This is all POWERLINE, but soo important for the “Mantra Busting” that …. here ya go:
…This is what is going on: Some “scientists”–read anti-Trump Democratic Party activists–constructed a theoretical baseline of how many deaths would be expected to occur in Puerto Rico during the months after Hurricane Maria. They then compared this baseline to the actual number of deaths, and voila! The actual number was higher than their hypothetical guess by 3,000. So all of those deaths–whether caused by cancer, car accidents, or whatever–are attributed to the hurricane. These activists have not made any attempt to count the actual number of hurricane-related deaths.
No one would use such a foolish methodology except for political reasons. This is more fake news propagated by anti-Trump activists. The fake news media, like CNN, have attacked President Trump for disputing the “scientists” who came up with the 3,000 number. Sadly, some Republicans have joined them, probably because they are ignorant about what is actually going on here.
For what it is worth, Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September 2017, and Puerto Rico’s death rate declined in 2017, after years of increases:
(click to enlarge)
So, following the logic of the Left and the #NeverTrumpers, MORE hurricanes should hit Puerto Rico. Just sayin’ — I love the holes dug by these early reactors to the MSM. Some article to preserve:
…Excess mortality studies have been used to measure everything from the life expectancy of smokers to “temperature-related stress” in the Netherlands. The problem is that such studies are inherently reliant on conjecture. There can be other problems as well, namely politics, as I learned a decade ago while poking holes in an excess mortality study in Iraq published by the Lancet.
An article in the British medical journal estimated some 650,000 “excess” Iraqi deaths in the 40 months following the U.S. invasion. This figure was seven times higher than the toll based on body counts. It was based on field surveys supposedly done by a former health official in Saddam Hussein’s government and was authored by outspoken critics of the Iraq war — and of George W. Bush. It was also timed to come out just before the 2006 midterm elections.
To some neutral observers, the controversy underscored the importance of actually documenting wartime casualties. I don’t know how much Donald Trump knows about this topic. But he apparently is aware that “excess mortality” is not how U.S. authorities have previously tallied storm deaths. The National Hurricane Center, for example, estimated that 1,833 people died in Hurricane Katrina, most from drowning.
In Puerto Rico, there were myriad problems getting accurate data, the biggest being that electricity was knocked out for so long. This inhibited the reporting ability of island health officials. It also led to deprivations that killed health-impaired residents months after the hurricane season ended. In that environment, excess mortality studies made sense. Inevitably, they would be imprecise, and perhaps just wrong. The first such study, by researchers at Penn State University, estimated the number of deaths at 1,085 – when the government in San Juan was still listing the official toll as 64. Days later, the New York Times, using island death certificates, produced an estimate of 1,052.
Harvard went next. Its study, trumpeted uncritically around the world, had problems. For one thing, its range of 793 to 8,498 excess deaths was unhelpful. So the media settled on the median figure, 4,645, which was little more than a guess. The bigger problem is that the methodology was a mish-mash. Harvard’s researchers compared actual deaths in 2016 to estimates based on interviews – polling surveys – in 2017. “The big thing is the methodology is so completely different, you don’t now what you’re dealing with,” said University of Texas biostatistics professor Donald Berry. “What you end up with is garbage.”
That’s the background when the governor of Puerto Rico tapped George Washington University’s school of public health to do another excess mortality survey. Like all such studies, it’s based on assumptions and guesswork – in this case assumptions complicated by the outward migration of tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans to the mainland after the hurricane. That said, I know of no evidence that would undermine its estimate of 2,975 excess deaths…
The difference between survey results and demonstrable realities was also pointed out by the author of Hillbilly Elegy: “In a recent Gallup poll, Southerners and Midwesterners reported the highest rates of church attendance in the country. Yet actual church attendance is much lower in the South.”
Thomas Sowell, Discrimination and Disparities (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2018), 23-25 (added references).
