There’s a Secret Collection at an Army Base in Kansas

❝ Located on the outskirts of Kansas City and home to 2,500 soldiers, Fort Leavenworth houses a 4,000-piece art collection, and almost no one knows it exists. The United States Army never meant to hide the collection, but also never meant to amass it.

Now, thanks to a local art gallery owner, portions of the collection have been on public display and the collection has a name: “Art of War, Gifts of Peace.”

❝ This year, 119 students from 91 nations will spend almost a year in the accredited master’s-level courses to earn a Master of Military Art and Science. They also have the option of earning one of 12 other degrees by taking additional courses at a nearby university. Officers in foreign armies with the rank equivalent of a U.S. Army major are eligible to apply within their respective countries; the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense choose which nations may send students…

❝ Over the years, several, if not most of the esteemed officers presented something to the college upon graduating — but most of the items disappeared into storage. A select few adorned private offices and hallways, until they became part of the furniture, common objects no one gave much thought to.

Intricately carved ivory sailboats, gold-plated swords, and hand-worked pewter vases silently joined jewelry, bronze statues, and detailed ebony masks in the storage room. Regardless of the material or value, LaMoe says his obligation as a government employee is to accept the gifts and ensure that they are catalogued and stored properly. Nothing more.

So, the gift collection has grown in the darkness of the storage room for decades.

RTFA. Cataloging the collection must be a journey of delight and intrigue.

Navy Officer going to prison for his part in $30 million bribery scandal

daniel dusek
Billion$ floating around the world – why not take a taste?

A federal judge in San Diego has sentenced a U.S. Navy captain caught in a $30 million bribery scandal to 46 months in prison, bringing to a close the case against the highest-ranking officer in the fraud scheme.

Captain Daniel Dusek, 49, pleaded guilty last year to a charge of conspiracy to commit bribery after admitting he accepted services from prostitutes, luxury hotel stays, alcohol and other gifts in exchange for giving classified information to the Singapore-based company Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

The firm headed by Malaysian businessman Leonard Glenn Francis, who has been dubbed “Fat Leonard,” held over $200 million in contracts to clean, stock and maintain U.S. Pacific Fleet ships.

Francis has admitted to obtaining classified ship scheduling in exchange for bribes, which allowed him to make more money on his contracts by knowing when Navy ships would be available for servicing.

U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino in sentencing Dusek to 46 months in prison said his actions could have jeopardized national security…

Francis and Glenn Defense Marine Asia pleaded guilty in January 2015 to bribery and fraud charges. The company overcharged the Navy more than $25 million, according to his plea agreement.

So far, 10 people, including seven naval officers have been charged in the scheme, including a Naval Criminal Investigative Services agent and two commanders. All but one have entered a guilty plea.

Three admirals, who are now retired, were also censured for their improper relationships with Francis and his company.

President Eisenhower knew what he was talking about when he characterized the military-industrial complex as one of the greatest dangers in modern America. This is only one facet of corruption codified by Congress and the federal budget.

Guess who’s picking up the tab for the wedding of Mr. Burger & Ms. King

burger&king

Burger King is paying the expenses and providing gifts for the wedding of an Illinois couple with an interesting connection to the fast food restaurant chain. Joel Burger and Ashley King accepted the company’s proposal…

The couple has been known as Burger-King since they were in the fifth grade together, in New Berlin near Springfield.

The couple announced their engagement this spring with a photo next to the sign at a local Burger King restaurant. Although a woman’s name usually comes first in an engagement announcement, they decided to flip their names.

A Burger King spokesman says the company felt an overwhelming urge to help the happy couple celebrate their upcoming marriage.

Har.

Top US general in Africa may escape being court-martialed

The former top U.S. general in Africa won’t face court martial over accusations he misused hundreds of thousands of dollars, former military lawyers predict.

A report by the Defense Department’s inspector general says Gen. William “Kip” Ward committed a variety of non-criminal offenses as the first head of Africa Command…

Among the offenses, the inspector general said Ward was reimbursed for personal travel, spent $18,500 on gifts at his change-of-command ceremony and accepted free meals and tickets from a prohibited source.

While Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is due to decide in the next few weeks whether to charge Ward, former military attorneys said court-martialing a senior officer is a difficult task.

Military rules require that jurors deciding any court-martial be of equal or greater rank than the defendant. In Ward’s case, it’s not certain that his alleged wrongdoings reach the level appropriate for a court-martial. However, he could be tried for failing to obey an order or regulation.

It’s more likely, the attorneys say, that Ward will face a battery of non-judicial administrative punishments…He could be reprimanded and fined, and forced to retire at a lower rank, which would slash his monthly benefits.

Rank still has its privileges. Including how to escape from a jury because of scarce peers.

Supercommittee focuses lobbyists’ clients against one another


It will be a profitable Xmas season

The bipartisan congressional supercommittee charged with finding $1.5 trillion in budget savings is leaving Washington lobbying firms in a quandary, seeing their clients pitted against one another in a competition for government cash.

Major defense contractors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin have a dozen or more lobbying firms working for them, many of whom also represent the health-care industry, another likely target of budget cuts. While firms often deal with conflicts of interest, the supercommittee represents an unusual challenge, said Clyde Wilcox, a government professor at Georgetown University in Washington.

“This actually is going to be much more like a zero sum game,” Wilcox said. “If someone wins, someone loses…”

If all else fails, “I suspect that they’ll be rational businesspersons and make a decision based on their long-term financial interest,” Jeffrey Berry said. “They have a bottom line, just like their clients.”

You do recall, I hope, that principles, ethics, the needs of the people are irrelevant?

The 12-member panel, whose work has taken on greater urgency since Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating in August, will be the central focus of political and lobbying activity for the next few months…

It’s akin to working with congressional leadership, which we — as most firms — do all the time,” Stewart Verdery [whose clients include clients Boeing, General Dynamics, Eli Lilly & Co. and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America] said…

The politicians will have their hands out – and will find them filled.

Bunga-Bunga gets showgirls cars, flats and jobs in politics

Silvio Berlusconi rewarded young showgirls and starlets with cars, rent-free apartments and jobs in politics, a lawyer for one of his protégés has admitted in court for the first time.

Pier Maria Corso was speaking on behalf of Nicole Minetti, 25, an Anglo-Italian former showgirl who has been accused of recruiting 32 young women as prostitutes for the prime minister’s so-called “bunga bunga” parties.

He told the court in Milan that Miss Minetti was “absolutely not a brothel keeper”, saying she was simply one of “many girls” who were part of the media tycoon’s inner circle and had benefited from his largesse.

Miss Minetti, whose mother is British, was working as a model and television starlet when she was plucked from obscurity by Mr Berlusconi and propelled into politics as a councillor for his People of Freedom party in Lombardy’s regional assembly.

She is accused of being in charge of a stable of 32 models and aspiring actresses, allocating them apartments paid for by Mr Berlusconi and despatching them to sex parties at his mansion at Arcore, a town outside Milan…

“There are those who were given a Land Rover, those who got a Smart car, those who received an apartment in the city centre and those who were elected to a regional assembly. “To be elected in this way is not a crime,” he said.

Yes, puritanism is a curse. One we specialize in – along with other hypocrisies – here in the United States. But, placing your government in the hands of an old lecher whose priorities are governed more by lust than public need – is just plain idiotic.

LA County sheriff accepts “appreciation” gifts worth $120,000

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has accepted gifts from executives seeking his agency’s business, individuals who later received special treatment from him, and even a pair of felons implicated in a massive money-laundering and fraud scheme, according to a Times review of disclosure records…

Since becoming sheriff in 1998, he has accepted more than $120,000 worth of gifts and free travel. In a recent three-year span, he accepted significantly more freebies than California’s 57 other sheriffs combined.

State law allows local officials to accept gifts, with some restrictions. But government watchdogs said Baca’s willingness to accept so many gifts creates potential conflicts of interest.

