We’ll be back in November

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We have decided to suspend work on this site in favor of devoting all our energies to www.bloombergwatch.com.

Michael Bloomberg is seeking a third term as mayor of New York after engineering a city council override of the two-term limit on New York City elected officials, a limit imposed by public referenda twice. He has spent hundreds of millions on gaining and holding office. He has bought — or at least rented — two political parties, the Republican Party and the Independence Party, and he has hired a large group of Democratic consultants to help him promote his image as a man of the people—“Just Mike.”

If he succeeds, he will have established a pernicious precedent for other billionaires who tend to view elections as expensive inconveniences. Mainstream newspapers talk of an Albany coup financed and engineered by another billionaire, Tom Golisano, but they say little about City Hall. The newspapers receive various favors from the political establishment, including multimillion dollar tax breaks, and are very much part of the problem.

The city council speaker who led the override controlled a multimillion dollar slush fund that she doled out to cement her political power. When it was discovered that the organizations in whose name the monies were held did not even exist, Bloomberg’s Department of Investigations launched an investigation. More than a year later, it is still “investigating.” The city and state are in the grip of a political crowd, which rivals in its corruption and disdain for citizens the worst malefactors of the Boss Tweed era.

We think it’s important, therefore, for ordinary citizens to do what we can to defeat Michael Bloomberg and his cronies. It is the only way for voters to regain some respect and some sort of voice in the city’s affairs.

We will pick up Hacks and Flacks after the November election.

mikepdang @ June 17, 2009

Behind the Clean Coal Technology Ads

Posted in: Climate and Energy | Comments (0)

May 16, 2009

Media outlets such as The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are reporting that the House Energy and Commerce Committee is on its way to approving an Energy and Climate bill that would regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The bill would also grant some local utility companies valuable carbon-emissions permits under a cap-and-trade plan to cushion the higher costs of producing electricity in a way that lowers its CO2 emissions.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly half of the electricity produced in the United States is generated by coal-fired power plants, which are the single biggest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions in the country. As regulation gets under way, energy companies running coal plants are faced with the challenge of figuring out how to diminish the amount of CO2 emissions produced from coal-burning without passing on any new costs onto consumers.
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mikepdang @ May 16, 2009

Terry Nelson: Hack Hall of Shame Inductee #1

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Terry Nelson

Whaddya Need? Push polls? Race-Baiting? Dirty Tricks? Terry Nelson’s Crosslink Strategy Group: A Full Service Hacks & Flacks firm.

The U.S. senate candidate told his media consultant “no matter what happens I’m not going negative.” The poll numbers began to slide and the candidate found himself down by several points with only two weeks left. The consultant shoved a direct mail letter across his desk. “Sign this, he said, “and we can get it out to hit next week.” The consultant stood over his shoulder as the candidate read the letter, a vicious and wholly manufactured attack on the opponent’s record compiled from procedural votes that distorted the opponent’s actual stance on the issue.

Focused on the criminal justice system, the letter conveyed the impression that the opponent was “soft on crime.” The racial innuendos were clear. If distributed several days before the election, there would be no time to counter it. The candidate signed the letter, shook his head ruefully, looked up at the consultant and said “I don’t know how you sleep at night.” The consultant replied, “I sleep fine; I don’t have to sign the letter.”

I heard that story told in Washington D.C. a number of years ago. I don’t recall whether it was apocryphal or an account of an actual conversation. No matter. There are endless variations but the basic idea is a familiar one: except for a very few high profile operatives – and even they aren’t well known – the candidate signs the letter or signs off on the ad or the tactic. For the real nasty stuff, there are distancing techniques. Think Enron or Citigroup and the off-the-books entities where the toxic assets are stashed. As for the balance sheet that investors see – in this case voters – everything looks pristine.

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Neil_Fabricant @ May 13, 2009

welcome to hacks and flacks

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Read about the purpose of this site on our Mission Statement Page

Nobody wants to live an ignoble life.
-from the Mission Statement

When I decided to organize the Graduate School of Political Management, I went out to Princeton to meet with Stanley Kelley, professor of politics. He liked the idea and took a year’s leave of absence from Princeton to serve as the school’s founding provost. At lunch one day, Stanley responded to my rant concerning a feckless mayor who was manipulating New York’s racial tensions for political advantage: “Nobody wants to live an ignoble life,” Stanley said. Hmmm. A deceptively simple remark that I’ve been thinking about off and on ever since.

Christine Solomon, the school’s vice-president, was also at that lunch. Years later, she came to a rancorous debate I was having with a New York landlord-developer who was wreaking havoc with the lives of thousands of tenants, mine included. As we walked out of the auditorium, I asked whether she recalled Stanley Kelley’s remark. She did.  “So, what about this guy?” I asked.  “The man lies about the weather, and the politicians are helping him.”  “What Stanley meant,” she said, “is that nobody wants to live an ignoble life.” Lurking somewhere between Stanley’s serious observation and Christine’s bon mot is, I suppose, the reason for launching this website.
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Neil_Fabricant @ April 27, 2009