How do we coax millions of Americans away from the edge of election conspiracy insanity?

If the past four years has taught us anything, it's that when you think things can't really get any nuttier, they totally can and will.

Case in point: Lin Wood's latest tweets.

Lin Wood is a lawyer who has filed or joined multiple lawsuits on behalf of President Trump in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Wood has been an outspoken supporter of Trump and a forceful pusher of conspiracy theories—not only about the election, but about...well, just take a look.

Wood already made headlines a few days ago for suggesting Mike Pence should be executed by firing squad. Late last night, in a series of tweets, Wood lays out absolutely bonkers allegations against Chief Justice John Roberts and the world's "most well-known & 'elite' intelligence agencies."


I'm not fond of amplifying these kinds of batsh*t crazy rants, but considering how intertwined this individual is with the current legal actions of the president of the United States, and considering the fact that President Trump has retweeted this man's tweets just within the past month, it's important to understand the level of unreality that a significant portion of Americans are living in—or at least tacitly accepting.

In a series of tweets, Wood wrote:

"I believe Chief Justice John Roberts & a multitude of powerful individuals worldwide are being blackmailed in a horrendous scheme involving rape & murder of children captured on videotape.

I have the key to the files containing the videos. I have also shared this information.

This blackmail scheme is conducted by members of 10 of world's most well-known & "elite" intelligence agencies. One of those groups was hacked by a group known as Lizard Squad.

The blackmail files of rape & murder were obtained by this group & copy was provided to Isaac Kappy.

The blackmail targets are approached with a gun, a child, & a camera. The target is ordered to rape the child on video. The target is then ordered to shoot the child on video. The target is then owned & controlled by the blackmailers until blackmail evidence loses its value.

After Kappy received the hacked files from member of Lizard Squad, he gave files to one friend and the encryption key to another friend. He provided this information to his friends shortly before he was murdered in May 13, 2019. Members of Lizard Squad were jailed for hacking.

Jeffrey Epstein used this same blackmail scheme of child rape & child murder to either further his own interests or those of any intelligence agency with whom he worked. ALL who flew on his private jet or visited his island must be IMMEDIATELY interrogated & brought to justice.

I decided to post this truth on Twitter & Parler as wall exists around @realDonaldTrump that may have prevented me from getting this evidence to him. Kappy tried to deliver info to President but was then murdered. I do not know who Kappy gave it to for delivery to the President.

I have concerns that information from Kappy was not delivered to @realDonaldTrump & his effort to get it to President may have caused his death. I am aware that my life is now at great risk. But I put my faith in God. I prayed before I made the decision. I had to reveal TRUTH."

Let's pause for a moment here.

First of all, how is this even a thing that he believes? Someone just walks up with a gun and a child and a camera? What? Most of us who actually are not pedophiles would rather die than rape a child. And if someone handed us a gun to shoot a child, most of us would shoot the person trying to blackmail us instead. On a basic level, this is just dumb.

Second of all, every conspiracy theory sucks people in with grains of truth, so let's briefly get those out of the way. Lizard Squad might sound like a made-up thing, but it was actually a real hacking group that successfully disrupted XBox and PlayStation systems in addition to committing other hacking crimes. A bunch of members were arrested in 2014—but their arrest had nothing to do with intelligence agencies.

Former Lizard Squad member Vinnie Omari, when asked about Wood's tweets, told the Daily Dot, "That sounds fucking insane, bro. I'm not going to lie to you. That sounds like the type of stuff that I usually laugh at people for bringing up in conversations."

Omari said he'd never heard of Wood or Kappy and that the group never hacked any government entities or agencies. "We never hacked anything in regards to any of these billionaires like Jeffrey Epstein or any government officials," he said.

That won't convince the conspiracy theorists, of course. (We'll get to that in a minute.) At this point, you may be wondering who the heck Isaac Kappy is. Kappy was an actor and musician who tragically died by suicide by jumping off a bridge onto a freeway in Arizona in 2019. He left lengthy messages on social media before his death, expressing remorse for who he had been, stating that he had spent thousands of hours diving into QAnon conspiracies, talking about how he's abused himself with drugs and alcohol, and apologizing to people he'd hurt.

