Wednesday, August 31, 2011


From: Art for a Change []
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 4:36 PM
Subject: MARK VALLEN - ¡ADELANTE! Museum Exhibit


Mark Vallen's ART FOR A CHANGE Newsletter - Aug. 2011


1) - ¡ADELANTE! Mexican American Artists: 1960s and Beyond - Vallen exhibits two new oil paintings in an important museum survey of Chicano art.



La Causa - Oil painting by Mark Vallen


Mexican American Artists: 1960s and Beyond

Forest Lawn Museum - Glendale, California.
September 9, 2011 - January 1, 2012.

Pictured above: "La Causa" (The Cause). Vallen. Oil on canvas. 2011.

Mark Vallen will display two original oil paintings at ¡ADELANTE! Mexican American Artists: 1960s and Beyond, the latest museum exhibition to explore the world of Chicano art. The large scale canvases, La Causa (The Cause) and Libros No Bombas (Books Not Bombs) were created especially for the museum exhibit, where they will be presented to the public for the very first time.

Read more about Vallen's La Causa painting on the artist's web log.

Organized by the Forest Lawn Museum in Glendale, California, the exhibit runs from September 9, 2011 through January 1, 2012, and offers the paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and photographs of some forty artists. Included are artworks from "veteranos" of the 1960s Chicano Arts Movement, as well as from a whole new generation of artists involved in creating Chicanarte (Chicano art).

Those influential artists participating in the exhibit include the likes of Judith F. Baca; David Rivas Botello; Barbara Carrasco; Margaret García; Ignacio Gomez; Wayne Healy; Leo Limón; Frank Romero; Patssi Valdez, and a host of others. A few of the works on view are from the Cheech Marin Collection, one of the most important private collections of Chicano art in the United States. Adelante is Spanish for "advance" or "forward", the perfect title for an exhibit that surveys Chicano art as it moves into the second decade of the 21st century.

The Forest Lawn Museum is located at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 1712 South Glendale Avenue, Glendale, California. 91205. The museum is open every day except Monday, from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission and parking is free. Phone: 1-800-204-3131. Learn more about ¡ADELANTE! at the museum's website.



Vallen will also show works in these upcoming museum exhibits:

Peace Press Graphics 1967-1987:
Art in the pursuit of Social Change
Sept. 10 to Dec.11, 2011
University Art Museum, California State University Long Beach.
An exhibition of historic posters and flyers published by the now defunct Los Angeles print shop, Peace Press. The exhibit is part of the Getty Foundation's Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945 - 1980, the largest collaborative art project in Southern California history.

Under the Big Black Sun:
California Art 1974-1981
Oct. 1, 2011 to Feb. 13, 2012
Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

A comprehensive survey that examines the fertile and diverse output of California artists during an extraordinary period of American history. This exhibit is also part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time project.



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"My Name is Rachel Corrie," - Supporting The Palestinians at the UN

Hi.  I was unable to put two, wonderful cultural activities on the same page, so will send notice of a broad exhibit of Chicano art, separately.  -Ed



From: estee chandler []
Sent: Monday, August 29, 2011 9:51 PM
Subject: My Name is Rachel Corrie & Supporting The Palestinians at the UN


JVP-LA and Friends,

I hope you are all doing well during these long hot days of summer.  A couple of announcements...


A Great Theater Opportunity - Thursdays, Sept. 1, 8, 15 & 22 - My Name Is Rachel Corrie - Theatricum Botanicum - Topanga Canyon


My Name Is Rachel Corrie
From the Writings of Rachel Corrie
Edited by Alan Rickman and Katherine Viner 
Directed by Susan Angelo

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Pavilion

September 1, 8, 15, and 22.

 General Admission: $12 + ($2 service fee)

On March 16, 2003, Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old American, was killed in Gaza as she was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. Theatricum Botanicum inaugurates its second performance space, the S. Mark Taper Foundation Pavilion, with a one-woman play composed from Rachel Corrie's journals, letters and emails. Susan Angelo directs Samara Frame as the young activist who left her home and school in Olympia, Washington to work in the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since its premiere in 2005 at London’s Royal Court Theatre, this theater piece has been surrounded by both controversy and impassioned proponents, and has raised an unprecedented call to support political work and the difficult discourse it creates. 


