And what a mild winter it has been so far, aside from the climate of a stressful school term, the literal temperatures in Portland this term have been pretty manageable for the most part. Like the literal fog, the House impeachment inquiry and Senate trial of President Donald J. Trump left a lot of people confused.
In the end Republican senators, not including Mitt Romney, concluded that despite months saying Trump didn’t do what Democrats accused Trump of doing, their best argument and concluding reasoning was largely that even if he did abuse his power as president to get a personal favor from Ukraine’s president, that’s not a crime.
“Purely non-criminal conduct, including ‘abuse of power’ and ‘obstruction of justice,’ are outside the range of impeachable offenses,” Trump’s defense counsel Alan Dershowitz alleged during the Senate trial.
Legaldictionary.net/extortion defines extortion as: a noun which means “the act of obtaining something of value by using threats, force, or abuse of authority.”
dictionary.com/browse/authority defines authority as a noun: which means “the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes; jurisdiction; the right to control, command, or determine.” (definition 1) “A power or right delegated or given,” (definition 2) “a person or body of persons in whom authority is vested, as a governmental agency,” (definition 3) and definition 4: “Usually authorities. Persons having the legal power to make and enforce the law; government.”
extortion.uslegal.com/punishments writes that “Generally, individuals charged with extortion faces [sic] serious penalties…” and those convicted of a “simple kind of extortion, the punishment is imprisonment up to 3 years or a fine or both.” “Under federal and state laws, extortion carries up to a 20-year prison sentence.”
Many Republican senators went on to hope that Trump learned his lesson. However, since the impeachment trial ended, Trump has: fired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his twin brother, heckled the Justice Department into reversing sentencing recommendations of Roger Stone (who lied about his contact with Russians, during Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election [Stone served as adviser to the Trump campaign]), declared himself the “chief law enforcement officer” of the U.S. (that position is William Barr, the attorney general and head of the U.S. Department of Justice [DOJ]).
After Barr reversed sentencing recommendations of Roger Stone, the four prosecutors who prosecuted Stone quit the case and one of them just quit being a U.S. attorney altogether because of it.
A bipartisan letter from 1,100 former DOJ officials asserted that Barr’s actions are representative of “autocracies” not constitutional republics and “require Mr. Barr to resign.”
Speaking of odd uses of bureaucracy, Portland State is considering moving the Littman Gallery out of its space on the second floor of Smith Memorial Student Union to a different location so the space can be converted into another conference room.
Littman + White Galleries have a high visibility and decent traffic in their location. The galleries provide students the opportunity to engage the PSU community through the curation of mid-level career artists and by putting on shows that they think are important for the public to see. Littman Gallery has been serving the PSU community in that space since at least 1982. If you want to speak up to support the gallery’s remainder in that location you can visit their Google form here: https://bit.ly/2V5ZpRp.
And the year is only just shaking the snow off. This issue is incredible and full of a lot of important, nuanced stories that I hope you find to be fascinating, enjoyable, and informative.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATION:
Illustration by Josh Gates as a tribute to Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, the famous photo of workers taking a break while working high up in the sky casually seated on a suspended steel beam. The original photo is uncredited because it could have been shot by several candidates present including Charles C. Ebbets, William Leftwich, and Thomas Kelley. Ebbets typically is credited for the photo but who the actual photographer is is up for debate. Gates’s tribute features the workers eating lunch and the Executive Editor of The Pacific Sentinel, Jake Johnson, wearing overalls sharing a Peach Pear La Croix with a worker. The men at the left may appear to be doing cocaine but the original photo makes it appear that these men are trying to light a cigarette. The original photo was taken as a publicity stunt for people to think the great depression was ending and that workers were soaring to new heights to rebuild the economy. The original photo was taken in New York City. Gates’s tribute features a background of Portland, Oregon.