This Week on Between The Lines

Posted Dec. 30, 2015 for week ending Jan. 8, 2016

lede

"The (Spanish) people want to restructure the economy to make it more competitive internationally, but not by pushing wages down – which has been the actual strategy of the so-called internal devaluation strategy of the European authorities, which is to ... become competitive with austerity, budget-tightening and shrinking the economy by driving wages, labor costs and prices down."

– Mark Weisbrot, co-director, Center for Economic and Policy Research, on why Spain's new leftist anti-austerity party, Podemos, won significant Parliamentary representation with their platform of stimulating the economy by addressing unemployment and wealth inequality by increasing social welfare spending and taxation on the wealthy



Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

  MP3  64 kb/s   podcast  Podcast


Spanish Voters Reject Austerity, Boost New Podemos Party

MP3 Interview with Mark Weisbrot, co-director, Center for Economic and Policy Research, conducted by Scott Harris

spain

In Spain's Dec. 20 parliamentary election, voters sent a clear message to the nation's two major political parties, rejecting the policies of the past as they signaled their yearning for new leadership. While the ruling conservative People's Party won the most seats, followed by the opposition Socialist Party, the surprise third place finish of the new anti-austerity leftist Podemos party upended Spain's conventional politics. Another new party, the business-friendly Ciudadanos, or Citizens party, came in fourth place.  Story continues

Massive Methane Gas Leak in Southern California is Both a Public Health and Climate Disaster

MP3 Interview with Daniel Jacobson, legislative director with the group Environment California, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

methane

On Oct. 23rd, a large plume of methane gas began leaking from a ruptured well pipe owned by Southern California Gas Company in the upscale community of Porter Ranch, 23 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The leak is fed by the second largest gas storage site in the U.S. at Aliso Canyon that serves 21 million customers. Although methane itself is invisible and odorless, chemicals are added to the gas to give it a tell-tale smell so it can be detected in the case of leaks. Viewed through an infrared camera, the gas can be seen pouring into the atmosphere. Many area residents have been suffering from nausea, headaches, vomiting and other ills since the leak began. The company is paying for hotel stays for thousands of residents while it works to fix what has become both a huge public health and climate disaster.  Story continues

Study Finds Watching Fox News Reinforces Racist Views

MP3 Interview with Sean Elwee, research associate at Demos and Jason McDaniel, assistant professor of political science at San Francisco State University, conducted by Scott Harris

foxnews

Ever since Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 the Republican party has prosecuted a fierce political smear campaign against America’s first black head of state. The tea party movement that emerged after the 2008 election attracted many activists that espoused blatantly racist views – bigoted messaging clearly seen and heard in their crude rhetoric and on their protest signs and websites. Accusations that Barack Obama wasn’t an American citizen and charges that he lied about his Christian religion – and was actually a Muslim, were all designed to undermine and discredit the new president as he entered the White House.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

MP3  MP3

Compiled by Bob Nixon

 

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