For tickets, go to:


Scroll down to your date of interest 

 click on "Rachel 8pm"  


The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice was established by members of Rachel’s family and community to continue the kind of work that she began and hoped to accomplish:


The Rachel Corrie Foundation Call to Action: Don’t Reward Caterpillar

Despite a long history of complicity in human rights abuses and violations of international law, Caterpillar Inc. has been selected to receive the National Building Museum’s Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology.  This prize, to be awarded in Washington DC on September 14, is given annually to recognize “an invention, an innovative methodology, and/or exceptional leadership by an individual or team of individuals in construction technology.”  Sadly, in Palestine and around the world, Caterpillar and its bulldozers have become a symbol of the Israeli occupation and of destruction – rather than one of innovative building and construction appropriate to the National Building Museum and the Henry C. Turner prize.

Act Here:


JVP-LA Call to Action! - Demonstration to Support Palestinians at the UN - Friday Sept. 16th - 4pm - 7pm

                                                             Call on US Government NOT to use their VETO


     WHAT:            Demonstration to Support Palestinians at U.N. in Face of U.S. Veto

     WHEN:            Friday evening, September 16, 4-7 PM

     WHERE:          Westwood Federal Building (Wilshire just west of 405 Fwy)

     SPONSORS:     JVP-LALA Jews for Peace and CODEPINK-LA     (more coming)


We support the Palestinian people’s struggle to fulfill their aspirations and secure their internationally recognized rights to freedom, national self-determination, justice, and equality.  To this end, the Palestinian bid for U.N. membership will go forward this September.  The PLO – Palestinian Authority submitted a formal request for U.N. membership to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week.  See below for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Delegation to the U.S. fact sheet describing their goals. 

Even if Palestine was admitted as a member of the United Nations, that would not change facts on the ground or the lives of ordinary Palestinian people – the occupation will continue.  Nevertheless, we believe the campaign for Palestinian statehood prompts an important global conversation about the fundamental Palestinian right to self-determination, and the United States’ and Israel’s ongoing role in thwarting that right

We call on the United States government not to veto the Palestine bid for recognition on the 1967 borders, nor the Palestinian bid for U.N. membership.  This is what many Palestinian people want; it is incumbent on freedom-loving Americans to support those Palestinians.  Palestinian recognition and U.N. membership will help bring stability to the region; it will be good for all the region‘s peoples as well as being good for Americans.

Organizations are invited to join in sponsoring this event.  To sponsor write to:

Contact:  Jeff at info@LAJewsforPeace  or call 562-694-1637



For more background see the JVP Statement drafted by Dr. Joel Beinin, a long-time JVP member who is the Donald J. Maclachlan Professor of Middle Eastern History at Stanford University Here:


Also  very helpful is this FAQ developed by the US Campaign to End the Occupation:


Peace and HOPE,
~estee chandler
JVP-LA Organizer


* * *







Stephen Zunes: Lessons and False Lessons From Libya


Lessons and False Lessons From Libya

Tuesday 30 August 2011

by: Stephen Zunes, Truthout | News Analysis

The downfall of Muammar Qaddafi's regime is very good news, particularly for the people of Libya. However, it is critically important that the world not learn the wrong lessons from the dictator's overthrow.

It is certainly true that NATO played a critical role in disrupting the heavy weapons capability of the repressive Libyan regime and blocking its fuel and ammunition supplies through massive airstrikes and providing armaments and logistical support for the rebels. However, both the militaristic triumphalism of the pro-intervention hawks and the more cynical conspiracy mongering of some on the left ignore that this was indeed a popular revolution, which may have been able to succeed without NATO, particularly if the opposition had not focused primarily on the military strategy. Engaging in an armed struggle against the heavily armed despot essentially took on Qaddafi where he was strongest rather than taking greater advantage of where he was weakest - his lack of popular support.

There has been little attention paid to the fact that the reason the anti-Qaddafi rebels were able to unexpectedly march into Tripoli last weekend with so little resistance appears to have been a result of a massive and largely unarmed, civil insurrection which had erupted in neighborhoods throughout the city. Indeed, much of the city had already been liberated by the time the rebel columns entered and began mopping up the remaining pockets of pro-regime forces.

As Juan Cole noted in an August 22 interview on Democracy Now!, "the city had already overthrown the regime" by the time the rebels arrived. The University of Michigan professor observed how, "Beginning Saturday night, working-class districts rose up, in the hundreds of thousands and just threw off the regime." Similarly, Khaled Darwish's August 24 article in The New York Times describes how unarmed Tripolitanians rushed into the streets prior to the rebels entering the capital, blocked suspected snipers from apartment rooftops and sang and chanted over loudspeakers to mobilize the population against Qaddafi's regime

Though NATO helped direct the final pincer movement of the rebels as they approached the Libyan capital and continued to bomb government targets, Qaddafi's final collapse appears to have more closely resembled that of Hosni Mubarak and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali than that of Saddam Hussein.

It should also be noted that the initial uprising against Qaddafi in February was overwhelmingly nonviolent. In less than a week, this unarmed insurrection had resulted in pro-democracy forces taking over most of the cities in the eastern part of the country, a number of key cities in the west and even some neighborhoods in Tripoli. It was also during this period when most of the resignations of cabinet members and other important aides of Qaddafi, Libyan ambassadors in foreign capitals and top military officers took place. Thousands of soldiers defected or refused to fire on crowds, despite threats of execution. It was only when the rebellion took a more violent turn, however, that the revolution's progress was dramatically reversed and Qaddafi gave his infamous February 22 speech threatening massacres in rebel strongholds, which in turn, led to the United States and its NATO allies to enter the war.

Indeed, it was only a week or so before Qaddafi's collapse that the armed rebels had succeeded in recapturing most of the territory that had originally been liberated by their unarmed counterparts six months earlier.

It can certainly be argued that, once the revolutionaries shifted to armed struggle, NATO air support proved critical in severely weakening Qaddafi's ability to counterattack and that Western arms and advisers were important in enabling rebel forces to make crucial gains in the northwestern part of the country prior to the final assault on Tripoli. At the same time, there is little question that foreign intervention in a country with a history of brutal foreign conquest, domination and subversion was successfully manipulated by Qaddafi to rally far more support to his side in his final months than would have been the case had he been faced with a largely nonviolent indigenous, civil insurrection. It isn't certain that the destruction of his military capabilities by the NATO strikes was more significant than the ways in which such Western intervention in the civil war enabled the besieged dictator to shore up what had been rapidly deteriorating support in Tripoli and other areas under government control.

I could achieve an outcome I desired in an interpersonal dispute by punching someone in the nose, but that doesn't mean that it, therefore, proved that my action was the only way to accomplish my goal. It's no secret that overbearing military force can eventually wear down an autocratic militarized regime, but - as the ouster of oppressive regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, the Philippines, Poland, Chile, Serbia, and scores of other countries through mass nonviolent action in recent years has indicated - there are ways of undermining a regime's pillars of support to the extent that it collapses under its own weight. Ultimately, a despot's power comes not from the armed forces under his command, but the willingness of a people to recognize his authority and obey his orders.

This is not to say that the largely nonviolent struggle launched in February would have achieved a quick and easy victory had they not turned to armed struggle with foreign support. The weakness of Libyan civil society, combined with the movement's questionable tactical decision to engage primarily in demonstrations rather than diversifying their methods of civil resistance, made them particularly vulnerable to the brutality of Qaddafi's foreign mercenaries and other forces. In addition, unlike the well-coordinated nonviolent anti-Mubarak campaign in Egypt, the Libyan opposition's campaign was largely spontaneous. However, insisting that the Libyan opposition "tried nonviolence and it didn't work" because peaceful protesters were killed and it did not succeed in toppling the regime after a few days of public demonstrations makes little sense, particularly since the armed struggle took more than six months. And it does not mean there were no other alternatives but to launch a civil war.

The estimated 13,000 additional deaths since the launching of the armed struggle and the widespread destruction of key segments of the country's infrastructure are not the only problems related to resorting to military means to oust Qaddafi.

One problem with an armed overthrow of a dictator, as opposed to a largely nonviolent overthrow of a dictator, is that you have lots of armed individuals who are now convinced that power comes from guns. The martial values and the strict military hierarchy inherent in armed struggle can become accepted as the norm, particularly if the military leaders of the rebellion become the political leaders of the nation, as is usually the case. Indeed, history has shown that countries in which dictatorships are overthrown by force of arms are far more likely to suffer from instability and/or slide into another dictatorship. By contrast, dictatorships overthrown in largely nonviolent insurrections almost always evolve into democracies within a few years.

