Pro-Trump & Russian-Linked Twitter Accounts Are Posing As Ex-Democrats In New Astroturfed Movement


pundits, politicians, and other Very Serious People spent last weekend
admonishing “the left” for not being civil enough in their approach to
pushing back against the Trump administration’s cruel policy of forcibly
separating immigrant children from their parents, a peculiar and
carefully crafted narrative began to take shape on social media. A
closer look at this emerging narrative—a self-described “grassroots
movement” of former Democrats fleeing the party—revealed an astroturfed
campaign driven by pro-Trump Twitter users and amplified by automated
and Russian-linked accounts.

surge of tweets started on Saturday, June 23, when news broke that
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had been quietly asked to
leave a restaurant in Lexington, VA, the night before. The social media
campaign really took off the next day, after Rep. Maxine Waters
(D-Calif.) said in a speech that administration officials who support
Trump’s policies should expect to face pushback when they go out in

Most of the tweets were strikingly similar, and the vast majority pushed
a very familiar narrative. Using the hashtag #WalkAway and claiming to
be former Democrats, social media users shared their stories of leaving
the Democratic party after being turned off by the “hate” and “division”
of “the left.” Many of them cited the incidents involving Sanders and
Waters as examples of the “intolerance” and “bullying” that supposedly
drove them to support Trump after years—in some cases, decades—of voting
for Democrats. 

If this
sounds familiar, there’s good reason for that—it very much echoes the
“civility” debate playing out right now among the Very Important
Thinkers and on the opinion pages of the Very Serious Newspapers. The
basic narrative is one that we’ve heard countless times before, but this
time it’s being exploited by a new cast of characters, and, at least in
some cases, with the intent to deceive.

primary functional goal of an astroturfed campaign like this one is to
manipulate public opinion by gaming online algorithms to amplify certain
content and push it onto people’s social media feeds and to the top of
search engine results.

high volume of tweets associated with this campaign is also indicative
of an effort to drown out real, reasoned debate between humans and
replace it with content that pushes fringe or extreme viewpoints into
the mainstream, ultimately hijacking and derailing public discourse.
This particular psychological operation also aimed to use issues like
race and sexual orientation to widen existing divides and promote
infighting within the progressive movement.

astroturfed social media campaigns like the “WalkAway Movement” aim to
create manufactured consensus, or the illusion of popularity, so that an
idea or position without much public support appears more popular and
mainstream than it actually is.

I present the anatomy of this astroturfed movement, starting with its
origins and moving on to its artificial sources of amplification, the
shaping of its narrative, and the boost it got from far-right and
Russian media platforms including Breitbart
and RT. I also discuss the potential functions of a psychological
operation such as this one, as well as the lessons—and warnings—it
offers as we head into the 2018 midterms and beyond.

The Anatomy Of An Astroturfed Movement

The “WalkAway Movement” officially started in May 2018, with posts dating back to May 19 on the group’s Facebook page.
(Unofficially, the blueprint for this campaign has been in the works
for quite some time.) Since its creation, the Facebook page has also
added a public group
for members to post content. As of June 30, the Facebook page had
nearly 12,000 followers and the public group had almost 19,000 members.
That breaks down to an average of 266 new followers a day and 422 new
group members every day—quite a lot for a brand new “grassroots”

A short time later, the campaign jumped over to Twitter, with user
@usminority (“The Unsilent Minority”) spearheading the movement, or at
least spearheading the public face of the movement. One of the first tweets
that gained significant traction appeared on May 31, and was obviously
meant to elicit the attention of influential Trump supporters (11 such
accounts were tagged in the tweet). A handful of other tweets using the
hashtag #WalkAway were widely circulated over the next couple of weeks,
including one on June 11, one on June 14 and another on June 16, when Trump supporter Wayne Dupree joined in. All of those tweets garnered thousands of retweets and “likes.”

READ MORE by following the links. There are many examples of tweets and FB posts made by these “bots” and FAKE accounts.

