Paul Kengor at Catholic World Report asks an interesting question: how many people did dead Communist dictator Fidel Castro kill?
So, for starters how many people were killed by Fidel and his communist dystopia?
Unfortunately, no one truly knows, akin to how no one knows how many poor souls he tossed into his jails, from political dissidents to priests to homosexuals. Fidel’s prison-state has never permitted human-rights observers, reminiscent of how he never permitted the elections he repeatedly promised in the 1950s. That said, many sources have tried to pin down numbers and have generated some common estimates:
“The Black Book of Communism,” the seminal Harvard University Press work, which specialized in trying to get accurate data on the enormous volume of deaths produced by communist tyrants, states that in the 1960s alone, when Fidel and his brother Raul (Cuba’s current leader) established their complete control, with the help of their murdering buddy Che Guevara, an estimated 30,000 people were arrested in Cuba for political reasons and 7,000 to 10,000 were believed to have been executed. Even then, that was merely the start.
From the late 1950s to the late 1990s, it’s estimated that Castro killed between 15,000 to 18,000 people, whether victims of long-term imprisonment or outright execution by bullets.
That is a lot of people for a small island. And it isn’t all.
Cuba is a surreal island of no boats, where boats are banned—because people with boats flee. Thus, untold numbers of citizens have attempted the treacherous nearly 100-mile swim to Florida in shark-infested waters. An estimated 100,000 have risked the journey. Of those, perhaps as many as 30,000 to 40,000 died from drowning. As they bob for breath, the Castro government sends military helicopters to drop large bags of sand on them from high above.
Yes, actually drop sandbags on them.
So, Fidel Castro is responsible for a lot of death.
But here, too, these numbers do not capture the level of Fidel’s brutal madness. Consider the actual millions he badly wanted to kill, especially here in America.
If Fidel Castro had his way in October 1962, the United States would have been leveled by atomic bombs and so would little Cuba, which would’ve ceased to exist. The fact is that Fidel recommended to Nikita Khrushchev that Cuba and the USSR together launch an all-out nuclear attack upon the United States, literally igniting Armageddon.
This is no secret. Castro admitted it. In an open forum discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis 30 years later, Castro told Robert McNamara, JFK’s secretary of defense: “Bob, I did recommend they [the nuclear missiles] were to be used.”
In total, said McNamara, there were 162 Soviet missiles on the island. The firing of those missiles alone would have led to (according to McNamara) at least 80 million dead Americans, which would have been half the population, plus added tens of millions of casualties.
That, however, is a conservative estimate, given that 162 missiles was far the sum total that would have been subsequently launched. The United States in turn would have launched on Cuba, and also on the USSR. President Kennedy made that commitment clear in his nationally televised speech on October 22, 1962: “It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.” In response, of course, the Soviets would have automatically launched on America from Soviet soil. Even then, the fireworks would just be starting: Under the terms of their NATO and Warsaw Pact charters, the territories of Western and Eastern Europe would also erupt.
Once the smoke cleared, hundreds of millions to possibly over a billion people could have perished, with Western civilization in its death throes. If Fidel Castro had gotten his way, he would have precipitated the greatest slaughter in human history. (Che Guevara also wanted to launch the nukes.)
The Soviets were horrified. Their ambassador to Cuba, Alexander Alekseyev, was so stunned at what Castro told him that he stood frozen, speechless, crushed. Without waiting for an answer from the numb ambassador, Castro started writing his feelings on paper, which Alekseyev saw as a kind of “last testament, a farewell.” Continue reading
A analysis of the 36 year old Bergoglio:
There was a split within his ranks over a South American movement called liberation theology, which called for battling poverty on two fronts: direct assistance to the poor, along with confronting systems of oppression, including unjust governments. A military coup was brewing in Argentina, which would be followed by the agonies of the country’s Dirty War.
And Bergoglio was finding his style of leadership rankled some of his fellow priests. Or as a senior church official, who didn’t want to be named for obvious reasons, told WNYC: “Bergoglio was kind of a jerk.”
