IRS + Gay = God-humper Head Explosion

If there’s anything the right wing likes complaining about more than taxes, it’s gays. So when a story comes along involving both, you know they’re gonna lose their fucking shit. Recently, the IRS announced that, following the demise of DOMA, gays and lesbians would be allowed to file joint tax returns if they were legally married, even if they currently live in a state that doesn’t recognize their marriage. This is not exactly unexpected. The Supreme Court’s decision would, of course, mean that several federal agencies would have to change their policies to comply. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone.

But it’s gays. And it’s taxes. So the god-humpers just can’t help themselves.

The IRS is trying to force same-sex marriage “on an unwilling public” with its ruling that legally married gay couples may now file joint income tax returns, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said Friday.

Sorry to break this to ya, Sparky, but more Americans support gay marriage than oppose it. It’s you who’s forcing your bigotry on an unwilling public.

 “The Treasury Department is grossly overstepping its authority,” said Brown in a statement posted on the NOM website shortly after the IRS’ announcement.

“This is a nation of laws. Only Congress has the authority to change the law,” he said in the statement.

The dingleberries on the far right really don’t fucking understand how the constitution works. Yes, only Congress can make laws. But that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones who can change a law. The IRS didn’t make any new laws. They’re merely implementing a Supreme Court ruling which changed a law. Let me make this as clear as I can:

The legislative branch creates the laws.

The judicial branch interprets and reviews the laws.

The executive branch implements the laws.

The IRS, which answers to the president, is implementing the Supreme Court’s review (and rejection) of a law passed by Congress. In other words, they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do. Congress made a law. The courts reviewed it and altered it. The executive branch is now putting this new interpretation into effect. This is exactly how our system is supposed to work.

On Thursday, the Obama administration said that married gay couples living in all 50 states can file joint federal tax returns, even if local authorities don’t recognize their marriages.

The decision by the Treasury Department implements the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had forbidden the Internal Revenue Service from allowing married homosexual couples to file jointly.

There. See? Was that so hard? Even the hack author of this piece of shit article from Newsmax understands that the IRS is implementing the law, not creating it.

The government’s decision is considered a victory by same-sex couples who were married in one of the 13 states or the District of Columbia that recognize such relationships, but now live in one of the 37 states that do not recognize them.

Brown and the NOM, however, do not consider the ruling a victory at all. NOM, in its statement, said the IRS ruling “continues a pattern of lawlessness across the nation where administrators and clerks have taken it upon themselves to interpret and rewrite laws as they pertain to marriage.”

Well, the NOM is invited to nom on my ball sack. It’s not lawlessness. It’s standard separation of powers. And god-humpers are usally just fine with separation of powers–until a court decision or executive action doesn’t go their way, when they all the sudden decide that separation of powers is the worst possible thing in the world and a sure sign that America is now a homo-fascist Muslim Marxist communist puppy-murdering dystopia.

Further, NOM said that only federal and state lawmakers have the power to enact or rewrite law.

Uh, yeah, that was said  just a few paragraphs ago. Who the fuck wrote this shit?

“The Obama administration is intent on forcing same-sex ‘marriage’ on an unwilling public,” Brown said. “Congress alone has the responsibility of determining federal tax law.”

What the fuck? Do you think that just simply repeating your ignorant, unconstitutional garbage somehow makes it true? This has been said multiple times in this article. It is false every single time. And it still doesn’t change the fact that the majority of Americans support gay marriage.

Same-sex marriage opponent Bryan Fischer, the director of the issues analysis for the American Family Association, told The Washington Post that the ruling puts “enormous federal pressure now on states to conform to the IRS.”

Like there wasn’t already? Try not conforming to the IRS. See how that works out for you.

Further, he said that the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this summer to strike down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act “placed an [improvised explosive device] under every state marriage amendment in the land.”

Good!

“I predict we will very quickly see legal action in the 37 states that do not give legal recognition to same-sex marriage to force them to conform to federal policy on their tax forms, and you will get activist federal judges that will comply,” said Fischer.

Again, they’re only “activist” judges when they make a decision the right doesn’t like. You didn’t hear this hypocrite complaining about the courts when they struck down provisions of the Voters’ Rights Act.

