NATO and Ukraine.

            Back in 1949, the eastern half of Europe languished in slavery to the Soviet Union.  Not wanting Western Europe to end up in the same boat, the United States and its allies formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  As part of the propaganda war, NATO declared that any European country could join.  However, a unanimous vote the member-states had to approve each new admission.[1] 

In one of the great triumphs for humanity, the Soviet system and empire finally collapsed of its own grave defects.  Subsequently, many of the former “puppet states” joined NATO.  They also joined the separate, but closely over-lapping European Community (EC).  In both cases, they had to meet specific standards covering a wide range of social, economic, and political issues.  The former German Democratic Republic became a member in 1990 when it merged with the German Federal Republic; Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic joined in 1999; Bulgaria, Rumania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) joined in 2004.  All of these countries wanted both safety and prosperity. 

Seen from the Russian perspective, NATO (i.e. the United States) had taken advantage of Russia’s period of post-Soviet weakness and disintegration to push forward its frontline right to the borders of historical Russia.  Indeed, the admission of the Baltic states added a first chunk of the lands won for Russia by Peter the Great.  In 2008, President George W. Bush got NATO to declare that Ukraine and Georgia would join NATO at some future point.  Who knows what further, ever-farther-from-the-Atlantic additions might follow?  Russia began punching back. 

Subsequently, people came nearer to their senses.  NATO has dragged its feet on presenting a plan of work to the two countries.  Both France and Germany have shown themselves wary of admitting Ukraine.  In 2014, the Obama Administration did little of substance to bolster Ukraine after the Russians re-took the Crimea and fomented rebellion in two heavily ethnic Russian administrative divisions (“oblasts”) of Ukraine.  Given the unanimity requirement, there is little chance that Ukraine could join NATO in the foreseeable future. 

            Here’s the thing: neither Russia nor the West wants Ukraine in NATO.  One reason the West doesn’t want Ukraine in NATO because of the intractable barriers to entry.  For one thing, it has been through a number of revolutions and doubtful elections.  It hardly meets the definition of a stable democracy.  Then there is a good deal of buyer’s remorse inside the EC and NATO over the admission of Hungary and Poland.  Why add one more questionably-democratic country to a community already threatened by disintegration?  For another thing, Ukraine is a “kleptocracy.”[2]  It also has a bad record on honest dealing with post-Soviet Russia. 

Another reason is that it could well involve fighting to defend Ukraine.  It is unlikely to involve a direct military confrontation.  More likely would be a Russian-directed campaign of subversion and insurrection.  There is no reason to think that the army of Ukraine is any more robust than were the armies of Iraq when ISIS attacked or the Afghan National Army when the Taliban went on its final offensive.  No Westerner wants another quagmire. 

Perhaps “neutralization” on the Finnish or Austrian model might work?   


[1] Edward Wong and Lara Jakes, “Why the Members of NATO Won’t Let Ukraine Join Anytime Soon,” NYT, 14 January 2022. 

[2] Transparency International ranks Ukraine 117th on a list of 180 countries. 

Public Opinion on Abortion 29 December 2021.

            In 1973 the Supreme Court legalized abortion in its Roe v. Wade decision. 

Both parties assign a high emotional and moral value to the question of abortion.  Religious belief is most strong in the South.  Among Evangelical Christians, 65 percent oppose legal abortions in all or almost all cases.  Less than two-thirds (59 percent) of Southern Democrats believe that abortion should be legal under most conditions.  Roe v. Wade, far more than Brown v. Board, may have been what mobilized Southerners to desert the Democratic Party.[1]   As Republicans pursued their own “Southern strategy,” they found that they had to “shake hands with the Savior” in the form of the evangelicals. 

At first, the tide continued to run against abortion restriction.  In 1991, 42 percent of Democrats believed that abortion should be legal whenever a woman wanted one; so did 41 percent of Republicans.  This position exceeded the Roe standard.  Then the tide turned. 

Today, 60 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal through the first trimester or even into the second trimester.  This retreats from the Roe v. Wade standard.  Only about 29 percent of people think that abortion should be illegal in all or almost all situations. 

            Nevertheless, over the last thirty years, the country has become more polarized beneath the surface of this broad consensus.  In 2018, one reliable survey found that 92 percent of college-educated and self-identified “’liberal” Democrats believed that a woman should be able to obtain an abortion at any time and for any reason.  Again, about 29 percent of people think that abortion should be illegal in all or almost all situations. 

