San Francisco Bay Guardian Columnist Sad Oaksterdam Raid Turning People Off of Big Government

Last week the federal raid of Oakland, California's Oaksterdam University provoked a whole bunch of headlines on the drug war. It also provoked a truly terrible column from the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Under the headline "Why Wall Street loves the War on Drugs," writer Tim Redmond tells a mournful tale of how the 1 percent uses the war on drugs to do something crazy, namely make people sour on a massive federal government able to do things like shut down a university devoted to teaching people to grow a plant.

And that is just terrible, writes Redmond. That is just like the 1960s when the Vietnam War and the dawn of the War on Drugs turned leftie, hippie types into those nodding sagely at Ronald Reagan, convinced at the rightness of his inaugural "government is not the solution, it's the problem" speech. Never mind that Reagan was one of the fathers of, not the war on drugs, but the hyper-militarized version we have today. Still, it's a real shame that this kind of thuggery is turning people off of Obama's economic goals, or the general, exciting goal of income redistribution. It's not, says Redmond, doing Obama any favors in his re-election campaign to alienate former supporters by letting these raids happen. 

In fact, writes Remond, it ain't about drugs at all:

There's only one possible way to increase economic equality in this country, and it involves government intervention. With union membership at a fraction of what it once was, government is the only institution with the power these days to enforce income redistribution. The wealthy have to be forced to pay higher taxes, and that money has to be spent on public education, affordable housing, economic development, public-sector-driven job creation and other programs that are proven to narrow the wealth gap.

But that's tricky, since the Right has done such an effective job (with the help of corrupt politicians of every stripe, including liberals) of making Americans mistrust government. How do you get people to vote for higher taxes when they think the money's going to be wasted on pointless wars and crony contracts -- and on sending federal agents to roust pot clubs?

They think? It is being wasted. And even if it isn't being spend on those specific things, what kind of government do you have when your government is capable of raids like this, when it's in fact policy and not even unique?

Redmond goes on:

There are more progressives in the Bay Area today who distrust and dislike the federal government than there were before the raids began. We're going back to the days when "the feds" became a dirty word. And it's undermining everything that Obama is tyring to do with the economy.

Yeah, Wall Street, which is trying to get rid of pesky regulations, loves this -- if you hate the feds in Oaksterdam, it's hard to love them at the IRS and Securities and Exchange Commission. That's what the 1 percent relies on. And it's working.

It's hard to formulate a response to such clueless pleas for a big government for thee, not for pot smoking little old me. You know, a perfect government big enough to keep the super rich meek and choked with taxation, but not one that would ever think of stepping up its police force, or its prohibition of anything, or the passing of any law to which good, honest members of the 99 percent might object.

But let's hope Redmond is right and that these raids are working to alienate Californians and folks all over the country and Obama voters, too. Any passionate foe of the war on drugs should either stay home, or vote for Gary Johnson or Ron Paul. The hoped-for Obama as friend to drug freedom ship has definitely sailed long ago.

Of course Remond, in the midst of his awful writing, is also too clueless to realize how closely involved the IRS (not exactly a friend to the 99 percent, no matter how much you support the taxation of the wealthy) has been with these federal raids. Tax loop holes are a great excuse to shut down medical marijuana distributors. Or they were back when Obama's Department of Justice was cautious enough to wait for the ghost of an excuse beyond the same old drug war tactics.

Reason on drug policy; Apropos of this and way too much, Matt Welch on "Why Big Government is Offensive." And Reason.tv on "What We Saw at the San Francisco Marijuana Rally"

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  • WarrenT||

    Yes, taking more money away from people is exactly the way to get the economy moving!

  • WarrenT||

    Don't forget unions? If they can't be paid over their actual value then the terror....capitalists have won!

  • wareagle||

    the only conclusion I get is that Redmond is utter fool and a dangerous one given that he has access to getting his thoughts disseminated. No country has spent more on public ed with worse results than the US; unions have imploded on their own merit; and, the rich pay a hefty share of taxes already. The only way the Left Coast is "turned off" big govt is when it's not giving them someone else's things, when the police state wing trumps the nanny state wing.

  • J_B||

    Tim Redmond = retarded fetus.

    He gets off on all-government, all-the-time, in every orifice.

  • Sevo||

    The Bay Guardian exists largely as a result of a rent-seeking lawsuit against its prime competitor in the SF; SF Weekly was selling stuff too cheap!
    The Bay Guardian's whining about a lack of union membership stands in stark contrast to the paper fighting union membership for its workers tooth and nail.
    The Bay Guardian is too course for ass-wipe material and too stupid to read.

  • PapayaSF||

    This is all quite true. And like a lot of lefty businesses, it's not known as a great place to work.

