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GWU Study: 64 Direct Deaths due to Hurricane Maria; not 2,975

Posted by FactReal on September 20, 2018


If you read the study done by the George Washington University (GWU) carefully, you’d find that:
1. There were 64 DIRECT DEATHS and not 2,975 deaths due to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
2. The 3,000 figure is an ESTIMATE based on a PREDICTION; not actual deaths.
3. The GWU uses “excess mortality” which is not the standard used for hurricanes.
4. The GWU mortality data is for 6 months – a much longer period than usual.
5. Did the GWU mortality estimate include the whole month of September 2017? (Remember, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2018)
6. Their GWU migration calculation of Puerto Ricans leaving their island was based on surveys…not actual records.
7. Why GWU did not publish their methodology? But they want us to trust them, because they say their study is “independent,” “rigorous,” and “sophisticated.”
8. Is GWU truly independent or unbiased? We know they proudly promote events with left-wing politicians (i.e., San Juan Mayor Cruz, Bill Clinton) [See photos below]
9. The GWU study found Puerto Rican forensic staff were doing things right with death certifications.
10. GWU recommends more financial resources ($$$$).


After a hurricane, the standard has been to count DIRECT DEATHS, that is, deaths directly attributable to the hurricane. This standard is used by the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center.

The Puerto Rico government and forensic teams were following that standard. Therefore, they reported 64 direct deaths after Hurricane Maria.

But, then came GWU researchers who wanted to go beyond DIRECT DEATHS and stretched the number of deaths by using “excess deaths,” “predicted mortality,” and by extending the period to six months after the hurricane landfall.

The GWU used estimates and predictions instead of actual death certificates.

[Point-by-point analysis below]


64 deaths was the official number published by the Puerto Rican government…before the GWU study.

Here GWU study acknowledges there were 64 direct deaths due to the hurricane (page 11):[1]

The official government estimate of 64 deaths from the hurricane is low primarily because the conventions used for causal attribution only allowed for classification of deaths attributable directly to the storm, e.g., those caused by structural collapse, flying debris, floods and drownings..

Counting DIRECT DEATHS has been the standard:
NBC-Miami Meteorologist John Morales (who was raised in Puerto Rico and his mother is Puerto Rican) explained:[2]

The National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center count only direct deaths – those that can be attributed to the effects of the weather like flood drownings or flying debris… Emergency management agencies follow the same model, and their officials are normally the ones briefing the politicians. So the politicians are used to counting deaths just like the National Weather Service does.

2. THE 3,000 FIGURE IS JUST AN ESTIMATE AND NOT ACTUAL DEATHS attributed to Hurricane Maria
When the study and the media say “3,000 excess deaths”, people think that there were actually 3,000 people who died in Puerto Rico because of Maria. But that is misleading.

Three important words in the GWU study: ESTIMATE, EXCESS DEATHS, PREDICTED MORTALITY

a) Estimate: The title of the GWU study states it is an ESTIMATE: “Ascertainment of the Estimated Excess Mortality from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.” The GWU used estimates instead of actual death certificates.

b) Excess Deaths and c) Predicted Mortality:
GWU calculated “excess” deaths (page i):[1]
“Our excess mortality study analyzed past mortality patterns (mortality registration and population census data from 2010 to 2017) in order to predict
the expected mortality if Hurricane María had not occurred (predicted mortality) and compare this figure to the actual deaths that occurred (observed mortality).The difference between those two numbers is the estimate of excess mortality due to the hurricane.”

The GWU study estimated “excess deaths” as 1,271 for the first two months, 2,098 for four months, and 2,975 deaths for six months after the storm. (page 9)[1]
Of course, the media did not report the 1,271 figure…they decided to report the most alarmist figure: 2,975 excess deaths.

“Results from the preferred statistical model, shown below, estimate that excess mortality due to Hurricane María using the displacement scenario is estimated at 1,271 excess deaths in September and October…, 2,098 excess deaths from September to December …, and, 2,975… excess deaths for the total study period of September 2017 through February 2018. Table 1 shows observed, predicted and excess mortality by month for the study period as well as the total study period.”


