NJ GOP must fight Red-Shirt Fascism

On Friday night, a couple members of Bill Spadea's Red-Shirt movement held a "rally" at the former headquarters of the notorious American National Socialist Bund.  For some strange reason, instead of demolishing the former Camp Nordland, the town leaders of Andover Township have maintained the building that hosted numerous Nazi, Fascist, and Ku Klux Klan rallies in the 1930's.  Sussex County historian Wayne McCabe has written a book about the goings on at "the barn at Lake Iliff in Andover Township."

The Red-Shirts were voicing their opposition to Ballot Question 2, which simply states:

A "yes" vote supports this proposal to dedicate all revenue from gas taxes to transportation projects.

A "no" vote opposes this proposal, thus devoting the same levels of revenue to transportation projects.

The non-partisan organization ballotpedia.org provides the following details:

Amendment design

Question 2 would create a constitutional requirement that all revenue derived from taxes on motor fuels be deposited into the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).[1] Currently, only 10.5 cents of the gasoline and diesel fuel taxes is required to be deposited into the TTF.

Transportation Trust Fund

Question 2 would require all revenue from tax revenues on motor fuels to be deposited into the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). The TTF was designed to fund the Department of Transportation and NJ Transit, which then use the revenue for transportation-related projects.[2]

Question 2 and the gas tax

Question 2 was intended to complement a gas tax increase. The amendment itself does not increase the gas tax.[3][4] On September 30, 2016, Gov. Christie (R) and the Democratic-controlled state legislature agreed to increase the gas tax 23 cents per gallon. As part of the agreement, the estate tax was eliminated, the Earned Income Tax Credit was increased, a tax deduction for veterans was created, and the state sales tax will be reduced from 7 to 6.625 percent in 2018.[5] Question 2 would guarantee that revenue from the additional 23 cents gas tax and the existing 10.5 cents gas tax to the Transportation Trust Fund.[6] Gov. Christie signed the bill on October 14, 2016.[7]

Americans for Prosperity, a leader in its opposition to the gas tax increase, supports the passage of Ballot Question 2:

"Americans for Prosperity supports the ballot measure and constitutionally dedicating the remaining revenues collected from the tax on diesel and the petro tax to the transportation fund. At the same time, AFP wants voters to be clear that this referendum does not authorize a gas tax increase, nor does it in any way resolve the transportation challenges the state is facing. The remaining revenue from these two taxes amounts to less than $30 million, a mere fraction of the $1.2 billion collected for the TTF last year. Americans for Prosperity is steadfast in our opposition to a gas tax hike. We continue to urge lawmakers to pursue reforms to rein in wasteful spending and to ensure our transportation dollars are used solely for our roads and bridges."

Ballot Question 2 is the latest BIG LIE seized upon by Red-Shirt founder Bill Spadea for the purposes of (1) increasing his value to the Townsquare Media Corporation, owners of radio station NJ 101.5; and (2) stirring up mistrust, anger, and rage against government and existing political parties for the furtherance of the Fascist Red-Shirt Movement. 

Spadea's argument appears to be that the tax cuts in the Tax Restructuring program (eliminating the estate tax, the tax cut on retirement income for most New Jersey seniors, the sales tax cut, the $3,000 personal income tax exemption for veterans, and the earned income tax credit for low-paid workers) will take revenue that is needed for pension payments for public employee unions. Spadea speciously argues that a vote on Ballot Question 2 would leave "teachers without proper funding".

First of all, this is nonsense and based on some entirely false premise that the Red-Shirt leader cooked up in his head.  Second, it is essentially a left-wing argument, one made by Walter Mondale against Ronald Reagan, at odds with the political spectrum Spadea and the other Red-Shirts claim to represent. But then again, they didn't call it national socialism for nothing!

The anger is the thing.  Getting listeners to act out in an emotional rage is what Spadea's mission is and the level of sometimes violent rage he's built up is truly remarkable.  The foul and pornographic language, the threats of violence against legislators and their families posted on social media, have been breathtaking. 

Townsquare Media permits Spadea to spew hatred against people who use public transportation as though they were a lower form of human being -- and his Red-Shirt followers (and some elected officials) lap it up.  As a salesman, politician, and movement leader, Spadea appears to know more about transportation engineering than civil engineers and planners, who explain the common sense fact that public mass transportation removes millions of cars from the road that would otherwise be clogging said roads and adding to road wear and lengthening commuting time.

Spadea's latest argument against putting the money from the gas tax into a lock-box for road and bridge repair is that capital projects should be purchased up front instead of being financed over the life of the project.  That would be like buying a house or a car for cash.  Few can afford to do that and taxpayers cannot afford to see their property taxes go up to pay for a new bridge up front  Capital borrowing spreads the cost out over the life of the bridge. 

It's common sense but common sense is not what Bill Spadea and his Red-Shirters are about.  They want anger, they want rage, they want fear, they want hate... and increasingly, they are succeeding.

Spadea's rants have so frightened Assemblyman Erik Peterson, that last week his office put out a press release stating "Peterson has consistently opposed these measures" while apparently forgetting that he voted to put the Question on the ballot in January of this year:

ACR1 Amends State Constitution to dedicate all State revenues from motor fuels and petroleum products gross receipts tax to transportation system.

Session Voting:
Asm.  1/11/2016-  3RDG FINAL PASSAGE   -  Yes {75}  No {0}  Not Voting {4}  Abstains {0}

Peterson, Erik - Yes

What a knucklehead!

But that's how it is now.  Emotion trumps reason.  The Big Lie conquers factual truth.  Fear makes people forget their own voting records.  And anger, rage, and hate are the order of the day.  We have been here before, as this footage from a speech by an American Brown-Shirt leader in Madison Square Garden reminds us.  Yes, we have been here before and we have defeated the forces of rage and have survived.