Sunday, August 6, 2017

Stephen Miller - This Week's Scaramucci

As a senior White House adviser, [Stephen] Miller, 31, is one of Trump's policy wonks and a regular surrogate for the leader of the free world on talk shows. He's also a key architect of some of the administration's most exclusionary initiatives, including the yet-to-be-implemented Muslim ban and the proposed border wall with Mexico.


The Miller family belonged to the Santa Monica Synagogue only for two or three years — enough time for their eldest son, Stephen, to graduate Hebrew school in 2001. Miller's young face, with a grin, peeks out from the corner of that year's confirmation class photo, which hangs on a back wall of the temple, near a toilet and rec room. "We did our best here to teach Stephen the ethical standards of Judaism," says Jeff Marx, the Reform synagogue's longtime rabbi, who tutored Miller and appears with him in the class portrait.

Sixteen years later, Miller's picture is all over the place, but the progressive Jewish community that helped raise him is struggling to fathom how a native son found an intellectual home with President Donald Trump and his allies.

  Hollywood Reporter
When TV news viewers saw Trump adviser Stephen Miller accuse Jim Acosta of harboring a “cosmopolitan bias” during Wednesday’s news conference, they might have wondered whether he was accusing the CNN White House reporter of an excessive fondness for the cocktail made famous on “Sex and the City.” It’s a term that’s seldom been heard in American political discourse. But to supporters of the Miller-Bannon worldview, it was a cause for celebration. Breitbart, where Steve Bannon reigned before becoming Trump’s chief political strategist, trumpeted Miller’s “evisceration” of Acosta and put the term in its headline. So did white nationalist Richard Spencer, who hailed Miller’s dust-up with Acosta as “a triumph.”


So what is a “cosmopolitan”? It’s a cousin to “elitist,” but with a more sinister undertone. It’s a way of branding people or movements that are unmoored to the traditions and beliefs of a nation, and identify more with like-minded people regardless of their nationality. [...] In the eyes of their foes, “cosmopolitans” tend to cluster in the universities, the arts and in urban centers, where familiarity with diversity makes for a high comfort level with “untraditional” ideas and lives.


To be clear: Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller would angrily wave away any suggestion that they are echoing the sentiments of anti-democratic political movements, much less anti-Semitic dog whistles. But there is no evading the unhappy reality that to label someone a “cosmopolitan” carries with it a clear implication that there is something less patriotic, less loyal … someone who is not a “real American.”

Trump's unforgiving antagonism against perceived enemies aligns closely with Miller's temperament. At Santa Monica High School, he fought with teachers and students about what he saw as unfair liberal bias. He penned furious editorials in the school newspaper. In one, after 9/11, he railed against Islam and said Osama bin Laden would "feel at home" at Samohi. After much haranguing, he successfully got school administrators to enforce a state law requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. He made several appearances on Larry Elder's conservative talk show and became friendly with conservative writer David Horowitz. He belittled diversity clubs and complained about letting Latino students speak Spanish.


Charles Gould, a comedian with numerous TV credits [...] recalls the day Miller took the stage in the high school auditorium. He already had a reputation as a contrarian who was openly anti-immigrant (and, in a widely reported incident, had abandoned one friend because he was Latino). On this day, Miller argued that students shouldn't have to pick up their own trash — that was janitors' work. Some found it funny, but the crowd booed Miller off the stage. Gould expected Miller to be deflated afterward. "But he was ecstatic," he recalls. "He said it had gone exactly as he'd wanted." Now, Gould, who also is Jewish, struggles with Miller's newfound power. "I can't begin to explain what it's like to have actually heard racism come out of the mouth of a person who has influence over legislation in this country," he says. Adds Justin Gordon, who attended Hebrew school with Miller, "A lot of people who went to school with him are sick to their stomachs."

  Hollywood Reporter

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Washington Post reported Monday, citing property records, that Miller lives in upscale downtown D.C. development CityCenter, in a condo he bought for $973,000 with a monthly fee of nearly $1,800. Per the report, the buyer for the condo was listed as a company with the same address as the real estate company Miller’s father owns.

Miller’s apartment building is billed as “the new ideal for sophisticated, modern, urban living,” a set of adjectives that collectively barely steer clear of the accusation he lobbed at Acosta during a contentious exchange at a White House press briefing last week.

I think Trump just hires the dickiest assholes he can find.  The ones most like himself.

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