Whenever I see TPUSA signs, I always think “Toilet Paper USA”

I’ve never been shy about saying that I despise Turning Point USA. It’s a horrible organization that makes rancid pro-capitalism arguments from a Libertarian perspective, and that tangles it all up in an anti-diversity reactionary package that Republicans all love. There’s somebody at my university who slaps up their stupid declarative posters everywhere, which means that just walking down a hallway give my superior rectus and oblique ocular muscles a painful workout.

Welp, now TPUSA has been investigated. They’re worse than I thought, which means they’re probably on par for a sleazy right wing organization.

Perhaps most troubling for an organization that holds up conservatives as the real victims of discrimination in America, Turning Point USA is also alleged to have fostered an atmosphere that is hostile to minorities. Screenshots provided to me by a source show that Crystal Clanton, who served until last summer as the group’s national field director, sent a text message to another Turning Point employee saying, “i hate black people. Like fuck them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story.”

The good news: she got fired. The bad news: it was probably for making their opinions public, not for having those opinions.

Former Turning Point employees say that the organization was a difficult workplace and rife with tension, some of it racial. Gabrielle Fequiere, a former Turning Point employee, told me that she was the only African-American hired as a field director when she worked with the group, three years ago. “In looking back, I think it was racist,” she said. “At the time, I was blaming myself, and I thought I did something wrong.” Fequiere, who now works as a model, recalled that the young black recruits that she brought into the organization suddenly found themselves disinvited from the group’s annual student summit, and that when she herself attended, she watched speakers there who “spoke badly about black women having all these babies out of wedlock. It was really offensive.”

Also, they sponsored Milo Yiannopoulos.

Speakers at Turning Point events on various college campuses have been accused of going out of their way to thumb their noses at ethnic and cultural sensitivities. The conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, for instance, whose appearance Turning Point co-hosted with the College Republicans at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, said that despite being gay, he hated “faggots,” lesbians, and feminists, who, he said, “fucking hate men.”

Also, they’re a 501(c)3 charity, forbidden from engaging in partisan political activities. Yeah, sure.

Susan Walker, who worked for Turning Point USA in Florida, in 2016, told me that the group did aid Republican political campaigns. Walker said that a list she created while working for Turning Point, with the names of hundreds of student supporters, was given without her knowledge to someone working for Marco Rubio’s Presidential campaign. “That list had, like, seven hundred kids, and I worked my ass off to get it,” she said. “I had added notes on every student I talked to, and they were all on it still.” The Rubio operative, she added, “shouldn’t have had that list. We were a charity, and he was on a political campaign.”

Also, they’re propping up conservative take-overs of student government.

ast May, The Chronicle of Higher Education published an investigative report on what it called Turning Point’s “stealth plan for political influence.” The story recounted accusations on multiple campuses that the group had funnelled money into student elections in violation of the spending caps and transparency requirements set by those schools. It detailed how student candidates backed by Turning Point had been forced to drop out of campus elections at the University of Maryland and Ohio State “after they were caught violating spending rules and attempting to hide the help they received from Turning Point.” It also quoted Kirk saying in an appearance before a conservative political group in 2015 that his group was “investing a lot of time and money and energy” in student-government elections. (In the story, Kirk denied any wrongdoing and said it was “completely ludicrous and ridiculous that there’s some sort of secret plan.”)

Student government? What can they do with student government?

Once in control of student governments, the brochure says, Turning Point expects its allied campus leaders to follow a set political agenda. Among its planks are the defunding of progressive organizations on campus, the implementation of “free speech” policies eliminating barriers to hate speech, and the blocking of all campus “boycott, divestment and sanctions” movements. Turning Point’s agenda also calls for the student leaders it empowers to use student resources to host speakers and forums promoting “American Exceptionalism and Free Market ideals on campus.”

Also, if you, like me, have been wondering where they get their money, it’s from the oil and coal industries.