But instead of his death being a cautionary tale, QAnoners like Wood claim that Kappy didn't die by suicide but was murdered because this obscure actor had the elusive evidence proving all of the cabal nonsense that he was trying to get to the president. As if that makes sense.

Moving on. Wood continued on Twitter.

"I would never make an accusation without having reliable source for it. Stakes are too high. So I did due diligence to validate the accuracy of the shocking information I am revealing tonight. I am entirely comfortable that you are learning the truth. A truth that explains much.

I have no idea extent of blackmail scheme of raping & killing children but given the number of agencies involved, the hundreds of thousands of missing children, & the otherwise inexplicable actions of many powerful officials, celebrities, & business leaders, I fear the worst.

The number of missing children worldwide & in United States is staggering.

So I have now conveyed the truth as I know it. There has been a rising chorus of people questioning my sanity in recent days. Now you can understand why. I have no idea what will be done to me or said about me in coming days, but I will rest well tonight for having spoken truth.

Many issues in our world may be tied to blackmail scheme I described tonight, including bizarre behavior of officials & judges in recent election. @realDonaldTrump must appoint special prosecutor to thoroughly investigate. We need answers. We must investigate. For the children."

Ah yes. For the children. I've written about how the QAnon child trafficking conspiracy theories are doing real harm to actual anti-trafficking organizations that work to protect vulnerable missing children. QAnon is not in the business of saving children from anything.

Oh, and there's also this:

To be perfectly clear, this is insane. That should be totally obvious, but at this point, even obvious truths need to be stated clearly, unequivocally, and constantly. This man has a million followers on Twitter and has been retweeted by the president, who is a known peddler of conspiracy theorists himself. We also now have QAnon adherents in Congress, so this stuff can't be ignored. As NBC reports, nearly all of Trump's election fraud allegations come from the QAnon world, and he has hoards of MAGA followers who have bought it all hook, line, and sinker. At this point, no one can be all in for Trump and not, by extension, support these crazy conspiracy theories. They are all inextricably linked.

So how did we even get here? And more importantly, how do we get out?

It was predictable, to be honest. During the 2016 election, there were an alarming number of comments that referred to Hillary Clinton being part of an evil global cabal of pedophiles who operate in secret and communicate in code via email. The rumors included various details about Satanic rituals (which involved bizzaro accusations of harvesting something called adrenochrome from children), Obama ordering 65,000 hot dogs (which was supposedly code for little boys), and child trafficking taking place in the basement of a popular D.C. pizza parlor (which doesn't even have a basement). Even though none of it made the least bit of logical sense and most of us just rolled our eyes at it all, a shocking number of people truly believed it—and still do.

I assumed at the time that it was just a dumb disinformation campaign to hurt Clinton's chances of winning the election (which it was) and that it would die out after the election (which it didn't). I think most reasonable people believed the same thing, which was a mistake. For four years, we've watched these conspiracy theories grow and spread. For four years, I've personally seen more and more people get sucked into the unreality the person/people behind QAnon created. For four years, people have continued to claim that well-known politicians and A-list celebrities are about to be arrested, that they're all going down soon, that Donald Trump is the great savior who will finally blow the lid off of this vast conspiracy and save the world from the machinations of the evil elite. For four years, the big reveal has always been just around the corner. Just wait. (That's literally the entire premise of QAnon. Just wait. Just wait. Just wait. It's coming. It's coming. It's coming.)

The quackiness was never going to just fade away. The fringe element just kept growing and spilling into right-wing media. And like a snowball that gathers size, speed, and strength as it tumbles down a mountain, the quackiness was becoming more and more dangerous.

When a guy took his AR-15 to Comet Ping Pong Pizza to save the children from the clutches of Clinton and her cabal of child traffickers and found nothing, that should have been the end of it. When the D.C. police called Pizzagate "a fictitious online conspiracy theory," that should have been the end of it. But it wasn't. Because that's not how these things work.

There's a reason conspiracy theories are called rabbit holes. Once you start detaching from reality, it's really hard to come back. Real news is fake news. Fact-checkers can't be trusted. Every reasonable explanation gets rejected. Anyone who denies the unreality is in on the conspiracy. From an objective outside stance, none of it makes sense, but within that world, it all makes perfect sense. Just wait, you'll see.

