- Wet Weekend
- Emergency Services
- Rain Totals
- Fixing Mental Health
- McNab Shepherds
- Drunk Students
- Title Game
- Nonprofit Nonsense
- Missing Jamie
- Grange War
- Yesterday's Catch
- Neoliberal Blowback
- Nazi Compassions
- Republican Blowback
- True Grit
- Drugging Anti-authoritarians
- Rockin' Fundraiser
JUST IN FROM YORKVILLE. Saturday was easily the wettest day this rain season with 3.6 inches for Anderson Valley's southern tip (the two previous highs this season were 2.84 inches on Jan 17 and 2.72 inches on Dec 21). Another 1.96 inches came down Sunday (remember total rainfall for the entire month of February was only 1.64 inches). We've surpassed average annual rainfall now, with more to come. Hooray for our aquifers!
A BREAK IN THE RAIN is expected this afternoon into tomorrow morning, before another cold front delivers more heavy rain, gusty winds, and possible flooding.
WEATHER UPDATE FROM OES
As of 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning there have been no reports of road closures due to flooding or slides. The Department of Transportation reported Saturday night at 9:51 p.m. their crews were working both inland and on the coast clearing down trees and small rock slides and had spotted some minor flooding but there were no major problems. The Navarro River was observed at 21.28ft and the Russian River 15.74ft. National Weather is forecasting another storm may be moving in on Friday (March 11th) bringing higher forecasted River levels, Russian at Hopland 18.1 ft and Navarro 27.9 ft. There will be more information on this storm throughout the week. Today the National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for Mendocino County. Isolated thunderstorms and small hail is possible Sunday. There have been no updates from PG&E but in checking their website it looks like there are various small areas of power outages being reported and crews are assigned.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE
The winter storm over the weekend brought in some very impressive rain totals, here are a few totals for Mendocino County (visit this site for more totals www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/).
- Boonville - 4.55 Inches
- Covelo - 3.64 Inches
- Leggett - 4.08 Inches
- Laytonville - 4.86 Inches
- McGuires - 4.35 Inches
- Potter Valley - 3.58 Inches
- Ukiah - 3.27 Inches
- Willits - 4.84 Inches
- Yorkville - 5.96 Inches
At 6:17 a.m. the National Weather Service reported the Navarro River had been observed at 16.58 ft, the Garcia River 8.65 ft. and the Russian at Hopland 12.27 ft. In my last email, I had reported there are predicted storms moving in and that Friday's river forecast the rivers may reach flood stage. This morning the projected numbers have been reduced.
There has been a Hazardous Weather Outlook for the Northwest California with snow levels at around 2,500 to 3,000 feet this morning. Wednesday night into Thursday night a cold front is expected to bring heavy rain and gusty winds causing possible localized flooding.
AT&T reported technicians are working on local service repair tickets throughout the County but they had no major outages reported.
The PG&E website had no outages reported for Mendocino County, and Caltrans had no road closures reported at this time.
(Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services)
A RESIDENT OF LITTLE RIVER REPORTS:
For 2 miles up Little River Airport Rd (the Woods), I have logged 39.4 inches to the end of Feb and an additional 4.2 inches since March 1st (and counting).....43.5 total for the rain season. Depending on whose site you look at - about an average year. Given the forecast, we will be a bunch above average by the end of the month. Hope the Sierra does as well!
Supervisor Dan Gjerde Is Right On Mental Health RFP
by K.C. Meadows
Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Gjerde is right to lead the effort to get the county to issue a request for proposals to find a contractor for county adult mental health services who will do a better job than Ortner Management Group has done in the three years it’s been under contract.
We disagree with Supervisors Dan Hamburg and John McCowen who want to stick with Ortner, saying Ortner would have no incentive to improve its services if it feels it is being shown the door anyway.
First of all, if they think Ortner would — or should — take that attitude, then as far as we’re concerned that disqualifies Ortner as a service provider.
And, Ortner has lots of good business reasons of its own to want to look as though it is cooperating with Mendocino County to provide the best possible services.
As other supervisors pointed out, Ortner would be welcome to put forth its own new proposal under the RFP process, although we wonder if they would want to stay on under the likely reduction in profit motive in a tighter and heavily directed new contract.
We understand why Mr. Hamburg is in the tank for Ortner. He has a family member under their care and is convinced by the lukewarm review from the independent Kemper consultants that mental health services have improved somewhat under Ortner. But what he doesn’t seem to get is the conviction from dozens of local doctors who deal with mental health patients that many of Ortner’s low-paid staffers just don’t care, and work for a culture that permits that.
Mr. McCowen on the other hand, seems to feel that the county will look unreliable to other potential contractors if it dumps Ortner now. We take the opposite view, that what the county is doing is showing contractors that it knows how to correct its mistakes and will not let contractors who disappoint it off the hook.
The county needs to have an RFP ready to go quickly and should get Kemper to help them draw up a watertight document.
