Portland, Ore.



Portland, Ore.

I was so impressed with your October 13 long-nosed Pinocchio Bush cover, featuring David Corn’s exposé of Bush lies. I wish you’d use the graphic to make posters, T-shirts, etc.


We have indeed made Pinocchio Bush buttons. Check out www.thenation.com for other aids to the pursuit of truth and justice.    –The Editors

New York City

Congratulations on David Corn’s “Bush’s Other Lies”! But Corn overlooks at least one lie–Bush wasn’t caught mouthing it, but his fingerprint is unmistakable: the EPA’s lie that the air at the site of the World Trade Center attack was safe to breathe. “Because of Bush’s lies, thousands will suffer cancers, emphysema, heart attack, stroke, birth defects, stillbirths, sterility, eye/ear/nose/throat disease and much more…. The short-term deaths of 3,000 people will be dwarfed over the long term by the lethal fallout,” says Harvey Wasserman in the September 4 Counterpunch. Or in the words of Juan Gonzalez in the August 26 New York Daily News, “An investigation released by the EPA’s own inspector general made a stunning revelation: The trail of public health misinformation began inside the White House.”


San Francisco

David Corn’s article on Bush’s lies missed one: What if only after a man was selected President was the truth about his height made available to the “Merkin Peeble”? Hidden in the folds of the inner pages during the thick of things was the revelation that Bush has lied on every résumé made available to the people–he is 5’11” and not the six-footer he has always stated himself to be.


Port St. Lucie, Fla.

David Corn’s willingness to use the word “lie” without reservation in his cover article must signal that we have arrived at a sufficient level of public awareness concerning the Administration’s deceits that he can go to bed at night without worrying that one of Ashcroft’s goons will “disappear” him. This is good. Corn asks whether Bush is cognizant of his lies. Why ask? Does anyone believe that Bush writes his lines? Does anyone believe that this muddle-mouthed freeloader is capable of articulating policy statements regarding intelligence analyses, arsenic chemistry or economics? I, for one, do not.

The question is this: “What entity is manufacturing this misinformation and structuring these policies?” Bush’s shallowness is precisely what was needed for him to serve as an effective front man for the shadow entity running this country. Now that Corn has made it easier for us all to use the “L” word without fear of being imprisoned, he might be emboldened to offer some suggestions on the true source of the fabrications.


Ithaca, NY

Yes, Bush lies, and those lies have disastrous consequences for Americans, and others. What disturbs me even more, however, is that the media have done so little to challenge those lies. What has happened to the tradition of investigative journalism? Has that tradition become so submerged in the service of “objectivity” and “corporatism” that reporters no longer know how to uncover the truth and challenge the lies with the simple facts already in the public domain?



Glendale, Ariz.

I was pleased to see Katha Pollitt’s “Subject to Debate” [Nov. 3] exposing the absurdity of abstinence-only education. My public school district allows Catholic Social Services to administer its abstinence-only program to all fifth and sixth graders. The CSS guy teaching the class spent the first four days terrorizing these 12-year-old boys about all the diseases they will catch by having sex before marriage.

To cover all bases, the CSS instructor briefly discussed condoms during the last few minutes of the final day of instruction. I had planted a question with one of my students, who asked about condoms being 99 percent effective. The instructor was thrown off at first but then bombarded the kids with his views, saying that studies show condoms to be 30 to 70 percent effective, and not effective at all against AIDS. The CSS man said condom companies want you to think their products work because (get this!) they just want to sell more condoms.

Later, a sixth grader pulled me aside and said, “Mr. Atonna, I don’t ever want to have kids. It’s too dangerous.” His lesson from the whole “education” experience: Sex will kill you! I guess the larger lesson here is that the factions that fought so hard against sex ed in schools over the years have found a way to infiltrate those public schools with abstinence “education.”



Las Vegas

Doug Ireland’s “Republicans Relaunch the Antigay Culture Wars” [Oct. 20] might have included one more fun tidbit: Here in Nevada, no major Republican apparently wants to run against Senator Reid, so his competition may well end up being one Richard Ziser, a way-right evangelical, most famous for putting an anti-gay marriage amendment into the Nevada Constitution by scaring the crap out of everyone with images of same-sex education classes. People whose only political thought might have been how to get the City Council to put a new casino closer to their home suddenly saw gay marriage looming. By law, the people had to vote a majority of support for the proposal in two consecutive elections, and they did. So Nevada has an adjusted Constitution for an issue that had not been on the radar. This is, after all, Nevada. If Ireland’s predictions are right, progressives should be ready for Ziser’s mad assault.


South Palm Beach, Fla.

As a gay man and an activist, I found Doug Ireland’s article unnerving, particularly in light of the reduced civil liberties Bush and Ashcroft have established with the help of spineless Democrats. Yet I cannot help but be encouraged by the thought that it is almost impossible to succeed from a negative position. When the basis of your argument is a “no,” it’s hard to build on. And I do think that the majority of Americans do not wish us the kind of harm the rabid right would like to inflict on us. Oppressing homosexuals will not change George Bush’s failures in national and international policies. If being against gays is all they’ve got, they’re doomed.



Fantastic analysis by Doug Ireland. Tiny correction. Bush did not carry every state that has a sodomy law. He did not carry Michigan. In the footnotes of Lawrence v. Texas in Michigan Compiled Law 750.158, you will find that we still have such a law, and we certainly went for Gore (and McCain) in 2000.

Director of policy, Triangle Foundation


Bethlehem, Pa.

I enjoyed Eben Moglen’s article on file sharing, in which he thoroughly skewered the recording corporations [“Pay Artists, Not ‘Owners,'” Oct. 27]. I think a little blame should be laid at the feet of artists. Whenever this story is covered in the corporate media, you have some mega-rich artist mouthing off about the sharing of their music and loss of revenue. Moglen suggested artists release the music themselves over the Net and reap all the profits–a great suggestion. Artists who still go the corporate route need to add some incentive for someone to go into a store and shell out $15 for an album they could download for free. These incentives could include going back to the old days and crafting albums with a concept and clever cover art instead of just one hit song. Artists should take a lesson from the band Primus. They recently got back together and put out an album called Animals Should Not Try to Act Like People, which included a free three-hour DVD. The whole package costs only $10. Now that’s incentive.

Jon Gerber

Long Beach, Calif.

Thanks to Eben Moglen for his excellent statement of the case for file sharing and against artificial shortages. I spent twenty years as a professional musician, and I assure you that only a tiny fraction of musicians make any significant income from the sale of CDs. Most musicians are paid only for the date on which they do the recording and do not receive royalties. And only a tiny fraction of musicians ever make it into the recording studio. Worldwide, the percentage of musicians who make significant income from the sale of CDs is so small as to be beneath consideration. Yes, some musicians make a lot of money from CDs. And some people make a lot of money from the lottery.

The fact is that musicians in the real world support themselves and their families the way they always have: They play gigs. This is good because, after all, recorded music is only a pale reflection of real, live, breathing music played by real live musicians. Nothing can replace it. So, if you’re worried about how musicians will support themselves, drop a dollar in that guitar case in front of the street corner busker, go to the neighborhood coffeehouse and support that goofy bassoon and guitar duet, go to the nearest honky-tonk and kick up your heels, go to the symphony orchestra concert and soak up some gorgeous sounds. And keep sharing files. Boycott the RIAA!




Jennifer Niesslein’s superb “Spanking Head Start” [Oct. 20] sent me into a blind fury! As a retired laborer in the early-childhood vineyards, I can’t bear to see the careful tending that has borne such promising fruit being bulldozed by brutes! Thanks and keep spanking where it’s called for.


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