The New York Times on Nov. 21 released Donald Trump's "short list" for cabinet appointments—compiled based on "information from the Trump transition team, lawmakers, lobbyists and Washington experts." The picks for Homeland Security are particularly notable. Joe Arpaio, his long reign of terror as Maricopa County sheriff finally ended by federal indictment and getting booted by the voters this year, is now being considered to oversee the Border Patrol and entire federal immigration apparatus. From his election in the early '90s, Arpaio ran a "Tent City" detainment camp for undocumented immigrants and others caught up in his sweeps. In an unsubtle moment in 2010, caught on film and reported by Pheonix New Times (despite his transparent later denials), he actually responded to a question at a public meeting about whether he would start using "concentration camps" by boasting: "I already have a concentration camp... It's called Tent City."
Under the banner of "Jewish Resistance," hundreds of protesters rallied outside of Manhattan's Grand Hyatt hotel on 42nd St. Nov. 20, where the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) annual gala was being held—with a featured speaker announced as Steve Bannon, the "alt-right" mouthpiece just appointed top counselor to president-elect Donald Trump. CBS News reports that Bannon did not show at the event, for unexplained reasons. But protesters were plenty outraged that he was invited. Solidarity between Jews and Muslims was a central theme of the angry rally, with the most common chant being:
Bill Weinberg makes the case that Donald Trump is a fascist, going down the checklist of essential ingredients: ugly ultra-nationalism that seeks to correct perceived humiliation, xenophobia and demonization of the Other, exaltation of the great leader, fetishization of violence, contempt for democracy, enthusiasm for military aggression, populism tinged with anti-Semitism, and rank anti-intellectualism. Weinberg repeats his call for urgent pressure on the electors to refuse to seat Donald Trump as president. The petition calling for the electors to respect the popular vote and seat Clinton has now won nearly 4.5 million signatures.
US authorities are using excessive force against protesters in North Dakota who are trying to halt a proposed oil pipeline project, according to a UN human rights expert on Nov. 15. According to Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, about 400 people have been detained in "inhuman and degrading conditions." Protesters are have reportedly been confronted with rubber bullets, tear-gas, mace, compression grenades and bean-bag rounds. If detained, they are reportedly marked with a number and held in overcrowded cages lined with concrete flooring. Kiai labeled these responses by local security forces as "militarized." Kiai said, "This is a troubling response to people who are taking action to protect natural resources and ancestral territory in the face of profit-seeking activity. The excessive use of State security apparatus to suppress protest against corporate activities that are alleged to violate human rights is wrong and contrary to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights."
The appointment of Stephen Bannon, head of "alt-right" (read: white nationalist) website Breitbart News, as Trump's senior counselor removes any doubt about the new order that awaits the United States. All those who seek to reassure us that Trump will moderate once in office point to his appointment of GOP chairman Reince Priebus, longtime pillar of the party's establishment, as his chief of staff. They are reading it precisely backwards. This does not represent Trump tilting to the establishment. It represents the Republican establishment embracing open fascism. This is the same Bannon who in a 2014 e-mail to one of his editors, wrote of the Republican leadership: "Let the grassroots turn on the hate because that's the ONLY thing that will make them do their duty." Hate has now won, and the Republican leadership has utterly folded to it. Any other reading is merely an illustration of Oscar Wilde's maxim: "The basis of optimism is sheer terror."
Bill Weinberg continues his call for urgent pressure on the electors to refuse to seat Donald Trump as president—arguing that this contingency is exactly the reason the Electoral College exists. The framers put the Electoral College in the Constitution precisely to serve as a break on the assumption of power by a dangerous demagogue. If there has ever been a time for it to serve that function, it is now. The Electoral College needs to do what it was designed to do, just one time before we abolish it. The petition calling for the electors to respect the popular vote and seat Hillary Clinton has now won over 4 million signatures.
Bill Weinberg, interviewed by vlogger Dorothy Bishop at the mass demonstration in front of New York's Trump Tower Nov. 12, calls for urgent pressure on the Electoral College to refuse to seat Donald Trump. Despite its slim odds for success, the campaign will deny Trump's legitimacy as president from day one, he argues—much as the Republicans denied Obama's legitimacy, but on valid anti-fascist grounds rather than spurious racist grounds. This will better position us to build a pro-democratic civil resistance movement.
Kelcy Warren, CEO of Energy Transfer Partners—the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline—says he is "100%" confident that Donald Trump will help the project get finished. The pipeline, connecting North Dakota's Bakken fields to a hub in Illinois, is 84% complete. But some 1,000 feet are being held up by the Obama administration in the face of unprecedented Native American protests. CBS reported the following exchange with Warren: