Welcome to the somewhat unbalanced mind of Orbson Rice.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Alternative Democracy

Once upon a time, a woman named Hillary became President of a great nation. Hillary did not win the popular vote but she did win the Electoral College which awarded her the office. Her party, known as the Democrats, also won many seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate though most of those races were also very close. There was ample evidence that the rogue liberal nation of Canada interfered in the election in order to get Hillary elected, however the Democrats in Congress didn’t want to look too closely at that can of worms, so they didn’t.

During Hillary’s first weeks in office she issued many executive orders. She removed mentions of “God” from all national currency, The Pledge of Allegiance and all entities that receive federal funding. She put a freeze on all firearm sales so as to determine a better vetting process for those seeking to buy guns. She forced churches to start paying federal income tax. She tripled funding for the NEA, EPA, NASA and other arts, science and social justice programs. She raised taxes to a flat 70% on those making over $250,000. She allowed access and a path to citizenship for 50,000 refugees. She substantially increased protections for minorities, LGBTQ and immigrants. She ordered complete transparency for all businesses and fined companies who did not immediately remedy unequal salaries between men and women. She quadrupled funding for Planned Parenthood and required that every city over 15,000 people would have a PP facility or be denied federal funding. She put an immediate halt to all fracking operations. She increased funding to public schools. She banned the death penalty. She created a rehabilitation program for non-violent criminal offenders which would include job training and education and would expunge their record after completion. She toughened environmental standards beyond levels ever seen before. She ordered Congressional Democrats to completely redraw districts to ensure that Republicans will have a much more difficult time winning in the future. She gave voting rights to everyone on the path to citizenship and made Election Day a national holiday. She lowered the voting age to 16. She ordered a universal health care plan for everyone that mirrored the insurance received by members of Congress. She made it illegal for corporations and lobbyists to use money to purchase votes.  She outlawed the consumption of meat or the use of animals in the making or wearing of clothing. She outlawed genetically modified food and many of the harmful preservatives and chemicals used in prepackaged food. She expanded SNAP to help provide food for everyone making under $30,000 a year. She ordered the construction of mini-homes to help the homeless and put caps on property values to ensure that homes would be available to everyone.

Hillary ordered all of these things even though half of the country was opposed to many of these actions. The conservatives were really upset and many thought that the Democrats were not governing for all of the people, but only the far left liberals. In the end however, they decided that since Hillary and the other Democrats had won the election they should just keep quiet and give her a chance.

The End

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

DeVos Bans “Teaching” in Classrooms

Newly appointed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is taking a bold approach to educating the young people of the United States- a ban on teaching. On Tuesday afternoon just hours after her nomination was confirmed, DeVos and Trump announced a new executive order which prohibits the use of “teaching” in public schools. According to DeVos, the term “teaching” is an “elitist liberal term that only allows for the education of children via facts and does not take into account alternative forms of education”. The new term, which will take affect starting March 1, will be “enlightening.” During the press conference DeVos stated, “Learning needs be better. This less confusing for students. Enlightening good. Jesus good. Trump good. Goodbye.” The Department of Education released a sample of the new guidelines for the Science curriculum:


Former Lesson: Gravity is a force of attraction that exists between any two masses, any two bodies or any two particles.

Alternative Enlightened Theory: Gravity is God’s way on ensuring that we do not fly off into space. Should we displease God, gravity would be removed and we would simply float away. It is our belief in God that keeps us grounded.


Former Lesson: Dinosaurs are animals that lived approximately 230 million years ago and survived until an extinction event occurred 66 million years ago. Evidence suggests that birds may be descended from dinosaurs.

Alternative Enlightened Theory: When God cast Adam and Eve from the garden, he placed upon the Earth many challenges. Dinosaur bones were one of those challenges. Dinosaurs themselves did not exist; the bones were purposely placed there by God to test the faith of those who found them. The Earth itself is only 6,021 years old.


Former Lesson: Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then become heavy enough to fall under gravity.

Alternative Enlightened Lesson: Rain is God showering his essence over his people. Moderate rain is desirable and means God loves you. Heavy rain implies that God believes you are drowning in your sins. God condemns liberals, thus it rains often in areas such as Seattle and Portland. A desert climate means that God has given up on the people.