Most people are somewhere in between and roughly on the ground marked out by Roe fifty years ago.  In 2018, among self-identified “moderate” Republicans, 39 percent believed that a woman should able to get an abortion in all or most cases.  Among self-identified “moderate” Democrats 55 percent believed this.[2]  Abortion is so much NOT a Make-Or-Break issue for about a quarter (26 percent) of Americans, that they don’t share the position of the presidential candidates for whom they voted in 2020.[3]  This crowd—it’s wrong to call it a group—consists of more religious Democrats,[4] less religious Republicans, and secular Trump voters.[5] 

One possible explanation is that different people assign a greater or lesser importance to the question than do others.  For the moment, the majority is caught in a struggle between two opposed groups of abortion maximalists.  For both of these groups, abortion is an essential question.  For everyone else, it is a secondary question.  Essentially, most voters hold their nose and go along on their candidate’s view on abortion in order to get something else that they value more highly.  An expanded “safety net” say, or packing the courts. 


[1] This isn’t the conventional text-book interpretation.  However, school integration could be—and was—dealt with through establishing lots of private schools, white flight, and the artful construction of transportation infrastructure.  Legalized abortion could not be addressed in this way.  Campaigns for “marriage equality” and insane “common sense” gun control laws just poured gasoline on the fire. 

[2] This suggests that 60 percent of “moderate” Republicans and 45 percent of “moderate” Democrats shared the position that abortion should not be legal or weren’t sure.  How many Democrats or Republicans identify as “moderate”? 

[3] Nate Cohn, “On Abortion, Public Is Not as Polarized as Parties,” NYT, 12 December 2021. 

[4] Many of them Black or Hispanic. 

[5] One poll showed that 37 percent of Trump voters in Pennsylvania and Michigan supported mostly legal abortion. 

Zion Island 23.

Federal Bureau of Investigation.

J. Edgar Hoover, “Personal Files.”

 

October 3, 1951.

 

Dear Roy,

 

I had a marvelous time!  Where do you find them?

 

Talked it over with Bobby.  He’s very enthusiastic.  Trying to get rid of the perverts matches well with the anti-Commie thing that you and he have been working.  I’ve got my own list already, starting with Offie[1] and that snotty writer who’s tangled up—somehow—in the whole Bouvier-Auchincloss mess.[2]

 

Just between you and me, I get the feeling that the Birdman[3] feels the same way about this.  I’ll probably get a lot of backing from this on Hoover as well.  He’s ferocious on the subject.  I tried calling him today, but Gandy[4] said he was out of the office.

 

Also, it gives me something distinct of my own to run on.  I won’t be just feeding off the Senator’s work.  Which reminds me.  Have you read Agar’s new book The Price of Union?[5]  Excellent work.  It set me to thinking about those brave men who have defied their party and the whole political system to follow their conscience.  Maybe I’ll write something on that theme.  If I do, count on the Senator being included.

 

Best regards, Jack.

 

[1] Carmel Offie (b. 1909): Department of State, 1931-1948; Central Intelligence Agency, 1948-1950.

[2] Possibly Gore Vidal (b. 1925).

[3] Reference unclear.

[4] Helen Gandy (b. 1897), F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover’s personal secretary.

[5] Herbert Agar, The Price of Freedom: The Influence of the American Temper on the Course of History (1950).

Zion Island 21.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlasse Bach-Zalewski.  Private files–Miscellaneous.

 

Transcript of Recording.  Private meeting held in the office of General von dem Bach-Zalewski, beginning at 8:55 PM on 28 June 1948.

 

KG[1]: Heil Hitler!  Obersturmfuhrer Gerstein reporting as ordered.

 

B-Z: Heil Hitler!  Stand at ease.  Indeed, please take a seat.

 

B-Z: I have before me your personal file.  Your family background is rigorously patriotic and you joined the SA.  However, you joined only in July 1933.  You would be considered a “March violet” by many Old Fighters.  Then you managed to get expelled because of the conflict between your Christian religious beliefs and Party doctrine.  Then you–well your father and his friends—arranged for your re-admission.  Then you volunteered for the SS in 1941.  Your record is hardly that of a conventional SS-man.  Well, we take all kinds.  Still, you wish to comment?

