April 27, 2013

CIA ex-in-law of Bomb Brothers confirms one of my theories

Eighties-ish: Robert De Pacino, Joan Jettski,
Baby Kaboom, Uncle Mahamad Harmon
Earlier today, I recounted Mad Cow Morning News' report that the Bomb Brothers' Uncle Ruslan, the widely admired straight-talking tough guy who lives in Maryland, used to be married to the daughter of Graham E. Fuller, who describes himself on his website:
Uncle Ruslan
Graham E. Fuller is a former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, a former senior political scientist at RAND, and a current adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University. He is the author of numerous books about the Middle East, including The Future of Political Islam. He has lived and worked in the Muslim world for nearly two decades. 

Wikipedia also claims Fuller was CIA station chief in Kabul and instrumental in starting the Iran-Contra Affair.

Graham Fuller, ex-Agency and
ex-father-in-law of Uncle Ruslan
So, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was just following a family tradition when he married an upper middle class American doctor's daughter. American women can't get enough of these Tsarnaev men, can they? 

In an e-mail to The Back Channel, Fuller confirmed that his daughter had been married to Uncle Ruslan, who is a lawyer big in Central Asian oil and gas negotiations, but the pair got divorced in 1999. 

Fuller made an interesting observation about his ex-in-laws that supports my surmise of a few days ago that the pan-Islamism of the Bomb Brothers and the Bomb Mom was one logical (but not logically necessary) outcome of their propensity for inter-ethnic marriage:
According to Fuller, the suspects’ mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva was not an ethnic Chechen herself, but Dagestani, and so the family spoke the couple’s common language Russian, not Chechen, at home. “People who lose their native language (identity) sometimes are more fanatic in some respects,” he observed.

I suspect that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar might have been content with Chechen nationalism, with its impressive history of violence, but their mixed ancestry and Tamerlan's American convert wife made pan-Islamism a more appropriate outlet for their aggressive energies.

By the way, Fuller's new book is a memoir. Here's his blurb for it:
Three Truths and a Lie.
This latest book by author Graham E. Fuller is the compelling tale of Luke, a Korean adoptee who comes to an American family at age one and who gradually loses his life's way - to die from crack cocaine at age 21. It is also a story of his adoptive father, a CIA officer, who offers an unsparing and vivid account of his own efforts - wise, misguided, passionate, naive, creative, ultimately unsuccessful - to save his son. 
Luke is warm, likeable, funny, quick to win friends - and a skilled deceiver, able to impress others with a seeming maturity and urbanity. But the image he works to create for himself is increasingly belied by the realities of his life. Fuller writes of his poignant quest through multiple crises to understand who Luke really was - against the black hole Luke's life created for his family around him - and the search for meaning. The fast-moving action unfolds against a broad international backdrop from Afghanistan to Latin America. 
We explore the mysteries of adoption, identity, addiction - and grace.

NYT: American nativism and a too slow path to citizenship denied Tamerlan his American Dream, turning him into a terrorist

"Tamerlan Tsarnaev, right, lost at the Golden Gloves championships in 2009.
A year later, a new citizenship rule blocked him." -- NY Times
You may have been musing that we would have been spared all this mayhem in Boston if we had had a stronger immigration system to keep out undesirables. But, the New York Times explains in a front page story, you've got it all backwards. It's not the immigrants' fault that they blew up the Boston Marathon, it's our fault for not embracing the immigrants more quickly in their quest for the American Dream. 

According to the NYT, if only Tamerlan Tsarnaev had been granted U.S. citizenship faster or if American organizations weren't occasionally prejudiced in favor of American citizens, all the recent unpleasantness could have been avoided. 

Nativism, that's the real problem.

I'll quote at length from this NYT article (not an editorial or op-ed) because it's a classic example of the reigning mindset:
Before Bombs, a Battered American Dream 
BOSTON — It was a blow the immigrant boxer could not withstand: after capturing his second consecutive title as the Golden Gloves heavyweight champion of New England in 2010, Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev, 23, was barred from the national Tournament of Champions because he was not a United States citizen. 
The cocksure fighter, a flamboyant dresser partial to white fur and snakeskin, had been looking forward to redeeming the loss he suffered the previous year in the first round, when the judges awarded his opponent the decision, drawing boos from spectators who considered Mr. Tsarnaev dominant. 
From one year to the next, though, the tournament rules had changed, disqualifying legal permanent residents — not only Mr. Tsarnaev, who was Soviet-born of Chechen and Dagestani heritage, but several other New England contenders, too. His aspirations frustrated, he dropped out of boxing competition entirely, and his life veered in a completely different direction. 
Mr. Tsarnaev portrayed his quitting as a reflection of the sport’s incompatibility with his growing devotion to Islam. But as dozens of interviews with friends, acquaintances and relatives from Cambridge to Dagestan showed, that devotion, and the suspected radicalization that accompanied it, was a path he followed most avidly only after his more secular dreams were dashed in 2010 and he was left adrift. 
His trajectory eventually led the frustrated athlete and his loyal younger brother, Dzhokhar, to bomb one of the most famous athletic events in this country, killing three and wounding more than 200 at the Boston Marathon, the authorities say. They say it led Mr. Tsarnaev, his application for citizenship stalled, and his brother, a new citizen and a seemingly well-adjusted college student, to attack their American hometown on Patriots’ Day, April 15. 
Mr. Tsarnaev now lies in the state medical examiner’s office, his body riddled with bullets after a confrontation with the police four days after the bombings. He left behind an American-born wife who had converted to Islam, a 3-year-old daughter with curly hair, a 19-year-old brother charged with using a weapon of mass destruction, and a puzzle: Why did these two young men seemingly turn on the country that had granted them asylum? 
Examining their lives for clues, the authorities have focused on Mr. Tsarnaev’s six-month trip to the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan last year. But in Cambridge, sitting on the front steps of the ramshackle, brown-shingled house where the Tsarnaev family lived for a decade, their 79-year-old landlady urged a longer lens. 
“He certainly wasn’t radicalized in Dagestan,” the landlady, Joanna Herlihy, said. 
Ms. Herlihy, who speaks Russian and was friends with the Tsarnaevs, said she told law enforcement officials that his trip clearly merited scrutiny. But she said that Mr. Tsarnaev’s embrace of Islam had grown more intense before that. 
As his religious identification grew fiercer, Mr. Tsarnaev seemed to abandon his once avid pursuit of the American dream. He dropped out of community college and lost interest not just in boxing but also in music; he used to play piano and violin, classical music and rap, and his e-mail address was a clue to how he once saw himself: The_Professor@real-hiphop.com. He worked only sporadically, sometimes as a pizza deliverer, and he grew first a close-cropped beard and then a flowing one. 
He seemed isolated, too. Since his return from Dagestan, he, his wife and his child were the only Tsarnaevs living full time in the three-bedroom apartment on Ms. Herlihy’s third floor. 
Mr. Tsarnaev’s two younger sisters had long since married and moved out; his parents, now separated, had returned to Dagestan, his mother soon after a felony arrest on shoplifting charges; and his brother had left for the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, returning home only on the occasional weekend, as he did recently after damaging his 1999 green Honda Civic by texting while driving. 
“When Dzhokhar used to come home on Friday night from the dormitory, Tamerlan used to hug him and kiss him — hold him, like, because he was a big, big boy, Tamerlan,” their mother, Zubeidat, 45, said last week, adding that her older son had been “handsome like Hercules.” 
Not long after he gave up his boxing career, Mr. Tsarnaev married Katherine Russell of Rhode Island in a brief Islamic ceremony at a Dorchester mosque in June 2010. She has declined to speak publicly since the attacks. 
His wife primarily supported the family through her job as a home health aide, scraping together about $1,200 a month to pay the rent. While she worked, Mr. Tsarnaev looked after their daughter, Zahira, who was learning to ride the tricycle still parked beside the house, neighbors said. The family’s income was supplemented by public assistance and food stamps from September 2011 to November 2012, state officials said. 
It was probably not the life that Anzor Tsarnaev had imagined for his oldest child, who, even as a boy, before he developed the broad-shouldered physique that his mother described as “a masterpiece,” dreamed of becoming a famous boxer. 
But then the father’s life had not gone as planned, either. Once an official in the prosecutor’s office in Kyrgyzstan, he had been reduced to working as an unlicensed mechanic in the back lot of a rug store in Cambridge. ...
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was born on Oct. 21, 1986, five years before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in Kalmykia, a barren stretch of Russian territory by the Caspian Sea. A photograph of him as a baby shows a cherubic child wearing a knit cap with a pompom, perched on the lap of his unsmiling mother, who has spiky black bangs and an artful pile of hair. Strikingly, she did not cover her head then, as she does now; she began wearing a hijab only a few years ago, in the United States, prodded by her son just as she was prodding him, too, to deepen his faith. ...
Finally, Anzor Tsarnaev sought political asylum in the United States. He arrived first, with his younger son, in the spring of 2002. His older son, a young man of 16, followed with the rest of the family in July 2003. 
Their neighborhood in Cambridge was run-down, with car repair lots where condominiums have since arisen. But the city has long been especially welcoming to immigrants and refugees; its high school has students from 75 countries. 
The schools superintendent, Jeffrey Young, described Cambridge as “beyond tolerant.” 
“How is it that someone could grow up in a place like this and end up in a place like that?” he said of the Tsarnaevs. 
Unlike his little brother, who was well integrated into the community by the time he started high school, Mr. Tsarnaev was a genuine newcomer when he entered the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, from which he graduated in 2006. Enrolled in the large English as a Second Language program, he made friends mostly with other international students, and his demeanor was reserved, one former classmate, Luis Vasquez, said. 
“The view on him was that he was a boxer and you would not want to mess with him,” Mr. Vasquez, now 25 and a candidate for the Cambridge City Council, said. “He told me that he wanted to represent the U.S. in boxing. He wanted to do the Olympics and then turn pro.” 
... During a preliminary round of the New England Golden Gloves in 2010, in a breach of boxing etiquette, he entered the locker room to taunt not only the fighter he was about to face but also the fighter’s trainer. Wearing a cowboy hat and alligator-skin cowboy boots, he gave the two men a disdainful once-over and said: “You’re nothing. I’m taking you down.” 
The trainer, Hector Torres, was furious and subsequently lodged a complaint, arguing that Mr. Tsarnaev should not be allowed to participate in the competition because he was not a citizen. 

