Irma Hysteria Makes Landfall; The Actual Hurricane Did Too

The faces you see on television are paid to entertain you and make you feel like they should be trusted. They are reading a script, and most of the time, they don’t know any more than you do.

Hurricane Irma is a terrible force of nature. It could be the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, which means it could be one of the strongest forces of nature Planet Earth has produced. And the media wants you to know two things:

(1) If you live in Florida or the gulf, this monster is probably headed directly at your house; and

(2) Mankind is responsible for this.

Irma’s eye made landfall over the small island of Barbuda, where hurricanes and Atlantic storms are a way of life. In nearby Antigua, residents got a side swipe from Irma.

In Florida, people are freaking out.

They’ve got plenty of reason for concern…this morning’s official storm track has Irma turning north into south Florida early Monday morning.

But the level of hysteria, and the media’s own infotainment treatment of it, along with the smug “we told you so” attitude of those who believe that somehow Earth could be tamed into producing smaller storms…or that Earth wouldn’t produce such large storms if humans did things differently.

Those who firmly believe in the “climate science” numbers supporting anthropomorphic  climate change are so emotionally invested in the numbers that some are rooting for the storm. Others are pretending to be scientists, leading to ridiculous exchanges like the one below.

Ryan Maue is in fact bona fide a hurricane scientist. Kurt Eichenwald is an editor for Vanity Fair and an MSNBC contributor. “I’ll show you the science paper on it” is about as absurd as me (with zero medical training) telling a heart surgeon that he’s doing a mitral valve repair wrong, and I can show him the “science paper” on it that I found with Google.

That is the point here: everyone in the media is suddenly an expert, declaring fact and denouncing fiction, when we need to be respecting nature’s power, not trying to explain why driving a Ford F-150 caused it.

A fake Irma track showing the storm heading for Houston went viral Monday, causing renewed panic in the storm-devastated region. Now people in Jacksonville are emptying stores of bottled water.

Certainly, people should be prepared. But NHC forecasts and probabilities do not support the level of hysteria the media is conveying. Jacksonville has a 6 percent chance of winds 64 mph or more by Monday. It has a 26 percent chance of winds over 34 mph. That’s gusty, but not catastrophic.

Orlando, Miami, and Fort Myers have under 20 percent chance of winds over 64 mph for Monday. These forecasts are updated at least twice a day, and that’s what should guide us, not the hype.

They’ve called Rush Limbaugh a “hurricane truther” or “hurricane denier” because he pointed out on his show that local TV and national media both have a vested interest in making the storms worse than they are, and ensuring maximum concern by local residents.

(1) It’s good for business for local stores when everyone runs to buy water, and other staple items. (In Middle Georgia, if there’s a hint of a snowflake, the stores sell out of milk, bread and toilet paper–I’m serious.)

(2) Anthropomorphic climate change believers get to crow about how they’re right, and everyone else is wrong, and this prediction was made 15 years ago. (Except that they also predicted 20 years ago that most of Florida would be under water by now, and that hasn’t happened.)

Limbaugh said:

Let me just put it this way. The latest National Hurricane Center forecast map, the track, which was released at 11 a.m. puts the Sunday target exactly where I told my buddies on Saturday and Friday night that it was gonna go, while the models all had it turning north up to North Carolina and Washington, D.C., and the Northeastern coast. That was just one data point that I kept looking at that told me where I thought this thing was gonna go.

They call Limbaugh “out of his mind” because of this. Two more observations.

(1) Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. He admits it freely. He is a radio host who speaks his mind, based on his own experience and claims no special expertise.

(2) The people who call him “out of his mind” also have the same level of non-expertise and access to the same data as Rush Limbaugh, yet Rush’s conclusions fit the forecast better than theirs.

Irma is a dangerous storm. The best advice is to go to the NHC website and look at what the NOAA professionals, who do this day-in-day-out for a living, think will happen. Actually read the forecasts. Then prepare based on fact, not hysteria.

Also realize that most people know jack squat about how hurricanes form, and what causes ocean temperatures to be 1.7 degrees higher on a certain spot than “normal.” If you think that it’s very simple to find a “science paper” linking your F-150, or cow flatulence, to deep ocean temperatures, you are woefully gullible.

The faces you see on television are paid to entertain you and make you feel like they should be trusted. They are reading a script, and most of the time, they don’t know any more than you do.

In fact, you may know more than they do.

This post is also published at The New Americana.

Everybody Freaked the Hell Out Over Rush Limbaugh Yesterday, But He Was Right

“A hurricane denier,” they called him on social media yesterday. Rush Limbaugh started his show talking about Hurricane Irma and liberals along with a number of Republicans who have decided talk radio is the enemy, freaked. the. hell. out.

But did they actually listen to him?

He said nothing unreasonable and much on point. His overarching point, for those who do not or did not listen, is that when even the computer models were showing Irma was going to turn north and go up the eastern seaboard, people were making a run on water in Florida. It was not a casual stocking up of supplies, but a panicked run on grocery stores led by media and advertising designed to induce fear.

And what disappeared first? Water. Bottled water disappeared when, right now, the water flows drinkably through the pipes of South Florida residences.

Rush is right. The media has so invested for so long in the global warming scenario that promised more frequent and bigger hurricanes without ever delivering them, they are right now positively orgasmic that a big storm is coming. It is their “I told you so” moment after two decades of telling us so to no avail. Local TV stations and national networks have ramped up the coverage and it is not coverage keeping people informed, but coverage decided to say “I told you so” and “you’re all going to die.”

Throughout his monologue, Rush repeatedly told people he was not a meteorologist and people needed to check the forecasts and track maps. He merely posited he had his own thoughts on where the storm was headed based on reading the track maps, but he had the audacity to say that information might change as the storm draws closer.

Still, Rush is a hurricane denier according to liberals — for trying to get people to calm down and not panic and for having the audacity to call out the media for generating panic. Irma is a big storm. It is not to be trifled with. The people of Florida have to take it seriously. But there is a difference between taking it seriously and the media generating mass hysteria all in the name of having an “I told you so” moment of global warming cheering.

A friend of mine who actually is a tropical cyclone expert with a doctorate degree in the field has noted a number of the maps used to show unseasonably warm weather in the water have had all the areas of average or slightly above average temperatures downplayed to make the scenario look even worse than it is.

The fact is that Rush Limbaugh is not a hurricane denier. The media is just a fear magnifier and gets upset when anyone points it out.

El Rushbo, Trump and the Wall

After White House budget director Mike Mulvaney suggested that President Trump might sign off on a spending bill this week that doesn’t include funding to start construction of a border wall, a feeling that is all to familiar to Republican voters started to sink in.  You know the routine:  GOP candidate promises reform on issues near and dear to the conservative base, only to have said candidate weasel out after the election is over using some lame excuse about how change is hard because Democrats keep standing in the way.  It’s probably the single biggest reason that Donald Trump won the Republican nomination and then the presidency.  Conservative voters were sick of the GOP establishment playing them for suckers–particularly on immigration enforcement–so they sent an outsider to Washington to drain the swamp.  And with Republicans now running the House, the Senate and the White House, we finally seemed poised to get that done.

Now, we get this:

Mulvaney said the spending bill, which would fund the federal government through September and avoid a shutdown at the end of the week, includes money for border security. Those funds, however, are not specifically allocated for building a border wall.


He said the bill would allow Trump “to follow through on his promise to make that border more secure.”


Their agreement comes as the midnight Friday deadline approaches, and a possible government shutdown looms.


Mulvaney said the administration doesn’t plan “to back down” from its promise to build a border wall.


“We just thought that it would be a good first step to get these things that everybody agrees on and take that idea of a government shutdown off the table,” Mulvaney continued.


Mulvaney said officials plan to begin budget discussions for the fiscal year 2018, which starts October 1, “as soon as this bill is signed.”

So let me see if I can get this straight.  Back during the Obama administration, the White House used a government shutdown to pressure a Republican Congress to get what it wanted.  Now Donald Trump is in charge, and a Democrat minority is using the threat of a shutdown again to pressure the White House to get what it wants.

Tell me–is there ever a scenario involving a shutdown in which the Republicans get to win?  Or are we, as a political party, really just that pathetic?

That Trump might actually be willing to go along with this nonsense, at least according to Mike Mulvaney, is the real head-scratcher.  For the guy who told us we’d get tired from all the winning, this deal seems like a dead-end loser–the kind of thing that not only sends you home empty handed, but sends a clear message to your opponents that you’re a joke.  Is that really what Trump wants the Democrats to think?

Even Rush Limbaugh, who has been a vocal Trump supporter, expressed grave doubts over the situation on his radio show yesterday:

The Democrats are threatening a government shutdown. It’s the same old same old, and I was hoping that Trump would throw this shutdown thing right back in their face and have everybody realize they’re the ones engineering these shutdowns that nobody would notice anyway unless a big hullabaloo was made about it. The Democrats seem to have successfully used this stupid, silly threat of a government shutdown to get their way. What Trump is saying is if we need to get this done, then I’ll delay the spending on the wall until September. And it’s just a measly billion dollars.


But the problem here, folks, is one of politics. If this happens, if Trump does cave — and I use the word “cave” guardedly. Trump, I’m sure, does not ever think he caves on anything. But outward appearances are what they are. And the bottom line is that, if he is willing to withdraw a demand of his for a measly billion dollars for the wall because the Democrats are threatening a shutdown, then the Democrats will have just learned that this threat works on Trump, too, not just all the other Republicans.

This is precisely correct.  The Democrats, who routinely play hardball politics, will see this as a weakness and exploit it every chance they get.    Whenever they want to halt a Trump initiative or squeeze some concession from him, they’ll just run to the media with talk of another shutdown.  How is Trump supposed to drain the swamp if he allows the swamp to have that much leverage over him?

What’s really infuriating, though, is that the Democrats really have no power in this situation.  Back when Obama ran the show, he was able to inflict maximum pain on the public during the last shutdown by closing national parks and turning Honor Flight veterans away from the World War II memorial on the Washington Mall.  Trump can see to it that those things don’t happen–so for most Americans, life will carry on normally even if Democrats shut down the government.  Chances are, most people won’t even notice.

I can only hope that Mulvaney’s remarks were just a trial balloon to see how Trump supporters would react to a delay in building the border wall.  If that’s the case, then we need to make sure that the White House understands that any delay is a defeat–and that’s unacceptable.

Mr. President, you were successful in showbiz because you never forgot who your audience was.  I’d advise you following exactly the same rule now.

If They’d Only Listened To Rush Limbaugh

“If Republicans lamenting Trump and hating on Rush had only listened to Rush and taken his counsel that he gives for free three hours a day, five days a week, the GOP would not be in this mess.”

I have been and remain a die hard fan of Rush Limbaugh. The only career goal I ever set in life was when I was seventeen years old. I wanted to fill in for Rush Limbaugh. Mission accomplished. Doing that was the coolest thing ever.

That’s why it has been so miserable these past few months watching good friends of mine tell me they no longer listen, they wish he’d retire, etc. They are mad at Rush for not rejecting the Republican nominee. The truth of the matter, however, is this — had Republicans spent time listening to Rush Limbaugh instead of trying unsuccessfully to use him for their own ends, we would not be in this place.

Fill in for Rush and you’ll get a sense of this. In three hours, particularly on Friday, Rush will take phone calls from all over the United States. Within a month he has talked to people from every state and then some. Behind the scenes he is checking emails from people around the world. The first time I ever got a reply from Rush I was in law school and floored that a man of his stature actually read his own emails. To this day I refuse to out source the review of my emails to someone else because of Rush. To become a friend of Rush’s and David’s, his brother, has been a real blessing. They have always been willing to offer sound advice to me as my career as grown and to also offer counsel when I’ve gone off the rails. They are two well raised men.

I say this because Rush has served as a canary in the coal mines for the right. He is deeply perceptive of conservative sentiment across the heartland. For years now he has said a few things that have come home this election.

First, he has pointed out repeatedly that the base of the GOP is deeply upset with Republicans in Washington. They are deeply upset with the seeming unwillingness of Republicans to stand up first to President Bush then to President Obama.

Second, he has pointed out that the conservatism preached inside Washington is not the conservatism that relates to people outside Washington. It is not that conservatism does not work, but that Washington conservatives have failed to practice what they preach and they have failed to preach it in a manner relatable to those who did not go to the Ivy League.

Third, he has pointed out consistently for the past several years that if Republicans did not get a clue, the base was going to abandon them for someone else.

Fourth, he pointed out that the GOP’s constant insistence that it opposes amnesty only to see its elected officials pushing it full steam ahead was going to kill the party.

Fifth, he has pointed out that as the GOP’s political interests move more toward the Chamber of Commerce and the donor class, the voters the party depends on are going to feel increasingly alienated. Rejecting Main Street for Wall Street is not something the party should do.

Lastly, and more importantly, Rush has long held that if Republicans offer up a Democrat-lite candidate, voters, like Coca-Cola drinkers, are going for actual Democrats because you can’t beat the real thing.

In the past several weeks there have been a series of pieces written by the left gleefully calling for the death of conservative talk radio and a bunch of Republicans have zealously championed the cause. But most of these Republicans were Republicans who hated Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio well before Campaign 2016.

I have a hard time taking seriously a bunch of people who hated Rush before this year suddenly demanding he be silenced. That’s not to say everyone is in that camp. There are some who really do feel betrayed by Rush because they do not see Trump as conservative and have long seen Rush as the popular market standard bearer for conservatism. I get that and understand that concern. I have several good friends who are die hard Rush fans who just can’t listen anymore because of this season.

But those are not the people participating in the stories about conservative talk radio. A good many of those participating in these stories are people who were either unsuccessful at national talk radio and have now found their niche as “truth tellers” against conservative talk or those who, ironically, long were upset that Rush didn’t toe the GOP line and are now horrified that Rush would actually not throw the GOP nominee under the bus.

The people who cheered when Rush suddenly had McCain on his show after opposing him and the people who cheered when Rush supported Romney after opposing him, are suddenly horrified that, yet again, Rush is supporting the Republican nominee.

Many of my friends say Rush sold out in the primaries. I disagree and think he gets a bad rap due to others on radio who are not as good or as smart as Rush.

Rush never endorsed Trump in the primaries. He said definitely that Cruz was the conservative. To the extend he praised Trump, he praised Trump’s abilities to twist the media and the GOP in knots exposing the very problems I listed above that Rush has long warned about. The rise of Trump is not because of people like Rush, but because Republican elites in Washington long ignored the things Rush was learning about and saying of heartland Republicans upset with D.C.

Whether Trump wins or loses next week, the center-right is going to be tempted to have some sort of great purging. I realize that I am now the recipient of all sorts of “new found respect” for not going along with Trump. But I do so because I’m a Christian conservative and do not think Trump is one, nor do I find him to be a moral person worthy of my support. I do not do so because I’m suddenly establishmentarian or on the left. It was, in fact, the Republican establishment that aligned with Trump against Ted Cruz.

When the pitch forks come, I have no doubt that though Rush and I are not aligned right now in sentiment on Trump, I’m with him, not the people who have long hoped to rid the world of conservative talk radio and now pretend to do so for some noble good.

If Republicans lamenting Trump and hating on Rush had only listened to Rush and taken his counsel that he gives for free three hours a day, five days a week, the GOP would not be in this mess.

Talk Radio and Donald Trump

The New York Times has a piece up about the conservative commentariat divide over Trump and features me heavily. I am generally okay with the piece, but a bit disappointed at the end as I think it imputes to me things I did not actually say. I suppose it is time to expound on the issue here. I have been putting it off and putting it off and it is probably time to address it.

Here’s the relevant portion.

But even Erickson did not seem convinced that this alone explained what he saw as a nihilistic turn among Republican voters. “I do think there are a lot of people that have just concluded that this is it — that if we don’t get the election right, the country’s over,” he said. As to where they might have gotten that idea, Erickson knew the answer. It was the apocalyptic hymn sung by talk-radio hosts like his friend and mentor Rush Limbaugh, whose show Erickson once guest-hosted, though in the time of Trump, it seemed unlikely he would receive another invitation.

This February, Limbaugh, who has applauded Trump without endorsing him outright, posed to Erickson the question of whether a commentator should try to act as “the guardian of what it means to be a conservative.” In effect, the legend of talk radio was laying down an unwritten commandment of the trade, which applies as well to cable TV: Do not attempt to lead your following.

First of all, not filling in for Rush is not some sinister black balling. My radio station gets flooded with angry Trump supporters on a daily basis because of me. I would not want that to happen to program directors across the nation and it makes absolute sense that I should not fill in for Rush or even Herman Cain, who broadcasts with me out of WSB. Their audiences are not aligned with me on the major issue of the day. It would not be fair to them and would subject program directors to all sorts of complaints.

But there are two points that I really want to address. Let me note out of the gate that I don’t think there was any intention to mischaracterize me by Robert Draper or the Times. It was more than three hours of an interview and we hopped all over the place. There are, though, some points that are worth expanding upon and clearing up.

First, I don’t think Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity are to blame for apocalyptic doom and gloom. There is no quote there because I did not say that. What I did say was that I think in general talk radio reflects audiences instead of leading audiences. To the extent there is doom and gloom it is because the audience feels it, not because the host leads them to it.

There are a great many people out there convinced that talk radio can convince people of certain things and I tend to disagree. Rush, for example, was not a McCain or Romney guy, but they got the nomination. Crediting him, or even crediting Sean, with Trump’s nomination this year flies in the face of their positions in 2008 and 2012. We have tons of stories about radio audiences in decline, yet somehow talk radio is more influential? That does not make sense.

Second, what Rush asked me came in response to my book, You Will Be Made to Care, coming out in February. One of the criticisms of me in the conservative media-sphere is that I presume to be the gatekeeper and guardian of what it means to be a conservative. Rush allowed me to respond to the criticism for his Limbaugh Letter interview, but I made clear to the Times he didn’t hold that view himself. Just, as a friend, he was allowing me to respond. My response was that when conservatives turned a blind eye to the Bush era, suddenly we had conservatives rallying around Harriet Miers and bank bailouts. If we did not hold our own side accountable, the voters would.

I have a lot of friends these days blaming other friends for the rise of Trump. I hate to see the attacks on Rush, Sean, Mark Levin, and others because I don’t blame them, don’t think it is true, and think if people were less pissed off about the situation that they would not be in such a ready state to throw them under the bus.

I disagree, for example, with Sean on Trump, but I do not blame him. As I told the Times, and it did not make it in the article, Sean and Trump have been friends for years and I know from personal experience that Sean is one of the most loyal friends a person can have. Several years ago leftwing protestors were targeting me because of a flippant remark I’d made about chasing a census worker off my property with my wife’s shotgun. It was blown up, distorted, and even the White House commented on it at the urging of liberal commentators. Sean was the first person to call and offered to send people down to my house, at his expense, to keep an eye on us.

For his part, Rush Limbaugh has been the greatest mentor a person could ever hope to have. He has been unfailing in his advice and candor. When I was seventeen and my dad and I were on the road looking at colleges, we discovered Rush while in search of Paul Harvey. I knew that one day I wanted to sit in the Atilla the Hun chair. Heck, I did not even want to be in radio, just fill in for Rush. That life goal has been met and on top of that, he’s been someone I can call on whenever I have an issue in media.

This is an awful year. Friends are at friends’ throats. Everybody is blaming everybody. For the Ericksons, personally, this year is our version of the year Charles and Di got a divorce and Windsor Castle burned to the ground. I’ve been in the hospital trying not to die, my wife has just been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, my kids have more than once asked me why people hate us, they’ve been yelled at in the store, we’ve had people come to our house to yell at me, and everybody wants everybody else to pick a side. I am ready for it to be over, one way or the other.

Life returning to normal would be a good thing — a life where friends are not at each others’ throat over Trump trying to force each other to line up on one side or the other. I do not care for Trump and will not vote for him, but most of my friends are with him. They are still my friends.

Rush Limbaugh Is Right On This Too

This is going to make certain people as upset as it made them when Rush said it, but it does not make it less true.

The other day, Rush was talking about a segment of the conservative intelligentsia who think writing a column or delivering a clever line on television is all they need to do in commitment to the cause. They don’t want to actually advocate a position or fight for anything. They just talk and write.

That’s actually all well and good. There are a number of tremendous writers and thinkers on the right and I learn a lot from them and am not really talking about them specifically. But I have noticed, as has Rush, a dangerous trend.

Frequently, when I point out some fool on the left and their foolish writing, I also point out that the fool has never held a real job in the real world. He has spent his entire life mired in left-wing non-profit punditry, coming straight from some ivy league coddling session to a Washington Post or Vox blog without really contributing anything to the country. From that vantage point, he believes he can tell everyone else how to order society.

Well, the same is happening on the right with a number of twenty and thirty-something voices.

The right’s situation gets mitigated a bit because many of those in the same situation actually dare travel to places in the middle part of the country the leftwing elite just fly over to ensure their nose always stays above it. Many of the conservative voices also attend church and are continually reminded at they are not God, though they have a tendency to think they are.

But at root, there are a growing number of self-congratulatory pundits on the right who’ve never worked a day in their lives, but have terrifically mournful stories of the time their nanny didn’t cut the crust off their peanut butter and jelly sandwich back in the day. These guys not only think the pen is mightier than the sword, but they want to pooh-pooh anyone who dares to get sweat on his brow actually advocating for something.

I encounter this and I know many others on the right do too. We go door to door for conservatives, we find conservatives and fundraise for them, advocate for them, we get people to call members of congress, we actually show up at rallies for conservatives for office and the guys back in D.C. write condescendingly about the conservatives “out there” saying not nice things about Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, etc.

I’ve got a dear friend who runs a policy shop who had spent a number of years in the private sector first. He had a pundit come in and apply for a job once. He looked at the guy’s resume. The guy had gotten out of an ivy league school and went straight to work writing about policy and politics for an outlet in D.C. My friend looks at the guy and asks if he had ever had a private sector job. The answer was no. Then my friend wondered if the guy had ever worked on a political campaign or in congress. Nope. In fact the guy being interviewed was indignant at the implications of the questions. He didn’t get the job, but remains a “political analyst” on TV and the internet.

As Tim Carney writes in his most recent column, there is a growing global distrust of elite leaders and opinion makers. That distrust has grown on the right and much of it comes because in the age of Google you can find out that the person you’re reading has no experience in the real world and is frequently critical of anyone who dares to actually advocate a position instead of just pontificating about it.

Earlier this year in Atlanta, I was pushing hard for a state version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the Georgia legislature. I was getting people to call their members, helping organize rallies, targeting opponents for primary challenges, etc. A conservative pundit on television actually said of me, “I think [Erick Erickson] has overstepped the bounds of talkshow host. He’s down to advocating and calling people out.”

Yes. It is what I do. It is what conservatives should be doing. But when many of us do, there are always those who want an invite to the next cocktail party in D.C. who will make sure to pen a column that they surely would never do that. And every time that group takes on Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or even a number of solid conservative organizations out there, it just makes those on the outside more trusted, whether they should be or not.

Kit Carson, requiescat in pace

I did not know Kit Carson well, but the “H.R.” of the Rush Limbaugh Show and I have traded emails for years.

He would send me emails of things Rush had said, then news articles he thought I should write about, then an email friendship struck up at which point I felt comfortable bombarding him with subtle hints I should fill in for Rush.

We finally met in person a few years ago in passing. He’d helped arrange time between Rush and me at CPAC before Rush’s epic speech that drew a live broadcast on major news networks. We saw each other again on the street in New York City as I filled in for Rush the first time. He took care of making the arrangements for me to get up there.

At one point while I was there, I saw Snerdley angrily gesturing at me through the glass, clearly angry. I knew I was toast on my first time out of the gate. I ran in to apologize for whatever I’d done and Kit, very nonchalantly said, “Oh, he wasn’t mad at you. He was yelling at the caller.”

Kit was a very kind soul. Our last emails were a few months ago, laughing about something my wife had said.

Rush Limbaugh announced a short time ago that Kit has passed away of cancer. He was very kind and helpful to me for a number of years. I will miss him and our email correspondence and offer prayers for his family and friends.

Requiescat in pace.

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