From a psychological point of view, the draw is pretty simple. It's a connect-the-dots mystery with the added thrill of a gambling addiction—this time, it's really gonna happen. It's a thrilling chase with the carrot of Trump saving the world from the evil elites always dangling just out of reach as you chase it. It has everything we've become accustomed to in our favorite movie plots—intrigue and deception, bad guys you'd never suspect, and an unlikely hero who we just know is going to swoop in at the finale to bring it all down. Just you wait.

The problem is that we're not living in a movie. This is real life, and our country is being damaged in real ways by having too many of its citizens swept up in an alternate reality, which isn't reality at all.

The dilemma we face now is what to do about it. This stuff isn't going to go away just because Biden gets inaugurated on January 20th, and it's destructive to the fabric of society no matter who is in charge. For goodness sake, I've had people accuse me of being a pedophile because I wrote about how child sex trafficking organizations want people to stop sharing QAnon conspiracy theories. That doesn't make sense, of course—but how am I supposed to sit down and have a reasonable conversation with someone who believes that? We can have disagreements about government and policy and social issues, and we can debate those things passionately even. But we have to exist in the same objective reality in order to have that reasonable exchange of ideas.

I'm not sure how we get there, but I have a few ideas. We need to have psychologists along with political pundits weighing in on the daily news shows. We need to see the opinions of cult deprogramming experts in addition to legal analysts as we talk about what happens from here. We need to be talking about how to convince millions of our fellow Americans to step back from the edge of the rabbit hole and how to extricate them from it once they've fallen down it.

The issues are important, but we can't have the important conversations we need to have about the issues without a basic shared reality, and right now, we're so not there.

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Photo by Naomi Hébert on Unsplash
gray steel 3-door refrigerator near modular kitchen

There's more to keeping a green kitchen than recycling your yogurt containers or opting to store your leftovers in glass Tupperware. Little things, like your trash bags, can add up, which is why it's important to try to reduce your footprint as much as possible. Fortunately, these sustainable kitchen products make it easy keep a green home!

Reusable Silicone Baking Cups



Reusable silicone cupcake liners save you money on having to buy disposable paper cupcake wrappers every time you bake. These sustainable cupcake liners are just as festive as anything you would throw away. Because the liners are made with a sturdier silicone, they can be used for other purposes, like arts and crafts projects.

Amazon Basics, $7.99 for a pack of 12; Amazon

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
True

Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

Keep Reading Show less
ZACHOR Foundation

"What's 'the Holocaust'?" my 11-year-old son asks me. I take a deep breath as I gauge how much to tell him. He's old enough to understand that prejudice can lead to hatred, but I can't help but feel he's too young to hear about the full spectrum of human horror that hatred can lead to.

I wrestle with that thought, considering the conversation I recently had with Ben Lesser, a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor who was just a little younger than my son when he witnessed his first Nazi atrocity.

It was September of 1939 and the Blitzkrieg occupation of Poland had just begun. Ben, his parents, and his siblings were awakened in their Krakow apartment by Nazi soldiers who pistol-whipped them out of bed and ransacked their home. As the men with the shiny black boots filled burlap sacks with the Jewish family's valuables, a scream came from the apartment across the hall. Ben and his sister ran toward the cry.

They found a Nazi swinging their neighbors' baby upside down by its legs, demanding that the baby's mother make it stop crying. As the parents screamed, "My baby! My baby!" the Nazi smirked—then swung the baby's head full force into the door frame, killing it instantly.

This story and others like it feel too terrible to tell my young son, too out of context from his life of relative safety and security. And yet Ben Lesser lived it at my son's age. And it was too terrible—for anyone, much less a 10-year-old. And it was also completely out of context from the life of relative safety and security Ben and his family had known before the Nazi tanks rolled in.

Keep Reading Show less
via WFTV

Server Flavaine Carvalho was waiting on her last table of the night at Mrs. Potatohead's, a family restaurant in Orlando, Florida when she noticed something peculiar.

The parents of an 11-year-old boy were ordering food but told her that the child would be having his dinner later that night at home. She glanced at the boy who was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a face mask and noticed a scratch between his eyes.

A closer look revealed a bruise on his temple.

So Carvalho walked away from the table and wrote a note that said, "Do you need help?" and showed it to the boy from an angle where his parents couldn't see.

Keep Reading Show less