Statistics

Zombie Statistics

The terrifying power of useful bad data.

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Joanna Andreasson

"You're about to be untricked," boasted the opening line of a groundbreaking 1981 Reason investigation about high-profile chemical leaks in upstate New York. In the early '80s, Love Canal had already become synonymous with corporate willingness to destroy the environment and human health in the name of profit. But careful reporting revealed the anti-corporate narrative was wrong; the primary malefactor wasn't the greedy businessmen at Hooker Chemical but the Niagara Falls Board of Education, which developed a plot of land despite many warnings from Hooker about the presence of dangerous chemicals. Unfortunately, Reason's story did little to change the anti-market tenor of the environmental reforms that followed.

That's because when a narrative is powerful and useful to highly motivated activists, it can be fiendishly difficult to roll it back. Zombie statistics, in particular, are tough to defeat. These undead tidbits can sustain incredible blows and yet continue to crawl forward, like the plodding, inexorable zombies in George Romero's Night of the Living Dead—a film that debuted in 1968, the same year as Reason. These raggedy facts terrorize the debates over important issues for years after they have been definitively debunked.

At a time when #MeToo and Title IX are dominating the headlines, for instance, it can seem like sexual assault is everywhere. But one of the central statistics responsible for that perception rests on an astonishingly weak foundation. You've probably heard this shocking figure: One in five women has been sexually assaulted while in college.

One of the sources of support for that number is a 2002 study by David Lisak, who concluded that what had previously been referred to as "date rape" was actually the result of repeated infractions by serial campus predators. Lisak urged administrators to view every accusation "as an opportunity to identify a serial rapist," a way of thinking that in turn validates harsh treatment for accused students and justifies funding a massive bureaucracy for adjudication. The Obama White House cited Lisak in memoranda, anti-rape activists promoted his work in movies and books, and university administrators invited him to give lectures and sit on panels.

But as Davidson College administrator Linda M. LeFauve explained in our pages three years ago, Lisak's study was based on survey data cobbled together from his students' dissertations and masters' theses. The central data set drew from interviews with just 76 nontraditional, nonresidential students whose offenses "may or may not have happened on or near a college campus, may or may not have been perpetrated on other students, and may have happened at any time in the survey respondents' adult lives." Despite all these problems, the figure is still widely used and widely believed.

The more horrific and serious-seeming the problem, the less likely anyone is to challenge the data that support calls for action. And no problem seems more dire than human slavery.

Associate Editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown has been tracking the ever-evolving sketchy data that activists and reporters like to wield when it comes to trafficking. As she explained in her 2015 story "The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs," 18 years ago the State Department was claiming that 50,000 people were trafficked into the U.S. each year for forced sex or labor. Over the next decade, the estimate fell as low as 14,500—a 71 percent decrease, utterly unaccounted for in any official documents. The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, says that, globally, some 600,000–800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year. But the Government Accountability Office in 2006 described this figure as "questionable" due to, among other things, the fact that it "was developed by one person who did not document all his work."

What's the only thing more awful than slavery? Child sex slavery. But here again, the most widely cited figures do not add up. Rep. Joyce Beatty (D–Ohio) declared in May 2015 that "in the U.S., some 300,000 children are at risk each year for commercial sexual exploitation." A game of legislative and journalistic telephone followed. The New York Times named the Department of Justice as the source of Beatty's number, while Fox News escalated the estimate to 400,000 and said it came from the Department of Health and Human Services. Both figures, it turns out, are derived from decadesold data analyzed in a paper whose primary researcher no longer endorses his own conclusions.

Everywhere and always in the trafficking debate, the numbers contain a jumble of morally different cases that often conflate everything from the utterly horrific imprisonment and rape of a child against her will, to someone who enters the country illegally after being promised a job as a domestic worker and ends up plucking feathers in a chicken processing plant, to adult sex workers willingly offering their services to adult buyers. At the end of October this year, a magazine ad placed by an airline nonprofit claimed that "every day, over 68,000 victims are trafficked right in front of our eyes, often on commercial flights," a figure basically arrived at by totaling up apples and oranges and dividing by 365.

