The Battlefield, April 8, 2016 – Who Is Rodrigo Starz?

He’s not a Spanish-language movie channel. He’s something else. For the purpose of this discussion, he’s also the rather unhinged loon who accosted Ted Cruz in the Bronx earlier this week…

Here’s the story on this clown. While the New York newspapers referred to him as one of two “Bronx residents” unhappy with Cruz’s policies, he’s actually a leftist activist and rapper named Rodrigo Venegas, of Chilean descent who goes by the artistic name Rodrigo Starz. He’s one third of a rap duo named Rebel Diaz which puts out a lot of far-left political commentary dressed up as art behind familiar-sounding hip hop beats. Venegas was born in England but grew up on Chicago’s North Side, then ended up in the Bronx to start his music career.

For what passes as a day job, Venegas works for a TV station called Telesur, which was created and financed by former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Telesur, which is financed by the leftist governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, and Bolivia (Argentina used to be one of the backers but has since pulled out), is headquartered in Venezuela.

Telesur is the Pravda or Izvestia of Latin American socialism. See its website here.

And Venegas goes around agitating for leftist causes. An example: Ferguson, where his brother and partner in the rap group was arrested. That’s something which isn’t unusual for these guys; back home in the Bronx they have run-ins with the cops as well though it appears it’s more often a result of being obnoxiously belligerent with the police than committing actual crime.

If you want a sample of what these people do, this is probably the best of their offerings – it’s a rap version of the old communist standard “Which Side Are You On?”

So that’s who got himself a ton of media coverage by blabbering leftist nonsense about global warming and how terrible Ted Cruz is.

It’d be an insult to New York to say this is what New York values represents, but on the other hand the fact this braying jackass chooses Cruz as the victim of his tirades makes the Texas senator look an awful lot like the right guy for the job.


Simplistic-Weapon-12-Battle-Axes-in-SaltireQuin Hillyer has a piece in National Review about Trump’s campaign, and how its decline (assuming that’s what his recent string of gaffes, poor poll numbers, getting outhustled for delegates and primary contest defeats actually signifies) seems to follow a pattern that his less-stellar business ventures previously established. It’s worth reading the whole thing, but one piece of it is especially informative; namely, the part when Hillyer discusses Trump’s hiring of Paul Manafort as his “convention manager.” Manafort’s hiring was touted by some as an example of Trump picking the best people, but Hillyer sees something a little different in him…

Paul Manafort, Trump’s new hired-gun delegate hunter, is no conservative, and no wonder-worker. (He also once stipulated for the record that he actually saw one of his jobs as one that could be called an “influence peddler.”)

Sure, Manafort was part of a successful effort to block Ronald Reagan from the Republican presidential nomination in 1976 (Boo! Hiss!), but that wasn’t a tremendously heavy lift considering that he entered the 1976 convention as a delegate hunter for Ford with a 100-delegate lead and the power and perks of the White House behind him, not to mention the strategic brain power of the famously competent James Baker directing his efforts.

In 1986, Manafort was part of the consultant team whose ineptness was blamed by many conservatives (myself among them) for costing Republicans their six-year control of the Senate by insisting on cookie-cutter, negative-ad-heavy, grassroots-volunteer-eschewing strategies in what turned out to be a series of agonizingly close losses.

And — perfectly in tune with the Putin-loving Trump — Manafort accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars to do the bidding of the thuggish Putin puppet Viktor Yanukovych against more West-friendly leaders in Ukraine. This is very much part of Trump’s modus operandi: When in doubt, hire the heavy.

Even if Manafort actually is the guru he’s made out to be, Trump is very late in bringing him on. Many of the state conventions at which the delegates are to be selected have already happened, and the Cruz campaign has had a robust delegate operation going for eight months.

Of course, if he’s who Hillyer says he is Trump’s campaign will end up like his steaks and his airline.