The GWU study used “excess deaths” and not direct deaths. These are not actual deaths. These are just estimates of excess mortality and predicted mortality.

Why use estimates and predictions of expected mortalities when they had tangible proof: The death certificates and records of people who died?

About death certification, the GWU press release stated:[3]
“The team found error rates in death certificates that were within the norms. In fact, similar error rates in death certificates are found throughout the United States.”

In other sections of the study, the GWU attacks the people preparing death certificates in Puerto Rico. Do you think that after all these decades professionals in Puerto Rico (physicians, forensic personnel) do not know how to complete death certificates? Maybe the GWU wants to change the standards here too. [See points #3 and #10 below for more.]

By using “excess deaths”, GWU added uncertainty to the mortality calculation.

Meteorologist John Morales explains “excess mortality” is not the standard:[2]

“Excess mortality studies are *not* done for all disasters, much less all hurricanes.”

“Excess mortality requires that the investigators look at deaths that are ‘possibly attributable to hurricanes’, as stated in the GW study.”

“Because excess mortality studies are not available for most hurricane disasters, there’s no way for us to compare what happened in regards to excess deaths in Puerto Rico to any other past disaster. It can’t be compared to other American landfalling hurricanes either because deaths in those were counted based on the customary methods used by the National Hurricane Center…” [i.e., direct deaths.]

GWU defined “excess mortality” (page 3):[1]

Excess deaths are deaths that exceed the regular death rate predicted for a given population (WHO 2018) had there not been a natural disaster or other unexpected or calamitous event, such as an epidemic or industrial accident (Geronimus et al 2004; Haentjens et al. 2010). [WHO = World Health Organization]

To estimate excess mortality associated with Hurricane María, it was necessary to develop counterfactual mortality estimates, or estimates of what mortality would have been expected to be had the disaster not occurred.

4. THE GWU MORTALITY DATA IS FOR 6 MONTHS AFTER THE HURRICANE – a much longer period than usual
On their press release dated Aug. 28, 2018[3], GWU stated their estimate of “mortality data [was] for six months from September 2017 through February 2018.”

Is that a new protocol when calculating deaths due to a hurricane?
Is that how loss of life (or property) from past storms have been calculated (6 months after the event)?

The Telegraph tries to provide a pretext:[4]

Researchers with George Washington said they counted deaths over the span of six months – a much longer period than usual – because so many people were without power during that time.

However, Puerto Rico had power problems long before the 2017 hurricanes. The local leaders, more than the federal government, failed to the Puerto Rican citizens. [Read the reports.]

If GWU used a different standard than what is customary (i.e., National Hurricane Center) then we cannot compare their findings with previous disasters. The GWU study and the media must make that distinction.

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. Did the university include into their estimate the deaths that occurred the first weeks of September 2017?

The GWU study is titled “Ascertainment of the Estimated Excess Mortality from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.” It should include only the deaths due to Maria and not Irma.

Why did they use an arbitrary end date of February 2018 for their study? Did the deaths suddenly stop in Feb. 2018? Why not July or September 2018? And, why not Oct. 2018?

GWU indicated that they factored the migration data (of people leaving Puerto Rico due to the hurricane) into their calculations. However, their migration data is based on airline surveys from a Puerto Rico institute and not actual travel data.

GWU study, page 4:[1]

Cumulative monthly population displacement after the storm in each month was estimated using Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) data on monthly net domestic migration provided by the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics and a survey of airline travelers provided by the Puerto Rico Planning Board (Planning Board 2018).

The GWU team did not trust the Puerto Rican professionals handling the death certificates, but suddenly they trust airline surveys coming from other Puerto Rican institution.

We have to trust them because they say their study is “independent,” “rigorous,” and “sophisticated.”

They try to legitimize their report by using suggestive adjectives: “independent study,” “sophisticated mathematical model,” or “the most rigorous study of excess mortality due to the hurricane done to date.”

