Tag Archives: Statistics

Traumatic Brain Injuries and Statistical Manipulation

This has a two part trigger, for me, I saw a bus stop sign saying that 1 in 5 returning soldiers have TBI and a BBC headline about “stocks fall on manufacturing data”, the last being a poorly constructed sentence that can be read two ways, manufacturing as a noun or as a verb transformed to adjective. Either way it would be accurate, recent events on Wall Street show they’ve been manufacturing the data for a long long time.
But with the TBI example, we get some really complex thought-lines from the one sentence. Is that perhaps 20% of ALL returning military personnel? Even with that 20% being limited to Combat Infantry personnel that would be a shocker. And you KNOW the Army would make it minimal. They’ve been treating (and getting busted doing it) TBI as “underlying personality disorders with onset prior to service” which means the Pentagoons are Covering Their Collective Poopy Butt.

That gives them the opportunity to give the soldiers thus affected anywhere from an “Unfit for Service – Psychiatric” Honorable Discharge BUT, since it’s not officially service connected, they don’t have to pay a dime to the broken soldiers. Just throw them away and holler “NEXT!”… To Bad Conduct or Dishonorable discharges complete with Prison Time if their injuries, or battlefield-induced psychoses caused by an overdose of combined Conscience and Unconscionable Deeds they’re ordered to commit, cause them to commit “crimes” like telling their Commanding Officer to fuck himself and go kill the “enemy” civilians himself if he wants them dead so damn bad. That’s called “mutiny” and punishable by death at the highest level or “insubordination” and punishable as a Federal felony at the lowest.

By denying TBI and PTSD claims the Pentagoons can handle a lot of the symptoms of both as crimes, to be punished, rather than as symptoms of damages caused by the Pentagon Mission.

They can also punish the soldiers for “malingering” – faking illness to get out of performance of their duties… if they report the symptoms to Medical Personnel and Medical, who are under orders from their “superiors” (which would make themselves “inferiors”, something the military discourages you mentioning) and if those orders pointedly Exclude diagnosing PTSD or TBI, that means the Medical Personnel themselves would be required to report the soldier for “malingering”.

They did that crap with Agent Orange victims too, and still do. File an A.O. claim and they’ll investigate YOU as a criminal rather than Monsanto, Dow and Union Carbide…

That leads to the Other Interpretation of the statistic. If “Soldiers” is limited to the Army, possibly the Marines, that’s still the largest chunk of Military personnel and would mean possibly 37% of returning Army and Marine Corps being affected. That’s one in three instead of one in five.

Be All That You Can Be, as the lying ass recruiter slogan used to say.

Confusing actuarial lies for statistics

LYING WITH STATISTICS. It’s a worn truism, but what do you do when the public’s mathematical literacy ebbs ever lower? Lie without statistics. Give new meaning to mean, median and average. Use false statistics to reinforce the new lie. Here are a couple ugly examples.

ISAF Air Raid on Nawabad
Afghans are up in arms about a recent US air raid in Herat Province which they say claimed more than 90 lives, the majority of which were children. US spokesmen claim the death toll was not ninety, but five, er, eight. A disparity which they explain could be complicated by the rubble from the bombs.

US puppet Hamid Karzai is standing by the Nawabad villagers, likewise is the UN. So it’s NATO and the US versus Afghanistan and the UN, as to whether the NATO International Security Assistance Force air raid should be investigated so that Karzai might be able to assure his people that US warplanes will be more careful next time.

The US press have been phrasing their interviews like mediators hoping to find a middle ground figure to reconcile the vastly disparate casualty record. But is that how casualties of war are accounted for? Can you imagine OJ refuting his ex-wife’s demise? Would a criminal court consider that an agreeable fraction of Nicole Simpson was murdered that night?

LA law enforcement found two bodies on the front steps of Nicole’s Brentwood residence. Just as tangibly, survivors on the ground in Afghanistan were able to count their missing. Journalists, UN workers, and Afghan authorities on our payroll have had access to the bodies, graves and witnesses.

American military personnel admit they may not know the full extent of the casualties, conceding that some might have been buried in the stony debris. Consider how horribly disingenuous is this admission.

We’ve all seen the leaked aerial gun-sight video footage on which we know the airmen can see every heat-emiting body. The bombers and their command-center triggermen on land can see little white bodies running around before they are hit, and then the faint gray pieces of human beings as the warmth leaves their ex-lives. Thus, American soldiers are lying, to whatever degree it makes a difference. Regardless, is the murder of civilians any place to equivocate with median approximations?

Bisphenol A
Here’s another example in pharmaceutical news. Studies have been released to show that the chemical Bisphenol A is a danger to humans. Well, news presenters well tied to the chem-agra-pharma industry are careful to note that some of the scientific results are inconclusive. So we have, on one side, harmful, and on the other, uncertain, championed by the FDA. The corporate media advises us that the conclusion probably lies somewhere in the middle. Oh? It’s a toss up, is it?

Heads and tails is a toss up. Heads –and can’t read the face of the coin exactly– is heads. Bisphenol A harms human brain activity, or at best, half-harms it. We’re muddied or partially muddied. It takes evidence to the contrary to muddle a middle.

The corporate media mantra of offering us two-sided analysis is serving well to temper findings which point at wrongdoers. Global warming becomes global luke-warming, becomes: leave the knob set on a harmless simmer.

I swing the other way. The media are all liars. Every last motherfucking one. From right to left, the mean average is a liar. If that stat is irrefutable, tell me, am I lying?

More statistics to sleep on

I hear that less than 25% of the American public knows approximately how many US soldiers have died in Iraq. The total as of today is 3,986. Two other US statistics of note: of men in prison and teenage girls:

The 4,000 death was predicted to fall a month from now, until a casual suicide bomber ambled up to a group of our soldiers. The death toll was five, though I find it beyond curious that Iraqi observers were insistent it had been six.

ONE PERCENT of all Americans is behind bars. The number represents 7% of all Black Americans, 11% of young black males, and 3% of Hispanic males. The work gulag capitalist enterprise system in China boasts the next highest incarceration rate, where the percentage of the Chinese population imprisoned is 0.1%.

One in four teenage American girls have an STD. That’s three million girls aged 14-19. 48% of all black girls, 20% of white girls. In 18% of the cases the STD is genital warts.