"0ne of those pathetic bloggers who tries to make a living out of attacking other bloggers and media folk in an effort to illicit a reaction and draw traffic to his site." -- Owen Robinson of Boots and Sabers
Here's the thing about Charlie Sykes. While he racebaits and demagogues for his rube audience, he deeply wants to be seen as some sort of public intellectual. And listening to him puff himself up, one senses he's deeply insecure about his bonafides (as one might suspect a thrice-married moralist would be). And, he checks out what people -- even smalltime bloggers like the Brawler -- say about him (noted here previously).
As was the case yesterday when Sykes mentioned this article. Why did he mention it? Because he was sad, in this perfunctory piece, that Abele's parking tickets, etc., were not mentioned. Whereas, he claimed, that if Abele was a conservative the story would have mentioned every skeleton in his closet because conservatives are held to a different standard.
I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact we noted here that Charlie Sykes, author of "A Nation of Moochers," is a moocher himself.
One must give Charlie credit for actually writing about what he knows. For once upon a time, Charlie himself was -- by his own definition -- a moocher.
This goes back to the late 1970s, when Sykes had just ended his first marriage. From Milwaukee Magazine's July 2000 profile of Charlie Sykes
Divorce records show that custody of the couple's 2 1/2 year old daughter went to the mother. Chris Sykes was working as a dental assistant, bringing home $120 every two weeks. Charlie made a biweekly salary of $404. When they divorced, Charlie was ordered to pay monthly child support payments of $303.
Sykes at times had difficulty making payments. Several times, he slipped into arrears; for three months in early 1980, his ex-wife went onf AFDC. Sykes eventually made payments directly to his former wife, according to court documents. He gained legal custody of his daughter when she was 17.
Someone who believes there is always a free lunch and that somebody else should pay for it.
Someone who expects others to pay to clean up their messes.
Someone who lays claim to something to which they are not rightfully due.
Someone who shifts the cost of their own irresponsibility onto others who have behaved responsibly; who, as a matter of choice, takes from or relies on the efforts and resources of others.
Someone who takes unfair advantage of others to enrich themselves or otherwise bail themselves out.
A recipient of the transfer of wealth created by others (without just cause) or who lives off of the productive efforts of others and appropriates the fruits of their enterprise without making a proportionate contribution.
Someone who voluntarily seeks to be dependent on others.
Let's face it: Sykes -- a child of Fox Point and upper middle class privilege, who had all sorts of educational and social capital that the "moochers" he demonizes every day can only dream of -- was a moocher. By his own definition. I'm suspecting Charlie doesn't talk about this in the book.
As always when put on the spot, Sykes got snippy and defensive in the Milwaukee Magazine article, saying he made up for those mistakes.
"There was a lot going on. I'm not going to talk about back then," Sykes says today. "But I have always supported my daughter. My daughter really spent a great deal of time with me, I paid a great number of her bills, I put her through college, I put her throught private high school, all the ballet lessons, clothes, a lot of things ... Of all the things that I am most proud of, it is the way that I have raised my children."
"A lot going on." What, is Charlie blaming the environment? Or claiming he wasn't responsible for his obligations? "A lot going on." There always is.
He was taking pride in his parenting in this article, of course, not long after he ditched wife No. 2 for his current spouse.
Here's the deal. If you grew up in certain white neighborhoods in Milwaukee during the 1970s and 1980s you would encounter white people who said bad things about black people. One of the things they would say is that blacks just moved up here for welfare. They didn't have any evidence, mind you, it was just obvious.
But when Tommy Thompson first ran for governor he turned this racist urban legend into part of his platform.
Charlie Sykes, whose audience consists of not a few white flighters, has in the past raised the "welfare magnet" line. I cited this as an indicator he'll engage in race baiting and dog whistles in an exchange with Rick Esenberg at Shark and Shepherd.
There is ample evidence of folks moving up to Wisconsin for higher benefits. Read Jason DeParle's book The American Dream.
Instead I'll refer to what actual surveys demonstrated at the time: that higher benefits was not a leading cause for people moving to Wisconsin (as I noted nearly three years ago).