Except the official used a stronger word than “jerk.” He then hastened to add some context. He explained that it takes more than 10 years to become a Jesuit priest and that, in 1973, Bergoglio had been a full-fledged Jesuit for a mere two years. It was then, at the relatively young age of 36, that he was thrust in charge of Argentina’s thousands of Jesuits.
It was Bergoglio’s first big leadership position and it didn’t always go smoothly.
By some accounts, he sometimes indulged in yelling at his subordinates. And Bergoglio alienated a faction within the Jesuits by criticizing liberation theology. He also drew criticism himself by choosing not to publicly condemn human rights violations in Argentina during the Dirty War, instead working behind the scenes to help free and save the lives of an unknown number of political detainees. Continue reading
I was afraid that our bruin friend was in hibernation at Saint Corbinian’s Bear, but he just posted a barnburner:
This is why I love this country. The vaudeville acts. True, they’re amateurish and predictable, but the old “Searching for a Reason” (sometimes “Motive”) routine never fails to crack me up. But note the new gag. It’s kinda okay because he was “scared to pray in public.”
So, Muslims are scared to pray in public because… no matter what they do, America will roll over and show its cultural belly? Because when they’re bent over praying, they might get trampled from everyone kissing their a**es?
Hey, I’ve got a great PR strategy for scared Muslims. Murder as many innocent people as possible shouting Allahu Akbar. Because then no one will have any reason to mistrust you or dislike you when you’re praying.
And the big hook drags yet another loser off the stage of life, to make room for the next hilarious act, Muslim leaders failing to make an unqualified condemnation of terrorism while singing the ever-popular “Backlash” song.
BTW, can I be the first to blame the election of Trump? I mean, seriously, what CHOICE did poor little Amtar have? Muslims are the cuckoo in the American nest. The Bear just doesn’t trust them, and never will. It’s not just here. The Bear has the Green Eggs and Ham approach to Pope Francis’ “Great Abrahamic Religion That Worships the Exact Same God We Do and are Practically Catholic.”
THAT is the Bear’s litmus test. Slobber all over Muslims, and you are forever written off as an unserious person who values your PR above truth – even revealed truth. The Bear will waste no further time on you, because you’re an idiot or a liar. The Bear has simplified his life by crossing off nearly everyone in the world with a title in front of their names.
Muslims kill far more people in America than Bears. But when someone gets mauled to death by a Bear do we start whining about “Bear Backlash?” The Bear supports non-violent, cultural backlash. Remove Muslims from top place of America’s Culturally Protected Groups. It’s been a long time since Blacks were there. They are really far back in the pack. The Bear says give them a turn at Number 1 again and take Muslims off the list entirely. Continue reading
Sir Thomas More: You threaten like a dockside bully.
Cromwell: How should I threaten?
Sir Thomas More: Like a minister of state. With justice.
Cromwell: Oh, justice is what you’re threatened with.
Sir Thomas More: Then I am not threatened.
A Man for All Seasons, Robert Bolt
Perhaps the Pope has decided to treat the Four Cardinals as if they were a pack of recalcitrant dogs, and he has decided to have a servant shake a stick at them:
According to a senior Vatican judge, four cardinals, including American Raymond Burke, who recently published a letter in which they asked Pope Francis to clarify his document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, could lose their red hats over what he termed the “very grave scandal” they’ve caused.
“What Church do these cardinals defend? The pope is faithful to the doctrine of Christ,” said Father Pio Vito Pinto.
“What they [the cardinals] have done is a very grave scandal, which could even lead the Holy Father to take away their red hats, as it’s happened already in some other times in the Church,” Vito Pinto said.
The priest, appointed in 2012 by emeritus Pope Benedict XVI as head of the Vatican’s main working court, also known as the Roman Rota, was quick to clarify that his words don’t mean Francis has made such a decision, simply that he could.
Vito Pinto was in Spain in late November to give a talk at the University of San Damaso in Madrid, as part of a broader conference on Pope Francis’s marriage annulment reforms.