Next, the county still needs to do its part to improve services as well. It needs to pursue the exciting and very real prospect of having the old Howard Hospital in Willits transformed into a locked psychiatric care hospital rather than continuing to send our critically mentally ill off to far flung counties at great expense. Then the county needs to hire at least one if not two people who will be responsible for administering the contract and making sure that whoever is providing adult mental health care — with millions of our dollars let’s not forget — is doing it dependably and responsibly with care and transparency.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
MEET UKIAH’S CRAFT CANINE: THE MCNAB SHEPHERD
by Justine Frederiksen
Back when there were more sheep than marijuana plants in Mendocino County, a lesser known, but just as coveted, local export was created.
It was the late 1800s, and one of the men herding sheep in the Ukiah Valley also began brewing its craft canine: the McNab Shepherd.
And while many current locals have never heard of this four-legged farm hand, it has cultivated a fiercely devoted following throughout California and beyond, particularly with cattle herders.
“They’re pretty incredible,” said Teri Garcin, who runs a cattle ranch with her husband near Santa Maria. Garcin said she has worked with all types of herding dogs but prefers to use McNabs, describing them as “sensitive, intelligent” dogs that “definitely have a mind of their own,” a trait she depends on.
“For our work, you need a dog that works independently from you, that just knows what to do,” she said, explaining that her cattle will often take off as soon as she and her horse appear, so she relies on the dogs to stop and group the cows until she can catch up.
“They’re scrappy, savvy and strong,” she said, explaining that the McNab’s smarts and grit are likely what kept the breed alive. “They had to be able to do their jobs well, or they wouldn’t have been kept around. It wouldn’t have been worth feeding them if they didn’t prove their worth.”
The McNab shepherd is a hybrid, created from the collies Scottish emigrant Alexander McNab brought from his home country to the large Ukiah Valley property he acquired in 1868.
To acclimate the dogs he had seen working the cool, green hills of Scotland to the hot, dry ones in inland Mendocino County, he bred the imports with other dogs to create shorter fur that could handle the heat and would collect fewer foxtails.
But it wasn’t until his son, John McNab, brought more dogs over from Scotland and reinvigorated his father’s work at the ranch he inherited that the breed really took off.
“They weren’t called McNabs until John bred them,” said local historian and veterinarian Paul Poulos, whose uncle Alvin “Bonnie” Bonnifield helped the younger McNab breed his first litters of puppies. “And I think a lot of the dogs’ popularity was due to the popularity of John McNab.”
To show us how those early dogs looked at the time, local artist Grace Hudson drew sketches of the shepherds, which bear a strong resemblance to border collies, though with longer legs and shorter fur.
And indeed, many people feel a McNab is really just a border collie with short hair, as they share many traits that make them both excellent herders. With one key difference: if you have cattle, you’ll want a McNab.
While they’re not necessarily faster or smarter than border collies, most people who work with herding dogs agree that McNabs are taller, stronger and much more willing to use force, “which is something you need when you’re dealing with a 1,200-pound cow versus a 200-pound sheep,” said Mac Magruder, who uses McNab mixes to herd the cattle on his Potter Valley ranch. “They need to have some authority, and these guys will take a bite to establish that, which is something a border collie wouldn’t do.”
And while all of his dogs are mixes now, he said one of his favorite working dogs was a full McNab.
“She was just so smart,” he said. “She knew exactly what to do.”
Another cattle rustler who swears by McNabs is Gary Williams of San Miguel, a “contract cowboy” who relies on the dogs to help him catch cattle because they’ll run through thick brush to get to the front of a herd, then bite a cow in the face to get it to stop.
“I need aggressive, but very controllable, dogs,” he said. “The border collies want to work anything that moves: chickens, children or cars. What I really like about McNabs is they will only work what I want them to work, they ignore everything else.”
He first met a McNab in 1973, when he was living in Oregon and one wandered onto his ranch after falling off the back of its owner’s pickup truck.
“I saw him work my animals and noticed he had a different style that I really liked,” he said, explaining the style as much more forceful. When the dog’s owner finally retrieved it a couple of months later, he was sad to see him go, but luckily the owner was so pleased with how well his dog had been cared for that he came back and offered Williams the pick of a McNab litter.
Williams has used McNabs ever since, admiring not just their more assertive approach, but their athleticism and stamina.
“My goodness they’re athletic,” he said. “A McNab can jump over a bull’s back and bite it in the nose. It can clear a six-foot fence no problem.”
As for that stamina, many who own them describe them as “inexhaustible.”
“I have really good border collies, but we’ll come back and they’ll be exhausted, while my McNabs are still bouncing under my stirrups,” he said.
And when they finally do stop working, he said, their short, sleek coats mean “I don’t have to comb them out at night.”
A Willows woman who wins herding competitions with her three-quarters McNab said she definitely notices differences between McNabs and border collies.
“McNabs seem to just never tire,” said Catlyn Gilman, describing McNabs as having more of a “loose eye” versus the border collie’s intense stare, and more independence than border collies, which turn to their handler for what to do next.
“The McNab style is more like, ‘I got this,’” she said.
Garcin agreed that McNabs are strong-minded and selective, even bordering on persnickety.
“They are definitely unique and not the dog for just anyone,” she said, describing them as often “one-person” dogs. “One of my McNabs won’t let anyone but me touch her. Many people don’t like that, they want their dogs to like everyone.”
