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Geoff Robson: Lying for Jesus and Wrong about Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins gave a couple of talks in New Zealand recently. He’s here promoting his new book, Science in the Soul. As usual that brought people out of the woodwork with the message the atheists are either stupid, lying, or just plain evil. None ever sees the irony in their statements. One prime example is Geoff Robson. He wrote an article for one of our leading internet news sites, stuff.co.nz, ‘Why Richard Dawkins is Wrong About Christianity‘. Comments on the article were closed within a couple of days – before I’d even read it. Lucky for me, I’ve got a website!

stuff.co.nz gave Sara Passmore, president of the Humanist Society of New Zealand the chance to respond. She wrote: ‘Geoff Robson is wrong about Richard Dawkins, the man and his work‘. She made many good points. Many of you will recognize them as the same ones we atheists have to make over and over again. One she made is particularly important, and doesn’t get said enough in my opinion. She wrote:

Atheists are always asked to prove God doesn’t exist. Usually by monotheists. This is a common logical fallacy. The burden of proof lies with the person making the claim … .

Burden of Proof

 

Passmore responds to Robson’s criticisms of Dawkins. Therefore I’m dealing more with his claims about Christianity itself, though I also address some of the attacks on Dawkins she didn’t have the space for.

Robson’s criticisms of Dawkins are the usual ones we hear from the religious. A frequent one made towards all atheists when they criticize religion, which Robson reverted to is:

“Sloppy thinking and contradictions mark his speaking and writing.”

How many times do Christians have to say that before they work out they’re the ones that are wrong? They think Dawkins’ thinking is sloppy because they think he’s wrong about God. They have yet to work out he’s the one who’s thinking clearly.

We’ve come to expect that many of the most committed religious think it’s okay to lie for their religion. Oftentimes they don’t even consider what they’re doing is lying. They don’t see the difference between saying, “God is real,” and, “I believe God is real.” Robson writes:

In his new book, Science and the Soul, Dawkins describes faith as “belief that isn’t based on evidence”. He continues: “Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops.”

Dawkins is completely correct here of course. Religious faith does lack evidence. There is no evidence for God or gods, whatever your religion. Neither is there evidence for the existence of prophets such as Moses, Jesus, or Mohammed. We know the Mormon “prophet” Joseph Smith was real. However, there’s absolutely no evidence the angel Moroni was real. There is, of course, evidence that much of what Smith said was a lie.

Robson though, begs to differ. He writes:

Christians have zero interest in a belief system devoid of evidence, still less in a belief system that flies in the face of the evidence. The Bible is a book of history, and Christianity is built on the historical evidence for the life of Jesus Christ.

I’m not sure this man should be working in a university. “The Bible is a book of history …”. Um. No, it’s not. In fact the more historians and archaeologists try to prove that it’s history, the more it becomes obvious that it’s not. Then there’s the more common, “Christianity is built on the historical evidence for the life of Jesus Christ.” Again, no. It’s not. That’s not even possible because there is NO evidence. Despite what many Christians believe, but most atheists know, the story of the Crucifixion is not contemporaneous. It was first written down decades after the events allegedly occurred.

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) (Source: Wikipedia)

People tend to think of things that happened a long time ago as somehow being closer together than things that are happening now. It’s as if there’s no difference between 1,900 years ago and 1,970 years ago. One way I try to make them see it is to point out that only 200 years ago, Queen Victoria hadn’t even been born. Here is another:

Imagine that an uncle came back from World War II (in 1945), speaking about a hero who did all sorts of amazing things. When a town ran out of food, he was able to feed them from the rations in his pack. No matter how many people came along, food kept appearing. Fellow soldiers who were suffering from physical wounds or PTSD were cured when he laid his hands on them. He made a whole company of enemy soldiers jump off a cliff to their death instead of attacking when their platoon was out of ammunition.

He took on the Nazis single-handedly, and they spoke his name with fear and awe. Eventually the Nazis managed to capture him. Instead of making him a prisoner-of-war, they brutally tortured and killed him because he was such a threat. Then they buried him in a cave. Three days later your great-great uncle went to find his body to give him a more respectful burial. Instead, he saw him walking down the road perfectly okay, though still with his all the wounds from being tortured. Even the wounds that went right through his body weren’t bleeding. It was as if they didn’t hurt him anymore. After that he disappeared.

Your grandfather grew up on those stories. You heard them from your grandfather as a child. They sounded fantastic, but he assured you they were true. As an adult you wrote them down, and thought this hero should get a posthumous medal for all he did. But no one else had ever heard of him. You couldn’t even find descendants of the people he fed so miraculously, healed of their wounds, or cured. There was no mention of him in dispatches. There was no record of him in any German military records either, despite them being meticulous record keepers (just like the Romans). No other country’s official records mentioned him either. Finally you find one other mention of him. But it was written thirty years after the hero’s death and the writer was told the story second hand. (The equivalent to Josephus.)

This is similar to how the story of Jesus sounds to atheists. A Christian doesn’t even see the parallels.

Back to Robson:

Most specifically, Christianity rises or falls on whether Jesus rose bodily from death, never to die again, as an actual event in time and space. Because Christians are persuaded – by the evidence – that he did, we believe he is who he claimed to be.

You can believe it, and that’s your prerogative, but there is no evidence. And besides, I would think that a pastor would know: Jesus himself never claimed to be the son of God.

Robson continues:

We believe he takes away the guesswork when it comes to God. We believe he can offer all people everywhere a special and unique access to their creator.

Robson accuses Dawkins of “sloppy thinking and contradictions,” but that’s exactly what we have here. Robson said that the Bible was “a book of history.” If that’s the case, why is there “guesswork” about God. Surely Jesus creates more guesswork because some of the things he teaches are different to the Old Testament. And there are plenty of people who don’t believe he’s the son of God. Everyone who’s not Christian for starters. Robson almost gets it right in his next paragraph:

But if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, Christianity should be abandoned. Tear it all down. If you proved to me that Jesus stayed dead, I’d tell my children to rip up their bibles and I’d quit going to church. The bible itself insists that if Jesus never rose, Christianity is utterly useless for everyone.

Jesus didn’t rise from the dead because he probably didn’t exist in the first place. I’m not sure why Bible suddenly gets a lowercase “B” if Jesus is dead. The Bible is still a book, and I’d also not advocate ripping it up. It’s been hugely influential on our culture, history, society, and more, and for that reason alone we should all know it and understand it. There are also churches that manage pretty well without necessarily believing in Jesus, such as the Unitarians. If you’re a person who likes the community of a Church, that’s possible without the belief. There are also plenty of other places people find fellowship and community. All that’s necessary is a shared interest.

However, Robson believes that Jesus rose from the dead, and to him that means he is RIGHT, and everyone else is WRONG. He says so:

But he did [rise again]. That’s where the evidence of history takes us, and so Christians believe. We have faith because we trust in the evidence.

This isn’t a complicated idea, and surely Dawkins is smart enough to grasp it. He’s heard it clearly explained in debates against the likes of John Lennox, Oxford Professor of Mathematics. So I find myself wondering: does he really not get it? Or does he get it, and choose to turn a deaf ear? Which is worse?

And that’s the problem. There is no evidence, but Robson believes it anyway, and therefore Dawkins is stupid or lying to say otherwise.

But it’s Robson who is wrong. I don’t know whether he’s watched a debate between Lennox and Dawkins. I have, and Lennox does not explain the evidence at all. He explains his own feelings and beliefs, but that’s not evidence. He constantly mischaracterizes and misinterprets Dawkins’ arguments. Lennox even tries to argue that atheism is a belief system. It’s an error that many theists make, but not one I would expect from someone with the intellect of Lennox.

Geoff Robson is free to believe what he wants to believe, but if he wants to go up against Richard Dawkins, he needs to find a few new arguments. The ones he has have holes in them big enough to drive a truck through.

Hitchens' Quote: It's called faith because it's not knowledge

 


 

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53 Responses to “Geoff Robson: Lying for Jesus and Wrong about Richard Dawkins”

  1. Damien McLeod says:

    Hi Heather, Loved your post. At the moment I’m feeling rather despondent – With so many people on the Fascist side, Re-Thug-licans, Corpocrats, Confed-wanna be slave holders, Tea-Farters, Greed Pigs, etc, it’s a long road back to Democracy and Civilization. Combine that with Global ever increasing temperatures, Rising sea levels, Species loss, Rapidly increasing environmental meltdown, Massive human overpopulation, and Theories of Near Term Human Extinction being promulgated by Climate Scientists and Environmentalists, I guess I’d have to say I’m frightened and disheartened. I don’t believe that there is any Sky-Fairy mom or dad who’s gonna fly down with a band of holy white winged freaks to save us from ourselves and I don’t see us saving us from ourselves and I don’t believe in a bunch of space aliens riding to our rescue, so what the hell does that leave?
    Where the heck did leave my arse, I think it’s time to kiss it goodby

    Anyway, Please keep writing and posting. Maybe I cheer up tomorrow.

