Tag Archives: depression

What is driving the huge increase in America’s suicide rate…and why do Mainstream Media outlets not want you to know about it?

The direct connection between suicide and depression medications: Use of anti-depressants raises the risk of suicide.

On average, 123 Americans commit suicide every single day, and suicide has now become the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

But among Americans between the ages of 10 and 34, it is the second leading cause of death.

Suicide increasing in America

It wasn’t always this way.  Suicide rates used to be much, much lower.  If you can believe it, suicide rates in the United States “have risen nearly 30 percent since 1999” according to the CDC…

Suicide rates in the U.S. have risen nearly 30% since 1999, according to a report released Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicides increased in both men and women, in all ethnic groups and in both urban and rural areas. Suicide and “self-harm,” a category that includes attempted suicides, cost the nation $70 billion a year in medical care and lost work time, the CDC says.

The CDC says that rates have increased “among both sexes, all racial/ethnic groups, and all urbanization levels”, and so this is not just a trend that is affecting one particular demographic group.  And virtually all age groups are seeing major increases as well.  For example, hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts and attempts at children’s hospitals approximately doubled over a recent 7 years period…

At children’s hospitals across the country, hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts and attempts doubled from 2008 to 2015, according to a study published last month in the journal Pediatrics. The highest increases were seen among teens ages 15 to 17 years old.

Middle-aged Americans are also seeing a stunning rise in suicides.  According to the CDC, the suicide rate for Americans from the age of 45 to the age of 64 is rising faster than for the general population as a whole

Earlier research showed that suicides among middle-aged men and women climbed at a higher rate than the overall population. Suicide among men aged 45 to 64 increased 43% from 1999 through 2014. The suicide rate uptick was even higher among women in that age group, though more men died from suicide, the CDC said.

So why is this happening?

History tells us that suicide rates tend to go up during economic recessions, but we are not in a recession at the moment.

According to NBC News, researchers have found that people that kill themselves tend to have certain things in common…

  • 42 percent had a relationship problem
  • 28 percent had substance abuse issues
  • 16 percent had job or financial problems
  • 29 percent had some kind of crisis
  • 22 percent had a physical health issue
  • 9 percent had a criminal legal problem

But those problems have always existed in our society and many others.

To find the truth, we need to go down a rabbit hole, and it’s a rabbit hole that mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about.

The use of antidepressants and other mind-altering drugs is absolutely exploding in our society.  According to Time Magazine, the use of antidepressants rose almost 65 percent between 1999 and 2014…

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that from 2011 through 2014, the most recent data available, close to 13% of people 12 and older said they took an antidepressant in the last month. That number is up from 11% in 2005-2008.

The most recent numbers have increased by nearly 65% since 1999-2002, when 7.7% of Americans reported taking an antidepressant.

And numerous scientific studies have shown that there appears to be a link between antidepressant use and suicide.  In fact, the biggest review of clinical trials ever conducted found that the use of antidepressants “doubled the risk of suicide” for those under the age of 18…

Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, the biggest ever review has found, as pharmaceutical companies were accused of failing to report side-effects and even deaths linked to the drugs.

An analysis of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants – involving more than 18,000 people – found they doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behavior in under 18s.

If you have ever been on any of these drugs, then you already know that they can really mess with your mind, and they can result in people doing some very irrational things.

In the recent suicide case of Kate Spade, we do have confirmation that she was taking antidepressants.  The following comes directly from her husband’s statement

She was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the last 5 years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety.

We also know that Anthony Bourdain, who took his life recently, struggled with depression as well

The television host also discussed thoughts of depression. In a 2016 episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain traveled to Argentina for psychotherapy — something widely popular in the country.

“Well, things have been happening,” he says on camera. “I will find myself in an airport, for instance, and I’ll order an airport hamburger. It’s an insignificant thing, it’s a small thing, it’s a hamburger, but it’s not a good one. Suddenly I look at the hamburger and I find myself in a spiral of depression that can last for days.

Considering the fact that he had been dealing with incidents of severe depression for many years, could it be possible that Bourdain was also taking antidepressants?  Of course the mainstream media is never going to address this link, because they do not want to harm their relationships with the big drug companies.  Try counting in an average hour of watching TV the number of drug ads you see. You know, those “ask your doctor if XYZ is right for you” ads.  You already know you see a lot of them (if you haven’t been virtually anesthetized by now by the sheer numbers of these ads).  It is television’s major source of revenue, and broadcasters will never do anything that might endanger that.  Today, the pharmaceutical companies spend more than 6 billion dollars a year on advertising.

This means there are 6 billion reasons why mainstream media does not want to tell you the truth, and because they won’t tell you the truth many more Americans are going to needlessly die in the years ahead.

 

[From an article published by The Economic Collapse Blog]

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  If you know someone who you think might be considering suicide, please ask that person to call us directly, or email us, using the contact info below. We’ll do all we can to help.