Williams agreed that McNabs expect a different kind of connection with their handlers than other dogs.
“They have to love you, or they won’t work for you,” he said. “Border collies will work for anyone, but McNabs won’t. You have to bond with them.”
Evidence of this bonding style can be found in a story written by Lulu McNab, Alexander McNab’s daughter-in-law, and printed in the Overland Monthly Magazine in 1894.
“A good herding dog must be kept solely by one person, and be fed, worked, praised and punished by one alone,” she writes, referring to the herding dogs of Mendocino County as Scotch Collies. “Ye cannot serve two masters.”
No official kennel club recognizes the McNab as a distinct breed, but dogs can be registered with working and stock dog organizations.
The breed is usually described as a medium-sized dog with short, sleek coats and agile, cat-like feet, that can both “head” and “heel” when herding.
They are described in early accounts as having black coats with white on their face, chest, feet and tail tips, and ears that flop gently over. However, later breeding of the dogs seems to have introduced brownish-red coloring, very short tails and large, erect ears that resemble those of a bat.
People who love the McNabs care less about how they look, however, than how they work.
“The primary trait that should be preserved is the way they work,” said Garcin, who breeds the dogs on her ranch, using at least two dogs from Mendocino County, as a way to keep them available for cattle herders.
Williams also breeds and sells McNabs, and said he went to Ukiah in 1993 to bring home a litter of puppies from the McNab Ranch, though at the time it was no longer owned by the McNab family, which had reportedly left the area decades earlier.
“Most of my McNab puppies are sold before they’re even conceived,” he said.
“Ranchers have been the best stewards of the breed, but they’re becoming extinct as well,” said Garcin, who said she hopes to create a foundation much like the American Quarter Horse Foundation to help preserve the McNab breed and its most-prized qualities. “I’m scared they’re going to get absorbed into the border collie population.”
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
INTERESTING STORY by Loran Lewis in The Willits News suggesting major discipline probs at Willits High School. Lewis describes the presentation of a list of complaints about high school discipline arising from, so goes the allegation by teachers, superintendent Robert Chavez's absences while he attends to a legal matter arising from his work at another school district.
"Because of Chavez’s involvement in the court case, Roeling said his absences had contributed to a lack of leadership at the school and this had led to a problem with student discipline." Ms. Roeling is the librarian at Willits High school. She was speaking for a number of high school faculty.
"Roeling said intoxicated students at the school have been returned to class 'within the hour' and that students are often defiant of teachers because of a lack of consequences. This situation has caused teachers to not feel safe at work.
"The overall condition at the school has created an environment in which “30% to 50% of teachers presently at Willits High School are considering leaving the campus, according to the teachers’ list. Roeling added that young teachers 'feel so unsupported that they are taking the first opportunity to leave the district.’ ‘We are devoted, sirs, madams, to being the staunchest advocates for the education of our youth,’ Roeling concluded, ‘even to the point of escalating this situation beyond the bounds of the district’.”
"In his remarks later, Chavez told the board things were improving at the school. He said he had met with the teachers before the board meeting and 'gave his blessing to come to the board’."
DRUNK STUDENTS? Sent back to class in an hour? Yeah, I'd say Willits Unified has a problem.
ANDERSON VALLEY FALLS TO EMERY IN DIVISION 6 TITLE GAME
by Howard Senzell
One winning streak had to end Saturday night in the NCS Division 6 championship boys basketball game between Anderson Valley and Emery.
Unfortunately for the visiting Panthers, it was their eight-game road victory skein that was snapped as Emery earned the first-place trophy with a 59-46 win.
For the Emeryville school, it was their 10th consecutive home victory this season.
Anderson Valley trailed 27-18 at halftime but narrowed the gap to three points midway through the third quarter.
“That was as close as we got,” coach Luis Espinoza said. “We dug a hole that we couldn’t get out of.”
Emery runs an up-tempo offense and Anderson Valley had trouble getting back in transition. That led to layups by the Spartans.
“They’re very quick,” Espinoza said. “They took us out of our game.”
Emery also did a good job scouting Anderson Valley. Cesar Soto, the reigning NCL III most valuable player, was held to single digits.
Jared Johnston was the only Panthers player to reach double figures. He had 10, one more than teammate Alejandro Soto.
For Emery, Kevin Byrd led the way with 19.
Had Anderson Valley won, it would have been the first NCS basketball title in school history.
“We had a great turnout of fans and wish we could’ve gotten it done,” Espinoza said.
“We had a tough one in the semis against Archbishop Hanna and that game took a lot of our focus,” he said. Anderson Valley won that contest on Wednesday, 63-61 in overtime.
“I’ve been coaching eight of the players on this team since they were in second grade,” Espinoza added. “They’re great kids and one of the best, if not the best, team to come out of Anderson Valley.”
Espinoza will have at least one more game to coach his team. The Panthers will play in the CIF state tournament. The first round is Wednesday.
(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
BAD LUCK BOB
There are 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States today. 677 are in Mendocino County. 379 of them report being flat broke. Under penalty of perjury. It ain’t that way south of here. Sonoma and Marin have over 2,000 nonprofits between them. All of them healthy as a horse.
