July 27, 2023

“Mar a chaith mé laethanta saoire an tsamhraidh”

Bíonn an t-úrscéal Diosco Dé le Séamas Mac Annaidh (Coiscéim, 2006) ag spaisteoireacht thart faoi samhradh mar teagasc Béarla i gcampa Tuirceach an bliain 1999. Tá sé mar bheadh cuntas taistil nó cuimhní cinn seachas úrscéal ann. Cúpla uair tá leaideanna go mbeidh eachtra mór ag forbairt, ach leanann an scéal go dtí eachtranna eile sa champa, i rith na turais, teannas agus comhcheilg idir na múinteoirí Gaeilge, na pearsantachtaí ar na múintoirí uile (Béarla agus Tuirceach) agus ar na daltaí nua gach coicís, an dúshlán ar an ceannais an an champa a choinnigh gabháil i gceart is go sabháilte.

Is as Doire atá an scéalaí agus a chailín Astrálach, agus tá siad ag filleadh (.i. pilleadh) chun an champa cá bualadh iad le chéile an bhliain roimhe. Tar éis naoi mí i nDoire, tá siad araon ag dúil le am ar cósta na mara Mharmara a chaitheamh.

Ni féidir a inis níos mó faoin scéal gan nochtadh an cúis go bhfuil sé seo cén úrscéal maith, mar ar deireadh is úrscéal an-tochtmhar é. Go cáiréiseach, fíonn an Annach an léitheoir isteach le scéal an scéalaí féin.

July 26, 2023

Climate change–fueled weather demands action now, sez Sarah Copeland Hanzas — annotated

Sarah Copeland Hanzas was a Vermont House member for 18 years before being elected as Secretary of State in 2022. This commentary, reproduced here in full with notes following, was published in several news outlets (without the notes).

Vermonters have always rallied to protect and care for our friends and neighbors in a crisis. I am grateful for Governor Scott’s calm and measured response when Vermont is in crisis. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Governor Scott followed the science and took the appropriate steps, despite considerable opposition,a to keep Vermonters safe and to prevent a greater tragedy. Now, we need the same courage and focus as we grapple with flood recovery and take action to address the underlying forces of climate changeb that drove its severity.

So far this summer, Vermont has seen a record heat wave in May,c the state’s worst air quality in history in June, and recently a record rainstorme that dumped as much as two months of normal rain on towns around the state in just over a day.

And this is clearly the new normalf for Vermont as the impacts of global warming hit us. Nolan Atkins, the former chair of the atmospheric sciences department at Vermont State University said: “In a warmer world and a warmer climate, [we should expect] these more frequent and more intense weather events.”

Yet despite the science, and clear evidence of increasingly severe weather, the Governor has vetoed every major piece of climate legislation the Vermont Legislature has put before him in recent years. We need Governor Scott to direct state agencies to recognize the climate emergency and treat climate action with the same emergency response and focus we are seeing right now during the floods, and that we did during Vermont’s Covid response.g

As the former co-chair of the Legislature’s Climate Solution Caucus, I traveled throughout the state listening to Vermonters’ concerns about the looming impacts of global warming and the urgent need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. I heard over and over that if we don’t act on climate and curb our emissions we will run out of time; we will be too consumed by the effects of climate change to focus on transitioning to renewable energy.h

I have seen our pragmatic Governor do a policy pivot when faced with an emergency. After the shooting threat in Fair Haven High School, he was a constructive and supportive partner for meaningful gun safety reforms.

It is time for the Governor to pivot on climate policy. There are a few simple things the Governor can do right now to make a difference and help Vermont be a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And more importantly, prevent greater tragedy.

First, the Governor should direct his appointees on the Climate Council to shift to an emergency response.i The most immediate and constructive action he could take at this moment is to make sure Vermonters whose heating systems were destroyed in the flood are encouraged and incentivized to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.j Let’s help provide loaner heating systems to get through the upcoming heating season and accelerate our investment in our green energy workforce. This will not only speed up Vermont’s green energy transition but also create jobs; we can combat climate change and help Vermont’s economy at the same time.

Second, direct his Agency of Natural Resources and Department of Public Service to become willing partners in implementing the Clean Heat Standard to help all Vermonters transition from fossil fuels for heating and cooling their homes and businesses. Over one-third of Vermont’s greenhouse gas emissions come from heating and cooling our homes and businesses. Despite this, Governor Scott and his administration have inexplicably been an anchor in getting this groundbreaking initiative into action.