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

 

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

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Economic numbers now screaming it’s panic button time…

Panic button time in US and around the globeWe haven’t seen numbers like these since the last global recession.  I recently wrote about how global trade is imploding all over the planet, and the same thing is true when it comes to manufacturing.

We just learned that manufacturing in China has now been contracting for seven months in a row, and as you will see below, U.S. manufacturing is facing “its toughest period since the global financial crisis”.  Yes, global stocks have bounced back a bit after experiencing dramatic declines during January and the first part of February, and this is something that investors are very happy about.  But that does not mean that the crisis is over.  All bear markets have their ups and downs, and this one will not be any different.  Meanwhile, the cold, hard economic numbers that keep coming in are absolutely screaming that a new global recession is here.

Just consider what is happening in China.  Manufacturing activity continues to implode, and factories are shedding jobs at the fastest pace since the last financial crisis

Chinese manufacturing suffered a seventh straight month of contraction in February.

China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 49.0 in February, down from the previous month’s reading of 49.4 and below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

A private survey also showed China’s factories shed jobs at the fastest rate in seven years in February, raising doubts about the government’s ability to reduce industry overcapacity this year without triggering a sharp jump in unemployment.

For years, the expansion of the Chinese economy has helped fuel global economic growth.  But now things have shifted dramatically.

At this point, things are already so bad that the Chinese government is admitting that millions of workers are going to lose their jobs at state-controlled industries in China…

China’s premier told visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Monday his government is pressing ahead with painful reforms to shrink bloated coal and steel industries that are a drag on its slowing economy and ruled out devaluing its currency as a short-cut to boosting exports.

Premier Li Keqiang’s comments to Lew on Monday were in line with a joint declaration by financial officials from the Group of 20 biggest rich and developing economies who met over the weekend in Shanghai. They pledged to avoid devaluations to boost sagging trade and urged governments to speed up reforms to boost slowing global growth.

Across all state-controlled industries, as many as six million workers could be out of a job, with almost two million in the coal industry alone.

But it isn’t just China.  Right now manufacturing activity is slowing down literally all over the planet, and this is exactly what we would expect to see if a new global recession had begun.  The following chart and analysis come from Zero Hedge

As the below table shows, 28 regions have reported so far. Seven saw improvements in their manufacturing sectors in February, twenty recorded a weakening, and India was unchanged. This means that over 70% of the world saw manufacturing sentiment deteriorate in February compared to January.

February Manufacturing Numbers - Zero Hedge

In terms of actual expansion, there were 21 countries in positive territory and 7 in negative. In particular, Greece moved from neutral to contraction territory, while Taiwan dropped below breakeven from expansion.

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t really pay much attention to what is going on in the rest of the world.  For most of us, what really matters is what is happening inside the good ole USA.

And of course the news is not good.  There were more signs of trouble for U.S. manufacturing in the February numbers, and this continues a trend that stretches back well into last year.  The following is what Chris Williamson, the chief economist at Markit, had to say about these numbers

“The February data add to signs of distress in the US manufacturing economy. Production and order book growth continues to worsen, led by falling exports. Jobs are being added at a slower pace and output prices are dropping at a rate not seen since mid-2012.

“The deterioration in the manufacturing sector’s performance since mid-2014 has broadly tracked the dollar’s rise, which makes US goods more expensive in overseas markets and leads US consumers to favour cheaper imported goods.

“With other headwinds including the downturn in the oil sector, heightened uncertainty due to financial market volatility, global growth worries and growing concerns about the presidential election, it’s no surprise that the manufacturing sector is facing its toughest period since the global financial crisis.

Over the past couple of decades, the U.S. economy has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities.  We desperately need a manufacturing renaissance – not another manufacturing decline.

As good paying manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas, they have been replaced by low paying service jobs.  As a result, the middle class is shrinking and the ranks of the poor are exploding.

It is hard to believe, but today more than 45 million Americans are on food stamps, and a significant percentage of those individuals actually have jobs.  They are called “the working poor”, and it is becoming a major crisis in this nation.

And no matter what Obama may say, unemployment remains a major problem in the United States as well.  At this point, unemployment rates in 36 states are higher than they were just before the last recession hit in 2008.

Of course a lot of people are going to look at this article and point to the stock market gains of the past couple of weeks as evidence that “things are getting better”.  It is this kind of clueless approach that is keeping the American people from coming together on solutions to our problems.

The truth is that the United States has been experiencing economic decline for decades.  Our economic infrastructure has been gutted, the middle class is steadily deteriorating, and we have amassed the biggest pile of debt in the history of the world.

Anyone who believes that things are “just fine” (OOOObama is one of them, at least according to what he keeps telling us) is in a massive state of denial.  Consuming far more wealth than we produce is not a formula for a sustainable economy.

 

[by Michael Snyder, writing for The Economic Collapse Blog]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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If the economy is improving, why are Americans so unhappy?

A picture of unhappy Americans...

The economy may be improving, but many Americans are still miserable.

Some people recently expressed surprise that New York City — the home of Broadway, the Statue of Liberty and Central Park — was ranked as the No. 1 city where Americans are unhappiest, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Census and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authored by economists at Harvard University and the University of British Columbia.