Here’s another statistic for you. Sixteen nonprofits in the country have written policies to keep their tax returns away from voting board members. Three of those are in Mendocino County. Who are they? Mendocino County Public Broadcasting (KZYX), Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, and the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation. These are the ones that aren't broke.
In 2013, the Hospital Foundation posted meeting minutes on its website. Then took them down last year. Why? Look at the tax return for that year. A $1.1 million investment portfolio got cashed in. Along with a 32% dividend. Yeah. Who approved it? Look at the minutes. Nobody did. That's why they got taken down. So who's running the store? Here's what their website says:
- Steve Lund, President
- Patricia Jauregui-Darland, Vice-President
- Susan Warner, Secretary and Past President
- Vacant, Treasurer
- Bob Cimmiyotti
- James Katzel, MD
- Heidi Kraut
- Rob Scott
Notice the vacancy? In 2014, the treasurer was Bob Christofferson. According to the hidden tax return. It was the same for 2013. In another hidden tax return. But not in 2012. Bob was a lowly director then. And the tax returns were in plain sight.
The website shows six years of audited financial statements. One with a six-figure math error. Prepared by an outfit named TCA Partners. Who got their license revoked. For doing shitty audits. The last of them is dated November 20, 2013. When Bob was treasurer.
Supposedly, there's $1.6 million in cash at the Foundation now. According to a Wyoming CPA named Daniel J. Leombruno. Who got into trouble there for failing to register as a CPA. He's not registered in California either. Which figures. His first tax return here had to be filed twice. When did Leombruno get hired? In 2014. When Bob was treasurer.
Maybe this was all bad luck. If so, it'd sure be nice to see meeting minutes back on the Foundation's website. Showing a reversal of that policy to hide tax returns from voting board members. And authorizing an audit from a CPA who's actually registered. To see what's left. Especially if the Foundation wants to keep the local hospital open.
Just one more thing. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are nineteen private foundations in Mendocino County. And Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation isn't one of them. So maybe it should stop pretending. And act like the public charity it really is.
Scott M. Peterson
PS: You can see more nonprofit nonsense at my weekly video comic strip, Mendopia.
ANYBODY SEEN JAMIE?
Missing Person — Have You Seen This person?
Missing hiker, last seen in the area East of 101 on the Ridgewood Grade near the Willits Watershed.
Jamie Dalton, white male adult, approximately 46 years old. Transient in nature, 6' 180 lb, blonde and blue shoulder length hair with a beard. Last seen wearing tan shorts, black leather jacket, black high-top shoes.
If you have any information regarding his location please contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Dispatch Center at 707-463-4086.
There is a "grange war" now distracting a revitalized local grange movement with threats of property seizure. It seems that the national grange group has a court order demanding that local granges join it or forfeit the grounds and buildings that are vital community centers in many California rural areas. Most California Grange chapters have not knuckled under, and have joined a lawsuit put forth by what is called the "McFarland Grange" (because there is now another California "grange" loyal to the national group) appealing this ruling.
I'm asking all community-minded people to join their local grange to make sure we do not lose control of community assets. In Anderson Valley, the local chapter owns property deeded to the chapter long ago by a generous landowner, and a building rebuilt in the mid-1980s entirely with community financing and labor, after the original grange structure burned down.
Since I came to Anderson Valley in the 1970s as part of the "back-to-the-land" movement, I've seen huge population influx--us, Mexicans attracted to the burgeoning vineyard industry, a wave of young exurbanites drawn by the cannabis boom, and others. We all need the grange building to maintain peace and well-being in the valley, for our great annual Variety Show, Mexican Quincenaras, peace conversion meetings, and so much more. It's ours, and we will defend it against all threats of property seizure.
Member, Anderson Valley Grange Chapter 669
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 6, 2016
DELBERT ALFORD, Ukiah. Parole violation.
DARRELL ELROD JR., Willits. Domestic battery.
JODY FAGUNDES, Fort Bragg. DUI.
CHAD HAKE, Willits. Drunk in public.
AIDEN HEGARTY, Ukiah. Under influence.
JACKIE MONTIETH, Fort Bragg. Vehicle theft, falsely impersonating another, failure to appear, probation revocation.
PATRICK SHECKELLS JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear.
BUCK SILVA, Willits. Drunk in public.
KYLE WEER, Ukiah. Misdemeanor hit&run.
FRANCISCO ZAMORA, Ukiah. Burglary from motor vehicle.
COLLEGE-EDUCATED ELITES, on behalf of corporations, carried out the savage neoliberal assault on the working poor. Now they are being made to pay. Their duplicity — embodied in politicians such as Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — succeeded for decades. These elites, many from East Coast Ivy League schools, spoke the language of values — civility, inclusivity, a condemnation of overt racism and bigotry, a concern for the middle class — while thrusting a knife into the back of the underclass for their corporate masters. This game has ended.
