Hell, definitely

Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate should have been inscribed on the exit doors of the Phoenix airport. Tremble and weep in horror at this thorough description of the Turning Point USA conference.

‘Twas the weekend before Christmas when Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA hosted a massive, sold-out 4-day conservative youth conference featuring 10,000 teens and young adults screaming for Dennis Prager, the Fox News lineup, January 6-plotting politicians, a dancing James O’Keefe, and former active shooter Kyle Rittenhouse in Phoenix, AZ. AmericaFest was located in the same building where Arizona holds it’s yearly ComicCon and the layout was eerily similar. It featured an exhibitor hall filled with merch booths and meet-n-greets, except instead of getting a picture with Spider-Man one could get a picture with Jack “Pizzagate” Posobiec or accused child trafficker Rep. Matt Gaetz. Instead of buying an overpriced Street Fighter figurine, you could buy an $500 bedazzled gun purse or “invest” in Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency. Tickets for this mega conference reached up to $750, with people flying in from all over the country to see their favorite TPUSA-sponsored influencer preaching the benefits of white Christian American hypercapitalism. Hotels in the nearby area offered package deals so the entire downtown area was overrun with 20-somethings in blue and hot pink tailored suits and Trump hats for the entire long weekend.

Hate is as popular as comic books, I guess. You couldn’t pay me to set foot in that hall.

Religion, and more specifically Christian supremacy, was present throughout the weekend. Lining the street leading up to the conference, men with graphic anti-choice signs handed out pamphlets for AbortionNO. Turning Point Faith was a co-sponsor of the conference and had a large booth with free merch advocating for the merging of politics and religion, speeches throughout the weekend often spread a similar message. Creepy fetus dolls were on display and fetal development commercials played in between speakers, followed by “BUY GOLD! BUY SILVER!” Anti-choice activist Abby Johnson was a speaker, hosted panels on “how to fight abortion,” and also had a massive merch booth for her “Pro-Love Ministries.” Johnson has previously advocated for “household voting” where only the husband can vote and said that it would be “smart” for the police to racially profile her biracial son. Give Send Go, the Christian supremacist crowdfunding site that platforms white nationalists and other extremist groups also had a merch and prayer booth while the co-founder Jacob Wells joined a reception across the street with an organization with ties to neo-Nazis (more on that later).

Has white nationalism infected religion, or is religion tainting white nationalism? I can’t tell anymore. They’ve long been entangled, and this is just the emergence of a particularly virulent mutant strain of both.

Similar brochures were given out on “gender identity” but explicit transphobia was an ongoing theme from many of the speakers as well. Charlie Kirk took the stage multiple times during his event and demonizing trans people was one of his most repeated points. Dennis Prager lead the crowd in booing trans athletes and he rejected the term “transphobic” entirely, claiming it’s a “meaningless phrase,” implying that trans men, women, and nonbinary people do not exist at all. The one transgender joke conservatives have was repeated countless times this weekend. Nothing can truly describe the pure hate in the crowd any time trans people were mentioned. There were 10,000 young adults frothing at the mouth and scapegoating a tiny and extremely marginalized community for all of their perceived problems.

How transphobic is Charlie Kirk? This transphobic.

Horrible as that was, I’m going to have to nominate the Rittenhouse moment as the low point of the event.

Day three of the convention was noticeably the busiest despite being on a Monday. Charlie Kirk endlessly bragged about how the arena, capable of seating up to 10,000 was filled to capacity. Kyle Rittenhouse was going to take the stage and his appearance was the already the topic of conversation all weekend. The day before, in the snack line, I listened to two teenagers who were giddy in excitement over seeing Rittenhouse, talking about his recent appearance on Louder With Crowder. Rep. Lauren Boebert swooned over Rittenhouse during her speech and later appeared in a photo with him backstage. He was billed as “a VERY special guest” alongside Jack Posobiec, Drew Hernandez, and Elijah Schaffer. Before walking out, the three large screens played scenes from Tucker Carlson’s special on Rittenhouse. The crowd stood to attention and cheered as Kyle appeared on screen then booed and laughed when his victims, Joseph Rosenbaum, Anthony Huber, and Gaige Grosskreutz came on, including the graphic images of their death and injuries. The clip of Rittenhouse crying on the stand was met with shouts of “we love you Kyle!” He took the stage to flashes of red, white, and blue filling the room as a Kyle Rittenhouse-themed rap song blasted. The screaming was deafening as they chanted his name. A young teenager behind me couldn’t stop repeating “based, based, based.”