In a phone interview, Kirk declined to identify the donors who have supplied his group’s eight-million-dollar-plus annual budget, noting that many prefer to remain anonymous. But Kirk has spoken and fund-raised at various closed-door energy-industry gatherings, including those of the 2017 board meeting of the National Mining Association and the 2016 annual meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. In our interview, Kirk acknowledged that some of his donors “are in the fossil-fuel space.”

I’m glad someone is turning over this rock and snapping pictures of all the vermin wriggling beneath it.

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?

Think of the children!

I don’t really care what Turning Point USA does, except when it’s funny. They had a big conference recently, and invited a woman who is both a porn star and writes for the Federalist to attend as a VIP. If you asked me, the latter qualification is what makes her unfit for civilized company, but oh dearie me, that’s not what made attendees clutch their fanny packs.

Oh no! Teenagers might see this fully clothed woman walking and talking like a normal human being, who also takes off all of her clothes and has sex with other people outside the con, apparently unlike any other woman in attendance. So Nicholas Fuentes and his groypers spotted this, and because they already hate Charlie Kirk, they shrieked and pointed.

Of course Kirk caved and disinvited her.

We regret to inform you that your SAS 2021 invitation has been revoked, an email from TPUSA stated, posted to Twitter by the adult entertainer. This decision is final. This revocation does not impact application to future events, and we hope that you will consider applying again in the future.

However, Love wasn’t buying it and said the Republican Party is “broken” due to TPUSA officials giving her the boot. “Can’t make this shit up lol!! I just watched Charlie Kirk, Dan Bongino, Rick Scott, Kat Timpf, speak about freedom, censorship, how inclusive the ‘movement’ is,” she stated. “And then they had me thrown out of the Turning Point USA conference. The Republican Party is broken.”

Remember, Free Speech über alles!

There’s another atheist organization in the swamp

Here we go again. We have a new gang of atheists with the same old meaningless buzzwords: Atheists for Liberty. It’s for Americans who care about Enlightenment Values, specifically Atheists • Agnostics • Freethinkers • Non-religious • Skeptics • Independents • Conservatives • Libertarians • Classical Liberals • Centrists. I notice there are a few labels missing from their list, like liberals, progressives, and humanists, and that becomes even more obvious when you look at their “principles”, which are basically dogmatic conservative Americanism. Of course they worship Free Speech! But mainly because they hate social justice. Even much of the atheist community which used to pride itself on steadfast free-thinking principles, has fallen victim to the poisonous, emotional forces of Intersectionality, Social Justice, and “Wokeness”.

They never get around to saying what “Enlightenment values” are, but it sounds good. I expect that what they really liked about the Enlightenment was the eurocentrism, the racism, the slavery, and the colonialism. Bring back the 18th century!

The founder bios say a lot, too.

Thomas Sheedy is President and founder of Atheists for Liberty. Sheedy is an entrepreneur from Long Island, New York. He is an undergraduate in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs at the University at Albany, where he serves as an Auxiliary Officer for the University at Albany College Republicans. He has appeared on multiple podcasts, blogs, and YouTube video interviews, and has participated extensively in student atheist activism. Sheedy was an Assistant State Director for American Atheists, President of the Long Island Atheists, Event Organizer for Center for Inquiry Long Island, President and founder of the Ward Melville High School Secular Student Alliance, and a member of the Center for Inquiry Student Advisory Committee from Fall 2015 to Summer 2016. Additionally, he is a member of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State‘s Youth Advisory Council. In 2015 he received the Richard and Beverly Hermsen Student Activist Award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and was FFRF’s student of the year. He also holds memberships with Turning Point USA at SUNY Albany, Louder With Crowder Mug Club, the National Rifle Association of America, The Ripon Society, and the American Conservation Coalition.

Yikes. American Atheists, FFRF, and Americans United, you disappoint me, coddling this viper in your midst; CFI, I’m not surprised; TPUSA and the NRA, this is exactly the kind of young asshole I expect from you; Louder With Crowder Mug Club, that must be comic relief, right? Crowder is one of the dumbest conservatives on YouTube, and you just pay him money to join that club.

Guess who the advisors to Atheists for Liberty are.

