The “OIL LEAK” may be one of the biggest corruption document leaks ever!

The “OIL LEAK” may be one of the biggest corruption document leaks ever!

 

Hundreds of thousands of leaked emails reveal massively widespread corruption in global oil industry

 

A massive leak of confidential documents has for the first time exposed the true extent of corruption within the oil industry, implicating dozens of leading companies, bureaucrats and politicians in a sophisticated global web of bribery and graft.

 

After a six-month investigation across two continents, Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post can reveal that billions of dollars of government contracts were awarded as the direct result of bribes paid on behalf of firms including British icon Rolls-Royce, US giant Halliburton, Australia’s Leighton Holdings and Korean heavyweights Samsung and Hyundai.

 

The investigation centres on a Monaco company called Unaoil, run by the jet-setting Ahsani clan. Following a coded ad in a French newspaper, a series of clandestine meetings and midnight phone calls led to our reporters obtaining hundreds of thousands of the Ahsanis’ leaked emails and documents.

 

The trove reveals how they rub shoulders with royalty, party in style, mock anti-corruption agencies and operate a secret network of fixers and middlemen throughout the world’s oil producing nations.

 

Corruption in oil production – one of the world’s richest industries and one that touches us all through our reliance on petrol – fuels inequality, robs people of their basic needs and causes social unrest in some of the world’s poorest countries. It was among the factors that prompted the Arab Spring.

 

Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post today reveal how Unaoil carved up portions of the Middle East oil industry for the benefit of western companies between 2002 and 2012.

 

In part two we will turn to the impoverished former Russian states to reveal the extent of misbehaviour by multinational companies including Halliburton. We will conclude the three-part investigation by showing how corrupt practices have extended deep into Asia and Africa.

 

The leaked files reveal that some people in these firms believed they were hiring a genuine lobbyist, and others who knew or suspected they were funding bribery simply turned a blind eye.

 

The leaked files expose as corrupt two Iraqi oil ministers, a fixer linked to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, senior officials from Libya’s Gaddafi regime, Iranian oil figures, powerful officials in the United Arab Emirates and a Kuwaiti operator known as “the big cheese”.

 

Western firms involved in Unaoil’s Middle East operation include some of the world’s wealthiest and most respected companies: Rolls-Royce and Petrofac from Britain; US companies FMC Technologies, Cameron and Weatherford; Italian giants Eni and Saipem; German companies MAN Turbo (now know as MAN Diesal & Turbo) and Siemens; Dutch firm SBM Offshore; and Indian giant Larsen & Toubro. They also show the offshore arm of Australian company Leighton Holdings was involved in serious, calculated corruption.

 

The leaked files reveal that some people in these firms believed they were hiring a genuine lobbyist, and others who knew or suspected they were funding bribery simply turned a blind eye.

 

But some knew much more. A handful of senior insiders at firms such as Spanish company Tecnicas Reunidas, French firm Technip and drilling giant MI-SWACO, not only actively supported bribery but pocketed their own kickbacks; US defence giant Honeywell and Australia’s Leighton Offshore agreed to hide bribes inside fraudulent contracts in Iraq; a Rolls-Royce manager negotiated a monthly kickback for leaking information from inside the British firm.

 

Many of those revealed to have been culpable, including the wealthy Ahsani family itself, which runs Unaoil, continue to operate with impunity.

 

The files expose the betrayal of ordinary people in the Middle East. After Saddam Hussein was toppled, the US declared Iraq’s oil would be managed to benefit the Iraqi people. Today, in part one of the ‘Global Bribe Factory’ expose, that claim is demolished.

 

It is the Monaco company that almost perfected the art of corruption.

 

It is called Unaoil and it is run by members of the Ahsani family – Monaco millionaires who rub shoulders with princes, sheikhs and Europe’s and America’s elite business crowd. At the head are family patriarch Ata Ahsani and his two dashing sons, Cyrus and Saman. Their charities support the arts and children, and Ahsani family members sit on the boards of NGOs with ex-politicians and billionaires. Ten years ago, a spreadsheet showed they had cash, shares and property worth 190 million euros. They are members of the global elite.

 

How they make their money is simple. Oil-rich countries often suffer poor governance and high levels of corruption. Unaoil’s business plan is to play on the fears of large Western companies that they cannot win contracts without its help.

 

The multi-million dollar fees Unaoil takes from its clients are funnelled into an industrial scale bribery operation which further entrenches corruption among the powerful few.

 

Its operatives then bribe officials in oil-producing nations to help these clients win government-funded projects. The corrupt officials might rig a tender committee. Or leak inside information. Or ensure a contract is awarded without a competitive tender.