Despite the large-scale NATO intervention in support of the anti-Qaddafi uprising, this has been a widely supported popular revolution from a broad cross section of society. Qaddafi's brutal and arbitrary 42-year rule had alienated the overwhelming majority of the Libyan people and his overthrow is understandably a cause of celebration throughout the country. Though the breadth of the opposition makes a democratic transition more likely than in some violent overthrows of other dictatorships, the risk that an undemocratic faction may force its way into power is still a real possibility. And given that the United States, France and Britain have proved themselves quite willing to continue supporting dictatorships elsewhere in the Arab world, there is no guarantee that the NATO powers would find such a scenario objectionable as long as a new dictatorship was seen as friendly to the West.

Another problem with the way Qaddafi was overthrown is the way in which NATO so blatantly went beyond the mandate provided by the United Nations Security Council to simply protect the civilian population through the establishment of a no-fly zone. Instead, NATO became an active participant in a civil war, providing arms, intelligence, advisers and conducting over 7,500 air and missile strikes against military and government facilities. Such abuse of the UN system will create even more skepticism regarding the implementation of the responsibility to protect should there really be an incipient genocide somewhere where foreign intervention may indeed be the only realistic option.

Furthermore, while it is certainly possible that Qaddafi would have continued to refuse to step down in any case, the NATO intervention emboldened the rebels to refuse offers by the regime for a provisional cease-fire and direct negotiations, thereby eliminating even the possibility of ending the bloodshed months earlier.

Indeed, there is good reason to question whether NATO's role in Qaddafi's removal was motivated by humanitarian concerns in the first place. For example, NATO intervention was initiated during the height of the savage repression of the nonviolent pro-democracy struggle in the Western-backed kingdom of Bahrain, yet US and British support for that autocratic Arab monarchy has continued as the hope for bringing freedom to that island nation was brutally crushed. And given the overwhelming bipartisan support in the United States for Israeli military campaigns in 2006 and 2008-09 which, while only lasting a few weeks, succeeded in slaughtering more than 1,500 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians, Washington's humanitarian claims for the Libyan intervention ring particularly hollow.

It's true that some of the leftist critiques of the NATO campaign were rather specious. For example, this was not simply a war for oil. Qaddafi had long ago opened his oil fields to the West, with Occidental, BP and ENI among the biggest beneficiaries. Relations between Big Oil and the Libyan regime were doing just fine and the NATO-backed war was highly disruptive to their interests.

Similarly, Libya under Qaddafi was hardly a progressive alternative to the right-wing Arab rulers favored by the West. Despite some impressive socialist initiatives early in Qaddafi's reign, which led Libya to impressive gains in health care, education, housing, and other needs, the past two decades had witnessed increased corruption, regional and tribal favoritism, capricious investment policies, an increasingly predatory bureaucracy and a degree of poverty and inadequate infrastructure inexcusable for a country of such vast potential wealth.

However, given the strong role of NATO in the uprising and the close ties developed with the military leaders of the revolution, it would be naïve to assume that the United States and other countries in the coalition won't try to assert their influence in the direction of post-Qaddafi Libya. One of the problems of armed revolutionary struggle compared to unarmed revolutionary struggle is the dependence upon foreign supporters, which can then be leveraged after victory. Given the debt and ongoing dependency some of the rebel leaders have developed with NATO countries in recent months, it would similarly be naïve to think that some of them wouldn't be willing to let this happen.

In summary, while Qaddafi's ouster is cause for celebration, it is critical that it not be interpreted as a vindication of Western military interventionism. Not only will the military side of the victory likely leave a problematic legacy, we should not deny agency to the many thousands of Libyans across regions, tribes and ideologies, who ultimately made victory possible through their refusal to continue their cooperation with an oppressive and illegitimate regime. It is ultimately a victory of the Libyan people. And they alone should determine their country's future.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Betting the farm against warming, Guess who loves Cheney's book,0,879690.story


Betting the farm against warming

Global warming is extracting real costs, even in states where the governors are in denial.


