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The Presidential Debates
Floridians call them "palmetto bugs." The rest of the country just calls them "roaches." Nothing could be more American than the American Cockroach -- living in American walls, American dumpsters, and American sewers. Widely despised as pests by humans, and eaten as food by a number of other species, the cockroaches' leadership qualities are often overlooked. And so, in the spirit of tonight's Presidential debate, here's a take on whether a cockroach could do a better job as President than what we have now, i.e. George W. Bush. I'll provide the scenario, but you make the decision -- who would be the better choice for America?
Roach v. Bush
LEHRER: Good evening from the University of Miami Convocation Center in Coral Gables, Florida. I'm Jim Lehrer of "The NewsHour" on PBS. And I welcome you to the first of the 2004 presidential debates between President George W. Bush, the Republican nominee, and a cockroach. The umbrella topic is foreign policy and homeland security. For each question there can only be a two-minute response, a 90- second rebuttal and, at my discretion, a discussion extension of one minute. There will be two-minute closing statements, but no opening statements. There is an audience here in the hall, but they will remain absolutely silent for the next 90 minutes, except for now, when they join me in welcoming President Bush and Mr. Cockroach.
LEHRER: Good evening, Mr. President, Mr. Cockroach. As determined by a coin toss, the first question goes to you, Mr. Roach. You have two minutes.
Do you believe you could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States?
ROACH: Of course, who couldn't? But before I answer further, let me thank you, Jim, for moderating. I want to thank the University of Miami for hosting us. And I know the president will join me in welcoming all of Florida to this debate. You've been through more hurricanes and rigged elections than anybody could imagine. Our hearts go out to you.
Yes, I can make America safer than President Bush. First of all, roaches don't take vacations. I wouldn't be asleep at the wheel after a month-long vacation in Crawford, Texas.
Then there's the issue of American cockroaches defending American soil. We lost a lot of roaches in the World Trade Center, along with your humans. I've been told that a few hundred of my distant relatives may have been among them. If 9/11 had been an actual "terrorist" attack, rest assured that my staff would have had no trouble dispatching American humans to defend airspace, instead of having them stand down for a few hours until all of the planes had done their damage.
But if 9/11 was instead an attack designed to get the population behind oil wars wanted by oil men like Bush and Cheney, then I can offer American even more security. First of all, roaches aren't fond of oil. Even though we can adapt to environmental degradation faster than slow-reproducing species like humans, we too are aware of how pollution affects our health and prospects for survival. Oil and other fossil fuels need to be replaced by renewable sources, and I'd spend money for more wind, solar, and hydroelectric projects -- the Iraq war's cost alone could have converted about 1/4 of the nation's energy to renewable sources. President Bush and his VP wouldn't be able to reap much of a profit from wind farms, though, so they'd rather you keep driving your gasoline-powered cars while they squander your tax dollars on oil wars. Roaches, like humans, are negatively impacted by oil wars, as they send young US males overseas, thus removing them from the pool of humans dropping crumbs on the floor for roaches to eat at night.
LEHRER: Mr. President, you have a 90-second rebuttal.
BUSH: I, too, thank the University of Miami, and say our prayers are with the good people of this state, who've suffered a lot with the hurricanes and my brother.
September the 11th changed how America must look at the world. And since that day, our nation has been on a multi-pronged strategy to keep our country safer. Firstly, we pursued Al Quaida in Afghanistan, installed a Unocal negotiator as President there, then got him to sign a pipeline deal before the first elections were held. Then, we went to I-raq and secured the oil ministry there. Of course, I-raq isn't producing oil yet because someone keeps blowing up the pipelines. But as soon as we institute the draft and get more fodder over there, we figure we can have some of the oil lines working again with only maybe 300,000 more US casualties.
LEHRER: New question, Mr. President, two minutes.
Do you believe the election of a cockroach on November the 2nd would increase the chances of the U.S. being hit by another 9/11-type terrorist attack?
BUSH: No, I don't believe it's going to happen. My brother Jeb assures me that I'm going to win. I have -- I understand everybody in this country doesn't agree with the decisions I've made. And Dick Cheney made some tough decisions for me. But people know where I stand. People out there listening know what I believe. And that's how best it is to keep the peace.
LEHRER: Ninety second response, Mr. Roach.
ROACH: Of course electing a cockroach, or anyone/anything other than George W. Bush, is going to make this country LESS likely to be hit by a terrorist attack. This Bush-human just had these countries bombed into pulp -- does he think they're going to be his good buddies now? Most of the people in Afghanistan or Iraq were just going about their daily lives peacefully until the US showed up to kill their friends and relatives. Now they hate us, but even more, they hate George W. Bush. Electing anyone other than George W. Bush would show other nations that Americans don't necessarily want the wars that just destroyed their homes and left them without food, water and electricity. A cockroach like me would be the first step to restoring good international relations.
LEHRER: New question, two minutes, Mr. Roach.
"Colossal misjudgments." What colossal misjudgments, in your opinion, has President Bush made in these areas?
ROACH: How could I find enough time to describe them all? First of all, he made the misjudgment that he could actually handle the job of President. Then, he used lie after lie to get his oil wars, and thought that Americans wouldn't question him or even remember that he'd mentioned "weapons of mass destruction" as he sent the troops off to battle. Then, he insulted all of our old allies -- even France, the nation that financed the American Revolution and basically gave us our freedom -- because they wouldn't do every idiotic thing he wanted. Then, he went crawling back to the UN after insulting them to ask for their help, but of course was snubbed, having lost all credibility...