They showed gory images of the dead and wounded…and the audience laughed about it? Jesus. There’s a crop of young men and women I don’t want to ever meet.

Is this America? Or is this Hell?


  1. AndrewD says

    I must have missed the punch line where all the attendees are dying from COVID-19 as vaccination is stool of the left to enslave them.

  2. says

    Once again you have a prominent cis person saying that it’s a problem that cis people have to fear being called transphobic on the internet by someone they don’t know.

    This is a problem I’ve addressed time and again on my blog, and yet the cowardice of cis supremacists continues.

    So weird. I get called names on the internet and I haven’t been silenced. Sometimes the name calling is even accurate, and still I am not silenced.

    Republicans, are you the most cowardly people in the world, or the most cowardly people in the history of the world? Enquiring minds would really, really like to know.

  3. says

    I’m thinking they need to move ComiCon next year. Seriously, anyone who would host this hate fest should be boycotted hard. Cut their platforms and make it too hard to host events like this. This rhetoric is dangerous and unacceptable and needs to be stopped. You can’t get around their 1st amendment rights, but you can hit them in the wallet. If TP events become more of a liability than they’re worth then finding a venue for them will become impossible.

  4. says

    Is this America? Or is this Hell?

    Same country where kids used to pose proudly next to the bodies of lynching victims. It’s been a shithole country since 1776.

  5. says

    the most cowardly people in the history of the world

    I’d still give that to the British empire. After all, they switched from proudly fucking over the world to cowering under the US nuclear/military umbrella, and still being relentlessly assholic.

  6. says

    I listened to two podcast episodes recently that seem relevant:

    I Don’t Speak German – “100: Kyle Rittenhouse, Part 1” (especially the latter part):

    Compare and contrast his tears on the stand to those he cried in the police interview room. Compare and contrast his claimed trauma with his concerns – as expressed to his interesting Mom – immediately post-‘incident’. Compare and contrast his attitude on Tucker Carlson’s and Charlie Kirk’s respective shows, to his cheeky antics as a guest on another show that Daniel has discovered in the course of his listening…

    Decoding the Gurus – “Joe Rogan: Just an average Joe?”:

    It all calls to mind the rightwing rhetoric preceding and accompanying organized violence against the left in Latin America during the Cold War. It’s not just the hate and the hysterical rage. It’s the meanness, the cynicism, the open contempt.

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    … Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA hosted a massive, sold-out 4-day conservative youth conference featuring 10,000 teens and young adults…

    Wow, Mr. President. All those terrorists in one place and one time. It would really do this nation some good if some brave American leader called a few airstrikes on this den of fascism with boots on the ground to mop-up any survivors.

    What’s that, Brandon? Not brown enough?

  8. Walter Solomon says

    Remember when instead of trying to save women’s sports from trans women, right-wing, male bigots had so little respect for it they made it the butt of almost every sexist joke?

    Pepperidge Farm remembers.

    (Sorry I couldn’t resist using this meme)

  9. Rich Woods says

    @Marcus Ranum #7:

    I’d still give that to the British empire. After all, they switched from proudly fucking over the world to cowering under the US nuclear/military umbrella, and still being relentlessly assholic.

    I can see what you’re getting at but it’s not like the switch was a deliberate choice with the intent of bringing about the End Of Empire; it is a perhaps inevitable consequence of a country setting itself up as the World Police The impetus for the fall came from the draining effect of fighting two world wars, and those to a degree which happened also only to Germany and Russia, where Germany lost everything it had built up since unification and then everything it tried to build as a replacement, and where Russia first lost but then gained an empire. All that in little more than a generation. Remember how quickly you can lose all your shiny toys, America.

  10. James Fehlinger says

    “They call you the smelly Walmart people.”

    I think the phrase Hillary Clinton used was
    “the deplorables”.

    First They Fought About Masks. Then Over the Soul of the City.