He gave his comments regarding the letter, formally called a dubia, from cardinals Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffarra and Joachim Meisner, to the Spanish news site Religión Confidencial.
The site quotes Pinto as saying that the four cardinals and others within the Church who are questioning Pope Francis’s reforms and his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia are questioning “two synods of bishops on marriage and family. Not one but two! An ordinary and an extraordinary one. The action of the Holy Spirit is beyond doubt!” Continue reading
Attempting to draw historical parallels is usually perilous, especially when the person doing so clearly does not understand the period he is seeking to draw a parallel with. Such is the case with Arthur Levine in the New York Daily News:
On Election Day, the United States voted for the past over the future. In 1896, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, there was a comparable election. It was a time of transition in which clashing visions of America — one agrarian and waning and the other industrial and rising — battled for the soul of the nation. It was a period of dramatic demographic, economic and technological change, producing deep political and social divisions, growing concentrations of wealth and gridlock in government.
William Jennings Bryan, the defender of agrarian America, and William McKinley, the champion of industrialization, contested for the presidency. McKinley won.
In the 2016, presidential election, the reverse happened. Donald Trump, the contemporary Bryan, won.
The context is similar. Once again, America is in the midst of an economic, demographic, technological and global transformation as the country transitions from a national, analog industrial economy to a global, digital information economy.
As in 1896, the country is divided, pained and angry. The poor are poorer and the rich are richer. The number of have-nots is expanding and the number of haves is shrinking. The manufacturing and Industrial Age jobs, demanding no more than a high school diploma, that promised salaries, dreams and hopes sufficient to support a family, are vanishing.
In their stead, there are now knowledge-economy jobs, requiring the highest levels of education in history. The college education required to get those jobs leaves our children with massive student-loan debt.
At the same time, as in the previous transformation, the nation’s social institutions — government, education, media and the rest — appear to be part of the problem rather than the solution. Having been created for an Industrial Age, they are outdated and seem to be dysfunctional. They need to be redesigned for a global, digital, information economy.
As in 1896, the 2016 election gave Americans a choice of restoring what had been lost or building on the changes. It gave them a choice of attempting to repair the existing institutions or replacing them. The nation chose to restore the past and replace our leadership, electing for the first time a candidate who had never held political or military office. Continue reading
The very next day, somebody was discussing with him the difference between character and reputation, when he said,—with a look at me, as if to remind of what he had been talking about the day before,—perhaps a man’s character was like a tree, and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of; the tree is the real thing.
Noah Brooks, newspaper correspondent and friend of Abraham Lincoln, recalling a statement by Lincoln
Sandro Magister notes at his blog Chiesa that while Pope Francis is remaining mum in regard to the demand of the Four Cardinals for clarification on Amoris Laetitia, his ecclesiastical hounds are baying:
ROME, November 23, 2016 – Not one word has come from the mouth of Pope Francis after four cardinals publicly asked him to resolve five major “doubts” raised by the most controversial passages of “Amoris Laetitia”:
Or better, the pope has given a non-answer, when in the interview with Stefania Falasca for the November 18 edition of “Avvenire” he said at a certain point, using the familiar “tu” form of address with the interviewer, a longstanding friend of his:
“Some – think of certain replies to ‘Amoris Laetitia’ – still fail to understand, it’s either black or white, even thought it is in the flux of life that one must discern.”
To make up for this, not a few churchmen of the pope’s circle have come forward to speak for him, falling over themselves to say that the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” is already perfectly clear in itself and cannot give rise to doubts, and therefore those who are raising them are in reality attacking the pope and disobeying his magisterium.
The standout of these garrulous sorties is Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, already repeatedly indicated by Pope Francis as his authorized interpreter and chief custodian of Church doctrine, with all due respect to Cardinal Gerhard L. Müller, whose role as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith has by now been reduced to a mere honorary title.