    • Thanks for the kind words Damien.

      My guess is you’re in the US. One of the reasons I write about your country so much is because I think the world looks so much worse from there, and your country has such an influence on getting it back on track. Electing the right people to government at all levels (not just president) would make such a difference to the future of our planet simply because you’re so big and wealthy.

      Remember that there are only two countries on the planet that aren’t part of the Paris Accord for example, and the other one won’t sign because they don’t think it’s tough enough. The rest of the world is still committed to improving our environment. There’s also plenty going on in individual states. I live in a tiny town, but, like most places in NZ, our rubbish collection includes kerbside recycling. Business does it routinely too. You will see initiatives everywhere. And we are quite a way behind Europe, which does more than we do, and they do it better.

      Countries like the Philippines that are threatened with overpopulation have people (mostly women talking to women) whose job it is to go door to door, including in the poorest slums, to educate people about contraception and provide it for free. The Catholic Church actively works against them of course, but most of the educators are Catholic. Like most Catholics, they recognize that the Church’s teaching is out of date.

      I get really despondent about what could happen to the world pretty much every time Trump or one of his supporters opens their mouth. But my point is, there are good things happening everywhere. Almost the whole world opposes Trump and his policies. We are getting on with stuff. We know the US will come back from the Dark Side, and we just hope Trump and his cronies don’t do too much damage in the meantime.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        I’m always glad to hear some optimistic words from the younger folks even if I do not believe much of it myself. We could try to make two lists and put them on a scale with bad on one side and the good on the other. The problem in the U.S. today and for a rather long time is the scale does not produce any cure, it just measures. Even if you lay the cure bare out in front of the citizens they do not see it, or believe it or worse, even understand it. They are just Democrats or Republicans or everything in between and they no longer have answers.

  2. Mike says:

    I always refer to ancient Historian Josephus ,who as you know was contemporaneous with the mythical Jesus. If a man existed that could raise the Dead, walk on water, cure Blindness and Disability by a touch,turn water into wine, not to mention raising himself from the Dead, would deserve at least a passing mention.

    • nicky says:

      Actually, Flavius Josephus mentions Jesus in the Testimonium Flavianum:
      “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”
      Most scholars consider that passage an embellishment of a ‘nucleus’, or just a later insertion. The latter appears quite probable. Whichever way, it is very far from actual ‘evidence’ of the existence of ‘Jesus’. (there are also some writings about Jesus’ s brother James and about John the Baptist, suffering the same problems)
      The oldest Christian scriptures (accepted as such by basically all scholars) are those of Paul, about 40 to 70 years ad. If you read them carefully you see that the ‘Jesus’ figure can easily be conceived as an idea, not a ‘flesh and blood’ person. The Gospels were written much later, trying to literally ‘flesh out’ this idea of the saviour.

    • Josephus is who I meant, not Herodotus! I better fix that! Thank you!

  3. N Walsh says:

    Oscar Wilde summed it up best for me:

    Truth,in matter of religion,is simply the opinion that has survived.

  4. nicky says:

    Those accusing Dawkins of sloppy (or ignorant, superficial, biased, etc.) thinking never come with arguments of where it actually is sloppy, only pointing to where they disagree (if anything at all). Generally these accusations themselves are rather sloppy, and made by those that are actual sloppy thinkers. In psychology this phenomenon is called ‘projection’, if I’m not mistaken.

    • I agree completely. Just in that short article Robson contradicts himself.

      Before I wrote the last couple of paragraphs I thought I should watch the Dawkins/Lennox debate again because it’s been a while. I’ve learned more since the first time I watched it, and I noticed a lot more logical errors and contradictions by Lennox than I did the first time. I was quite shocked how bad it was. There were times when I felt like he could hear himself doing it by a hesitation and look on hus face, but carried on anyway.

