Politics: Bombers’ Delusional Kin Need Reality Check

–Head Exams & Ethics Implants, Too.

We’ve yet to hear the first publicly-spoken words from Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

But ever since his and his brother’s April 15 assault on Beantown, we’ve sure heard quite a lot from out of the pieholes of several of his disbelieving kinfolk, little if any of it that would ever endear these knuckleheads to the American public:

The father, Anzor Tsarnaev: “I want facts, proof that this is all original because otherwise, anything could be set up.

They never could have done this. Never, ever, ever! I feel terrible! Why they kill my son? Something wrong! My sons never do bombing. They hated guns – how they do bombs?”

Easy. A smart ten-year-old with access to a computer and all the right ingredients could build a bomb, old coot. What cave have you been holed up in since the internet age began?

The mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva: “I know that my kids have nothing to do with this. I know it. I am mother. I know my kids.”

Uh, mommy dearest, go re-read your copy of Dr. Spock’s child-rearing manual, for you evidently didn’t know your boys as well as you think you did.

The aunt in Toronto, Maret Tsarnaeva: “I do not believe these two boys have done that…and I will not believe that until I get evidence.

I am suspicious that this was staged. The [surveillance] picture [released by authorities] was staged [by] whoever needs this, whoever is looking for those who need to be blamed for these attacks.

The whole world is now making a decision [on them] now by just seeing these pictures and not having anything else.”

What more do you require, lady louco, when the cameras, the pictures, the video – all of it – speak for themselves?

What we have here is a family in a serious state of denial. Or premature dementia.

This despite overwhelming and damning evidence – that which has been revealed and that which has yet to be – indicting these two brothers as the evil terrorists that their relatives are either reluctant to believe or refuse to believe they were and are.

Wonderful children,” daddy gushed. “They are gentle, like girls, they as soft in their character – soft.” Dzhokhar, his youngest son, is “an innocent angel.”

For that matter, maybe his boys should have been born girls. That way, they would have been less likely to have grown up to become bomb-building junior al-Qaedists.

Their sister, Alina: “He [Tamerlan] was a great person….He is a kind and loving man.” Of both brothers: “Great people.”

Again, the aunt, describing her nephews: “Smart boys, good boys.”

How about bad boys, foolish aunt?

Mama Tsarnaev thinks the whole bombing was fake. She maintained to reporters that the blood spilled in the attack was really paint. She wanted to return to the U.S. to claim her dead son’s body – that is, until her own fairly recent arrest was revealed, a charge on which she jumped bail and fled the country.

Curious about other disconnects from reality in recorded history, I discovered that the family Tsarnaev is hardly alone in defending their twisted kin. There are these:

Goldilocks’ father: “My daughter? Breaking and entering? Impossible! She never broke into those bears’ house. And regardless of what she did, what were those bears thinking by keeping their door unlocked anyway? An invitation to trouble, if you ask me. Blame them, not her.”

Mrs. Benedict Arnold: “My husband would never sell out the patriots to the redcoats. It’s all a setup, I tell you. If you ask me, I think General Washington is behind this. He just wants to come off looking better by making my Ben out to be a traitor.”

The brother of the Big Bad Wolf: “He didn’t swallow that little girl with the red riding hood. And even if he did, she had no business being in that neck of the woods. Private property! When he confronted her for trespassing, she made up this story about visiting her sick granny. Yeah, right. A likely fib. My brother’s no aggressor. If anybody’s the menacing type, it’s HER, not him!”

Typhoid Mary’s sister Carrie and brother Larry: “Lay off our sis. She’s no contagion carrier, we’ll have you know! This germ they blame her for spreading? They likely concocted it in some beaker in some laboratory somewhere, then planted it on her, that’s what!”

The grandmother of the Boy Who Cried Wolf: “He’s no liar. He’s just a sweet, little boy. What kid isn’t a bit precocious? These townspeople, they’re just meanies. Why frame an innocent little boy? Haven’t they got better things to do?”

A one-time classmate of infamous cult leader Jim Jones: “Listen, I knew Jim. I grew up with him. There’s no way he would have made all those people drink poisoned Kool-Aid. He doesn’t even like Kool-Aid, his mother never served any in her house – so he’s going to make others drink the stuff? Come on.”

Mike Tyson’s aunt: “My Mike didn’t bite off Holyfield’s ear. You ought to replay the tape. Then you’ll find that it wasn’t Mike at all. Maybe you ought to ask if Holyfield didn’t bite off his own ear just so he could throw the match.”

Mrs. O’Leary: “My cow? No way. The Chicago Fire Department’s arson squad can’t investigate their way out of a paper bag. They just want a scapegoat to pin this on – in my case, unfortunately, a scapecow.”