“Newer residents of these cities appear to be as unhappy as longer term residents, and yet some people continue to move to these areas,” it found. (Incidentally, Lafayette, La. ranked No. 1 for the happiest.)

Other studies have suggested that Americans are increasingly unhappy. In fact, they’re less happy compared with a decade ago, according to a recent Fox News poll jointly conducted by Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research. Some 53% of Americans were “very happy” or “happy.” And while that’s a (slim) majority, it’s still down from 56% in 2009 and a significant slump from 68% in 2001, previous studies concluded. And the rate of antidepressant use has surged 400% over the last decade, according to the CDC, though that may also be due to the heavy marketing of drugs like Zoloft, Lexapro and Paxil.

There’s been some backlash online. This grouchy video mash-up of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” has clocked up over 100,000 views.

“We need to look at why we are unhappy,” says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living spiritual movement and, most recently, a free app to track your happiness called Truly Happy. Shankar, who lives in Bangalore, India, and is one of the most high-profile spiritual leaders in India, says unhappy people often need direction. “Usually, it’s lack of energy in body and mind,” he says. Our consumer culture doesn’t help. “When people are fed up with their routine, and life seems to have no aim and meaning, then people do get depressed, despite having so many physical comforts,” he says.

One reason for all the unhappiness could be that wages are stagnant and many people are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. “Money is a little like health, you don’t want to talk about it with your friends because there’s a little bit of shame around it,” says Andrew Meadows, consumer and brand ambassador at The Online 401(k), a fee-based retirement plan provider based in San Francisco. Some 36% of Americans have not saved any money for retirement, according to a new Bankrate.com survey. Some people think you need to have tens of thousands of dollars to start saving and investing, so rather than save or invest a little, they do nothing, Meadows says. “They ask if there’s going to be another crash.”

But there’s a lot you can do to turn your frown upside down. Acquiring a more positive outlook does take work, says Jackie Ruka, founder of Get Happy Zone, a professional development organization. “Savor ordinary events, avoid comparisons, keep a gratitude journal, have meaningful goals, exercise and put money low on the list,” she says. “Engage in some social service activity,” Shankar adds.

Indeed, Americans are generous when it comes to helping the less fortunate: 65% of Americans volunteered their time in 2013, a survey by Gallup found, up from 59% in 2004.

MarketWatch asked a panel of experts — some financial rather than spiritual gurus — why we’re feeling glum. Here’s what they said:

We are zoning out with gadgets

Computers help us escape from our emotions, studies suggest. Sixth grade children who spent five days at a summer camp without technology had significantly improved emotional cognition — recognizing different emotions on others — than those who spent 4.5 hours a day at home texting, watching TV and gaming, according to a new study of 100 kids by researchers at UCLA and published in the latest edition of the journal Computers in Human Behavior. Understanding emotion is a critical skill, especially for young children, says Yalda Uhls, co-author and senior researcher at the Children’s Digital Media Center at UCLA. “It’s been linked to positive academic and social outcomes,” she says.

50% of people feel stressed

Did your dry cleaner sigh (loudly) when he set eyes on your mound of dirty laundry last night? Did another driver cut you off on your way to work this morning? There could be a reason why: Almost half of Americans said they’d experienced a major stressful event in the last year, according to a recent survey of 2,500 adults by National Public Radio, the non-profit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health. Young adults were more overwhelmed by responsibilities while older adults cited health problems, but both suffer almost equal amounts of stress. People often respond by sleeping less, eating less and exercising less. “Meditation and breathing exercises can help eliminate stress and renew enthusiasm,” Shankar says.

Lifestyles of the rich and famous

The way movie stars lived 40 years ago — except, perhaps, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in their heyday — pales in comparison with the lifestyles of Internet billionaires today, says Dean Baker, a co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C. “Today’s billionaires have islands and yachts,” he says. Reality TV and celebrity magazines are ubiquitous, he says. People who share about their fabulous vacation on Facebook are not going to help most Americans feel better. And keeping up with the Joneses is tougher now because of sites like Facebook. In the past, people might have been jealous if their neighbor drove up in a new car, but now they see a constant stream of their friends on seemingly fabulous vacations and at fancy cocktail parties rubbing shoulders with celebrities. “People are much less secure in their lives than they were before the crash,” Baker says.

There are no siestas in the U.S.

“Americans are among the hardest working people in the world,” says Mark Hamrick, Washington, D.C. bureau chief with personal finance website Bankrate.com. The U.S. is one of the few countries in the industrialized world that does not require employers to offer paid parental leave. What’s more, Americans only take half of their paid vacation days, recent research by market research firm Harris Interactive and careers website Glassdoor found. The U.S. is one of the few developed countries that doesn’t require employers to provide paid time off. Americans also work 40 hours per week, more than many European countries. In the U.K., for instance, most companies offer workers four to five weeks of paid vacation when they join.

