Thursday, March 8, 2012

Army Soldier Suicides Up 80% Since Beginning Of Iraq War

Since the start of the Iraq War in 2003, the rate of Suicide among U.S. Army soldiers has soared, according to a new study from the U.S. Army Public Health Command.

The study, an analysis of data from the Army Behavioral Health Integrated Data Environment, shows a striking 80 percent increase in suicides among Army personnel between 2004 and 2008. The rise parallels increasing rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions in soldiers, the study said.

The high number of suicides are "unprecedented in over 30 years of U.S. Army records," according to the authors of the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Injury Prevention. Based on the data and the timing of the increase in suicide rates, the authors calculated that about 40 percent of the Army's suicides in 2008 could be associated with the U.S. military escalation in Iraq.

"This study does not show that U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan cause suicide," said Dr. Michelle Chervak, one of the study's authors, a senior epidemiologist at the U.S. Army Public Health Command. "This study does suggest that an Army engaged in prolonged combat operations is a population under stress, and that mental health conditions and suicide can be expected to increase under these circumstances."

From 1977 to 2003, suicide rates in the Army closely matched the rates of suicide in the civilian population, and were even on a downward trend. But after 2004, the rates began to climb fast, outpacing the rates in civilians by 2008.

In 2007 and 2008 alone, 255 active duty soldiers committed suicide. The vast majority of the suicides since 2004 were by men; and 69 percent had seen active combat duty. Nearly half were between ages 18 and 24. And 54 percent of those who committed suicide were from among the lower ranks of enlisted personnel.

The study found that suicide rates were higher among soldiers who had been diagnosed with a mental illness in the year before their death.

Soldiers who had been diagnosed with major depression were more than 11 times as likely to commit suicide, and suicide was 10 times more likely among those with anxiety. More than 25 percent of the soldiers who took their lives had been diagnosed with adjustment disorder, a term for the immediate emotional fallout from proximity to stressful events.

The association between mental health woes and the risk of suicide is well known to mental health professionals, but Chervak said the purpose of the study was to validate mental health diagnoses as a major risk factor for the increasing number of suicides in the Army.

Studies have shown rising rates of mental illness among U.S. military service members in recent years. Dr. Amir Afkhami, a professor of psychiatry and global health at George Washington University, said it's uncertain whether or not there are truly more cases of mental illness among troops or if the military is simply more attuned to recognizing and reporting these issues.

"But the higher number of suicides is a rock-solid indicator that we do have a problem," he said. "There's no question about it."

Read More From ABC News

Israeli Postmen Protest Delivering New Testiment Bibles To Homes

Dozens of Israeli mail carriers in the city of Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv, have refused to deliver Christian New Testament Bibles to residences, arguing that delivering the Bibles is forbidden according to their halacha laws, or the collective body of Jewish laws.

The employees of Israel's Postal Company were asked to hand out thousands of copies of the New Testament, translated into Hebrew, on Monday. Those opposed to the distribution told Israel's YNet News that handing out the New Testament may even be considered illegal.

"We always distribute business flyers and we have no problem with that, whether we agree with them or not," one postal employee told Ynet News.

"But this time it's different. This is missionary material, and from our understanding there's a law against that. It's not a religious issue," the employee added.

According to the U.S. State Department's Religious Freedom Report, proselytizing in Israel is legal, although "the government has taken a number of steps that discouraged proselytizing and encouraged the popular perception that it is illegal."

It is, however, illegal to proselytize to minors or to bribe people with material items in exchange for conversion.

Mail carriers protesting the distribution have sought the help of Zevulun Orlev, an Israeli politician and a member of the Habayit Hayehudi political party. Orlev took their grievances to Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, who asked the Postal Service to halt the deliveries of the religious material until the situation was resolved.

According to the Arutz Sheva 7 News, Orlev informed the postmen that the distribution would be halted until the legal matter was resolved.

However, on Monday the Israel Postal Company released a contradictory statement, printed in YNet News, which reads: "The Israel Postal Company is a governmental company operating in accordance to the Postal Law, which obligates us to distribute any mail it receives. The Israel Postal Company has no right or ability to choose what it can or cannot distribute. Therefore, the mail will be distributed according to the law."

In a statement, also published by YNet News, Orlev said "It's unacceptable that the Israel Postal Company should participate in distributing missionary materials to the Jewish residents of Israel. We must clarify to the missionaries that the law forbids it."

According to The Jerusalem Post, Orlev vows to present the Knesset, Israel's legislature, with a proposal for a bill next week which would inflict strict penalties on those attempting to distribute conversion materials in Israel.

It is unclear among Israeli media whether, if by Wednesday March 7, the postal workers have chosen to deliver the materials or whether they have continued to protest.

Read More From Christian Post

Social Security In Danger? Letter to White House by Alan R. Davis

Is Social Security important to your membership? If so, you may want to read further:
President Obama's WH OMB has released budgets that show Social Security Payroll Tax Receipts falling short of Social Security Outlays by:
- 2010 budget: $216 billion (10 year projection total)
- 2011 budget: $554 billion (10 year projection total)
- 2012 budget: $1,001 billion (10 year projection total)
- 2013 budget: $1,586 billion (10 year projection total) see Page 210 Table S-5

The trust funds have ~$2.5 trillion in them.
I hope you have brought this to your memberships' attention. How could any of them support President Obama or Democrats who've been:
Telling them that Social Security:
- Wasn't in the budget
- Didn't add to the deficit
- Was sound for decades
(Sen. Durbin Meet the Press 2/20/2011 and Sen. Reid "Hands off SS" ralley 3/28/2011 and many others)
Haven't they been blocking any attempts to have a reasonable discussion on Social Security. Where's Senator Conrad? I shared this material with his staff on 2/17/2011! Have you heard him bring it up in the Budget Committee yet?
I hope you put your membership before your loyalty to Democrats! We'll be able to tell by whether this becomes a major issue for you!

Alan R. Davis
Private Citizen & Patriot

Read Letter to White House and Media

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."

Patrick Henry

Planes Being Rerouted Due To Solar Flare Storm

The largest solar storm in five years -- spawned by a double whammy of flares from the sun -- has engulfed Earth, but scientists say the planet has lucked out so far.

The storm arrived more peacefully Thursday morning than it could have. Scientists say that could change as the storm spends the day shaking the planet's magnetic field. Airlines and power grid operators were warned of potential issues from the storm -- and some reported taking precautionary steps just in case.

“We are flying alternate routes for seven flights,” Anthony Black, a spokesman for Delta Airlines, told Polar flights -- those with paths that cross over the North Pole -- can suffer from communications issues and pilots and passengers can be exposed to radiation.

To avoid that, Delta switched to preplanned alternate routes for several westbound flights between U.S. cities such as Atlanta, Minneapolis and New York City and Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Nagoya.

“It may be 15 to 20 minutes of additional time,” Black said.

Joseph Kunches, a space weather scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center, said the agency may have overestimated the effects of the blast.

“We expected the freight train. The freight train has gone by, is still going by, and now we’re watching to see how this all shakes out,” Kunches said. The challenge: the agency can't anticipated the orientation of the magnetic field within the charged particles sent from the sun.

Obama's Mentor: 'We Hid This Throughout 2008 Campaign'

"Open your hearts and open your minds to the words of Prof. Derrick Bell." Those are the words of Barack Obama in reference to the controversial racialist Derrick Bell. Prof. Charles Ogletree, Barack Obama's mentor said "We hid this throughout the 2008 campaign." As more is uncovered about Prof. Derrick Bell and his radical views, it will become clear why Prof. Ogletree wanted this video hidden.