The IRS ruling also creates some complications for same-sex couples who live in the 37 states that don’t recognize gay marriage, financial experts said Friday.

Which is why gay marriage should be legal in all 50 states, if there were any real justice in this country.

Just don’t call him the first BLACK president…

Exactly what constitutes a “story” differs from person to person. What counts as a significant development depends on what you consider to be significant in the first place. I thought the events of Amazing Spider-Man #700 were significant (and supremely stupid),* but people who aren’t like me and haven’t been reading comic books since 1990 probably don’t give a shit about it. This past week I borrowed my dad’s car while mine was in the shop, and couldn’t figure out how to change the satellite radio station off the Golf Channel. So I had to listen to big stories about whether Tiger or Rory would win a major in 2013, or which major course is getting a re-design. Couldn’t care less. Call me when the NBA playoffs start.

This means that what a news outlet considers to be a “story” reflects quite a bit on what they think their readership finds important, which brings us to this headline from WingNutDaily:

WHISTLEBLOWER MAGAZINE

THE FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT

The 1 honorary title Barack Obama doesn’t want – but definitely deserves

It’s not so much an article as it is an advertisement disguised as an article, hoping to entice their readership to buy shit from them. WND does this a lot, and apparently they know their readership quite well. Kinda like how a good hog farmer knows just the right kind of shit that his pigs like to roll around in.

It’s a bit presumptuous to call it “the 1 honorary title” Obama wouldn’t want. It would be pretty easy to come up with other even less palatable soubriquets. I seriously doubt anyone would want to be The First Child Molester President, or the President of the Anal Fissures, or CEO of CNN. Hell, Speaker of the House doesn’t sound too appetizing right about now either. But what matters is not whether it makes any sense to single out this one particular imaginary title as the WORST EVER. What matters is whether the reptilian brain stems of the target audience think it’s the WORST EVER and will shell out money proportionately to the stimulation it creates in them. The point is to provoke a Pavlovian response and get them drooling cash into your coffers as soon as possible.

It started when Bill Clinton was famously called “the first black president” – not because of his skin color, of course, but because he supposedly exemplified so many “black” qualities and attitudes.

This article is off to a great start!

Since Barack Obama has been president, he’s been showered with many such accolades – most recently when Newsweek crowned him “The First Gay President” for his election-year abandonment of his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Newsweek also called M. Night Shyamalan “The Next Spielberg”, so let’s not start stroking our balls over this title just yet. In fact, given their history, if Newsweek is calling him The First Gay President, then it follows with almost certainty that Obama has a literal dick allergy and breaks out into hives whenever dick shares the same air space with him, but needs pussy every two hours in order to keep his heart from collapsing.

But the elite media, to commemorate other Obama affinities and policy positions, have also dubbed him “The First Hispanic President,” “The First Asian-American President,” “The First Jewish President” – and even “The First Female President.”

Dear Loyal Readers,

Just wanted to remind you that Obama is the First [Something] President. Not quite sure what that “something” is, but how do you feel about Jews and Mexicans and women? Or Bill Clinton for that matter?

Sincerely,

The Totally Serious Journalists at WND.

But there’s one “first” label conspicuously absent from all the media homage paid to the 44th president – perhaps, ironically, because there’s more truth to it than the press is comfortable admitting – and that’s the title Whistleblower confers on Barack Obama in its blockbuster January 2013 issue: “THE FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT.

This sentence is a perfect maelstrom of amusing futility and pathetic braggadocio. “Yes, we, the intrepid news team at WingNutDaily, we alone had the courage–courage so lacking in all those fact-based news outlets–to call Obama something really stupid and wholly unoriginal and completely ineffective IN ALL CAPS!!! Buy our shit! We are so fucking groundbreaking rah rah rah!!!” At least some part of their brains must recognize that yet again resurrecting the tired “Obama’s a Muzzie” trope won’t be any more effective than their birther babblings or conspiracy theories about ACORN or any of the other shit they peddle. The conservatives lost the last election and they can’t change it. But they’ll keep retreading the same ground, because it still sells no matter how futile the endeavor might be.