Many Americans are unhealthy

People self-soothe with food when they might be better served having some physical exercise, which could help reduce the obesity epidemic in the country, Hamrick says. More than one-quarter of American adults define themselves as obese, according to the Well-Being Index calculated by market research group Gallup and health-care consultancy Healthways. But the real obesity rate is closer to one-third of the population, says Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest, as many people (intentionally or not) underestimate their own body weight. Too much sugar consumption is also one of the most direct causes of Type 2 diabetes, Wootan says.

[by Quentin Fottrell, writing for MARKETWATCH]

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NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  We would like to insert another thought about happiness, if we may. HAPPINESS usually depends on what is HAPPENING around you, as the similarity in these words obviously indicates. They come from the same Middle English root word.

What works best for us and for many others is to concentrate on JOY rather than happiness. Forget what is happening around you, or happening to you, and focus on the bigger picture, which is where JOY comes from. Is it possible to be JOYFUL in spite of negative things that are happening? Absolutely. All we have to do is focus on the source of our joy.

Here’s a verse from the Bible that addresses this very thing: “Consider it all joy, my brethren [brothers, associates, countrymen, good friends], when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-3)  Obviously James is giving this advice in a Christian context, telling his fellow believers that they should focus on the source of their true joy, the savior Jesus, and the eternal life that only He provides. In other words, there is true joy and security which comes from faith in Jesus, because Jesus proved He was the Messiah by His miracles, by his life among the disciples, and by his death and resurrection.  James is simply telling us to keep our eyes on Jesus, not on the things going on around us which can be so ugly and distracting.

One other thought before we leave for the day: Consider the word JOY. J-O-Y. It helps to put this word in a contemporary Christian context through a helpful word association: Jesus – Others – You. Put Jesus first and put others ahead of yourself, and you will realize true joy in this life AND in the life to come. Remember Mother Teresa? This is precisely the way she lived.

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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If economic analysts and cycle theorists are correct, 2015 to 2020 will be an extremely difficult period for the US…

Does the economy move in predictable waves, cycles or patterns?  There are many economists who believe it does, and if their projections are correct, the rest of this decade is going to be pure hell for the United States.

Many mainstream economists want nothing to do with economic cycle theorists, but it should be noted that economic cycle theories have enabled some analysts to correctly predict the timing of recessions, stock market peaks and stock market crashes over the past couple of decades.  Of course none of the theories discussed below is perfect, but it is very interesting to note that all of them seem to indicate that the U.S. economy is about to enter a major downturn.  So will the period of 2015 to 2020 turn out to be so difficult for the United States?  We will just have to wait and see.

Economic cycles...

One of the most prominent economic cycle theories is known as “the Kondratieff wave”.  It was developed by a Russian economist named Nikolai Kondratiev, and as Wikipedia has noted, his economic theories got him into so much trouble with the Russian government that he was eventually executed because of them…

The Soviet economist Nikolai Kondratiev (also written Kondratieff) was the first to bring these observations to international attention in his book The Major Economic Cycles (1925) alongside other works written in the same decade. Two Dutch economists, Jacob van Gelderen and Samuel de Wolff, had previously argued for the existence of 50 to 60 year cycles in 1913. However, the work of de Wolff and van Gelderen has only recently been translated from Dutch to reach a wider audience.

Kondratiev’s ideas were not supported by the Soviet government. Subsequently he was sent to the gulag and was executed in 1938.

In 1939, Joseph Schumpeter suggested naming the cycles “Kondratieff waves” in his honor.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the Kondratieff wave.  The following is an excerpt from an article by Christopher Quigley that discussed how this theory works…

Kondratiev’s analysis described how international capitalism had gone through many such “great depressions” and as such were a normal part of the international mercantile credit system. The long term business cycles that he identified through meticulous research are now called “Kondratieff” cycles or “K” waves.

The K wave is a 60 year cycle (+/- a year or so) with internal phases that are sometimes characterized as seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter:

  • Spring phase: a new factor of production, good economic times, rising inflation
  • Summer: hubristic ‘peak’ war followed by societal doubts and double digit inflation
  • Autumn: the financial fix of inflation leads to a credit boom which creates a false plateau of prosperity that ends in a speculative bubble
  • Winter: excess capacity worked off by massive debt repudiation, commodity deflation & economic depression. A ‘trough’ war breaks psychology of doom.

Increasingly economic academia has come to realize the brilliant insight of Nikolai Kondratiev and accordingly there have been many reports, articles, theses and books written on the subject of this “cyclical” phenomenon. An influential essay, written by Professor W. Thompson of Indiana University, has indicated that K waves have influenced world technological development since the 900’s. His thesis states that “modern” economic development commenced in 930AD in the Sung province of China and he propounds that since this date there have been 18 K waves lasting on average 60 years.

So what does the Kondratieff wave theory suggest is coming next for us?