Pro-Trump & Russian-Linked Twitter Accounts Are Posing As Ex-Democrats In New Astroturfed Movement

Hey, I was reading through your blog (and I have to say you’re just great!), and I stumbled upon a mention of what you called “stim blog discourse”, regarding to kink and swerfs. Could you elaborate on that? As an aspie I followed a lot of stim blogs and notice they often say “kinksters dont interact”, whats all that about? (I havent been on tumblr for a few years, I guess I’m not up to date).










The shortest possible version of events is thus:

4chan raiders decided to fracture the tumblr queer community by making up an imaginary gender for child molesters, “clovergender.”

Because people on this website are godforsaken, they bought into that, and believed quite genuinely that there was a secret, massive conspiracy of child molesters on this website seeking to rape various underage users.

In the context of this conspiracy nonsense, antisexual radical feminists stepped in to advance their own goals, by suggesting that anyone who engages in certain forms of kink or reads certain types of fiction is one of these child-rapists-in-waiting.

Simultaneous to this development, the popularization of “stimboards” as an evolution of moodboards/aesthetic boards and “so satisfying” gifs occurred.

Stimboards were highly popular with two major groups (often overlapping): fandoms, and tumblr’s LGBTQIAPN+ population. 

Because those were the two groups that were also targetted by the antisexual radical feminists and by 4chan’s nonsense, stimboard makers were convinced that their art would be used to groom and rape children unless they “made sure” that it “couldn’t be” by putting up those banners.

However, because radical feminists had convinced these artists that the “real” child molesters were adults engaging in consensual relationships and/or “shippers,” the “preventative banners” mostly targetted those groups.

The irony that these people genuinely believe that the only thing between a rapist and their victim is a 15x500px banner is hilarious and deeply, deeply depressing.

oh, is THAT what that was? i was so confused by the whole “x don’t interact” thing

To be totally, 100% fair there are some people who do the “kinksters don’t interact” thing because DD/LG folks might reblog moodboards and tag them with things like “daddy’s little slut” or “how cummies feel” or whatever and I do get people who want to keep tags like “pink” “princess” and “kitten” free of kink gifs.

So, while I understand and abide by people not wanting kink put on their posts, that can be resolved by saying things like, “ask to tag,” or “this post is sfw.”

It’s also worth remembering that the majority of kink blogs aren’t going to be tits deep in stimboards, they’ll be posting their own content and sharing between themselves.

It’s a very rare problem, and the reaction has not been to block perpetrators or request boundaries be respected.

Instead it has been feeding into this notion that all fandoms and queer spaces are positively crawling with child molesters, which is shitty for a number of reasons, as well as claiming that autistic people (the nominal target audience of stim boards) can never be involved in kink or shipping, or rather, that being involved in either is proof that you’re lying about being autistic.

In effect, autistic people have been declared acceptable casualties in a fight against an enemy that does not exist.

Which wouldn’t be okay even if the phantom horror were real, but since it’s entirely fictional, it’s basically just an enormous fuck you to any autistic who isn’t “innocent” or “pure” enough.

As for keeping tags clear: safe mode.

Blogs that include explicit sexuality are Nate nsfw. If you don’t want to see NSFW content, out on safe mode. If you’re underage, you can’t even turn safe mode off without lying.

On a semi-unrelated note, as much as 4chan is often found at the head of such disasters, I can’t find myself feeling resentment toward it: instead the mass of people who blindly believe anything they read and jump from one troll to the other seemingly unaware of being used as volleyball…oh, those I can get behind being pissed off at. 

Like. Everyone knows 4chan is terrible, and suddenly there’s this ridiculous “gender for child molesters” bullshit (and if that convinced you for even a hot second wow you really fucking hate trans people) and it LITERALLY USED 4CHAN GRAPHICS, and y’all still drank the kool-aid.

I’d say I’m disappointed, but this is exactly what I’ve come to expect from this hellsite.

Hot take: kink is often literally just emotional and sexual stimming, special interest hyperfocus, and/or the result of sensory processing differences in how people experience sexuality.