The new “enlightenment” guidelines have been celebrated as a “revolutionary step toward a superior education.” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, stated “We do a disservice to our children when we do not take a fair and balanced approach to their education. This order will protect children from the radical ideas of the left while enlightening them with honest and moral educational principles.” Time will only tell whether the DeVos approach will succeed, but Trump seems optimistic, “We be finally getting good learning here.” In related news, hospitals all over the country are filling up quickly with teachers reporting concussion-like symptoms due to hitting their heads repeatedly against walls.

Photograph by: Hans Hillewaert

Never Again

There are some things that should not need to be written. Not in the 21st century. Not for a world that 72-years ago said, “Never Again!” I awoke this morning to a study done by Amnesty International, an organization that exposes human rights violations. The study was not easy to read and I apologize if my words disturb you, but the truth must be heard.

Before I tell you about the study, let me first tell you about how the civil war in Syria began. The war started because of children. In 2011, 15 schoolchildren were arrested and tortured for writing anti-government graffiti on a wall. The citizens were outraged and formed peaceful protests asking for the release of the children, democracy and freedom for the people. On March 18, 2011, the military, under the control of Bashar al-Assad, opened fire on the protesters killing four people. The following day, the military arrived at the funeral of one of the fallen and shot and killed another person. That was the beginning of a civil war that continues to this day.

During the war, Assad has broken international law and used chemical weapons on civilians and rebels. The turmoil in Syria has allowed IS to step in and take over large areas of Syria, essentially creating a 3rd front that both Assad’s forces and the rebels need to fight. Assad’s unwillingness to abdicate his power and allow democracy to flourish has given IS more resources and more desperate people to bolster their ranks.  People who feel they have no other choice. However, the true horror of Bashar al-Assad was not fully known until today.

Between 2011 and 2015 in Saydnaya Prison an estimated 13,000 mostly civilians were executed in secret. A further 17,000 more are believed to have been executed in prisons throughout Syria. Every week, sometimes twice a week, guards would appear and call out the names of 50 people. They were told they were being transferred. Instead they are blindfolded and taken into a basement where they are severely beaten. Unable to see what is happening to them they are then led to another building. Before the final horror begins, the last thing they feel is a noose being tightened around their necks. “They kept them [hanging] there for 10 to 15 minutes. Some didn’t die because they are light. For the young ones, their weight wouldn’t kill them. The officers’ assistants would pull them down and break their necks,” said an eyewitness and former judge.

The conditions inside the prison are perhaps even worse. Assad has created “a world carefully designed to humiliate, degrade, sicken, starve and ultimately kill those trapped inside.” The prisoners are raped and are sometimes forced to rape other prisoners for the enjoyment of the guards. Torture is as normal to them as your morning coffee is to you. The floors of the prison are covered with blood and puss and food and water are often deprived. When they are fed it is often scattered onto that soiled floor. Each morning guards would dispose of bodies that didn’t make it through the night.

This is happening in our world. The world of Super Bowl parties and Dancing with the Stars.

One of Assad’s strongest supporters is Donald Trump’s favorite ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin. The reasons behind Russia’s support of Assad are complex and varied. In the most general of terms, Russia has significant economic and military interests in keeping Assad in power. While some of those interests fall in line with conventional wisdom (stopping IS), others do not, particularly against the backdrop of truly heinous crimes against humanity. As always, the Middle East is extremely volatile and decisions made by 3rd party countries can have detrimental effects that can last for decades. We need only look back at President George W. Bush’s horrendous mistake in Iraq that helped created ISIS in the first place. Solutions will not be easy and they will take a unified world to find.

There exists degrees of evil. I would hope that most agree that Assad is among the worst. However, my fear is that evil is spreading. Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent has in the past decade, made criticizing his government a criminal offense. Add to that, government imposed censorship, the tacit approval of Assad’s methods, LGBT abuses and just this past week, Russia decriminalized domestic violence. This brings us to the United States.

