Monthly Archives: February 2015

If you look very closely at B2Gold Phillipines security incidents

you begin to detect a trend.

June 25, 2014:

On the evening of 19 June 2014, a security supervisor in the process of undertaking his routine duties entered into an altercation with another security employee resulting in the fatal shooting of the supervisor.


B2Gold Corp. regrets to announce the shooting death of two security guards at the Masbate Gold Project (MGP) operation in the Philippines.

The incident occurred in the early hours of Feb 11, 2015 (Philippine time). The two guards, employees of Kublai Khan Security Services (KKSS), which is a security contractor of the MGP, were found fatally shot at their guard post.

The incident is under investigation by Philippine National Police.

Sorta makes you think there is more to this than what we’re seeing in the press releases.

(Yes this is a tribute post.)

Citgo was biggest client for top DC lobby firms in 2014 (Updated)

CITGOLogoBWCitgo Petroleum, the US refining subsidiary of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, had a big year on the lobbying front in 2014. According to current records at, the company spent $2.16 million on DC lobbying, a five-fold increase over 2013. It was the 9th-biggest among the 100+ clients of  Cornerstone Government Affairs and fourth-biggest at Brownstein Hyatt. But it really shone by becoming the biggest client of the year at both Dutko Grayling and Squire Patton Boggs.

Patton Boggs client ranking per records at Current as of Jan 25 2015.

Patton Boggs client ranking per records at Current as of Jan 25 2015.

Yes, that Patton Boggs. From Ken Silverstein’s article on the lobby house from last week:

And no one is, or was, more symptomatic or responsible for this pathetic state of dysfunction than Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., who died last September… Boggs was a richly-paid lobbyist who ran his firm like a brothel, once saying, “We pick our clients by taking the first one who comes in the door.” With that as his guiding principle, Boggs and his firm compiled a client list that included America’s biggest, most criminally minded corporations and the world’s worst dictators.

Really a worthwhile read, so go click over there. It takes a lot of work to be the #1 client of Patton Boggs. The company had 179 paid clients last year. Following well behind PDVSA you find companies with massive regulatory worries. (Note that all figures were current at time of writing. Future disclosures may change the ranking.) So what was all that money spent on? Continue reading

50 years

Tractor spreads salt on Rachel Street, Montreal, 2 February 2015

The current situation

In case your Monday is just a bit too cheery, here is something to think about.

I am in Montreal, cherishing something that has become scarcer every decade: a day with wind-chills of -30°C, blasting snow crystals that sting the eyes, parents pulling their kids to school on little sleds, bundled up like blue burritos in their puffy snowsuits. Winter days like this were once routine across much of continental North America and Asia; today they are often newsworthy. (And the news is always full of people remarking about how this disproves climate change. Argh.)

This week is also an important anniversary. It’s been 50 years since the first US presidential address on the climate change consequences of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

50 years!

I had no idea. (This is one more reason to subscribe to the daily “Above the Fold” e-mail from Environmental Health News. Good stuff in there.)

“Air pollution is no longer confined to isolated places,” said Johnson less than three weeks after his 1965 inauguration. “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”


I like fossil fuels. We can burn rocks! We can turn underground gases into phones, chairs, keyboards, eyeglasses, false teeth, blue snow suits and nerf footballs. We are amazing. The problem, of course, is we do it too much. It’s a shame to see one species among millions changing the lived experience of every square centimeter of our planet. But hey. At least we are doing something useful with all that fuel.