Lest it be concluded that all the birds in the Tsarnaev family tree are cuckoos, one uncle bucked the trend and came forward to confirm what the rest of the rational world has concluded about his nephews. He didn’t beat around the bush. He came right out and said it, said the “L” word:


Continued Ruslan Tsarni: “Being losers, hatred to those who were able to settle themselves; these are the only reasons I can imagine of. Anything else, anything else to do with religion, with Islam – it’s a fraud, it’s a fake.”

Speaking of one of them – but he could just as well have been speaking of them both – Tsarni added: “He put a shame on our family, he put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity.

Unbelievable – he absolutely deserved this. I always told those two, Islam has always been there, just do your business. Work, go to school, be useful. Know why you came to America….I am not sympathizing with them.”

 I sympathize with good Uncle Ruslan. Imagine what grieve he’ll get from his nutty relatives at their next Tsarnaev family reunion.

Anybody know the Russian word for egads?


As for the move afoot by Ed Tobin to close a charter loophole regarding term limits – a move meant to deny term-limited Mayor Matti a chance to extend her tenure at City Hall by running for a commission seat, it may all be moot. The window of opportunity for diving into the crowded commission races may have already closed.

That’s bad news also for her 2011 opponent, Steve Berke, who vowed to run again for mayor even before the last election’s ballots were cast.

By this time two years ago, Berke was already a declared candidate for Matti’s job, having made it official with a January 2011 filing.

By waiting too long to make up their minds and declare, Bower and Berke may be too late to get into this thing. It’s still legally possible to file with the city clerk’s office. But the feasibility of starting a campaign this late in the season is a whole different matter.

Other candidates who declared early have since established their campaigns and begun cementing support and, more crucially, securing financial backing from contributors. Major mayor-wannabes Michael Gongora and Jerry Libbin, the two Goliaths who will suck up the oxygen in this race, have an advantageous leg up on any also-rans who have either gotten into this race late (Philip Levine) or have yet to declare (Berke).

It would be likely impossible for Berke to match or best the 23% of the vote he won in his ’11 race against Matti. This time he wouldn’t be up against a populist incumbent but rather two civic thoroughbreds with name recognition, lengthy public service careers, and the demonstrated ability to draw support from major voting blocs: condo owners, Jewish voters, and business people (Libbin); gays, Latinos, and young urban professionals (Gongora).

It would be hard for Berke to rely upon support from the same younger voters that fueled his impressive 2011 run, what with Gongora in the race.

Since his ’11 run, admirers have advised Berke to skip the mayoral race altogether and try for a commission seat, to at least shrink his ambitions and attempt to get on the dais via that pathway. Taking that advice, however, hasn’t seemed to be his inclination.

Even if he were to decide to forgo the mayor race and settle instead for a commission seat, the window may have already closed there, too, or nearing it. So far, the fields to fill the Group 1 and 3 seats that Gongora and Libbin are vacating have three declared contenders each.

The only other seat: that of Group 2 incumbent Jorge Exposito, who, with no announced opponent yet, is on course for an automatic reelection.

Were she to decide to get into the race, this would be the latest Bower has ever declared for a city office.

She declared in February 1999 and February 2003 for her first two, and successful, bids for the commission.

She filed papers in her first run for mayor in January 2007, then filed for reelection in February 2009.

She filed for her third and last reelection bid in November 2010, a full year before the 2011 election.


Those of us who recall the grisly 1995 murder and dismemberment of a Golden Beach couple by Daniel Lugo‘s “Sun Gym Gang” – and the subsequent trial and convictions of the gang that netted death sentences – might be hard-pressed to find anything at all comical about the crime.

But in Pain and Gain, Michael Bay‘s film tale of the crime, starring Mark Wahlberg and Tony Shalhoub, the macabre story is punctuated by many a funny and humorous moment, actually.

My laughs came frequently during a preview screening last week (it opened to wide release on Friday). The gang, far from being lionized in Pain, are depicted more like bumbling, fumbling schmucks too incredibly stupid, one suspects, to be able to steal a school kid’s lunch money with any success – evidenced by a hilarious early scene in which they attempt to kidnap Shalhoub’s character from a strip mall parking lot.

It was a treat to spot the chock-full of SoBe and SoFla landmarks and backdrops sprinkled throughout – the Fontainebleau, the Shelborne, the Deauville Beach Resort, Ocean Drive, the graffiti-strewn Miami Marine Stadium, to name some. Taking in the movie just to see all the recognizable local scenery alone is worth the admission price.

The old Mark’s Cleaners on 20th St. in MB, for instance, was cast as the gang’s torture warehouse, scenes of which prompted me to recall the day last year that I, oblivious to what movie they were shooting, happened to pass by as Wahlberg and a film crew were shooting there.


