Neo-Nazi Harry Hughes is like the National Socialist Movement's version of the traveling gnome in those Travelocity.com commercials.
The Maricopa, Arizona-based swastika-lover's been photographed next to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, demonstrating in support of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, and now, next to "the Maverick" himself, U.S. Senator John McCain.
I'll let Hughes tell the story of his encounter with the sometimes hotheaded septuagenarian, apparently in an airport, while en route to Charlotte, NC.
"During my trip to Charlotte," writes Hughes in his blog Just Another Day, "I ran into Senator John McCain. He was actually on my flight. I was a little surprised that somebody as recognizable as him would be flying coach on a commercial flight, at all.
"Myself and some Vietnamese guy appeared to be the only people in the airport that bothered to walk up to him, shake hands and say, Hello. I talked the Vietnamese guy into taking a picture of me standing with the Arizona Senator."
John McCain flies coach? Talk about a tightwad. His heiress wife Cindy is worth an estimated $100 million. Together they reportedly own eight homes.
Wonder if the Senator eats at Mickey-Ds, too?
I asked McCain's press secretary Brian Rogers about the photo, and he confirmed what is self-evident.
"I'm certain [Senator McCain] was just approached during a layover," he responded via e-mail. "That happens all the time since Senator McCain always flies commercial."
I buy that, and I don't mean to imply anything nefarious about this McCain-Hughes encounter.
This is not like the case of recalled, former state Senate President Russell Pearce, who was buds with Hughes' onetime BFF, neo-Nazi and deceased kid-killer J.T. Ready. In May Ready massacred four people at the home in Gilbert where he'd been living, including a 15-month old baby, before pulling a Hitler, and blowing his own brains out.
Pearce endorsed Ready in his run for Mesa City Council, applauded Ready's speeches at nativist rallies, and even ushered Ready into the Mormon faith.
By contrast, this was merely two Arizonans crossing paths out-of-state. Interesting, considering the backgrounds of both men, that a Vietnamese gent supposedly took the photo.
Hughes was in Charlotte to participate in an NSM rally there. On his blog, which serves as a diary of his activities, he lists himself as the "AZ Media Spokesman" for the NSM, which he refers to as a "Caucasian White Civil Rights organization."
Hughes and Ready patrolled the desert along with other neo-Nazis and members of Ready's U.S. Border Guard. On the hunt for illegal immigrants, the heavily-armed vigilantes often found them. With long guns at the ready, they sometimes watched over groups of migrants until the U.S. Border Patrol arrived to take custody of them.
In person, Hughes comes across as a genuinely amiable fellow. Nevertheless, on his blog, he espouses the sort of views you'd expect from a guy who marches around with other racist swastika-bearers, wearing fascist attire.
Take this quote from a post calling for an "American Final Solution," which shows you where Harry's brain is at:
"As most of us already know, US/Israel dual citizens have infiltrated and wrecked the United States with their Zionist agenda and Marxist policies. One cannot serve two masters. The United States is not the only country that's experiencing this destruction from within, by a foreign born enemy. The `parasites' have selected many host nations to destroy. Never forget, wherever there are Jews, death and ruin will follow."
African-Americans don't fare much better in this Schutzstaffel-wannabe's worldview. Witness his description of a black lady who was in line with him waiting to pick up a Thanksgiving turkey at a local food bank:
"A heavy set negroid she boon with expensive looking copper colored hair and a blue tooth device sticking out of her ear...nearly `chimped out' because she was #80 something and wanted to go to the front of the line, ahead of those that arrived much earlier than her."
Rabid NRA members and assorted gun nuts will be proud to know that Hughes is a big advocate of the Second Amendment and an opponent of gun regulation in response to the massacre in Sandy Hook. His arguments parallel many you've heard already from hard-core conservatives on Fox News and elsewhere.
"A Chinese man walked into a school on Friday, December 14, 2012, and stabbed 22 children with a knife," writes Hughes in a conspiratorial post suggesting that the Connecticut killings were a "false flag" operation.
"These people are mentally ill. Taking guns away and/or passing more restrictive laws won't change their mental illness. If they really want to hurt someone, they're going to do it regardless of whether they have access to a firearm or not. The Chinese man has proven that."
Thing is, according to an AP report on the same incident, there were no deaths in that particular knife attack, just injuries. And the attacker was "subdued by security guards."
Which is where this line of reasoning fails. Yeah, you can kill people with a knife. But if Adam Lanza had only had knives on him, I don't think the people of Newtown would be laying 20 little kids to rest.
Like some wingnut Republicans, Hughes is also for arming school teachers:
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"School teachers in Israel and Thailand now carry concealed handguns on the job. In areas where the threat is the greatest, teachers have been given free guns."
This has become the latest, insane talking point from some Republicans, including Texas Governor Rick Perry and former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett.
More guns equals less violence, these great thinkers tell us. Duh. That's why Somalia is so safe.