Campus rape and sex trafficking statistics are like Romero's slow zombies. Their power comes from the fact that they proliferate constantly and never give up their quest for your brain. But sometimes zombie statistics are more like the monsters of more recent flicks such as 28 Days Later and Resident Evil, jumping out at you when you least expect it and moving with surprising speed.

Such is the case with the sudden moral panic over plastic straw use. A fresher variant of the crusade against single-use plastic bags, straws are said to be clogging our waterways and the nostrils of sea turtles everywhere.

The movement from environmentalist meme to active legislation—British Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans for a nationwide ban in April—has been as astonishingly swift as the data behind it are astonishingly weak. In January, Assistant Editor Christian Britschgi was the first to track down the source of the most widespread statistic, that Americans use 500 million plastic straws per day. Turns out that figure came from a nonscientific phone survey conducted by a 9-year-old boy. (Yes, really.)

Britschgi's report was one of Reason's most-read stories for the year, yet the statistic shows no sign of vanishing. In fact, even some publications that noted Britschgi's reporting, such as The Washington Post, lapsed into old habits shortly thereafter. Writers at the Post were back to using the 500 million figure just days later in another part of the paper.

The contagion was powered by celebrities on social media—as a class not known for their fact-checking prowess—from pop stars Demi Lovato and Calvin Harris to five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. Still, municipalities such as Seattle and Santa Barbara have pulled back on laws that would have permitted jail sentences for straw offenders, perhaps due to a rare moment of recognition that bad research should not be the basis for actual deprivations of liberty.

Sometimes good data do creep into the narrative and conventional wisdom does change. Steven Pinker's 2011 book The Better Angels of Our Nature, which tells the story of a long decline in interpersonal violence over the course of human history, was initially greeted with an enormous scoff. But the arguments, buttressed by a tremendous amount of empirical data, have seeped if not into the mainstream then at least into respectable conversation.

Local governments eager for federal grant dollars will do everything in their power to keep the scary numbers about rampant human trafficking alive and active. Environmental activists choose not to look too closely at statistics about plastic use and waste before demanding that you stop drinking your soda with a straw. And advocates for victims of sexual violence are too quick to lean on flawed data that point to a widespread problem when they lobby for more resources.

We are all guilty of this to some extent. It's easy to believe studies that confirm our priors. But Reason has a long history of questioning factoids that seem too good to be true. On global warming, for instance, this magazine was an early voice in the free market coalition to say that the facts were inconvenient, the methodology was tricky to parse, and the resulting policy prescriptions were faulty—but that didn't make the reality of manmade global warming less true.

But the same pattern of employing bad facts for political ends repeats itself, in debates about the wage gap, about the effect of gun ownership levels on gun crime, about child kidnapping, about opioid overdoses, and more.

In so many of these cases, a commonsense fact check should immediately cast suspicion. Are college campuses generally less safe than their surrounding neighborhoods? Does every man, woman, and child in America use 1.5 straws every single day? If child sex trafficking were as common as the more outrageous statistics suggest, Brown calculated, it would mean "nearly 8 million Americans have a robust and ongoing child rape habit, in addition to the alleged millions who pay for sex with adults"—a claim that beggars belief.

The earliest zombies, from Haitian folklore, are revived and sustained by powerful necromancers who deploy the shambling figures for their own dark purposes. So it is with zombie statistics. But we've been keeping our shovels sharp for 50 years here at Reason, and we plan to stay on the job as long as it takes.

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62 responses to “Zombie Statistics

  1. Statistics is the part of basic math that most people never seem to grasp but could gain so much from understanding.

    One classic book, “How to Lie with Statistics” makes a case for this. While another book (from the late 80’s, I think) called “Innumeracy,” also underscores how the vast majority of adults don’t get numbers, particularly statistics.

    1. I must have given away 50 copies of “How to Lie with Statistics,” but have always kept the original copy given me by my favorite high school teacher.

      1. I still remember the questions prescribed for cutting statistical deceptions down to size in the final chapter, “How to talk back to a statistic”:

        1. Who says?
        2. How does he know?
        3. What’s missing?
        4. Did somebody change the subject?
        5. Does it make sense?

        All of these apply at the article on rape and sexual assault statistics I linked below. Consider the statistics that make college campuses look like rape factories: One out of five or maybe even one out of four women will raped in college! a breathless piece of feminist propaganda proclaims. Question #4 cuts this statistic down to size: the surveys concerned how many women were being “sexually assaulted” on college, “assault” being defined as everything from hardcore forcible rape on down to “He put his hand on my knee without asking my permission, that pervert!”

        Of course, the linked article also contains a statistic that’s not as impressive as it sounds: women are actually 50% more likely to be raped if they don’t go to college. Whoa! So if you’re a woman, you should go to college to avert the near certainty of being raped? Well, no: your chances of being raped if you don’t go to college are about 3 in 1000; if you do go, they’re about 2 in 1000. To put it another way, your chances of not being raped are about 998 in 1000 if you go, and decrease to about 997 in 1000 if you don’t.

    2. Folks inability to comprehend numbers and statistics REALLY do lie directly at the heart of so many problems we have. Things like freaking out about things that are rarer than getting struck by lightening, to the national debt, and a million others. Math, done correctly with non faulty data, can really solve so many problems it is insane, or at least inform as to what a problem really is. Oh well. Can’t expect people to not be idiots I guess, cuz they are people after all!

      1. While we’re talking about lies involving statistics, can we drive another stake through the due-process-hating feminazis’ BS claim that “only 2 to 10% of all sexual assault accusations are false” already? That statistic refers entirely to the percentage of accusations successfully prosecuted as false, not the actual percentage of false accusations, which ranks somewhere more in the 40-60% range.

    3. Using hyperventilation, a type of mathematics, I can prove that 71% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

      1. You mean like Cato’s illegal immigrant crime rates?

  2. “9 out of 10 new stories are fake news” – A. Lincoln

    1. He was quoting Ben frankilin dummy.

      1. I’ve never heard of Ben Franklin Dummy. Is he related to the man on the $100 bill?

        1. He was Redd Foxx’s best friend in high school.

        2. I think he means “Ben Franken”, the guy who groped his way out of Congress.

  3. My father….

    “Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure”

    “Anyone can lie, but to do it really well you need statistics”

  4. Statistics lie and liars use statistics. When the end seems to justify the means, the lie is for a greater good that is also a lie, but seems “right”. Statistics are only useful objectively if provided in the most comprehensive context.

    This episode of stating the obvious is brought to you by Deconstructed Potato; 67/84 Reason commenters believe at least one word in this comment is true.

  5. 9 out of 10 stories at Reason are not pro Libertarian in nature.

    Open borders.
    Forcing bakers to bake cakes.
    Going to war with Saudis if they didnt talk about WaPo reporter.
    Going to War with Russia over Syria and unsupported allegations of stealing election 2016 from Hillary.
    Pro-Anarchist articles.
    Pro-Lefty articles.
    Pro-Hillary articles.
    Protect China over USA articles.
    ….

    1. Maybe, but this story is a good article for a magazine called ‘Reason’. Which is rare enough to celebrate.

      1. Boehm did a fairly balanced Union article today. Explained both sides but was short.

        The article did not seem to lean Libertarian but I will take a balanced article at Reason over an open border of Lefty article. We can see Lefty articles at all the other MSM outlets.

        1. You definitely have a problem, LoveTrumpsCock69er

          1. Trolls. Scurge of reason.

      2. Yeh. This is more in-line with what I prefer.

        Not that open borders crap.

    2. What would a Trumpist like yourself know about libertarianism?

      1. More than Katherine Mangu-Ward would.

  6. Nearly 100% of statistical data is wrong or wrongly interpreted.

  7. And on a personal note, if we could refrain from using the Z word until there’s an actual outbreak or the actual You-Know-What Apocalypse is upon us, that would go a great deal toward this publication’s credibility.

    1. The little boy that cried ‘zombie’ was my favorite book as a child.

    2. Yeah, I was quite disappointed to click on this article clickbait and not find a single statistic about — uh — the “Z” word.

    3. The 1929 NY World Almanac shows that paper’s Sunday Supplement published “The World of the Living Dead” by Alan MacDonald. This was an early documendacity expos? of the heroin addiction that burgeoned in the USA following the Prohibition Amendment. The Democrats decried it in their 1924 platform, but clung to prohibitionism despite the facts. Soon after the Crash, former Food Czar Bert Hoover created a narcotic bureaucracy and appointed Harry Anslinger Drug Czar. A couple of Living Dead plays were written before 1933, but all record is drowned in the tsunami of similarly-named video games.

    4. The 1929 NY World Almanac shows that paper’s Sunday Supplement published “The World of the Living Dead” by Alan MacDonald. This was an early documendacity expos? of the heroin addiction that burgeoned in the USA following the Prohibition Amendment. The Democrats decried it in their 1924 platform, but clung to prohibitionism despite the facts. Soon after the Crash, former Food Czar Bert Hoover created a narcotic bureaucracy and appointed Harry Anslinger Drug Czar. A couple of Living Dead plays were written before 1933, but all record is drowned in the tsunami of similarly-named video games.

    5. The 1929 NY World Almanac says its Sunday Supplement contained “World of the Living Dead” by Alan MadDonald–? prohibitionist documendacity about the burgeoning of heroin addiction after the Prohibition Amendment made beer illegal. The Dem platform of 1924 decried the fact, but offered no repeal language. Former food czar Herbert Hoover appointed Harry Anslinger drug czar and some “walking dead” plays popped up before 1933.

  8. I think a critical point that’s not discussed in the article is that these statistics are generated to mislead on purpose. Whether they’re twisting the meanings of words, asking questions in ways to get the answer they want, or cherry picking data, etc. the point of these studies is to generate statistics to support the political views of the people performing the studies, not an honest inquiry to learn more about an issue.

    1. THIS.

      Much of the time with these politically charged issues, you will find leftists go out of their way to skew the methodology to get the EXACT result they want. In my experience you don’t tend to find this as much coming from the right or libertarians. That’s probably because their positions tend to ACTUALLY be correct, so they don’t need to lie.

      That’s not to say it’s 100% mind you. The right and libertarians both perform their own confirmation biased studies from time to time, just not nearly to the same degree IMO.

      A person with brains who reads through methodology can usually pick out pretty quickly if it’s a reasonable one, and hence if the results should be taken seriously or not.

      1. The notion that this is just about the left is pure unadulterated arrogant BS. MOST people approach numbers this way – as a demonstration of certainty rather than uncertainty/probability. In part because arithmetic IS about certainty and that is the skillset they bring to statistics.

        Much of this was reinforced as course titles (and curriculum) changed from Probability and Statistics 101 to just Stats 101.

    2. This^. I paid for college TA’ing Stats101 (even though I was an Econ major). What I found is that very few people are actually innumerate – even though most have had crappy math teachers who made math disagreeable. Many people however are quite unethical and are very unskilled in using words to persuade. So they simply switch to the pseudocertainty of numbers instead. Thus forcing the other to argue the numbers as if it’s an honest argument/mistake. When it almost never is.

      That professor told me to give students an F (earlier in semester the better) if something in their work indicated they were abusing statistical techniques/analysis. Not to ever assume it was an honest mistake. He wanted to send the message that he wasn’t interested in teaching Stats101 (a required course for many majors) to those who would end up abusing it so he wanted to force them to make a decision about their own future. Either approach the subject honestly – or find a different major that doesn’t require Stats101. That approach worked very well and we were in almost every case able to teach the student to change their approach from trying to create certainty to instead understanding probabilities/uncertainty. Used the same lessons I learned from that in the workforce later when managing data analysis projects.

      1. Excellent synopsis. Like empirical validation of any sort, statistical analysis depends completely on methodology. If a raw statistic is presented absent the method used to derive it, it’s worthless and an almost certain “tell” that the investigator is fabricating the result.

        Real statistics require independent validation, and even that leads to the “two wristwatch” problem; “a man with one wristwatch always knows the time, but a man with two can never be sure…”

  9. 25 out of 52 weeks Reason has glitchy website activity.

  10. How often are innocent persons convicted?
    Paul Cassell | 11.01.18 6:33 am

    Who Was the First Supreme Court Justice to Have a Lawyer Spouse,
    Eugene Volokh | 10.31.18 12:43 pm

    William Rehnquist Proposed to Sandra Day O’Connor When They Were in Their 20s
    Eugene Volokh | 10.31.18 12:39 pm

    Who Should Address the Problem of National Injunctions?
    Samuel Bray | 10.31.18 11:45 am

    Birthright Citizenship and the Constitution
    Ilya Somin | 10.30.18 7:19 pm

    2 out of 5 Voloh Conspiracy articles belong on TMZ.

    All the legal problems and issues to be discussed…but no, people want to know who was the first SCOTUS justice to have a legal spouse?

    How about multiple articles about why the sexual registry is not only unconstitutional but an affront to the American notion of doing your time and being given a second chance.

    How about multiple articles about the Innocence Projects around the USA and addressing the fundamental legal processes that lead to innocent people being convicted?

    How about multiple articles about state bar licensing of attorneys and the judicial branches involvement in this joke. Attorneys have one of the lowest rating from Americans in the working World and this is WITH licensing to weed out ‘unsatisfactory’ attorneys. Clearly licensing of attorneys blocks good attorneys and protects the bad attorneys. You dont need a Doctorate to help people with legal cases.

    1. The question was who was the first justice to have a lawyer spouse (a serious question for a cabal of law profs) not the first to have a legal spouse (it’s a no brainer to assume most justices who had spouses would have legal spouses).

  11. 80% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

    1. No, it is 73%. Get it right.

  12. All true! As I said above, to really know what numbers are worth paying attention to, one usually must look at the methodology. If it seems reasonably sound, one can usually guess that the statistics are at least SOMEWHAT in the ballpark of being correct. If not, then you really don’t know either way.

    It is also generally useful to think about if anybody even has a REASON to want to skew the results. This usually comes down to politics, worldview, religion, etc. If it’s something like a study on how many pine needles are on an average pine tree… There’s not much reason to skew that, so they probably at least tried to be accurate. But hot button issues almost everybody will be trying to get the result they want. That’s when you REALLY need to pay attention to methodology.

    I think one of the main differences between people who can make correct calls on controversial issues really comes down to being able to parse through the various data sets, arguments, etc and filter out the bunk stuff with bad methodology from the good stuff. Many people just seem wholly incapable of this, so they just go with whatever is shoved down their throat by their preferred overlord group.

    1. Agreed. There are a lot of problems. Many of the people presenting stats (the overlord groups) have a specific narrative they want to drive, and they are mostly presenting it to a group of people that want to believe in that narrative and will be similarly willing to use faulty data/testing for their purpose.

      Not to mention, a majority of our congressmen are not scientists. They usually come from professions where they haven’t had to grasp many of the concepts taught in the STEM world. While the constitution is very important to us all, being a lawyer and constitutional scholar, reading about the various positions on any given amendment will not prepare you to understand/use/interpret a logistic regression, and when it would be appropriate. Many of the concepts that need to be understood as a scientist and/or statistician are frankly over their heads and they can rarely see how poorly they are using the data. Also they don’t care how poorly they are using it, since they have an agenda.

      And now to be super elitist…suffice it to say our country is not smart. There are still people, today, getting out of high school with a minimal command of algebra. Fuck, Asian kids are doing that in middle school, if not earlier. The vast majority of mathematical concepts are something they will never be able to grasp, so they will regurgitate numbers and studies from their preferred overlord, and be happily reassured of their position.