There are tens of millions of Americans, especially lower-class whites, rightfully enraged at what has been done to them, their families and their communities. They have risen up to reject the neoliberal policies and political correctness imposed on them by college-educated elites from both political parties: Lower-class whites are embracing an American fascism.
These Americans want a kind of freedom — a freedom to hate. They want the freedom to use words like “nigger,” “kike,” “spic,” “chink,” “raghead” and “fag.” They want the freedom to idealize violence and the gun culture. They want the freedom to have enemies, to physically assault Muslims, undocumented workers, African-Americans, homosexuals and anyone who dares criticize their crypto fascism. They want the freedom to celebrate historical movements and figures that the college-educated elites condemn, including the Ku Klux Klan and the Confederacy. They want the freedom to ridicule and dismiss intellectuals, ideas, science and culture. They want the freedom to silence those who have been telling them how to behave. And they want the freedom to revel in hyper-masculinity, racism, sexism and white patriarchy. These are the core sentiments of fascism. These sentiments are engendered by the collapse of the liberal state.
The Democrats are playing a very dangerous game by anointing Hillary Clinton as their presidential candidate. She epitomizes the double-dealing of the college-educated elites, those who speak the feel-your-pain language of ordinary men and women, who hold up the bible of political correctness, while selling out the poor and the working class to corporate power.
The Republicans, energized by America’s reality-star version of Il Duce, Donald Trump, have been pulling in voters, especially new voters, while the Democrats are well below the voter turnouts for 2008. In the voting Tuesday, 5.6 million votes were cast for the Democrats while 8.3 million went to the Republicans. Those numbers were virtually reversed in 2008 — 8.2 million for the Democrats and about 5 million for the Republicans.
— Chris Hedges
FEELING THEIR PAIN: ANIMAL RIGHTS & THE NAZIS
by Alexander Cockburn & Jeffrey St. Clair
In April 1933, soon after they had come to power, the Nazis passed laws regulating the slaughter of animals. Later that year Herman Goering announced an end to the “unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments” and—in an extremely unusual admission of the existence of such institutions—threatened to “commit to concentration camps those who still think they can continue to treat animals as inanimate property.” Bans on vivisection were issued—though later partly rescinded—in Bavaria and Prussia. Horses, cats, and apes were singled out for special protection. In 1936 a special law was passed regarding the correct way of dispatching lobsters and crabs and thus mitigating their terminal agonies. Crustaceans were to be thrown into rapidly boiling water. Bureaucrats at the Nazi Ministry of the Interior had produced learned research papers on the kindest method of killing.
Laws protecting wildlife were also passed, under somewhat eugenic protocols: “The duty of a true hunter is not only to hunt but also to nurture and protect wild animals in order that a more varied, stronger and healthier breed shall emerge and be preserved.” The Nazis were much concerned about endangered species, and Goering set up nature reserves to protect elk, bison, bears, and wild horses. (Goering called forests “God’s cathedrals,” thus echoing the idiom of John Muir, one of the fathers of the American national park movement, and a despiser of Indians.) The aim of the Law for the Protection of Animals was—as the preamble stated—“to waken and strengthen compassion as one of the highest moral values of the German people.” Animals were to be protected for their own sake rather than as appendages to the human moral and material condition. This was hailed as a new moral concept. In 1934 an international conference in Berlin on the topic of animal protection saw the podium festooned with swastikas and crowned by a banner declaring, “Entire epochs of love will be needed to repay animals for their value and service.”
Nazi leaders were noted for love of their pets and for certain animals, notably apex predators like the wolf and the lion. Hitler, a vegetarian and hater of hunting, adored dogs and spent some of his final hours in the company of Blondi, whom he would take for walks outside the bunker at some danger to himself. He had a particular enthusiasm for birds and most of all for wolves. His cover name was Herr Wolf. Many of his interim headquarters had “Wolf” as a prefix, as in Wolfschanze, in East Prussia, of which Hitler said, “I am the wolf and this is my den.” He also liked to whistle the tune of “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf,” from a Disney movie.
Goebbels said, famously, “The only real friend one has in the end is the dog… The more I get to know the human species, the more I care for my Benno.” Goebbels also agreed with Hitler that “meat eating is a perversion in our human nature,” and that Christianity was a “symptom of decay,” since it did not urge vegetarianism. Rudolf Hess was another affectionate pet owner.
On the one hand, monsters of cruelty toward their fellow humans, on the other, kind to animals and zealous in their interest. In their very fine essay on such contradictions in Anthrozoos (1992), Arnold Arluke and Boria Sax offer three observations. One, as just noted, many Nazi leaders harbored affection toward animals but antipathy to humans. Hitler was given films that displayed animals killing people. The Führer watched with equanimity. Another film showed humans killing animals. Hitler covered his eyes and begged to be told when the slaughter was over. In the same passage in his diary from the 1920s quoted above, Goebbels wrote, “As soon as I am with a person for three days, I don’t like him any longer… I have learned to despise the human being from the bottom of my soul.”
Second, animal-protection measures “may have been a legal veil to level an attack on the Jews. In making this attack, the Nazis allied themselves with animals since both were portrayed as victims of ‘oppressors’ such as Jews.”