Well, according to work done by Professor W. Thompson of Indiana University, we are heading into an economic depression that should last until about the year 2020

Based on Professor Thompson’s analysis long K cycles have nearly a thousand years of supporting evidence. If we accept the fact that most winters in K cycles last 20 years (as outlined in the chart above) this would indicate that we are about halfway through the Kondratieff winter that commenced in the year 2000. Thus in all probability we will be moving from a “recession” to a “depression” phase in the cycle about the year 2013 and it should last until approximately 2017-2020.

But of course the Kondratieff wave is far from the only economic cycle theory that indicates that we are heading for an economic depression.

The economic cycle theories of author Harry Dent also predict that we are on the verge of massive economic problems.  He mainly focuses on demographics, and the fact that our population is rapidly getting older is a major issue for him.  The following is an excerpt from a Business Insider article that summarizes the major points that Dent makes in his new book…

  • Young people cause inflation because they “cost everything and produce nothing.” But young people eventually “begin to pay off when they enter the workforce and become productive new workers (supply) and higher-spending consumers (demand).”
  • Unfortunately, the U.S. reached its demographic “peak spending” from 2003-2007 and is headed for the “demographic cliff.” Germany, England, Switzerland are all headed there too. Then China will be the first emerging market to fall off the cliff, albeit in a few decades. The world is getting older.
  • The U.S. stock market will crash. “Our best long-term and intermediate cycles suggest another slowdown and stock crash accelerating between very early 2014 and early 2015, and possibly lasting well into 2015 or even 2016. The worst economic trends due to demographics will hit between 2014 and 2019. The U.S. economy is likely to suffer a minor or major crash by early 2015 and another between late 2017 and late 2019 or early 2020 at the latest.”
  • “The everyday consumer never came out of the last recession.” The rich are the ones feeling great and spending money, as asset prices (not wages) are aided by monetary stimulus.
  • The U.S. and Europe are headed in the same direction as Japan, a country still in a “coma economy precisely because it never let its debt bubble deleverage,” Dent argues. “The only way we will not follow in Japan’s footsteps is if the Federal Reserve stops printing new money.”
  • “The reality is stark, when dyers start to outweigh buyers, the market changes.” It all comes down to an aging population, Dent writes. “Fewer spenders, borrowers, and investors will be around to participate in the next boom.”
  • The U.S. has a crazy amount of debt and “economists and politicians have acted like we can just wave a magic wand of endless monetary injections and bailouts and get over what they see as a short-term crisis.” But the problem, Dent says, is long-term and structural — demographics.
  • Businesses can “dominate the years to come” by focusing on cash and cash flow, being “lean and mean,” deferring major capital expenditures, selling nonstrategic real estate, and firing weak employees now.
  • The big four challenges in the years ahead will be 1) private and public debt 2) health care and retirement entitlements 3) authoritarian governance around the globe and 4) environmental pollution that threatens the global economy.

According to Dent, “You need to prepare for that crisis, which will occur between 2014 and 2023, with the worst likely starting in 2014 and continuing off and on into late 2019.”

So just like the Kondratieff wave, Dent’s work indicates that we are going to experience a major economic crisis by the end of this decade.

Another economic cycle theory that people are paying more attention to these days is the relationship between sun spot cycles and the stock market.  It turns out that market peaks often line up very closely with peaks in sun spot activity.  This is a theory that was first popularized by an English economist named William Stanley Jevons.

Sun spot activity appears to have peaked in early 2014 and is projected to decline for the rest of the decade.  If historical trends hold up, that is a very troubling sign for the stock market.

And of course there are many, many other economic cycle theories that seem to indicate that trouble is ahead for the United States as well.  The following is a summary of some of them from an article by GE Christenson and Taki Tsaklanos

Charles Nenner Research (source)
Stocks should peak in mid-2013 and fall until about 2020. Similarly, bonds should peak in the summer of 2013 and fall thereafter for 20 years. He bases his conclusions entirely on cycle research. He expects the Dow to fall to around 5,000 by 2018 – 2020.

Kress Cycles (Clif Droke) (source)
The major 120 year cycle plus all minor cycles trend down into late 2014. The stock market should decline hard into late 2014.

Elliott Wave (Robert Prechter) (source)
He believes that the stock market has peaked and has entered a generational bear-market. He anticipates a crash low in the market around 2016 – 2017.

Market Energy Waves (source)
He sees a 36 year cycle in stock markets that is peaking in mid-2013 and will cycle down for 2013 – 2016. “… the controlling energy wave is scheduled to flip back to negative on July 19 of this year.” Equity markets should drop 25 – 50%.

Armstrong Economics (source)
His economic confidence model projects a peak in confidence in August 2013, a bottom in September 2014, and another peak in October 2015. The decline into January 2020 should be severe. He expects a world-wide crash and contraction in economies from 2015 – 2020.

Cycles per Charles Hugh Smith (source)
He discusses four long-term cycles that bottom in the 2010 – 2020 period. They are: Credit expansion/contraction cycle, Price inflation/wage cycle, Generational cycle, and Peak oil extraction cycle.

So does history repeat itself?

