's faked pregnancy with Trig - FOR THE COLLECTION, CLICK HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE,HERE AND HERE.
Download the research paper regarding Sarah Palin's faked pregnancy and the role of the media, written by Brad Scharlott, Associate Professor for Journalism at Northern Kentucky University - CLICK HERE.
Brad Scharlott's revised version of the paper has also been published by "Business Insider."
Read the old post at Palingates about the faked pregnancy with the pictures still intact in hardcopy HERE.
Read the old posts at Palingates online HERE (useful also for watching the video clips which were published with the posts).
Listen to Sarah Palin's own description of her unbelievable "Wild Ride" from Texas to Alaska, which happened on April 17, 2008: Sarah explains how she decided to make the trip, despite of the fact that her "water broke" the night before.
In addition, please don't hesitate to watch the excellent video-documentaries about "babygate" which our reader Lidia17 created - HERE, HERE and HERE.
We break the "Spiral of Silence" - Read the details about the "biggest hoax in American political history!"