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521 Unlucky numbers for Putsch, all of us
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
Zepps Commentaries
February 5, 2004

The number 521 showed up twice in the past week in different news stories, and Putsch, who is trying to figure out how to get elected President, is kinda wishing it hadn't.

Early in the week, the number of American troops killed in Iraq passed 521. It's at 524 now. And with the 521 came the admission that despite the "capture" of Saddam, despite al Qaida being on the run, despite the wonderful progress Paul Bremer is making, despite freedom and democracy and Big Macs, attacks on Americans are on the increase. Maybe Putsch needs to dress up in a military costume and land on another aircraft carrier. It worked pretty well the last time, right?

The number was also the number of billions the projected deficit for the fiscal year now stands at. Unfortunately, like the first number, it's already grown since it came out, since it's come to light that it doesn't count costs incurred in Iraq, and doesn't assume that Putsch's tax cuts will remain permanent. The real number for the next year could actually be $700 billion, which would be more than double the worst year in history prior to now.

Putsch was, as always, oblivious. Campaigning in New Hampshire, he grandly announced that he planned to keep the tax cuts permanent, and dismissed the question about exploding the deficit by vaguely muttering that "the government has plenty of money."

Hopefully someone can sit down with this chimpanzee and explain it real slow. If the government had enough money, it wouldn't be going into debt at the rate of one and a half billion dollars a day, or about a million dollars a minute.

The budget went to congress, and virtually nobody there liked it. In fact, it's probably DOA. Putsch may find himself in the same position Reagan did, when his notion that giving the rich lots of money would cause them to put it into booming the economy blew up in his face, and Congress forced him to raise taxes. Congressmen on both sides of the aisle smell the carrion scent of fiscal collapse on the wind, and both sides realize that blowing up the debt like this can only end in either huge taxes at no benefit to the taxpayers, or financial collapse.

If Putsch was hoping that his Mussolini-like stunt of strutting around on an aircraft carrier in a aviator's costume might help him, the long-dormant issue of his national guard service suddenly sprung to the fore when Michael Moore, stumping for General Wesley Clark, called Putsch a "deserter." Moore had to stretch the definition of desertion a bit, but only a bit. Putsch was missing from service for at least 14 months, and claims that he "made it up later" just don't hold water. The fact is, he was missing from duty. He was AWOL. And now that the media is actually looking at the story, questions are being raised about how he only scored in the 25th percentile in aptitude to become a pilot in other words, he barely made "bottom of the barrel" and yet managed to beat out 26 other more qualified candidates for the one position available. The media is asking how, despite refusing to take a drug test and being grounded, and then simply vanishing for over a year, the man still managed to get an honorable discharge.

During Vietnam, the National Guard was seen as a corrupt joke, good only for sheltering "fortunate sons" progeny of the rich, powerful and well-connected and shooting unarmed demonstrators.

The right wing, tone deaf to all of this, has started the inevitable smear campaign against Kerry, claiming that his injuries were superficial or even non-existent, and that Putsch's military service was equivalent to Kerry's (minus, of course actually going to Vietnam, seeing action, getting injured, winning medals and what not). A lot of Vets, already disgusted with Putsch's lip service to the military while simultaneously screwing over the Vets and even trying to deny personnel in Iraq combat pay, are noting the similarities between the smears against Kerry and the utterly vile campaign the GOP ran against Max Cleland in 2000 that got that war hero unseated in a Diebold "election."

Putsch, who won four out of five votes among military personnel in 2000, saw his approval rating there sink to 36%.

David Kay admitted that the administration knew as early as last May that there were, in fact, no WMDs in Iraq, and a lot of people who confidently predicted all through the balance of 2003 that they would be found realized that the administration had betrayed them. Kay and CIA director George Tenet both took turns falling on their swords for the administration, but among the general population, the conviction is growing that Putsch flat out lied about WMDs as an excuse to conduct an unprovoked attack against Iraq.

The admin is facing an unthinkable scandal with the 9/11 commission. The commission demanded and today got an extension beyond the late May deadline. This back down by the administration came nearly simultaneously with the story breaking that Condi Rice was refusing to testify under oath before the commission. That's a decision that will raise eyebrows all over the country. And increase the lurking suspicions that Putsch could have done more to prevent 9/11, or might have even been complicit in it in some way. And this commission was expected to be a whitewash, like the Hutton commission in Britain is.

This all occurred during a week when his approval ratings fell back below 50%, and his disapproval ratings climbed to 50%, the highest of his term. It came even as the latest polls showed Kerry beating him in a face-to-face by seven or eight points, and even John Edwards, second or third among the Democratic candidates, in a statistical tie with Putsch.

The scandal involving the corrupt Antonin Scalia continued to grow. He will be sitting in judgement in a case involving a good buddy of his with whom he went duck hunting recently. It seems that not only did his buddy cover all costs involved in the trip, but ferried him there and back on his taxpayer provided plane, dubbed "Air Force Two"

If Scalia is darkening his already bad reputation with his cosy relationship with the defendant, Cheney himself is subject to increasing rumors that he will be bumped from the ticket this summer, due to the increasing scope of scandals involving Halliburton, and because nobody much likes Cheney.

The only trouble is, the two possibilities most often noised about for replacing Cheney have both lost luster of late. Condi Rice did herself political damage in her refusal to testify under oath, and is seen as an architect of the disastrous Iraq policy. The other purported VP candidate is New York's Rudolph Guilliani. While the man achieved heroic status in the aftermath of 9/11 with his calm and competent handling of NYC's greatest crisis, he carries a lot of personal baggage (history of prostate cancer, a really messy divorce and affair), and Putsch may not want to remind people of 9/11 by late summer, if the commission follows the course it seems set upon.

There was one bright spot: Janet Jackson's right boob caught most of the media attention this week. Boobs were watching the half time show and the half time show decided to return the favor.

Perhaps the secret is the next time there's a crisis, they could arrange for Dick Cheney to have a "wardrobe malfunction." Boobs created the Putsch regime; perhaps boobs can save it.

Posted: February 6, 2004


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