Central to this equation was the composer Richard Wagner, an ardent vegetarian who urged attacks on laboratories and physical assault on vivisectionists, whom he associated with Jews (presumably because of kosher killing methods). Identifying vivisectors as the enemy, Wagner wrote that vivisection of frogs was “the curse of our civilization.” Those who failed to untruss and liberate frogs were “enemies of the state.”
Vivisection, in Wagner’s view, stood for mechanistic science, extrusion of a rationalist intellectualism that assailed the unity of nature, of which man is a part. He believed the purity of Aryans had been compromised by meat eating and mixing of the races. A non-meat diet plus the Eucharist would engender a return to the original, uncorrupted state of affairs. Wagner borrowed from Viennese monk Adolf Lanze, who held that in the beginning there were Aryans and Apes, with Germans closest to the former and Jews to the latter. The core enterprise was to perfect the breed and purge the coarser element. This went for animals too, in an unremitting process of genetic purification.
Finally, as Arluke and Sax put it, “the Nazis abolished moral distinctions between animals and people by viewing people as animals. The result was that animals could be considered ‘higher’ than some people.”
The blond Aryan beast of Nietzche represented animality at the top available grade, at one with wild nature. But spirituality could be associated with animals destined for the table, as in this piece of German propaganda: “The Nordic peoples accord the pig the highest possible honor… in the cult of the Germans the pig occupies the first place and is the first among the domestic animals… The predominance of the pig, the sacred animal destined to sacrifices among the Nordic peoples, has drawn its originality from the great trees of the German forest. The Semites do not understand the pig, they reject the pig, where as this animal occupies the first place in the cult of the Nordic people.”
Aryans and animals were allied in a struggle against the contaminators, the vivisectors, the under-creatures. “The Führer,” Goebbels wrote, “is deeply religious, though completely anti-Christian, views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race… Both [Judaism and Christianity] have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end they will be destroyed. The Führer is a convinced vegetarian on principle.”
Race purification was often seen in terms of farm improvement, eliminating poor stock, and improving the herd. Martin Bormann had been an agricultural student and manager of a large farm. Himmler had been a chicken breeder. Medical researchers in the Third Reich, Arluke and Sax write, “also approached Germans as livestock. For instance, those familiar with Mengele’s concentration camp experiments believe that his thoughtlessness about the suffering of his victims stemmed from his passion about creating a genetically pure super-race, as though he were breeding horses.” Those contaminating Aryan stock were “lower animals” and should be dispatched. Seeing such people as low and coarse animal forms allowed their production-line slaughter. Höss, the Auschwitz commandant, was a great lover of animals, particularly horses, and after a hard day’s work in the death camp liked to stroll about the stables.
“Nazi German identity,” Arluke and Sax conclude, “relied on the blurring of boundaries between humans and animals and the constructing of a unique phylogenetic hierarchy that altered conventional human-animal distinctions and imperatives… As part of the natural order, Germans of Aryan stock were to be bred like farm stock, while ‘lower animals’ or ‘subhumans,’ such as the Jews and other victims of the Holocaust were to be exterminated like vermin as testament to the new ‘natural’ and biological order conceived under the Third Reich.”
Animal-rights advocates and vegetarians often fidget under jeers that it was Nazis who banned vivisection. In fact vivisection continued through the Third Reich. The British journal The Lancet commented on the Nazis’ animal experimentation laws of 1933 that “it will be seen from the text of these regulations that those restrictions imposed [in Germany] follow rather closely those enforced in [England].”
The moral here is not that there is something inherently Nazi-like in campaigning against vivisection or deploring the eating of animals’ meat or reviling the cruelties of the feedlot and the abattoir. The moral is that ideologies of nature imbued with corrupt race theory and a degraded romanticism can lead people up the wrong path, one whose terminus was an abattoir for “unhealthy” humans, constructed as a reverse image of the death camp for (supposedly) healthy animals to be consumed by humans. For the Nazis their death camps were, in a way, romanticism’s revenge for the slaughterhouses and the hogsqueal of the universe as echoing from the Union Stockyards in Chicago, which perfected industrial methods of mass killing nearly a century before Auschwitz.
(A version of this essay originally appeared in City Pages and will be included in the forthcoming book An Orgy of Thieves. (Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch. Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: email@example.com. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
FOR ALL THE REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT’S self-righteous bleating, Trump is nothing more than an unvarnished, cruder version. For years, it has fanned, stoked and exploited the worst angels among the nativists, racists, Pharisees and angry white men, concurring in anti-immigrant measures, restricting minority voting, whipping up anti-Planned Parenthood hysteria and enabling gun nuts.
— Maureen Dowd
YOU THINK YOU'RE TOUGH?