 

If you believe Ata Ahsani, it’s all above board: “We are not in the business of fixing jobs for people. Our work is basically very basic. What we do is integrate Western technology with local capability,” he told Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post.

 

Did Unaoil bribe public officials? “The answer is absolutely no”.

 

But the evidence of their own internal email cache, leaked to Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post, clearly demonstrates that the multi-million dollar fees Unaoil takes from its clients are funnelled into an industrial scale bribery operation which further entrenches corruption among the powerful few.

 

Bankers in New York and London have facilitated Unaoil’s money laundering, while the Ahsanis have built a major property investment business in central London. Since 2007, Unaoil has been certified by anti-corruption agency Trace International. This in itself raises serious questions about the worth of such international accreditation.

 

But for the western companies confronted with questions under anti foreign bribery laws in their own jurisdictions, Unaoil appears to be a reputable and discrete middle-man, giving listed businesses what is known as “plausible deniability”.

 

Companies approached by Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post about their contracts with Unaoil have emphasised they have strong anti-corruption policies, and are committed to investigating their dealings with Unaoil.

 

Unaoil paid at least $25 million in bribes via middlemen to secure the support of powerful officials — while complaining internally that they were “assholes, and greedy”

 

After the US led coalition won the second gulf war, it went to guard the oil ministry – leaving the Baghdad museum undefended to be looted of its treasures.

 

But they did not save the oil industry from thieves. The Unaoil files reveal that Western companies, in concert with Iraq’s new elite, themselves began a sustained campaign of looting.

 

Unaoil paid at least $25 million in bribes via middlemen to secure the support of powerful officials – while complaining internally that they were “assholes, and greedy”.

 

Between 2004 and 2012, Unaoil corruptly influenced a Who’s Who of the country’s oil industry: the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq turned education minister Hussain al-Shahristani; Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi (who was replaced in 2014); the Director General of the South Oil Company, Dhia Jaffar al-Mousawi, who in 2015 became a deputy minister; and top oil official Oday al-Quraishi.

 

The most senior politicians received multi-million dollar lump sums, while those lower down the food chain were paid lesser amounts. Quraishi, who oversaw Iraq’s most important oil industry expansion project, pocketed a monthly kickback of $US6000 – “$5K for him, and $1k he needs for presents to people within” – along with additional large pay-offs.

 

The minister, Dr Shahristani, who is now Iraq’s education minister, denied he had been involved in any wrongdoing. Other Iraqi officials did not respond to requests to comment.

 

Unaoil also bribed senior insiders working for the international oil companies which were contracted by Iraq to manage its oil fields. The leaked files reveal rampant corruption inside Italian oil giant Eni, which ran the tender processes for contractors working on the giant Zubair oil field.

 

Unaoil’s clients in Iraq included British giant Rolls-Royce, US firms FMC Technologies and Cameron, Italy’s Saipem, German company MAN Turbo, the US listed Weatherford, Dutch company SBM Offshore and Australia’s Leighton Offshore.

 

Everything works and progresses on connections, relations with special talent”. So wrote an Iranian fixer, part of Unaoil’s remarkable network of insiders dedicated to paying and pocketing bribes. After the recent relaxing of United Nations, US and European sanctions, this network has become even more valuable.

 

In 2006, this Unaoil operative complained in emails that one of the company’s clients, UK firm Weir Pumps (now owned by US firm SPX), owed him hundreds of thousands of dollars which he had promised to use in part to sling to others in Iran.

 

“[It] is the end of Iranian new year here, expectations high, I am short in cash, and about five million pounds of business with Weir [is] in danger… Because I can not fulfill my obligations to my team of Supporters.”

 

If the money was not forthcoming, he warned, Weir Pumps risked “melting like a piece of ice, day by day.”

 

“…over half a million dollars of my consultancy fee… I have already spend it for the promotion of their businesses in Iran.”

 

A separate set of leaked memos from 2006 said Unaoil would pay “10 k/month” to secure the support of the managing director of a firm chaired by a high ranking Iranian official, part owned by an Iranian government entity and overseen by a board with “political influence.”

 

“MD [managing director]… wants $10k/month. AA [Ata Ahsani of Unaoil] agree to this given his excellent connections.”

 

Unaoil’s Iranian network – which was also used to assist firms such as ABB, Elliott and Japan’s Yokogawa – extends beyond the oil industry. In 2011, Unaoil helped solve a dispute involving one of its Australian clients by reaching out to “several influential contacts… including the head of the Iranian Police”.

 

Prior to the recent easing of sanctions, Unaoil used strategies including front companies to avoid the scrutiny of Western officials. It advised its corrupt fixers to not wire funds using US dollars and to use companies “not having the name Iran in it”.

