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In the Movie “Catch me if you can,” Leonardo DiCaprio’s character plays the role of Frank Abagnale – a fugitive who is running from Tom Hanks’ character, an FBI agent. There is one scene where Tom Hanks finally gets to the hotel where Leonardo DiCaprio is staying, and instead of running, Dicaprio pretends to be a secret service agent who actually just caught Frank Abagnale. Hanks doesn’t believe him at first but DiCaprio confidently hands him his wallet as proof that he is indeed a secret service agent. Tom Hanks accepts the wallet and takes it as reason enough to believe DiCaprio. After a while he decides to actually open the wallet and he sees it’s just filled with random soft drink and condiment labels.

So… What this channel is is an invitation to open up the wallet. And to explain what I mean by that and what this has to do with taking the time to research things by yourself, let me tell you the story of Jeff:

As per conventional practice, Jeff’s life starts out with his mother lying on her back attempting to give birth to him. The position she’s in makes it harder to push Jeff out so she’s having a lot of difficulty with the birth, is in a lot of pain and an epidural is recommended. The epidural relieves her pain but makes it even harder to actually give birth. It’s getting pretty late in the day and this whole process is taking far too long so a C-Section is recommended. The surgery is completed without complications, and Jeff comes out a healthy baby boy.

A little while after the birth, he is to be circumcized, and since you can’t give a baby anaesthetic, Jeff has his first taste of sugar in the form of a pacifier dipped in a concentrated sugar solution called “sweet ease” . This activates Jeff’s endogenous opioid system, providing an analgesic effect and the procedure is completed without too much fuss.

At home, Jeff’s mother takes great care of him, and after 6 months puts him on Nestle’s good start baby formula. When he begins to eat solid foods, his Mom makes sure it’s a low fat diet with plenty of heart healthy whole grains as recommended by the USDA. His usual breakfast before school would be maybe an egg, some toast, yogurt, cereal (but not the sweet cereal), and a glass of orange juice- which Jeff will get refills on.

While Jeff is a pretty good kid at home, he can’t quite behave and focus properly in school so his teacher tells his Mom that he may have ADHD. They have all these commercials for Ambien, Celebrex, Lamisil, Mirapex, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Rozerem and Crestor that all end with “Ask your doctor about…” [Ask your doctor, ask your doctor, ask your doctor, ask your doctor, ask your doctor today, ask your doctor, ask your doctor] so she decided to ask her doctor about Jeff’s ADHD, and he gave her a prescription for him. At the pharmacy she picks up adderall for Jeff and some Oxycontin for her back pain.

Thanks to the adderrall, Jeff’s behavior and grades improve and he quickly develops a skill for rote memorization and keeping information in his head just long enough to pass the standardized tests. Come senior year of high school he is told he needs to decide on what he will be majoring in college. He’s informed that this decision will ultimately determine the path of his entire adult life so he needs to consider it thoroughly. This is a little bewildering considering he spent the past 10 years learning that disobedience means punishment, and that authority figures should make the important decisions for him. So during 3rd period, he raises his hand to ask permission to go to the bathroom and think about this in private.

After high school, the cost of college is steep but he needs an education to get a good job, so he takes out some loans, gets a part time job and he even got a grant, so it works out. Although he is kind of pissed that half of his classes require the newest edition of each textbook which cost more than a hundred dollars each. There’s barely any difference between the newest one and the 4 preceding editions which are less than half the price, but the class requires the new edition.

College was tough but he got through it and he even landed a reasonable job. Adult life isn’t too bad, he’s making enough money to handle his student loans and live comfortably. He meets a great girl, saves up for an engagement ring and proposes to her. Now that he got that step out of the way, he has to figure out how to finance the wedding. He doesn’t quite understand why it has to be so expensive, but it’s a very special occasion so he tries to make it as extravagant as he can.

“Meet Vicki Howard – she’s the author of Brides Incorporated and an expert in wedding commercialization. Weddings used to be simple affairs but then bridal magazines encouraged brides to marry like the wealthy. It was the birth of an entire industry and now the cost of weddings keeps sky rocketing. The wedding industry systematically overcharges young couples, just because they can. One study found that a majority of flower shops, photographers charged more for a wedding than they did for a birthday party of the same size.”

Over time Jeff gains a bit of weight so he starts counting calories, makes sure to reduce the fat in his diet and he even picks up jogging. He had been hearing that he should reduce his sugar consumption, so he avoids sodas and candies. “Much of the sugar we eat is hidden in foods we don’t necessarily think of as sweet. This oatmeal, 3 and 3 quarter teaspoons of sugar a bowl. You can find sugar added to bread, soup, all kinds of condiments, hot dogs…” He loses a little bit of weight, but he feels hungry and tired all the time. He sticks to it, but isn’t losing weight as fast as he’d like so just in case, he checks with his doctor about any health risks coming from his weight. Jeff’s cholesterol is not super high but his doctor recommends he take a statin just in case. Jeff says “Yea sure doc, give me the Lipitor”

“all of the long term data on the statins show that you will die sooner if your cholesterol is lower, particularly if you are over 55 if you are female or male. There is no benefit to the drugs. The sickest people I have ever seen in my 32 years of practice were people who’s cholsterol was too low. Without enough cholesterol in your system, your immune system can’t work properly.”

A couple weeks later his wife complains about his performance in the bedroom so he gets some viagra for that.

“What is one of the major side effects of cholesterol lowering drugs? Impotence is one of the things that is complained about most frequently. Well guess what the same manufacturer’s number 2 selling drug is that makes lipitor? Viagra. Viagra! Heyyyy!”

He’s also feeling a little foggy in the head so he consults his doctor and his doc reassures him he’s just getting a little older and probably just under stress. The doctor finds out Jeff used to have ADHD as a kid, so he recommends Jeff to get back on some ADHD medication. He gives Jeff a prescription for the ADHD and a painkiller for some pain in his back from slipping on the stairs the other day. Jeff swings by the pharmacy to pick up his ADHD medication, the oxycontin, a refill of lipitor and some Listerine for his Halitosis.

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