The Rocket's Red Glare May Be Chinese

by Walter Brasch

    Wearing a pith helmet and brandishing a blunderbuss, Marshbaum burst into my office and ordered me to the floor. I looked at my faux friend and media foil, about to ask him what his latest scheme was. With Marshbaum, who was fed "Honeymooners" episodes by IV when he was a child, everything is a scheme to make money. But, in the fraction of time I had before he yelled for me to get under my desk and cover my head, I quickly determined he was serious.

    "We're at war!" he shouted, hyper-kinetically upset.

    "Of course we're at war," I said. "Bush diverted resources from Afghanistan to invade Iraq. Been at war five years."

    "Not that war," said Marshbaum. "This is bigger. China invaded our homeland. We're under attack. And thanks to a 5-4 decision by the Supremes, me and Ole Betsy will defend my home from the Commie invaders."

    "You been watching too many recycled Cold War films?" I asked. "China is our trading partner. They loaned us billions to reduce our exorbitant unbalanced budget. Their factories are producing goods for the American consumer almost as fast as Washington politicians have been producing verbal diarrhea."

     "The Chinese have launched rockets at us. We don't have much time."

     "I didn't see anything on the 24/7 news channels about an invasion."

    "Of course not," said Marshbaum, "they're too busy tracking celebrity weddings, break-ups, and drunk driving arrests."

    "Even the worst journalist would pick up on an invasion of the U.S," I said.

    "Yeah," he replied sarcastically, "like they picked up on the PATRIOT Act violating a half-dozen constitutional amendments? Like they figured out the Bush-Cheney Oil and Screw Corp. lied to them about Iraq, the environment, the housing crisis, the economy, and how to make barbecued burritos?"

    "But war with China?" I asked skeptically.

    "China!" he said authoritatively. "Largest Communist country in the world. More than a billion people. Largest Army in the world. While the politicians focused on being nasty to Cuba, which has only 11 million people and hardly any weapons, the Chinese have been getting ready to invade us. It's been a sneak attack that started years ago. Some of the best students in American colleges are Chinese. They're the cadre for the take-over, and it's less than a week away!"

    "I assume you have evidence," I asked, playing along with Marshbaum. After all, I had no idea how deadly a blunderbuss could be, especially if I was in the same room with one.

    "Tents," said Marshbaum. "Thousands of tents have been set up the past two weeks on every major road in America. They're ammunition depots. Come July Fourth, the Chinese students will stop getting perfect scores on their SATs, join their comrades from all the Chinese buffets, go to the tents, activate the weapons and blow us all sky high with Roman Candles and Multi-break Shells. Dahlias, Willows, and Rings. An arsenal of destruction!"

    "They're fireworks!" I told my naive friend. "Fireworks! Jefferson, Madison, and the patriots started the revolution so we could eat hotdogs and potato salad, then shoot off a color spectacular and get a three-day weekend."

    "For a journalist, you're even denser than I thought." And so he walked me through his logic. "Ninety-Eight percent of all fireworks we use for July Fourth are made in China."

    "I see no evidence of war here," I said. "The Chinese also supply most of our toys and just about anything that winds up at the Dollar Store."

    "Do you think the largest army in the world would be content to stay in Asia and eat sushi all day?" I disregarded the anomaly that sushi is a Japanese dish, but when Marshbaum is on a roll it's hard to divert him with logic. "Come July Fourth, they're going to shock and awe us with their fireworks, play a Tchaikovsky overture, and then take over the rest of America."

    "The Olympics are only about five weeks away," I reminded him, "why would the Chinese attack us when it's hosting the leading display for unity and peace?"

    "Because they need more emaciated squeaky-voiced gymnasts," he said, "and we'll be so grateful to get rid of them and those snooty equestrians as well that we'll wave flags to honor China."

    "Americans are going to wave Chinese flags? That's ridiculous!"

    "American flags," said Marshbaum. "Most flags and flag pins--you know the ones the semi-patriotic American politicians always wear--are made in China." Marshbaum thought a moment. "Maybe their Army won't need to invade us. They've already defeated us."

[Dr. Brasch, an award-winning syndicated columnist, is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University and president of the Pennsylvania Press Club. His latest book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (November 2007), available through and other bookstores. You may contact Brasch at or through his website at:]

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It is no more Red State or Blue State post MT poll

Its July 4th and it seems like after the MT poll we are really talking of a UNITED States of America. This maybe the first election in a long time when we wont have the traditional Red state or the blue State elections.

So here is an ecard i saw out there taking off his 2004 speech. Which really was his launching pad for this run. s/gc/viewSelection.action?category=4JUL& amp;start=0&desc=July+4th&type=A LL&dojo.preventCache=1215102264366&a mp;cardcode=ci_g_015.jpg

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Tips for Democrats volunteering in July 4 parades

cross-posted at Bleeding Heartland

If you're not going out of town for the holiday weekend, I highly recommend that you march or ride with fellow Democrats in your local Independence Day parade.

These events are fantastic outreach opportunities for campaigns and a great way for you to meet like-minded neighbors.

It's not too late to volunteer. Just contact your county Democratic Party, or the campaign of a local candidate, or the Obama campaign office if there is one in your city. Ask where and when you should show up if you want to help out during the July 4 parades. (Keep in mind that some communities have parades on the evening of July 3.)

Here are a few more tips to help you enjoy the parade.

1. If you carry a sign, keep the message positive.

When you call to volunteer for the parade, ask if they will have a flag or a candidate's sign for you to carry.

If they ask you to bring your own sign, or you prefer to make your own sign, I encourage you to say something positive, either about a specific candidate or about your own values.

I've gotten lots of smiles and thumbs-up in the past with a hand-made sign that quotes the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths
to be self-evident,
that all men*
are created equal...

*and women!

2. If you wear a political t-shirt, keep the message positive.

I often wear a plain red or white shirt on July 4, but if you wear a t-shirt with a message, I'd make it a positive one about a candidate you like or Democrats generally.

Even people who agree with you are probably not going to want to see Bush Lied People Died or Don't blame me--I voted for Edwards during a holiday parade.

3. Don't take the bait if you get heckled by Republicans.

In my experience, few Republicans will bother you, but some jerk might try to get a rise out of you by mocking your candidate, or by saying, "I voted for Bush."

I wouldn't bother telling them your opinion of Republicans, or asking why able-bodied people like themselves aren't serving their country in Iraq.

Instead, model good behavior for the children who will be watching the parade.

You could ignore the hecklers, but I usually smile and say something friendly like, "My dad was a Republican" or "It's a free country" or "Happy Fourth of July!"

4. Protect yourself from the sun.

Parade routes can be two to four miles long, and you may be out in the sun for many hours, including the time you wait around for the parade to get started. If it's a sunny day, wear sunglasses or a hat to shade your eyes.

Bring some water so you don't get dehydrated.

Don't forget sunscreen, including on the back of your legs, neck and shoulders. But be aware that many sunscreens are ineffective, and some contain harmful chemicals. It's worth checking the Environmental Working Group's cosmetic safety database so you can select a good sunscreen.

5. If your local parade is in the evening, protect yourself from mosquitoes.

But I suggest using a repellent without DEET.

6. Wear comfortable shoes if you will be walking.

I can't emphasize this enough.

7. If you are unable to walk, make sure there will be room for you to ride.

You don't need to walk to volunteer on July 4. You can hold signs, wave or throw candy to children while riding in the truck or car your local Democrats are using. Just let the organizers know ahead of time that you'd like to ride in a vehicle during the parade.

Please share your Independence Day tips in the comments.

A poll on July 4 parades is after the jump.

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