 

“ … what type of Baksheesh is needed to present to these men in order to get work”

 

In 2004, when the West began removing sanctions against Libya, and the regime of Colonel Gaddafi started dealing with foreign companies, Unaoil stood ready.

 

By 2011, its network of corrupt insiders included officials and front men able to influence the dealings of many of Libya’s most important oil and gas agencies.

 

In late 2008, a Canadian drilling firm, Canuck Completions, told Unaoil it was “curious about … what type of Baksheesh is needed to present to these men in order to get work” in Libya.

 

Among Unaoil’s corrupt insiders was the powerful Libyan official, Mustafa Zarti, a confidant for the Gaddafi regime. Unaoil’s files describe Zarti as “good friends of President Ghadafi’s [sic] son of Libya and have lot of influence in lobbying the jobs in Libya”. Unaoil agreed to secretly pay Zarti millions of dollars. In return he would use his influence to advantage Unaoil’s clients.

 

“MZ [Zarti] sits on the board of LFIC [Libyan Foreign Investment Committee] … which controls… Oil fund ($6bn) … He sees his role as us executing and him fixing issues we come across. MZ has agreed to bring all his oil & gas work to us,” a September 2006 Unaoil memo said.

 

Unaoil’s multinational clients in Libya included Malaysian giant Ranhill, Korean conglomerate ISU and Spanish company Tecnicas Reunidas.

 

In Syria, Unaoil turned to a middleman close to the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

 

In 2008 and 2009, Unaoil promised the man 2.75 million euros who helped its British client Petrofac win contracts from Assad regime petroleum companies. “Strictly confidential” emails from 2008 show this middleman promised to pay others to win these contracts.

 

But when he was not paid on time, he complained the delays were causing problems with “friends” in Syria.

 

“It is becoming very unpleasant [sic] for me not delivering as expected,” he wrote to Unaoil in December 2009.

 

Petrofac is understood to be unaware of Unaoil’s involvement in its Syrian dealings and in response to questions said it “aspires to the highest standards of ethical behaviour”.

 

In Yemen, Unaoil paid millions to a. Swiss account belonging to fixer and businessman Haitham Alaini, the son of the former Yemeni prime minister. In return, Alaini used his contacts in the Yemen to help Unaoil.

 

In Kuwait, Unaoil had on its payroll a powerful official who they called “the big cheese.”

 

To direct a contract to Unaoil’s long term client in the Middle East, US firm FMC Technologies, Unaoil wanted a payment of $2.5 million. It then planned to assign a middleman to handle “the big cheese in Kuwait and to decide what portion… should go to that man”.

 

In the UAE, Unaoil’s network included a public official with links to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The leaked Unaoil files reveal this official had commercial dealings with the Ahsanis who, in return, were seeking the official’s backing in the region. This included an entree to a project funded by the office of “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed”.

 

Unaoil corrupted a senior official in a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s National Oil company. This insider rigged a tender panel for a Unaoil client, Indian conglomerate Larsen & Toubro.

 

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White House Staff Found To be Inside the Ivanpah Google Crony Capitalism Scandal

 

Another Google “Green Cash” scam screws taxpayers. Google may have bought White House but it did not buy good technology!

 

 

“THE SKIM” – Google owners skim profits off the top during the U.S. Treasury transfer, via banks and stock market pump-and-dumps, and then let the fake “Cleantech” bait companies linger and die like Solyndra, Abound, Fisker, etc. If it was anybody else, the FBI would have hauled them off to prison long ago. Campaign financier Google, though, gets to commit unlimited crimes.

 

 

Energy

 

Taxpayers Are Footing Bill for Solar Project That Doesn’t Work

 

David Kreutzer / @dwkreutzer / /

 

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The $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar thermal plant in California. (Photo: Flickr / Atomic Hotlinks / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

As every 10-year-old who ever got a sweater for a birthday present has been told, “it’s the thought that counts.” That seems to be the guiding principle at the Department of Energy and the California Public Utilities Commission when it comes to solar power.

 

The latest example is the $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar thermal plant in California. (Note: Solar thermal plants do not use solar panels to directly convert sunshine to electricity; they use sunshine to boil water that then drives conventional turbines.)

 

Here’s the story so far. Ivanpah…

 

  • is owned by Google, NRG Energy, and Brightsource, who have a market cap in excess of $500 billion.

  • received $1.6 billion in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy.

  • is paid four to five times as much per megawatt-hour as natural gas-powered plants.

  • is paid two to three times as much per megawatt-hour as other solar power producers.

  • has burned thousands of birds to death.

  • has delayed loan repayments.

  • is seeking over $500 million in grants to help pay off the guaranteed loans.

  • burns natural gas for 4.5 hours each morning to get its mojo going.

