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

New installments to this series will come out every Monday and Thursday morning. For live updates, check out this page or email me at kryan@mercurystudios.com

A "one-world government" is being formed right now and it’s called the Great Reset, Glenn Beck said on the radio program Monday. And now, rebuild plans for the fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral hint at the formation of a global church, too.

In this clip, Glenn detailed plans for the iconic, 850-year-old church’s "woke" renovations that sound more like a 'politically correct Disneyland' complete with a "discovery trail," "emotional spaces," and 14 themed chapels.

"Notre Dame is now being built back better as a 'woke theme park' dedicated to environmentalism and social justice," Glenn explained.

"There will be several different chapels within, [for example] a chapel for social justice, and then chapel for environmental justice," he continued. "Which leads me to this point. The 'one-world government' is being formed, right now. One-world government. It is being formed and it's called The Great Reset."

Glenn went on to predict that one of the first steps in the direction of a one-world government will be a push for a global religion.

"I think we're seeing the first church now being dedicated to the new global religion — and it is social justice, environmental justice, and all this gobbledygook. We all know, it's not just wrong, it is dangerous. That's the first church, the cathedral of Notre Dame, in France, is the first global church. Mark my words. Christian, Jews, Muslims ... this global church will bring darkness unlike you've ever seen."

Watch the video clip from "The Glenn Beck Program" below:

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The Omicron COVID-19 variant: Should we ACTUALLY panic?

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As the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus approaches, it seems like those in power want everyone to be terrified, Glenn Beck argued on the radio program Monday.

The chair of the World Medical Association's Council, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, is already comparing the variant to Ebola and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has declared a state of emergency, despite the doctor who announced its discovery describing the new variant's symptoms as "unusual, but mild." So, should we really be worried or not?

In this clip, Glenn and producer Stu Burguiere reviewed what we know about the Omicron variant so far and gave a few reasons why we should wait for more information before succumbing to panic.

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.

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Faced with an oppressive government that literally burned people at the stake for printing Bibles, America's original freedom fighters risked it all for the same rights our government is starting to trample now. That's not the Pilgrim story our woke schools and corporate media will tell you. It's the truth, and it sounds a lot more like today's heroes in Afghanistan than the 1619 Project's twisted portrait of America.

This Thanksgiving season, Glenn Beck and WallBuilders president Tim Barton tell the full story of who the Pilgrims really were and what we must learn from them, complete with a sneak peek at the largest privately owned collection of Pilgrim artifacts.

Watch the video below

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Saule Omarova, President Joe Biden's nominee for comptroller of the currency, admitted she wants to fight climate change by bankrupting coal, oil, and gas companies. Alarmingly, Biden's U.S. special climate envoy, John Kerry, seemed to agree with Omarova when he said "by 2030 in the United States, we won't have coal" at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, earlier this month. But that could end in massive electrical blackouts and brownouts across the nation, BlazeTV host Glenn Beck warned.

Carol Roth, author of "The War On Small Business," joined "The Glenn Beck Program" to explain what experts say you can do now to prepare your family for potential coming power outages.

"It's interesting. Usually when I go out and talk to experts in areas that are not 100% core to my area of expertise and I say, 'I would like to give you credit.' Usually I get, 'OK, here's how you credit me.' But everyone is like, 'No, no. Let me tell you what happened, just don't use my name.' And this is across the country," Roth said. "This isn't just a California issue, which obviously [California] is leading the nation. But even experts out of Texas, people who are monitoring the electric grid are incredibly concerned about brownouts or blackouts now, already. So forget about 2030."

"You want to have a backup source of power," she continued. "Either a propane, diesel, or combo generator is something that you're going to want to have. Because in a state, for example like Texas, I'm told that once the state loses power, it will take a minimum of two weeks to restore plants back to operations and customers able to use grid power again. So, this isn't something that we've got nine years or whatever to be thinking about. We should be planning and preparing now."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of this important conversation:

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