The Takeaway

The Fall of Aleppo, American Interference, Science-for-Hire

December 12, 201646 min
Coming up on today's show: Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have retaken the city of Aleppo, and the Islamic State has captured the ancient city of Palmyra. Thousands have been killed in the battle to retake Aleppo, but hundreds of thousands have died in Syria since the civil war began. Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, examines this crisis and what's next.  Who will be left to deal with Syria in the new Trump Administration? President-elect Donald Trump made it official this morning by naming Exxon Mobil CEO and Chairman Rex Tillerson as his choice for secretary of state. But Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill are concerned about his nomination, according to Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich.  As U.S. lawmakers and officials respond to CIA intelligence that Russia deliberately interfered with the presidential election in order to get Donald Trump elected, we look back at the history of U.S. intervention in elections around the world with Tim Weiner, author of "Enemies: A History of the FBI" and "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA." After criticizing Boeing last week over high costs, Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday to blast the cost of F-35. Under Trump, will the U.S. curb aircraft spending, and what kind of resistance will he the administration see? Mark Cancian, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who previously oversaw Department of Defense acquisitions at the White House Office of Management and Budget, answers.  So-called "science-for-hire" firms fund studies that often end up in scientific journals to specifically influence people in industry and in courtrooms.  Myron Levin is the editor and founder of FairWarning, a nonprofit news organization that focuses on public health, safety, and environmental issues, co-wrote an article about one of the biggest of these science-for-hire firms. Accusations against Wells Fargo have expanded to Prudential. It appears that Prudential life insurance policies were sold fraudulently through Wells Fargo employees. Sheelah Kolhatkar, staff writer at The New Yorker, has the details.  The debate over speculation in the United States is as old as the formation of the United States. Some would argue risk-taking has helped define America. Others argue that unregulated speculation leads to financial chaos. UCLA Law Professor Stuart Banner's latest book, "Speculation: A History of the Fine Line between Gambling and Investing," tells vivid stories of episodes of explosion in the U.S. economy. 

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