By amputating his left foot with a pocketknife, L.H. Beck of Berkeley, president of the South Bay Shell Company, saved himself from being drawn to death in the machinery of a dredger on which he was operating in the upper bay reaches this afternoon. Beck further demonstrated his remarkable nerve in stanching the flow of blood with a piece of his clothing, and then traveling three hours by launch and handcar to Redwood City for treatment. The suddenness of the accident and the realization that Beck was in grave danger so excited workers on the dredger that they did not know what to do. Seeing their helplessness and knowing that unless he released his foot instantly he would be mangled in the revolving machinery, Beck whipped out his pocketknife and deliberately hacked and sawed his foot until he was free of the menacing clutch. Not once did Beck cry out, say those who were working on the dredger. He directed the binding of the severed arteries and then ordered a launch to take him to the Dumbarton Bridge, where he was transferred to a handcar in charge of a section gang. Although terribly weakened from loss of blood, Beck did not lose consciousness once during the long trip into Redwood City. He was taken to the Huling Hospital, where physicians expressed amazement at his wonderful grit.
— March 8th, 1916 edition of the SF Chronicle
WOULD WE HAVE DRUGGED UP EINSTEIN?
How Anti-Authoritarianism Is Deemed a Mental Health Problem. We are increasingly marketing drugs that essentially "cure" anti-authoritarians.
In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I am struck by 1) how many of those diagnosed are essentially anti-authoritarians; and 2) how those professionals who have diagnosed them are not.
Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.
Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psychopathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities.
Why Mental Health Professionals Diagnose Anti-Authoritarians with Mental Illness
Gaining acceptance into graduate school or medical school and achieving a PhD or MD and becoming a psychologist or psychiatrist means jumping through many hoops, all of which require much behavioral and attentional compliance with authorities, even those authorities one lacks respect for. The selection and socialization of mental health professionals tends to breed out many anti-authoritarians. Degrees and credentials are primarily badges of compliance. Those with extended schooling have lived for many years in a world where one routinely conforms to the demands of authorities. Thus for many MDs and PhDs, people different from them who reject this attentional and behavioral compliance appear to be from another world—a diagnosable one.
I have found that most psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are not only extraordinarily compliant with authorities but also unaware of the magnitude of their obedience. And it also has become clear to me that the anti-authoritarianism of their patients creates enormous anxiety for these professionals, and their anxiety fuels diagnoses and treatments.
In graduate school, I discovered that all it took to be labeled as having “issues with authority” was not kissing up to a director of clinical training whose personality was a combination of Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich and Howard Cosell. When I was told by some faculty that I had “issues with authority,” I had mixed feelings about being so labeled. On the one hand, I found it amusing, because among the working-class kids I had grown up with, I was considered relatively compliant with authorities. After all, I had done my homework, studied and received good grades. However, while my new “issues with authority” label made me grin because I was now being seen as a “bad boy,” I was also concerned about just what kind of profession I had entered. Specifically, if somebody such as myself was labeled as having “issues with authority,” what were they calling the kids I grew up with who paid attention to many things that they cared about but didn’t care enough about school to comply there? Well, the answer soon became clear.
Mental Illness Diagnoses for Anti-Authoritarians
A 2009 Psychiatric Times article titled “ADHD & ODD: Confronting the Challenges of Disruptive Behavior” reports that “disruptive disorders,” which include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and opposition defiant disorder (ODD), are the most common mental health problem of children and teenagers. ADHD is defined by poor attention and distractibility, poor self-control and impulsivity, and hyperactivity. ODD is defined as a “a pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior without the more serious violations of the basic rights of others that are seen in conduct disorder”; and ODD symptoms include “often actively defies or refuses to comply with adult requests or rules” and “often argues with adults.”
Psychologist Russell Barkley, one of mainstream mental health’s leading authorities on ADHD, says that those afflicted with ADHD have deficits in what he calls “rule-governed behavior,” as they are less responsive to rules of established authorities and less sensitive to positive or negative consequences. ODD young people, according to mainstream mental health authorities, also have these so-called deficits in rule-governed behavior, and so it is extremely common for young people to have a “dual diagnosis” of AHDH and ODD.
Do we really want to diagnose and medicate everyone with “deficits in rule-governed behavior”?
Albert Einstein, as a youth, would have likely received an ADHD diagnosis, and maybe an ODD one as well. Albert didn't pay attention to his teachers, failed his college entrance examinations twice, and had difficulty holding jobs. However, Einstein biographer Ronald Clark (Einstein: The Life and Times) asserts that Albert's problems did not stem from attention deficits but rather from his hatred of authoritarian, Prussian discipline in his schools. Einstein said, “The teachers in the elementary school appeared to me like sergeants and in the Gymnasium the teachers were like lieutenants.” At age 13, Einstein read Kant's difficult Critique of Pure Reason—because he was interested in it. Clark also tells us Einstein refused to prepare himself for his college admissions as a rebellion against his father’s “unbearable” path of a “practical profession.” After he did enter college, one professor told Einstein, “You have one fault; one can’t tell you anything.” The very characteristics of Einstein that upset authorities so much were exactly the ones that allowed him to excel.
By today’s standards, Saul Alinsky, the legendary organizer and author of Reveille for Radicals and Rules for Radicals, would have certainly been diagnosed with one or more disruptive disorders. Recalling his childhood, Alinsky said, “I never thought of walking on the grass until I saw a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass.’ Then I would stomp all over it.” Alinsky also recalls a time when he was 10 or 11 and his rabbi was tutoring him in Hebrew:
“One particular day I read three pages in a row without any errors in pronunciation, and suddenly a penny fell onto the Bible....Then the next day the rabbi turned up and he told me to start reading. And I wouldn’t; I just sat there in silence, refusing to read. He asked me why I was so quiet, and I said, ‘This time it’s a nickel or nothing.’ He threw back his arm and slammed me across the room.”
