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Photo: Italian Prime Minister Mateo Renzi (Palazzo Chigi)

Wasteful spending at the Pentagon (again) 6 MIN, 31 SEC

The Washington Post reports that the Pentagon buried an internal study documenting no less than $12 billion in wasteful spending. The Post says bureaucrats were trying to protect the military from new cuts in the Defense Budget. Mandy Smithberger is director of the Straus Military Reform Project on the nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight.

Guests:
Mandy Smithberger, Project on Government Oversight (@POGOBlog)

Is populism a threat to democracy? 33 MIN, 38 SEC

In the aftermath of the Cold War, the consensus of Western politics was that more countries would evolve into liberal democracies and stay that way. The European Union was seen as the model but, this week, Italy's centrist Prime Minister was driven from office -- hard on the heels of Brexit. Matteo Renzi announced his resignation after losing a referendum to restructure a famously chaotic government. There's right-wing nationalism in France and Germany -- and Donald Trump won by directly assaulting America's political establishment. We look at evidence that liberal democracies aren't as stable as they were previously cracked up to be.

Guests:
Sylvia Poggioli, National Public Radio (@spoggioli1)
Matteo Garavoglia, Brookings Institution (@brookingsinst)
Mark Blyth, Brown University (@MkBlyth)
Yascha Mounk, Harvard University / Slate (@Yascha_Mounk)

More:
Poggioli on Italy's failed referendum, European uncertainty ahead
Garavoglia on the international implications of Italy's referendum

Austerity

Mark Blyth

Fake news, real guns and a top Trump advisor 9 MIN, 26 SEC

"Pizzagate" and a top aide to Donald Trump.


Retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn arrives at Trump Tower in
New York to meet with President-elect Donald Trump, November 29, 2016.
(Mike Segar/Reuters)

A Washington pizza restaurant called Comet Ping Pong first received abusive messages, then death threats and, finally, a visit by an armed man who said he was there to protect children from sex-abuse and trafficking. He fired shots, but hit no one and submitted to arrest when it turned out the reports he’d seen were untrue. But the source of those rumors has been traced to reports on social media circulated by the son of a powerful advisor to Donald Trump, as Cecilia Kang reports in the New York Times.

Guests:
Cecilia Kang, New York Times (@ceciliakang)

More:
Chang on the fake news onslaught that targeted pizzeria as a nest of child-trafficking

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