But where are the data? Where is the methodology?

Telegraph also wanted to know:[4]

For the study, the researchers reviewed mortality data from July 2010 to February 2018. They also took into account an 8 percent drop in Puerto Rico’s population in the six months after the storm, when tens of thousands fled because of the damage.

However, they did not share details of their methodology, saying those will be released if the study is published in a scientific journal.

“We did not cherry-pick, I can promise you,” Goldman [dean of the Milken institute] said. “We used very rigorous methodology.”

Data are not listed on their website as promised in their study (page 2):[1]
“For more details on the methodology,data and programs used in the excess mortality calculations,these will be made available online at: http:// prstudy.publichealth.gwu.edu/”

We know they celebrate and proudly promote events with left-wing politicians like Bill Clinton[5] or San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz[6] (the new darling of the Left.)


George Washington University proudly hosted socialist San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz in November 2017. The topic: “Importance of Honesty in Public Communications.”

CLINTONandGeorgeWashingtonUniv - Edited

George Washington University – Milken Institute SPH proudly hosts yearly events with liberal Bill Clinton.

In some parts, the GWU researchers criticize the forensic teams in Puerto Rico but in other areas they acknowledge death certification errors were low.

Death certificates errors within the norms, indicated GWU press release of Aug. 28, 2018:[6]

The team found error rates in death certificates that were within the norms. In fact, similar error rates in death certificates are found throughout the United States.

GW study, page iii:[1]

Quality & Completeness of Death Certification:

“The [Puerto Rico Vital Statistics System ] PRVSR offices sustained damage and did not have power to operate for some time after the hurricane, and death registration was delayed. Nevertheless, based on our findings in the assessment of death certification quality, the disaster does not appear to have affected the completeness of the certificates.“

Timeliness 5 days from normal time:

“On timeliness, there was a statistically significant delay in the number of days between date of death and date of death registration, with an average of 17 days in the period after the hurricane compared to 12 days in the prior year.“

Garbage codes were low:
“Garbage codes refer to diagnoses that should not be considered as an underlying cause of death or assigning deaths to causes that are not useful,” indicates the GWU study, page 6.

Overall, there was a low percentage of garbage codes as the underlying cause of death and there appears to be no impact from the event on the percentage of codes that were mis-assigned. With respect to internal consistency, less than 1% of death certificates had medically inconsistent diagnoses in the underlying cause of death.


The federal government should support the implementation of this agenda and its financing. An executive order should be issued for an expansion of the regular operating budget to all organizations and especially the DoH, BFS, PRVSR.

[1] Study by George Washington University (GWU) – Milken Institute School of Public Health titled,
“Ascertainment of the Estimated Excess Mortality from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico,”(PDF) (August 28, 2018)

[2] John Morales: Many Are Misreporting Hurricane Maria’s Death Toll. Here’s the Messy Reality (August 28, 2018)

[3] GWU press release (August 28, 2018)

[4] UK Telegraph: Puerto Rico revises Hurricane Maria death toll from 64 to almost 3,000 (Aug. 29, 2018)

[5] QuickNewsVault: Bill Clinton promoted by George Washington University

[6] QuickNewsVault: PR Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz at George Washington University – Nov. 2017

[7] Home page for the GWU study, press releases:
George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GW Milken Institute SPH)

[8] LIST: Puerto Rico was a Disaster long before Hurricane Maria (Liberal Media Sources)


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LIST: Puerto Rico was a Disaster long before Hurricane Maria (Liberal Media Sources)

Posted by FactReal on September 20, 2018

– ABC NEWS 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico Power Grid Falling Apart before Maria Hit
– REUTERS 2017 (Trump is Right): The Bankrupt Utility behind Puerto Rico’s Power Crisis … before Hurricane Maria
– WASHINGTON POST 2017 (Trump is Right): Hurricane Maria’s Blow to Puerto Rico’s Bankrupt Utility and Fragile Electric Grid
– LA TIMES 2017 (Trump is Right): Puerto Rico’s Power Grid on Life Support long before the 2017 Hurricanes
– CNBC 2015 (Trump is Right): Infrastructure: Another problem Puerto Rico doesn’t need

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LIST: Bob Woodward was Attacked by the Left, Remember?