 

Brightsource, which is privately held, is owned by a virtual who’s who of those who don’t need subsidies from taxpayers and ratepayers.

 

 

In spite of all this, Ivanpah has fallen woefully short of its production targets. The managers’ explanation for why production came up 32 percent below expected output is the weather. In addition to raising questions about planning for uncertainty, it is not all that clear how a nine-percent drop in sunshine causes a 32-percent drop in production.

 

More bizarrely, the natural gas used to get the plant all warmed up and ready each day would be enough to generate over one quarter of the power actually produced from the solar energy. Sorry, let’s not be haters.

 

The problem for Ivanpah’s customers (California power utilities) is that they planned on all those solar watt-hours to meet California’s renewable power mandates, which require that renewables produce a large and rising fraction of California’s electricity. That is why they pay so much more for Ivanpah’s output than for conventionally powered electricity.

 

Breaching their contracts with these California utilities threatened to shut down Ivanpah. More likely than permanently shutting Ivanpah down would have been a change of ownership at a price that came closer to reflecting reality.

 

But this would have been bothersome for Ivanpah’s investors and the Department of Energy’s ridiculous Section 1703 Loan Program, so the California Public Utilities Commission saved the day (for the fat-cat owners, of course, not for actual the electricity consumers) by granting the company an extension to meet the production targets.

 

The best part of the ruling is the section on the cost—it’s pretty succinct.

 

Here it is in its entirety:

 

 

THE COSTS ARE SECRET AND WITHHELD FROM THE PUBLIC

 

But hey, Ivanpah’s plant is a shiny new technological marvel. That’s what counts, right?

 

Ivanpah | The Green Corruption Files

 

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The Green Corruption Files. Exposing the largest, most expensive and deceptive case of crony capitalism in American history…

 

http://greencorruption.com/tag/ivanpah/

 

Ivanpah – AgainstCronyCapitalism.org

 

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Posted in Crony Capitalism | Tagged big government, boondoggle, California, crony capitalism, cronyism, Ivanpah, Obama, solar, solar power, …

 

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Is The Ivanpah Google Solar Project Another DOE Crony …

 

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Google’s Ivanpah Crony-Funded Project Seeks Ways To … HOW THE CRONY CAPITALISM OF THE CLEANTECH … Follow THE CLEANTECH CRASH: A DOCUMENTATION on …

 

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Crony-Cpitalism – Biden Staffer Solar Savior Filed under Corruption | Posted by yxrzmijmie

Editor’s Note – Add the Biden crew members to the long line of crony-capitalism, again.

Solar Company Hired Biden Staffer to Help Secure $1.6 Billion Federal Loan

By Lachlan Markay – Heritage Foundation

Internal emails show that BrightSource Energy, which received the largest federal loan for a solar energy project under President Obama’s stimulus package, leveraged its considerable political connections with top Democratic policymakers to secure its $1.6 billion in taxpayer backing.

BrightSource energy faced a “do-or-die momenIvanpah | The Green Corruption Files

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Is The Ivanpah Google Solar Project Another DOE Crony …

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t,” according to a report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, as the Energy Department weighed a federal loan for its massive Ivanpah solar farm in the California Mojave Desert.

To spur the administration to approve the loan, BrightSource beefed up its lobbying presence, most notably by hiring Bernie Toon, former chief of staff for then-Senator Joe Biden, to lobby on its behalf. Toon was paid $40,000 for his efforts, according to disclosure forms.

Toon’s connections immediately paid dividends:

On March 9, 2011, just days after being hired, Mr. Toon went to the White House with three BrightSource executives, according to Senate and White House records. There he visited a former colleague, Alan Hoffman, now the top aide to Mr. Biden, whose office was working on green-energy programs, the records show. The White House didn’t make Mr. Hoffman available for comment.

Overall, BrightSource dropped half a million dollars on lobbyists in the run-up to DOE’s decision on the Ivanpah loan.

Biden staffer Bernie Toon hired by group

But its lobbyists were hardly the extent of BrightSource’s connections. Its chairman at the time, John Bryson, is now Obama’s Commerce Secretary. But even before his cabinet post, BrightSource considered leveraging Bryson’s considerable political clout to push Ivanpah approval.

And the company drew up plans to have its chairman, Mr. Bryson, lobby a friend, then-White House Chief of Staff William Daley. On March 7, the company sent the DOE’s loan-program director a proposed letter from Mr. Bryson to Mr. Daley requesting White House intervention, according to emails viewed by the Journal. It read, “We need a commitment from the WH to quarterback loan closure” by March 18.

The company eventually decided against sending that letter after a DOE official confirmed that the Ivanpah deal was on track for approval.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has incoprporated some of these facts into its investigation into DOE’s green energy financing.