Go ahead, guess.

They’re the usual suspects in the atheist community.

[Read more…]

I would pay good money to see a cage match with Nick Fuentes and Charlie Kirk

In this corner, the man with the shrinking face, the demagogue of Turning Point USA, money man for Libertarian sophomores everywhere, Charlie Kirk!

And here in this corner, the up-and-coming racist with the Hispanic name, Nick Fuentes, founder of America First, who doesn’t even realize the historical taint of that name!

We can always hope for a Kilkenny Cats resolution to the combat.

Anyway, what triggered this fantasy is learning that a book event for Donald Trump Jr.’s new work of fiction was met with a hostile audience, and Junior was booed by the crowd. It opened with some smug snideness about the left.

At the Sunday event, Trump Jr. appeared to think the first shouts of dissent had come from left-leaning counterprotesters.

“Name a time when conservatives have disrupted even the furthest leftist on a college campus,” he said to the crowd. “It doesn’t happen that way. We’re willing to listen.”

Only, as it turns out, it wasn’t a riotous mob of antifa/Sanders supporters screaming at the event.

Fuentes, 21, appeared to take credit for the protests on Sunday evening, tweeting that he and his followers don’t disagree with Trump Jr. Instead, he said their complaint was with Turning Point USA. On Sunday, he shared dozens of tweets celebrating the event’s shutdown and denigrating Turning Point USA.

“Our problem is not with [Trump Jr.] who is a patriot — We are supporters of his father!” he tweeted. “Our problem is with Charlie Kirk’s TPUSA organization that SHUTS DOWN and SMEARS socially conservative Christians and supporters of President Trump’s agenda. We are AMERICA FIRST!”

The host of an ultraconservative podcast and YouTube show called “America First,” Fuentes has appeared on YouTube with bloggers who advocate for a white ethnostate. He has used slurs and promoted anti-Semitism in his broadcasts, which has put him at odds with Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro. Fuentes marched in Charlottesville with white supremacists during the deadly Unite the Right rally in 2017, the Boston Globe reported.

For weeks, Fuentes has been railing against Turning Point USA, which once invited him to speak at Iowa State University, and the more mainstream wing of the pro-Trump movement. On Nov. 4, he directed his fans to show up to Turning Point USA events and heckle speakers during question-and-answer segments. The 21-year-old’s fans have been harassing Kirk at several recent Turning Point USA events on college campuses.

Oh, yeah. Charlie Kirk and Nick Fuentes hate each other with an abiding passion. FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! These two horrible people are nearly totally indistinguishable to me, and they deserve each other. Please, please, please, can all the Trump supporters annihilate each other in a savage battle over who loves the Donald the bestest and who is the truest conservative?

You aren’t owed admission to Harvard, Kyle

Harvard has rescinded an offer of admission to Kyle Kashuv, Parkland shooting survivor, pro-gun advocate, former member of Turning Point USA, and young rising star of dumbass conservatism, because of stupid things he wrote on a message board. He’s now complaining that he should not be judged on the basis of crap he wrote when he was 16 or 17.

That ridiculous defense has now reached peak absurdity. The whole college admissions process is about evaluating your prospects on the basis of what you did in high school! What’s the acceptable window here? Can I say you can’t criticize me for something I wrote yesterday, because I’m a new me today?

The late teens is a period of rapid changes, and we see lots of increases in maturity in college age students. It’s possible he has acquired wisdom in the last few years, but he has to show it, not just say it, and his affiliation with TPUSA is not a good sign that he has become a better adult. Also, the messages go a long way to reveal the content of his character, and it’s not good.

Wow. There’s some remarkable code-switching going on here, because, setting aside the ugly content, that’s not college-eligible writing. That’s simply vomiting up toxins from the id.

Oh, well. He has defenders. The “Intellectual” Dork Web is out in force, deploring the no-platforming of another asshole. Ben Shapiro is whining something fierce, and this guy is, of course, supporting the racist twink.

Lo, the Skeptical Movement.

Meme War @UMNMorris!