So, Hector Torres is the American nativist who, when you think about it, is really the one responsible for all those people getting blown up.
As it happened, Golden Gloves of America was just then changing its policy. It used to permit legal immigrants to compete in its national tournament three out of every four years, barring them only during Olympic qualifying years, James Beasley, the executive director, said. But it decided in 2010 that the policy was confusing and moved to end all participation by noncitizens in the Tournament of Champions. 
So Mr. Tsarnaev, New England heavyweight champion for the second year in a row, was stymied. The immigrant champions in three other weight classes in New England were blocked from advancing, too, Mr. Russo said. 
Mr. Tsarnaev was devastated. He was not getting any younger. And he was more than a year away from being even eligible to apply for American citizenship, and there appeared to be a potential obstacle in his path. 
The previous summer, Mr. Tsarnaev had been arrested after a report of domestic violence. 
His girlfriend at the time had called 911, “hysterically crying,” to say he had beaten her up, according to the Cambridge police report. Mr. Tsarnaev told the officers that he had slapped her face because she had been yelling at him about “another girl.” 
Eventually, charges against him would be dismissed, the records show, so the episode would not have endangered his eventual citizenship application.

Because we all know that when girlfriends eventually drop charges of domestic violence it's because they were lying from the get-go. We can't have fanatical feminist theories about abuse standing in the way of immigrants getting citizenship, now can we?

By the way, the phrase "American Dream," as in "Before Bombs, a Battered American Dream," has become the "vibrant" of the 2010s: near guaranteed evidence that somebody is yanking your chain.

Update: The NYT has changed the title of the article to "A Battered Dream, Then a Violent Path."

Did Tsarnaevs get asylum through Deep State nepotism and string-pulling?

One of the funnier angles of the last week has been how so many Establishment figures are so deep into an Emma Lazarus-induced psychosis over the evils of non-open borders that they've chosen to double-down on defending the Tsarnaevs' 2002 asylum in the U.S. against mere questioning by a few Republican politicians.

As I noted recently, the editor of the NYT Editorial Page wrote,
"And when did the United States start excluding immigrants from dangerous places? Seems to me that [the Tsarnaevs] fall into the categories of “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” not to mention “wretched refuse” of teeming shores and the “homeless, tempest-tossed.""

But, the tiny number of Chechens in the U.S. is illustrative of the fact that the Obama Administration and previous Administrations have had an aversion to letting in Chechens, who, as we have seen, have a long track record of tending to be aggrieved, volatile, and formidable. 

Moreover the elder Tsarnaevs' recent return to Russian Dagestan suggests that their asylum in the U.S. was fraudulent.

So, out of all the Chechens in the world, how did the Tsarnaevs get asylum in the U.S..?

Well, why is their Uncle Ruslan in the United States? Why does Ruslan Tsarni, the brother of Anzor Tsarnaev, live in a nice house outside Washington D.C.?

Mad Cow Morning News has been following the Ruslan Tsarni story and it's pretty interesting. The site claims Uncle Ruslan used to be married to Samantha Ankara Fuller, who, it asserts, is the daughter of Graham E. Fuller. Mr. Fuller gave a talk on Turkey at Boston U. in 2006 and his bio read:
He received his BA and MA at Harvard University in Russian and Middle Eastern studies. He served 20 years in the Foreign Service, mostly the Muslim World, working in Germany, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, North Yemen, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong. In 1982 he was appointed the National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia at CIA, and in 1986 Vice-Chairman of the National Intelligence Council at CIA, with overall responsibility for all national level strategic forecasting. 
In 1988 Mr. Fuller left government and joined the RAND Corporation where he was a Senior Political Scientist for 12 years. His research focused primarily on the Middle East, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and problems of ethnicity and religion In politics. His studies for RAND include a provocative 1991 study on the geopolitical implications of the Palestinian “Intifada”; a series of studies on Islamic fundamentalism in Turkey, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Algeria; the survivability of Iraq; the “New Geopolitics of Central Asia” after the fall of the USSR; and problems of democratization and Islam. 

Now, there are a lot of people named Samantha Fuller, but ... Samantha Ankara Fuller sounds like she could be the daughter of an American expert on Turkey, since Ankara is the capital of Turkey. (By the way, Sibel Edmonds made an insinuation against Mr. Fuller in her allegations of a Turkey-related corruption ring in the American government, but that's a wilderness of mirrors if there ever was one.)

Keep in mind that a lot of people have connections to the CIA. Barack Obama, for example, grew up with a lot of one-degree-of-separation connections to the CIA, but then so did I.

Uncle Ruslan is the source for the claim that a red-headed Armenian convert to Islam named Misha exercised a malign Rasputin-like influence over Tamerlan. Armenians in Boston, however, say a red-headed Armenian convert to Islam would, uh, stand out, and they can't recall any such individual.