Barack Obama’s relationship with Islam has long been one of the most radioactive questions surrounding his presidency.

Only if we’re talking about a certain type of radioactive.

Before the 2008 election, it was considered impolite in the extreme even to mention publicly Obama’s middle name, “Hussein,” a name given only to Muslim babies.

Can you imagine the embarrassment when Obama’s Catholic mother and atheist father realized they’d accidentally given birth to a Muslim baby? “Well, fuck, honey. Guess my old atheist self better give him my own middle name, seeing as that’s what the law says you do with Muslim babies. By the way, how exactly does a girl baby come to be named ‘Stanley’?”

And despite repeated polls showing a significant percentage of voters – one in three conservative Republicans and almost one in five of all voters – believe the president is currently a Muslim…

Just refer back to what I said earlier about what counts as “significant”.

…those who dare bring up the issue are mercilessly scorned as ignoramuses and bigots.

Can’t imagine why that might be. Obviously a Catholic girl named Stanley would follow non-existent Muslim rules (in Hawaii) about naming your baby Hussein if and only if he’s Muslim. People must be calling me a bigoted ignoramus because there’s something wrong with them. I’m doing just fine.

Yet, there’s a side to Obama’s life, from his Muslim childhood, schooling, Quran studies, mosque attendance and prayer in Indonesia, to his bewilderingly pro-Muslim policies today as president, that has been carefully concealed from the public by the “mainstream media.”

And by “carefully concealed” we mean “vociferously harped on by every right wing political figure on Fox News until it became ineffective because everyone knew it was bullshit, at which point it began its zombie life among the real wingnuts alongside creationism and fluoride conspiracies.”

If you’ve wondered why the current U.S. president seems so supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood – both in the Arab-Muslim Middle East and, in the form of its various front organizations, within America itself – “THE FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT” will open your eyes.

Hint: it’s ’cause he’s Muslim.

Highlights of “THE FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT” include:

What follows is just a long list of what kinds of articles one will find in the next issue of WhistleBlower. It certainly does involve quite a bit of blowing, but the only whistle involved is dog whistle, since none of it is new in any way, shape or form. It’s just the same warmed over boilerplate they’ve been spewing out for dumbshits to lap up for almost 5 years now, but repackaged to make it look like something you should spend your hard earned money on (if you’re the kind of person who has no idea what to spend your hard earned money on). If you’ve been following the right wing narrative on Obama the Other even casually, you’ve heard it all before. And if you’ve been following it enthusiastically and believing it, it’s exactly what you want–nothing new, nothing challenging, nothing that’s actually different from what you heard before. Just comforting, mind-numbing repetition and reassurance that it’s reality that’s stupid, not you.

Any time one reads a WND article, it’s always nice to take a look at the comments section to see just how stupid their target audience is. So let’s take a moment to browse through a few comments.

Lamar Carnes • 

The man is NOT an American at all by American standards for a citizen. He certainly doesn’t measure up to any criteria which would suggest he knows anything about Ameircan USA issues of purpose and being. He is more of a foreign person similar to people like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, any and all Islamic Muslim dictators and certainly looks like a worn out Socialist!! Still trying to make Socialism the failed policy of the past history of world nations – work for American people! It won’t, it never will and he will eventually leave the office of President with egg all over his face and an emptier suit than he already wears! The man is a total flat failure! A disgrace to our nation and the entyire system of politics and government! A man who has divided us more than any other man ever in our history! Yet, people seem to love it all especially the Press and welfare type people! But, they will eventually cry spilt milk and say they just didn’t really understand it all. yeah, dumb heads keep your heads in the sand!! You stink!!

Well, I was gonna go through a few comments. But then Lamar Carnes had to come along and say everything that any WND commenter will ever say in that thread, all in one comment, and with representative grammar and spelling to boot. Stop hogging all the regurgitated cliches and babble-points, Lamar! Your fellow wingnuts also want to feel reassured by repeating ineffectual nonsense on the internet!

