U.S. Correct To Supply Abrams Tanks To Ukraine, Putin Needs Reality Check

The United States’ policy to supply Abrams tanks to Ukraine is the proper course of action to take.  The fact we are months late in taking such a course of action is the concerning part.  We can be proud of the commitment our country and other Western democracies have shown in the face of Russian aggression against a sovereign nation.  At the same time, we must be mindful of the mushy ground that those like Congressman Mark Pocan planted their feet when dealing with this war, a move in 2022 that still deeply offends.

In 2022 Progressive House Democrats sent a letter to President Biden asking that he pair the military and financial support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a “proactive diplomatic push” that involves direct talks with Russia. It remains one of the most serious mistakes that the group made by playing into the efforts of Russian President Putin to lure some members from the Western alliance to make concessions. Since no one should make concessions to a nation that has committed war crimes goes without saying. But what was equally damaging was promoting a course of action that only would result in prolonging the war.

It was most troubling that Progressive Democrats signed the letter, with seemingly no awareness, that Putin has every intention to change the historical narrative of the last hundred years, not just the years following the end of the Cold War. He wants to make Ukraine, Europe, and indeed the whole world conform to his own twisted version of history. There can not be an inch of wiggle room when it comes to what Putin gains from this act of aggression. The letter was a sign of weakness and damaging to the long-term interests of the NATO alliance. But, hey, there was probably a quick and fleeting political upside that more concerned the signators.

I like peace, compromise, and diplomacy, but first, the aggressors that blasted homes, schools, and hospitals must be removed from Ukraine. No one starts negotiating the wishes of the madman when he still holds a dagger to the throat of the victim.  Therefore, the news that we will supply 31 M1 Abrams tanks, the equivalent of one Ukrainian tank battalion, is a solid move and worthy of praise.  But the reluctance for months to make the move is concerning and warrants attention.  While it seems Germany may have been the force to push the Biden White House to make the shift in policy, it must not be seen as the last move our nation will be required to take with heavy armaments as this war progresses. The process of consideration and study within the White House requires some modification so as to meet the real-time needs of the Ukrainian soldiers who are doing the work on the battlefield.

Not only are the tanks a solid and lethal way to address Putin’s military, but it sends a clear and unmistakable statement the West will not relent or bend the way of Congressman Pocan. Talking can only occur with a real reduction in attacks by Russia and a removal of their troops from the soil of Ukraine.  

Putin has been delusional in his views about a reconstructed Soviet type-era of countries for a long time.  He has often talked of Russia having been “robbed” of territory going back to the 1920s when the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was established.  In his mind, one that is consumed with paranoia and visions of grandeur, Ukraine can only be sovereign in partnership with the homeland, Russia. To that fallacy, the West says, NO. The M1 Abrams tanks will go far in alerting the autocrat to the limits of his delusions.

Congressman Mark Pocan Signs Letter Giving Russian President Putin Voice In Progressive House Caucus

Congressman Mark Pocan

It was not what I expected as the first news story to read when I turned on my computer today. In fact, I looked to see if the story was the daily offering from Andy Borowitz. The news article, however, was from NBC News, and then I noted in my listings every major news operation was reporting on the undermining of Ukraine and its people by Progressive House Democrats. A letter from the caucus was sent to the White House on Monday (yesterday) but retracted only hours later. The damage, however, was done. Without one iota of foresight, the caucus had already allowed Russian President Putin a victory off the battlefield.

Progressive House Democrats sent that letter to President Biden asking that he pair the military and financial support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a “proactive diplomatic push” that involves direct talks with Russia.  To say that letter with its weak-kneed overture to Putin was a stab in the back to worldwide efforts, that have proven to be forceful and meaningful, would be a vast understatement.  Of course, Russia would much enjoy seeing a split in the majority party of the world superpower at a critical juncture in both the military moves in Ukraine and the political timing approaching the midterm elections.  Having gained a voice in the Progressive Caucus Putin must be pleased that the united message against Russia’s war of aggression has a crack that can now be used to further his aims against a sovereign nation.

If I could talk with Mark over a cup of coffee I would encourage him to realize that stopping Putin is in America’s best interests for security reasons, and standing with our NATO alliance is essential. Putin invaded Ukraine not because he felt threatened by NATO expansion or by Western so-called pressures. He ordered his military to move because he believes that it is Russia’s divine right to rule Ukraine, to wipe out the country’s national identity, and to integrate its people into a ‘Greater Russia’. We all have had some Russian history and can recall that since the mid-1920s there was a running argument that ‘Russia was robbed’ of core territory when the Bolsheviks created the Soviet Union and established a Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. What these Progressive Democrats, who signed the letter, are just not grasping is that Putin is trying to change the historical narrative of the last hundred years, not just the years following the end of the Cold War. He wants to make Ukraine, Europe, and indeed the whole world conform to his own twisted version of history. There can not be an inch of wiggle room when it comes to what Putin gains from this act of aggression. To consider any talks with Putin at this time would be a sign of weakness and damaging to the long-term interests of the NATO alliance.

It was most disconcerting that over a week ago House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said a GOP majority would not give a “blank check” to Ukraine, indicating it would instead focus on relieving economic pain at home.  Standing on the foundations the Republican Party had firmly owned during the Ronald Reagan years, such as being tough on Russia, and aligning with core values about democracy has become ancient history for some in the GOP. But McCarthy now has a number of progressive allies in his plans for future congressional action–or not–regarding Ukraine.

Let me weigh in as a liberal Democrat. I am not pleased to see so many of those in Congress who are often right on a whole array of economic and social issues flounder so completely when it comes to an absolute need to stand firm against Putin. Sadly, and not for the first time when it comes to foreign policy issues, Pocan comes from a partisan position.

He lacked the will to offer his backing in Congress for a needed military strike against Syria in 2013 after that rouge regime used chemical weapons on its people. Now with this Russian aggression, he believes that his district, which includes liberal Dane County, must be catered to with squishy words about our continued needed resolve and support for heightened military measures, so to push Russian forces out of a sovereign nation it invaded. Too often that sentiment seems the default position of progressive Democrats. I understand politically why Pocan wishes to keep his bona fides with the Progressive Caucus but it should be of higher importance that he not turn off common sense and the moral calling that history demands of him.

We do not have the luxury simply due to our living in the 2nd Congressional District to throw our hands up to the horrible crap that happens to so many around the globe.  When Putin invaded Ukraine there was only one response the world community could give; a complete and absolute rejection of such brazen hostility. I am truly concerned that Congressman Pocan and his fellow Progressives have divorced themselves from reality about Putin and his agenda. Timid and reticent politicians are only remembered for being wrong.

No ‘Test Run’ For F-35 Jet In Madison, No Need To Coddle Residents


It was never going to happen.

That was a fact, given the first words from the Air Force many weeks back when requested for an F-35 jet to land and take off from Truax Field in Madison.  Still, there were those politicians who played to the public while knowing what the outcome would be.

I grasp the ‘need’ for elected officials to demonstrate they hear constituents’ concerns about a host of public issues.  But I  also come from a background where being candid and mature with voters shows a deeper level of respect for the ones who cast a ballot ‘back home’.

Congressman Mark Pocan has stated his support for the proposed idea of F-35 jets being stationed at Truax.  Just this week he underscored in a town hall meeting the importance of the jets for Truax.  He well knows the economic might of these jets, and all the residual impact on the region.  But Pocan still went through the motions of making a public request for the Air Force to fly in one of the new tech-heavy jets.

This week, after the public comment period was lengthened by 30 days, the Air Force alerted Pocan his request was denied.  It came as no shock to his office, nor to the congressman.  I am sure, however, there are many in the area that fumed and stamped feet upon hearing the news.

Pocan should have just been upfront and told his constituents that there was no reason to ask for a demonstration so to compare with the F-16 jets at the airfield.  Being candid with voters might seem like political jeopardy to some, but it also might mean voters are treated like adults who can handle the lay of the land.  Whatever the contours might look like.

Pocan is most correct to have stood by the placement of the F-35 jets in Madison, just like every other elected official from both parties.  I only wish he would have allowed his constituents to not feel like they are being coddled in the process.

Very Proud Of Democrats Who Fight For Gun Control On House Floor

There is no way to express my sincere pleasure when earlier today I read the breaking news.