Well, it should be disconcerting to a lot of people that 2014 is turning out to be eerily similar to 2007.  But we never learned the lessons that we should have learned from the last major economic crisis, and most Americans are way too apathetic to notice that we are making many of the very same mistakes all over again.

And in recent months there have been a whole host of indications that the next major economic downturn is just around the corner.  For example, just this week we learned that manufacturing job openings have declined for four months in a row.  For many more indicators like this, please see my previous article entitled “17 Facts To Show To Anyone That Believes That The U.S. Economy Is Just Fine“.

Let’s hope that all of the economic cycle theories discussed above are wrong this time, but we would be quite foolish to ignore their warnings.  Everything indicates that a great economic storm is rapidly approaching, and we should use this time of relative calm to get prepared while we still can.

[by Michael Snyder, writing for THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE BLOG]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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The truth about suicide…

Some call it self-deliverance. Others call it murder. Survivors know it as a nightmare that haunts them forever. Here’s the truth about its cause—and ultimate solution.

Getting over the loss of a loved one who intentionally takes his own life is close to impossible. “When Mom told me Dad was dead, I was shocked. When she told me he had killed himself, I was horrified. My brain went numb,” a young friend of mine, Dawn, explains, with tears flowing.

“It took about four months before I didn’t think every day about what he did—four months before the pain began to dull. My dad hung himself; trying to escape his problems, I guess. But I couldn’t escape what he had done. For four months I dealt with constant mental torment and agony. I was scared to be alone. I tried to keep myself occupied so I wouldn’t think about it. Anything was better than thinking of what he had done. Why did he do it? That question always comes back into my mind. I still don’t like to tell people how he died.

“For over a year, I struggled with feelings of guilt. I thought that I wasn’t a good daughter. My dad loved me so much, but I was too busy for him. The last time I saw him was two days before Father’s Day. We had dinner together. He wasn’t doing too well then. He had some financial problems. But I never thought he would kill himself.

“I never spoke to Dad after that. I was going to call him … always going to call him, yet I never did. I still wonder if I could have helped him had I called him. I get melancholy every year around the anniversary of his death, Father’s Day and his birthday. I guess I will always wonder, Would he still be here if I had called?”

Dawn’s tragic story is only one of multiple thousands of similar tales told each year. Thousands of loved ones suffer crushing heartbreak on hearing the news that a father, brother, sister, mother, wife or friend committed suicide.

Even you may share Dawn’s experience or know someone like her. More Americans now die by suicide than by car crashes. A study published in the November 2012 American Journal of Public Health showed that the number of people who commit suicide has dramatically increased. The suicide rate in America rose a shocking 15 percent from 2000 to 2009.

There is a trend in society to make suicide an acceptable and legal choice for people suffering from terminal illness. Advocates of terminally ill suicide, using political correctness as a cloak, call it self-deliverance. Several pro-suicide authors have even published “how to” manuals giving instructions—with illustrations—on ways to end your life.

Suicide Manuals

Derek Humphry, author of Final Exit, writes, “All I ask of persons to whom any form of euthanasia is morally repugnant is tolerance and understanding of the feelings of others who want the right to choose what happens to their bodies in a free society. To every person their own way of death.” When first published in 1991, Final Exit stunned the nation. It also became a number one bestseller. The book is now in its third edition. Final Exit’s popularity indicates that a large number of people do not consider suicide morally repugnant. Many now see it as a quick fix for unwanted personal problems.

There is no doubt that proponents of suicide for the terminally ill are sincere in their beliefs. They emphasize the need to help those considering such an act to do so in a dignified way, making their death a “good death.” Those who have written books want to inform people how to get the proper equipment, including drugs, in order to carry out the quickest, most peaceful way to make a “final exit.” Yet, the books have become a real problem.

“In its first 10 years this book was occasionally used by persons for whom it was not intended—the deeply depressed and the mentally ill,” Humphry wrote. “This misuse I regret but can do nothing about. Suicide has always been endemic in mankind; some of us do not have the emotional and intellectual equipment to cope with a lifetime of troubles—real and imagined—and elect to die. Self-destruction of a physically fit person is always a tragic waste of life and hurtful to survivors, but life is a personal responsibility. We must each decide for ourselves.” This is quite a revealing statement. Let’s look at it closely.

The word occasionally means happening from time to time but not regularly or frequently. Let’s talk reality. Over a million copies of Humphry’s book have been purchased. To say that Final Exit was misused only occasionally appears to be wishful thinking.

Coroners around the U.S. are discovering that many others besides the depressed and mentally ill are taking advantage of the “help” provided in the book—including teenagers and young adults! Although we may never know exactly how many, what is certain is that Humphry and other authors like him are helping many people without terminal illnesses to end their lives.

Last July, a 24-year-old woman packed her car full of dangerous chemicals, drove to a public park, mixed the chemicals together and allowed the reaction to snuff out her life. The chemicals in the car were so dangerous to responders that they had to wear hazmat suits to clean up the scene. Investigators remarked that it was like a page right out of Final Exit. This happened right here in the Trumpet’s hometown of Edmond. A spokesperson for the Oklahoma State medical examiner’s office said they had reviewed 12 recent deaths related to Final Exit. Oftentimes, the book is found with the deceased.