The definitive rock culture maven, Rolling Stone, has a two-page spread in its April 25 issue about the recent Ultra Music Fest here and its partiers. Headline? “Surviving the World’s Wildest Party.” Which might just as well aptly describe all those downtown condo denizens who endured two successive weekends of the fest and its throbbing, wall-shaking, window-rattling sounds.


COCONUT GROVE – Shake-A-Leg Miami invites the public to its Community Bay Day, from noon to 4 p.m., Sun., May 5, featuring food, music, sailing, kayaking, and bay cruises (2620 S. Bayshore Dr.).

SURFSIDE – The town’s retirement luncheon starts at 11:30 a.m., Sun., May 5, at the Indian Creek Country Club (55 Indian Creek Island Rd., INDIAN CREEK VILLAGE).

MIAMI BEACH – A community information session about the city’s upcoming Memorial Day weekend preparations begins at 6 p.m., Mon., May 6 and will be repeated on subsequent Monday nights (May 13 and 20) until Memorial Day (City Hall, city manager’s conference room).

BAL HARBOUR – Village Council special meeting, 7 p.m., Mon., May 6 (655 96th St.).

MIAMI BEACH – Miami Beach United discusses a proposed citizen’s bill of rights to the city charter during a general membership meeting, 6 p.m., Wed., May 7, at the Miami Beach Golf Club (2301 Alton).

MIAMI BEACH – City Commission meeting, 9 a.m., Wed., May 8 (City Hall).

MIAMI BEACH – The MBPD holds a public symposium to discuss with residents the city’s event plan for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, 11 a.m., Wed., May 8 (Police department community room, 1100 Washington).

MIAMI – The Bayside Residential Association meets at 7 p.m., Wed., May 8, at the Legion Park Community Center (6447 NE 7 Ave.).

MIAMI – Former FBI director Louis Freeh is keynote speaker for a two-day public corruption conference for investigators, auditors, and others interested in honing their skills. Presented jointly by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust and the Miami PD, it runs from May 9-10 (Miami Police Training Center, 350 NW 2 Ave.).

NORTH BAY VILLAGE – The North Bay Village Optimist Club’s Family Pet Festival, an annual fundraiser to support college scholarships and youth programs, begins at 1 p.m., rain or shine, Sat., May 11, on the grounds of Treasure Island Elementary School (7540 East Treasure Dr.).

MIAMI BEACH – Miami Beach United has a happy hour and meeting at 6 p.m., Mon., May 13, at Normandy Shores Golf Club (2401 Biarritz Dr.).

BAY HARBOR ISLANDS – The Town Council convenes its regular meeting at 7:45 p.m., Mon., May 13, immediately following a 7 p.m. organizational meeting to install new council member Kelly Reid and to select a new mayor and vice mayor (9665 Bay Harbor Terr.).

COUNTY-WIDE – Voters go to the polls Tues., May 14, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in a special election on publicly-financed modernizations to Sun Life Stadium. Early voting runs through Sun., May 12 at sites throughout the county, including Miami Beach City Hall and the North Shore Branch Library (7501 Collins).

MIAMI BEACH – City manager Jimmy Morales, commissioner Deede Weithorn, police chief Ray Martinez, and representatives from the MBPD, fire rescue, code enforcement, and parking departments will brief the public on Memorial Day weekend preparations at 8:30 a.m., Wed., May 14, at Smith & Wollensky in South Pointe (1 Washington).

MIAMI BEACH – The next in a continuing series of public workshops on the Miami Beach Convention Center master plan takes place Tues., May 14. The Portman CMC presentation will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the South Beach-ACE presentation, from 3 to 6 p.m. (Convention Center, Hall C, Flamingo Ballroom).

MIAMI BEACH – A City Commission and administration review of the convention center plans begins at 10 a.m., Wed., May 15 (City Hall).

SURFSIDE – Town Commission meeting, 7 p.m., Wed., May 15 (9293 Harding).


Fellow SunPost contributor Alex Arce reports he’s recovering in “good health” after a recent trip to Mount Sinai’s E.R. for minor surgery. He was given a coronary stent and is now home.


In my last column, I wrote that Commissioner Jerry Libbin was not in the Pride Parade. A photo showing him on a parade float that day was later passed on to me. Apparently, from the side of the street I was on, I didn’t see him, and erroneously concluded he had not been in the parade.

His appearance thus negates the premise of my piece, in which I posited that he must be writing off the gay vote to his mayoral opponents. While I was careful in my piece to separate out candidates who were at the parade from those who weren’t actually in it as active participants, I regret I was not as meticulous in my fact-checking as I typically am. For all of that, I regret the error and any umbrage felt by the commissioner.

The author is an independent columnist. The opinions expressed in this column are his own and not those of the publication or its editors and owners.

About Charles Branham-Bailey

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