“Landslide” claim = “Big lie”

A big lie (German: große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”
Big lie – Wikipedia

That’s the thought that immediately came to mind after VP-elect Mike Pence made several appearances yesterday repeating the mantra that Donald Trump won in a “landslide.”

On Face the Nation: ” As I’ve said, Donald Trump won a landslide American. The American people spoke decisively.”

He repeated the statement in another interview:

“I joined this campaign in the summer, and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and associates was with the American people,” Pence said. “We were fully engaged with taking his message to make America great again all across this country. That’s why he won in a landslide election.”

This “landslide” claim is disturbing because it is factually, demonstrably untrue. Since that has been pointed out repeatedly, it has to be considered a lie. An intentional lie. And a blatant lie told as part of the incoming administration’s policy.

First, there’s the little problem that Trump lost the popular vote. More Americans voted for Hillary Clinton. There’s no dispute about that.

As CNN reported earlier:

The Democrat outpaced President-elect Donald Trump by almost 2.9 million votes, with 65,844,954 (48.2%) to his 62,979,879 (46.1%), according to revised and certified final election results from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

And, second, is electoral college margin was far from a landslide.

From FactCheck.org:

But it turns out that the percentage of electoral votes won by Trump, 56.9 percent, is hardly a landslide by historic comparison.

John Pitney, a professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna College, put together a chart showing the Electoral College share won by every president since George Washington and found that Trump’s margin of victory ranked 46th out of 58 U.S. presidential elections.

“It’s just not true,” Pitney said of Trump’s “landslide” boast.

From the New York Times: “Trump’s Electoral College Victory Ranks 46th in 58 Elections”

From PBS:

Trump repeated the landslide claim on Monday after the Electoral College voted to put him over the 270-vote threshold needed to secure the White House.

Even Abraham Lincoln won a greater percentage of electoral votes (with 59.4 percent) than Trump in the 1860 election, when the country was on the brink of the Civil War.

In fact, Trump ranks 46th out of 58 in terms of winning the electoral vote — a spot far down on the list, sandwiched between Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy’s narrow 1960 win.

And the same point made by NPR:

Comparing Trump’s 306 electoral votes to recent history, he falls between the 2000 and 2004 razor-thin margins of George W. Bush, and Barack Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012.

2000 — Bush 271, Gore 266
2004 — Bush 286, Kerry 251
2008 — Obama 365, McCain 173
2012 — Obama 332, Romney 206
2016 — Trump 306, Clinton 232

So on the historic score, Trump’s margin is pretty average for recent elections, and way down the list if you go all the way back to the beginning of the nation.

So what’s the point of continually repeating a blatant lie that has already been discredited many times over? That’s a question for another day, I think.

Just when you thought this couldn’t get any weirder

[Links in the 5th paragraph have hopefully been corrected]

Back home after another evening in Kaaawa, and finally getting around to posting for the day.

Comics have been having a heyday with this week’s unverified Trump report, whatever we’re calling it. The Russia Tapes? Pee Gate? Whatever.

Alec Baldwin outdid himself on Saturday Night Live, and Stephen Colbert was no slouch, either.

In all seriousness, these tidbits collected by a “former” British spy have to be seen as deeply troubling.

Newsweek has a good story about the spy, Christopher Steele (“What we know about Christopher Steele, the ex-spy behind Trump-Russia dossier“). Reuters, The Telegraph (UK), Haaretz, (“Christopher Steele, British Ex-spy Behind Trump Dossier: ‘Competent, Professional Operator‘”) and others have profiled Steele, and its quite sobering. He’s got quite a track record and, it seems, a solid reputation for gathering intelligence.

BBC added more background on the report that’s worth reading (“Trump ‘compromising’ claims: How and why did we get here?“).

All this can be used to provide laughs. But it’s no laughing matter. Not good news for Mr. Trump nor for any of us U.S. citizens, I think.

Another Kahala dawn (Photo)

This is one of my favorites from the week, taken as we walked past the Kahala Hotel towards the Waialae Golf Course and beyond. You can view it in full screen mode if you click through to Flickr.


Is Kealoha case expanding beyond the stolen mailbox?

I guess Friday the 13th wasn’t Keith Kaneshiro’s lucky day.

“Holy cow!”

That was the reaction of Honolulu Police Commission member Loretta Sheehan, a former prosecutor, when she learned that the FBI served search warrants yesterday at the Honolulu Prosecutor’s office, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s report on the raid published this morning (“Agents search servers, seize computers as part of Kealoha investigation“).

The raid and search warrant appear to be related to the ongoing grand jury public corruption investigation involving deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and her husband, embattled Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha.

The warrant allows federal investigators to search the computer server in the prosecutor’s office, which should provide access to emails and other documents.

I guess it shows that Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro’s refusal to cooperate when called before the grand jury was not an effective legal strategy nor an exercise in good judgement.

The search warrants follow letters notifying several people they are targets of the ongoing criminal probe, including the chief and a group of officers close to the chief.

Why all the fuss about a “stolen” mailbox?

Civil Beat reporter Nick Grube, who has been following this story since its inception, had a suggestive nugget in a story published on Monday, January 9 (“Is HPD Chief’s Departure Just The Beginning Of An ‘Ugly’ Mess?“).

Moreover, the investigation is bigger than just a missing mailbox, according to Alexander Silvert, the federal public defender who first uncovered evidence of wrongdoing that prompted the FBI to take action.

“The plea of guilty by Silva and the removal of the chief by the police commission is the tip of the iceberg,” Silvert said Saturday, referring to retired Honolulu officer Niall Silva, who is cooperating with federal investigators. “The grand jury investigation and the evidence we turned over is so much more far-reaching than what has come out to date.”

There is a long way to go and a lot more that has yet to come out that involves HPD and that involves other officials in other departments of the city and county,” Silvert says. “We are only in the beginning stages of what’s going to be a long, messy, ugly part of Hawaiian law enforcement history.”

Silvert is suggesting the whole mailbox incident just a step along the way of a broader corruption case that’s about the engulf the city.

Holy cow!