Posted by FactReal on September 11, 2018

When Woodward wandered off of the Democratic plantation, the left-leaning media attacked him with quotes like these:

“The latest in a long string of questionable journalistic episodes.”

“It reveals a grotesquely swollen ego fed by 40 years of hero worship.”

“Bob Woodward’s plunge into sheer hackery.”

“Why does Bob Woodward get to lie and still be Bob Woodward?”

“As an analyst, Woodward is a particular kind of awful.”

“He’s the dumb blonde of American journalism.”

“Woodward, despite filing one dubious story after another, retains his position as an eminence grise of DC reporters.”

“It is relentlessly biased against the president.”

“Illuminates his role as an Establishment cipher.”

The Left attacked Woodward because his book about Bush wasn’t destructive enough. Or because Woodward’s writings did not apotheosize Obama enough.

But now, the Left want Trump to keep silent about Woodward’s Trump book.

Continue reading:

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Flashback: Susan Rice on 5 Sunday Shows Blaming Benghazi Attack on a YouTube Video

Posted by FactReal on April 3, 2017

Susan Rice, then Obama’s Ambassador to the United Nations, went on five separate Sunday television news shows on September 16, 2012, and falsely claimed that the Islamic Benghazi attack was not pre-planned but a “spontaneous” reaction to a Mohammed YouTube video, which at the time was mostly obscure and unwatched.

On September 11, 2012, Islamic terrorists attacked the American compound in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

After the attack, Susan Rice and the Obama administration went out of their way to give the Islamic terrorists an excuse for the attack. The pretext: an obscure, low-budget YouTube video about Mohammed.


Here is Susan Rice on 5 Sunday TV shows blaming the obscure YouTube video for the Islamic attack on our consulate in Benghazi.
‘Fox News Sunday’ with Chris Wallace

WALLACE: Joining us now our ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. Ambassador, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”


WALLACE: This week, there have been anti-American protests in two dozen countries across the Islamic world. The White House says it has nothing to do with the president’s policies.

Let’s watch.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive.


WALLACE: You don’t really believe that?

RICE: Chris, absolutely I believe that. In fact, it is the case. We had the evolution of the Arab spring over the last many months. But what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful very offensive video that has offended many people around the world.


RICE: …Obviously, the last couple of days have been some what better. But we are vigilant and we are of the view that is not an expression of hospitality in the broadest sense towards the United States or U.S. policy. It’s approximately a reaction to this video and it’s a hateful video that had nothing to do with the United States and which we find disgusting and reprehensible.

CBS’s Sunday Show ‘Face the Nation’ with Bob Schieffer

SUSAN RICE: …So we’ll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy–


SUSAN RICE: –sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi …

ABC’s ‘This Week’ with Jake Tapper

RICE: Well, Jake, first of all, it’s important to know that there’s an FBI investigation that has begun and will take some time to be completed. That will tell us with certainty what transpired.

But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.


RICE: It’s actually the opposite. First of all, let’s be clear about what transpired here. What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region…

TAPPER: Tunisia, Khartoum…

RICE: … was a result — a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting. We have also been very clear in saying that there is no excuse for violence, there is — that we have condemned it in the strongest possible terms.

NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ with David Gregory

MS. RICE: Well, David, we can’t predict with any certainty. But let’s remember what has transpired over the last several days. This is a response to a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world. Obviously, our view is that there is absolutely no excuse for violence and that– what has happened is condemnable, but this is a– a spontaneous reaction to a video

CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ with Candy Crowley

RICE: Well, Candy, first of all, let’s recall what has happened in the last several days. There was a hateful video that was disseminated on the internet. It had nothing to do with the United States government and it’s one that we find disgusting and reprehensible. It’s been offensive to many, many people around the world.

