Townhall Spotlight: 2012 Horrific Predictions…

Somehow I’ve gotten myself on a conservative mailing list called the Townhall Spotlight. Their mailings tend to be a little too confident and arrogant for my tastes but I’ve never unsubscribed because it’s kinda fun sometimes to see what theyre up to. Yesterday I got an apocalyptic message from them titled “2012: Horrific Predictions,” and it lays it on pretty thick:

Horrific Predictions For 2012…

From: Maxwell Swart – Independent American Researcher
Date: Friday 9/16/11

Dear Fellow American,

The US government has been lying to you.

I wish I could say that the government was just keeping the secret because they’re incompetent…

But no one can miss how vital this secret is.

In fact, this secret could literally save millions of innocent American lives…

Or spell near-certain death for thousands of families.

Please don’t think I say this to scare you; this is reality.

The worst part is…

We’ve made it easy for them to lie to us.

Click Here To Get The Inside Scoop On The Horrific Predictions The Government Has Been Hiding!

I removed the link and never clicked on it, not wanting to contribute to their statistics. The email goes on for much longer, and the gist of it is that the Earth is about to hit apocalypse (something about how “The Mayan Calendar drops off completely” and “NASA picks up potential for the sun to go haywire and decimate our nation,” and the government is trying to hide it from you, but you can click here to learn how to protect you and your family! Normally I would ignore this kind of stuff, but it included some “facts” to try to support its long-winded claims, and I already know that these “facts” are false or woefully taken out-of-context, so I thought I’d share some information to protect anyone who comes across this type of thing.

The e-mail claims:

Take a good look at the world. strongIn 2010 alone we’ve had:

  • The Haitian earthquake killing over 220,000 – not to mention more massive earthquakes than the world has seen in the past few centuries…
  • A dramatic increase in tornadoes in the US…
  • Wikileaks jeopardizing our relationship with practically every country on the map…
  • North Korea gearing up to attempt a nuclear Armageddon…
  • Islamic Jihadists in Sweden…

Just turn on CNN I’m sure you’ll have more.

Ok… First, the e-mail references the destructive 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Now this was a disaster that A) we all know about and B) was natural, so I’m not sure what that has to do with an apocalypse that A) the government is hiding from us and B) is avoidable if you have the secret information linked from that email. But that’s beside the point. They’re trying to use the earthquake as evidence of increasing “bad things” in the world. But the Haiti earthquake was not particularly destructive; it had a magnitude of 7.0, and as I showed in my analysis of earthquake data on my science data blog, we’ve been recording earthquakes of 7.0 or greater on our planet at a rate of about one or two per month for many, many years. The only reason that quake caused so many deaths was because it happened to hit an extremely poor population center. The e-mail could have referenced the more recent quakes in Chile or Japan that were each over sixty times more powerful – but they didn’t cause as many deaths due to the better infrastructure in those countries, and that doesn’t make for as scary of an e-mail zinger. Additionally, the bullet point claims that 2010 had more massive earthquakes than the last few centuries, which is simply not true.

Secondly the e-mail references a dramatic increase in tornadoes in the US. It is true that we broke a record for recorded tornadoes in a single month in April 2011, but a quick glance at the National Weather Service data shows that some of the following months have come in below average, and it is not yet certain that we will break a record for the year, or at least not by a dramatic amount. (Thanks for the National Weather Service.)

The following bullet points switch to man-caused events, and while I am not as learned on those points as the first two, I know enough to suspect that each of those claims is false as presented. I know there was some fretting that Wikileaks would fray international relations, but I’m not aware of any evidence that it actually did. And North Korea has been a vague nuclear threat for years but I’m not aware of any new developments there.

Now I don’t necessarily disagree with the conclusions that “We are spiraling downward,” but I think our spiral has less to do with earthquakes and Wikileaks and more to do with unmanageable government debt burdens and unfunded entitlements and the like. And even though a lot of trends look bad, I’m not completely convinced everything is going to hit the fan, either (thus my Reasons For Optimism series). There is definitely instability in the world, and I think it’s smart to think about being prepared for some breakdowns in the things we take for granted, but we don’t have to go through conspiracy theories and hidden knowledge to reach those conclusions.

Of course, these types of e-mails are simply a response to the demand for apocalyptic materials. No doubt many who received this message will click on the links and see what kind of secret information is purported to be revealed. I’m guessing theres some kind of book or other monetized goal on the other end. Even funnier is that this e-mail has been going around since at least March – they just change the date at the top to make it seem more relevant. It’s perfectly within their rights as members of a capitalist society to offer this kind of hogwash, but it’s perfectly within my rights to refuse it. And hopefully I’m enabling you to do the same.

6 thoughts on “Townhall Spotlight: 2012 Horrific Predictions…”

  1. I keep getting ads about speaking a foreign language. I unsubscribed from that about 3 weeks ago. I just got another one. I had a very long web address that said that if I keep getting these, write to them as an abuse thing. I did so, but, it did not go through. If I ever figure it out, I will contact them.
    Say hello to Townhall Katie.

    Peter Meis
    Tucson, Arizona

  2. President Obama’s legacy will be the “Don’t Know President”. He doesn’t know how to fix the economy, he did not know that the majority of Americans opposed Obamacare, he doesn’t know what is going on in Libya, he doesn’t know what is going on in Egypt or the rest of the world, he doesn’t even know what happened at our border with Mexico in the “Fast and Furious Scandal”, and he doesn’t know who leaked military secrets from the White House. I would like to ask Obama just what he does know besides how to get out of Washington, how to campaign, and how to blame everyone else for what he should know but does not know. It is a shameful situation when the President, who is The Commander-In-Chief of our military, can not recognize or acknowledge an act of terrorism. It is time for a change in America; a change to a new President that does know.

    Denny T.,
    Author of the eBook What If?

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