Some of the writing in the aftermath of Thursday's developments in the Supreme Court race was either ignorant in cynical. Charges that votes were found, went unreported or were "manipulated" by the county clerk on her personal computer are demonstrably false. No ballotes were discovered. No votes were counted on Thursday that had not been counted on election night. No votes went unreported on election night although some were not included in the aggregate total reported to the AP. Whatever Kathy Nickolaus did or did not do on her personal computer is wholly without official impact. The votes that count reflected on ballots that were removed from the machines and secured on Tuesday evening along with absentee ballots that were also counted and sealed. Nothing on Kathy Nickolaus' computer has anything to do with the certified vote totals. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't know what he or she is talking about it.
(He was right, by the way.)
Rick "Shark and Shepherd" Esenberg, December 14 on the "threat" of massive recall signature fraud:
Are there enough such people to cause a problem? I don't know but here's a sobering thought. Let's assume that there are 5000 people who sign an average of 25 times. That sounds like a lot of people but it's less than 1% of the number needed to recall the governor. (Brawler's bold) Such a scenario would result in 120,000 invalid signatures - over 20% of the total required. While I would think that many signatures from one person would be caught even by the GAB, that's nor clear and there are other scenarios that would be more difficult to detect. The point is that a relatively small number of people can create a significant problem. When recall proponents are telling people that they can sign more than once and when the GAB says it won't look for duplicates, the problem cannot be dismissed out of hand.
Furthermore, the areas where vote fraud is most likely to occur are also those where it is least likely to end in prosecution. Vote fraud is most prevalent in big cities with large populations — which are almost uniformly represented by Democratic district attorneys. There likely aren’t a lot of Democratic DA’s who wake up every morning and say, “Gee, I wonder if I can demonstrate to the public that my party is engaging in vote fraud, and in the process, cost myself votes.”
It's almost as if the Bush Administration didn't launch a major investigation into voter fraud in Milwaukee. Remember that, the yearlong investigation where US Attorney Stephen Biskupic said there was no evidence of organized voter fraud in Milwaukee?
But that's not how Republicans roll! As always, they blame the other guy. They, and their propagandists (Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner, Rick Esenberg, etc.) whip up hysteria about fraudulent signatures and then, citing "public concerns," demand the Recall Walker forces release the signatures so they can be reviewed. If not, they must have something to hide ... right? "Show them," intones Rick Esenberg.
Please. John Foust, over at Shark and Shepherd, lays out their motives:
The WisGOP will leap on any flaw and flog it. If they can't find enough flaws, they'll invent some. It doesn't need to be true. It just needs to stick through a two-day news cycle. If some yahoo thinks it'll hurt the recall effort, they'll run it.
Just recently I recalled Bradley Foundation intellectual Christian Schneider calling Scott Walker's union-busting budget repair bill a "jobs creator" (because slashing take-home pay for middle class Americans is a surefire stimulus plan) on Charlie Sykes' Sunday INCITE! (on the June 12 broadcast, about 9 minutes in if you can stand it). Scott Walker, job creator. That was funny.
Because in July the GAB was saying an effective campaign that included television advertising would cost more than twice that (page 2):
In order to conduct a campaign that also includes television advertisements, staff was informed that a budget of $892,000 would be required, and would generate approximately 117 million impressions. Board staff is not recommending inclusion of paid television advertising for budgetary reasons.
Then as now the budget was $436,100 ($64,000, or 13% less than what the GAB said was necessary). It included the previously mentioned media without TV, and was expected to generate more than 70 million impressions.
How many impressions will this new campaign, as constituted, generate, particularly if the TV ads are running during "unsold" (read, widely unwatched) times of the day (p. 23)? One also has to wonder how the campaign is weighted toward southeastern Wisconsin, where the bulk of people affected by the changes in Voter ID reside.
States that implement voter ID laws are required to engage in substantial education efforts about the changes. Given the GOP's apparent desire to make obtaining a voter ID complicated at every step of the way, one has to wonder at their commitment to that legal obligation.
Also, the GAB has said it may need an additional $250,000 for advertising, depending when the recall elections fall. Will the Republicans let that fly?