__________________________

* For those who are interested in my opinion, I skipped ASM #700 (and plan to do the same with Superior Spider-Man), and re-read Kraven’s Last Hunt instead. I already know DeMatteis did it better. Call it a hunch.

Naked Naughty “Nuns” get sued

This is the kind of headline that grabs one’s attention:

Catholic group to sue naked feminist protesters

I saw that Neil Gaimon had tweeted it from Joe. My. God. and had to check it out. So, what’s going on here?

Catholic group Civitas is suing the group Femen for “sexual exhibitionism” in front of children, as well as protesting illegally and insulting a religious group by mocking their appearance.

So what is this “sexual exhibitionism” that so scarred these poor children?  Well, the protesting women’s boobs were, like, visible and stuff. (Image NSFW) They weren’t even properly naked, just topless. I generally demand more from my sexual exhibitionism. They could at least have made out or something. Maybe a little fisting. Just a little.

This is in France, by the way. This Catholic group is suing for showing boobage in France. Seriously, who doesn’t show their boobs in France? I’ve seen a French film or two. I seriously thought boobs were so common in France that people barely noticed them. “Hey, Jacques. You ever notice how hard it is to see the futbol game with all these boobs in the way?” “What boobs?”

And “insulting a religious group by mocking their appearance”? Is that really illegal in France? Insulting people should never be illegal. Religious people need to learn that the law is not your bah-bah that you can suck on whenever you get your feelings hurt and feel all poopy inside. And let’s keep in mind–these naked feminist nuns were counter-protesting a Catholic run anti-gay march. So it’s okay for the Catholics to march to deny gays equal rights, but it’s not okay to make fun of the Catholics’ silly costumes. Christian privilege, much? Oh, and fuck boobies. Children might see them. And we all know how scarring that would be if a boob were visible and a child saw it. It might do horrible things to him, like make him giggle for a few seconds. Oh, the humanity.

So who is this lesbian feminist group? From what I can gather at Le Monde (my French is rusty), they’re a rather outlandish women’s rights group that has drawn quite a bit of controversy for their over the top protests which they always do topless. This has led to the legitimate question of whether they are actually conveying a message or if people just see the breasts and forget everything else. European feminists worry that if Femen becomes the face (or chest) of feminism it could distract people from the message, and maybe that’s true. Honestly, in my opinion, while I’m all for feminism and gay rights and lots of other left wing issues, I’ve never participated in a protest of any kind and probably never will. It’s just too herd-mentality for me. But I support other people’s right to do it, even in the nude. So long as they don’t get violent…but we’ll get to that in a moment.

The feminist protesters turned up to the march against the proposed marriage for all law wearing only knickers and stockings, and with graffiti criticising the march written on their bodies.

I’m not sure if I’m comfortable calling gay marriage “marriage for all”. That seems to play right into the dumb ass slippery slope arguments that the right loves to use, where gay marriage will lead to people marrying box turtles and lawn sprinklers. Although maybe this is a translation problem.

Well, anyways, they’re criticizing an anti-gay march. Good for them!

They also fired canisters of tear gas at the marchers.

NOT good for them.  What the hell, girls? Spraying tear gas? That is way out of line.

That is, it’s way out of line if it’s true. I see some reason for doubt. Here’s a YouTube video of the event (NSFW, obviously, because of boobs. People, for some odd reason that I’ll never understand, hate seeing boobs.)

You can definitely see them spraying….something. But is it tear gas, or any kind of dangerous gas? Everyone exposed to it seems to be fine. I don’t see anyone rubbing their eyes or reacting to it in any way. I was at a hockey game a while back when a drunk guy six or seven rows back from me got maced by security. Even though I was several yards away, it irritated my eyes quite a bit. And that was just one guy getting sprayed with a small amount of mace.  In the video, the…whatever it is they spray seems to go everywhere, but people seem to be doing just fine.

One thing that is clear from the video is that they are attacked by the anti-gay protestors.

Some members of the feminist group were attacked and injured by the marchers.

Yeah, I just said that. Try to keep up, article I’m commenting on!

Five people have since been arrested in connection to the violence.

Who were these five people? Were they from Femen or Civitas? What did the police have to say about the allegations of tear gas or that the anti-gay protestors attacked the feminists?