By Eugene Linden

Los Angeles Times: August 28, 2011


Leon Trotsky is reputed to have quipped, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you." Substitute the words "climate change" for "war" and the quote is perfectly suited for the governors of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, all of whom have ridiculed or dismissed the threat of climate change even as their states suffer record-breaking heat and drought.

In his book, "Fed Up!," Texas governor and presidential aspirant Rick Perry derided global warming as a "phony mess," a sentiment he has expanded on in recent campaign appearances. Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico, has gone on record as doubting that humans influence climate, and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma dismissed research on climate change as a waste of time. Her solution to the extraordinary drought: Pray for rain (an approach also endorsed by Perry).

Although they may dismiss climate change, a changing climate imposes costs on their states and the rest of us as well.

In Texas, the unremitting heat has been straining the capacity of the electric grid, killing crops and livestock, and threatening water supplies. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the grid's governing body, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, bases its forecasts on the average demand over the previous 10 years. In a world without the threat of global warming, this is an entirely reasonable approach. But what if climate change makes the past an unreliable guide to the future? Then Texas is left with the present situation, in which the grid operator is forced to procure power in a tight market where wholesale prices have skyrocketed to 60 times normal.

Grid problems in Texas are but one pixel in a vast panorama of weather-related costs. In 2010, extreme drought in Russia and floods in Australia contributed to a doubling of grain prices. This year, floods from the Dakotas to Louisiana, and drought in the American Southwest and parts of Europe, have kept grain prices high.

The floods in Australia also contributed to a rise in steel prices in 2010 by closing Brisbane's port and interrupting the shipment of iron ore. The Mississippi floods this spring affected the delivery by barge of materials ranging from grain to such basic manufacturing chemicals as caustic soda and cumene. This year may surpass the 2008 record of $9-billion-plus weather-related disasters, and it probably will be the costliest in U.S. history in terms of tornado damage. Add it all up — well, you can't because, as in the case of the Mississippi floods, it's hard to pry apart weather-related damage from the compounding effect of dunderheaded human actions such as walling off the river from its natural flood plain.

Politicians who dismiss the risk of climate change like to talk about the uncertainties of the science. And, at least in one sense, they're right. It's impossible to assert that global warming contributed X amount of damage to this year's floods, much less finger climate change as a precise component of the extraordinary violence of this spring's tornadoes. The best climate science can say is that a warming globe provides a nurturing context for more intense storms and weather extremes. Scientists can offer only scenarios, rather than a script, as to how that will play out.

Richard Seager of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory labs offered one such scenario in a much-discussed paper in the journal Science. It postulated that a warming globe would shift upper-atmosphere circulatory patterns and lead to "perpetual drought" in the American Southwest and other subtropical regions around the world.

Given that events on the ground have been playing out in a way that supports Seager's hypothesis, one would think, for instance, that planners for electrical grids and other sectors likely to be affected would stress-test their models for situations in which prolonged heat and drought became more frequent events. Via email, Seager told me that, indeed, the study had prompted concerned government officials to contact him. But how likely is any follow-up action if the very highest elected officials in the affected states dismiss the threat with scorn?

Though there have yet to be political costs to adopting an anti-scientific posture on the threat of climate change, the real economic costs of mispricing this risk have caught the attention of a good segment of the business community, from commodity traders to insurers. Reinsurers in particular (companies that insure the insurers against catastrophe) see risks on a global scale and have the data that allow them to sort out local effects from global trends. Insurers also are the best equipped to price those risks — when politicians let them.

For instance, increased hurricane risk in Florida caught the attention of insurers and reinsurers in the 1990s, even as people flocked to the coast to live. Responding to the perceived threat, insurers tried to raise rates, but a succession of Florida governors stymied these increases, causing many insurers to abandon the market and the state to form an insurance pool to provide protection for homeowners. Rick Scott, the new governor, remarked on the record that he does not believe in climate change, which means Florida's taxpayers — and the rest of us, if a major disaster strikes — have joined him in making a bet that global warming is a myth.

In the states governed by climate-change deniers — and in the nation as a whole, where we are doing too little to address the threat of a warming globe — nature seems to be calling that bet.

Eugene Linden is the author of "The Winds of Change: Climate, Weather, and the Destruction of Civilizations," among other books. In 2005, he helped edit "Climate Change Futures: Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions," a project undertaken by Harvard Medical School and sponsored by the United Nations Development Program and Swiss Re, a worldwide reinsurer.