Dozens of House Democrats are staging a “sit-in” on the House floor until they are allowed a vote on a so-called “no fly, no buy” gun control bill. It is the most dramatic action by House Democrats on gun control since the Orlando shooting on June 12 that left 49 dead and 53 wounded.

As I write the “sit-in” is now in its 9th hour.

With too many Republicans bought and sold by the National Rifle Association, while the vast majority of Americans are in support of the legislation–including the majority of gun owners–meant that it was time Democrats had to act and show the nation what leadership on this issue looks like.


My congressman, Mark Pocan, along with Senator Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Gwen S. Moore makes this whole state proud for undertaking the moral and sound move of trying to bring sanity to just one small area of our national guns laws.

While the process chosen to make an impact on this matter is not the ordered manner that I prefer to have unfold, it is also true that the carnage left in the gay nightclub in Orlando was just more than then nation should have to endure when answers exist to solve the deadly outcome of guns.  Since the NRA thinks they own the congress it is time the people were heard.

Congressman John Lewis, a legend in the civil-rights movement, led the charge in the House on this matter and spoke perfectly about why this had to happen.

What is the tipping point? Are we blind? Can we see? How many more mothers, how many more fathers need to shed tears of grief before we do something? We have been too quiet for too long. There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a little noise, when you have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to get in the way. The time to act is now. We will be silent no more.


The nation is watching.  The rank-and-file voter knows the cost of unbridled greed from gun manufactures, the callous disregard from the NRA, while the uneducated boobs who mimic the gun industry lines are not even aware they are pawns in the process.

So I am proud of this band of elected officials who have made it known they believe in a better society and plan to make it happen.

Demanding a background system that has time to work prior to a gun purchase, not allowing people on watch lists from obtaining a weapon, and denying those on the no-fly list from purchasing a gun are all the common-sense measures that the populace supports.

The GOP now has the political glare on their faces.  Will they stand with the people or the NRA?

Congresswoman Gwen Moore Deserves Praise For Not Attending Netanyahu’s Address To Congress


Tonight I was pleased to find out that among Wisconsin Democrats, U.S. Rep Mark Pocan of Madison also opted not to attend. 

I need to thank on this blog Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore for doing what every member of her chamber should have done this morning.  That would have been not to attend the speech made by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.   While there was a long list of members who did not sit and listen this morning to the prime minister it was Moore and Pocan who were the only two in the Wisconsin delegation who made the correct decision on the matter.

I called her office this afternoon and offered my sincere thanks for this action.

Last week I had also called my member of congress, Mark Pocan, and urged him to show some spine on this issue.

To have attended this speech would both legitimize House Speaker Boehner and Netanyahu’s actions which are overly partisan and work to undermine our foreign policy. By sitting for the address only provided a boost to Netanyahu’s reelection effort, which, if successful, would likely lead to the creation of a right-wing Israeli government whose values are alien to the Democratic Party.

Here is The Hill’s updated list of Democrats who did not attend.

Congressman Mark Pocan Should Skip Netanyahu’s Speech

Friday afternoon I called and spoke with an aide to Congressman Mark Pocan concerning Tuesday’s upcoming speech from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to a joint session of congress.   I requested that Pocan not sit in the chamber for the speech, and outlined in brief fashion why I think it best to be skipped.

I stated to the aide I was sure my call was on a topic that few had weighed in on, and even told him he did not have to say if others had called.  But all the same if he could I would be interested in knowing how much this topic had resonated with Pocan’s constituents.  “You would be surprised how many calls we have had on this matter,” was the response.  I was heartened to hear that news.

Why this matters so much for me, and why it prompted a call to the congressman’s office, has to do with really one solid foundation that needs to be preserved.   World leaders, such as President Obama and Netanyahu, should deal with each other, and must not use opposition political parties to gain traction.

There is nothing other than a huge nasty degree of partisanship about the invitation to Netanyahu to speak.  The House Republican leadership has decided to heavily politicize international affairs.  Trying in this way to undercut the prerogative of the executive branch to fashion deals and compromises–such as regarding nuclear talks with Iran–is unseemly and not something that should be countenanced by thoughtful members of congress.

There is already a most unhealthy level of partisanship in congress, to the point that brinksmanship is the way even one of the most important federal agencies is funded.  To expand partisanship to the degree of  allowing foreign heads of state to use the podium in the House must never be allowed to get a toehold.

