Ryan: Iowa, Iowa, Iowa

Photo by Sean Ryan

Iowa, Iowa, Iowa.

This was Iowa, the true America. If there is such a thing. There isn't. There is. There has to be. There cannot be. There absolutely is.

Friendly people, in general. Patient, courteous.

At one point, at one of the many train track intersections in the state, the crossing gate lowers and the bell rung and a train chugged by, and several cars waited at the designated line. A few minutes later, the train just stopped on the tracks.

But people kept pulling into the line of cars. And nobody sped off and nobody honked their horns. In New York or Chicago you'd hear screeching and honking and curse words. In Texas or California, peel-outs and gunshots.

It's a lovely state, a charming place. The way the land breathes under you, all spread out like a blanket, and the cornstalks lean with each breeze, and the marigold softness to the horizon without skyscrapers imposing their faces.

Everywhere you look all you see is America. The honeyed scent of fertilizer and livestock. At night the whole world gets so dark and quiet that you can imagine what Adam and Eve felt like, alone in a garden, contemplating the electric sky full of planets and stars and other lives that they could not understand.

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Iowa is 187 times bigger than New York City, yet there are about 3 million people in Iowa, compared to the 9 million in New York City.

There are more hogs than humans in Iowa. That is an actual fact.

Yet I can see why people have stayed in Iowa for generations.

You have to admire its stable geography. The only State with parallel rivers as borders.

And on the easternmost side, along the Mississippi River, there's the world's steepest and shortest railway. On the other, along the Missouri River, a monument to Sergeant Floyd, the only man to die during Lewis and Clark's great expedition. And every July, for a whole week, cyclists traverse that divide, bumping along those uneven roadways.

Just to be clear, I said that there are 21 million hogs in Iowa.

That's roughly the population of Mexico City. Or San Francisco-Oakland and Phoenix and Seattle and Detroit — combined. Or Mumbai. If these Iowa hogs divided into two factions and occupied different sides of the state, Iowa would have two megacities, a classification earned in America only by New York City and Los Angeles.

21 million hogs!

The swine arrived in the 1500s, thanks to the ham-obsessed Spaniards led by Hernando DeSoto. For centuries, Native American tribes alone occupied the land. Sac and Fox Nation, Ioway, Dakota Sioux, Illini, Otoe. Before that, woolly mammoths roamed the plains.

In the 1700s, the French showed up with their fur trade and their treaties. The area belonged to France until 1763, following defeat by Spain in the French and Indian War.

The region flopped from one nation's hand to the next, until the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, when the United States government bought swathes of land — from Louisiana to Montana — land that would become Midwestern and Southern states, including Iowa. Congress paid eighteen dollars per square mile.

Shortly after the purchase, the territory's new residents got a little possessive. And soon enough the settlers were shoving the Indians off the land they'd occupied since the Ice Age. Which is some next-level gentrification.

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America has always had a violent streak, and it was violent back then. And cruel. There was mayhem, out there on the wobbly plains. Gunfights, stabbings, honest-to-God cowboy stuff. Gunslingers. Who knows what else.

Then, the Civil War. 1860s. The worst kind of war. The kind that guts a nation. Over a century and a half later, some of those tensions still linger.

Iowa had only been a state for 15 years, with a population of about 500,000. Yet roughly 75,000 Iowan men fought for the Union, the highest percentage of soldiers from any state, on both sides.

And they died like hell, drowning in the mud, ransacked by cannonballs, a bayonet to the guts or the neck or anywhere really, because it was the cruel early stages of modern war, when the technology was advanced enough to kill you from far away, but you still had to get close to the men you were fighting, face to face, in a field or on a hillside, and hundreds of thousands of men needed to die before we decided on the winner.

But America has always been a rugged, unceasing country, a roughneck, a chancer. Most of the time it pays off. We fought a Civil War, and stayed together.

Then came the railroads. Sprouting up all across the country, in the late 1800s. Trains could haul produce from any part of the country to any other part of the country. So the farming jobs flourished in Iowa and the population grew.

In 1901, Quaker Oats was founded in Cedar Rapids. A century later, it would be owned by the company that is Coca-Cola's competitor.

