The subtle camouflage of control propaganda

Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash

Imagine a rampaging horde approaches your town with the intent of murdering everyone there and burning everything to the ground.

You’ve been conditioned to believe that it’s important to engage in polite discourse and avoid violence at all costs. So you view this situation as a political debate between opposing viewpoints. On the one side are the peaceful townsfolk who would like to continue working and living and contributing to a sustainable system. On the other side are the destructive marauders who contribute nothing.

“Let’s vote on this,” the peaceful townsfolk declare.

The marauders say, “Fine, whatever.”

Well, it turns…

The science says it will save lives, but it’s worth it just to make anti-maskers angry

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“On the way out of Walmart a guy spilled some diesel fuel. I was wearing my mask, but I smelled the fuel. It made me wonder how effective that mask could possibly be.”

My cousin related this story with a faraway look in his eyes. It’s a good thing he was staring off into space because it prevented him from seeing me shake my head in disgust.

“So, let me stop you there,” I said. “You smelled something. Therefore your conclusion is that the mask was ineffective at blocking any particles?”


“Well, why can’t the explanation be that the…

The Reckless Writer

Even bad comments can provide you with invaluable insight

Photo by “My Life Through A Lens” on Unsplash

I realize that every writer likes to cultivate an image that they are so in demand that they couldn’t possibly pay attention to everyone who comments on their work. However, the reality is that when writers fail to respond to any form of interaction, they’re working against their own best interests.

Whether you’re talking to people at a book signing, reading reviews, or answering comments on a blog post, reader responses are critical to a writer’s development. …

Review of ‘The Anvil of Souls’ by Joshua C. Cook

Image by Walter Rhein

When you review a lot of independent books, every now and then you find one that you get truly excited about. The Forgemaster Cycle by Joshua C. Cook is a series that I’ve really enjoyed.

I’ve always been a sucker for heroic fantasy. I like to listen to a rousing tale of adventure when I go out on runs or bicycle rides. Too much of my day is spent wrestling with ugly historical facts so I can write social justice articles, and a book I can sink my teeth into is a welcome escape.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book…

It’s time to hold the church accountable for the harm they continue to inflict on the innocent

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As a dutiful parent, I thought it was important to research the grooming tactics of child predators. I read a dozen or so articles. Some of them broke up the process into 8 steps. Some of them used 12. But no matter how the process was presented, I kept thinking the same thing.

The grooming process is almost identical to fundamental religious indoctrination.

As long as I live, I’ll never understand why more people don’t express fury over the horrible atrocities that the church has committed and continues to commit. I suppose the answer is that our whole society has…

There’s no harm in questioning your fundamental beliefs

Image by Walter Rhein

I distinctly remember a day in high school when a smug substitute teacher took it upon himself to demonstrate Pascal’s wager.

It made me uncomfortable as it always does when religious people feel entitled to force their beliefs upon a captive, vulnerable audience. If this teacher sensed my discomfort, he ignored it and pushed on, secure in his delusion that he was doing “the lord’s work.”

If you don’t know Pascal’s wager, it’s a decision matrix that demonstrates how you can make a choice in the absence of complete information. …

The Reckless Writer

You must show cultural appreciation while avoiding cultural appropriation

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

My 11 year old daughter spends all of her free time sketching out stories in a series of notebooks. For her, black is just a color. She’s just as likely to have a villain be purple, blue, lime, or pink.

Unfortunately, my daughter has first hand experience with racism. My wife is from Lima, Peru, and we are a Spanish speaking family. We noticed a dramatic increase in harassment throughout the Trump administration. These days, it seems like every time we turn on the news, there’s another story of the police shooting an unarmed black man at a traffic stop.

Finding new life in the long, cold, dark winter

Photo by Dylan Shaw on Unsplash

My body knew there was something wrong even if my mind couldn’t recognize the danger. I fidgeted, my hands were sweating, and I ground my teeth in desperation. Every instinct told me that I should get up and run, but I couldn’t because I was strapped into the seat of an airplane.

It was 2009, my wife and I was flying into Miami from Lima, Peru. We’d been married for ten months, and were on our way to start a new life in my native Wisconsin.

We’d submitted the appropriate forms, paid the necessary fines, and endured the required interviews…

In the absence of a counter-argument, they fabricate one

Photo by Hailey Oldfield on Unsplash

I’m going to have to do something about my internet settings because it seems like I spend far too much time subjected to irritating clips from The View.

One of the most frustrating things about the modern American media is how effective outspoken lunatics from the fringe of civilization are at forcefully imposing their deranged message onto the mainstream.

It’s important to recognize that pundits of the political right apparently don’t base their opinions on fact-based investigative journalism. …

Walter Rhein

Small press writer with Perseid Press, Burning Bulb Publishing, and Harren Press. I have a web page about Peru at

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