As I was walking through the halls to my lab, I noticed that the students have been waging a little meme war on the corkboards scattered around the building. I haven’t had to work with students much at all this year, so it’s always good to see a reminder of how wonderful they are.

Here’s an example. At the top, just off center, the College Republicans are advertising with the slogan, “Where women are not afraid to be women. While men are not afraid to be men.” That’s an oddly fearful concern — people are not afraid to be who they are in other campus groups. It’s already been defaced, though: someone wrote “bigotry is scarier than human rights” across it. Also they’re surrounded by an “It’s OK to be non-binary” sign and an ad for a discussion in conversational Spanish. Poor babies.

To the right, the College Republicans try again with a sad, limp NPC meme sign. That never worked, people, except in a self-referential way. Your opposition is flamboyantly rainbow-colored, while you’re the boring gray guys.

Meanwhile, in response to the trite & feeble sloganeering of the CR, we’ve got…this awesome bit of over-the-top mockery.

The Gender Binary is an Imperialist Social Construct
Support Trans People of Color

Signed by Queer Devil Worshippers for a Better Future, one of our many progressive groups on campus.

Yes, it’s a real organization. It’s even been written up in the Daily Caller, which seems to be aghast.

“I’m looking to start a Satanist group at Morris to address the budding conservatism on this campus — which I find abhorrent,” student Reed Larsen explained in the email.

“I’m hoping the group will have a social justice platform and further such a platform through good ol’ devilish revelry,” Larsen also said.

Larsen has christened himself as “Vold Mother” of “Queer Devil Worshippers for a Better Future.”

For the group’s logo, Larsen chose a classic, circle-emblazoned satanic pentagram festooned with the rainbow colors of the gay pride flag.

Their response is interesting — it’s an attempt to minimize the influence of the campus conservatives who put up that NPC sign, and also tack up TPUSA crap everywhere.

The “budding conservatism” on the University of Minnesota, Morris campus consists of handful of groups — a gun group, a pro-life club — which boast perhaps two dozen members combined, a source who chose to remain unidentified told Campus Reform.

That’s a generous estimate. I don’t think they take into account that it is the same handful of people signing up for all the conservative clubs, so they may be counting some of them two or three times. Also note how they are cowering fearfully, afraid to be identified…not because there is a serious threat to them, but because someone with blue hair might laugh at them.

Have I ever told you how happy I am to be at this campus? Because I am. It’s a good place. If you’re applying to colleges right now, you should consider applying.

I recommend you choose the side that’s winning the meme war, though.

The hypocrisy of Boghossian’s academic defenders

I was listening to the latest Serious Inquiries Only podcast, on the Boghossian affair, while I was pumpin’ iron down at the gym, and Eli Bosnick made a really, really good point. After reading these various serious statements of support for Boghossian from people like Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker — they’re piously declaring that demanding he follow IRB requirements is a threat to academic freedom — he mentioned a curious omission. While they rush to the defense of their alt-right, Intellectual Dork Web colleague who has violated university policy and faces a rebuke from the university administration, they’ve never said a word about…Turning Point USA.

You know TPUSA is a Koch-funded far-right organization that trains students to incidents at universities so they can get left-leaning professors fired. They’re kind of incompetent at it — wearing diapers to show that left-wingers are babies isn’t very impressive — but you still don’t get to accuse universities of Orwellian behavior when right there, right in front of their faces, with no apologies and forthright insistence, TPUSA is maintaining an Orwellian Professor Watchlist (fair notice: I’m on it).

On the one hand, you’ve got a university calling in bigoted anti-feminist employee to a meeting (oh god, that’s torture!) because he violated university policy; on the other, a well-funded right-wing organization making an enemies list of professors and encouraging action against them. Which one do you side with? It says a lot about you.

There is a hell

And I just missed it, fortunately. There was a conference going on in Florida, and these were the headliners.