Then, in 1937, Iowa State University professor John Vincent Atanasoff and graduate student Clifford Berry created the first automatic electronic digital computer. Meaning, the same state that gave us oatmeal also shoved us toward the creation. of Grand Theft Auto V and iPhones and all the luxuries of our digital reality.

Iowa's era of thriving agriculture collapsed into the Great Depression, then World War I, then World War II. And, everywhere in the world, people wanted to live in large cities, of which Iowa has very few.

Iowans coped how they could, replacing the agricultural with the industrial. During the war, they built tanks, rifles, airplanes, armor. You should know that 8,389 Iowans died by the end of the war on September 2, 1945.

Imagine surviving war. Then returning to endless fields and oceanic skies and a night that sways in all of its majesty.

As the haze of a wartime economy cleared, Iowans enjoyed a sense of renewal. They had benefited from the change of industry. Agriculture had always been their moneymaker, but now they built refrigerators, farming equipment, stationary. To this day, Iowa is the largest producer of eggs, pork, and corn.

In 1958, Winnebago, the RV manufacturer, was founded in Winnebago County, Iowa, and, since that day, your home can be anywhere on this continent, whenever you want.

A year later, music died in a plane crash outside Clear Lake, Iowa.

During the mid-1970s, Indian yogi Maharishi Mahesh settled in Iowa. Mahesh had gained fame as a guru to the Beatles and the Beach Boys in an LSD-drenched era, so Fairfeild, Iowa must have seemed otherworldly to Mahesh. Or perfectly quiet.

While there, he cultivated the Transcendental Meditation technique, built it as a proper school of thought. He even established Maharishi International University, an accredited private school with a "consciousness-based education" system. Mantras, silence, focused breathing, stillness. It caught on in Iowa, and continues to.

Or maybe Iowa had always been meditative and transcendental, all that landlocked rough-patch in the middle of a continent. The prehistoric bones underneath it all.

The 1980s saw an agriculture crash of some sort. But recall the events which occurred in Des Moines, on January 20, 1982, when a 17-year-old boy gripped a dead bat — all fangs and snout — then hurled the poor creature at Black Sabbath.

Ever the performer, Ozzy Osbourne yanked the tiny corpse from the ground and shoved it in his mouth and started gnashing. He thought it was a toy. By the time he realized it was in fact a tiny dead mammal, he'd already started and couldn't break the persona. After the show, he rushed from the venue to Broadlawns Medical Center for a rabies shot.

Ozzy Osbourne's bat decapitation stands as one of the most notorious moments in Rock 'N' Roll history. Happened right there in Des Moines.

Then there's Britt, Iowa, home to the annual National Hobo Convention, as well as the Hobo Museum. Call the town quirky or gross for hosting such a thing. Or see the humanity in it, the neighborliness.

Supposedly, the name "Iowa" is a reference to when Indians discovered the land.

It was the first word they uttered.

When they looked at the sprawling land and the hills, they said "Iowa, Iowa, Iowa," which translates to "beautiful, beautiful, beautiful."

I am currently in Des Moines for the Iowa caucuses. Check my Twitter for live updates. Email: kryan@blazemedia.com

Like most people, biologist and science journalist Matt Ridley just wants the truth. When it comes to the origin of COVID-19, that is a tall order. Was it human-made? Did it leak from a laboratory? What is the role of gain-of-function research? Why China, why now?

Ridley's latest book, "Viral: The Search for the Origin of COVID-19," is a scientific quest to answer these questions and more. A year ago, you would have been kicked off Facebook for suggesting COVID originated in a lab. For most of the pandemic, the left practically worshipped Dr. Anthony Fauci. But lately, people have been poking around. And one of the names that appears again and again is Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance and a longtime collaborator and funder of the virus-hunting work at Wuhan Institute of Virology.

If you watched Glenn Beck's special last week, "Crimes or Cover-Up? Exposing the World's Most Dangerous Lie," you learned some very disturbing things about what our government officials — like Dr. Fauci — were doing around the beginning of the pandemic. On the latest "Glenn Beck Podcast," Glenn sat down with Ridley to review what he and "Viral" co-author Alina Chan found while researching — including a "fascinating little wrinkle" from the Wuhan Institute of Virology called "7896."