 

KG: I am a German patriot.  I despised the Versailles Treaty and am happy to have seen it utterly overthrown.  I am a Christian.  My soul will be saved from Damnation if I follow the teachings of Our Savior Jesus Christ.  I do not think that either faith is incompatible with the other.

 

B-Z: I certainly hope not.  Your file states further that you are assigned to the “technical disinfection section” of the Institute for Tropical Medicine.  This brings you into contact with Dr. Mengele?[2]

 

KG: It does on occasion.  My position is very junior, but Dr. Mengele makes every effort to create congenial relationships among his staff, both German and non-German.

 

B-Z: Yes, yes, German and non-German.  I am told that you have been in contact—unofficially—with both residents of and visitors to our sunny dominion over palm and pine.  The name Schulte has been mentioned.[3]  There is also talk of a Hungarian.  Is this so?

 

KG: Mr. Schulte is here investigating possible copper mining.  Originally I trained as a mining engineer, before going on to medicine.  We met by chance on the train and fell into conversation on that matter.

 

B-Z: Ah, of course.  And this supposed Hungarian?  Does he—or she?—exist?

 

KG: Dr. Nyiszli[4] works as a pathologist at the Institute.  Dr. Mengele holds him in high regard for his technical competence in autopsies.  I have encountered him several times in the course of work.  Again, after studying mining, I turned to medicine.  That gave us a basis for conversation.

 

B-Z: The Institute of Tropical Medicine has need of a pathologist to conduct autopsies?  That’s not very encouraging.

 

KG: Much of Dr. Mengele’s own work at the Institute is, well,….. experimental.

 

B-Z: Is it indeed?  I didn’t realize that.  You know, that’s the problem with governments: they become too complicated.  The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.  Not from bad motives, you understand?  Just from compartmentalization and the pace of too much work.  Yet I am responsible for everyone and everything.  So, I am always glad to hear what is actually going on.  Rather like the private reports on opinion the SD once collected.[5]  I hope that you will feel confident in bringing me any little scraps of news you acquire about the Institute or Dr. Mengele.

 

KG: So far as it does not go against my duty.

 

B-Z: As a German patriot, as a National Socialist, as a Christian hoping for Salvation?

 

B-Z: As for your informal contacts, I have no reason to object.  Certainly, life here can feel very cut-off from the larger worlds from which we came.  Still, such reports, if they reached certain quarters, might be the source of some alarm, is it not so?  Seen in the context of your personal file, they might be misunderstood.  Despite Dr. Best’s efforts as governor, I hear that Neu Kaledonie is a big step down from this place.[6]  Dismissed.  Heil Hitler!

 

KG: Heil Hitler!

 

[1] Kurt Gerstein: b. 1905, Munster, German Empire.  Degree in mining engineering, then studied medicine.  Member of the Nazi Party 1933-1936, 1939—.  Enlisted in the SS (1941) with rank of Obersturmfuhrer, essentially a First Lieutenant.

[2] Josef Mengele: b. 1911, Gunzburg, Kingdom of Bavaria, German Empire.  Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Munich, 1935; M.D., University of Frankfurt, 1938.  Joined the Nazi Party in 1937, and the SS in 1938.  Military service with the Army (France, 1940), and then with the Waffen SS (Russia, 1941).

[3] Probably Eduard Schulte: b. 1891, Dusseldorf, German Empire.  From 1926, General Manager of the Giesche Trust industrial and mining conglomerate, Breslau, Germany.

[4] Miklos Nyiszli: b. 1901, Transylvania, Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Hungarian nationality from 1919.  M.D. 1929.

[5] Heinz Boberach, ed. Meldungen aus dem Reich 1938–1945. Die geheimen Lageberichte des Sicherheitsdienstes der SS, 17 vols. (1984).

[6] Werner Best, b: 1903, Darmstadt, German Empire.  Doctorate in Law, University of Heidelberg, 1927.  Joined Nazi Party, 1930, and the SS in 1931.  Close to Heydrich, he took a senior position in the Gestapo, and then, in 1939-1940, in the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA).  Following a conflict within the RSHA, from 1940 to 1942 he served as chief of the German administration in Occupied France.  In November 1942, following a further conflict, he was appointed Governor General of the German penal colony on the former French possession of New Caledonia.