Many people with severe anxiety and/or depression are also anti-authoritarians. Often a major pain of their lives that fuels their anxiety and/or depression is fear that their contempt for illegitimate authorities will cause them to be financially and socially marginalized, but they fear that compliance with such illegitimate authorities will cause them existential death.
I have also spent a great deal of time with people who had at one time in their lives had thoughts and behavior that were so bizarre they were extremely frightening for their families and even themselves; they were diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychoses, but have fully recovered and have been, for many years, leading productive lives. Among this population, I have not met one person whom I would not consider a major anti-authoritarian. Once recovered, they have learned to channel their anti-authoritarianism into more constructive political ends, including reforming mental health treatment.
Many anti-authoritarians who earlier in their lives were diagnosed with mental illness tell me that once they were labeled with a psychiatric diagnosis, they got caught in a dilemma. Authoritarians, by definition, demand unquestioning obedience, and so any resistance to their diagnosis and treatment created enormous anxiety for authoritarian mental health professionals; and professionals, feeling out of control, labeled them “noncompliant with treatment,” increased the severity of their diagnosis, and jacked up their medications. This was enraging for these anti-authoritarians, sometimes so much so that they reacted in ways that made them appear even more frightening to their families.
There are anti-authoritarians who use psychiatric drugs to help them function, but they often reject psychiatric authorities’ explanations for why they have difficulty functioning. So, for example, they may take Adderall (an amphetamine prescribed for ADHD), but they know that their attentional problem is not a result of a biochemical brain imbalance but rather caused by a boring job. And similarly, many anti-authoritarians in highly stressful environments will occasionally take prescribed benzodiazepines such as Xanax even though they believe it would be safer to occasionally use marijuana but can’t because of drug testing on their job.
It has been my experience that many anti-authoritarians labeled with psychiatric diagnoses usually don’t reject all authorities, simply those they’ve assessed to be illegitimate ones, which just happens to be a great deal of society’s authorities.
Maintaining the Societal Status Quo
Americans have been increasingly socialized to equate inattention, anger, anxiety, and immobilizing despair with a medical condition, and to seek medical treatment rather than political remedies. What better way to maintain the status quo than to view inattention, anger, anxiety, and depression as biochemical problems of those who are mentally ill rather than normal reactions to an increasingly authoritarian society?
The reality is that depression is highly associated with societal and financial pains. One is much more likely to be depressed if one is unemployed, underemployed, on public assistance, or in debt (for documentation, see “400% Rise in Anti-Depressant Pill Use”). And ADHD-labeled kids do pay attention when they are getting paid, or when an activity is novel, interests them, or is chosen by them (documented in my book Commonsense Rebellion).
In an earlier dark age, authoritarian monarchies partnered with authoritarian religious institutions. When the world exited from this dark age and entered the Enlightenment, there was a burst of energy. Much of this revitalization had to do with risking skepticism about authoritarian and corrupt institutions and regaining confidence in one’s own mind. We are now in another dark age, only the institutions have changed. Americans desperately need anti-authoritarians to question, challenge, and resist new illegitimate authorities and regain confidence in their own common sense.
In every generation there will be authoritarians and anti-authoritarians. While it is unusual in American history for anti-authoritarians to take the kind of effective action that inspires others to successfully revolt, every once in a while a Tom Paine, Crazy Horse or Malcolm X come along. So authoritarians financially marginalize those who buck the system, they criminalize anti-authoritarianism, they psychopathologize anti-authoritarians, and they market drugs for their “cure.”
RURAL HEALTH ROCKS
Grammy Award Winner Michael McDonald in Ukiah
On Saturday April 9th, Fowler Auto Center Presents 5-Time Grammy Award Winner Michael McDonald performing in a benefit for Rural Health Rocks. Joining Michael on stage will be world renown guitarist Alex de Grassi, multi-instrumentalist Gene Parsons (The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers), David Hayes (Van Morrison), multi Grammy Award winner Paul McCandless and other very special guests. This star studded event is a rockin' fundraiser benefiting the teaching hospitals of Lake and Mendocino counties. If you love hot guitars and great jamming, you won't want to miss FMEMC's first annual Rural Health Rocks concert benefitting family medicine education for Lake & Mendocino counties.
The show starts at 8:00pm at the Mendocino College Center Theatre, 1000 Hensley Creek Rd in Ukiah. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2487305 or BrownPaperTickets.com under Rural Health Rocks: Michael McDonald and Friends. Tickets are $75 each and seating is very limited, so purchase your tickets now.
Visit Rural Health Rocks.com for more information. Sponsors include Friedman's Home Improvement, Mendolake Credit Union, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Frey Vineyards, Pacific Redwood Medical Group, Ukiah Valley Primary Care Medical Group and dozens other supportive organizations.