    In Enid, Okla., pandemic politics prompted a fundamental question:
    What does it mean to be an American? Whose version of the country
    will prevail?

    By Sabrina Tavernise
    Dec. 26, 2021

    . . .

    Melissa Crabtree [is] a home-schooling mother who owns a business selling
    essential oils and cleaning products. . . When states enacted sweeping
    rules like lockdowns, mask mandates and school closures to combat the
    spread of illness, she was skeptical.

    The more she researched online, the more it seemed that there was something
    bigger going on. She said she came to the conclusion that the government
    was misleading Americans. For whose benefit she could not tell.
    Maybe drug companies. Maybe politicians. Whatever the case, it made her
    feel like the people in charge saw her — and the whole country of
    people like her — as easy to take advantage of.

    “I don’t like to be played the fool,” said Ms. Crabtree, who also works
    as an assistant to a Christian author and speaker. “And I felt like they
    were counting on us — us being the general population — on being the fool.”

    She felt contempt radiating from the other side, a sense that those
    who disagreed with her felt superior and wanted to humiliate her. She said
    she was taken aback at how people were ridiculing her on a pro-mask group
    on Facebook. . .

    Ms. Crabtree grew up in a highly devout family, with parents who met at
    a Campus Crusade for Christ conference. The whole family was active in their
    faith, volunteering at their churches, going on mission trips, holding
    Bible studies in their home. Her father served in the Air Force, and they
    moved around a lot. . .

    She accepted Jesus at a backyard Bible club when she was 4 and has never
    questioned her faith, despite life’s hardships, including the mental health
    struggles of a close family member and years of infertility. . .

    “I knew that the Lord had a purpose for us and that it was to follow him
    and glorify him [sic — I guess the Times doesn’t capitalize the
    pronoun. ;-> ] and obey him,” she said. “I really didn’t question that. I
    didn’t feel the need to explore this whole world around me.”

    But now, at 45, she said she believes that Americans broadly, and Christians
    in particular, have left too much of the running of the country to a governing
    class that has taken advantage of power. She blames her parents’ generation
    for “not talking about religion or politics,” a position that she said
    has led to a loss of influence.

    This makes her feel unsettled, because America is changing. Gender is
    blurred in ways that she said she believes God did not intend. She said a
    man in her church comes to Sunday services dressed in women’s clothing.
    When she was shopping this fall, a cashier at T.J. Maxx who checked
    her out looked like a man but, as she saw it, had feminine mannerisms.

    “I wanted to shake him and say, ‘You can be the man you are!’” she said. . .

    She home schools her children, in part to steer clear of these shifts.
    But the bigger problem, as she sees it, is that the broader culture seems
    to applaud them. It is not just sexuality. . . For example, what she sees
    as the left’s preoccupation with race and its telling of history.

    “Why all of a sudden are we teaching our 5-year-olds to be divided by color?”
    she said. “They don’t care what color your skin is until you tell them that
    that 5-year-old’s grandpa was mean 200 years ago.” . . .

    [S]he could feel that change overall was accelerating, and that was
    making her feel like she was losing her country, like it was becoming
    something she did not recognize.

    “I truly think that what we are doing is pulling our republic apart
    at the seams,” she said.

    So when she heard about the indoor mask mandate proposal last year in
    her city, she jumped to get involved. . . Eventually she made a Facebook
    page called Enid Freedom Fighters. . .

    She told people to come to the meeting and to wear red shirts so they
    could spot one another. . .

    In February, [the Enid Freedom Fighters] swept the local elections,
    winning three seats on the City Council. . . Winning felt good and
    they kept going. Over the course of this year, through a series of
    elections, appointments and City Council votes, they have helped get
    four candidates onto the school board and another four onto the
    library board, Ms. Crabtree said, the latter after a disagreement over
    a display of L.G.B.T.Q. books for Pride Month.

    “The red shirts have assumed effective control of most of the public
    bodies in Enid,” . . . [They] were a small minority of the city’s
    50,000 population. But they had an outsize effect on the Council’s
    moderate members, because in this moment of defensiveness and threat,
    going against members of your own tribe is extremely difficult. . .