Autistic self-hate/internalized ableism therefore likely plays a huge role in the social popularity of extreme, performative anti-kink sentiment in this community and overlapping communities.

Some autistic folks internalize the messages telling us we’re creeps for existing socially with other people (pervasively, but especially around sexuality), and wind up in a pit of puritanical scrupulosity trying desperately to pretend that the things that make us tick aren’t important in our sexual lives.

We would fall for this shit less often if we weren’t pervasively culturally gaslighted about our worth as people.


I also feel, as a physically disabled person, that anti-kink is ableist against people with unusual bodies as well. I’ve known a lot of people who have been interested in impact play/painplay because, say, nervous system issues mean they can’t feel or can only partially feel “standard” sexual stimulation.

Telling those people they are disrespecting themselves by, like, getting their backs whipped instead just makes me go ??? WHAT WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS YOU ARE NOSY MEAN AND DUMB

As someone both autistic and with physical nerve damage in a few places due to both injuries and genetic structural issues… yeah, don’t assume everyone experiences the same stimulus the same way. 

Nerve damage comes in different flavors. There’s the “everything hurts” kind, the “can’t feel much in general” kind, the “randomly itchy or tingly” kind and also the “certain kinds of touches tickle or itch or sting when they ‘shouldn’t’ but other kinds are extra nice” (and that’s just for sensory-nerve damage; motor-nerve damage gives its own weirdnesses, like “sudden cramping for no reason” or “one very specific muscle out of this whole area doesn’t work right” – and on that last one, you don’t realize how much some of the weird tiny muscles that you might not even know you have are essential for normal functioning until that weird tiny muscle stops working). It depends on which specific nerves are damaged and in what way. There may be more kinds than I’ve described but I’ve personally experienced ALL those things as a direct result of physically damaged nerves.

And then there are differences in sensory processing. I have synesthesia and other sensory-processing differences. I perceive sounds as having colors and textures and as producing physical sensations in my body, among other overlaps of sensory input -> perceptions not generally associated with that specific input. This doesn’t impair my ability to determine reality, it’s not hallucinatory. You won’t make me believe I’m physically seeing a red square that’s suddenly appeared in front of me if you play a sound that translates as a red square on my visual overlap, I’ll be aware that the red square is the sound and not something that physically exists in my visual field. But it does mean that some sensory inputs are more or less pleasant to me because of how they translate across other senses than the one originally stimulated. The smell of sulfur is a rather lovely dark purple shade, so I’m less averse to smelling sulfur (it still stinks but the color’s pretty nice so it’s overall kinda ok). Fluorescent red is the color of the pain of a headache, so I’m not a big fan of looking at actual fluorescent red thanks to associative aversion, even though it doesn’t actually cause me pain to look at (the sensory translation is one-way).  

It’s fair to not want sexual stuff added on to your stimboard posts. But the fact that some people find some “stim” stuff sexually stimulating doesn’t automatically make them bad people.





There are men out there who learn to see the signs of a girl or woman being vulnerable, sad, self-hating, self-harming, depressed, mentally ill, traumatized or submissive because of fear or socialization, because they know these girls and women aren’t likely to put up that much of a fight and defend themselves and therefore they consider them easy targets for manipulation, abuse, violence and sexual exploitation and coercion. “Why does she choose such bad men?” is such an irrelevant question. “Why doesn’t she just leave him?” is such an irrelevant question. The questions we should be asking is: “Why are these men drawn to women they can hurt?”, “Why do men seek out women only to hurt and abuse them?”, and “Why does he hurt her?”.

And ladies that’s why I keep telling ya to be on cynical as hell on here and another platforms cause these dudes stay trying to groom you into relationships that you probably don’t want and really don’t need atm. Don’t let these fake ass online “shoulder to cry on” internet “Nice guys” fool you. They are just preying on your feelings. Treat them like fungus keep them in the dark and feed them shit.