Reckoning with Racism.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has ordered the removal of the portraits of four previous Speakers on the grounds that they had supported the Confederacy, either before or after serving in the office she now holds.  “There is no room in the hallowed halls of Congress or in any place of honor for memorializing men who embody the violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy.”[1]  This may seem to some to be more like virtue-signaling than substantive change, but it’s a first step.  The United States does need to consider the place of racism in its past and present.  One question is how much truth-telling people want or can stand.

In almost every presidential election from 1852 to 1860 and from 1880 to 1976, the states of the Confederacy and then the former Confederacy voted Democratic.  What is true of presidential elections is even more true of Congressional, state, and local elections.[2]  For most of this period, the Democratic Party was a Southern-dominated party.  Only under unusual circumstances did the Democratic party manage to break out of its geographic and cultural isolation to win large numbers of states in other regions.[3]

The point is that for a hundred years the Democratic Party anchored its electoral base in the old Confederacy.  At times and in terms of political representation, it existed almost entirely as a regional party.  After 1876, the federal government conceded virtual “”Home Rule” to the South.  Southern Democrats imposed “Jim Crow” laws,[4] disfranchised African-Americans,[5] created and celebrated the mythology of the “Lost Cause,”[6] put up statues to “Johnny Reb” and to Confederate generals, and lynched with abandon.[7]  Prominent Southern Democrats included Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman, who had proudly led a bloody attack on freedmen before representing South Carolina in the Senate.[8]  At the Versailles peace conference, Woodrow Wilson vetoed a Japanese proposal for a “racial equality” statement in the Treaty.  During the Great Depression, much of the New Deal’s aid to Southerners either tacitly or explicitly excluded African-Americans.  Later, the men who murdered Emmett Till and the jury that acquitted them were Democrats.  These examples barely scratch the surface.

In short, and to put it mildly, the Democratic party long resisted racial equality.  Indeed, until within human memory, it formed one of chief institutional exponents of race hatred in the United States.  How to address this issue?

[1] Emily Cochrane, “Pelosi Removes Portraits Tied to Confederacy From Capitol,” NYT, 19 June 2020.

[2] For presidential elections, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_South#Solid_South_in_presidential_elections For gubernatorial elections, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_South#South_in_gubernatorial_elections

[3] Notably in 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt’s insurgency split the Republican party, and between 1932 and 1948 when the Great Depression and the Second World War created a national emergency.

[4] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Crow_laws

[5] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disenfranchisement_after_the_Reconstruction_Era

[6] See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Cause_of_the_Confederacy

[7] See, if you’ve got a strong stomach: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching_in_the_United_States

[8] Maybe Speaker Pelosi could try to repeal the Tillman Act (1907).

Down the Malay Barrier 5.

Many different threads of history knot in the case of the steamship “Jeddah.”

First, there is geography.  On the one hand, trade between the Far East and anywhere to the West (the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, East Africa, Europe) must pass through one of two narrow gates: the Sunda Strait (between Sumatra and Java) or the Malacca Straits (between the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra).  On the other hand, the southern edge of the Arabian peninsula, on the northern shore of the Indian Ocean, is a poor land called the Hadramaut.  It grows frankincense and not much else.  Then the River Clyde runs through southwestern Scotland.  Along its banks many shipyards grew up in the 19th Century.[1]  Clydeside became the heart of British ship-building.

Second, there is demography.  The Dutch held the Sunda Strait for centuries; in 1818, the English got the island and harbor of Singapore in the Malacca Straits.  They emphasized attracting Arab merchants already familiar with local people and trade.  It quickly became the hub of East-West trade.  At the same time, Hadhrami (people from Hadramaut) began emigrating to places all around the Indian Ocean.  Usually, they became merchants and sailors.  “Blood is thicker than water”: family networks were vital to success in long-distance trade.

Third, among the “pillars” of Islam, one is “Hajj”: the obligation to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, the birth-place of Islam.  In Britain’s “Indian Empire” (today India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), in Indonesia, and in the Philippines, there were many Muslims.  Many of them made the “hajj.” Sea voyages offered the least inconvenient route, but the small sailing ships commonly used for the journey were uncomfortable, slow, and sometimes dangerous.  A second “pillar” is “Zakat”: the obligation to give charity to the poor.