That sparked violence in various parts of the world, including violence directed against western facilities including our embassies and consulates. That violence is absolutely unacceptable, it’s not a response that one can ever condone when it comes to such a video. And we have been working very closely and, indeed, effectively with the governments in the region and around the world to secure our personnel, secure our embassy, condemn the violent response to this video.

Of course, Susan Rice has no regrets for lying to America on Benghazi:

Blamed for Benghazi: Filmmaker jailed after attack now lives in poverty, fear

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the Coptic Christian whose short video “The Innocence of Muslims” was initially faulted for sparking the Sept. 11, 2012 terror attack at U.S. diplomatic compounds in Libya, is now living in a homeless shelter run by First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif. He has served time in prison, been shamed publicly by the White House and threatened with death.

Obama’s Disinformation Campaign on Libya (Video)
Obama Knew Al-Qaeda Behind Libya Attack within 24 Hours
Hillary Clinton No $$$ for Benghazi Security, but Spent Millions for Art, Kindles, Obama Books, Mosques Restorations, …
Obama Partying in New York…A Week after Embassy Attacks in Libya, Egypt (Photos, Video)

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New York Times, 1/20/2017: “Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides”

Posted by FactReal on March 22, 2017

Never forget that the media started the wiretapping claim – not Trump. A great example is the [in]famous front-page headline of the New York Times on Trump’s Inauguration Day (January 20, 2017) describing the wiretapping by the Obama administration. It is absurd the denials by the Left and mainstream media that “there was no wiretapping of the Trump campaign by the Obama administration,” as pointed out by NewsBusters.

[Maybe we should make t-shirts with this image.]
Part of the NYT article said: [Emphasis added]

This article is by Michael S. Schmidt, Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo – NEW YORK, FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.

The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts.

It is not clear whether the intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump’s campaign, or Mr. Trump himself. It is also unclear whether the inquiry has anything to do with an investigation into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computers and other attempts to disrupt the elections in November. The American government has concluded that the Russian government was responsible for a broad computer hacking campaign, including the operation against the D.N.C.

The counterintelligence investigation centers at least in part on the business dealings that some of the president-elect’s past and present advisers have had with Russia. Mr. Manafort has done business in Ukraine and Russia. Some of his contacts there were under surveillance by the National Security Agency for suspected links to Russia’s Federal Security Service, one of the officials said.

Mr. Manafort is among at least three Trump campaign advisers whose possible links to Russia are under scrutiny. Two others are Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign, and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative.

The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the [Obama] White House.

Counterintelligence investigations examine the connections between American citizens and foreign governments. Those connections can involve efforts to steal state or corporate secrets, curry favor with American government leaders or influence policy. It is unclear which Russian officials are under investigation, or what particular conversations caught the attention of American eavesdroppers. The legal standard for opening these investigations is low, and prosecutions are rare.

Special Note:
The same article was given different titles by the New York Times:
Their printed version: “Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides”
Online version: “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates.”

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Nearly 1,000 Ballots Found in Democrat-Led Broward County, Florida

Posted by FactReal on November 13, 2012

963 ballots “found” in warehouse
One week after the election, nearly 963 unaccounted-for ballots were discovered in various parts of the elections office warehouse in Broward County, Florida. According to the elections office data, 798 ballots were from Election Day, and 165 were absentee ballots.

Still proud
Amazingly, Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes said the discovery of additional ballots is a customary part of the process and that it is not unusual for ballots to be misplaced.

“Everybody who’s been around for any period of time knows that managing paper is a chore, and you don’t count it overnight,” Snipes said. (!!)

If Republican Gov. Rick Scott were in charge of the Broward elections department, the media would at least be calling for his resignation.

Sunshine State News reminds us this is one more fiasco in yet another Democrat-dominated Florida county.

Posted in Elections, Left, Media, USA-Florida | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »