Latinx Propagandists Attempt A Spanish Radio Coup
Eva Longoria, Al Cardenas, and George Soros want to wreck conservative talk radio
A partisan Democratic effort to push back against Republican gains with Hispanic voters by taking over Spanish-language radio in America has been ramping up in recent weeks, and now it’s broken into the mainstream press:
A major effort backed by Democratic fundraisers to purchase Spanish-language radio stations is stirring up opposition in Miami, where Cuban exiles describe it as an attempt to stifle conservative voices in markets where Democrats have lost ground.
The Latino Media Network, a startup founded by two political strategists who worked for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, reached a $60 million deal to acquire 18 AM and FM stations in ten U.S. cities from Televisa/Univision. The agreement announced June 3 still needs Federal Communications Commission approval.
These markets are diverse — Hispanics with roots all over Latin America listen to the stations in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio, McAllen, Fresno and Las Vegas, including some Hispanic communities where Democrats have lost ground to Republicans.
The network said it “will focus on creating content that addresses the different cultural and political nuances that impact different types of Latinos.”
But the deal isn’t going over well in Miami, where Radio Mambi is popular among hardline Cuban exiles.
“We would need to be deaf and blind not to understand the motives behind this buyout," Irina Vilariño, who co-owns a chain of Cuban restaurants in South Florida, said at a news conference held by a coalition called the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance.
The network has raised a total of $80 million from high-profile investors such as actress Eva Longoria, who is also a Democratic political activist, and former Florida Republican Party chairman Al Cardenas, now a critic of former President Donald Trump. The debt involved is financed by Lakestar Finance LLC, a company affiliated with Democratic mega-donor George Soros.
The deal has been harshly criticized by Republicans in Florida, from the Cuban American House delegation to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis. Coalition members said they are exploring legal ways to contest the takeover.
Democrats have pointed to some shows on Radio Mambi and other Spanish-language radio stations when raising concerns about disinformation, especially following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Republicans say those accusations are used to distract from the Democrats' lackluster performance among Hispanic voters in South Florida and Texas in the 2020 election.
It was no surprise to those of us who come from these communities or who have family members within them to see the overall performance of conservative candidates among them in both 2020 and 2021. Now, scared at the prospect of losing this demographic, there is a natural backlash from the left.
For this Soros-backed effort, that looks like another top-down attempt to prevent any kind of traditionalist American, faithfully Christian, or ideologically conservative messages from reaching those who listen to Spanish language radio.
This should be seen for what it is: a blatant attempt to propagandize and destroy strong existing Spanish language media institutions that have appeal within these communities in order to prevent their influence as they have turned to the right.
In this case, a major entity in Salem Radio, a profitable conservative business with outlets across the country, was far along in attempting to purchase a number of Spanish language radio stations. But when word got out, the left reacted. They turned to their billionaire funders and BLM-connected dollars in order to overpay for these radio stations, in an attempt to deny their listeners any access to this type of information.
This is a cautionary tale about the disordered priorities of both right and left. American conservatives ought to be leaning into this space and backing projects to achieve greater support for these naturally occurring dynamics. There is increased interest in the message of conservatives among these voting cohorts at a time when the left has become increasingly beholden to its socially progressive white upper class.
The right should recognize the importance of advancing an alternative message, and push back against well-funded attempts to propagandize the left’s “Latinx” agenda to voters who have shown no interest in it.
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In Defense of Escalation
Here, then, is the question: If our ultimate goal is return to a normalcy in which government agencies and corporations treat all Americans fairly regardless of viewpoint, how are we to achieve this? First, acknowledge that they are already weaponized and the artillery points only in one direction: against the opponents of the Left. Acknowledge that an ever-increasing tyranny is ratcheted upon those who dare criticize the indefatigable encroachment of gender ideology. The playing field is about as level as San Francisco’s Filbert Street.
This week, conservative writers Ryan Anderson and Alexandra DeSanctis lost the ability to offer pre-orders of their new pro-Life audiobook when the book’s distributor dropped them—on ideological grounds, of course. One year ago, Anderson’s critique of the transgender movement, When Harry Became Sally, was effectively vaporized—deleted by Amazon on the specious grounds that it “framed an LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.” (It’s nearly impossible to speak of gender dysphoria without reference to its inclusion in the DSM-5, psychiatry’s most authoritative manual of mental illnesses; indeed, the word “disorder” is in the title of the DSM.) Even third-party sales of Anderson’s book were banned from Amazon and all sites they control. Given that well over half of all U.S. book sales flow through its channels, Amazon’s actions represent an issue entirely different from Masterpiece Cakeshop (the difference is scale), as I’ve written before. An Amazon deletion is a death sentence for a book.
Not to be outdone, this week, PayPal and Etsy shut down the accounts of biological realist and writer Colin Wright for his persistence in arguing that there are only two sexes. Etsy permanently disabled Wright’s account – where he sold his “Reality’s Last Stand” merch promoting his newsletter – on the grounds that Wright “glorif[ied] hatred or violence toward protected groups.” That’s a lie; Wright never did.
Wright is a biologist who made the grievous error of knowing a thing or two about biology and refusing to genuflect before the Torquemadas who insist he parrot their phony gender science. But of course, while Wright pays this price for his harmless (and, honestly, inoffensive) t-shirts and mugs, Etsy continues to list for sale stickers and pins and other bric-a-brac emblazoned with messages like “Fuck TERFs,” “TERFs can choke,” and “Shut the Fuck up TERF” with an anime creature pointing a semiautomatic handgun at its presumably female interlocutor.
Those of us who dare express skepticism of gender-affirmative care are routinely censored, denied Twitter verification, suspended from social media, or have our online fundraisers shut down—all for the sin of telling truths that the Left wishes never to hear. Like those living outside the Free World, we adjust our behavior, which of course is the aim: We edit our tweets a little more carefully. We refrain from “liking” the tweet of anyone who’s been sent to the frosty exile of Twitter suspension. We don’t want to do these things; most days, we fight like hell. But no independent journalist can easily promote her articles without Twitter or earn a living without the benefit of Stripe and PayPal.
Ukraine Fears Defeat As Destabilization Rises
The war in Ukraine has turned into a grinding artillery contest where Russia is steadily gaining ground thanks to its overwhelming advantage in firepower. As the U.S. and allies gather Wednesday to discuss fresh military aid to Kyiv, Ukraine’s fate will largely depend on how fast and in what quantities these heavy weapons arrive.
Without a broad and rapid increase in military assistance, Ukraine faces a defeat in the eastern Donbas region, Ukrainian officials warn. That would pave the way for Russia to pursue its offensive to Odessa and Kharkiv after regrouping in coming months, they say, and potentially all the way back to the capital, Kyiv, after that.
Western officials and analysts question whether Russia has the wherewithal to achieve this, even if it makes further gains in the Donbas area. They say Russia’s military has been severely battered in the war, and might lack the manpower and equipment to advance beyond the Donbas region soon.
Yet Russia still enjoys a significant superiority over Ukraine in artillery and armor. Ukrainian forces estimate that they have one artillery piece per 10 to 20 Russian ones on the front lines, with each of these guns allotted only a fraction of the ammunition at the Russian gunners’ disposal. As a result, every day that Western heavy-weapons supplies are delayed is measured in hundreds of Ukrainian casualties, they say.
While Kyiv was initially cagey about its losses, unwilling to dent the population’s morale, Ukraine’s government now acknowledges that the country’s military is losing between 100 and 200 soldiers killed in action each day, with about five times that number injured daily.
“In this war, the victory will be with the side that has more and better weapons. And, if Ukraine doesn’t obtain enough weapons in time, it will bleed out,” said Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is slated to host the third Ukraine Contact Group conference of defense ministers and top military officers from North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and other allies and partners in Brussels on Wednesday, looking into how best to help the Ukrainian military at this stage of the war.
The war in Ukraine is already setting the Middle East on fire. In Iran, the government announced it would cut wheat subsidies amid rising global prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The announcement ignited a wave of protests that quickly turned political, as demonstrators called for the overthrow of Tehran’s clerical regime. But the ayatollahs are not the only ones in a hot and dry region that feel threatened by the upheaval in global wheat markets. In 2020, Russia and Ukraine provided 43 percent of the wheat imported by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), compared to just 19 percent in 2008. The region also depends heavily on Russian and Ukrainian corn.
This system shock is not the first time in recent memory that turmoil in global grain markets has turned up the political temperature in MENA. Wheat prices spiked three separate times between 2008 and 2012, contributing to what began known as the Arab Spring, but mostly degenerated into bloody and intractable wars still raging in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. To tamp down risks, the Biden administration has already allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to fight global food insecurity.
Yet the administration should deal differently with friendly governments than it does with adversaries. Assistance for partners such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt should be more generous. In contrast, there is no reason to bail out the dictatorship in Tehran, whose corruption and military adventurism are the main drivers of its people’s hardship. Nor should Washington do favors for the Hezbollah-dominated Lebanese government, which takes marching orders from Tehran and whose corruption devastated the economy even before the war in Ukraine began.
There are several ways the war has destabilized the markets for wheat and corn, of which Russia and Ukraine are top exporters. First, the war itself makes it difficult or impossible for Ukraine to grow and harvest crops. Second, the Russian blockade of Kyiv’s Black Sea ports has cut off the main avenue for exports. Third, sanctions against Russian oil and gas can threaten the supply and increase the cost of fertilizer and fuel. The price of seeds is also rising. Fourth, while there are no sanctions on Russian grain, financial sanctions make doing any business with Russia more difficult. Transportation has also become harder to manage.
The prices of wheat and corn in 2021 and 2022 have jumped to their highest level since 2008. If the war continues, the supply shock in late 2022 and early 2023 may be even more significant. After the spikes associated with the Arab Spring, prices had been on a decreasing trend until 2020. The pandemic then ushered in loose monetary policies and supply chain problems that put upward pressure on prices across the product market. Finally, the war in Ukraine set an already-hot wheat and corn market on fire.
The MENA region is water-stressed and has only 2 percent of the world’s renewable water resources, making it very sensitive to waves of drought. As a result, MENA countries rely heavily on grain imports and are very sensitive to price shocks. Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco were among the top fifteen wheat importers in 2020. Egypt, Algeria, and Iran were among the top fifteen for corn in 2020.
Items of Interest
“In the abstract, we may envision an Olympian perfection of perfect beings in Washington doing the business of their employers, the people, but any of us who has ever been at a zoning meeting with our property at stake is aware of the urge to cut through all the pernicious bullshit and go straight to firearms.”
— David Mamet