And third, support legislation to ensure Vermont gets 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by the end of the decade. With the passage of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, wind and solar power are cheaper than everk and price competitive with new natural gas. Vermont needs to do its part to clean up its electric sector and end our environmentally unjust practice of importing our power from oil- and natural gas–burning plants in low-income communities in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

I’m not saying it’s simple and easy, I understand firsthand the challenges rural Vermonters face in heating their homes and getting to work. But if we think transitioning to renewable heating and transportation is inconvenient or possibly a little more expensive, just look around at what we will be facing if we don’t.l Can we afford not to?


a“despite considerable opposition” — Actually, the considerable opposition was that he wasn’t draconian and dictatorial enough.

b“to address the underlying forces of climate change” — The earth revolves around the sun with a tilted axis, thus causing the seasons, and turns on that axis, thus causing day and night. These cause weather.

c“Vermont has seen a record heat wave in May” — And then it was over. We’re looking at a rather cool end of July and early August.

d“the state’s worst air quality in history in June” — Canadian forest fires, which we can hardly do anything about.

e“a record rainstorm” — Well, no, it wasn’t.

f“clearly the new normal” — If you were born yesterday.

g“We need Governor Scott to direct state agencies to recognize the climate emergency and treat climate action with the same emergency response and focus we are seeing right now during the floods, and that we did during Vermont’s Covid response.” — That “emergency response” to Covid was futile and harmful, as indeed is almost all of the “climate legislation” that the legislature has passed. In fact, Montpelier, along with other towns on rivers regularly floods and businesses bounce back. But they are only now recovering from that Covid response and don’t have the resilience and resources they would have otherwise.

h“transitioning to renewable energy” — From normal New England weather to CO₂ emissions as the culprit to renewable energy as the solution, this is a study in non sequitur. It is telling that as co-chair of the Legislature’s Climate Solution Caucus, she heard only people clamoring for what she is here clamoring for.

i“shift to an emergency response” — If everyone is already clamoring, it most certainly does not require an emergency response to force it on them. This “emergency response” is required precisely because people like to make their own decisions about how their homes are heated, weighing costs and benefits for their individual situation. Again, that “Covid emergency” was similarly imposed precisely to prevent people from making personal risk-benefit decisions, even to punish people for insisting on their right to make such decisions for themselves.

j“replace fossil fuels with renewable energy” — What is she talking about? She means replacing systems that burn fuel on site to provide warmth with electric space heaters. Granted, in Vermont, much of that electricity is from Canadian hydro, but the expanded demand of electric heat (and cars) will be provided by burning natural gas, converting a fraction of the released energy to electricity, transporting that electricity over powerlines at further loss, and then converting it back to heat. The inefficiency compared to burning fossil fuels on site is staggering, not to mention insanely bad policy.

Furthermore, every Vermonter knows that they need to be prepared for power outages, which can sometimes last for days. Depending on electricity for anything that you don’t have to is simply foolish. You will effectively be replacing efficient fossil-fuel systems with increased reliance on fossil fuel–powered back-up generators.

k“wind and solar power are cheaper than ever” — In fact, wind and solar are only getting more expensive. They completely depend on subsidies from taxpayers and ratepayers to be built at all.

l“just look around at what we will be facing if we don’t” — And we close with the veiled threat, based on the false premises the whole essay started with. “We’ll make sure you can’t afford not to make the choices we make for you.”

[[[[ ]]]]

From The History of Athens Vermont, Lora Wyman, 1963:

«Freshets and floods occurred too frequently down the years to mention more than a sample of them. A few that did the most extensive damage to Athens were the freshet of Oct. 4, 1869; the great blizzard of Mar. 12, 1888; the floods of 1927, 1936; and the great hurricane of 1938. Practically all adults living today can remember the destruction caused by the hurricane of 1938. In Athens countless trees were blown down, the roof on Henry Ward’s milk house and one side of the barn were blown off. A small bridge near Camp Nai-neh-ta was washed away and abutments on others were weakened. About one-half mile of the main road to Cambridgeport, parallel with the brook above Brookside bungalow was washed away. Traffic was detoured around the road past the David Karlson farm. Two of Ned Wyman’s 10′ × 12′ chicken houses on the lower road, floated down stream, one lodging in a tangle of brush. Next morning, expecting to find the 50 or more chicks housed inside drowned, Mr. Wyman happily discovered them all perched on the roost above the water, waiting for breakfast.»

Also see: 1816: The Year Without a Summer

July 25, 2023

FBI source report on Burisma and the Bidens

Federal Bureau of Investigation: CHS Reporting Document, FD-1023
Date: 06/30/2020

First Meeting with Burisma Executives in Kyiv, Ukraine 201S/2016.

... Pojarskii [Burisma CFO] said Burisma hired the former President or Prime Minister of Poland to leverage his contacts in Europe for prospective oil and gas deals, and they hired Hunter Biden to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds or problems” ... CHS [confidential human source] asked why they (Burisma) needed to get CHS’s assistance regarding the purchase/merger of a US-based company when Biden was on their board. Pojarskii replied that Hunter Biden was not smart, and they wanted to get additional counsel. ...

Meeting with CHS, Ostapenko, and Mykola Zlochevsky [Burisma founder and CEO] in Vienna, Austria in 2016.

... CHS recalled this meeting took place around the time Joe Biden made a public statement about (former) Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin being corrupt, and that he should be fired/removed from office. CHS told Zlochevsky that due to Shokin’s investigation into Burisma, which was made public at this time, it would have a substantial negative impact on Burisma’s prospective IPO in the United States. Zlochevsky replied something to the effect of, “Don’t worry Hunter will take care of all of those issues through his dad.” ...