Jesus. And that’s not all. Also speaking at this event were Laura Ingraham, Nigel Farage, Sebastian Gorka, Dennis Prager, Jesse Watters, James O’Keefe, Wilbur Ross, and a mass of other shoggoths. It’s over now, but wow, the worst people on Earth were all gathered in one spot at the same time, and a meteor did not strike, a chasm did not yawn open, thunder and lightning did not scorch that locus of evil into a puddle of burning grease.

Which proves that there is a hell, but there is definitely no god.

What does it mean to live like a socialist, or a capitalist?

This was a strange incident at a recent convention. There was a debate between Hasan Piker, on the Left, and Charlie Kirk, the Turning Point USA guy on the far, far Right, and at one point Kirk asks Piker what his salary was…which, apparently, Piker answered, although I haven’t seen any video of that exchange. But then someone in the audience (Cenk Uygar) asks Kirk the same question, and he just exploded in a ranting fury. I guess it was a sensitive question for him. That bit has been caught on video.

He tells Piker to go live like a socialist, and he yells at Uygur, I live like a capitalist every single day, Cenk. I live as a capitalist, OK. I live what I believe, as he gets up and marches across the stage, pointing and shouting. Aside from the fact that it’s an odd thing to get so upset about, especially after you’ve just asked the same question of someone else, I have to wonder…what does that mean? Kirk uses the words like some people would use “Christian” and “Atheist”, as if there is some deeper moral meaning to living as a capitalist, and he’s a noble, upright figure for following the way of the prophetess Ayn Rand. I don’t get it.

I live as a capitalist, I guess, because I’m imbedded deep in a capitalist society, and the same is true for everyone at that event, including Hasan Piker. Kirk’s rant wasn’t even sensible, because it’s a statement about a system, not an individual.

But let’s play the game. What would it mean to live as a socialist? I think, in my imaginary ideal, it would mean living as part of a larger community where everyone has equal rights and equal shared opportunity. I would have less money — in a perfect socialist society, which doesn’t exist, I’d have no money — but my needs would be met, and I would be freed from a lot of worries. Do I have to panic about what I’m going to live on in retirement? Can I be bankrupted by a medical emergency? Will my neighbors starve if they lose their jobs? All of that worry would be nonexistent. I’d still have to be concerned about maintaining that society and contributing to its survival, but the individual existential fears would be gone.

It’s all a bit murky and idealistic, because I don’t live in a socialist culture, so I have to rely on a rose-colored imagination.

I do know what it’s like to live as a capitalist, because in live in that society. What that means is that some of us — like me — live in a reasonably prosperous and stable state, are an overall beneficiary of inequity. We’re doing mostly OK, but there is that dread that we’re one heartbeat away from total financial ruin (need I mention that a bozo exists who wants to destroy me and my friends with a ridiculous lawsuit? And the system allows that?) At the same time, many people are living in extremes of poverty, and others are living in extremes of undeserved wealth. There is no economic justice in this country.

This is not something to be proud of.

But we could focus a little more narrowly. What does it mean that Charlie Kirk lives as a capitalist? We can just look at him as an exemplar.

As it turns out, Charlie Kirk lives rent-free with his wealthy parents in a million dollar home. He claims his salary comes from grass-roots donations, but that is a lie. The tax forms for his non-profit (wait, how capitalist is that?) organization tell the true story.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, TPUSA is not required to disclose its donors. But based on public tax records and some reporting by other outlets, IBT has identified the sources of over $900,000 in funding for TPUSA. Republican mega-donor families, GOP politicians and other wealthy individuals have provided large amounts of money so the organization can spread free-market principles — from which the donors benefit — among young people, the majority of whom, overall, lean liberal.

Working to appeal to millennials, TPUSA is funded by a substantial number of older, wealthy individuals whose economic views the group promotes. IBT identified 17 donors to TPUSA, including nine from publicly available Internal Revenue Service records. The documented donations came mostly in 2014 and 2015, as tax records from many of the foundational donors are not yet available for 2016.

Well, now we know what it means to live as an ideal capitalist. It means living as a parasite and a pawn of plutocrats.

I wouldn’t be bragging about that, Charlie Kirk.