Simplistic-Weapon-12-Battle-Axes-in-Saltire – This video is from a week ago, and it goes an hour and a half. It’s a debate on taking in Muslim migrants from Syria and other countries, and it’s a pair of rather nondescript, though purportedly distinguished, lefties taking on Mark Steyn and Nigel Farage, and the result is about what you expect.

There are two clips from the video that you must see if you don’t have time for the whole thing; they’re both from Steyn. First, here’s a devastating response to a rather snide commentary about rape made by the lefties on the stage…

And here was Steyn’s closing statement, which is one of the best you’ll ever see.

“We cannot fix failed states by inviting millions of their people to move in with us. All that ensures is more failed states, more failure, and eventually, one by one, the nations of the west will join them. And then you’ll really be yearning to breathe free and there will be nowhere to do it.” Spot on.

Simplistic-Weapon-12-Battle-Axes-in-Saltire – Back to National Review for a minute, there’s another piece written there this week well worth a read. It’s by David French, and it’s on a subject you wouldn’t expect to see much of at NRO.

Namely, pornography.

French savages the deleterious effect porn has on society, and he’s able to do it without coming off at a prude. You can do that when your points are razor-sharp and well thought out.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s oddly funny that porn is now under fire in some quarters only because the sexual revolution is eating its own. When sexual liberation in one area leads to less sexual pleasure in another, no one on the left knows quite what to do. After all, the new anti-porn activists “are all at pains to make it clear that they are not anti-sex.” Well, that’s a relief.

But while the progressive ideas are darkly comic, the reality of lost intimacy is tragic. I can’t count the number of friends and neighbors whose marriages have been impacted by porn — from wives feeling betrayed when they discover it on their husband’s computer, to husbands who find themselves no longer attracted to their wives. I’ve seen porn cause divorce, and I’ve seen it cause years of heartache as couples struggle to rebuild frayed sexual and emotional bonds.

Lost intimacy, however, is but one piece of the puzzle. Step-by-step, pornography decays moral character, and when character decays, so does culture. Porn use compels a young teen to engage in systematic, comprehensive lying and deception. Rare is the family that hands a kid a smartphone and says, “Son, if you’re going to watch porn, I recommend Pornhub.” No, the kid sneaks. He finds the loopholes in blocking software, he learns how to cover his tracks by erasing web histories, and he vows that while his friends watch porn, he never would. Trust me, Mom and Dad. You raised me right.

Instant gratification is porn’s mission and purpose. The concept of restraint is completely alien to the porn culture, and the very moment that the gratification is less than instant, there’s always a new form of porn out there, ready to give the user his next high. The entertainment always has to escalate.

Thus, sex is rendered purely transactional, completely separated from the God-ordained purpose not just of reproduction but of cementing a lifelong bond between a man and a woman. There’s even an acronym for the porn “process” – PMO, short for porn, masturbation, orgasm.

As we ponder the breakdown in the family and the rise in cultural despair, it’s hard to imagine vices more destructive to communal life than deception, instant gratification, and transactional sexuality. Conversely, the virtues of truth, restraint, and genuine intimacy are vital to the health of any family.

People want to trust each other. They want the benefits that come from restraint and self-control. They want true intimacy more than momentary pleasure. But living those virtues isn’t a matter of flipping a switch. Rare is the person who lives the libertine life but suddenly becomes responsible the very moment they “fall in love.” The virtuous life requires devotion, moral instruction, real work, and real accountability. Yet our nation builds morality around consent, not character, and it is strangely puzzled when the result is an ocean of heartache.

It’s really well worth reading the whole thing. But the major point is correct. Two countries where the culture has been completely inundated with porn, Russia and Japan, are also two countries with the worst birthrates and the most unhappy people. Porn is a substitute for human intimacy; it’s welfare for the libido. And while it’s probably a bad idea to try to make it illegal it’s hardly a bad idea to try to fight it in the culture before it does too much more damage to our people.

Simplistic-Weapon-12-Battle-Axes-in-Saltire – Finally, Today’s Last Thing: something of a hydrology lesson. What happens when you have a flash flood in a desert?

Well, this happens. And it’s fascinating…

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