Mad Cow points out that Uncle Ruslan is in the Central Asian energy business. A 2005 press release when he joined Big Sky Energy Corporation said:
Mr. Ruslan Tsarni, a U.S. citizen, has over 10 years of professional experience in oil and gas legislation and corporate law. Previously, Mr. Tsarni served as Corporate Counsel of Nelson Resources Limited Group of companies, as well as Managing Director of several of its operating subsidiaries, responsible for all matters relating to corporate governance and placements and filing requirements under the securities regulations of Toronto Stock Exchange and AIM. He worked with financial institutions and banks on raising funds for acquisition and development of the assets operated by Nelson's subsidiaries, as well as managed legal and administrative matters for all such subsidiaries. From 1999 to 2001, Mr. Tsarni worked as Head of Legal Affairs of Golden Eagle Partners LLC where he developed downstream and upstream oil and gas businesses in Kazakhstan and served as Managing Director of its wholly owned subsidiary Tobe LLP. From 1998 to 1999 Mr.Tsarni worked as Senior Associate with Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn providing legal advise to major multinational companies on different aspects of Kazakhstan legal issues on development of mineral resources, corporations, taxation, currency, customs, employment, banking, bankruptcy and trade marks. From 1994 to 1996, Mr. Tsarni served as a consultant for Financial Markets International LLC and Arthur Andersen LLP contracted by USAID for projects aimed to develop securities markets in Central Asia, where he trained corporate governance and corporate finance principals to state and private companies.

Golden Eagle Partners, where Uncle Ruslan was head of legal affairs from 1999-2001, was a contractor of Dick Cheney's Halliburton. That's interesting, but shouldn't be overblown: Halliburton does business with a lot of companies.

But, the broader point is that Uncle Ruslan is connected. Maybe I'm being cynical, but my impression is that in the Central Asian oil and gas legal affairs business, it's less what you know than who you know. And Uncle Ruslan seems to know a lot of people, both in Central Asia and in America. 

It's likely that some people who pick up on this will develop a Ch-Ch-Ch-Cheney-Chechen conspiracy theory about how the Boston bombings really were, in some extremely complicated fashion, all about an oil pipeline or something like that.

But I think the Uncle Ruslan story is most relevant to getting a better grip on how the Tsarnaevs got asylum in the U.S.: I bet Uncle Ruslan got one or more of his American Deep State connections to pull some strings for his brother's family.

In general, that's symptomatic of how our immigration system works. The American Establishment has decided that there's nothing more evil than the American people having an opinion on which would-be immigrants to let in and which to keep out (to the New York Times editorial board, that's more or less eugenics which is more or less the Holocaust). But, somebody has to decide who gets in and who doesn't, so since Americans aren't supposed to do it, the decision often winds up in the hands of immigrants themselves, often nepotistic recent immigrants such as Uncle Ruslan.

UPDATE: Ex-CIA honcho Graham E. Fuller has confirmed that his daughter was married to Uncle Ruslan in the later 1990s, but says he, personally, only met Ruslan's brother, the Demolition Dad, once, and that his daughter was the Bomb Brothers' aunt-in-law only while they were young.

Order of the Assassins: Between bombing and shootout, Dzhokhar was calm, stoned

From the NYT:
After Attack, Suspects Returned to Routines, Raising No Suspicions 
BOSTON — Just five hours after the bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon last week, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was back at his computer, doing what he did almost every day, posting a message on Twitter. 
“Ain’t no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people,” he wrote. 
... For the most part, [the Tsarnaev Brothers] appeared calm, according to people who saw them, raising no suspicions that anything was amiss, let alone that they might have had anything to do with the attack. 
... By 1:14 p.m. Dzhokhar was back on Twitter. In an exchange with another fellow student, he dispensed some medical advice: you need to get Claritin clear. 
The other student has since deleted his account so the reply is no longer visible. Within three minutes, Dzhokhar added: #heavy I’ve been looking for those, there is a shortage on the black market if you wanna make a quick buck, nuff said. 
... “He was running some cardio on treadmill,” said Mr. Kedski, who said he often saw Dzhokhar smoking cigarettes and marijuana outside his dormitory. “He just seemed like a normal kid,” Mr. Kedski added. “He blended in very well.” ...
“I stopped by his room a couple times,” Mr. Juozaitis said. “He was just playing FIFA on Xbox. It wasn’t, like, weird. He was just doing what I do.” 
He seemed to have resumed his habits of staying up late and sleeping in late, and of smoking marijuana, which he did frequently, they said. 
Though he may have been quiet, Dzhokhar was hardly a loner — he was quite sociable. 
Sonja Bergeron, 19, said she would often see him at parties at dorms where he would be drinking and smoking marijuana. (She advised reporters to “look for the potheads” to find people who would have known him better.) 
“He was a kind of a party animal,” she said. 

I don't want to get all Umberto Eco-y on you, but I'm vaguely reminded of the legendary hashish-smoking Muslim "Assassins" that Marco Polo wrote about. They were one of the coolest things in my Classics Illustrated Adventures of Marco Polo comic book that I read when I was about nine.

Actually, Umberto Eco (Foucault's Pedulum, The Name of the Rose) is great. So, let's see where this absurd medieval hashhead thread goes.

Granted, the Tsarnaevs weren't bookish sorts, but the etymological link between "hashish" and "assassin" has got to be close to a universal in Pothead Lore. So, the Tsarnaev brothers would certainly have heard about "hashish" = "assassin" from some bong buddy, and they would have thought it was cool.

Moreover, it turns out that the Order of the Assassins was founded by the "Old Man of the Mountain" in Alamut Castle in northwestern Iran just down the coast of the Caspian Sea from Dagestan. So, the Tsarnaevs might have taken some hometown pride in the legend, because from the perspective of Cambridge, Chechnya, Dagestan, and Alamut are all practically the same place.

If you look up "Assassins" in Wikipedia, you get its usual multiple-personality syndrome. First, Wikipedia scolds you that this is all just an Orientalist myth:
"The literal interpretation of this term in referring to the Nizaris (as hashish consuming intoxicated assassins) is rooted in the fantasies of medieval Westerners and their imaginative ignorance of Islam and the Ismailis."

But, also, Wikipedia wants you to know, this stuff is pretty awesome:
The origins of the Assassins trace back to just before the First Crusade around 1080. There has been much difficulty finding out much information about the origins of the Assassins because most early sources are either written by enemies of the order or based on legends. Most sources dealing with the order's inner working were destroyed with the capture of Alamut, the Assassins' headquarters, by the Mongols in 1256. However, it is possible to trace the beginnings of the cult back to its first Grandmaster, Hassan-i Sabbah. 
A passionate devotee of Isma'ili beliefs, Hassan-i Sabbah was well-liked throughout Cairo, Syria and most of the Middle East by other Isma'ili, which led to a number of people becoming his followers. Using his fame and popularity, Sabbah founded the Order of the Assassins. ... Because of the unrest in the Holy Land caused by the Crusades, Hassan-i Sabbah found himself not only fighting for power with other Muslims, but also with the invading Christian forces.[6]

... He had established a secret society of deadly assassins, which was built in a hierarchical format. Below Sabbah, the Grand Headmaster of the Order, were those known as "Greater Propagandists", followed by the normal "Propagandists", the Rafiqs ("Companions"), and the Lasiqs ("Adherents"). It was the Lasiqs who were trained to become some of the most feared assassins, or as they were called, "Fida'i" (self-sacrificing agent), in the known world.[7] 
It is, however, unknown how Hassan-i-Sabbah was able to get his "Fida'i" to perform with such fervent loyalty. One theory, possibly the best known but also the most criticized, comes from the observations from Marco Polo during his travels to the Orient. He describes how the "Old Man of the Mountain" (Sabbah) would drug his young followers with hashish, lead them to a "paradise", and then claim that only he had the means to allow for their return. 
Perceiving that Sabbah was either a prophet or some kind of magic man, his disciples, believing that only he could return them to "paradise", were fully committed to his cause and willing to carry out his every request.[8] ... 
With his new weapons, Sabbah began to order assassinations, ranging from politicians to great generals. Assassins rarely would attack ordinary citizens though and tended not to be hostile towards them.

Well, that doesn't fit. But, you gotta admit that the rest of the stuff might have appealed to Tamerlan and Dzhokhar.
All Hashashins were trained in both the art of combat as in the study of religion, believing that they were on a jihad and were religious warriors.