But the most unrestrained has been another cardinal and a newbie to the scarlet, Kevin J. Farrell of the United States, who said in an interview with the “National Catholic Reporter”:
“‘Amoris Laetitia’ is the Holy Spirit speaking. I believe we should take it as it is. That will be the guiding document without a doubt for the years to come. I honestly don’t see what and why some bishops seem to think that they have to interpret this document.”
So they are in the wrong who want Francis to weigh in again. “I believe that the pope has spoken” enough, Farrell added, when on September 5 he gave his approval to the exegesis of “Amoris Laetitia’ made by the Argentine bishops of the region of Buenos Aires, according to whom it just so happens that there are civilly divorced and remarried persons who may receive communion even while continuing to live “more uxorio.”
Farrell was made a cardinal by Pope Jorge Mario Bergoglio in the consistory of last November 19. And since last August he has been prefect of the new Vatican dicastery for laity, family and life.
He is therefore one of the new faces of Pope Francis’s new curia. A curia that – as is continually repeated – should no longer suppress but rather foster the multiform “creativity” of each bishop in his respective diocese.
In reality the opposite has happened here. In another interview – this time with “Catholic News Service,” the agency of the episcopal conference of the United States – Farrell took it into his head to attack “ad personam” an illustrious bishop and fellow countryman, whose “offense” would be precisely that of having offered his diocese guidelines for the implementation of “Amoris Laetitia” that were evidently not to Farrell’s liking.
The target of the attack is not a nobody. He is Charles J. Chaput, archbishop of Philadelphia, the city that in 2015 hosted the world meeting of families that Pope Francis went to visit (see photo).
Chaput is a Franciscan and the first bishop of the United States born in a tribe of Native Americans. Pastoral care of the family is one of his recognized areas of expertise. He participated in the synod on the family and at the end of its second and final session he was elected by a landslide as one of the twelve members of the council of cardinals and bishops that acts as a bridge between one synod and another.
In Farrell’s judgment, however, he has the defect of having dictated to his priests and faithful guidelines that are “closed,” instead of “open” as Pope Francis wants.
“I don’t share the view of what Archbishop Chaput did, no,” said the new Vatican prefect of pastoral care of the family. “The Church cannot react by closing the doors before we even listen to the circumstances and the people. That’s not the way to go.”
Chaput reacted to the incredible attack with a concise counter-interview with “Catholic News Service,” presented in its entirety in Italian and English in this post of “Settimo Cielo”:
But what is more interesting to inspect up close is the matter of contention, meaning the guidelines offered by Chaput to his archdiocese of Philadelphia.
They are reproduced in their entirety below. These are indeed clear, without the shadow of a doubt.
Trump is catching flack for tweeting that flag burning should be against the law and that those who do should suffer a penalty, for example a year in jail or loss of citizenship. Of course the idea that those who burn the flag should be subject to severe criminal penalties would have been non-controversial throughout the vast majority of the history of the Republic. It was not until Texas v. Johnson (1989), in a 5-4 decision that crossed ideological lines, that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional all anti-flag desecration laws. The decision was a particularly silly example of a trend in the Court of confusing conduct and speech, and thus finding an action worthy of first amendment protection. The lunacy of this, is that almost all conduct carries a speech component. The Court picks and chooses the conduct it wishes to enshroud in constitutional protection. Walking nude in public for example can be a form of protest. Indeed, a group of Quaker women in colonial Boston engaged in a naked promenade to protest Puritan persecution of the Society of Friends. Yet, the Supreme Court has declined to strike down laws that ban public nudity. The Court thus designates itself the arbiter of what conduct should have legal protection. I prefer that such a role be granted to legislatures. Legislators can be voted out. Supreme Court justices are frequently with us for generations as they grow old handing down the law to we lesser breeds. Besides, it is easy to change the law, and hard to amend the Constitution, unless one happens to be one of our nine Platonic Guardians. The Supreme Court, in effect, swiftly amends the Constitution each year by majority vote of the Court and the rest of us are left to deal with freedoms often infringed as a result, especially our most important freedom: the right to rule ourselves.
