October 25, 2014
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

Meet Paul Singer

This recent portrait of Paul Singer, financial wiz behind the Romney machine done for Fortune, lays bare one of the shadowy figures in the Romney campaign (and that’s saying something). Let’s seem them all in the clear antiseptic light of day.  May we come to our senses and take money out of politics.  Don’t laugh, it can be done! Below is an excerpt from the piece by Michelle Calarier. Thanks to Michael Solita and Emily Kehe, art Director and Designer.

 

“Singer is the founder of a $19 billion hedge fund called Elliott Management. And he has a well-earned reputation as one of the smartest and toughest money managers in the business. Over the past 35 years Singer, 67, has produced an extraordinary 14% average annual return after fees, nearly double the price appreciation of the S&P 500 (SPX). He’s achieved that record in large part by buying the debt of bankrupt companies and nations — a strategy that has earned him considerable opprobrium in some circles. His firm, which is engaged in a costly, protracted legal war with Argentina over its defaulted sovereign debt, is so influential that fear of its tactics helped shape the current Greek debt restructuring. Among the sophisticated investors who have placed their confidence in Singer is Mitt Romney himself. According to Romney’s financial disclosures, the trust managing his more than $200 million fortune has at least $1 million invested with Elliott.

In recent years Singer has emerged as a quiet force in the Republican Party. He’s one of a handful of moneymen who have given $1 million to the Romney super PAC “Restore the Future,” which so far has raised $37 million and spent some $34 million. Singer has also donated more than $220,000 to 31 Republicans in national races across the country since Barack Obama became President. Over the past three years he has given nearly $2 million to Republicans in local races in states as far-flung as Florida, Michigan, California, and Texas. But his value goes far beyond his own deep pockets. Singer is known as a major Republican “bundler,” with a large network of rich donors ready to follow his lead. “All the candidates come to pick his brain,” says one party insider.”

 

MASHA GESSEN / PUTIN

 

In the current Tablet the wonderful Leil Liebowitz discusses the new Putin bio by Masha Gessen, a Russian writer, still living there, who , it would seem, has tremendous courage. Now the book is out for all to see and the portrait of  Vlad the Impaler gets even darker.

Liebowitz:

“Consider this: In the past decade, Bashar Assad’s regime had purchased more than $1.5 billion worth of armaments from Russia, making Damascus Moscow’s seventh-largest client. When the U.N.’s Security Council, in February of this year, sought to take action against Assad, it was stymied by a Russian veto. Three days later, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, landed in Damascus. Assad’s massacre continues uninterrupted.

Russia’s relations with Assad’s other benefactor, Iran, are just as cozy. In 2007, Putin became the first Russian leader since Stalin to visit Tehran, the occasion being a conference of the Caspian states. “All our states,” Putin stated in a press conference then, “have the right to develop their peaceful nuclear programs without any restrictions.” He also boasted about being among the sole supporters of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Closer to home, Putin expressed his desire to hang Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili “by the balls,” threatened the Lithuanians, strong-armed the Poles, and devastated the Estonians with a vicious cyber-attack. Seasoning all these acts of belligerence is a deep resentment toward the West that has led several observers to conclude that an armed conflict with Russia may be more a matter of when than if.”

If we are needing this man to help with the deeply dangerous problems of the world, we first need to understand what kind of creature he is.  And how the world might organize to pressure him.

HOW TO DRAW A RHINO

Here’s a film  about drawing a rhino that has everything to  do with saving them. Watch and sign the petition at AVAAZ.org !

The GOP: We’re Dying as Fast as We Can!

My opener to the package for current Mother Jones. Thanks to Carolyn Perot, Tim Luddy, Monika Bauerlein, Clara Jeffrey for their smarts and courage.

Jim DeMint, Roger Ailes, Sean Hannity, Eric Cantor, Rush Limbaugh lead the idiot’s parade urging the GOP as far to the  Right as possible, as the poor devil eats one grenade after another. Oh, no Mr. Creosote!!!

Never give a Bishop a gogo stick. Or a political platform regarding women’s health issues.

Poor George Allen.  Hoping for support in a tea party crazy GOP world that is far crazier than he. And, of course, first he has to rid himself of those damned macacas.

Mitt sits atop a great pyramid of financial support.  That’s me on the bottom.

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Pico, a Cruise and Me

This month Conde Nast Traveler asked the wonderful writer Pico Iyer to write about his first cruise experience, and asked me to illustrate it. As it happened I had been to some of the same places he had! Here are some of the drawings and painting done for the article as well as some photos of those places.

Here’s Iyer in the dining room of his ship. I used some of the same decor of the ship’s dining room that I recalled.

The dining room decor and lighting were suggested by our snaps.

This the main road in the 2,500 year old city of Ephesus,Turkey a site of  technological and religious significance. I put Pico into this setting, sans all the tourists!
His mother, religious scholar Nandini Nanak Mehta, now 80, needed a cruise as her walking was now affected by age.  However at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg she found the energy to zip up the stairs.
My memories of the Hermitage was of the stairs like these and the statue-like ladies who “mind” the art.
Pico appreciated the time that the long days at sea afford for reading and reflection. I did too, but also found moments to drift away. Not bad either!