Some consider them the Templars of Islam ...

like the Knights Templar in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, the meathead's Umberto Eco.
Although the "Fida'i" were the lowest rank in Sabbah's order and only used as expendable pawns to do the Grandmaster's bidding, much time and many resources were put into training them. The Assassins were generally young in age giving them the physical strength and stamina which would be required to carry out these murders. However, physical prowess was not the only trait that was required to be a "Fida'i". To get to their targets, the Assassins had to be patient, cold, and calculating. They were generally intelligent and well read because they were required to possess not only knowledge about their enemy, but his or her culture and their native language. They were trained by their masters to disguise themselves, sneak into enemy territory and perform the assassinations instead of simply attacking their target outright. [7] ...

Interesting ...
The Assassins were finally linked by the 19th century orientalist scholar Silvestre de Sacy to the Arabic hashish using their variant names assassin and assissini in the 19th century. ... This label was quickly adopted by anti-Ismaili historians and applied to the Ismailis of Syria and Persia. The spread of the term was further facilitated through military encounters between the Nizaris and the Crusaders, whose chroniclers adopted the term and disseminated it across Europe. ...
Military Tactics: 
For about two centuries, the hashashin specialized in assassinating their religious and political enemies.[Wasserman 2] These killings were often conducted in full view of the public and often in broad daylight, so as to instill terror in their foes.

= terrorism
Assassinations were primarily carried out with a dagger, which was sometimes tipped with poison. Due to being immensely outnumbered in enemy territory, the hashashin tended to specialize in covert operations. Hashashins would often assimilate themselves in the towns and regions of their targets and, over time, stealthily insert themselves into strategic positions.

See, they are assimilating!
... In the heat of battle however, under no circumstances did they commit suicide unless completely necessary, preferring to be killed by their captors. ...

In other words, like the Tsarnaevs, they were not suicide terrorists, but instead went down fighting.
The 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche gives prominent focus to what he terms "the Brotherhood of Assassins", in part 3, section 24 of On the Genealogy of Morality. Nietzsche's signature work is to attempt the transvaluation of values, that is, to transcend the inherited Jewish and Christian politics, psychology and ethics of ressentiment and guilt. Nietzsche points to the Assassins as anti-ascetic 'free spirits' who no longer believe in metaphysical truth.[17] 

I don't exactly know what that means, but as the 2011 movie The Guard pointed out, Nietzsche is the favorite philosopher of meatheads: Whatever doesn't kill me only makes me stronger.
Games like the the Assassin's Creed series employ assassin folklore to both their story and gameplay.

You can get Assassin's Creed on your X-Box. And you know who played a lot of X-Box? Dzhokhar!

This is not to say that Tamerlan and Django were inspired by Assassin pothead / meathead lore. But they might have been...

I sometimes worry that I might start a groundless rumor; but in my experience, the odds that I've figured out some wacky reality are significantly higher than that many people will believe me when I try to tell them.

Since my thinking tends to be parallel to reality but orthogonal to how most people like to think, I'm dependent on a limited group of readers to whom I have to appeal periodically for financial support. Thus, I've started my first panhandling drive of 2013.

First: you can make a non-tax deductible contribution to me by credit card via WePay by clicking here.

Second: you can make a tax deductible contribution to me via VDARE by clicking here.

Third: You can mail a non-tax deductible donation to:

Steve Sailer
P.O Box 4142
Valley Village, CA 91607-4142


Are Mexicans the new Italians?

Last week, NYT columnist David Leonhardt enthused:
Hispanics, the New Italians 
Published: April 20, 2013
With the arrival of millions of Latinos in recent decades, there have been multiple reasons to wonder if they would assimilate and thrive — including legitimate economic issues that go well beyond ethnic stereotypes. Unlike previous generations of immigrants, today’s can remain in daily telephone and video contact with their homeland. And unlike those in the past, today’s immigrants face legal obstacles, and their pathway to a middle-class life involves college tuition. A decade ago, the political scientist Samuel P. Huntington described the newfound issues with assimilation as simply the “Hispanic challenge.” 
Yet as the Senate begins to debate a major immigration bill, we already know a great deal about how Latinos are faring with that challenge: they’re meeting it, by and large. Whatever Washington does in coming months, a wealth of data suggests that Latinos, who make up fully half of the immigration wave of the past century, are already following the classic pattern for American immigrants.  
They have arrived in this country in great numbers, most of them poor, ill educated and, in important respects, different from native-born Americans. The children of immigrants, however, become richer and better educated than their parents and overwhelmingly speak English. The grandchildren look ever more American. 
“These fears about immigrants have been voiced many times in American history, and they’ve never proven true,” Alan M. Kraut, a history professor at American University, in Washington, told me. “It doesn’t happen immediately, but everything with Latinos points to a very typical pattern of integration in American life in a generation or two.”

This Mexicans-are-the-new-Italians theory (I reviewed Michael Barone's version in 2001) is the kind of thing that sounds totally plausible to New York pundits. After all, there were practically zero Mexicans in the U.S. until, like, a couple of years ago, right, so how can you not believe it?

But doesn't anybody in New York or Washington know anybody in Los Angeles? Doesn't Mr. Leonhardt or Dr. Kraut have, say, an aunt in Encino who could give them some insight based on generations of experience?

Let's take a statistical approach. There were 4,644,000 Hispanics in Los Angeles County according to the 2010 Census. The 1980 Census found 2,066,103 Latinos in Los Angeles County, and in 1970 there were 1,288,716. So they've been here a long time.

Also, the motion picture industry is in Los Angeles County. Naturally, that raises the question of what percentage of the approximately 1,150 people invited over the last decade to join the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences (and thus be eligible to vote for Oscars) have Spanish names, either surnames or first names? Diversity is our strength, so Hollywood must be rapidly diversifying, right?

Being an Academy member is kind of a weird thing in that some of the members are among the most famous people on earth, some are moguls, and some are obscure craftsmen. For example, when I was 15, my driving instructor was a member of the Academy. His day job was teaching driver's training and coaching the wrestling team at a public high school, but he moonlighted as a character actor and stunt man (Yakuza henchmen, ninjas, and Japanese corporate executives were his specialties -- he wasn't the most skilled actor, but he was an extraordinarily tough looking guy who in real life was immensely affable, which is a good combination in a business where how much people like you matters a lot) in enough movies to be invited to join the Academy. (I believe my driving instructor was only the fourth East Asian in the Academy, following James Wong Howe.) A lot of members are technicians who are even more obscure.

Still, all else being equal, being in the Academy is better than not being in the Academy, so it's a good measure of social and economic status and achievement.

From the Los Angeles Times:
Oscars film academy may expand its ranks
The move would aim to add diversity to the mostly white, mostly male academy.

By Nicole Sperling 
April 26, 2013, 4:11 p.m. 
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is aiming to expand and diversify its ranks by relaxing a cap on membership that has restricted new admittances since 2004. 
The academy has about 5,800 voting members; in recent years, fewer than 200 people have been invited to join annually. The number of openings is essentially determined by how many members have retired, resigned or died. ...
Rules state that there are three ways to become eligible for admittance: an Oscar nomination, a recommendation from two members of the applicant's branch, or an endorsement by the branch's membership committee and staff. ...
Sound branch member Don Hall, who is on the Board of Governors, said it's a good move that will allow a greater number of accomplished people in his technical field to be recognized. "We can now invite in others who haven't won awards but are just as deserving," he said. "Without the quota, we can get them in." 
The academy has periodically faced calls to diversify its ranks. A 2012 L.A. Times study found that nearly 94% of academy voters are white and 77% are male. Blacks make up about 2% of the academy and Latinos less than 2%. 

Accompanying the article is a table of the 1,197 invitations to join the Academy from 2004 through 2012. (A few of those are writer-directors listed twice, so let's call the denominator 1,150 new members).