CHS advised Zlochevsky it would be problematic to raise capital in the US given Shokin’s investigation into Burisma as nobody in the US would invest in a company that was the subject ot a criminal investigation. CHS suggested it would best if Burisma simply litigate the matter in Ukraine, and pay some attorney $50,000. Zlochevsky said he/Burisma would likely lose the trial because he could not show that Burisma was innocent; Zlochevsky also laughed at CHS’s number of $50,000 (not because of the small amount, but because the number contained a “5”) and said that “it cost 5 (million) to pay one Biden, and 5 (million) to another Biden.” ...

CHS told Zlochevsky that any such payments to the Bidens would complicate matters, and Burisma should hire “some normal US oil and gas advisors” because the Bidens have no experience with that business sector. Zlochevsky made some comment that although Hunter Biden “was stupid, and his (Zlochevsky’s) dog was smarter,” Zlochevsky needed to keep hunter Biden (on the board) “so everything will be okay.” CHS inquired whether Hunter Biden or Joe Biden told Zlochevsky he should retain Hunter Biden; Zlochevsky replied, “They both did.” CHS reiterated CHS’s opinion that Zlochevsky was making a mistake and he should fire Hunter Biden and deal with Shokin’s investigation directly so that the matter will remain an issue in Ukraine, and not turn in to some international matter. Zlochevsky responded something to the effect of, “Don’t worry, this thing Will go away anyway.” CHS replied that, notwithstanding Shokin’s investigation, it was still a bad decision for Burisma to spend $20-$30 million to buy a US business, and that CHS didn’t want to be involved with the Biden matter. Zlochevsky responded that he appreciated CHS’s advice, but that “it’s too late to change his decision.” CHS understood this to mean that Zlochevsky had already had paid the Bidens, presumably to “deal with Shokin.” ...

2016/2017 Telephone call. Shortly after the 2016 US election and during President Trump’s transition period, CHS participated in a conference call with Ostapenko and Zlochevsky. CHS inquired whether Zlochevsky was happy with the US election results. Zlochevsky replied that he was not happy Trump won the election. CHS asked Zlochevsky whether he was concerned about Burisma’s involvement with the Bidens. Zlochevsky stated he didn’t want to pay the Bidens and he was “pushed to pay”* them. ... Zlochevsky stated Shokin had already been fired, and no investigation was currently going on, and that nobody would find out about his financial dealings with the Bidens. CHS then stated, “l hope you have some back-up (proof) For your words (nemely, that Zlochevsky was “forced” to pay the Bidens). Zlochevsky replied he has many text messages and “recordings” that show that he was coerced to make such payments (See below, subsequent CHS reporting on 6/29/2020).

2019 Telephone call. After the aforementioned 2016 telephone call, CHS had no interactions with Zlochevsky/Bursima [sic] whatsoever, until 2019. In 201 9, CHS met with Ostapenko in London to discuss various business matters (which had nothing to do with Zlochevsky, Burisma, or the gas/oil industry ... At some point during this meeting, Ostapenko advised CHS he was going to call Zlochevsky. At this time, CHS understood Zlochevsky was living somewhere in Europe (NFI). During the call, Zlochevsky asked CHS and/or Ostapenko if they read the recent news reports about the investigations in to the Bidens and Bursima ... CHS mentioned Zlochevsky might have difficulty explaining suspicious wire transfers that may evidence any (illicit) payments to the Bidens. Zlochevsky responded he did not send any funds directly to the “Big Guy” (which CHS understood was a reference to Joe Biden). CHS asked Zloehevsky how many companies/bank accounts Zlochevsky controls; Zlochevsky responded it would take them (investigators) 10 years to find the records (i.e. illicit payments to Joe Biden). ...

On June 29, 2020, CHS provided the following supplemental reporting:

Regarding CHS’s aforementioned reporting that Zlochevsky said - “he has many text messages and ’recordings’ that show he was coerced to make such payments” - CHS clarified Zlochevsky said he had a total of “17 recordings” involving the Bidens; two of the recordings included Joe Biden, and the remaining 15 recordings only included Hunter Biden. CHS reiterated that, per Zlochevsky, these recordings evidence Zlochevsky was somehow coerced into paying the Bidens to ensure Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin was fired. Zlochevsky stated he has two “documents (which CHS understood to be wire transfer statements, bank records, etc.), that evidence some payment(s) to the Bidens were made, presumably in exchange for Shokin’s firing.

Regarding aforementioned Oleksandr Ostapenko (alternate spelling, Alexander Ostapenko), who originally introduced CHS into this matter, Ostapenko currently “works in some office for the administration of President Zelensky (NFI)”, and also works for Valery Vavilov, who is the founder/CEO of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology business BitFury.

*CHS explained the Russian term Zlochevsky used to explain the payments was “poluchili” (transliterated by the CHS), which literally translates to “got it” or “received it”, but is also used in Russian criminal slang for being “forced or coerced to pay.”