    Enid’s City Council may no longer be a stage for national politics, but
    [Ms. Crabtree’s pastor Wade Burleson, whose church, Emmanuel Enid, is the
    largest in town; and who served two terms as president of the
    Southern Baptists of Oklahoma, the largest evangelical denomination
    in the state] has continued to bring national politics to Enid.
    One Sunday this past August, he sat down in his church with Charlie Kirk,
    the right-wing speaker. . .

    “They want to crush you,” Mr. Kirk said at an evening talk at Emmanuel Enid,
    referring to an unspecified “metropolitan elite,” and to government leaders,
    including Republicans. “They call you the smelly Walmart people. They do.
    You should hear the way your leaders talk about you. They have contempt for you.
    They want to try to turn Oklahoma into nothing more than a producing colony
    for the rest of the country.”. . .

    In the end, both sides could agree on one thing: The fight was not really
    over masks. . .

    Ms. Crabtree now attends most every City Council meeting. The Christian
    author she works for is now running for Congress. She herself was tapped for
    a seat on the state board of education, but after an outcry that she was
    against mask and vaccine mandates and that she home schools instead of participating
    in public schools, and some threatening messages online, she withdrew. . .

    She is proud of her son, who she said cares deeply about the country.
    He flew to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 to go to Mr. Trump’s speech with her father.
    She said they did not participate in what came after. He graduated from high school
    last year but did not want to go to college and “pay $100,000 to fight indoctrination.”
    She said he now works at Chick-fil-A and wants to teach his peers about patriotism.

    “He wants to right all the wrongs in the world,” she said. “He said, ‘Mom, I
    don’t have time to go to college. We have a country to save.’” . . .

  11. Akira MacKenzie says

    “They call you the smelly Walmart people.”

    No. I don’t call them that.

    I DO call them “uneducated, uncultured, inbred, gun-humping, Bible-fucking, white trash.” Their BO and shopping preferences have nothing to do with it.

  12. says

    Quoted by James Fehlinger @ #14 (classic NYT spin in that article):

    [Melissa Crabtree:] “I really didn’t question that. I didn’t feel the need to explore this whole world around me.”

    Love how she’s spent four decades cultivating credulity, ignorance, and incuriosity, so of course her first move is to do some rightwing U of Google “research” and immediately make a political power grab.

    But now, at 45, she said she believes that Americans broadly, and Christians in particular, have left too much of the running of the country to a governing class that has taken advantage of power. She blames her parents’ generation for “not talking about religion or politics,” a position that she said has led to a loss of influence.

    LOL. “Ms. Crabtree grew up in a highly devout family, with parents who met at a Campus Crusade for Christ conference.” Her pastor was twice president of the Oklahoma Baptists. But sure, she’s from a totally apolitical milieu.

    “Why all of a sudden are we teaching our 5-year-olds to be divided by color?” she said.

    The Oklahoman – Jim Crow Laws in Oklahoma:

    Following the pattern of states bordering the Confederacy, Oklahoma strongly supported separation of the races with passage of 18 Jim Crow laws between 1890 and 1957.

    1897: Education. (Statute). A separate district will be established for colored children wherever there are at least eight black children. Unlawful for any white child to attend a school for black children (or vice versa).

    1907: Education. (Constitution). Separate schools for white and colored children to be provided by the Legislature.

    1908: Education. (Statute). Public schools within Oklahoma to be operated under a plan of separation between the white and colored races. Penalty: Teachers could be fined between $10 and $50 for violating the law, and their certificate cancelled for one year. Corporations that operated schools that did not comply with the law were guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined between $100 and $500. White students who attended a colored school could be fined between $5 and $20 daily.

    1908: Railroads. (Statute). All railroad and streetcar companies to provide separate coaches for white and black passengers, “equal in all points of comfort and convenience. Penalty: Railway companies that violate the law fined $100 to $1,000. Passengers who fail to comply can be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by a fine from $5 to $25. Conductors could be fined $50 to $500 for failing to enforce the law.

    1908: Miscegenation. (Statute). Unlawful for a person of African descent to marry any person not of African descent. Penalty: Felony punishable by a fine of up to $500 and imprisonment from one to five years in the penitentiary.

    1915: Public accommodations. (Statute). Required telephone companies to maintain separate booths for white and colored patrons.