I went through the whole list looking for Spanish names. I found 40, or 3.5% of 1,150. I don't promise that I'm an expert on Spanish names, but I looked up many of the obscure ones ending in vowels. They were much more likely to turn out to be Italian rather than Spanish. (Italians seems to be doing pretty well at getting into the Academy.)

Most of those, about 28 out of 40, however, are people who were born and fully raised abroad (10 Spaniards, 4 Argentines, and so forth). For example, director Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs) was born in Colombia and raised in Mexico. By the way, his father is Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez (kind of like how move director Duncan Jones' dad is another 1970s icon, David Bowie).

Most, such as Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, became prominent in their home countries' cinemas before trying their hand in Hollywood.

So these foreign elites aren't representative of mass immigration at all.

Only a dozen -- just 1% of the last 1,150 people added to the Academy -- appear to be Latino-Americans in the sense either of being born here or at least having gotten here by high school.

For example, character actor Miguel Ferrer has a Spanish-surname but was born in Santa Monica. His Puerto Rican-born father Jose won the Best Actor Oscar over 70 years ago, and his singer mother Rosemary Clooney was George Clooney's aunt. Zoe Saldana, who was so fetching as the 10' blue princess in Avatar was born in America but largely raised in the Dominican Republic. Andrew Jimenez, a Pixar animator, grew up in San Diego and went to UCSD. He speaks with no discernible accent, so I'm guessing he was born here.

Others were born abroad but got here young enough to be somewhat affected by growing up in America, so I classify them as also Latino-American.

For example, I went to Rice U. with Elizabeth Avellan, who was added to the Producers branch of the Academy in 2005. She grew up in Venezuela, where her grandfather owned the first private TV network in the country, but came to the U.S. when she was 13. (She married director Richard Rodriguez of San Antonio, and kept us apprised of her hubby's meteoric progress in the Rice alumni newsletter. They have five children: Rocket Rodriguez, Racer Rodriguez, Rebel Rodriguez, Rogue Rodriguez and Rhiannon Rodriguez.) So, I count her as one of the 12 Latino-Americans because she got here before age 18.

Makeup / hairstylist Mike Elizalde was born in Mexico, but came here with his parents when he was five. He and documentary maker Lourdes Portillo were the only individuals I could find who were conventional first generation Mexican immigrants.

And there are six others who appear to be Latino-Americans or at least there is no evidence that they fully matured in some other countries.

But barely over 1.0% is remarkably small.

But how can anybody in New York or Washington notice?

April 26, 2013

More Wretched Refuse Mania from the NYT

The Editorial Page Editor of the New York Times writes in the NYT:
The Boston Bombing and Immigration 

In the days since the Boston marathon attack, a number of Republican lawmakers have demanded a delay in immigration reform because the two bombers were fairly recent immigrants. 
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid on April 22 to say: 
“We should not proceed until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system. Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism? Were there any safeguards? Could this have been prevented? Does the immigration reform before us address this?” 
Actually, neither brother immigrated from Chechnya. The ethnically Chechen Tsarnaevs came here from neighboring Dagestan. And when did the United States start excluding immigrants from dangerous places? Seems to me that they fall into the categories of “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” not to mention “wretched refuse” of teeming shores and the “homeless, tempest-tossed.” 

Ancestor worship / ethnocentric kitsch.

I wasn't actually aware that Emma Lazarus's 1883 poem legally dictates 21st Century immigration policy. 

Personally, I thought the more legally relevant general mission statement is the following:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

And I'm having a hard time figuring out how the Tsarnaevs promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Furthermore, in answer to Rosenthal's question, "And when did the United States start excluding immigrants from dangerous places?"

One answer appears to be that the Obama Administration has a fairly general policy of excluding males from Chechnya. (The Tsarnaevs got in under Bush.) From USA Today on April 19, 2013:
Few Chechen immigrants make it to U.S.
There are probably fewer than about 200 Chechen immigrants in the United States, and most of them are settled in the Boston area, as many U.S. cities have refused to accept asylum applicants from the war-torn area of southern Russia, says Glen Howard, president of the Jamestown Foundation. 
About 70% of the Chechen immigrants are women, Howard says. Very few men are granted asylum because of U.S. anti-terrorism policies and because Russia often protests when ethnic Chechens try to settle in the U.S., he said. The U.S. admitted only 197 refugees from all of Russia in 2012. 
That contrasts with many European countries, especially Austria, where many Chechens who want to leave difficult conditions at home settle. Austria has about 30,000 Chechen immigrants, Howard said. 
"This family is a very rare episode. Very few make it here, even fewer get green cards," Howard said. The Jamestown Foundation has testified on behalf of several ethnic Chechens who have applied for asylum in the United States, which is typically a three- to five-year process. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the remaining suspect in the Boston marathon bombing, is a naturalized U.S. citizens. 
President Obama has tried to "restart" U.S. relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has maintained a tough policy on Chechen insurgents. The U.S. also wants to maintain a key military supply line to Afghanistan known as the "northern route," which runs across Central Asia and southern Russia. 
Immigrating from Chechnya is particularly difficult because there are several groups on the U.S. Department of Treasury terrorism list, such as Islamic International Brigade, the Special Purpose Islamic Regiment and the Riyadus-Salikhin Battalion, which were implicated in the Moscow theater hostage bombing of 202 that killed 129, including an American.

So, congratulations to the Obama Administration for having a fairly sensible policy of largely discriminating against Chechens trying to get in to our country.

Social psychology fraud: Just tell professors what they want to hear

Here's a long NYT Magazine article on Diederik Stapel, a prominent Dutch social psychologist:
The Mind of a Con Man
Published: April 26, 2013  
One summer night in 2011, a tall, 40-something professor named Diederik Stapel stepped out of his elegant brick house in the Dutch city of Tilburg to visit a friend around the corner. It was close to midnight, but his colleague Marcel Zeelenberg had called and texted Stapel that evening to say that he wanted to see him about an urgent matter. 
... “What’s up?” Stapel asked, settling onto a couch. Two graduate students had made an accusation, Zeelenberg explained. His eyes began to fill with tears. “They suspect you have been committing research fraud.” 
Stapel was an academic star in the Netherlands and abroad, the author of several well-regarded studies on human attitudes and behavior. That spring, he published a widely publicized study in Science about an experiment done at the Utrecht train station showing that a trash-filled environment tended to bring out racist tendencies in individuals. ... 
On his return trip to Tilburg, Stapel stopped at the train station in Utrecht. This was the site of his study linking racism to environmental untidiness, supposedly conducted during a strike by sanitation workers. In the experiment described in the Science paper, white volunteers were invited to fill out a questionnaire in a seat among a row of six chairs; the row was empty except for the first chair, which was taken by a black occupant or a white one. Stapel and his co-author claimed that white volunteers tended to sit farther away from the black person when the surrounding area was strewn with garbage. Now, looking around during rush hour, as people streamed on and off the platforms, Stapel could not find a location that matched the conditions described in his experiment. 
“No, Diederik, this is ridiculous,” he told himself at last. “You really need to give it up.” ...

In reality, Stapel had simply made up all the data for this, his most popular study, and at least 54 others. He never carried out the studies; he just typed plausible sounding numbers into his computer.

Not surprisingly, the quasi-bogus field of "priming" attracted Stapel, where, apparently, he first started to get creative.
While there, Stapel began testing the idea that priming could affect people without their being aware of it. ... The experiment — and others like it — didn’t give Stapel the desired results, he said. He had the choice of abandoning the work or redoing the experiment. But he had already spent a lot of time on the research and was convinced his hypothesis was valid. “I said — you know what, I am going to create the data set,” he told me. 
Sitting at his kitchen table in Groningen, he began typing numbers into his laptop that would give him the outcome he wanted. He knew that the effect he was looking for had to be small in order to be believable; even the most successful psychology experiments rarely yield significant results. The math had to be done in reverse order: the individual attractiveness scores that subjects gave themselves on a 0-7 scale needed to be such that Stapel would get a small but significant difference in the average scores for each of the two conditions he was comparing. He made up individual scores like 4, 5, 3, 3 for subjects who were shown the attractive face. “I tried to make it random, which of course was very hard to do,” Stapel told me. 
Doing the analysis, Stapel at first ended up getting a bigger difference between the two conditions than was ideal. He went back and tweaked the numbers again. It took a few hours of trial and error, spread out over a few days, to get the data just right. 
He said he felt both terrible and relieved. The results were published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2004. “I realized — hey, we can do this,” he told me. 
Stapel’s career took off. He published more than two dozen studies while at Groningen, many of them written with his doctoral students. They don’t appear to have questioned why their supervisor was running many of the experiments for them. Nor did his colleagues inquire about this unusual practice. 
In 2006, Stapel moved to Tilburg, joining Zeelenberg. Students flocked to his lab, and he quickly rose in influence. In September 2010, he became dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He could have retreated from active research to focus on administration, but, he told me, he couldn’t resist the allure of fabricating new results. He had already made up the data for the Utrecht train-station study and was working on the paper that would appear in Science the following year. Colleagues sought him out to take part in new collaborations. ...
The key to why Stapel got away with his fabrications for so long lies in his keen understanding of the sociology of his field. “I didn’t do strange stuff, I never said let’s do an experiment to show that the earth is flat,” he said. “I always checked — this may be by a cunning manipulative mind — that the experiment was reasonable, that it followed from the research that had come before, that it was just this extra step that everybody was waiting for.” 

Obviously, with his famous study of white racism at the Utrecht train station, it helps to deliver lessons that the world wants to hear. The problem for honest social scientists is that large parts of reality are more or less off limits. Nobody wants to hear honest, wide-ranging truths about race these days.

For example, to this day, we constantly read denunciations of the IQ researcher Sir Cyril Burt (1883-1971), despite the murkiness of the story. Why? Because his results disputed the idea that heredity plays no role of intelligence. Similarly, the saintly Arthur Jensen was largely shoved down the memory hole so that we had to get a drive going just to get the great man obituarized when he died last year.

Yet, we see the 1960's work of Rick Heber of the Milwaukee Project enthusiastically cited in the NYT a generation after Heber went to prison for fraud.

In Nicholas D. Kristof's 4/15/2009 column in the NYT, he wrote:
Professor Nisbett strongly advocates intensive early childhood education because of its proven ability to raise I.Q. and improve long-term outcomes. The Milwaukee Project, for example, took African-American children considered at risk for mental retardation and assigned them randomly either to a control group that received no help or to a group that enjoyed intensive day care and education from 6 months of age until they left to enter first grade.
By age 5, the children in the program averaged an I.Q. of 110, compared with 83 for children in the control group. Even years later in adolescence, those children were still 10 points ahead in I.Q.

From the Concise Encyclopedia of Special Education (latest edition 2002).
The term Milwaukee Project is the popular title of a widely publicized program begun in the mid-1960s as one of many Great Society efforts to improve the intellectual development of low-achieving groups. It was headed by Rick Heber of the University of Wisconsin (UW), Madison, who was also director of the generously funded Waisman Institute in Madison. The Milwaukee Project was a small study with some 20 experimental subjects and 20 control subjects. It was not reported on by the investigators in any refereed scientific journals, yet its cost was some $14 million, mostly in federal funds, and its fame was international, since it claimed to have moved the IQs of its subject children from the dull-normal range of intelligence to the superior range of intelligence. ...

Enthusiasm, controversy, and scandal subsequently surrounded the history of the project. Its claimed success was hailed by famous psychologists and by the popular media. Later in the project, Heber, the principal investigator, was discharged from UW, Madison and convicted and imprisoned for large-scale abuse of federal funding for private gain. Two of his colleagues were also convicted of violations of federal laws in connection with misuse of project funds. …. However, the project received uncritical acceptance in many college textbooks in psychology and education.

Why? Because there is a market for lies.

April 25, 2013

Obama hands out billions in fraudulent bias claims

I'm shocked, shocked to learn that former civil rights lawyer turned Chicago politician Barack Obama has been handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to largely fraudulent civil rights plaintiffs:

From the NYT:
Federal Spigot Flows as Farmers Claim Bias 
In the winter of 2010, after a decade of defending the government against bias claims by Hispanic and female farmers, Justice Department lawyers seemed to have victory within their grasp. 
Ever since the Clinton administration agreed in 1999 to make $50,000 payments to thousands of black farmers, the Hispanics and women had been clamoring in courtrooms and in Congress for the same deal. They argued, as the African-Americans had, that biased federal loan officers had systematically thwarted their attempts to borrow money to farm. 
But a succession of courts — and finally the Supreme Court — had rebuffed their pleas. Instead of an army of potential claimants, the government faced just 91 plaintiffs. Those cases, the government lawyers figured, could be dispatched at limited cost. 
They were wrong. 
On the heels of the Supreme Court’s ruling, interviews and records show, the Obama administration’s political appointees at the Justice and Agriculture Departments engineered a stunning turnabout: they committed $1.33 billion to compensate not just the 91 plaintiffs but thousands of Hispanic and female farmers who had never claimed bias in court. 
The deal, several current and former government officials said, was fashioned in White House meetings despite the vehement objections — until now undisclosed — of career lawyers and agency officials who had argued that there was no credible evidence of widespread discrimination. What is more, some protested, the template for the deal — the $50,000 payouts to black farmers — had proved a magnet for fraud. 
“I think a lot of people were disappointed,” said J. Michael Kelly, who retired last year as the Agriculture Department’s associate general counsel. “You can’t spend a lot of years trying to defend those cases honestly, then have the tables turned on you and not question the wisdom of settling them in a broad sweep.” 
The compensation effort sprang from a desire to redress what the government and a federal judge agreed was a painful legacy of bias against African-Americans by the Agriculture Department. But an examination by The New York Times shows that it became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms that stand to gain more than $130 million in fees. In the past five years, it has grown to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers. In all, more than 90,000 people have filed claims. The total cost could top $4.4 billion. 
From the start, the claims process prompted allegations of widespread fraud and criticism that its very design encouraged people to lie: because relatively few records remained to verify accusations, claimants were not required to present documentary evidence that they had been unfairly treated or had even tried to farm. Agriculture Department reviewers found reams of suspicious claims, from nursery-school-age children and pockets of urban dwellers, sometimes in the same handwriting with nearly identical accounts of discrimination. 

Future son-in-law of Speaker of the House

The Cat in the Hat
Not every political family, it turns out, is succeeding at getting its progeny to marry into billionaire families.

The Most Interesting Newspaper in the World, the Daily Mail, runs this picture of the Florida construction worker and dreadlocked Jamaican immigrant Dominic Lakhan, age 38, who next month will marry the 35-year-old daughter of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH).

Iron Eyes Boehner
The burnt orange Speaker is of Oompa-Loompan ancestry himself. (Other prominent Loompans include Angelo Mozilo, Donald Trump, and Mitt Romney.)

Mr. Lakhan (a name that sounds vaguely Subcontinental) was arrested in 2006 for driving while drinking a Natural Light and smoking weed.

I was going to do an extensive Internet search to make sure Mr. Lakhan isn't actually the eccentric heir to a Jamaican bauxite fortune, but then I noticed that, like your correspondent, he drinks Natty Light H2O-flavored beerwater.

Here's my 2012 discussion with Charles Murray about the question on his Class Markers Quiz about whether you drink mass market beers like Bud, and what my drinking a sub-mass market beer furtively aimed at the frat boy and wino demographics says about our class status. I think Charles and I left it at classless.