I fully understand there are competing reasons as to why it would be ‘more acceptable’ if members of congress such as Pocan just sat and forced a polite smile through the speech.   But in so doing I think it sets a terrible acceptance for yet another slippery step in how partisanship is allowed to govern what in reality should be a very sober-minded and highly contemplative way of dealing with thorny international concerns.

I trust that my congressman gives this matter a great deal of thought, and then refuses to sit for it on Tuesday.

SHOCKER–Congressman Mark Pocan Now Takes Money From Payday Lending Group

Jack Craver at the Cap Times reports about the vacuum cleaner effect of taking anyone’s money while being a member of congress.

A month after being sworn in as a member of Congress, however, Pocan’s campaign again received a contribution from the Advance America PAC, this time for $1500.

But this time, the campaign did not return the contribution.

Pocan’s chief-of-staff, Glenn Wavrunek, did not respond directly to questions about why the congressman changed his mind about accepting the payday lending money.

When Will Congressman Mark Pocan Be Meeting With Russian President Putin?


It must be nice to reside within a bubble, secluded from reality.  That is exactly where Congressman Mark Pocan was found today when he took to the podium at Fighting Bob Fest in Madison.

While the rest of the world was watching gut wrenching scenes of chemical warfare that was waged by Syrian President Assad some on the left congregated at Bob Fest and chanted anti-war slogans while cheering on Pocan who provided pabulum for the day.

The playbook has to have more than one page when that page only says military  action,” Pocan said. “We are not the only country that can police the world. The  use of chemical weapons is reprehensible. The international community,  preferably through the United Nations, must discuss and address this but that  does not equate to the only option being a U.S. dominated military strike.”

Pocan’s promise to vote against a U.S. military strike against Syria was met  with loud applause.

Unless Pocan has not noticed, or failed to recognize it, the United State of America is the international powerhouse both militarily and economically.  If we are not the ones to level the playing field and provide for the honoring of international law then who under the heavens might make such a stand?  Why are some people so ashamed of our strength and ability to make a stand when history demands it?  Or does the left, as demonstrated by those at Bob Fest, no longer care about international laws and moral codes that define how nations interact?

It would seem, given the deep thoughts that Pocan has on foreign policy, which is a recently discovered talent of the freshman congressman, that he might get on a flight to Moscow this evening and start a dialogue with Russian President Putin about securing the votes for a United Nations resolution about Syria.  Pocan might want to ponder on his flight overseas what a resolution would accomplish since the international treaty from 1925 covering chemical weapons did not mean a damn thing to Assad.

The simple fact is that Pocan was just saying what he thinks his base wanted to hear today.  There is no way he could really be so disconnected from reality.

Let me weigh in as a liberal Democrat.    I am not pleased to see so many of those who are often right on a whole array of issues flounder so dangerously when it comes to this need to strike Syria.  The Economist summed it up quite appropriately in the new edition with the cover headline “Fight This War, Not The Last One.”

Mark Pocan might do well to read this magazine.

Pocan thinks that Madison must be staunchly opposed to any military mission, as if that somehow is a default reaction.  He would be right to say that the vast majority of his constituents were angry with the lies that led us into the Iraq War, and are desiring more attention be paid to domestic priorities.  I know that I was very upset with how Bush lied our nation into war with no proof about weapons of mass destruction.  But with Syria we have more proof than is required to make a legitimate military strike on his nation.  Being a liberal does not mean turning off common sense, and a reasoned view of history.  Being pragmatic is too often lost on the far left, as demonstrated today with the chants, and Pocan’s words.

Pocan might also know from reading history that sitting here in our comfortable Madison homes does not allow us to throw our hands up to the horrible crap that happens to so many around the globe.  When something happens that needs to have a strong response and a moral line drawn we must never allow our sense of distance from the pain, or the cost of involvement deter us from what we know in our heart is the right thing to do.

I am stunned that Pocan has so divorced himself from reality, and the call of history.  This will be one of those times he will later recall that he missed his moment to lead.  After all, history shows that great men and women are those who rise up in the time of crisis and uncertainty and marshal the nation to a cause.  Timid and reticent politicians are only remembered for being well, like Mark Pocan.