Watch the video clip below or find the full interview with Matt Ridley here:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Dr. Anthony Fauci's arrogance is out of control and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is one of the only members of Congress calling him out to his face. Last week, Glenn Beck exposed the truth about what happened leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, who the top players in government and science were, and what their real response was in the first days of the pandemic during a live special, "Crimes or Cover-Up? Exposing the World's Most Dangerous Lie." Sen. Paul joined Glenn on the radio program to review some of the facts uncovered during the special and to explain his next steps moving forward in Congress.

Paul said it's "amazing" that so few on the opposite side of the political aisle seem to care about the dangers gain-of-function research poses to the world. COVID-19 has a 1% mortality rate yet it still managed to cause massive destruction around the world, he said. So, what if the next mistake results in a leaked virus with a 50% mortality rate? Because scientists are researching viruses as dangerous as that, Sen. Paul explained, and some — including Fauci — believe the risks are worth it.

"It is kind of amazing, particularly that no one from the opposite side of the aisle seems to care at all about the dangerousness of this virus and that it might have come from a lab, and in all likelihood did come from a lab," Paul said. "Not one Democrat is curious at all. You know, you would think that Democrats have at least some sensibilities about the danger of things. They tend to be the ones who want to regulate away the things that could be dangerous in the workplace. Yet they don't seem to care about something that could kill millions and likely did kill millions of people. This virus has a 1% mortality and killed 5 million people so far, around the world. Can you imagine if the next one that comes out of the lab has 15% or 50% mortality? And they are doing experiments, as we speak, with viruses that have 50% mortality, and Fauci seems to have no problem with this. He says we weigh the risks verses the benefits of the research, and he comes down on the side that the risks are worth it."

"All of humanity could be wiped out if they make [another] tragic error," Glenn responded. "This is not something that the elites should be the ones making the decision. We should all be involved in these decisions. There's no bigger decision to make than, 'should we be playing around with things that don't exist necessarily in nature that have jumped to humans?' Should we be playing around with these things, making [dangerous viruses], so in case it jumps to humans, we can kill it with a vaccine? This is insanity. Insanity. Especially with arrogance coupled to it."

Sen. Paul went on to point out the additional dangers of allowing any one person to have too much authority, particularly, as in the case of Dr. Fauci, a person with casual disregard for both science and individual liberty.

"Fauci not only has a casual disregard for science, but also for individual liberty. You combine the two — ignoring the science, and then having no regard at all for individual liberty — and you have a really dangerous situation. But it's also dangerous because we've centralized the authority," Paul explained.

"Look, I have opinions on where the virus came from. I have opinions on how to treat it. But they're my opinions, you don't have to take them. If you agree with me, you can listen to my opinions. With Dr. Fauci, it's not the same. He has opinions, but he wants you to be forced to do as he says. So it is the difference between coercion and freedom. And in freedom, there are many choices. But the real danger is, as we centralize authority, ultimately you get authoritarianism. And I think that he could easily be a medical dictator, if he were allowed to be."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation, or watch Glenn's special, "Crimes or Cover-Up? Exposing the World's Most Dangerous Lie," on YouTube or BlazeTV.com now.

Use promo code FAUCILIED for $25 off when you join BlazeTV.

Note: The content of this clip does not provide medical advice. Please seek the advice of local health officials for any COVID related questions & concerns.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

COVID-19 changed everything. The way we live our lives, how we operate our businesses, how we see each other. And now, the federal government is sinking its tendrils even deeper, threatening the fabric not only of our bodily autonomy, but of the republic.

Our American way of life may never be the same. To save it, we must understand the key fundamentals of the pandemic that transfigured our society into the nightmare it is today. What is the COVID-19 origin story? Who are its top players in government and science, pulling the strings? What was their REAL response in the first days of the pandemic? The answers to these questions are frightening.

Emails, documents, and federal contracts tell a dark story that is still dominating our lives. It's time to cast a light on the shocking truth. Because only with the truth can we emerge from the darkness of this "pandemic" and take back the liberty stolen from us.

This is Glenn Beck's most important chalkboard of his life. And the most pivotal time in yours.

Watch the full special below:

View the research and supporting documents for this special here.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.