Jesus titty balls, the French media is even worse than American media when it comes to leaving out relevant information. It’s hard to form a well-reasoned opinion on this with such sparse reporting. Who attacked whom first? That’s really important info.

Alain Escada, the president of Civitas, said the catholic group would also be suing Femen for spreading a message in a violent manner, organised violence with arms and threatening the freedom to protest of others.

If they actually did any of those things, you should sue. Why was this story all about the suing for boobs and dressing up in “insulting” costumes if there was the possibility of violence in this protest? Why did this shit come up at the end of the article? It’s definitely the more important stuff. But it’s also the stuff where the information becomes so sparse that the article is mostly useless. Also, I can’t help but notice that the journalist who authored this article has apparently spoken only to members of Civitas, but not Femen. Why weren’t the women asked for a statement on this? Are we following some arcane Catholic rule that only lets the men speak? What the hell?

Of course, I tend towards the naked feminist nuns’ side, since 1.) I agree with gay rights and feminism and 2.) I like boobs. However, if they did really spray tear gas into a crowd, then that’s simply inexcusable behavior and they should be in jail. On the other hand, maybe that was just some kind of harmless smoke bomb they set off, and the Civitas bigots attacked them unprovoked, in which case it’s the bigots who should be in jail. Or maybe it really was tear gas or mace, but they only sprayed it in self defense after someone attacked them. It would be nice if the article provided enough information to resolve this issue, but the stuff I quoted is all we get.

It would also be nice if the article focused on the violence rather than the boobs. As I said, I like me some boobs, but anti-free-speech violence is a much more pressing issue. (I also like pressing boobs.) It makes me think that perhaps the critics of Femen’s method might have a point. Except for the fact that if this story hadn’t involved boobs, the odiousness of Civitas’ protest against gay marriage would not have spread across the world. It’s doubtful that this story would have gotten any attention outside of France if not for the boob angle. So, yay for boobs! I guess.

Someone sure needs a brain reinvention…

CNN has seen fit to publish a fluff piece by Deepak Chopra entitled “Reinventing the brain is closer than you think.” As is typical of Chopra’s brand of woo, it is light on facts, makes no new or insightful observations, and is padded out with feel-good woo-woo crap that is either too vague or too obviously nonsensical to be of any use to anyone.

He starts out reasonably enough:

We’re living in a golden age for brain research, which could revolutionize how we think, feel and behave.

Thanks to brain scans like the fMRI, brain activity can be localized and even the most precise activity pinpointed. For example, researchers can spot the minuscule area in the visual cortex that, when damaged, prevents a person from recognizing faces, including his own. The slant in neuroscience has been to map the brain down to the tiniest detail.

Well, yes, neuroscience is advancing at an incredible rate, but let’s not exaggerate what we have. There is still a lot of work to be done, and we can’t yet pinpoint “the most precise activity”, if I took that phrase to mean what it would mean if spoken by anyone using plain English.

But what will we use the map for? One obvious area is medicine. The more we know about what goes wrong in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, the closer we get to a cure. But the highest goal would be to reinvent how we use our brains.

Uh, actually I’d vote for saving lives if it were up to me. I don’t even know what reinventing the brain is, but I damn well know what Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are, and I want to see them cured.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, the answer is no. At no point for the rest of the article does Chopra give anything like a clear explanation of what he means by “reinventing our brains”.

“Reinvent” isn’t an exaggeration. Ten thousand years ago, Homo sapiens had evolved the same genetic array that modern people inherit. But in those 10,000 years arose reading, writing, advanced art and music, government, mathematics and science. Their foundation was a new relationship between mind and body.

What do you mean by “same genetic array”? Are you saying our genome hasn’t changed in 10,000 years? That’s demonstrably untrue. And what the hell does that last sentence mean?

If genes and a fixed structure of brain cells told the whole story, it would remain a total mystery why a cave dweller after the last Ice Age should have just the right complement of neurons to discover gravity or write a symphony. Now we realize that the human brain is far from fixed, at any level.