Then there was Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. The 46-year-old leader fondly recalled that his father, Pierre, when he was prime minister, had frequently visited with Castro. The younger Trudeau lauded Castro for supposed advances in health care, education, and literacy and described him as “a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century.” He confesses that he felt “deep sorrow” at Castro’s death, adding, “While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’”
Such willful blindness spurred other Twitter users to launch the tag #trudeaueulogies to mock the clueless Canadian leader. “While controversial, Darth Vader achieved great heights in space construction & played a formative role in his son’s life,” quipped Jason Markusoff, a correspondent for Canada’s Maclean’s magazine. Canadian sports commentator Mike Hogan added: “Today we mourn the loss of Norman Bates, a family man who was truly defined by his devotion to his mother.” Australian news columnist Rita Panahi wrote, “Although flawed, Hitler was a vegetarian who loved animals, was a contributor to the arts & proud advocate for Germany.”
Trudeau’s comments infuriated Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the former chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee. Ros-Lehtinen had to flee Cuba as a small child with her family after Castro’s takeover. Speaking on CNN, she directly addressed Trudeau: I’ve been reading his sickening love letter to dead Fidel Castro and I’m thinking, ‘Sure, you did not lose a loved one to an execution squad. You did not lose a loved one to the gulags in Cuba. . . . The only thing that Fidel has been successful in has not been health or education, or human rights or democracy, it’s been holding on to power — which is easy to do when you don’t have elections.
The debate over Castro will rage on, but arguments over him should take account of how unusual a dictator he was. My colleague Andrew Stuttaford has noted at NRO that during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Castro wanted to start a nuclear war. He urged Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to launch a first strike against the United States. In a letter, Khrushchev felt compelled to talk his ally off the ledge thusly: Cuba would have burned in the fires of war. . . . We struggle against imperialism, not in order to die, but to draw on all of our potential, to lose as little as possible, and later to win more, so as to be a victor and make Communism triumph.
Lastly, for all of Castro’s ranting about the exploitive nature of capitalism, it takes a truly mercenary mind to come up with the schemes his regime employed to garner hard currency — from drug-running, to assassinations to, well, vampiric behavior. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported in 1966 that 166 Cuban prisoners were executed on a single day in May of that year. But before they were killed, they were forced to undergo the forced extraction of an average of seven pints of blood from their bodies. This blood was sold to Communist Vietnam at a rate of $50 per pint. Those who underwent the bloodletting suffered cerebral anemia and a state of unconsciousness and paralysis. But that didn’t stop the executions; the victims were carried on a stretcher to the killing field where they were then shot.
The Pope, among most world leaders, has issued a statement on the death of Fidel Castro:
During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rubio’s criticism of President Obama’s statement of condolence following the death of the former Cuban dictator was noted – he called it “pathetic” – but then interviewer Dana Bash pointed about that Pope Francis, too, had expressed sorrow.
“As a practicing Catholic, what’s your reaction to that?” Bash asked.
“Well, as a practicing Catholic, I believe in the theological authority of the Bishop of Rome – and that’s what Pope Francis is,” Rubio began. “On political matters, however, particularly on foreign policy issues, I don’t necessarily believe that that binds those of us in the faith in terms of issues of foreign policy. I still respect it, but this is a very different thing.”
Rubio questioned the validity of the comparison Bash had drawn.
“Pope Francis is the leader of a religious organization, the Roman Catholic Church,” he said. “Barack Obama is the president of the most powerful country in the world.”
The Pope’s response came in the form of a telegram to President Raul Castro acknowledging “the sad news of the death of your dear brother.”
“I express my sentiments of sorrow to Your Excellency and other family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as to the people of this beloved nation,” he wrote. “At the same time, I offer prayers to the Lord for his rest and I entrust the whole Cuban people to the maternal intercession of our Lady of the Charity of El Cobre, patroness of that country.” Continue reading
Initiating our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, a series which we began in Advent 2011 and continued in 2102, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here , here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here and here, we come to Isaiah 61: 1:
 The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me: he hath sent me to preach to the meek, to heal the contrite of heart, and to preach a release to the captives, and deliverance to them that are shut up. Continue reading
The Pope recently in a sermon talked about Satan:
“He is a liar and what’s more is the father of lies, he generates lies and is a trickster. He makes you believe that if you eat this apple you will be like a God. He sells it to you like this and you buy it and in the end he tricks you, deceives you and ruins your life. ‘But father, what can we do to avoid being deceived by the devil?’ Jesus teaches us: never converse with the devil. One does not converse with him. What did Jesus do with the devil? He chased him away, he asked his name but did not hold a dialogue with him.”