These threads came together when Syed Abdul Rahman Alsagoff, a Hadhrami, arrived in Singapore in 1824.[2]  He went into the spice trade, where he prospered.  His son and grandson followed the trade.  The grandson, Syed Mahomed Alsagoff, possessed great wealth and engaged in generous philanthropy.  In 1870, Alsagoff ordered construction of a steam-powered passenger ship to carry Muslim pilgrims to and from Jeddah, the port-of-entry on the Red Sea for Mecca in the interior.  The ship was to be named the “Jeddah.”

Fourth, British ships and British sea captains were the best in the world.  In 1872 a Clydeside shipyard[3] launched the “Jeddah.”   Alsagoff hired British officers to command the ship.  For eight years it plied its trade between Singapore and Jeddah.

On 17 July 1880, the “Jeddah” sailed from Singapore with 953 pilgrims aboard.  By 3 August the ship was approaching the Red Sea.  Then a terrible hurricane blew up.  The ship began to leak, lost most of its power, and began to list to one side.  On 7 August, believing the ship would sink, most of the officers abandoned the ship—and the passengers—in a lifeboat.  They survived and reported the ship sunk.  But the “Jeddah” did not sink.  The remaining officers and the passengers worked to save the ship, then were rescued by a French ship.

Fifth, Authority and Responsibility cannot be separated without disaster following.  It is an unwritten law of the sea that captains remain aboard until everyone else has been saved, or go down with their ship.  The officers had betrayed this duty and became outcasts.  Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim (1900) imagines the terrible fate of one of these men.

[1] Also a great many distilleries, although you shouldn’t combine the “twa”—boat-building and booze.

[2] The term “Syed” indicates that he was a descendant of one of the Prophet Muhammad and was, thus, of high status among all Muslims.

[3] David Byrne grew up there.  See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AINJTvRUk1w

Wondering.

I myself don’t doubt the veracity of sworn law officers.  I do worry that engaged members of the Counter Culture may question that veracity.  So, it is important to provide answers to ill-spirited charges.

 

New York Times story on FISA applications.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/23/us/politics/fisa-surveillance-fbi.html

 

New York Times story on “sloppiness” in filling out FISA warrant requests.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/31/us/politics/fbi-fisa-wiretap-trump.html

 

So, either:

  1. FBI agents were over-worked and made errors.
  2. FBI agents habitually cut corners in pursuit of FISA warrants because they’re over-worked. So, rake though all the warrant applications in order to free the unjustly accused/convicted?   If the Department of Justice is short-handed, maybe they could draft in some people from the Innocence Project?

 

Then there’s this.

New York Times story on “testilying.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/18/nyregion/testilying-police-perjury-new-york.html

 

 

Next Question.

A “ consensus among the “Crossfire Hurricane” agents and analysts … identified individuals associated with the Trump campaign who had recently traveled to Russia or had other alleged ties to Russia.” (IG Report, p. iv.)  These individuals were George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn.

 

“[I]mmediately after opening the investigation [31 July 2019], the Crossfire Hurricane team submitted name trace requests to other U.S. government agencies and a foreign intelligence agency, and conducted law enforcement database and open source searches, to identify individuals associated with the Trump campaign in a position to have received the alleged offer of assistance from Russia.”  (IG Report, p. iv.)

 

OK, sounds good.  We have learned that the CIA responded that Carter Page had been reporting to the CIA on his contacts with Soviet, sorry, Russian intelligence agents.  That’s not what the FBI told the FISA judge, but that’s what the CIA said.

 

What did CIA, the Department of State, and the foreign intelligence agency report about Paul Manafort?  Manafort had been a long-time assistant to thugs ruling Third World countries whom the United States wanted to flourish during the Cold War.  Did he also report on what he learned during this service?  What, if anything, did he report during his time assisting Yanukovych in Ukraine?

 

If the basic facts about Carter Page can be declassified, then why not those on Paul Manafort?

 

The Exhaustion of Liberalism?

Barton Swaim[1] describes modern liberal democracy in North America and Western Europe:

“Liberal democracies value divided governmental institutions, a regulated market economy, a generous welfare state, personal autonomy and the expansion of political rights to formerly excluded classes.”[2]

Both “conservatives” and “liberals” share these beliefs.  Where they differ is that “liberals” have a deep faith in the ability of government to improve the human condition, while “conservatives” harbor profound doubts.