  • Anacreon||

    I used to be a magazine editor in SF in the early 90's and was acquainted with a lot of the Guardian douchebags such as Redmond. Few if any were able to write a coherent sentence and most of their efforts in those days were to convince all that the PG&E utility was the spawn of Satan. The editorial viewpoint is somewhere to the left of Stalin and I don't recall anything ever published in that fishwrap that I agreed with.

  • Sevo||

    "most of their efforts in those days were to convince all that the PG&E utility was the spawn of Satan."

    Their efforts to this day haven't changed a bit.
    They have yet to recognize that PG&E is the spawn of satan *because* it's a government-sponsored monopoly; see article above for the disconnect required to preserve that stupidity.

  • PapayaSF||

    Their solution, of course, is for San Francisco to take over PG&E ("public power").

  • ||

    I'm trying not to be astonished at this guy's stupidity, cluelessness, and un-self-awareness, and I know I shouldn't be, but man, he dumb. He's also so far down the partisan infinite slope of retardedness that I think he may have passed the event horizon beyond which no sense can ever escape.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    You lose some of life's magic when you lose the ability to be horrified by this level of doublethink, reactionary, hypocritical bullshit.

  • WarrenT||

    But it's so much at once.

  • ||

    Damn it, Lucy, this means I'm still slightly human. I can't have that.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    A joke about the Turing Test I am too lazy to formulate?

  • RyanXXX||

    You're driving in the desert. On the side of the road, you see Mary Stack lying on her back....

  • WarrenT||

    There's a name that never needs to be mentioned.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Someone needs to explain to these sad little twerps who bemoan Obama's failure to do a damned thing about ending the War on Drugs, that Prohibition, in all its forms, is in fact the quintessential "progressive" agenda. It's born of the conceit that the enlightened minions of the nanny state are capable of making the proles into "better" people (that is to say, more obedient people) by putting a gun to their heads.

    -jcr

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    From one of the comments on the column: "You want a nanny state? Well, this is what a nanny state is all about, you pathetic boot licking idiot."

    I think that about covers it.

  • Brandybuck||

    Big cluestick Remond: It was a highly progressive Democrat attorney general under a highly progressive Democrat president in a highly progressive Democrat city and county that cracked down on Oaksterdam. So stop with the bullshit that progressives and Dems are on the right side of the war on drugs. Your pot has an inch thick layer of soot on it just like the conservative Republican kettle.

  • PapayaSF||

    Oh, Brandybuck, you just don't get it. Don't you realize that every bad thing is the result of Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, or insufficient leftism? That's the way my leftist friends think. E.g. if the economy sucks when a Republican is president, it's his fault. If it sucks when a Democrat is president, it's the fault of the previous Republican president. Etc.

  • WarrenT||

    When are we going to go back to blaming things on the Hun?

  • db||

    Blame the deniers.

  • The Unknown Pundit||

    I deny it was the Huns.

  • juris imprudent||

    If we truly had Social Darwinism, these fucks would be extinct.

  • General Butt Naked||

    The tone of that article was pure, unadulterated fucking panic. The death rattles of a dangerous and discredited ideology. Grasping at straws at its finest. It gave me hope.

    Or it was just the deranged ramblings of a syphilitic mind.

  • WarrenT||

    Either way works for me, but I'd prefer the former.

  • PapayaSF||

    Leftists are generally quite immune to evidence. Hell, they're still trying to turn us into a European social welfare state even as they all go bankrupt. They heard nice things about Europe in the '70s, but nothing that's happened there since has penetrated their ideology.

  • WarrenT||

    Detroit is doing fine!

  • sloopyinca||

    Ditto the Windy City, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, the non-political part of Washington, DC, Albany, Pittsburgh and Newark.

  • WarrenT||

    Sing it brother-man!

  • The Unknown Pundit||

    Don't forget St. Louis.

  • Anacreon||

    Heart of Rock and Roll.

  • mr simple||

    Remond, in the midst of his awful writing, it also too clueless

    Justice? No, his writing is awful.

  • mr simple||

    Hmm, tag fail. Who's law is that?

  • db||

    Apostrophe's Law.

  • sloopyinca||

    Fantastic article, as usual, Lucy.

    Here. You've more than earned this treat.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Thanks, friend. My A.M. Links would have a lot of Joe Strummer, David Tennant, and members of Old Crow Medicine Show.

    The lady member of Shovels and Rope, Neko Case, and Christina Hendricks are also invited, however.

    Mmmm, Joe Strummer voice. So scratchy-good.

  • sloopyinca||

    I saw you lament a lack of Strummer earlier today, so I thought you deserved it.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    Need more punk rock during working hours. Country is entirely too mournful, not productive!

  • sloopyinca||

    Then here you go.

    I especially like the dedication. It's so...apt.

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    You the man, sloopy. (Actually, Feinstein is more the man.)

