Ryan: Julián Castro at a Mexican Disco in Iowa

Photo by Sean Ryan

El Malecón Events Center and After Hours Club slumped behind a dumpy Git-N-Go, around the corner from Val Vista Trailer Park and New Hope Open Bible Church and Romantix, which was once voted Des Moines' "Sexiest Adult Boutique." In Spanish, "malecón" means "a stone-built embankment or esplanade along a waterfront." No obvious connection existed between El Malecón, the building, and malecón, the word.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Not a single stone in El Malecón, mostly drywall and plywood. The nearest body of water was a man-made lake frequented by pontooners. El Malecón was 800 miles from an ocean. But as evening shuttled darkly over the building's sagging roof and blacked-out windows, semantics didn't matter.

Photo by Sean Ryan

If you listen to "Seabird" by the Alessi Brothers outside El Malecón, on an August noon, you can catch the point in the sky when day tips into afternoon.

Inside, it was all drenching shade. For some reason, there was a bouncy castle at the back of the room. Inside! Children screamed over the generator and the rush of air and inflation. The balloon colors brightened a rig of Corona signs and tired bartenders, who glanced periodically at Julián Castro holding court beneath a disco ball.

Photo by Sean Ryan

Castro strained to focus as Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" boomed from mounted speakers. Surrounded by banners for his 2020 presidential bid, he barely moved as everyone else nodded to the words: Out along the edges, Always where I burn to be, The further on the edge, The hotter the intensity. All you could hear were music, and kids' yelps, and the occasional fumbled beer glass.

The meet-and-greet had started four hours ago. Now, it was 9:00pm, the second Thursday in August, opening day of the Iowa State Fair, where Castro would be speaking the next morning.

He may have looked tired, but he also looked sharp with his white button-up with the sleeves rolled and his strong handshake, his hair flawlessly pomaded.

Twenty-somethings in blue "Castro" t-shirts folded chairs and untied banners. Most people had left, all but a dozen or so, clumped into a line. Castro spoke to each person, all hispanic, mostly men.

Photo by Sean Ryan

In that half-light, Castro looked like he had sped through life without adventure. This was probably not the case. And for a guy who conservatives often consider hateful or combative, he was friendly, if a bit reserved.

Castro's campaign slogan adorned the walls: "One nation. One destiny." Various Castro stickers, signs, and momentos covered a poker table by the entrance.

Photo by Sean Ryan

The night before, Castro was all over CNN. He had tweeted a picture with the names and occupations of 44 San Antonio residents who'd donated to President Trump's 2020 campaign. Castro wrote that the people's "contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as 'invaders'." Conservatives decried it as doxxing, and warned that posting Trump supporters' personal information would put them in danger. Dirty gaming, on Twitter no less. Liberals, surprisingly, pivoted into a conservative stance by calling the tweets free speech. The information was freely available, after all.

As the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Castro was the youngest member of President Obama's Cabinet. Before that, he was the Mayor of San Antonio. Before that, City Council. Meaning, in 13 years, he expanded his power from the county level to the federal level, earning a seat near the most powerful man in the world, and now he was vying for his shot to earn that spot himself.

His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, serves in the House of Representatives. Texas, district 20. Also Democrat. Like many twins, the brothers look and act enough alike to make you squint, and different enough to make a career doing the same thing.
His mother is controversial civil rights activist "Rosie" Castro, who had joined La Raza Unida, a political party that sought to elect more Hispanic people. Castro's brother and mother introduced him at the San Antonio rally where he announced his bid for the presidency. In doing so, he'd signed up for a gold rush. 2019 had barely started and here was another Democratic candidate vying for the 2020 White House.

If Castro were elected President, he'd be the first Hispanic to get the job. And young, 44. Sharp. But everybody was saying that Castro didn't stand a chance, stuck at 1 percent in the most recent polls.

I had trekked 800 miles to follow the Democratic candidates around Iowa. My dad came along. The man had never held a proper camera before but would he be my photographer? Earlier, at the Joe Biden event, he proved adept at photography. A maniac for the perfect image!

Photo by Sean Ryan

Eventually, he wandered up to Castro, whose campaign manager smiled and asked if we wanted a picture with "Julián." Without answering, my dad extended his hand toward Castro. "I'm from Ireland," he said. "And I want you to know that my heart aches for El Paso, for what happened in El Paso."

Four days earlier, a psychopath killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso. He'd posted a manifesto full of bizarre and contradictory political ideas.

A mere 13 hours later, another psychopath killed ten people, including his own sister. It was the kind of terrible that filled your gut with darkness and made you wonder why, why, why. The shooters had designed their attacks to be explosively political. Everybody was nervous. Everybody kept wondering, "Who the hell would do something so heinous?" Politicians took it upon themselves to answer this question. They had to. Beto O'Rourke even cancelled his Iowa appearances and stayed in his hometown El Paso, although many people had begun to speculate that O'Rourke's campaign was collapsing.

When my dad said "El Paso," Castro had a graceful downtilt to his face and an immediate crestfallen slump in his eyes. It was the perfect display of empathy and sadness, with a dash of hope in there, because nuance is presidential. Then he said, "that's why I will make an excellent president."

Outside, my dad smiled. "I didn't want to tell him that I can't vote," he said. He is not an American citizen, but Irish. "I just wanted him to know that he wasn't alone. That El Paso is weighing on all of us."

A food truck puttered in the parking lot, and the sun declined into an ocean of violet red. We were not far from the birthplace of John Wayne, 30 miles. Where the world gets so quiet all you hear is birds and shush and the occasional green tractor ribboned with corn husk. Iowa retains an enduring, motherly spirit, like those birds that can fly for a year without landing, their saffron beak slicing the clouds.


Alessi Brothers - Seabird www.youtube.com

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During his campaign, President Joe Biden survived scandal after scandal involving his son Hunter — the Ukraine/Burisma scandal, the laptop scandal, the one involving a stripper from Arkansas and a long-lost child. And yet, after it all appeared to have been swept under the rug, Hunter has now released a memoir — "Beautiful Things."

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere discussed Hunter's "horrible" response when asked on "CBS This Morning" if the laptop seized by the FBI in 2019 belonged to him and reviewed a few segments from his new book, which they agreed raises the question: Is Hunter trying to sabotage his father's career?

Watch the video below for more:


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Countless corporations — from Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, and Porsche to UPS and LinkedIn — are calling out the Georgia voting laws, calling them "restrictive," "racist," and "discriminative." Meanwhile, words like "stakeholder" and "equitable" are starting to show up in their arguments.

On the radio program, Glenn Beck gave the "decoder ring" for what's really going on here, because our society is being completely redesigned in front of our eyes.

There's a reason why all these big businesses are speaking out now, and it has very little to do with genuine ideology, Glenn explained. It's all about ESG scores and forcing "compliance" through the monetization of social justice.

Glenn went on to detail exactly what ESG scores are, how they're calculated, and why these social credit scores explain the latest moves from "woke" companies.

Watch the video below to hear Glenn break it down:

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Dallas Jenkins is a storyteller — and he's telling the most important story of all time in a way that many believed was impossible.

Jenkins is the creator of "The Chosen," a free, crowdfunded series about the life of Jesus that rivals Hollywood productions. And Season 2 could not have arrived at a better time — on Easter weekend 2021. Church attendance has dropped, people are hungry for something bigger than all of us, and many are choosing social justice activism, political parties, or even the climate change movement as "religions" over God.

This Easter weekend, Jenkins joined Glenn on the "Glenn Beck Podcast" to discuss the aspects of Jesus that often get overlooked and break through the misconceptions about who Jesus really is to paint a clear picture of why America needs Emmanuel, "God with us," now more than ever.

Watch the full podcast below:

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Award-winning investigative journalist Lara Logan joined Glenn Beck on the radio program this week to argue the Biden administration's border crisis is "enabling" drug cartels, allowing them to exploit migrants, use border wall construction roads, and cross the border much more easily.

Lara, who has witnessed and experienced firsthand some of the worst violence around the world as a war correspondent for CBS News, told Glenn it's "not an overstatement" to call the cartels in Mexico "the most violent and powerful criminal organizations on the face of the earth." And while they're "at war with us, we've been asleep at the wheel."

But Lara also offers solutions that the U.S. can enact to stop these horrific atrocities.

"There's more than 30,000 Mexican civilians who are massacred every year in Mexico by the cartels. And that's just the bodies that the Mexican government owns up to or knows about, right?" Lara said. "There's Mexicans buried in unmarked mass graves all across the country. I mean, everyone knows that the violence of the cartels is not like anything anyone has ever seen before. It even pales in comparison to, at times, to what terrorist groups like ISIS have done."

Lara went on to explain some of the unspeakable acts of violence and murder that occur at the hands of the Mexican cartels — 98% of which go uninvestigated.

"That's not unprosecuted, Glenn. That's uninvestigated," Lara emphasized. "[Cartels] operate with impunity. So the law enforcement guy, the policemen, the marine, the National Guardsmen, who are trying to do the right thing, who are not in the pocket of the cartels — what chance do those guys have? They've got no chance. You know where they end up? In one of those unmarked graves."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

(Content Warning: Disturbing content)



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