    1921: Miscegenation. (Statute). Prohibited marriage between Indians and Negroes.

    1921: Education. (Statute). Misdemeanor for a teacher to teach white and colored children in the same school. Penalty: Cancellation of teaching certificate without renewal for one year.

    1921: Public accommodations. (Statute). Required maintenance of separate accommodations for colored persons in public libraries in cities with a Negro population of 1,000 or more.

    1925: Entertainment. (City Ordinance). Black bands were prohibited from marching with white bands in Oklahoma City parades. Also, white Golden Gloves boxers were prohibited from sparring against black boxers.

    1937: Public carriers. (Statute). Public carriers to be segregated.

    1949: Health Care. (Statute). Called for a consolidated Negro institution to care for blind, deaf and orphans.

    1954: Public accommodations. (Statute). Separate rest rooms in mines required.

    1955: Miscegenation. (Statute). Marriage of anyone of African descent to one who is white prohibited. Penalty: Up to $500 and one to five years imprisonment.

    1957: Adoption. (Statute). Adoption petitions must state race of petitioner and child.

    Enid News & Eagle – “‘We’re more segregated now …'”

  13. ajbjasus says

    I visited Phoenix on business a few years ago.

    We shared the Embassy suites with the North Carolina branch of the NDA. What a bunch of arseholes.

    @7. Many faults with the British Empire, but as the country that held the line between Hitler and the free world, I think being categorised as the most cowardly people in the world is, frankly, a load of shite.

  14. unclefrogy says

    your comments brought up to me other times I have talked with others. There to my mind a mistake being made. There is valid criticism of geographic areas like countries or states or whole regions like “the south” as if they are monolithic. It is not Russia for instance that is being aggressive it is the existing power structure headed by Putin that is the source of the aggressive behavior. not some inherent characteristic of “those people”
    That is why however appealing the suggestion of letting say Texas leave the country it is not all Texans it is the power structure that is the problem and many of the people do not have a true choice or a voice in how things work
    As i have heard there were more then a few who were sympathetic with some of the Nazi ideals and goals before WWII started and not overwhelmingly democratic nor anti-imperial at the end of the war. Which says little about the ordinary citizens who always do most of the work of supporting the power structure even while gaining very little from so doing.

  15. ajbjasus says


    Cowardly leaders – very likely.

    The poor saps that paid the price and fought the Nazis in the front line ….. no.

  16. John Morales says

    Definitely not Hell… that’s not a place where people are gather to cheer and have a good time and a laugh.

  17. StevoR says

    @10. Walter Solomon : “TP” is an appropriate name for a gathering of Assholes who are spewing shit.”

    I like the acronymn Jim Wright of the Stonekettle Station blog uses – TFP or These Fucking People.

  18. unclefrogy says

    well for all his crying and testifying I did not think it would be so soon that Kyle Rittenhouse would get what he was aiming at all along to be a hero to the deplorables.all he had to do was kill someone, bonus points for it being a protestor anti-racist

  19. birgerjohansson says

    SC @ 9
    These creeps will cheerfully apply the Jakarta method to the USA is possible. There is no moral red line they are unwilling to cross.

  20. birgerjohansson says

    Reginald Selkirk @ 25
    The contempt for weakness is the central core of fascism.
    Strength justifies itself.
    The weak are thus seen as complicit in their own degradation and sometimes extermination.

  21. Mark Baker says

    Johnson has previously advocated for “household voting” where only the husband can vote

    Wouldn’t that hugely improve the relative voting power of single people, who are more likely to be young, and therefore more likely to be liberals? Is that really what she wants?

  22. jenorafeuer says

    @Mark Baker:
    I suspect Johnson thinks that the votes would still count as if everybody voted, but that the husband would be able to effectively cast the vote for every person in the household.

    Which probably still won’t work quite as well as she thinks. She’s thinking of this entirely from a direction of ‘feminism corrupting good conservative women’ angle, and missing that a non-zero part of the QAnon and Anti-vax nonsense feeding into the alt-right has been driven by well-off women stuck at home on the Internet rather than their usual social circles, and there are at least some households where only the husband voting would actually drag the vote leftward.

    Of course, you’ll note that Johnson’s idea might expect that unmarried women wouldn’t be able to vote at all anyway.