    I got hit really hard in the head to "Police Truck" back in 2010! I fell over! But then I had to get back up when Jello played "Holiday in Cambodia." Obviously.

  • wef||

    The hoped-for Obama as friend to drug freedom ship has definitely sailed long ago.

    Ok, I was not paying enough attention, but I missed the months or weeks or whatever when there was some mass hope that Obama was friend to the drug freedom ship. He was a dorm-room bullshitter selling hope et cetera, but did he ever signal that he would ever do something about the WoD? Maybe some gestures without motion?

    Anyway, reactionary leftists around the Bay will half-read this nonsense, nod their heads and then forget it.

  • sloopyinca||

  • wef||

    The little article linked did not support the claim that Obama had signaled that he supported drug freedom. It references an administration directive not to go after cancer patients, but that is "weak tea" with respect to the proposition. I am not claiming that Obama did not mislead those who were reading into his bullshit promises about the WoD, but did he really promise anything substantial? Seriously, I cannot think of anything at the time that would embarrass today his fascist ass.

  • sloopyinca||

    FTA: When he was first in office, it looked as if Obama would do as he had said. Drug war opponents were pleasantly surprised in 2009 when a Department of Justice memo advised U.S. attorneys not to “focus federal resources” on “individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen” consistent with state law or their caregivers.

    He said through the entire campaign that he wouldn't go after MMJ users that had a prescription, yet he's gone balls-out after them to boost his arrest #'s.

  • WarrenT||

    Police and prison guard unions donate a lot of money and the stoners ain't voting for anyone else, so what cost does he face by pleasing his money base over his locked-in voting base?

  • Sevo||

    "so what cost does he face by pleasing his money base over his locked-in voting base?"

    Not one thing.
    He could show up in SF, drop a nuke on Union Square and the local lefties would claim he was doing wonders by removing 'chain store retailers'.
    Hell, his wife was involved in a group-hug session with Code Pink last week and no one in Code Pink managed to see the irony.

  • John C. Randolph||

    When he was first in office, it looked as if Obama would do as he had said

    Except for the fact that all we got was a two-week hiatus between the inauguration and the next DEA terrorist op against a dispensary in California.

    -jcr

  • Lucy Steigerwald||

    The last REAL hopeful signs were years ago, but the fact that he said "I inhaled, that was the point" and mentioned the war on drugs as not ideal, that made teeny bits of optimism there less baseless than hopes he would end wars and other socially pleasing things.

  • ||

    Sarah Palin said the same things but you don't see anyone championing her as drug reformer.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Look at 'em racist klanbagger state's rights fuckers in the pic. Fuckin' Bushpig rednecks!

  • db||

    Needs moar christfag.

  • General Butt Naked||

    What doesn't, eh?

  • PapayaSF||

    affordable housing, economic development, public-sector-driven job creation and other programs that are proven to narrow the wealth gap. [citation needed]

  • sloopyinca||

    Papaya, why do you hate black people, women and poor children?

    How's that for a citation?

  • PapayaSF||

    A few years ago there was an article about a woman in public housing here, complaining about the lack of maintenance. She and her daughter had a three-bedroom apartment for which she paid $80/month. For some reason I was unable to work up much empathy for her plight.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Hey, when everybody's poor there's no income gap.

    Voila! Problem solved.

  • Sharon Stone||

    Better yet. I propose a universal ban on any income gaps.

    Just remember, next time there is perilous social or economic problem, make a new law.

  • WarrenT||

    I don't know if he still does but there was a time when super-lefty Ed Asner wanted to make being poor illegal.

  • Sharon Stone||

    I'd imagine he went far up the democratic party ranks.

  • WarrenT||

    Up something anyway. I don't think he was ever an official for them. To busy playing super-righteous lefty types on the TeeVee.

  • Mr Whipple||

    "Good cop government, bad cop government?

  • Sevo||

    A bit of background:
    Redmond's hypocrisy isn't limited to the union whine; he's shilling for the disgraced SF sheriff who plead guilty to 'false imprisonment' to avoid spousal abuse charges, which charges are the result of tightened limits on what constitutes spousal abuse pushed by 'progressives'.
    Surprise! The party who plead guilty (Ross Mirkarimi) is a 'progressive'!

  • PapayaSF||

    The local political establishment is still in an uproar about this. It is darkly amusing.

    (Hey Sevo, are you in SF as well?)

  • sloopyinca||

    Dammit, I need to get up there in the next couple of weeks for work. When are you guys free for a reason meetup one night next week? I'll make my schedule work around it.

  • PapayaSF||

    Sure, I'm up for it. Email me. You just have to take a Solemn Vow that you will never reveal my Real World Identity: I'm trying to make a living in a city filled with narrow-minded leftists.

  • WarrenT||

    Mr. Mango?