But regardless of whether there was any misconduct or inappropriate lobbying by BrightSource or its representatives, these facts underscore one of critics’ chief complaints about political involvement in the economy generally: when government holds the purse strings, those with the most political connections inevitably benefit.

 

 

GOOGLE’S BIG CASH GRAB ON THE BACK’S OF TAXPAYERS AND DAY TRADERS:

 

 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai was paid over $100 MILLION on his first …

 

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai was paid $100.5 million on his first year in … barely getting started,’ said Pichai, who was named CEO in August.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl%5B…%5DON-year-job-public-filing-reveals.html

 

Outgoing” Google CEO Schmidt Gets $100m Award |…

 

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“Outgoing” Google CEO Schmidt to get $100mn equity award By Peggy Kataveli, CMA, B2P

 

http://business2press.com/2011/01/24/g%5B…%5Dgoogle-ceo-schmidt-100mn-equity-award/

 

Google’s Schmidt Gets $100M Stock Award, $6M Bonus – NBC News

 

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Schmidt handed the CEO reins to Google co-founder Larry Page in 2011, after a decade leading the Internet search company. After the job …

 

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Eric Schmidt gets $100m in Google stock and $ … The Google CEO is getting a whopping $6m cash bonus on 14 … Google posted a $16.86bn revenue …

 

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Google’s Schmidt gets $100m golden handshake – News – Macworld …

 

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Google’s Schmidt gets $100m golden handshake … Schmidt is getting an impressive parting gift of $100 million as he departs Google as CEO, …

 

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Google Inc’s Eric Schmidt takes home $100M in equity, plus a $6M …

 

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Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is getting paid a lot more than he did when he was running the Internet company. Schmidt is getting an award …

 

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USEC gets $100m after Obama nominates its lobbyist …

 

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An energy firm that plans to file bankruptcy in weeks is being given more than $60 million in federal money for unclear purposes after President Obama tapped a former …

 

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Schmidt gets $100M in Google stock — again | Computerworld

 

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Google said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that its former CEO and current executive chairman will be eligible for the same award again.

 

http://www.computerworld.com/article/2%5B…%5Dts–100m-in-google-stock—-again.html

 

Google CEO Eric Schmidt gets $100M in shares, $6M in cash for …

 

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It’s the second time in three years that Mountain View-based Google awarded its executive chairman and former CEO shares of that value.

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/new%5B…%5D/05/googles-eric-schmidt-gets-106.html

 

Neal Mohan, Google’s $100 Million Man – Business Insider

 

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Fortune’s Jessi Hempel blasted Twitter for failing to launch exciting new products, generate meaningful revenues, or hang on to …

 

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Google Fails To Google “Executive Compensation For 2015,” Pays …

 

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Google chief’s pay tops $100M in first year [NY Post] … Google Fails To Google “ Executive Compensation For 2015,” Pays CEO $100 Million …

 

http://dealbreaker.com/2016/03/google-ceo-100-million-2015/

 

Google’s Eric Schmidt gets big raise to go with $100 million stock …

 

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Eric Schmidt took home a pay package worth $313219 in his final full year as CEO of Google. Now that he’s executive chairman, Schmidt is …

 

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai made over $100m in 2015, here are 5 …

 

cached Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s pay package for 2015 was over $100.5m, according to a filing from parent company Alphabet Inc. Tuesday.

 

http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/bus%5B…%5Dyou-didnt-know-about-him/12141.article

 

 

 

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Barack Obama, big government, business, crony capitalism, cronyism, economics, energy subsidies, green cronyism, Ivanpah, solar subsidies, Washington DC

 

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Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook Annouce The Golden Age of Masturbation

Oculus ushers in a Golden Age of masturbation

 

 

 

 

Your fantasy life is about to get much richer, thanks to the wonders of virtual reality.

The Oculus Rift virtual reality equipment began shipping Monday for those who preordered or contributed to the original Kickstarter campaign. Oculus, which is owned by Facebook, has called today “a historic moment” in a release, adding, “soon, people all over the world will be experiencing fully immersive VR in their own homes.”

By which they mean porn, of course.

Sure, there are plenty of VR experiences that will allow users to step into fantastic worlds, jump out of planes or mimic daring stunts, all from the safety of their home. But where goes technological advancement, there also goes pornographic advancement. Plenty of third-party extensions allowing Oculus users to get a virtual lap dance or do the nasty with a digital partner have already been made available, and some intricate systems even incorporate gripping robots and Fleshlight-esque devices to take the experience one step further.

Though Oculus didn’t respond to a request for comment for this article, founder Palmer Luckey has emphasized that there will be an “open platform” for third-party developers, porn studios included.

Todd Gilder, CEO of VR porn studio BaDoink, joked to The Post that “Luckey ought to give us a referral fee for every sale of the Rift.”

Indeed, self-fulfillment is certainly one thing you could use the $599 Oculus headset for. But is the experience worth it?

Terry Klee, a licensed psychotherapist and relationship specialist affiliated with Columbia University, told The Post that the new horizons virtual reality offers could make masturbation enthusiasts’ experience that much better.

“I think it’s going to depend on each person’s level of sexuality,” she said. “For some I think it might actually enhance it. I think it depends on how comfortable people are masturbating to begin with.”

According to a 2015 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, millennials tend to have fewer sexual partners than the generations preceding them. This could be owing to the twin factors of awareness of the dangers of unprotected sex and the easy availability of emotional intimacy via the Internet and dating apps. If you’re already being fulfilled emotionally, virtual reality porn is bound to be a big step up in the sexuality department.

“The definition of masturbation is self-pleasure, so whether you have a can or a vibrator or whatever, you’re by yourself. I think it’ll amp it up because much of masturbation is very similar to the pleasure principle of addictions, which is that you get accustomed to a certain level and you want even a higher sensation than you had previously,” Klee said. “The only reason that doesn’t really happen with our partners is emotions are included and shyness and inhibitions, but that all goes away when you’re by yourself, so people’s experimentation tends to increase.”

In addition to the physical safety of virtual porn, it could also allow people to experiment with kinks they may be too nervous or ashamed to try, or even experience sex from the point of view of another gender.

“You can’t go out and experiment with sex safely anymore,” Klee said. “With this, you could do that. It also removes the shame, there’s a lot of shame around masturbation.”

On the other hand, if you would be upset by your partner masturbating to porn, you’re likely to be unhappy with the new hyper-realistic advances in porn that the arrival of Oculus offers.

“For most couples, it could feel threatening because it’s going to disrupt the equilibrium that’s already established,” Klee said. Many people feel uncomfortable with how they’d stack up to the super-sexy behavior and perfect physiques that porn can offer, so a more immersive experience could be even more intimidating.

However you feel about porn, prepare to turn those feelings up to 11 when it comes to a virtual reality version.

“If you had a vibrator in your bedroom drawer, having this in your bedroom drawer is going to be that much better,” Klee said.

“It’s like the Wild West,” she said. “It’s very interesting.”

 

 

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Another Google “Green Cash” scam rapes taxpayers. Google may have bought White House but it did not buy good technology!

Another Google “Green Cash” scam rapes taxpayers. Google may have bought White House but it did not buy good technology!

 

 

 

Energy

 

Taxpayers Are Footing Bill for Solar Project That Doesn’t Work

 

David Kreutzer / @dwkreutzer / /

 

 

 

The $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar thermal plant in California. (Photo: Flickr / Atomic Hotlinks / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

By David Kreutzer @dwkreutzer

 

David Kreutzer is the senior research fellow in energy economics and climate change at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. In this position, Kreutzer researches how energy and climate change legislation will affect economic activity at the national, local, and industry levels. Read his research.

 

As every ten-year-old who ever got a sweater for a birthday present has been told, “It’s the thought that counts.” That seems to be the guiding principle at the Department of Energy and the California Public Utilities Commission when it comes to solar power.

 

The latest example is the $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar thermal plant in California. (Note: Solar thermal plants do not use solar panels to directly convert sunshine to electricity, they use sunshine to boil water that then drives conventional turbines.)

 

Here’s the story so far, Ivanpah:

 

  • Is owned by Google, NRG Energy, and Brightsource, who have a market cap in excess of $500 billion

  • Received $1.6 billion in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy

  • Is paid four to five times as much per megawatt-hour as natural-gas powered plants

  • Is paid two to three times as much per megawatt-hour as other solar power producers

  • Has burned thousands of birds to death

  • Has delayed loan repayments

  • Is seeking over $500 million in grants to help pay off the guaranteed loans

  • Burns natural gas for 4.5 hours each morning to get its mojo going

 

Brightsource, which is privately held, is owned by a virtual who’s who of those that don’t need subsidies from taxpayers and ratepayers.

 

 

In spite of all this, Ivanpah has fallen woefully short of its production targets. The managers’ explanation for why production came up 32 percent below expected output was the weather. In addition to raising questions about planning for uncertainty, it is not all that clear how a nine percent drop in sunshine causes a 32 percent drop in production.

 

More bizarrely, the natural gas used to get the plant all warmed up and ready each day, would be enough to generate over one quarter of the power actually produced from the solar energy. Sorry, let’s not be haters.

 

The problem for Ivanpah’s customers (California power utilities) is that they planned on all those solar watt-hours to meet California’s renewable power mandates, which require that renewables produce a large and rising fraction of California’s electricity. That is why they pay so much more for Ivanpah’s output than for conventionally powered electricity.

