The new issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report is out, and it's chocked full of more racist Sand Land nuts than a John Birch Society convention. The mag highlights several players in the local nativist movement, profiles notorious neo-Nazi and alleged murderer Sean Gaines, and pays a visit to the Glendale-based home business of Nazi memorabilia peddler Dieter Bueschgen. Why, with this many stories emanating from the Zona, the SPLC should consider opening a satellite branch in PHX. Believe me, they'd never run out of racist a-holes to write about.
Of the 20 nativists granted thumbnail profiles in the mag, six hail from AZ, more than any other state. Topping the list is ex-Kia dealer and prejudiced playboy Rusty Childress, founder of the PHX hate group United for a Sovereign America, and he's joined by brothers in arms J.T. "Yep, I'm a Nazi, Ma" Ready of Mesa, and alleged public urinator "Buffalo" Rick Galeener. Anti-Latino Latino Col. Al Rodriguez of the F.A.I.R.-front organization You Don't Speak for Me is included, as is urban cougar heartthrob Michelle Dallacroce, founder of Mothers Against Illegal Aliens. (She'll hate it that the SPLC misspelled her name.) And Tucson minuteman Bill Irwin of the Patriots Border Alliance (they should spell it Pay-triots) gets an SPLC shout-out.
Mexican flag-burner Laine Lawless rates nary a mention, sad to say. Though her onetime pal, Nevada's Don Pauly, who helped out with her flag-torching exhibition in front of the Mexican Consulate here in PHX in 2006, nabs a brief bio. Better luck next year, Laine!
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Also in this "Year in Hate" issue, former New Times scribe Susy Buchanan profiles jailed neo-Nazi thug Sean Gaines, who's currently awaiting trial for his part in the group torture-murder of victim Mark Mathes in 2002. Gaines claims he's seen the light, and is renouncing his skinhead ways. (It's likely he's also trying to garner some leniency in his upcoming trial.) He spills his guts to Buchanan, explaining how he was recruited into the skinhead subculture and the National Socialist Front. More chillingly, he describes assaults and murders that have not been reported or investigated, much less solved. Gaines also details how some skinheads graduate from white to red shoelaces on their steel-toes boots through "hunting trips" into minority neighborhoods where they jump some poor schmo, beating the guy, maybe even killing him.
The SPLC also covers PHX's day-labor battles, and how Sheriff Joe Arpaio's become a nativist hero because of his anti-illegal immigration stance. But the most amusing piece in the publication is "The Merchant of Glendale," penned by erstwhile New Times reporter David Holthouse. The subject of the piece, 69-year-old Dieter Bueschgen, deals in Hitler Youth memorabilia and other Nazi merchandise, some of it reproductions. Bueschgen sounds like a colorful guy, running his company Desert Fox International out of his house with his loaded Luger nearby and his Alzheimer's-addled wife flipping him a Nazi salute every time he remarks, "Barbie, show us how high is the snow in the Alps."
According to Holthouse, Bueschgen is "one of the largest dealers of white supremacist paraphernalia and World War II-era Nazi memorabilia in the western United States," with skinheads crossing the continent to buy from him and hear his tales of growing up in Nazi Germany. Though, as Holthouse points out, Bueschgen would've been seven at the end of WWII, so he didn't grow up in it for long. The goose-stepping geriatric also deals at gun shows in Phoenix and elsewhere, so you might spot him at the next firearm extravaganza at the state fairgrounds.
The SPLC always does a killer job, but in this issue, I think the writers and editors outdid themselves exposing nativists, race-baiters, neo-Nazis and fellow-travelers. It's a must read this quarter, especially if you're a resident of AZ, where the right-wing kooks are as plentiful as the cactus. So check it out.