  • Anacreon||

    Any way I can get in on meeting some HnR commenters? I'm in the East Bay (actually work quite close to Oaksterdam).

  • PapayaSF||

    You (and any other regulars) are welcome to email me. Or someone could start a MeetUp.

  • Sevo||

    Sloopy,
    I checked your blog and didn't find a way to email you.
    But, hey, I'm an old fart, so maybe I missed it in one corner or another.

  • sloopyinca||

  • Sevo||

    "(Hey Sevo, are you in SF as well?)"

    Yes, and on 'spare the air' days, I empty Bay Guardian dispensers to use as kindling.
    Further hypocrisy: Note the BG's fear-mongering on cell phones:
    "How safe is your cell phone?"
    http://www.sfbg.com/2010/06/09.....cell-phone
    But that twit Brugmann isn't going to pass up rental space on his building:
    "Dozens of Neighbors Speak Out Against Bay Guardian Cellular Antennas"
    http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thes....._neigh.php

  • Suellington||

    It is definitely funny to check out the dopes over at the Guardian trip over themselves trying to defend the suspends sheriff.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    How do you get people to vote for higher taxes when they think the money's going to be wasted on pointless wars, crony contracts, green energy boondoggles,, killer drones, Chevy volts that no one will buy, union giveaways, and international vacations for the wife and kids -- and on sending federal agents to roust pot clubs?

    Good question, Tim. Good fucking question.

  • Sevo||

    And you could have bolded: "pointless wars, crony contracts" since the lefty-in-residence at the White House is backing those also.

  • Suellington||

    My personal favorite Guardian cover was the one from a year back or so where there was a hippie chick on Haight Street with a sign begging for money. The feature article was about how the high cost of rent was keeping kids like her on the street. Never mind that in the article itself these kids admit that they have no desire to live a "normal" life and like being nomads with no responsibilities.

    The best part was that she was smoking an American Spirit cigarette in the cover photo. No cheap tobacco for her.

  • ||

    Interesting discussion at Reddit where people who lived under communism share their stories.

    And yet there is still a sizeable number of people who think there is a way to have the "nice" things about communism (ie "free" healthcare, education, a lack of greed) without the bad parts, like, you know, massive state surveillance and political repression.

  • Sevo||

    Uh, there's this guy named Van Jones...

  • ||

    What the frak? That's not the link I copied. Shit.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/AskRed.....t_country/

  • ||

    Quick, get Reason to delete it before Mary Stack comes to your room with a baseball bat and a boombox.

  • ||

    Is Mary Stack going to become a mythical monster among the Reason commentariat? Because I kind of like the idea of telling my children and grandchildren to not screw around on the internet or else Mary Stack will get you.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    The kids say that if you stand before a mirror in the dark and say her name three times, she'll appear.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    What name?

  • General Butt Naked||

    She's like the Keyser Söze of trolls.

  • ||

    Check out Tim's attempt at a clarification in the comments:

    http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2.....ment-58322

    I guess he felt that his post didn't have enough liberal buzzwords to rally everyone to his cause.

  • Sevo||

    Redmond is back-peddling enough he'll probably fall off that bicycle.
    Glad to see the comments calling him on the bullshit.

  • Killazontherun||

    That's first class retardation there. The fact an item can be produced by cottage industries does not prevent corporations from making billions on those very same items. Need an example -- purified water.

  • ||

    Tomatoes.

  • ||

    How do you get people to vote for higher taxes when they think the money's going to be wasted on pointless wars and crony contracts -- and on sending federal agents to roust pot clubs?

    They think? It is being wasted.

    That all depends on what your definition of "waste" is.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    There's only one possible way to increase economic equality in this country, and it involves government intervention. With union membership at a fraction of what it once was, government is the only institution with the power these days to enforce income redistribution. The wealthy have to be forced to pay higher taxes, and that money has to be spent on public education, affordable housing, economic development, public-sector-driven job creation and other programs that are proven to narrow the wealth gap.

    The "Born This Way" column talks about "why ideology makes it so hard for people to understand, respect, and accept each other." How can anyone with a brain understand, respect, and accept the weaponized stupid coming out of Redmond's piehole?

  • ||

    There's only one possible way to increase economic equality in this country, and it involves government intervention. With union membership at a fraction of what it once was, government is the only institution with the power these days to enforce income redistribution. The wealthy have to be forced to pay higher taxes, and that money has to be spent on public education, affordable housing, economic development, public-sector-driven job creation and other programs that are proven to narrow the wealth gap.


    That's some top-notch trolling, right there.

  • R C Dean||

    that money has to be spent on public education, affordable housing, economic development, public-sector-driven job creation and other programs that are proven to narrow the wealth gap.

    I could have sworn this is exactly what we were doing while economic inequality increased.

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