In the past two weeks, admitted sexual predator Donald Trump has been attempting to tear down the very institutions of democracy and checks and balances within this country. When the judicial system has tried to slow him down to make sure his actions are constitutional, he has threatened them and placed targets on their back. When a media outlet dares to question him he demonizes and demeans them, calling them “fake news” yet never actually answers their concerns. He utters falsehoods with such frequency that even his staff has a difficult time managing truth from fiction. He uses regulatory power to control the wealthy and he uses fear and prejudice to control the minds of the weak and uneducated.

Over the course of this past year he has suggested the murder of an opposing candidate stating, “By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know.” He has stated that he supports beating protesters saying, “Knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK, just knock the hell -- I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees. I promise. I promise.” Even more disturbing is the following statement, “By the way, I hate some of these people, but I'd never kill them. I hate them. No, I think, no these people, honestly, I'll be honest, I'll be honest, I would never kill them. I would never do that. Let's see, uh, no I wouldn't.” He brought up killing people who oppose him and had to think about whether he would do it?! Trump may not be Assad yet but he is clearly only a couple degrees of evil removed. What is even more terrifying is how many people have bought into his propaganda even while he institutes policies that harm them.

Whenever we hear the words “Syrian refugees” we must remember the horrors of the world that they are escaping from and show compassion and acceptance. We are going through a time of immense turmoil and in many ways are going through our own cultural civil war. We cannot allow ourselves to become like Syria. We must not allow the branches of our government to be compromised by hate, fear and greed. We must not allow our own fears to keep us from reaching out a hand to a person in need. If we do not speak now, if we do not act now, then Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will become this generation’s Axis of Evil and we will be complicit.

You can read the study by Amnesty International as well as some learning materials on the crisis in Syria and Russia through the links below:




Picture by: edwin.11

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Trump Vows to Send Statue of Liberty Back to France

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump surprised attendees by announcing plans to tear down the Statue of Liberty and send it back to France. “Look, we need security. We need to be the best at it. To protect our borders. Our symbol can no longer be a tall ugly woman telling terrorists they can just walk right in. That’s not right. No one wants to see that. It’s weak. Later today I will be signing an executive order to remove the Statute of Liberty and send it back to France in pieces. They want the refugees, they can have them all.”

The Statue of Liberty has stood as a beacon to those entering the United States since it was gifted by France in 1886. Between 1886-1924, 14-million immigrants entered New York and one of their first sights was the lady who welcomed them with open arms. The Statue of Liberty’s base holds a bronze plaque with the following poem by Emma Lazarus,

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Trump was quick to quell the disconcerted reaction of attendees, “Just don’t worry about it….We have to be tough, it’s time we’re going to be a little bit tough, folks. I am going to build a new Statue of Liberty. It’s going to be bigger. So big. So big they can see it in Iran. And I’m gonna have a new model. A gorgeous girl. I’m going to hold a pageant and the winner will be the new Statue. The new model, gorgeous. She’ll be standing in that spot smiling, and maybe she’ll have a gun. She’ll be telling them to keep out. Wonderful. Strong.”

French officials have not responded to interview requests but a spokesman for Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that they have been in contact with the White House. A small group of protesters have already begun to gather around the National Monument and officials believe that the numbers will swell in the coming hours.

Orbson’s Call to Action: Have you ever noticed that whenever Trump speaks it sounds like somebody Frankensteined a Cheetos? For example, while talking about Black History Month he states, “You read all about Martin Luther King when somebody said I took a statue out of my office. And it turned out that that was fake news. The statue is cherished. It’s one of the favorite things—and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King.”
He appears to have the intellectual capacity of a 5-year old. A white supremacist, egomaniacal 5-year old, but still a 5-year old. I began to ponder why that might be and may have a theory. Perhaps at some point in his life he suffered a head injury, who knows, perhaps he was peed on a bit too hard. Regardless, he may now be suffering from the aftereffects. Now, I am not a doctor but if Saturday morning cartoons have taught me anything, another knock on the head could help him out quite a bit. So for this call to action I ask you to call you representatives, the media and anyone else in contact with President Pussygrabber and ask them, for Trump’s own well-being, to smack him as hard as they can. Go forth…

Photograph by Erik Daniel Drost