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog, though, took a look at how Harvard, whose researchers admitted they conducted “a quick study on a limited budget,” came up with that number and found that the methodology was ridiculously flawed:
In effect, the researchers took one number — 15 deaths identified from a survey of 3,299 households — and extrapolated that to come up with 4,645 deaths across the island. That number came with a very large caveat, clearly identified in the report, but few news media accounts bothered to explain the nuances….
…It turns out there is no list of names. There is no accounting of what causes of death were attributable to the aftermath of the devastating storm. In fact, having now scanned the George Washington University report at the heart of this all, I have an itching feeling they missed a big statistical point.
The bottom line is that the researchers developed a model and made a projected estimate of the number of deaths to be expected on the island during the six months following the storm, based on previous year’s death numbers. They then factored in the fact that a full 8 percent of the population, 280,000 people roughly, left the island following the storm.
With that population change factored in, the “expected” number of deaths was about 3,000 fewer than the 16,000 deaths which were recorded September through February. Those 3,000 “excess” deaths above the projection are the one’s being attributed to the effects of the storm. I’m rounding because their report admits the projection is not exact. The chart I included above notes the higher death rate per 10,000 people.
There are not 3,000 death certificates noting hurricane-related causes (loss of electricity, stress, poor transportation response) and the authors chide the local medical community for not being sufficiently exact in filling out their death certificates. So they are left with models and projections and estimates, which have translated into MSM-accepted Truth.
Here’s my question, the itch not addressed in the report, that I saw: Who left? Who departed following the storm? Would the elderly, infirm and impoverished have been the ones to decamp to the mainland? Or would they have been the one’s left behind? Doesn’t the shift in the baseline also at least in part explain this? The death rate really only jumped dramatically when you reduce the baseline population…
So not only are these Republicans I know falling for the media Narrative (more on this below), but they are also being hooked by Democrat politicians building a base for a Presidential run. IN OTHER WORDS, the above Tweet was an opportunistic chance to politically score points against Trump…. JUST LIKE the picture of Mayor Cruz “wading in water” was a photo-op, as Jack Posobiec notes via his TWITTER:
In another Facebook convo, a friend said no one was helping and that people were dying. When a person pointed out the depth of help Puerto Rico was recieving… she was thanked for her “OPINION.” This is part of what she posted:
…Here is what someone on the ground in PR wrote:
“Just want to clear the air. I’m on the ground in Puerto Rico, I’m walking the streets with my wife every day, we are experiencing the pain and devastation that Maria left behind. I’m hearing a lot noise about US not helping the people of PR, THAT IS NOT TRUE, EVERY single Federal agency possible is here on the ground kicking some major ass, there are thousands of Military, Homeland security, FEMA personnel and the list goes on and on. The airport is not letting comercial planes fly because of ALL the military and first responders flights that are CONSTANTLY day in and day out flying in and out. If you have opinions with political agendas I want to tell you is not helping the cause. It’s time to unite, and stop the stupidity but is a right that….”
I expanded a bit:
Having over 10,000[+ and growing] FEMA people on the ground, known numbers of military and growing (The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Coast Guard, Puerto Rico National Guard, Etc-Etc).
…AS WELL AS…
Executive Orders by Trump as well as the go ahead with Federal Agencies.
…AS WELL AS…
Private orgs (Teamsters, United for Puerto Rico, UNICEF, International Medical Corps, Catholic Relief Services, Americares, Direct Relief, Save the Children, Etc-Etc)
THOSE are not opinions. Those are sticky things called facts.
One comment from a friend-of-my-friend noted this:
Have to disagree about Puerto Rico… Got a ole buddy I served with in Iraq that is on ground working for FEMA. Says its nothing but political drama… (Patrick C.)
I swear… people say they dislike the mainstream media (MSM), but are all on board when they see the singular San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, Puerto Rico, plastered all over the place saying, “we are dying.”
First in my mind’s eye is her accolades of a terrorist freed by Obama from the Marxist-Leninist bent….