Anyway, that reminded me that I need to make more money, which is why I've started my first panhandling drive of 2013.

I am grateful for your readership and tangible support. I'm running a Spring panhandling drive soliciting your contributions.

First: you can make a non-tax deductible contribution to me by credit card via WePay by clicking here.

Second: you can make a tax deductible contribution to me via VDARE by clicking here.

Third: You can mail a non-tax deductible donation to:

Steve Sailer
P.O Box 4142
Valley Village, CA 91607-4142


To fight sexism, Coachella should have Celine Dion headline

From Slate:
The Real Reason Summer Festivals Have So Few Women 
By Forrest Wickman | Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2013, at 3:19 PM 
Last week, an article on BuzzFeed asked, “Where Are All the Women at Coachella?”

Coachella is a big outdoor rock music festival every April in the Greater Palm Springs area that appeals to white kids with 3 digit IQs who like electric guitars and new wavier synthesizers. Heck, I even know who some of the bands playing there this year were (e.g., New Order, Social Distortion, Violent Femmes, Dropkick Murphys, Jello Biafra, Sparks, The Selecter, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Vampire Weekend, and OMD).
The conclusion the authors reached was unsurprising. As they had expected, a breakdown of the festival’s lineups by gender showed that, year after year, the bills have been dominated by men. In fact, it wasn’t even close. In this year’s lineup, female-fronted acts represented only a little more than 10 percent of the more than 500 artists who played. The festival hasn’t fared much better in the past: On average, just over 15 percent of the festival’s acts have been fronted by women.  
... Perhaps they didn’t want to lob accusations of sexism, which can be uncomfortable, or to face the commenters, who have been mostly vicious and defensive. “There is legitimate gender inequality in the music industry,” says one unusually civil commenter, “but the problem does not lie in Coachella.” “Stupid article,” says another. “This suggests that the actual pool of marketable music acts is 50% male and female-fronted, but festivals are the ones f------ it up. Please.” 

I've noticed that professional journalists who are paid to wield Occam's Butterknife are getting angrier and angrier over how they get repeatedly cut to pieces by anonymous commenters wielding Occam's Razor.
The idea behind both comments is that festivals simply reflect disparities within the music industry, which is supposedly dominated by male acts generally. The problem with this line of argument is that it relies on assumptions that simply aren’t true, and have long been outdated. In fact, the festivals are the ones f***** it up, while women practically dominate the music Americans listen to and enjoy. 
If that sounds unlikely or surprising, just look at the Billboard charts, about as cold and dispassionate a measure as we have. ... In 2009, women held not just the top spot, but the top five spots, with Taylor Swift leading the way. In 2010, Swift came in at No. 2, while another multitalented singer and songwriter, Lady Gaga, came in at No. 1. In 2011, both these artists were crushed by Artist of the Year Adele, who had both the biggest album and the biggest single of the year, with three other women filling out the top four spots. I 
... Still, this doesn’t excuse Coachella. Each of these measures, chosen not by planners but by unplanned democratic consensus, celebrates many more female voices than that festival does.
So am I saying that the organizers in Indio, or the fans they’re trying to please, hate women? No. The problem is larger than that and not nearly so simple. Indeed, most of the big music festivals have the same problem. For this year’s Lollapalooza, the top 13 acts are all fronted by men. At Bonnaroo, Björk is the only woman among the top 10 headliners. Festivals like Outside Lands, Sasquatch, and the electronic music festival Ultra are similarly male-dominated, though Pitchfork—four of whose top six acts this year are great solo female artists—shows that each of these festivals could do better. 
Instead, the real problem at most of these festivals lies in the alternative subcultures they celebrate. Formed out of the male-dominated music scenes of jam music (in the case of Bonnaroo), late-’90s indie rock (Coachella), and early ’90s alternative and grunge (Lollapalooza), these festivals tend to celebrate diversity while dismissing the most popular pop acts—the ones who tend to dominate the charts and who tend so often to be female—as frivolous or corporate. 
As the festivals expand beyond their narrow roots, maybe fans and organizers should start to take the commercially and critically successful female acts they currently deride more seriously. 

The basic issue is that rock music traditionally celebrates artistic diversity and innovation, which comes overwhelmingly from men. Women are more conformist and less driven, so they are less likely to push the envelope.

This is a general conundrum in culture in the 21st Century: We are supposed to celebrate diversity and we are supposed to admire the épater le bourgeois spirit that motivated Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and so forth. No problem, right? Except that the épater urge and achievement was -- and remains -- strongest in white males.

Demolition Dad, Bomb Mom, and Babushka of Boom hold news conference

Demolition Dad, Bomb Mom, and Babushka of Boom
There has been much speculation in the press about what idiosyncratic, one-in-a-million motives Tamerlan or Dzhokhar Tsarnaev might have had. For example, scientists at Boston University want to scan the late Tamerlan's brain to see if boxing had caused any of the brain damage associated with NFL players who commit suicides (see in Slate: Did Concussions Make Him Do It?)

But such analyses seems better suited for lone wolf killers. When you have two brothers, an ethnic analysis seems more plausible, especially when the ethnic backgrounds are famously volatile. My best guess is that the Tsarnaevs were brave young men aspiring to live up to the legends of their peoples, region, and religion by engaging in traditional modes of defiance in the manner of the lethal ethnic raiders / rebels celebrated by Tolstoy and other great Russian writers.

And, indeed, it turns out that the older generation of the Tsarnaev family just did a new conference, which provided an object lesson in North Caucasus Muslim worldviews, values, and interpersonal style that the younger generation took upon themselves to embody in an even more vigorous and vibrant way:
Parents Say Boston Bombing Suspects Are Innocent 
MAKHACHKALA, Russia — The parents of the two brothers accused in the bomb attack that killed three people and wounded more than 260 near the finish line of the Boston Marathon insisted on Thursday that their sons were innocent and had no connection to radical Islam. 
In an outpouring of anguish and anger at a news conference here in the capital of Dagestan, the brothers’ father, Anzor Tsarnaev, and mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, also made accusations of a conspiracy in which the American authorities murdered their older son, Tamerlan, after seizing him. 
... Despite this evidence, and after two days of questioning by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation here, Ms. Tsarnaeva said she would not accept that her sons were guilty. 
“No I don’t — and I won’t,” she snapped at the news conference. “Never!” 
During an emotional, nearly hourlong question-and-answer session, the parents addressed many of the questions that investigators and the American public have been asking in the anxious, unsettled days after the bombing, insisting their sons were not religious radicals or connected to any terrorist organization. 
Their answers were often a mixture of denial and conspiracy theory. 
In one dramatic moment, Ms. Tsarnaeva said that F.B.I. agents who came to the family’s home in Massachusetts to question Tamerlan about his religious views had asked her if she worried that he might commit an act of terrorism. 
“Actually, they told me, don’t you think that Tamerlan is being a little bit, you know, like, extreme about religion?” she said. “Do you think that he would think about organizing some kind of, you know ——” She broke off and stumbled over her words. “Probably that was their meaning: terroristic, terrorism or whatever, aggression.” 
“Do you see any aggression in Tamerlan?” she said, quoting the agents. “No, I did not. I did not. I really did not see any reason to worry.” 
Ms. Tsarnaeva said that she was considering giving up her American citizenship. 

We must look deep into our hearts to search for how we've failed this woman who came here due to her love of the Declaration of Independence and Emma Lazarus's poem, only to learn the horrible truth that Americans don't always live up to their Propositions.
The parents spoke alternately in Russian and English, sometimes starting a sentence in one language and finishing in the other. Mr. Tsarnaev wore dark sunglasses, while Ms. Tsarnaeva wore a head scarf, which is customary among many women in this predominantly Muslim region. 
They said that they regretted having lived in the United States, but that they wanted to travel back soon see Dzhokhar, though they expressed fear that they would not be allowed to see him until he was put in prison. 
“Yes, I would prefer not to live in America now. Like, why did I even go there — why?” Ms. Tsarnaeva said, nearly breaking into tears. “I thought America was going to, like, protect us, our kids, it was going to be safe for any reason. But it happened the opposite. My kids — America took my kids away from me — only America. So why wouldn’t I regret? Why?” 
“I don’t know,” she said, regaining her composure. “I am sure that my kids were not involved in anything.” 
... Anzor Tsarnaev responded sharply to a reporter who asked why Tamerlan had felt that he did not fit in among Americans, once saying he did not have any friends. 
“That’s not true,” Mr. Tsarnaev said. “He have a lot of friends. I know these friends.”

But he had three fewer American friends after that unfortunate incident in Waltham on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
Ms. Tsarnaeva jumped in to say that Tamerlan had meant he did not have a best friend. “It does not mean that he did not fit in America,” she said. 
The parents said the F.B.I. agents who questioned them had been most interested in Tamerlan’s six-month visit to Dagestan last year, which they said had been undertaken so that he could obtain a Russian passport. Although he was born in Russia, Tamerlan had traveled on a passport from Kyrgyzstan, where the family lived, that was about to expire. They said he needed a Russian passport because he did not have American citizenship. 
Ms. Tsarnaeva reacted furiously to a questioner who said Dzhokhar had told officials the brothers were motivated by extremist Islam. “I’ll answer,” she said. “They told me yesterday that he was not questioned yet,” she said of her son’s lawyers. “Where does this information come from? Where does this information come from?” 
“Where does this information come from?” she shouted again. 

Lauren Bush Lauren: Your GOP Presidential candidate in 2032-2036

Lauren Bush Lauren
and husband
David Lauren
Owing to demographic progress in the United States, America is becoming too diverse for white men to monopolize all the good jobs. Thus, Jeb Bush, with his Mexican Connections, will be the last white man to earn the GOP Presidential nomination.  On the other hand, history suggests that multicultural empires are too diverse to hold together without one hereditary dynasty as the locus of loyalties.

Therefore, after Jeb in 2016 - 2020, the first Hispanic man to be the GOP standardbearer will be his son George P. Bush in 2024-2028. 

But then who in 2032-2036?

By then, it will be time for a woman and for somebody whose last name isn't Bush (while still being a Bush). But, in this era of declining attention spans, the GOP nominee's last name will still need to be a trusted brand name, one that appears, say, on billions of pieces of clothing. In fact, why not double up and use the heavily advertised brand name as both a last and first name, while still inserting the mandatory Bush brand name as a middle maiden name? Thus, the inevitable GOP heiress apparent for the 2030s: 
Lauren Bush Lauren Is Making a Name for Herself 
For Lauren Bush Lauren, the strikingly attractive niece of one president and the granddaughter of another, as well as the daughter-in-law of a legendary figure in the world of American fashion, it’s not easy to go unnoticed. 
At Ralph Lauren’s fall 2013 show during the most recent New York Fashion Week, the paparazzi snapped her photo as she sat in the front row with her husband, David Lauren; her mother-in-law, Ricky Lauren; and media heavyweights such as Graydon Carter of Vanity Fair and David Remnick of The New Yorker. 
At a recent lunch at the Standard hotel, as she dined on a chopped salad (with a side of pickles), a few patrons glanced over quizzically, as if they knew they should know her from somewhere — a model? an actress? A Real Housewife? — while the waiters hovered solicitously. 
And in early April, at the Hale House gala honoring her mother, Sharon Bush, for her philanthropic work, a hush seemed to come over the crowd as Ms. Bush Lauren, her husband and her younger siblings, Pierce and Ashley, made their way around the room. They formed such a regal vignette that the evening’s host, the actress Patricia Clarkson, later joked onstage: “It’s a shame they’re so attractive.” 
Ms. Bush Lauren seems to take such attention in stride. But it wasn’t always thus. 
Raised mostly in Texas and educated at Princeton, she moved to New York in 2006, having already worked here as a model, one whose last name guaranteed a certain level of ready fame.

Jeb Bush and the Decline of Disinterestedness

From the Washington Post:
Hispanic consciousness lends weight to Jeb Bush as GOP eyes 2016 presidential race 
By Manuel Roig-Franzia and Peter Wallsten, Published: April 24 
MIAMI — She was almost like a member of the family. An employee, but almost one of them. 
For three years, Maria Magdalena Romero had tended to the suburban Miami home of Jeb and Columba Bush, had helped to raise their three children, had twined into the fabric of their lives. 
Then, with lurching swiftness, she was yanked away. On a mild winter morning in 1991, two immigration agents appeared at the door of the family home looking for the woman Bush’s younger son and namesake, then just 10 years old, remembers as “a super nice lady.” They carried deportation orders. 
It didn’t matter that Bush’s father was president of the United States at the time or that a Secret Service agent had answered the door. Romero, who was in the country illegally but had a work permit, wasn’t getting a reprieve. 

Wow. So, way back under the Bush the Elder Administration, federal officials felt confident enough to inconvenience the President's own son for illegally employing a cheap servant?

John Adams, who called for "a government of laws, not of men," would have been proud.

Of course, these days, disinterestedness is just one of those tiresome WASP hang-ups.
... That long-ago deportation is one among many inflection points for the elder Bush in what has been a lifetime of intimate proximity to America’s Hispanic community, to its searing pain and its buoyant joy, to its mores and its politics. 
While Republicans cast about for leaders who can connect with Spanish-speaking voters, this tall Texas native with the Mexican American wife has remarkably come to represent a kind of Hispanic consciousness for the party. 
Living in Miami, mixing effortlessly with that city’s Cuban American power base and speaking near-flawless Spanish, Bush has managed to embody an adopted culture that has enthusiastically adopted him. As former commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez put it at last week’s Hispanic Leadership Network conference in Miami, the former Florida governor is “just as Hispanic as everyone in this room, and maybe a little more.”

Carlos Gutierrez is the most extreme example of the Hidalgo-American types who have been lecturing us evil white folk on our evil white racism lately.
It is a distinction that lends considerable weight to Bush — who was successful in attracting votes from both Republican and Democratic Latinos in his gubernatorial races — in the handicapping for 2016’s GOP presidential candidates. Speculation about another Bush presidency is permeating the festivities this week as Bush, 60, joins his presidential brother and father and the rest of the family in Dallas for the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. In a C-Span interview airing Wednesday night, George W. Bush stokes the speculation about his brother’s presidential prospects, saying, “My first advice is: Run.”

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Rich Muslim immigrant celebrity's post-Tsarnaev advice to Americans: "Embrace Muslim communities"

Fareed Zakaria, the immigrant Muslim television personality and Washington Post columnist whose father was deputy leader of Indira Gandhi's party, has cogitated for almost a week on the Lessons of the Bomb Brothers. And this is what he has come up with in the WaPo:
A better way for America to integrate Muslims 
... The lesson from Europe appears to be: Embrace Muslim communities. ... Rather than ostracize or embarrass Muslims in the wake of Boston, the smarter move would be even greater outreach ... 

So, how much more should the Cambridge, Massachusetts, and American taxpayers have spent on the Tsarnaev family?

More generally, have you noticed that nobody even tries anymore to look disinterested and objective? You might think that Zakaria would think to himself, "I'm a Muslim, I'm an immigrant, and I've been embraced by America's elites to an embarrassing extent, so this would look really bad."

But, no, we are so far gone into Who-Whomism that Zakaria thinks to himself, "I'm a Muslim, I'm an immigrant, and therefore I should lecture Americans on how they have to embrace Muslim immigrants more ... like, for example, me!"

It's like how we're supposed to listen respectfully to Marco Rubio and Jeb and George P. Bush lecture us to elect a new people so that they, personally, can get elected President.

Disinterested is WASPish and unfashionable, while shamelessness is vibrantly diverse.