- Donald Trump said that the Democrats made him do it.
- Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, said it was the Bible.
- Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security, said it was the law.
They all said it wasn’t them. In their unified defense of the policy of separating children from their families at the border, Administration officials have adopted a technique of deflection that renders victims and critics powerless: they have depersonalized the violence.
.. This is how violence works in the world’s most cruel and terrifying societies. The victims of genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass deportations, mass incarceration, man-made famines, and other disasters that humans intentionally visit on the “other” are always anonymous. The perpetrators portray their victims as a mass—the “animals” of Trump’s imagination, or the enemies and criminals that Sessions and Nielsen conjure up when they talk about asylum seekers
.. it’s not only the victims who are anonymous—it is also the perpetrators.
.. when Nielsen claims, in effect, to be just following orders, the nation’s top officials are not merely lying; they are de-personifying the perpetrators. They are not merely refusing to be held accountable but are saying that no one will account for the violence.
.. Vladimir Putin, has perfected it over the years. He has denied knowledge of arrests, trials, or even people of whom he was doubtless aware. He has shrugged his shoulders and spread his arms in a gesture of helplessness while claiming that the Russian judiciary is independent from the executive branch
.. Writing about the relationship between violence and bureaucracy, Hannah Arendt said, “In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one could argue, to whom one could present grievances, on whom the pressures of power could be exerted.” She called bureaucracy the “rule by Nobody.”
.. What may be new, however, is a Presidency that explicitly cedes authority to that bureaucracy. Faced with widespread criticism of the family separations, the Administration is not exactly doubling down in defense of it. It is not trying to bring voters, journalists, or politicians around to supporting its policies.
.. one can observe “if not shame, then at least chagrin.” But I don’t think it’s chagrin that’s causing officials to shift the responsibility onto anonymous others.
.. The kind of state that Trump would like to run—and apparently the kind of state of which Sessions would like to be Attorney General and Kirstjen Nielsen would like to be Secretary of Homeland Security—is one that can subject its enemies to what Arendt called “administrative massacres.”
.. The logic of such a state demands an all-powerful bureaucratic machine; it demands the terrifying spectre of the rule by Nobody. So they are retrofitting the United States with such a bureaucracy—cruel, senseless, and accountable to no one.
Separate but equal” is a segregation-era term — one that most Americans are trying to put behind them, not delightedly apply to the armed forces.
.. Another Trump administration favorite is “law and order,” a holdover from Richard M. Nixon’s 1968 campaign. Candidate Trump reclaimed it in 2016 and has been repeating the term ever since. It’s not about actual law and order, of course (otherwise, something would have to be done about the array of grifters and criminals parading through the White House and Cabinet), but about creating a perception of growing crisis. The purpose of the term is to spawn nightmares of violence and criminality, controllable only from the top down. And it’s best applied in a racialized manner —
- to “illegals,”
- immigrant “animals” and
- purveyors of inner-city “American carnage.”
.. Which brings us to “America First,” the phrase that rolls off Trump’s tongue — and Twitter feed — with a gleefulness that belies its distasteful history. That particular slogan rose to prominence around 1915, when President Woodrow Wilson used the phrase to defend American neutrality in World War I. Its nativist undertones lent it credibility as a Ku Klux Klan slogan, and, grounded in nationalism and xenophobia, the phrase was again famously deployed by anti-Semite Charles Lindbergh to advocate for keeping America out of World War II.
.. What Trump’s go-to word associations have noticeably in common is that they are all phrases of division, plucked from the uglier chapters of the past century of American history. They are racialized. And they are used to stoke a fear of the other while promoting self-serving — Trump-serving — ways of quashing dissent and asserting authority.
.. Just a day after using “separate but equal,” Trump branched out to using shameful episodes in other countries’ recent histories to supply the vocabulary for his spur-of-the-moment public statements. In a tweet Tuesday morning, he attempted to lay the family separation policy at the feet of Democrats, saying that “they don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13.” An outside population “infesting” a nation, like vermin. Where have we heard that before?
.. Trump’s flights of language are bizarre but not entirely accidental. This Space Force announcement should remind us that even when our administration talks about the future, we should beware attempts to pull us back into the past.
Note that God’s covenant with Noah is with “every living creature” and not just with humans. For some reason, some Evangelical Christians who say they believe the Bible, don’t like that! Yet it’s said four times in a row (Genesis 9:8-17).
.. What made us think humans were the only ones who love and are lovable? If unconditional love, loyalty, and obedience are the tickets to an eternal life, then Venus is surely there long before me, along with all the dear wild animals who care for their young at great cost to themselves—and accept their fate far better than most humans. When I had to make the very painful decision to put Venus to sleep on March 30 this year, she literally put her two black paws straight in front of her, stared at me, slowly bowed her head straight to the ground and died. I hope I will die with such trustful surrender.
Sheep are one of the most unfairly stereotyped animals on the planet. Almost everything we believe about them is wrong
they can recognise and remember at least 50 individual faces for more than 2 years. That is longer than many humans.
.. The team also found evidence that sheep can differentiate facial expressions, and prefer a smile to a frown.
.. sheep can learn how to navigate out of a complex maze.
.. Sheep also have erotic preferences: 8% are homosexual, making them one of the few species that show lifelong preferences for same-sex partners.
.. sheep are capable of experiencing a whole range of feelings, from fear to anger, despair, boredom and happiness.
.. They were domesticated between 11000 and 9000 BC for the use of their woollen fleece, meat and milk. The animals have been referred to by different cultures, religious texts and even astrology for thousands of years.
.. These ancestors had mighty horns with which to defend themselves, but humans have largely bred these out of modern sheep. Nowadays, domestic sheep are bred to be big fluffy creatures, covered in wool that never stops growing so that farmers make money all year round.
.. they can deliver a painful kick to anyone who gets too close, especially if they are defending their young. They can also run fast and scale steep cliffs that many predators are not equipped to handle. Finally, their peripheral vision is impressive: they have horizontal, slit-shaped pupils that allow them to see behind themselves without turning their heads.
.. The world’s biggest producer of sheep is China, which is home to nearly 200 million of them. It is followed by Australia at over 70 million, India with over 60 million, Iran with 45 million and Nigeria with 41 million. Sudan has nearly 40 million sheep,