    • Mark R. says:

      Projection has for a long time been the modus operandi of the Republican party. The worst characteristics of the Republicans (hate, bigotry, misogyny, greed, budget deficits, divisiveness, obstruction etc.) they attribute to Democrats. Hate radio is especially guilty of projecting. It is very tiring.

      • They go on about the Dems doing identity politics, but they actually do exactly the same with their dog whistles to white supremacists etc. I tweeted a cartoon about it recently. I’ll try and find it later and post the link if I do.

  5. Randall Schenck says:

    Nice article on our most favorite subject, atheist. Anyone who thinks it a good idea to debate Dawkins on most anything is not thinking clearly. In a battle of wits, they are unarmed. They are at least deluded as the book shows. Nearly all the history books I take up have lots of notes and references and even bibliographies. In a bible you just have the last page. I guess g*d is the only reference you need.

    Anyway, as someone once said, to call atheist a religion is like calling bald a color.

    • Those who think they’ve out debated Dawkins didn’t understand what he said.

      • nicky says:

        This reminds me of (I can’t remember who it was, I guess an Australian scientist, IIRC) who said “My debating with you would look great on your CV, but not so much on mine”.
        Not to disparage the Dawks, he’s an outstanding, nay great (and courteous) debater, but the ‘champ’ was , of course, the Hitch. God, I miss that man!

        • nicky says:

          Now that we are talking Dawkins, I fail to see why he would not qualify for a Nobel Prize for Literature: not only did he write popular science books second to none, including adventure tours going back to Canterbury (The Ancestor’s Tale), but he wrote great obituaries, and some very funny fiction, a great persiflage of PG Woodhouse (The great Bus Mystery), autobiography and so much more. I rate him way higher as literature than many a previous winner.
          And I hope they hurry, since he’s not getting younger…

  6. Robson, who believes the bible is history either hasn’t read the bible, or studied it very well. It includes many diverse kinds of writings (including laws and poetry), has been edited by a number of people and has quite a few errors. There are two different creation myths, god changes from a mountain/weather god (one of many gods) to the only universal god, changes in the concept of lucifer to snake to satan, major differences in the four new testaments as to what jesus purportedly did, said, and when, etc. So much for history.

  7. Mark R. says:

    Just the fact that millions of human beings believe in the ridiculous stories of Jesus’ birth and death (the two most important events of Christianity) proves that our brains are still wired for superficial and credulous beliefs. Here’s the simple break down: 2,000+ years ago a god-son was conceived by a virgin with magic god-sperm that somehow found it’s way up Mary’s birth canal and then nothing is known of the god-son. Then he reappears 30-odd years later, and starts on a mission. He performs a bunch of outlandish miracles and says some common sense and uncommon sense words and is soon brutally murdered and put in a cave for three days to rot from the bacteria-ridden open wounds from flogging/thorn crown/nail holes/spear hole, and then is resurrected with wounds still there but not bleeding…so basically a zombie…to come save all the sinners from Eve’s original sin. Seriously? The poisoning of religion runs deep in the race. It’s hard to free people from their mind prisons when they can’t accept or realize that reason is the antidote.

    • nicky says:

      Well, according to the (non-Canonical) Gospel of Thomas, we know quite a bit of his youth, used to play impish magic tricks as a child. Probably the reason it was not included in the NT…

  8. One should read the 377 paged “A New History of Early Christianity” by Charles Freeman. Which is a commentary on the varying and opposing views amongst significant persons at the time mainly on the nature of Jesus – whether he was divine, subordinate or equal to God, human with a divine spirit, a preacher,a spirit, a Zealot etc. Most modern scholars feel that Jesus may have had a Gnostic nature rather more so, Paul seeking to start a less harsh form of Judaism. Generally Gnostics believed that he was the son of God but not the evil one of the OT. They believed that his miracles and parables were allegorical meant to convey morals and lessons of life (similar to Aesops Fables) like the philosophers of Greece and Egypt They think that but for Paul, the Faith would have remained a minority cult and but for Jewish Wars (66-70 AD) would have been a significant sect of Judaism. However, about 170AD, Bishop Irenaeus decided that they were true and historical and there was increasing conflict-almost a civil war in Rome where bishops gained wealth. Gnostics had the very large Marcion church that was banned at the Council of Nicaea 325AD, writings destroyed and the minority faith of Christianity was imposed as the Faith of the Roman Empire. His nature was not really agreed until after several more Councils ending at Chalcedon in 787AD.