 

Breaching their contracts with these California utilities threatened to shut down Ivanpah. More likely than permanently shutting Ivanpah down, would have been a change of ownership at a price that came closer to reflecting reality.

 

But this would have been bothersome for Ivanpah’s investors and the Department of Energy’s ridiculous Section 1703 Loan Program, so the California Public Utilities Commission saved the day (for the fat-cat owners, of course, not for actual the electricity consumers) by granting the company an extension to meet the production targets.

 

The best part of the ruling is the section on the cost—it’s pretty succinct.

 

Here it is in its entirety:

 

 

But, hey, Ivanpah’s plant is a shiny new technological marvel. That’s what counts, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s 2015 Pay Hits $100.5M

 

by Georg Szalai

 

 

 

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

 

Courtesy of Getty Images

 

A filing shows the new CEO’s pay package, that holding company Alphabet’s CEO Larry Page and president Sergey Brin again made $1 each last year, while executive chair Eric Schmidt earned $8 million, down from $108.7 million.

 

 

New Google CEO Sundar Pichai received compensation worth $100.5 million in 2015, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday.

 

His salary amounted to $652,500, plus he received stock awards worth more than $99.8 million. He also got “other” compensation worth $22,935.

 

The company didn’t disclose his 2014 pay.

 

Read More Google Chairman Eric Schmidt: “The Internet Will Disappear”

 

Pichai also received 273,328 Class C shares in February that will vest in quarterly increments through 2019 if he stays at the job, according to a previous filing. That will ensure he remains one of the highest-paid U.S. executives.

 

Pichai, the former deputy of Google co-founder Larry Page as senior vp products, was in August picked to run the Internet giant following a reorganization that created holding company Alphabet. It owns Google and a group of subsidiaries that Page at the time described as “pretty far afield of our main Internet products,” including the moonshot lab Google X. Pichai became Google CEO on Oct. 2.

 

Page, now CEO of Alphabet, and Sergey Brin, president of Alphabet, made $1 each last year. They have been receiving a $1 salary as compensation for years. 

 

Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt’s 2015 compensation amounted to more than $8 million, Tuesday’s filing showed, down from $108.7 million in 2014, which was driven by more than $100 million in stock awards.

 

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Scientists Slowly Reintroducing Small Group Of Normal, Well-Adjusted Humans Into Society

Scientists Slowly Reintroducing Small Group Of Normal, Well-Adjusted Humans Into Society (THE ONION)

A member of the endangered subtype of human, who possesses the unusual abilities to calmly reflect on situations and view the world from others’ perspectives, is reintroduced into the population.
 
 

ITHACA, NY—In an ambitious attempt to revive a population long considered to be on the brink of extinction, scientists announced Friday they have slowly begun to reintroduce normal, well-adjusted human beings back into society.

According to officials at Cornell University, where for the past 18 years conservation researchers have operated an enclosed sanctuary for humans who are levelheaded and make it a habit to think before they speak, the endangered group is being cautiously reintegrated into select locations nationwide in hopes that they can reestablish permanent communities and one day thrive again.

“We’ve worked for years to stabilize our society’s dwindling population of sane, generally reasonable people, and within the safe confines of our refuge we’ve finally seen their numbers start to bounce back a little,” said Josh Adelson, head of the Cornell research team, which moved the remaining members of the group into a protected habitat in 1998 to keep them from dying off completely. “Now, we can very gradually begin to release this rare breed of rational humans back into the general public. With luck, they can survive and prosper.”

“Even if this small group of humans able to deal with their negative emotions in a nondestructive manner manages to flourish, there’s still no telling whether the next generation will be able to survive.”

 

“Our hope is that within a century or so, the traits for making sound long-term decisions and being able to tolerate people different from oneself will propagate and begin to reemerge within the species at large,” he continued.

Prior to the conservation efforts, it is believed that even-tempered people with sound judgment and the ability to put the needs of others before themselves had dwindled to less than 150 within the country’s borders, and had gone completely extinct in the nation’s businesses and civic institutions. Experts widely agree that without isolation, protection, and captive-breeding programs, the remaining thoughtful, foresighted individuals would have been totally wiped out.

While admitting that the project’s reintroduction phase would be complex and its success far from assured, Adelson stressed that such measures were nevertheless absolutely necessary if responsible and emotionally mature humans able to see beyond the immediate gratification of their basest desires were ever to reestablish a foothold in society.

