Letters for July 2, 2009

State the facts

Re “Sen. Ensign should not quit” (Editorial, June 25):

In your defense of Sen. [John] Ensign, in which you felt he should not resign even though he and others called for Clinton’s impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky affair, you and millions of others who will write history for future generations are omitting a very important fact. Clinton was not impeached for getting a blow job in the White House. He was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice in a sexual harassment case. He was convicted of obstruction of justice! I am so sick and tired of people saying, “Why can’t we be more open-minded about our leaders having extra-curricular sex lives? The Europeans have it right and expect men and women to have liaisons outside of marriage.” Well, I am a realist and feel that your sex life is your own business. What is my business is obstruction of justice and perjury. If you or I had lied to a federal grand jury, we would be sitting in prison! Clinton just got a slap on the wrist: a small fine and the loss of his license to practice law. Please, it’s a little more than 10 years since Clinton was impeached, and I never read the true reasons, or hear them on TV. Couldn’t you get it right? As Voltaire so aptly put it, “What is history? It is the lie that everyone agrees upon.”

By the way, Ensign should resign. He is a hypocrite. That’s a polite way of saying he’s a liar. I can put no faith in a person who talks one way, and acts another. I also believe there is more to this than just a sexual fling. An ethics commission should be investigating. Same for Sanford.

Cynthia S. Kennedy
Virginia City

It’s not OK

Re “Sen. Ensign should not quit” (Editorial, June 25):

Your apologist piece for John Ensign and his philandering ways left out more than a few highly significant facts, so riddle me this:

Which now moribund American political party has for 20 years made it part of their unspoken party platform to drag the opposition’s name through the slime over any and all sexual promiscuity at every opportunity, even to the point of impeachment?

Which American political party has been so consistently preachy about other people’s morality, while simultaneously engaging in the same acts they purport to abhor, that the acronym IOKIYAR—It’s OK If You’re A Republican—has been created for their own hypocrisy?

Lastly, which American political party has so disappointed the American public over these and most other political matters over the last decade that they now enjoy a national 25 percent approval rating? If you answered “Republican” to all of the above, you’d be correct. So RN&R thinks that, after the Republicans cynically chose to make these rules, and are now gonna be sized up to their own standard and found lacking, you think it’s time to cry “foul.” Sorry guys, it’s not OKIYAR.

As for Ensign and his upcoming a) resignation or b) non re-election, all I have to say is “You shall reap what you sow, baybay.” Or as WC Fields would have said; “Get off the stage, kid, you bother me.”

Chris Rosamond

Hope for freedom

Re “A land the world forgot” (Feature story, June 11):

Thank you for your report on Kachin state, the forgotten independence movement. The situation seems to be similar in many other areas on the fringes of the Union of Myanmar—wherever minorities live. May Myanmar become blessed with enlightened leaders who find a constructive, positive approach to interact with the many minorities as free citizens on an equal footing. This may not be a realistic expectation, but hope is permitted. Hope is necessary, and hope can’t be vanquished. It will be the only way to achieve peace, harmony, prosperity for humans and other living things in the area. Valiant people of Kachin state, continue your best efforts to improve your homeland, and your people.

Friedgard Lottermoser

Triebel, Germany

The real deal

Re “Play with it” (Feature story, June 25):

This from an Associated Press story in the San Jose Mercury News: “About 30,000 people attended the first Artown festival, with its $12,000 operating budget. Last year, 350,000 turned out, and even more are expected this year at an event that now spends about $1 million, including a $20,000 grant from the NEA.”

Also, research has found Artown spends $120,000 from the city of Reno, and $27,000 from Nevada’s Department of Cultural Affairs. None of this trickles down to the local artist—in fact, local artisans are treated like serfs by Artown, who are forced to work for free while all the benefits and perks go to the ruling class. Don’t take my word for it. Ask even the little old ladies who paint owls and stuff. The artists who live, work and contribute in Reno are actually a pesty little nuisance and embarrassment to them.

“Venice has its Biennale. Basel, Switzerland, has its Art Basel. Reno has the NadaDada Motel,” so says the New York Times (www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/us/22reno.html). We don’t count the rodeo and the Tour de Nez as part of our show the way Artown lumps everything that happens in July under their umbrella. Cost to taxpayers, zero. Benefit to local economy: At least $10,500 to the hotels, then the restaurants and cantinas plus local artists’ expenditures. The RSCVA received $1,365 in revenue just from the exhibitors that the agency can now spend on Artown. Positive free advertisement in New York Times promoting Reno as a cutting-edge, dynamic, forward-thinking bastion of free speech and modern culture: priceless? Now watch Artown try to steal our glory.

Thank you to everyone who participated. You are whom and what makes this town the unique, absurd and wonderful place it is, and don’t let anyone tell you different.

Jeff Johnson

Ensign should quit

Re “Sen. Ensign should not quit” (Editorial, June 25):

I disagree. Ensign should resign. The country needs a viable two-party political system in order to maintain the checks and balances of one party becoming too powerful and drunk on power. Right now the Republicans are in disarray, first with Ensign and now with Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina, and his admitted affair with a woman who is not his wife. It has come out that Sanford paid for a trip to visit the other woman with state funds, and Sanford said he will repay the state. (Gov. Gibbons and text messaging comes to mind.) There are the allegations from ethics watchdog groups that Ensign may have fired his other woman as a way to break off the relationship, and/or he paid her a very large amount of money to end the relationship. Either way, that is a violation of the law and the reason the ethics watchdog groups are asking for an investigation. If the watchdog groups are persistent, then the Ensign affair will continue to be in the news, which will start: “Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada, who had an extramarital affair.” Democrats will bring up Ensign’s call for Clinton to resign when Monica became public and for Larry Craig to resign after the public restroom incident and Ensign’s Defense of Marriage vote and his involvement with Promise Keepers. Then, if the feds ever investigate, the charges of blackmail. All this and more will drag out over the months and will make for headline stories. If Ensign were to resign, the impact on the reputation of the Republican Party will be less, thus giving it a chance to rebuild faster without these distractions. It is dangerous for this country to have one strong party without a dissenting party to question policies.

Dewey Quong