No, it wouldn’t be a mystery, because that’s a stupid thing to say. Who in the hell would think there must be “just the right complement of neurons to discover gravity”? That’s like wondering at the “mystery” of how my computer could have “just the right complement of computer chips” to read this particular page. Or why my eyes would have “just the right compliment of optic nerves” to see the glass of wine next to me.

Any such array would be nearly useless in any context, and natural selection would likely eliminate it (unless it were genetically linked to something that is useful). There doesn’t have to be a special compliment of neurons for computing the theory of gravity. A general capacity for math and logic is what you need. In fact, especially for a behaviorally generalized species like ours, the more generalized and multiply applicable the mental function, the better.

New brain cells are being formed throughout life; trillions of connections between neurons are developed; and the genetic activity inside each neuron is dynamic, responding to every experience and every stimulus from the outside world.

Wha…what? What genetic activity? You mean like transcription and protein synthesis? Those processes most certainly do NOT “respond to every experience”.  New synaptic connections do occur frequently, but that’s not because of a change in the genes. You seem to have confused genetics with the electrical relays in the nerves. They are not the same thing, and thinking doesn’t change your genes.

Human beings reinvent the brain as we go along, day by day. It’s not a matter of eons. In short, the brain is a verb, not a noun. It is reshaped by thoughts, memories, desire and experience.

The first two sentences are mostly true. Neural plasticity is real, although calling it “reinventing” the brain is unnecessarily hyperbolic, in my semi-expert opinion (phd minor in cognitive science). The third sentence, however, is nonsense. And the fourth makes no sense in light of the third.

The word “brain” is a noun. It’s referent, the actual physical gray matter between your ears, is not a noun or a verb or any part of speech, because it’s not a word. I realize Chopra is trying to be poetic and I’m being very literal, but I reserve the right to do so when the attempt at poetry is embedded in a sea of nonsense and half truths. And also, since being “reshaped by thought” is not what makes a thing a verb any way, I hold that his attempt a poetry fails utterly. I have the right to be as overly literal as I want.

Because it is dynamic, fluid and ever-renewing, the brain is much more malleable than anyone ever imagined.

Actually, a lot of people imagined it, seeing as Chopra surely isn’t doing any of this neuroscientific research himself. He’s just grabbing ideas from other people’s heads, dumbing them down to the level of the average woo-woo customer, then calling them his own.

And yes, the brain is plastic, adaptable and dynamic in SOME ways, but it is certainly not “ever-renewing”. It can be pushed to the point that it stops renewing. It’s called Being a Conservative Christian.

Consider a controversial British medical journal article from 1980 entitled “Is the brain really necessary?” It was based on the work of British neurologist John Lorber, who had been working with victims of a brain disorder known as hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”), in which excessive fluid builds up. The pressure that results squeezes the life out of brain cells. Hydrocephalus leads to retardation as well as other severe damage and even death.

Lorber had previously written about two infants born with no cerebral cortex. Yet despite this rare and fatal defect, they seemed to be developing normally, with no external signs of damage. One child survived for three months, the other for a year.

After reading that last paragraph, I had to sit and stare at my screen for a while and let my brain process a confusing and amusing realization: Chopra does not consider infant death to be an “external sign of damage”.

If this were not remarkable enough, a colleague at Sheffield University sent Lorber a young man who had an enlarged head. He had graduated from college with a first-class honors degree in mathematics and had an IQ of 126. There were no symptoms of hydrocephalus; the young man was leading a normal life.

Yet a CAT scan revealed, in Lorber’s words, that he had “virtually no brain.” The skull was lined with a thin layer of brain cells about a millimeter thick (less than 1/10 of an inch), while the rest of the space in the skull was filled with cerebral fluid.

I’ve read about this guy before, and Lorber was exaggerating. The guy did indeed have a brain, it was just greatly compressed by the fluid. This is not evidence that the brain isn’t necessary. Is it amazing? Oh, yes, but don’t read too much into it. Not that Chopra would heed such a warning. Reading too much into other people’s work is what keeps him in business.

Once medical science accepts that the brain can be reinvented, there is no limit.

