12% of United States troops in Iraq and 17% of troops in Afghanistan are on anti-depressants

On June 5, 2008, Time Magazine ran a story entitled, "America's Medicated Army". Here is a snippet from the article:

The medicines are intended not only to help troops keep their cool but also to enable the already strapped Army to preserve its most precious resource: soldiers on the front lines. Data contained in the Army's fifth Mental Health Advisory Team report indicate that, according to an anonymous survey of U.S. troops taken last fall, about 12% of combat troops in Iraq and 17% of those in Afghanistan are taking prescription antidepressants or sleeping pills to help them cope. Escalating violence in Afghanistan and the more isolated mission have driven troops to rely more on medication there than in Iraq, military officials say.

It seems that fighting pre-emptive and immoral wars is not good for one's mental health. I wonder when we as a nation will realize the error of our ways and demand that our government do something about it?

I don't know of any other occupation that has this high a rate of mental illness. Would you want your loved one to enter such a career?

Prozac: The Military's Secret Weapon, MSNBC with Joe Scarborough. Video lasts 3:25

This is article #4 on militarism.

1/4 - 1/3 of females in the United States military are raped by their fellow soldiers

I was reading at article recently which said that 1/3 of female soldiers in the United States military report being raped. I thought, "How can that be? That can't be right," and so I did a little research and it not only is right, but 1/3 may be low. Here is a snippet from an article in the Los Angeles Times from March 31, 2008. Here is a snippet:

The stories are shocking in their simplicity and brutality: A female military recruit is pinned down at knifepoint and raped repeatedly in her own barracks. Her attackers hid their faces but she identified them by their uniforms; they were her fellow soldiers. During a routine gynecological exam, a female soldier is attacked and raped by her military physician. Yet another young soldier, still adapting to life in a war zone, is raped by her commanding officer. Afraid for her standing in her unit, she feels she has nowhere to turn.

These are true stories, and, sadly, not isolated incidents. Women serving in the U.S. military are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.

The scope of the problem was brought into acute focus for me during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center, where I met with female veterans and their doctors. My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41% of female veterans seen at the clinic say they were victims of sexual assault while in the military, and 29% report being raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and the downward spirals many of their lives have since taken.

Numbers reported by the Department of Defense show a sickening pattern. In 2006, 2,947 sexual assaults were reported -- 73% more than in 2004. The DOD's newest report, released this month, indicates that 2,688 reports were made in 2007, but a recent shift from calendar-year reporting to fiscal-year reporting makes comparisons with data from previous years much more difficult.
To read the whole LA Times article click here.
 
My wife and I had 9 children: 3 sons and 6 daughters. We have 12 grandchildren: 8 granddaughters and 4 grandsons. I would be opposed to their being in a situation where they were that likely to be raped. Using the 1/3 rape rate that would mean that 2 of my daughters and almost 3 of my granddaughters would be raped if they were in military service. It is a terrifying thought which leaves me with the conclusion that the greatest threat of terrorist attack to my loved ones would be in the United States military, not for Al Queda or whoever it is we are supposed to be afraid of.

NOW on PBS covers rape story.

Video lasts 3:45 CNN - Recruiter rape - Video lasts 6:20

This is article #3 in a series on militarism.

Children in U.S. 3xs more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications than in Europe

Child taking pill Science Daily reported on September 25, 2008 on a study which will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, which found that children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed psychotropic medications than children in Western Europe. The authors speculate on the reasons for the difference in practice. If you would like to read more click here.


Abstinence based sex ed programs don't work - Bush Administration gets it wrong

 Abstinence based sex ed Reuters HealthDay reported on August 21, 2008 on a study which appears in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health which found that abstinence based programs don't work.

In 2007 alone the Bush administration spent 176 million dollars on abstinence only sex education for our young people and nothing for comprehensive sex education. Here is a snippet from the HealthDay article:

"Interventions that have been created to encourage abstinence have treated abstinence and sexual activity as opposites. However, teenagers say they don't think of them as opposites," lead author Tatiana Masters, a doctoral student in social work, said in a university news release.

"These (abstinence-only) interventions are less likely to work than more comprehensive sex-education programs, because they are not meeting adolescents where they are, and they are speaking a different language," Masters said.

The study included 365 adolescents (230 girls, 135 boys) in Seattle who took part in an intervention to reduce HIV risk behavior. The participants filled out questionnaires asking them about their attitudes and intentions about abstinence and sex, and about their sexual activity in the previous six months.