LEHRER: Ninety-second response, Mr. President.
BUSH: Even though there were no weapons of mass destruction, and though Saddam had no links to Osama or 9/11, somehow I just know that the world is a safer place without him. At least, might be a safer place after the killing in I-raq stops, and what's left of our soldiers come home from over there. The ones that don't have to stay permanently to hold down the oil wells, I mean country, that is.
LEHRER: New question, Mr. President. Two minutes.
Has the war in Iraq been worth the cost of American lives, 1,052 as of today?
BUSH: You know, every life is precious. Every life matters. You know, my hardest -- the hardest part of the job is to know that I committed the troops in harm's way and then do the best I can to provide comfort for the loved ones who lost a son or a daughter or a husband or wife. That's what distinguishes us from the enemy. Everybody matters. But I think it's worth it, Jim. I think it's worth it, because I think -- I know in the long term a free Iraq, a free Afghanistan, will set such a powerful in a part of the world that's desperate for freedom. It will help change the world; that we can look back and say we did our duty.
LEHRER: Mr. Roach, 90 seconds.
ROACH: The most credible analysts claim that the US will never have enough troups in Iraq to stabilize it. Eventually the Iraqi government will fall to the most powerful faction, most likely another non-democratic military dictatorship. And so every life lost or damaged there in the name of "freedom" will be wasted, for nothing. That's not treating everyone as though they matter -- quite the opposite. In fact, the Bush administration has been extending tours of duty and cutting military benefits as the soldiers are in the field, fighting and dying. I've never read of any President who was so brazen about telling the troops that their lives don't matter, that the government will use and abuse them as much as they want, while they die for questionable motives.
LEHRER: New question, Mr. Roach. Clearly, as we have heard, major policy differences exist between the two of you. Are there also underlying character issues that you believe are serious enough to deny President Bush the job as commander in chief of the United States?
ROACH: I feel that President Bush has an underlying character issue -- a problem with honesty, namely that he lacks it. A Commander-in-Chief needs to make a case for war that isn't based solely on lies or wishful thinking. That includes both the motive for war, as well as a realistic assessment on what the war will cost in both lives and dollars, and of course whether the war can actually be won. A Commander-in Chief should also use the millitary only for the good of the nation, and not for personal profiteering on behalf of himself, his father, or Dick Cheney.
LEHRER: Mr. Bush, 90 seconds.
BUSH: The roach has a serious character issue -- he's a roach! How's he gonna get respected by the troops with that brown skin of his. My brother Jeb kicks people off of the voter rolls in Florida just for the brown skin alone.
LEHRER: Ahem... All right, that brings us to closing statements.
And, again, as determined by a coin toss, Mr. Roach, you go first, and you have two minutes.
ROACH: Thank you, Jim, very much. Thank you to the university again, and to President Bush, for being so easy to debate on all issues. I believe that it's time for American humans to admit that their own species has failed them. Rather than selecting a human who has proved to be dishonest while sending your children to war, choose an honest roach who's interested in keeping your children at home, spilling more food on the floors. My interest is your interst -- everyone safe at home, healthy and happy. With good paying jobs and lots of food.
BUSH: This election isn't about food and family. It's about Saddam, and Osama, and terror alerts, and fear, and stuff. It's about pain and sacrifice, for other peoples' freedom and oil profits. And bad health care, a weak economy...
LEHRER: And that ends tonight's debate. A reminder, the second presidential debate will be a week from tomorrow, October 8th, from Washington University in St. Louis. For now, thank you, Mr. Roach, President Bush. From Coral Gables, Florida, I'm Jim Lehrer... Thank you and good night.
For better humor on the debate, visit presidentmoron.com:
CORAL GABLES, FL - 9/30/04 President MORON's pathetic performance at the debate tonight can be summed up in his oft-repeated assertion that, "It's hard work!" Unfortunately, he came with thirty minutes of prepared sound bites, distortions and hate speech for a ninety minute debate. This left him repeating simple meaningless catch phrases over and over again. At the same debate, John Kerry proved his grasp of foreign policy issues, his ability to think clearly about complex issues and his determination to protect US national security in a steadfast, rational way. Fortunately, the pool camera operators did not go along with The MORONARCHY's demand that no split screen shots or reaction shots be provided, and America got a chance to see the real President MORON, a petulant, scowling, confused and terrified deer in the headlights. President MORON has failed to capture Osama bin Laden. President MORON has failed to win his illegitimate war in Iraq. President MORON has failed to reduce terrorism in the world. President MORON has failed to produce any new jobs in America. And, President MORON has failed to convince the American people that he is not a failure. Avoiding all of those failures would have required hard work indeed, but as Americans well know, President MORON was hardly workin'.
- presidentmoron.com, as quoted 15 October 2004
Did you see Bush on TV, trying to debate? Jesus, he talked like a donkey with no brains at all. The tide turned early, in Coral Gables, when Bush went belly up less than halfway through his first bout with Kerry, who hammered poor George into jelly. It was pitiful.... I almost felt sorry for him, until I heard someone call him "Mister President," and then I felt ashamed.
Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
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[Posted 8 October 2004, Last updated 26 October 2004]
© 2004 by Pam Rotella.
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