Dec 8, 2019

Axios AM

Breaking: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler told CNN's "State of the Union" that he's considering an article of impeachment based on the Mueller report, calling it "part of a pattern" by President Trump that threatens the integrity of U.S. elections. (Video)

  • 🗞️The most-read N.Y. Times story last week covered President Trump's reaction to the hot-mic mocking of him by other world leaders, "Trump Abruptly Exits NATO Gathering After Embarrassing Video Emerges."
1 big thing: Automation is 2020's least understood issue

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Yu Haiyang/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images, Spencer Platt/Getty Images, and Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Automation is one of the big sleeper issues of the 2020 presidential campaign, Kaveh Waddell and Alison Snyder write as part of our "What Matters 2020" series.

  • Most candidates aren't focusing on it by name, even though it profoundly shapes key themes in the race — the economy, jobs, and friction between haves and have-nots.
  • And there's a lack of "original thinking" from the candidates, says MIT economist Daron Acemoglu.

Why it matters: "If we stay on the trajectory we're on currently, we're going to have greater income inequality, less social mobility, greater political unrest and greater income insecurity," said Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future.

The big picture: The effects of automation fit into a puzzle that includes trade policy. But while trade and China hog political attention, automation gets passed over, leaving a gaping hole in critical preparations for the future of work.

  • Estimates of coming American job loss to automation range wildly, from 10% to 47%. But even the most conservative calculations threaten millions of workers.
  • Technology could also create as many as 50 million new jobs by 2030.

Voters, too, may be underestimating the importance of automation. Instead, their views are largely a litmus test for their politics.

  • When Gallup and Northeastern University asked Americans to rate the seriousness of various threats to jobs earlier this year, 56% of Republicans said immigration is a major threat, compared to just 5% of Democrats.
  • 60% of Democrats said increased trade barriers are a major threat, versus 17% of Republicans.
  • Artificial intelligence, which underlies automation, was less important for both parties: 35% of Democrats and 34% of Republicans said AI was a major threat.

Go deeper: Read previous stories in this series, "What Matters 2020."

2. Saudi shooter said to watch mass-shooting videos at dinner party
Two victims of the Pensacola attack: Airman Mohammed "Mo" Sameh Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, from Coffee, Ala. Photos: AP

A Saudi officer, who fatally shot three sailors Friday inside a classroom at Naval Air Station Pensacola, hosted a dinner party earlier in the week where he and three others watched videos of mass shootings, a U.S. official told AP.

  • Investigators said the attacker — Mohammed Alshamrani, 21, who was killed by a sheriff's deputy — was a 2nd Lt. in the Royal Saudi Air Force, and a student naval flight officer in Pensacola.
  • Echoing earlier comments by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, President Trump said he'll review policies governing foreign military training in the U.S.

The U.S. official said one of the three students who attended the dinner party hosted by the attacker recorded video outside the classroom building while the shooting was taking place, AP continues.

  • Two other Saudi students watched from a car.

The Navy hailed the three victims as heroes:

  • Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, a recent Naval Academy graduate, alerted first responders to where the shooter was even after he had been shot several times. He "saved countless lives today with his own," his older brother, Adam Watson, wrote on Facebook. "He died a hero and we are beyond proud."
  • A second victim was Airman Mohammed "Mo" Sameh Haitham, 19, who joined the Navy after graduating from high school last year, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Haitham's mother, Evelyn Brady, herself a Navy veteran, said the commander of her son's school called her and told her Haitham had tried to stop the shooter. She said her son had "said he was going to get his flight jacket for Christmas."
  • The third was identified as Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, of Richmond Hill, Ga.
3. Joe Biden tonight on "Axios on HBO"
Photo: "Axios on HBO"

My interview with Joe Biden in Storm Lake, Iowa, will debut tonight on "Axios on HBO" at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT.

4. Pic du jour
Photo: Kevin Wolf/AP

Honorees of the 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors, to be held today (and televised next Sunday) pose after a dinner at the State Department last night.

  • Front row, from left: Michael Tilson Thomas, Linda Ronstadt, Sally Field, and Joan Ganz Cooney and Dr. Lloyd Morrisett ("Sesame Street" co-founders).
  • Back row, from left: Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson (all Earth Wind & Fire), and "Sesame Street" characters (Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, Elmo).
5. ☠️ 🎮 Warning: Children can be prey as they play online

"Criminals are making virtual connections with children through gaming and social media platforms," the N.Y. Times' Nellie Bowles and Michael Keller report:

  • "After making contact, predators often build on the relationship by sending gifts or gaming currency, such as V-Bucks in Fortnite."

What to watch for: "The criminals strike up a conversation and gradually build trust. Often they pose as children, confiding in their victims with false stories of hardship or self-loathing."

  • "Their goal, typically, is to dupe children into sharing sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves — which they use as blackmail for more imagery, much of it increasingly graphic and violent."
  • "Parents aren’t telling their kids at 6 years old, 'Keep your clothes on online,'" said Ben Halpert, who runs Savvy Cyber Kids. "But they need to."

Worthy of your time.

6. Exclusive pic: Scholar's freedom after three years in Iran
Photo: Courtesy State Department

Xiyue Wang, a Princeton scholar freed Saturday after being held for three years in Iran on widely criticized espionage charges, holds a card drawn for him by the son of Brian Hook, the State Department's special representative for Iran.

7. 📷 New feature: Photos of the year
Photo: Ricardo Mazalan/AP

Competitors ride motorcycles across desert dunes during the Dakar Rally in Peru on Jan. 16.

8. 1 fun thing: Last night's best lines
As Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel laughs at one of his own jokes during a 2015 news conference. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel brought down the house at last night's Gridiron Club winter dinner. Some excerpts for Axios readers:

  • "I want to welcome all the distinguished members of the press, elected officials and members of the Deep State."
  • "Here we are on December 7th — the day the president reminds us that Ukraine bombed Pearl Harbor."
  • "My name is Rahm Emanuel — or, as my mother calls me, the doctor’s other brother."
  • "But I’m a new, mellow Rahm. I care about people’s feelings. Before I send anyone a dead fish wrapped in a newspaper, I first ask: Are you vegan?"
  • "To me, Chicago is a lot like the White House: Both have a large, vibrant Russian community."

And Emanuel on 2020:

  • "I just turned 60. Which is really an awkward age — 30 years too old to be a wunderkind, and 20 years too young to be running for president."
  • "You know what Mike Bloomberg calls Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang? The working poor."
  • "My old boss President Obama isn’t here. He’s busy with his huge, huge Netflix deal. The problem with Netflix is no one really knows the numbers, they change constantly, and never really get revealed. It’s like Medicare for All."

Turning serious, Emanuel concluded: "And even though more than half of the reporters in this room have been on the other end of one of my profanity-laced tirades, I am proud and honored to stand with you on behalf of the free press."

  • "And anyone who wants to destroy that precious freedom — well, as we like to say in Chicago, they can go f--- themselves."

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