“Doesn’t he realize the appearance is terrible?” said Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies. “When you’re taking gifts from strangers, there’s only one reason. They only give gifts because they want something.”

Baca rejected the notion that donors were looking for special favors or treatment. “The implication of all these gifts is ‘Well, they’re influence-buying.’ Nothing could be more opposite than that,” he said. “What they’re expressing is appreciation for the respectful way we do business…”

RTFA. It’s long, almost as complex as the way the sheriff rationalizes away any sense of ethics while accepting gifts from people doing business with the county.

Nicolas Sarkozy orders hacks to holiday at home


Next one caught, i’ll squeeze your head till it pops!

Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered his ministers to stay in France on holiday to avoid diplomatic gaffes after two scandals over hospitality from authoritarian North African leaders.

Mr Sarkozy bowed to criticism from rivals after embarrassing revelations that his prime minister and foreign minister accepted free holiday flights in Egypt and Tunisia, shortly before popular uprisings in both countries.

From now on, members of the government must prefer France for their holidays,” Mr Sarkozy told a cabinet meeting, according to a transcript released by his office.

“Invitations accepted abroad will be authorised by the prime minister and the presidential diplomatic unit … to see whether they are compatible with France’s foreign policy.”

Francois Fillon, the prime minister, on Tuesday admitted that he had a New Year family holiday on the Nile paid for by Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s under fire president.

“What was common a few years ago can shock nowadays. So it must be strictly monitored,” Mr Sarkozy said. “Only by being above reproach will people holding high office strengthen their citizens’ trust in the state institutions”.

Mr Sarkozy and his pop singer wife Carla Bruni spent their end-of year holiday in Morocco at the Jnane Lekbir royal residence belonging to King Mohammed VI.

Not much difference from golf trips to Scotland paid for with lobbyist money or some congress-creep retiring and waiting a week or two before showing up back on the street with a foreign flag in his lapel and a fat wallet.

Berlusconi gave €7,000 to 17-year-old belly dancer


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

The latest sex scandal threatening Silvio Berlusconi has deepened after a 17-year-old Moroccan belly dancer linked to the Italian prime minister said he had given her €7,000 and jewellery when she sat next to him at a Valentine’s Day dinner held this year for 10 women at his mansion near Milan.

The girl, named in the Italian media as Karima Keyek but known more widely by her stage name Ruby Rubacuori, or Stealer of Hearts, denies sleeping with Berlusconi.

“It is the first time in my life that a man has not tried to take me to bed. He behaved like a father, I swear,” she told La Repubblica from Genoa, where she is hiding out in an apartment allegedly lent to her by a former porn star.

But she has painted a vivid portrait of private parties held by the 74-year-old prime minister, known by the Italian media as lavish affairs that often transformed into “bunga-bunga” sessions involving after-dinner sex between male and female guests.

In La Repubblica yesterday, Keyek said her host had told her not to come to see him any more after discovering she was not, as she had claimed, 24. “Berlusconi said he had had enough problems in the past with another underage girl,” she said…

“He gave me an envelope with €7,000 in it and I told him I dreamed of gaining Italian citizenship and becoming a policewoman.” She told La Repubblica: “It was like going to the church charity where they give you a bag of shopping…”

Yesterday the respected Corriere della Sera newspaper reported that Berlusconi had personally informed a senior police official that Keyek was related to Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak. Berlusconi says he merely told police he was dispatching a colleague to take temporary custody of Keyek should she be released – from charges of theft.

My kin in Italy wouldn’t vote for Berlusconi on a bet. He reminds him too much of the Fascisti they fought against 80 years. That’s not just style, either.

In Italy – it is surprising how often a four-flusher can succeed by pushing the Right buttons. Patriotism, piety, bigotry have always been more profitable than civil rights and civil liberties. But, then, Italy doesn’t have the world market cornered on sophistry, Old colonial powers have been forced to share that with the 20th Century’s champion.