Seek out professional help/advice or find some lady peers to talk to. Don’t get caught up. Speaking from second hand experience. ✌❤

Speaking from first hand experience with a friend, not a boyfriend: so-called “friends” can do it too. Emotional abuse. Prey on your weaknesses. Celebrate your failures. Treat you like shit. All of that. I wasn’t emotionally strong enough to defend myself at the time. But – thankfully – the friendship ended, however I still wanted to know “WHY”. Why would I allow someone to treat me that way? I was way too embarrassed to talk to anyone I knew (and who knew me) – loving family, other wonderful friends – about it. So I sought a therapist. Someone who was neutral. Who didn’t know me. Who was kind and understanding. And I worked through my feelings of inadequacy, lacking self-love, etc. Therapy was a marvelous, MARVELOUS, experience. I was able to talk through all of my fears and ask SO many questions. I was given exercises/assignments to do. Ultimately, in the end, I really learned the value of loving myself. Really LOVING myself. And liking myself a little bit more than I had before. I would still be circling the drain (or worse) and engaging in hurtful, unhealthy relationships (romantic and otherwise), MANY years later, if I hadn’t sought help at that time.

Along with @screengeniuz  There are some siblings/family members who can do this to you as well.. I’ve been there.  I had an older sibling swoon into my life when 16 yrs old, confused, burned out with school, I was down and feeling worthless.   She was not the favorite sibling in the family. Manipulative.. She thought she was molding a 2nd coming of herself.. When I was 35 yrs old I stood up and backed her off.. After a while I discovered over time she created a rift between my other sisters and myself… ( I could not figure out why they were acting odd with me)She got to know my personality, got to know my personality with them and used it against me when I couldn’t be there to defend myself. Being the baby and they were way older, not believing she could do such a thing.. They believe her about me and I believed her about them.  well, skip… Age 35 I got tired and started to feel I am some body and she clowned… She got ugly. I will digress… Anyway… We made up years later but, the relationship is not the same.. I am not very comfortable with her as I use to be.. I don’t call nor talk to her as often but, I don’t believe in cutting family ties…

Don’t Believe Those Who Wish To Diminish Digital Rights By Falsely Implying It’s All Big Tech Lobbying


Andres Guadamuz:

As we have been covering in the last couple of weeks, a controversial EU
Copyright Directive has been under discussion at the European
Parliament, and in a surprising turn of events, it voted to reject fast-tracking the tabled proposal by the JURI Committee which contained controversial proposals, particularly in Art 11 and Art 13. The proposed Directive will now get a full discussion and debate in plenary in September.

I say surprising because for those of us who have been witnesses (and
participants) to the Copyright Wars for the last 20 years, such a defeat
of copyright maximalist proposals is practically unprecedented, perhaps
with the exception of SOPA/PIPA.
For years we’ve had a familiar pattern in the passing of copyright
legislation: a proposal has been made to enhance protection and/or
restrict liberties, a small group of ageing millionaire musicians would
be paraded supporting the changes in the interest of creators. Only
copyright nerds and a few NGOs and digital rights advocates would
complain, their opinions would be ignored and the legislation would pass
unopposed. Rinse and repeat.

But something has changed, and a wide coalition has managed to defeat
powerful media lobbies for the first time in Europe, at least for now.
How was this possible?

The main change is that the media landscape is very different thanks to
the Internet. In the past, the creative industries were monolithic in
their support for stronger protection, and they included creators,
corporations, collecting societies, publishers, and distributors; in
other words the gatekeepers and the owners were roughly on the same
side. But the Internet brought a number of new players, the tech
industry and their online platforms and tools became the new
gatekeepers. Moreover, as people do not buy physical copies of their
media and the entire industry has moved towards streaming, online
distributors have become more powerful. This has created a perceived
imbalance, where the formerly dominating industries need to negotiate
with the new gatekeepers for access to users. This is why creators
complain about a value gap between what they perceive they should be getting, and what they actually receive from the giants.

The main result of this change from a political standpoint is that now
we have two lobbying sides in the debate, which makes all the difference
when it comes to this type of legislation. In the past, policymakers
could ignore experts and digital rights advocates because they never had
the potential to reach them, letters and articles by academics were not
taken into account, or given lip service during some obscure committee
discussion just to be hidden away. Tech giants such as Google have
provided lobbying access in Brussels, which has at least leveled the
playing field when it comes to presenting evidence to legislators.