    2. Agreed. There are a lot of problems. Many of the people presenting stats (the overlord groups) have a specific narrative they want to drive, and they are mostly presenting it to a group of people that want to believe in that narrative and will be similarly willing to use faulty data/testing for their purpose.

      Not to mention, a majority of our congressmen are not scientists. They usually come from professions where they haven’t had to grasp many of the concepts taught in the STEM world. While the constitution is very important to us all, being a lawyer and constitutional scholar, reading about the various positions on any given amendment will not prepare you to understand/use/interpret a logistic regression, and when it would be appropriate. Many of the concepts that need to be understood as a scientist and/or statistician are frankly over their heads and they can rarely see how poorly they are using the data. Also they don’t care how poorly they are using it, since they have an agenda.

      And now to be super elitist…suffice it to say our country is not smart. There are still people, today, getting out of high school with a minimal command of algebra. Fuck, Asian kids are doing that in middle school, if not earlier. The vast majority of mathematical concepts are something they will never be able to grasp, so they will regurgitate numbers and studies from their preferred overlord, and be happily reassured of their position.

      1. Agreed. There are a lot of problems. Many of the people presenting stats (the overlord groups) have a specific narrative they want to drive, and they are mostly presenting it to a group of people that want to believe in that narrative and will be similarly willing to use faulty data/testing for their purpose.

        Not to mention, a majority of our congressmen are not scientists. They usually come from professions where they haven’t had to grasp many of the concepts taught in the STEM world. While the constitution is very important to us all, being a lawyer and constitutional scholar, reading about the various positions on any given amendment will not prepare you to understand/use/interpret a logistic regression, and when it would be appropriate. Many of the concepts that need to be understood as a scientist and/or statistician are frankly over their heads and they can rarely see how poorly they are using the data. Also they don’t care how poorly they are using it, since they have an agenda.

        And now to be super elitist…suffice it to say our country is not smart. There are still people, today, getting out of high school with a minimal command of algebra. Fuck, Asian kids are doing that in middle school, if not earlier. The vast majority of mathematical concepts are something they will never be able to grasp, so they will regurgitate numbers and studies from their preferred overlord, and be happily reassured of their position.

        1. Not to mention the innumeracy among the squirrels

  13. That reminds me: What’s Eric Zuess doing these days? I haven’t kept in touch w him.

  14. And, regardless of the accuracy of a statistic, it is often still misunderstood in context due to bias, even if it is completely accurate. For instance, if you quote a statistic about immigrants, a person will often react more strongly to a word or image than to the actual number presented, words such as “rape” or “environmental contamination” or “terrorist”, instead of a rational evaluation of a number. A picture is worth a thousand words. The controversy over the caravan is really amusing, because (if statistics of the numbers in the caravan and of border apprehensions are accurate) the actual numbers represented in the caravan equate to the number of people routinely apprehended attempting to illegally cross the border every few days — not even counting those who legally apply at the border or who sneak across successfully. This has been going for years and years and years without all this drama. Suddenly, when people see a picture of a large group of people and hear a number like 7,000, and hear day after day that they are coming closer and closer and closer (anticipaaaaaaaaaaation), they build up this sense of panic. Hah! Little do they know, but that many people tried to cross the border in just the last few days, and they are will again tomorrow. The caravan is just a statistical blip. In one sense, it is already here, and in another, it will again tomorrow and every other day.

  15. It’s a war on men (and Reason should recognize that). Add the myth of the “deadbeat dad”, 40 years of Title IVd federal funding to the states which DISENFRANCHISED fathers from the family and then plundered their assets under the guise of protecting children. Combined with “no fault” divorce men go MGTOW in the face of the high probability of financial ruin. And let’s not forget that the “1 in 5” and “#believeallwomen” are designed to undermine due process for men as male victims are not believed or taken seriously. a $Billion a year to combat Violence Against “Women” which ignores the fact that 50% of cases are mutual violence and victims are equally men and women (and only a small portion of the population). And let’s talk about selective service, denial of parental rights, and male genital mutilation while we’re at it. http://nymensactionnetwork.org

  16. Totally unrelated Zombie Song that any office worker can relate to.

  17. Zombie statistics. Aka faulty premises.

    A shtick progressives have excelled at for over 100 years.