    • nicky says:

      And the Gospel of Judas appears to be fully Gnostic too.

      • There was gnosticism around in Europe in earearly Medieval times, especially in eastern Europe, but it was pretty much wiped out by the (European part of the) crusades.

        • It seems that Pope Innocent 111 ordered the Algensian Crusade in 1209 against people in SW France, Italy and the Rhine seeking a return to Gnosticism causing a massacre of a probably exaggerated 500,000 to 1244. In 1209, after his offers of conversion were rejected by both Cathars and Catholic inhabitants of Bezier in France, it was besieged until all 20,000 ( including Catholics) were killed by 1229. The last Cathar Perfects were burnt at the stake in 1244.

          Gordon Edwards

  9. nicky says:

    Heather, it is a full week now. Are you ok?

    • Yeah, thanks for asking. There has been stuff getting in the way in my lite, but there’s no deterioration in my health.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        Good to hear all is well. At the very least your head should be in constant headache as mine is on the American politics. Things moving so fast, by the time you catch up you are another day behind. I thought we were about an inch away from crisis today but Rosenstein seems to have pulled it out just now. I only get insight from the MSNBC crew, Maddow, Lawrence and others. My current guess into the future is that Mueller is putting it all down on paper as quickly as possible and probably has much to report. At the same time if Trump goes ahead and tries to end the investigation, the people will go to the streets in surprising numbers. And yet another meeting with Trump Jr. took place with foreigners like Saudi to win the election. How much more evidence could be needed.

        • I agree, but the problem is evidence that will stand up in court. The collusion of Junior is obvious to me too, but there’s a problem with assuming intent when it comes to court. We have to hope the Mueller investigation has documentation proving Junior’s intent.

          One of the problems with Trump, and it’s affecting me along with most US commentators and many others, is that he dominates the news. There’s lots of important stuff going on elsewhere that barely reaches the news, especially in the US. e.g. four women have just been arrested in Saudi Arabia for protesting for women’s rights. There’s a teenager in Africa about to be executed for killing her husband. She was forced to marry him. She was held down by relatives on her wedding night so he could rape her and thus “llegally consummate” the marriage. When he tried to rape her the next night, she stabbed him. Their issues get ignored. Europe is still doing the international humanitarian calls to arms, but it would make a huge difference if the US added their voice. Obama would have. Trump is too focused on himself, and is unlikely to criticize Saudi especially, though they treat women even worse than Iran. But he constantly has a go at Iran.

          • Randall Schenck says:

            Well, I am not sure but maybe the distance that you are from here and also the attention you show to international news has something to do with your comments. That is fine. However, dissecting the legalities of what Trump Jr. or anyone else in this mess did is getting lost in the weeds. That is not really our concern. What is our concern is this guy Trump continues to destroy the very foundations of this country and it is not going to be around in any form to have an opinion or a place in international politics. He has already told the rest of the world to go to hell. He is now telling our Justice department and FBI the same thing. He is destroying the very people who are suppose to investigate all of his wrong doing. I do not want to be too over dramatic with this but I think it is pretty clear that the U.S. is soon to be in disaster.

            Rosenstein has rolled over today and is providing the republicans with information on the investigation. Unless he has something in mind that he is not tell us it looks like the beginning of the end.

          • You have reason to be worried. Trump is destroying the foundations of your country. He has manipulated a third of the electorate so that even when he falls, they will believe that he was unfairly maligned. That’s extremely dangerous, especially in the parts of the country where those people don’t realize they’re a minority.

            Mueller needs to have unimpeachable information, that no one can question, and the Republicans need to step up and get rid of Trump. That’s where the problem is going to be – getting other GOP politicians to go against him.

          • nicky says:

            Yes , that is the point. We all know Mr Trump is guilty of conspiracy with a foreign power (and a ‘hostile’ one at that) and obstruction of Justice, but court-proof evidence is a different matter.
            And yes, he dominates the news, and my thoughts. I have never ever been as obsessed with a US president. Is it because he is such an outrageous tweeter? Such a compulsory liar?  Is it because he is an usurper? Something else? I really don’t know.
            The teenager Noura Hussein in Sudan (not Saudi), to be executed for stabbing her rapist ‘husband’ to death, is completely lost in Mr Trump’s vagaries. The world should be up in arms, but is not. I hate the detail that she was first raped while being held by four men of her own family. I hope she will get off the -unjustified- hook, but I’m not hopeful. Sudan is, albeit not officially I think, an Islamic State at its worst. Noura will be the sad victim of that.