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

* * *


Cheney’s Book Features Foreword by Satan

‘Couldn’t Put it Down,’ Says Prince of Darkness

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report) – Publishing circles were abuzz today with the news that the new memoir by former Vice President Dick Cheney features a foreword by an unusual contributor: Satan.

In his introduction, the Prince of Darkness said he rarely reads political memoirs but made an exception in the case of Mr. Cheney “because we had worked so closely together in the past.”

When he began to read the Cheney manuscript, however, the Lord of Misrule said he was “surprised” by what he found.

“Quite honestly, I couldn’t put it down,” Satan wrote.  “It was almost like a book I would have written myself.”

In what could be construed as minor criticism of the book, Satan admitted he was “miffed” that Mr. Cheney took total credit for the idea of invading Iraq, but added, “We were such close collaborators at the time, it may be hard for Dick to remember whose idea was whose – half the time we were finishing each other’s sentences.”

While Satan said he is unlikely to make a habit of writing introductions to books, he said that he could foresee making another exception in the future: “I’ve heard Rupert Murdoch is working on his memoir.”

Elsewhere, after Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) said God created last week’s earthquake and hurricane to punish America, God issued this rebuttal: “Actually, that’s why I created Michele Bachmann.”

THIS JUST IN: Today Amazon slashed the price of Andy Borowitz’s new book, The Fifty Funniest American Writers, by 43%.  Lock in this amazing price by pre-ordering your copy today.

Learn more about the book here.

Get the Borowitz Report delivered to your inbox for free here.


DN Interviews Bill McKibben: Will Hurricane Irene Be a Wake-Up Call about Climate Change?

This is one to read carefully, save and pass on to others.  Today’s New York Times has excellent coverage of the damage; all of which reifies McKibben’s understanding and passionate plea.




Bill McKibben: Will Hurricane Irene Be a Wake-Up Call about Climate Change?


Democracy Now

August 29, 2011

Amy Goodman: Hurricane Irene received a massive amount of media coverage, but television reports made little or no reference to the role global warming played in the storm. We speak with someone with his eye on climate change and its impact. "We’ve had not only this extraordinary flooding, but on the same day that Hurricane Irene was coming down, Houston set its all-time temperature record, 109 degrees," says Bill McKibben, co-founder and director of "We’re in a new situation." McKibben is among hundreds of people arrested last week during ongoing sit-ins outside the White House, protesting the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. On Friday, the U.S. State Department’s final environmental review of the proposed pipeline found that the project will have "limited adverse environmental impacts." Protesters will begin their second week of sit-ins today, and continue to demand President Obama veto approval for the pipeline. "There’s never been a purer test of whether  we’re prepared to stand up to climate change or not," says McKibben.

While they talked about Hurricane Irene, what about global warming?

NBC ACTION NEWS: People up and down the East Coast are preparing for the worst, as Hurricane Irene approaches. This morning, President Obama announced all indications point to this being a historic hurricane.

SCOTT PELLEY: Hurricane Irene is moving in, and people along the East Coast are moving out. The first watches and warnings went up today for what could be the most powerful hurricane to hit the East Coast in seven years.

ANTHONY MASON: This is a CBS News hurricane update. I’m Anthony Mason. Irene is nearing Norfolk, Virginia, with hurricane force winds and dumping torrential rains from the Carolinas to New Jersey.

JIM SCIUTTO: The hurricane is still several hours away from landfall here, but we’re already feeling the strength of the storm, the winds gusting about 50 miles an hour. There are times when you really have to hold on here.

ALI VELSHI: CNN New York City, which has a lot of those people, is prepping for a direct hit by Hurricane Irene. Don’t know whether it will happen or not, but they are preparing for it, Mayor Michael Bloomberg deciding today whether or not to evacuate low-lying areas of the city.

WOLF BLITZER: In New York City, five New York City hospitals now under evacuation, along with 370,000 people living in some of the low-lying areas of New York City. The Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is warning residents to take this unprecedented order to leave seriously.