“Obviously, we have taken great precautions before releasing these individuals into an environment where demonstrations of good sense, open-mindedness, and basic human empathy are perceived as signs of weakness and quickly preyed upon,” said Adelson, who noted that to ease the transition during their first month acclimating to society, the endangered population would be kept away from television, the internet, advertisements, and all other forms of media. “For example, we’ve trained them for the inevitable encounters they will face with large groups of people incapable of separating emotions from arguments.”

“It hasn’t been easy,” Adelson continued. “Last month, members of our trial group were confronted by several aggressive and predatory individuals, and another was nearly torn apart by angry hordes on social media within just 48 hours of being reintroduced into a metropolitan area, forcing us to bring them back to our refuge immediately.”

Though researchers have expressed cautious optimism for the reintroduction program, many leading scientists have noted that the number of areas in the U.S. capable of sustaining well-adjusted humans has drastically decreased. According to experts, there is almost no chance the population will ever thrive again anywhere in the state of Florida.

“Even if this small group of humans able to deal with their negative emotions in a nondestructive manner manages to flourish, there’s still no telling whether the next generation will be able to survive,” Adelson said. “There are a lot of unknown variables, and we realize we’re taking a big risk here. But this program is our last, best hope of ensuring that people who are willing to go out of their way to help someone who can’t immediately offer them anything in return remain a part of our world.”

Top researchers confirmed that it was already far too late to halt the country’s dominant breed of humans—assholes—from spreading uncontrollably to every region on earth.

Will Hillary Clinton Purchase Playboy Magazine To Turn It Into Feminist Bible?

Playboy empire reportedly exploring sale of itself

Playboy Enterprises is exploring a possible of sale of the US adult entertainment group, reports say.

The Playboy empire could fetch more than $500m (£354m), say sources quoted by news outlets including the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

The reported move comes after Playboy magazine stopped publishing nude photos saying they had become outdated.

Circulation numbers have plummeted to about 800,000 last year from 5.6m copies in 1975.

Investment bank Moelis & Co has reportedly been hired to handle the sale process.

Mr Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 with actress Marilyn Monroe as its debut centrefold “Playmate of the Month.”

It quickly became an iconic brand and its logo of a bunny wearing a bow tie has been used for a variety of businesses, including clubs and restaurants.

Playboy Mansion

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles is infamous for its wild celebrity parties

The company’s financial details are not easily available after Mr Hefner and investment firm Rizvi Traverse Management took the company private in 2011.

 

But under that deal, Playboy was valued at around $207m.

According to the reports, Playboy was approached about the sale of the entire company after Mr Hefner’s home was put up for sale in January.

The Playboy Mansion – famous for its decadent parties – has a $200m asking price and includes a lifelong lease for the velvet jacket-wearing Mr Hefner.

If sold at that price, the Los Angeles property will become one of the most expensive private residences in the US.

Free porn

The flagship magazine is struggling to attract subscribers and advertisers after dropping its famous nude spreads.

Playboy chief executive Scott Flanders has said the shift in the company’s strategy is due to its inability to compete with the availability of free internet pornography.

It has since toned down its content and images to be “PG-13” in order to attract more traffic to its website and social media .

Overall, the publishing industry is expected to lose $4bn in advertising sales over the next four years.

 

Hillary Clinton Calls Upon Aliens From Outer Space To Help Her Campaign

 

 

Hillary Clinton Calls Upon Aliens To Help Her Campaign

  • Hillary Clinton has now said she will show everybody the files on the aliens if she gets elected.
  • Donald Trump being pressed to match her “alien disclosure” campaign

  • Are campaigns in so much trouble that they need help from the Martians?

  • Drudge Report headlines Hillary “Aliens Don’t Respect Borders” tactic

 

By DAN GOOD

 

 

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Bill Clinton is intrigued by space aliens.

The former United States president appeared on Wednesday’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” He ended up discussing, among other things, extraterrestrial life.

Clinton admitted that soon after becoming president, he had his aides research Area 51, the Nevada military facility, “to make sure there was no alien down there.” He was also interested in Roswell, N.M., the site of a reputed UFO sighting in 1947, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary during Clinton’s presidency.

“I had all the Roswell papers reviewed – everything,” he told Kimmel.

“If you saw that there were aliens there, would you tell us?” Kimmel asked.

“Yeah,” Clinton said, nodding.

Given the size of the universe, and the continued discovery of new planets, Clinton believes we’re not alone.

“If we were visited someday I wouldn’t be surprised,” Clinton said. “I just hope it’s not like ‘Independence Day.'”

Clinton went on to discuss some of the potential benefits to an alien invasion, framing his argument around the 1996 sci-fi disaster movie.

“It may be the only way to unite this increasingly divided world of ours … think about all the differences among people of Earth would seem small if we feel threatened by a space invader,” Clinton said.

“That’s the whole theory of ‘Independence Day. Everybody gets together and makes nice.”

(Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

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