          • I’ve never been obsessed by the US or a president before either, though I did get a bit worked up over Reagan. I was still at high school ans actually had a life, but I still felt moved to write a letter about what a bad idea it was for him to be president.

            I think with Trump it’s because he’s sooooo bad, and is in a position to do damage to the whole world (and is doing it) and it’s just so completely outrageous that it’s even happening. I still find it hard to believe that he got the job.

            I feel the need to do something about Trump because of the damage, and, of course, there’s nothing I can do. That frustrates me intensely, and my only outlet is to write about it. It makes no difference, but it gives me a chance to sound off and release some feelings.

  10. Randall Schenck says:

    Right now it appears that the republicans might not last to the next election. They are coming apart and cannot even pass a farm bill. There is also strong talk that Ryan, the lame duck head of the house of representatives will be replaced and not wait for the finish line. There are no morals and no shame in all of Washington that I can detect. I see now that the fish does in fact, rot from the head.

    • We can only hope. It would be great if the end of the year was the end of the Trump Experiment.

      • nicky says:

        My view of Mr Trump, very briefly summarised:
        Mr Trump is a real estate conman, and did quite quite well with the support of his daddy (Fred).
        Later, his companies and enterprises did quite well when they had a real CEO, and went down when he took over the chief executive function (I think he has bankrupted six enterprises). He aspires to be a kinda ‘godfather’ of his family.
        I’m not sure how he got there, but his show ‘The Apprentice” gave him a lot of aura he did not really deserve, and made him a familiar face (1).
        In his need Mr Trump went to Russian oligarchs and other ‘foreign’ capital, to keep him afloat, he probably is deep in their debt (2).
        Mobsters have realised that in order to go big, you need to have politicians and administrators in your pocket. Mr Trump is well aware of that(3).
        Combining 1,2 and 3 he conceived a Brilliant Great Plan: go for the presidency himself (one is in one’s own pocket, ne? And he could help the Russian and other oligarchs).
        He realised he could get steady support from the religious fundamentalists (abortion, X-mas, guns, Mr Pence), the impoverished or less than well to do white middle class, the ‘deplorables’ (immigration, race, Obama, guns, draining the swamp) and getting support from domestic billionaires (mainly tax ‘reforms’, and destroying environmental regulationswhich are also benefiting himself, which would include the Koch’s, Adelson and some others).
        And guess what? Helped with some voter disenfranchisement and election fraud perpetrated by by the Reps he succeeded.
        There is only one reason Mr Trump went for the presidency, and that is the benefit of Mr Trump and his family. He is a schoolbook example of corruption.

        • Randall Schenck says:

          James Clapper, who is fully retired now and can say whatever he wants is doing so in his book, Facts & Fear, and appeared on Maddow’s show last night. He says Trump is Illegitimate and would not be president if not for the Russian assistance. It is the logical conclusion after looking at all that was done by the Russians in the last election. But anyway, you are correct, back in the 80s & 90s Trump was as good as bankrupt and could not get loans any longer in legitimate places and turned to Russia. They own the guy and everyone who still has a brain knows this.

          • nicky says:

            Yes, he’s an usurper, not just because of the successful Russian campaign, but also because of voter disenfranchisement and counting fraud.

          • I wish the US had a mechanism for reversing an election. We have one, and it’s been used. If an MP is found to have spent more than the spending cap, for example, they lose their job and the person who came in second is appointed instead.

          • nicky says:

            Yes, that would be the best solution if it existed in the US. And not only Russian assistance.
            I somewhere posted the 10 reasons Mr Trump got elected instead of the rightful POTUS, Ms Clinton. Just see if I can recall them:
            1 – The EC. The electoral college gives advantage to thinly populated rural states, which tend to be ‘conservative’ eg, a vote in Wyoming carries 3.5 times the weight of a vote in California or New York.
            2 – Voter disenfranchisement: CrossCheck (depriving about 7 million voters, mainly black, of course, of their rights), closing voting stations in ‘minority’ areas, not having a public holiday during election day (disproportionaslly denying workers in precarious working conditions) etc. etc.
            3 – Counting fraud, In seven of eight ‘swing states’ where Ms Clinton led the exit polls, Mr Trump won. In all those seven ‘swing states ‘ a Republican was in charge (and we are not talking 0.x %, but 2 to 7 % points. The only ‘swing State’ where this did not happen was Virginia, where the vote was overseen by a Democrat. Throwing away ‘provisional votes’ was but one of the means.
            4 – The relentless and sustained Russian campaign by full-time paid trolls to smear Ms Clinton (emails, Uranium One, Benghazi, etc etc) on social media and diverting all attention away from Mr Trump.
            5 – The ‘Bernie or bust’ crowd, that refrained from voting, because…
            6 – The attitude of the Ctrl left, that drove many centrists to Trump, especially their smooching with fundamentalist Islam (de-platforming, the eternally offended, SPLC etc)
            7 – Mr Comey stating a few days before the elections that the case of Ms Clinton’s emails was reopened, without mentioning the Trump campaign was also under investigation.
            8 – The reaction of the ‘deplorables’ to the Obama admin, just read racism.
            9 – Latent sexism, a woman president?
            10 – the religious right, that came out in full force because of “Abortion”, not to mention greatly religious love of, nay , obsesion with, guns.

        • I would agree with most of that. The first sentence of your last paragraph should be up in shining lights!

          • Randall Schenck says:

            I would hold on to your news sources tomorrow as we may be getting close to that Saturday night massacre if you can remember all the way back to Watergate. I’m sure you cannot but anyway, this one may be a Thursday or Friday massacre. Either the Justice Department is caving in tomorrow or they are not but the meetings Trump demanded are taking place tomorrow. Everything else is just clutter.

          • Thanks for the heads up. I haven’t watch any US news yet today. I’m about to. We don’t get MSNBC here, but I saw the bit on Clapper on Maddow’s Twitter feed. There was this cartoon today too: https://twitter.com/HeatherHastie/status/999443128858759168

  11. Randall Schenck says:

    Doing a time check to see if I even remember how to do this. If it comes up on 2 pm here (1400 hrs) it must be around 6 am. the following day (Friday) NZ. Meaning you are something like 16 hours ahead of central time U.S. Anyway, at this time in the early afternoon Thursday, the second meeting is still going on and we really have no news on the first meeting, which is over. Of course even figuring out who actually attended the meeting is hard enough.

    Not getting MSNBC over there is a bummer for the serious news junkie, particularly at night (prime time). I think during the day CNN is probably the place to watch but at night with Lawrence and Maddow and the others they get far more in deep with the politics. They also work closely with the reports at the Times and the Post who are the people doing the hard work. Nothing replaces the NYTs and Washington post for news in this country. Anyway, this is where the most and best news comes from and if you know anyone getting their information from Fox, do not waste your time. You could also be getting your govt. from the republican party, also a waste of time.

    The republicans will report directly to Trump, we are sure and then see what happens.

    • CNN also works closely with the Times and the Post too. Maggie Haberman is on most nights, along with several others. James Clapper is a regular. Some of the CNN reporters are really good. They have regular GOP commentators too. Some support Trump and some don’t. Their arguments get exposed as being completely without merit. I usually watch Anderson Cooper, who’s on for 2 hours from noon my time, then Don Lemon for an hour. If I have time I watch Christiane Amanpour. I never miss Fareed Zakaria on the weekend, and I also record Jake Tapper to watch when I get up.

      I used to watch Fox a fair bit to get the alternative pov, but they’re getting worse and worse, and it’s been about two months since I watched Fox. I’m just not getting anything useful from watching them, and the constant misrepresentation and outright lies make me really angry.

      It’s a disgrace that it basically took a media campaign just to get these meetings on the same day.

      Even though it’s 10am, I’m still in bed, which is fairly normal for me. It takes about an hour to shower and dress, and another half hour to do the morning chores like make the bed. I dvr CNN because it’s usually a while before I get a chance to start watching it, and it means I can fast forward through the ads.

  12. Randall Schenck says:

    Looks like the whole business and the meetings turned out to be a bust. I guess it is just another Trump / Nunes joke.

    • It had to be once it was the same day because the Republicans couldn’t spin it for a while before the Dems heard the info. This is basically what Don Lemon in particular was saying yesterday. He and Anderson Cooper spent a lot of time pointing out this was a nothing burger because a spy and a confidential informant are not the same thing, and to say they are is Trump trying to make himself the victim. It’s another created scandal to divert attention.

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