AMY GOODMAN: Wall-to-wall coverage of Hurricane Irene. And yet, who talked about global warming? One person that has made this a central tenet of his work is Bill McKibben, a Vermont native, co-founder and director of He’s joining us now from Washington, D.C., author of the book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, among hundreds of people that are being arrested during ongoing sit-ins outside the White House protesting the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. On Friday, the State Department’s final environmental review of the proposed pipeline found the project will have "limited adverse environmental impacts" as it carries oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Bill, we welcome you to Democracy Now! As you listen to your governor, Governor Shumlin in Vermont, describe your state, where you aren’t right now, your thoughts in a state that actually a climate cabinet the Governor has appointed to look at this issue?

BILL McKIBBEN: Hey, Amy. It was very good to hear Governor Shumlin. And, of course, it’s unbelievably hard not to be home. My town is taking a beating. The town next door, East Middlebury, was apparently evacuated last night. All the roads connecting up to my town are cut off. It’s killing me not to be there. And I’d be there in a flash, except that I think the work we’re doing here in Washington right now is key towards trying to rein this kind of thing in in the future.

AMY GOODMAN: We did not hear those words, "global warming." I watched a lot of the media coverage this weekend. What about this? I mean, to say the least, there was time in the endless coverage.

BILL McKIBBEN: Yes. First of all, here’s what’s going on. I mean, I wrote the first book about climate change 22 years ago. And I should begin by saying, there’s very little satisfaction in saying, "I told you so." We knew then enough to predict exactly what was going to happen. And climatologists, 22 years ago, were saying, this is what to look forward to.

The basic physical property here is that warm air holds more water vapor than cold. You can get stronger storms. The atmosphere is about four percent wetter than it was 40 years ago. That’s an enormous change in a basic physical parameter. It loads the dice for both drought, as you’re getting increased evaporation, and deluge and downpour and flood. And that’s what we’re seeing all over the planet. You remember the pictures from Pakistan this time last summer, with a quarter of the country underwater. You remember the pictures from Queensland in Australia. You remember the pictures earlier this year in the Missouri and Mississippi River Basins, which saw more water go down them than ever before. As Governor Shumlin said, the Northeast was hard hit earlier this year. We had absolutely record flood levels at Lake Champlain, where there are records dating back more than 250 years. Now we’re seeing, as this water drops across the Northeast, rivers and streams at levels that we have literally never seen them before. That’s what it means when a 250-year-old covered bridge goes washing down the Quechee River.

It’s, on the one hand, entirely predictable and, on the other hand, the greatest sort of series wake-up calls that we could possibly be getting. So far this year—it’s only August—so far this year, the U.S. has suffered more billion-dollar weather-related disasters than any year in history. Last year was the warmest year in the planet’s history, Arctic ices at record low levels—on and on and on, which is why, you know, I mean, we’re going to have to do two things.

One, as Governor Shumlin says, is figure out how we protect places against trouble that we can no longer completely prevent. We’ve already raised the temperature of the planet a degree. That’s not going away. The scientists tell us there’s another degree in the pipeline that’s coming at us from carbon we’ve already emitted. So that’s job one.

Job two, equally important, is stop pouring more into the atmosphere. And that’s why I think that message is getting through. I was worried that Hurricane Irene would slow down these protests that have been building in Washington, that last week were the biggest civil disobedience protests in—at least in a generation in the environmental movement. I need not have worried. I was at the church last night where people were preparing for this morning’s arrests, by far the biggest crowd yet, over a hundred people who will be arrested, along with Jim Hansen, the NASA scientist, who said, if we start burning these unconventional fuel sources in a big way, then it’s essentially game over for the climate. Game over. I mean, right now, game on.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain. In the last few weeks, we’ve experienced earthquakes, which many scientists say are not related to climate change—

BILL McKIBBEN: Not related.

AMY GOODMAN: —and I’d like to get your view on that.


AMY GOODMAN: And then we move right to this unprecedented hurricanes. And again, for people to understand how hurricanes work, and why, for example, Vermont is seeing floods reminiscent of 1927, a number bridges—

BILL McKIBBEN: Floods worse than 1927, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: And so many of—so much was wiped out at that time, that a lot of time you can trace 80 years to what we saw in Vermont in 1930, what was it, 1938 and 1927—


AMY GOODMAN: —the great hurricane, these two great disasters.

BILL McKIBBEN: We’re in unprecedented, off-the-charts territory. It’s not that there haven’t been disasters before. There have always been disasters. Nature is relatively random in that sense. But now we’re seeing two things. One, disasters that go beyond the bounds of what we’ve ever seen before. Because there’s more water in the atmosphere, it’s possible to have bigger floods, record snowfalls when it’s cold, record rainstorms. And we’re seeing more of them in conjunction. I mean, think about what’s been going on just on this continent this year. We’re about one-and-a-half percent of the surface area of the globe in the continental U.S., and we’ve had not only this extraordinary flooding, but on the same day that Hurricane Irene was coming down, Houston set its all-time temperature record, 109 degrees. We’re in the middle of the worst drought ever recorded in Texas. And, you know, Governor Perry’s prayers for rain have so far been unanswered, maybe because he’s done so little to ameliorate the flow of carbon into the atmosphere. We’re in a new situation.

It doesn’t mean that everything that happens is caused by global warming. Hurricanes aren’t caused by global warming. They’re caused by tropical waves drifting off the coast of Africa and encountering the earth’s spin, you know, that can begin to set them into rotation. But they are made more powerful. As this hurricane rode up the coast, one of the reasons it was able to pick up so much water, that it’s now dumping on Vermont and Quebec, is that sea surface temperatures were at an all-time record high off New York and New Jersey. Never—the last two years have seen the highest temperatures ever recorded in those waters. When you amp up a system—and so far we’ve added about three-quarters of a watt per square meter of the earth’s surface extra solar energy to the planet by burning coal and gas and oil—when you do that, you can expect more dynamic, more amped-up, more violent weather. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing.

Earthquakes, with rare exceptions, are not climate-related. There is reason to think that in certain localized places, earthquakes are now resulting from some of this kind of fracking, attempts to get oil and gas out of the ground through unconventional means. And in Greenland, there’s increased seismicity as that huge sheet of ice begins to melt and unweight the land beneath it. But for the most part, volcanic and tectonic forces are still beyond the reach of human beings.

Everything else bears our thumbprint now, and the only way to deal with that is to quickly get off coal and gas and oil. We’re not, at the moment, in our Congress, you know, prepared to do that. That’s why it’s good news that, at the very least, President Obama can keep us from getting in any deeper. Without even asking Congress, he can veto this Keystone pipeline thing and prevent us from taking the next step into the brave new world of unconventional energy.

AMY GOODMAN: Bill McKibben, finally, the State Department ruling, why so many are being arrested in Washington, D.C., the XL pipeline?

BILL McKIBBEN: Yeah. This pipeline goes to the second-largest pool of carbon on the planet, the tar sands of Alberta. The State Department, which is—was responsible for doing an environmental impact statement, released its statement last Friday. It was completely expected. What it—it has hundreds of pages of detailed accounting of exactly how many leaks per kilometer of pipeline are acceptable, and on and on and on. What it doesn’t talk about at all, does not even mention, are the carbon implications of opening up a Saudi-sized pool of oil. That oil has to stay in the ground. It’s as important that it stay in the ground as it is that Brazil guard its rainforest.

That’s why hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people have been arrested here. This protest at has taken off in ways that we couldn’t have expected when we started a week ago. It’s turned into something very, very large. All the environmental groups said last week that this was now the premier challenge on the environment for President Obama between now and the election. And they said, we expect nothing less than his veto, which he can do without even asking Congress. There’s never been a purer test of whether or not we’re prepared to stand up to climate change or not. I’m going back down to the White House this morning. There will be more than a hundred people arrested, on and on and on for the next few days, right through September 3rd. We hope that people will join us at

This has, sort of unexpectedly, spiked into the biggest thing of its kind in a very long time, and that should be very good news. Part of the way that we react to traumas like Irene is to figure out how to prevent them from happening. I’m eating away at me not to be in Vermont, and I, you know, can’t tell you how worried I am for my friends and family up there. But the way that I’m going to show it today is being back in front of the White House and doing what we can to head this kind of thing off.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you very much for being with us, Bill McKibben, in Washington, D.C., right now, a part of the mass protests around the XL Keystone pipeline. He was arrested last weekend. Hundreds have been arrested, as we speak. This is Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. When we come back, we’re going to look at beach erosion and what it means. This is Democracy Now! Back in a minute.