The “liberal” achievement in Twentieth Century America has been immense: the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906); the enfranchisement of women (1920); the Social Security Act (1935); the Civil Rights Act (1964); the Food Stamp Act (1964); the Voting rights Act (1965); and the amendment of the Social Security Act to create Medicare and Medicaid (1965).  Most of these laws passed during brief periods when a fundamentally conservative country favored dramatic change.

Swaim sees the historical record as demonstrating the exhaustion of liberalism, although not of liberal democracy.  Much of the liberal agenda has been fulfilled.  There aren’t any more dis-franchised people to enfranchise—except for criminals and non-citizens.  Liberals have turned from defending free speech to curtailing it through campus speech codes, demands that social media censor speech that they characterize as “false,” and demanding that the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision be over-turned.  Increasingly, they place their trust in un-elected experts and bureaucrats to know better than do elected officials.  President Obama extended government regulation of business through federal agency rule-writing because he couldn’t get it through Congress, and President Trump is rolling it back in the same way.

Furthermore, he says, liberals haven’t passed any transformative legislation since the mid-Sixties.  The popular support among voters just isn’t there.  Instead, Swaim argues, liberal reforms have advanced along two lines since the Sixties.  On the one hand, liberal legislative reforms have become increasingly small-scale: the Clean Air Act (1970); the Clean Water Act (1972); and the Affordable Care Act (“Obama Care,” 2010).  On the other hand, and far more importantly, the Supreme Court has approved policies that would not have passed Congress: abortion (1973) and marriage equality (2015).

To the extent that the Democrats have “big ideas,” he says, they are not traditionally “liberal” but “radical.”  The “Green New Deal,” “Medicare for All,” and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Plans-for-That all run well beyond conventional liberal policies.  Hence, the nomination of Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate for president in 2020 is the victory of the backward-looking “liberal” majority over the forward-looking “radical” minority.

Or perhaps not.

[1] South Carolinian (state flag has a half-moon on it that some people have interpreted as a closet endorsement of Islam); BA, University of South Carolina plus some study at the University of Edinburgh; speech-writer for the “intriguing” (HA!) governor, Mark Sanford; and now an opinion writer and book reviewer for the Wall Street Journal.

[2] Barton Swaim, “Joe Biden and the Slow Death of Liberalism,” WSJ, 11-12 April 2020.

Listening to the Impeachment Hearings.

First, there is no doubt that President Trump extorted the President of Ukraine to announce an investigation of Joe Biden.  He did so, apparently, to besmirch a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Second, there is no doubt that the Republican majority in the Senate is going to acquit Trump of both counts.  There seems to be a shrinking likelihood that enough Republican “moderates” will join the Democrats to even call witnesses.

Third, the obstruction of Congress charge seems ridiculous because the Democrats on the Intelligence and Judiciary committees never made any serious appeal to the courts.   The Trump administration has been sued many times.  They have fought it out in the courts.  Whenever they have lost, they have complied.

Fourth, once Trump has been acquitted, do the Republicans have any plan to keep him from doing some other outrageous thing?  Throw Mike Pence overboard at the convention and impose some really serious person as Trump’s second vice president?  Grit their teeth until Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been replaced with a conservative.  Behind these actions would be the implicit threat that “Next time, you dumb son-of-a-bitch, we will impeach you.”

Fifth, Trump’s defense has argued that many, perhaps most, political acts combine a legitimate policy interest with a politician’s selfish or self-absorbed personal interest.  Hence, these decisions can not be described as “corrupt.”  Democrats have countered that, under the law, any “corrupt” purpose overwhelms any legitimate purpose.  It renders the whole action “corrupt.”  Well, the Democrats have been bug-eyed with fear and rage since November 2016.  They talked a lot about “collusion” (their term, not Trump’s before they started using it on talk shows).  They raised high expectations that the Mueller investigation would prove that Trump had committed crimes that merited impeachment.  They tried to make a case for obstruction of justice after the Mueller investigation “failed to establish” (i.e. couldn’t find any proof of) such “collusion.”  They wanted Trump removed for political reasons that would advantage the Democrats and disgrace the Republicans.  By their own standards, that would seem to meet the definition of “corruption.”