At the start of the study, 11 percent of the boys and 4 percent of the girls had had sexual intercourse. That increased to 12 percent of the boys and 8 percent of the girls six months later, and to 22 percent of the boys and 12 percent of the girls one year later.

"This paper demonstrates that increasing abstinence intention does not lead to less sex. In fact, when abstinence intention and sex intention interact with each other a teenager is more likely to have sex," Masters said.

The study was published in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

In 2007, the U.S. government provided $176 million for abstinence-only programs, but there is no federal funding for comprehensive sex education programs. This study's findings "raise serious concerns about the abstinence-only approach as a risk-reduction method for adolescent sexual behavior," Masters and colleagues concluded.


Government steps in again, bails out AIG with $85B of taxpayers money

The big lie of Reaganomics exposed. The little guy and the middle class gets screwed again as our plutocracy marches on manipulating our economy for the benefit of the rich and powerful and the politicians they are in bed with. So much for Friedman and his idiot disciples who preach a free market and a smaller role for government. I can't see how the Repbulicans have any credibility left with any Americans who have the brains to understand what is going on.

Under the Repbulican administration of the last 8 years capitalism has gotten way out of control. Now we have to pay for misguided policies and the foolishness of the American voters who put these idiots in power.


Government steps in again, bails out AIG with $85B - Yahoo! News.


Fed pumps $50B into nation's financial system - The big lie of free markets

Milton Friedman and his disciples are a bunch of charlatans when it comes to their preaching about free markets. They are only free when the plutocrats are making money. When they loose money the markets quickly become socialized by the government and the taxpayers pay. When will the voters catch on to the nonsense that comes out of Washington?

Fed pumps $50B into nation's financial system - Yahoo! News.


Big lie exposed - No such thing as free markets

I woke up this morning to the headline on Yahoo news that the U.S. government is going to take over two of the largest mortgage companies in the United States. So much for free markets.

Of course, the government took over Bear Sterns a couple of months ago trying to prop up the investment companies.

The Republican nonsense about free markets is peddled to the working class and poor but the upper middle class and rich know that there is no such thing as free markets. Markets are manipulated by the rich, monied class and they are in bed with the government officials to line their pockets. When their schemes don't work, the government steps in to bail them out. This is another example of capitalism out of control. Here is a snippet from the Yahoo web site:

By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Business Writer 45 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The government is expected to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as soon as this weekend in a monumental move designed to protect the mortgage market from the failure of the two companies, which together hold or guarantee half of the nation's mortgage debt, a person briefed on the matter said Friday night.

Some of the details of the intervention, which could cost taxpayers billions, were not yet available, but are expected to include the departure of Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd and Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron, according to the source, who asked not to be named because the plan was yet to be announced.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and James Lockhart, the companies' chief regulator, met Friday afternoon with the top executives from the mortgage companies and informed them of the government's plan to put the troubled companies into a conservatorship.


The Silenced, the book

The following synopsis comes from the school library journal posted on the Amazon web site.

The Silenced begins with Marena running late for her bus that takes her from her readaptation community to her Youth Training Facility. Classes are lead by instructors of public enlightenment and consist of recitation of Zero Tolerance Party propaganda. Stern, silent state officers patrol the halls. As the book progresses, Marena begins to remember things that she was somehow made to forget. It becomes clear to her that her father was there when the state officers dragged her mother from their home years before. As regulations tighten, she isn't sure who she can trust besides her boyfriend, Dex, and newcomer Eric. She realizes that, like her mother, she cannot remain silent in the face of state oppression. The three friends choose graffiti as their primary form of rebellion. DeVita's novel has many of the same character types and situations as other dystopic works—the enemy who has a change of heart, the unsympathetic character who nevertheless proves to be brave, and the friend who is a traitor. While readers may not find any conceptual surprises, this is a gripping read and young adults will certainly empathize with the characters' conflicts between self-expression and a desire to fit in. They will find the Zero Tolerance credo that the state's first priority must be the safety of its citizens to have a chilling resonance with statements in the news today.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI

While The Silenced is marketed for grade 7 and up, many adults have enjoyed this novel by James Devita. I heard about the novel on the NPR radio show To The Best Of Our Knowledge. Having read it, I am chilled by the similarities to the Bush Administration which we have lived through in the last 8 years. I think this is an important book that all Americans read who are concerned about the direction which our country has been going in especially in the last 8 years.