Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Sponsor and Enforcer of AZ SB 1070 both have ties to neo-Nazis.
The first image is of neo-Nazis J.T. Ready (left) and Thomas Coletto giving Hitler salutes while confronting marchers opposed to SB 1070 last week. The second is a photo that Coletto had taken posing next to Sheriff Joe Arpaio and posted on the white supremecist website Stormfront.org after he, Ready and other neo-nazis had had a brief and friendly conversation with the Sheriff (beginning at the 4:53 mark of this You tube video shot by a nativist if you can stomach the racist commentary, beginning with the line, "too bad we can't just start shooting.")
The above photos are taken from this article on last week's demonstrations from the Phoenix New Times.
We've all heard the news here about neo-nazis in Arizona even as people on the national scene can't imagine that in 2010 they could ever be out in the sunlight and get people to take them seriously.
But let's take them seriously, because these dogs bite. We can make the case that some of the loudest voices behind immigration reform are actually neo-nazis because in fact some of them are. And more disturbingly our politicians like the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Sheriff of Maricopa County actually have no problem smoozing up to them.
And let's document. Start with FAIR, the group that wrote the law that Russell Pearce sponsored. The Southern Poverty Law center has declared that they are a hate group for virulent anti-Semitism and racism. Russell Pearce, though he sponsored SB 1070, was not the actual author. It was written by lawyer Chris Koback of FAIR and then handed off to Pearce.
So what about Russell Pearce anyway? Well, start with the fact that he was always close to former Republican precinct committeeman J.T. Ready (a proud member of the American Nazi Party, which he kept quiet about until he was 'outed' in 2007.) Ready was forced to resign his position as a precinct committeeman, but being freed of the need to keep his status as a neo-nazi secret he's been on a roll, showing up at various political events with his friends doing Hitler salutes and yelling 'Sieg Heil' to his heart's content. From the New Times article linked above, it is evident that Ready is willing to speak to all comers about his favorite topics:
"Obama's not my president," Ready told New Times as he flitted from topic to topic, waiting with Vandal (the 'name' of another neo nazi) for the arrival of the marchers. "He's ZOG's president."
ZOG is neo-Nazi shorthand for Zionist Occupation Government, the fictitious Jewish conspiracy that some neo-Nazis believe controls the United States. Ready continued his wide-ranging diatribe, segueing not very subtly into why he believes pogroms against Jews in Europe's past were a good thing.
"They [had] to expel an alien that's preying upon them. [They were] parasites," said Ready, a former Marine who was twice court-martialed and expelled from the military with a bad-conduct discharge. "C'mon, that's healthy. It's only when you're unhealthy that you've got parasites on you."
When New Times asked Ready whether he hated all Mexicans, he offered another dehumanizing metaphor: "I don't hate all of anything. I don't hate all scorpions, but I wouldn't want them crawling around in my house."
Not that the connection between Ready and Pearce is news, of course, consider the following Republican primary mailer that was sent out during the 2008 campaign and featuring a photo of Pearce and Ready at a campaign event:
Apparently the answer is that among Pearce's Mesa constituents what would be a disqualifier for office anyplace else is met with a yawn of indifference, or perhaps even tacit support. He won his primary election that year with almost 2/3 of the vote and in Pearce's heavily Republican east Mesa district winning the primary means winning the seat.
The article then goes on:
Ready then bragged about how Sheriff Arpaio had stopped by earlier in the day, said hello, and even called him by name. Another neo-Nazi, using the handle "Vito Lombardi," (in fact, Coletto) excitedly related how a photo was taken of him and his hero, Arpaio.
If you remember a couple of years ago about a plot by a small group of students to bomb Desert Mountain High School in what was described as a 'Columbine type attack,' Coletto (then 17) was one of the five students implicated in the plot. He was allowed to plead guilty to a single count of criminal damage (in connection with his burglarly of bomb-making supplies and chemicals) and the rest of the charges were dropped. Just in case you've ever taken a moment to ponder what eventually becomes of those Columbine wannabees that get caught somewhere in the country every spring before they can blow up their high school, here's your answer.
It was also clear, based on the article why they were stomping on Mexican flags and trying to provoke a confrontation. Making extensive use of Arizona's open carry laws, many of the demonstrators were armed. Presumably so they could 'defend' themselves.
There is one thing that will distract a Nazi from trying to provoke a confrontation with pro-immigration marchers. That is when someone who they believe to be Jewish shows up, as in the case of this musician:
Luckily the man did not allow himself to be provoked. After all, given that the counter-demonstrators were bristling with weapons that was probably a good idea.
You'd think that with that kind of behavior Ready and Coletto would have marginalized themselves and nobody with any kind of political ambition (or even a grain of common sense) would want to get within a couple of furlongs of them, and in 49 states you'd be correct. But in Arizona apparently a Nazi is considered less of a threat than a Mexican gardener.
Pearce at least had the good sense to stay away from Saturday's rallies and marches. Not so the good Sheriff of Nottingham, Joe Arpaio.
Arpaio of course is no stranger to controversy on the subject, having said in a Lou Dobbs interview in 2007 that he was 'honored' to be compared to the KKK. Sort of speaks for itself.
From the linked article there is also this:
This May 2 dalliance with Coletto and J.T. Ready wasn't the first time Arpaio has associated with the neo-Nazis. In March 2008, the sheriff spoke before a United for a Sovereign America meeting at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Sunnyslope, where U.S.A. affiliate Elton Hall was in attendance. Hall, 75, is a legend in Arizona neo-Nazi circles, venerated by racist skinheads for his work as an organizer for George Lincoln Rockwell's American Nazi Party in the 1960s.
And in fact, there is the matter that the U.S.A. not only is willing to welcome Arpaio, but in fact that their links go much deeper:
Yet the sheriff's involvement with extreme hate groups is not incidental. The relationship has been prolonged and intentional, arguably helping him get re-elected last year in a county where much of the electorate is hostile toward Mexican immigrants.
Since 2007, Arpaio has appeared at nativist events, accepted awards from groups such as the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, welcomed U.S.A. leader Rusty Childress into his immigration sweep headquarters, spoken at nativist meetings frequented by neo-Nazis, and used petitions circulated by extremists to justify his immigration dragnets.
Also troubling are indications that the MCSO, in some cases, instructs U.S.A. through member Barb Heller, who has bragged about her contacts with the Sheriff's Office to anyone who will listen, and who apparently receives instruction and advice on how U.S.A. should handle itself.
In other words, they will behave themselves as long as Joe Arpaio tells them to.
So under the circumstances it's hardly surprising that Arpaio knows Ready by name and is happy to talk to Coletto and the rest of the neo-nazis among the counter-demonstrators. I guess if the sheriff's department ever is prevented by a court order or some other means of conducting raids on day labor sites, churches and other places looking for people with a brown skin and no papers, it's convenient for him that he has some blackshirts ready to carry out his orders whenever he unleashes them.
A hat tip to a recently added facebook friend, Robert Czaplicki.