As a veteran of the Copyright Wars, I have to admit that it has been
very entertaining reading the reaction from the copyright industry lobby
groups and their individual representatives, some almost going
apoplectic with rage at Google’s intervention. These tend to be the same
people who spent decades lobbying legislators to get their way
unopposed, representing large corporate interests unashamedly and
passing laws that would benefit only a few, usually to the detriment of
users. It seems like lobbying must be decried when you lose.

But to see this as a victory for Google and other tech giants completely
ignores the large coalition that shares the view that the proposed
Articles 11 and 13 are very badly thought-out, and could represent a
real danger to existing rights. Some of us have been fighting this fight
when Google did not even exist, or it was but a small competitor of
AltaVista, Lycos, Excite and Yahoo!

At the same time that more restrictive copyright legislation came into
place, we also saw the rise of free and open source software, open
access, Creative Commons and open data. All of these are legal hacks
that allow sharing, remixing and openness. These were created precisely
to respond to restrictive copyright practices. I also remember how they
were opposed as existential threats by the same copyright industries,
and treated with disdain and animosity. But something wonderful
happened, eventually open source software started winning (we used to
buy operating systems), and Creative Commons became an important part of
the Internet’s ecosystem by propping-up valuable common spaces such as

Similarly, the Internet has allowed a great diversity of actors to
emerge. Independent creators, small and medium enterprises, online
publishers and startups love the Internet because it gives them access
to a wider audience, and often they can bypass established gatekeepers.
Lost in this idiotic “Google v musicians” rhetoric has been the threat
that both Art 11 and 13 represent to small entities. Art 11 proposes a
new publishing right that has been proven to affect smaller players in
Germany and Spain; while Art 13 would impose potentially crippling
economic restrictions to smaller companies as they would have to put in
place automated filtering systems AND redress mechanisms against
mistakes. In fact, it has been often remarked that Art 13 would benefit
existing dominant forces, as they already have filtering in place (think

Similarly, Internet advocates and luminaries see the proposals as a
threat to the Internet, the people who know the Web best think that this
is a bad idea. If you can stomach it, read this thread featuring
a copyright lobbyist attacking Neil Gaiman, who has been one of the
Internet celebrities that have voiced their concerns about the

Even copyright experts who almost never intervene in digital rights affairs the have been vocal in their opposition to the changes.

And finally we have political representatives from various parties and
backgrounds who have been vocally opposed to the changes. While the
leader of the political opposition has been the amazing Julia Reda, she
has managed to bring together a variety of voices from other parties and
countries. The vitriol launched at her has been unrelenting, but
futile. It has been quite a sight to see her opponents both try to
dismiss her as just another clueless young Pirate commanded by Google,
while at the same time they try to portray her as a powerful enemy in
charge of the mindless and uninformed online troll masses ready to do
her bidding.

All of the above managed to do something wonderful, which was to convey
the threat in easy-to-understand terms so that users could contact their
representatives and make their voice heard. The level of popular
opposition to the Directive has been a great sight to behold.

Tech giants did not create this alliance, they just gave various voices
access to the table. To dismiss this as Google’s doing completely
ignores the very real and rich tapestry of those defending digital
rights, and it is quite clearly patronizing and insulting, and precisely
the reason why they lost. It was very late until they finally realized
that they were losing the debate with the public, and not even the
last-minute deployment of musical dinosaurs could save the day.

But the fight continues, keep contacting your MEPs and keep applying pressure.


TIL that Jacqueline Kennedy’s pink Chanel suit, which was covered in blood during JFK’s assassination and remains unlaundered, will not be placed on public display until 2103


Then there’s also: The Blood Relics From the Lincoln Assassination

I don’t recall any of the other items from when we went through the Petersen House museum as a kid, but the bloodstained deathbed pillow on display made quite an impression.