Yulin Cruz is a member of Puerto Rico’s Popular Democratic Party that wants the island to remain a U.S. territory. But she sounded more like a member of the island’s Independence Party in a video that surfaced back in January when President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Rivera Lopez. (DAILY CALLER)
What is FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional || English: Armed Forces of National Liberation), the organization that this Obama commuted the sentence of FALN terrorist leader Oscar Lopez Rivera? WIKI notes it’s main driving force succinctly:
Directing the armed and political struggle in accordance with the Marxist-Leninist principle of a broad front including a popular sectors willing to [ join ] the armed struggle right away
Agglutination of all forces based upon the principle of coordination between political work and military work under the leadership of a party composed of combatants assigned to different tasks
Application of the principle of internal ideological debate, a study of Marxist-Leninist ideology and the use of criticism and self-criticism
Implementation of the Stalinist ideological position on the concept of “nation” with regard to American reality
Application of the principle of the priority of the struggle for independence of Puerto Rico over any question of internal solidarity, demanding concrete support for our armed struggle as a priority matter in the international struggle against colonialism
Another eye-brow raiser is that the mayor of Guaynabo (the district just West of San Juan), Angel Perez, has explained the disconnect San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz has with relief efforts and coordination…. NOW…. keep in mind as you read this from a neighboring mayor that Mayor Cruz said this (via THE GUARDIAN): “…if it doesn’t solve the logistics ‘what we we are going to see is something close to a genocide’.”
The mayor of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico cast serious doubt Saturday on the claims made by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has repeatedly attacked President Trump and accused him of abandoning Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Guaynabo’s mayor, Angel Perez, said in an interview with The Daily Caller that his experience with the federal government has been different from Cruz’s, in part because — unlike Cruz — he has been participating in meetings with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies.
Mayor Perez told TheDC that the story Cruz is telling the media doesn’t mesh with what he has seen from the federal government.
“My experience is different. I have been participating in different meetings at the headquarters of FEMA and our government and the help is coming in and right now my experience is different from hers. I’m receiving help from the government, we are receiving assistance from FEMA, I got people over here helping us with applications for the people that have damage in their houses. And we have here in Guaynabo, we have thousands of people that lost partially or totally their houses,” said Perez, who is a member of Puerto Rico’s New Progressive Party.
Perez’s comments echoed what FEMA administrator Brock Long said on Saturday. Long defended Trump’s tweets blasting Cruz and indicated that Cruz has failed to connect with the FEMA command center set up on the island to help with the relief effort.
When asked about Cruz’s “genocide” statement, Perez said, “I don’t know why she is saying that. What I can tell you is my experience. She is not participating in any meetings and we had a couple already with the governors and with representation of FEMA and of HUD, of these whole federal agencies that have given us help and she’s not participating in those meetings and some mayors from her political party have been participating, so I don’t know why she is saying that. My experience is very different.”
“Some [mayors] would like the help to be faster but we also know that FEMA is dealing with what happened in Houston and in Florida and now in Puerto Rico,” Perez said…..
In other words — the only way logistics would fail is if the local government of a district failed to coordinate with their Federal Agencies. Hello? MkFly!
Here is a hugely funny pic of Mayor Cruz standing in front of supplies in her ports sent by America… where Cruz said the following:
“So, Mr Trump, I am begging you to take charge and save lives. After all, that is one of the founding principles of the United States…If not, the world will see how we are treated not as second-class citizens but as animals that can be disposed of. Enough is enough.”
The mess started after the grandstanding mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, held a Saturday morning press conference claiming the federal government was doing nothing to help Puerto Ricans. Forget that she was standing in front of pallets loaded with supplies sent from the U.S., she’s a Democrat and she was clearly directed by party leaders to make the situation political. (DAILY WIRE)
In the Mayor’s interview with Anderson Cooper, CNN, it was noted that,
She’s even managed to acquire a custom-made t-shirt saying ‘we are dying’ on it with an accompanying ‘SOS’ hat. How she managed to score that in the ravaged country that has o power is a question that has not yet been answered. But the Mayor of Guaynabo Angel Perez said that hasn’t been his experience and that there’s a problem with Cruz’s story. (YOUNG CONSERVATIVES)