No. There are always limits. And you still haven’t clearly defined what “reinventing the brain” even means. If you’re talking about neural plasticity, it’s not a reinvention. It’s adaptation and change in response to external stimuli.

Together with Dr. Rudolph E. Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and a leading researcher on Alzheimer’s, my efforts have been directed at how each person can relate to the brain in a new way.

As we argue in our book “Super Brain,” the most direct way to improve brain function is through the mind.

I knew it! I knew it! This isn’t a genuine op-ed. It’s a fluff piece letting Chopra hock his own book. Damn you, CNN! Damn you and your paper thin credibility held in place solely by the fact that Fox News is even worse!

By the way, that last phrase is about as informative as saying, “The most direct way to improve muscle function is through strength.” Chopra may not believe it, but the mind is just something the brain does.

The mind-body connection is powerful because our habits lead to brain changes. What you pay attention to, what your passion is, your approach to diet, exercise, stress and even basic emotions like anger and fear — all of these things register in your brain and drastically shape its structure.

Okay, again. Yes, these things do alter brain structure. But calling it “drastic” is irresponsible hyperbole. In fact, it would be more accurate is that each of these things slightly alters the brain, and over time the alterations build up, making your brain plastic and adaptable to your environment.

In the simplest terms, every experience is either positive or negative when seen as input for the brain. A brain that is processing positive input will grow and evolve much differently from a brain that processes negative input.

This is just complete and utter woo woo claptrap. Every experience is either “positive” or “negative”? Bullshit. The vast majority of experience, from either an emotional or moral standpoint (Chopra is unclear as to which he has in mind as “positive” or “negative”), is completely neutral. As I type this, I’m taking in a wide array of sensory experience about the colors and shapes of objects around me, the temperature of the room, the feel of the keys on my fingers, the sound of my heater coming on, etc etc etc. None of these has any particularly positive or negative effect on me (regardless of whatever meaning Chopra failed to give to those words but may have intended).

Rather than appealing to anything factual from neuroscience or rational from the philosophy of mind, Chopra here is just spoonfeeding his audience the over-simplified, puerile mush that unfortunately so many humans crave. There are good feelings, and there are bad feelings, and you can be better by feeling better. That is ALL he is saying. He’s cloaking it in the language of neuroscience to make his audience and himself feel smarter, but what he’s saying boils down to advice so grossly obvious and easily appealing that even a four year old could grasp it.

This has always seemed intuitively right; we all know that children who are well-loved, for example, almost always turn out better than children who are abused. Now, we have validation from neuroscience.

No, we don’t. At least, we don’t from anything you have presented.

The most important conclusion is that no one needs to submit to old conditioning. The past can be changed by changing the brain, just as the future can be shaped by how your brain is trained today. Reinventing the brain is much closer than you think.

No. No no no no no. You can’t just make problems poof into the aether by positive-thinking them away. The changes in the brain can’t be undone that easily. If you want to talk about things that are “intuitively right”, ever heard the saying, “Old habits die hard”? Well, there’s some truth to it. You can’t just erase the past with vapid platitudes about happy thoughts. For instance, you can’t change the fact that you’ve spent the last several years as a dishonest crackpot bilking people out of their money by talking out your ass about shit you haven’t even attempted to understand.

And, of course, none of this has anything to do with “reinventing the brain”. He’s just taken old codswallop and wrapped in a fancy new pseudoscientific garb. The closest thing we can gather from his article is that reinventing your brain means using positive thinking to feel better. And remember earlier, when he said reinventing the brain was more important than curing Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s? Yeah, not so much. Really, really, really not so much. But this is exactly the kind of spoiled, self-absorbed thinking that appeals to millions of under-stimulated American yuppies suffering with a bad case of White People’s Problems Syndrome. And Chopra loves making money off the problem rather than trying to correct it.

Grrrr, fuck this guy. And fuck CNN for promoting him. Bad! Bad 24 hour news network! Y’know, did you ever think that maybe there just isn’t enough news for 24 hours of programming, and perhaps you should try to focus on other things? And that if you didn’t feel the need to fill up 24 ours with whatever crap you can find, you wouldn’t be giving the time of day to babbling crackpots like Chopra?