Our favorite Arizona Nazi border watcher, J.T. Ready, recently reached new opportunistic depths by showing up and pretending to support Occupy Phoenix -- even though he was apparently confronted by other participants, who made it clear he wasn't welcome.
Let's be clear: J.T. Ready is a neo-Nazi, a classic totalitarian/authoritarian, someone who despises and loathes and sneers at the kind of democracy-in-action that the Occupy movement represents. He likes chaos, though, and he sees the movement's unsettling effect as something he can use. And showing up at protests always is good for a little attention. That's why he did this.
For some time, the right-wing media has been attempting to brand Occupy Wall Street and related protests as anti-Semitic. In the latest example, conservative blogger Jim Hoft is pointing to video of heavily armed Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready patrolling the Occupy Phoenix protest and saying nice things about the movement.
Hoft sarcastically concludes, "Yup. They're just like the tea party."
It's worth pointing out that much of the rhetoric Ready spouts during the video -- decrying fiat money, saying that he and others were "exercising our Second Amendment right so that everybody can have a First Amendment right," claiming that Operation Fast and Furious was intended to "take away our rights" and the perpetrators are traitors who should be put to death -- sounds much more like the rhetoric of a conservative protestor than an OWS supporter.
And indeed, that's the problem for Hoft: Ready previously attended and reportedly spoke at Tea Party rallies ...
Gertz then details all the times Ready has appeared in support of tea party events.
And who can forget Ready's recent excursion into the world of vigilante border watches? That, as it happens, is also the territory embraced by tea partiers, not Occupy.
Along the same lines, Ready has a history of associating with -- and being empowered by -- major tea party figures in Arizona, most notably Senate President Russell Pearce, the author of SB1070, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the publicity-hound sheriff of Maricopa County.
Indeed, Ready has been working tirelessly at making himself a familiar presence on the Arizona landscape. This is just the latest desperate bid for attention.
Andrew Breitbart, just as predictably, resorted to the same technique in his ongoing effort to smear Occupy as anti-Semitic. published a list detailing "#Occupy Wall Street's Supporters, Sponsors, and Sympathizers" that included a handful of neo-Nazi organizations.
Of course, this is an old technique of the racist far right: Embrace a mainstream entity as an entry point for legitimizing your agenda. It was perfected by David Duke during his political career as a Republican, and has been replicated ever since by the many racists seeking to mainstream themselves -- most recently, as the NAACP's 2010 report laid bare, through the auspices of the tea party.
You'd think conservatives would be a little sensitive to this issue. After all, they complain bitterly whenever someone points out that their side of the aisle attracts all kinds of racists and domestic terrorists.
This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters' mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence, and extremism; the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.