    My favourite is ‘96% of scientists agree!’

    Fools.

    1. Consensus! Settled science!

  18. I thought we were going to talk about zombies

    Zombie statistics:

    Based on data obtained from the print chronicles of the walking dead the zombies outnumber humans 5000:1.

    The outbreak occurred in August 2010

    That means that when Rick wakes up there are

    Around 1.4 million humans on the planet

    And 6.9986 billion zombies

    I really need to get a life

    1. Maybe you are one of them?

  19. As she explained in her 2015 story “The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs,” 18 years ago the State Department was claiming that 50,000 people were trafficked into the U.S. each year for forced sex or labor.

    Oh, that reminds me, my county has a popular nonprofit that “teaches mentally ill people job skills” by having them assemble plastic items like you do in a factory. The clients even get paid … way below minimum wage. I’m not sure how much the items sell for.

    1. Are you talking about Chinese GSEs?

  20. Want “zombie” statistics?
    Just take a look at the BLS employment reports.

    Now those are a work of pure fiction.

    Interesting that month after month of lost jobs (look at the data in the underlying tables) & increasing REAL unemployment, the Oct. ’18 report showed good news…..just before the elections.

    Interesting too that Herr Trump criticized the BLS reports as “phony”, criticizing Obama while campaigning in 2016, yet has continued the works of fiction in his own clown-presidency.

    “Trump said on the campaign trail that the BLS’ 4.9
    percent jobless rate is essentially government
    propaganda and that the true measure is as high as 42
    percent.”
    (source = bma dot com)

    Meanwhile, shadowstats has REAL unemployment at a whopping 21.2%, based on the over 102 MILLION AMERICANS STILL UNEMPLOYED (as per the BLS themselves).

  21. What DID “make the reality of manmade global warming less true” was the unearthing of the raw temperature data from government thermometer stations going back over 100 years by Electrical Engineer Tony Heller. The data record warming when Herbert Hoover was president, followed by cooling when Kennedy, Johnson and Carter held office. But the trend for unvarnished temperature data shows possibly a single degree this past century. Sea level likewise shows little or no deviation from a slow increase. In both cases a small minority of government bureaucrats (50 people as near as I can tell) calling themselves the 97% alter data to depict temperatures rising. But the Petition Project signed by over 31000 scientists with at least a Bachelor’s degree asserts no such thing is real. Petr Beckmann debunked antinuclear hysteria in Reason, and is an unperson in Inner Party circles, but his findings are still true. The ex-scientists he challenges are all Cassandras and Luddites for the Global Warming religion. The thing is evidently a hoax to tax everyone but China.

    1. “The thing is evidently a hoax to tax everyone but China.”

      Worse, now Americans are taxed for buying Chinese products in the form of Trump’s “tariffs” on imports. Few apparently realize these tariffs are paid by American consumers, not China.

      “The stupid! It burns!”

      1. Yessssssss

  22. You know what they say: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
    Statistics can be very useful in a variety of situations and issues, but are easily misunderstood or abused.

  23. Zombie statistics are used in the marketing campaigns that sell leftist policies to unsuspecting Americans including global warming, gun control, open borders, population shifting, and the “safety” of opioids to doctors. Corrupt and falsified data in “scientific” studies used to support political science is a threat to freedom everywhere. Zombie statistics are used because society still naively believes in the credibility and integrity of the studies. They have not understood the malevolence and purposefulness of zombie statistics.

    I discuss the problem in my article “The Problem With Capitalism” but until people are willing to challenge the data the marketing will continue because it works! It sells the product.
    http://goudsmit.pundicity.com/…..capitalism

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