Teen Suicide Skyrockets

Humphry attempts to excuse any responsibility for the tragic waste of life outside the scope of his intended audience by saying that suicide has always been common in man’s history. But someone must take responsibility and recognize that suicide is rapidly growing dramatically out of control for all age groups—especially the young.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported in 2012 that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 5-to-14-year-olds. Suicide manuals like Final Exit are not causing all these deaths, but they do encourage teen suicide. How? All suicide manuals highly romanticize the death of terminally ill patients as being brave, courageous, dignified and inspiring. They make suicide more visible and more acceptable. This has a huge impact on impressionable minds. Teens readily accept the open-mindedness toward and encouragement of this tragic act.

“Research describes how adolescents become curious and even excited when suicide is talked about in heroic ways as opposed to being characterized as a result of mental illness,” Carla Fine writes in No Time to Say Goodbye. “This romanticizing of death often accounts for copycat suicides among young people and outbreaks of cluster suicides in schools and communities.”

Incidents of teen cluster suicides are rising throughout the U.S. In mid-summer 2012, Delaware Online reported that the Centers for Disease Control (cdc) was called on to investigate the cause of a dramatic rise in teen suicides in Kent and Sussex counties. In the first four months of 2012, 11 young people under age 20 hung or shot themselves—and a stunning 116 others attempted to commit suicide. Three of the teenagers from Polytech High School in Woodside killed themselves within two months of each other. Two of the students were friends and died within the same week.

Dr. Alex Crosby, medical epidemiologist with the cdc, said that statistically he’d expect to see seven suicides in this age group throughout the entire state in a year; this high rate of suicide attempts is shocking. The communities, local government officials, school and health officials were stunned. They are at a loss to understand why such waste of young, talented, vibrant life. Even more, they want to know how to stop the problem from growing worse.

Fine writes, “The suicide of a student touches everyone—students, teachers, administrators and support staff—stirring up the same kind of emotions and conflicts that affect all survivors of suicide.” She emphasizes that nothing should be done to glamorize or dramatize a suicide. Yet, doing nothing is as dangerous as doing too much. She suggests that the school faculty be thoroughly counseled about suicide before attempting to help students.

Top Killer of Americans

These Delaware communities are not the only places rocked by suicide. Suicides are now the number one cause of injury-related deaths in the U.S.

“Suicides are terribly under-counted,” Ian Rockett, the author of the American Journal of Public Health study about the rise in suicides, told Mail Online. “I think the problem is much worse than official data would lead us to believe. We have a situation that has gotten out of hand.”

Rockett has more grim statistics. He believes there may be an additional 20 percent or more unrecognized suicide deaths. For example, poisoning deaths rose 128 percent in the same time period, a portion of which were most likely intentional. Deaths from falls rose 71 percent. It is likely that a portion of those falls were not accidental either.

The failing U.S. economy may have contributed to the spike in American suicides. Suicides reached a record high of 22 people per 100,000 in 1932, during the Great Depression. By contrast, in the economically prosperous year 2000, only 10 per 100,000 people took their lives—less than half of the 1932 figures.

Suicide is not just an American problem; international data show it rising around the world. The suicide rate in Greece has skyrocketed. Before its economic crises, Greece had the lowest rate of suicide in Europe.

The nations having the most trouble with suicide are those of the affluent Western world. Suicide rates appear to be lowest in Muslim countries—the Koran forbids suicide. So does the Bible, but most Westerners have a loose relationship with their Bibles, at best.

Facing Down Suicide

Alarmed by the rising number of suicides in the U.S., Congress established a $56 million suicide prevention program in 2004 under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. The goal to save lives is laudable, but it can only be achieved if we face the truth about the real cause of suicide.

Pouring money into suicide education and prevention programs will not stop this tragedy. Expensive prevention programs have not stopped alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, crime, illiteracy, poverty, spousal abuse or violence. Even with our intellectual and creative abilities, we have proved incapable of solving our really tough problems. We need the truth.

The truth is this: Suicide is a spiritual problem. To eradicate suicide, we must confront it spiritually.

Suicide advocates are anti-God. They have to be in order to recommend that someone take his own life. Derek Humphry writes, “If the reader of this book is deeply religious and takes all guidance from a divinity, then there is no point reading further.” Wow! That is a very blunt but true statement. When a person has a close relationship with God, suicide is off the table.

In a similar vein, most experts who want to stop suicide are not comfortable bringing God into the picture either. They try to teach others to look for signs of a potential suicide, but fail to teach people how to eliminate the cause of suicide.

How does God look at suicide? To God, suicide is not brave, courageous or romantic.

Suicide is not self-deliverance. Suicide is murder!

The Bible forbids this evil act, but few today live according to the Bible. Our loving and living God calls suicide a heinous sin—a violation of the Sixth Commandment—which not only brings a life to a tragic end, but also spreads indescribable suffering to those left behind.

“When my dad committed suicide, I felt betrayed,” Dawn told me. “He was supposed to love me and always be there for me, but he abandoned me instead. Dad was supposed to walk me down the aisle. I wanted to have a baby boy and name him after my dad—it was going to be a surprise. I was excited to introduce him to my friends and—one day—to my husband. I wanted them to see how cool and fun he was. But I never got the chance.”

A survivor told Carla Fine, “When someone says to me that my husband must have been very brave to take his own life, I get furious. The real heroes of this drama are those of us who are trying to put our lives back together, piece by piece. We are the ones who have to face straightening up the mess and making sense of the insanity. We cry, we laugh, we hang on to each other for dear life, but we do survive, thank God.”

Even the loved ones of terminally ill patients find it difficult to cope with self-inflicted death. Those who have experienced a loss to suicide want to stop it so no one else suffers its emotional wake.

God cares about the gut-wrenching grief caused by suicide!

There IS Value to Human Life

To solve our national suicide epidemic, we must turn to God. We have to put our spiritual lives back together—piece by piece.

Even those most religious have drifted so far from God and His instruction book for happiness—the Holy Bible—that few know God’s purpose for creating human life. Most of the world’s educated do not believe there is a God. Few believe there is purpose for human beings beyond this material life. They accept evolution as the truth about the origins of the universe and man. Believing this fable, they are blind to the fact that there is a transcendent purpose for the universe and for mankind—a purpose that includes you!

Let’s be honest. Belief in evolution is the foundation of the pro-suicide philosophy infesting our world.

God has an awesome purpose for mankind. He spells it out clearly in the Bible for everyone willing to read and believe. In fact, God gave us the Bible so every man, woman and child can attain that purpose. A thorough study of the Bible reveals that God is the great giver. When He created the Earth, He provided every good thing for each of us to become a sensational success—not a failure. Suicide is the ultimate failure.

“What is the most necessary of all knowledge to know?” Herbert W. Armstrong asked in his fantastic book The Incredible Human Potential. “It is the knowledge of what man is; the knowledge of why he is—the purpose for which humanity was put on Earth; the knowledge of the way to achieve that purpose—of the way to world peace, peace between individuals, groups and nations; the knowledge of the cause of all the world’s troubles and evils; the knowledge of the solution to all these problems; the knowledge of the true values—what is important and what is worthless. That is the missing dimension in knowledge.”

Jesus Christ revealed this knowledge in His gospel message. His Father sent Him to Earth to be an example of achieving God’s purpose for man. Even though He was God in the flesh, Jesus nobly faced trials, tests and life’s problems—even a torturous death at the hands of others—as a human being (Hebrews 4:15).

When we know God’s purpose for us, we become willing to work through anything life throws at us—even a painful death caused by terminal illness. Knowing our purpose brings us into a working relationship with God, which ensures our success. Who wouldn’t want to know what God has in store for us?

“Put together all these scriptures … and you begin to grasp the incredible human potential. Our potential is to be born into the God Family, receiving total power! We are to be given jurisdiction over the entire universe! What are we going to do then? These scriptures indicate we shall impart life to billions and billions of dead planets, as life has been imparted to this Earth. We shall create, as God directs and instructs,” Herbert Armstrong wrote. At first glance, this truth is unbelievable (John 3:3-13; Hebrews 2:5-13; Revelation 20:4). However, when we keep an open mind, it makes logical sense. How awesome is God! He gave us life so we can impart life.

The truth of God shows us the insidious side of suicide advocacy.

Choose to Live

Derek Humphry is correct on one point: Man does have a choice—we can choose to live or die. We can choose to sin or obey. God gives us that right. Yet, God encourages us to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). Why do some men encourage us to choose death?

It is not fashionable today to believe that Satan exists. Yet, an integral part of Christ’s gospel reveals that Satan is real and influences mankind to reject God’s truth—especially the knowledge of man’s glorious purpose. Christ warned us about this failed angel: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). Of all things, Satan wants us to fail. He wants to murder us. His plan is to ensnare us in a life of sin that leads to confusion, depression, hopelessness, sorrow, unhappiness and, ultimately, eternal death if not repented of. It is Satan who encourages people, weakened by the overwhelming effects of sin, to commit suicide.

To prepare for our incredible eternal opportunity, man has to choose to go the opposite way of Satan and sin and build the very character of God. We build God’s character by overcoming the problems, trials, tests and evils injected into this world by Satan the devil. Never forget, man was created to be a success—not a failure. To obtain our incredible potential, each human being must be willing to live God’s way of life, which is outlined by the Ten Commandments.

Suicide is not a disease or physical illness. It is a weakness of mind and character. Suicide will not stop until mankind experiences a spiritual renewal of mind and character.

There is way of life that produces true happiness, peace and lasting success. There is a way of life that teaches us how to face and overcome problems rather than resorting to suicide.

[by Dennis Leap, writing for THE TRUMPET]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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