Pope Francis went on to explain how when Jesus was in the wilderness he defended himself when replying to the devil by using the Word of God and the Word of the Bible. Therefore, he said, we must never converse with this liar and trickster who seeks our ruin and who for this reason will be thrown into the abyss.
The Pope noted that the reading from Revelation describes how the Lord will judge the great and the lowly “according to their deeds” with the damned being thrown into the pool of fire and he said this is the “second death.”
“Eternal damnation is not a torture chamber. That’s a description of this second death: it is a death. And those who will not be received in the Kingdom of God, it’s because they have not drawn close to the Lord. These are the people who journeyed along their own path, distancing themselves from the Lord and passing in front of the Lord but then choosing to walk away from Him. Eternal damnation is continually distancing oneself from God. It is the worst pain, an unsatisfied heart, a heart that was created to find God but which, out of arrogance and self-confidence, distances itself from God.”
Pope Francis said distancing oneself from God who gives happiness and who loves us so much is the “fire” and the road to eternal damnation. Noting how the final image in the reading from Revelation ends with a vision of hope the Pope concluded his homily by saying if we open up our hearts with humility we too will have joy and salvation and will be forgiven by Jesus. Continue reading
Rod Serling was a political liberal, but he had Castro’s number in the above episode of the Twilight Zone that aired on October 20, 1961.
This Advent we will look at Advent sermons of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. They are concise in words and huge in thought, a model for priests to strive to emulate:
THE solemnity of our Lord’s Nativity is indeed a great and glorious day, but a short one, and a short day calls for a short sermon.
No wonder if we make a short speech, since God the Father has made an abbreviated Word – Verbum abbreviatum. Would you know how long and how short is the Word He has made? This Word says, “I fill heaven and earth,” (Jer. xxiii. 24.) yet, now that “the Word is made flesh,” He is placed in a narrow manger. The Psalmist exclaimed, “From eternity and to eternity thou art God,” (Ps. lxxxix. 2.) yet, behold! He is a Child of a day. And why this? What necessity was there that the Lord of Majesty should so annihilate Himself, should thus humble Himself, thus abbreviate Himself, except to show that we should do in like manner? He now proclaims by example what He will one day preach in words “Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart” and He does so that the Evangelist might be proved truthful when he said of this Word, “Jesus began to do and to teach.”
Fidel Castro, who turned his island homeland into a vast prison of which he was the Warden, died yesterday at age 90. My usual rule after someone dies is De mortuis nil nisi bonum, but I can think of nothing good about the life of Castro other than it now has ended. Under his regime millions of his countrymen risked death at sea rather than submit to his rule, and I can think of no more damning indictment for any ruler. A squalid dictator of the worst sort, Castro always received good press in some of the media in the West from leftists who were willing to forgive any sin if the proper Communist platitudes were spoken. Castro leaves behind him a broken nation of slaves. May they soon rise up and bring a new day to a free Cuba.
Something for the weekend. Less of Me sung by the Statler Brothers. I heard this song sung by the Statler Brothers endlessly back in the early seventies as my parents had the radio on in the kitchen tuned, as always, to country western station WPRS in Paris, Illinois, as they prepared for work and my brother and I were still in our room before we got up to prepare for school. Originally recorded by Glen Campbell in 1965, the song is a rendition in music of the poem A Creed by English-American poet Edgar Albert Guest which he wrote in 1909: Continue reading
Hattip to Instapundit. The shock of recognition. It is a very, very good thing that I am an attorney instead of a psychologist!