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I've got 1,107 words for you this afternoon — a 4-minute read. To start...
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The consensus in Washington is increasingly clear: The security threat to the U.S. from Chinese firms is bigger than just Huawei.
Why it matters: If the administration views every Chinese company with suspicion, it could prolong the trade war and put the U.S. and China on a crash course toward a swift technological decoupling.
"The State Department and the White House and Congress are all saying it's not just Huawei, but all Chinese companies are part of China's military-civil fusion complex and are a national security threat."— Samm Sacks, a China expert at New America
Context: In a September speech, Christopher Ford, an assistant secretary at the State Department, warned not just of Huawei — the telecom giant sanctioned by the administration in May — but also "its siblings."
Driving the news: The NBA's fallout with China over a general manager's tweet regarding the Hong Kong protests has raised concerns about the Chinese Communist Party's ability to enforce censorship on U.S. soil.
Activision Blizzard, an American gaming company that counts the Chinese tech giant Tencent as an investor, was criticized for suspending a Hong Kong-based gamer who supported the protest movement.
Moderators at TikTok — the short-form video-sharing app that is habit-forming among U.S. kids — are instructed to censor videos that mention topics that bother the Chinese Communist Party, including Tiananmen Square and Tibetan independence, according to leaked documents viewed by the Guardian.
Chinese firms are also prompting concerns about data privacy.
All the while, Washington's rhetoric and policies have grown more hawkish.
But, but, but: A heavy-handed approach to Chinese firms has a host of consequences.
Outside a Target in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
A collision of forces — automation, e-commerce and stagnating wages — is squeezing retail jobs in the U.S.
Why it matters: With more than 15 million jobs, the retail industry is America's biggest employer. A hit to this sector would reverberate across the economy.
Driving the news: Led by Amazon, several big American retailers are raising their wages to around $15 an hour. But stores are slashing workers' hours, and robots are supplanting people.
Some jobs that have existed for decades — like taking inventory or cleaning aisles — are being automated away.
And retailers are adding part-time and temporary workers to staff the holiday rush as they cut hours for full-time employees.
The bottom line: "It's a much slower process to eliminate people than you might think," says J.P. Gownder, an expert on automation at Forrester. But in retail, "in the longer term and at scale, the economics favor automation."
The cities and towns where Walmart gobbles up more than half of all grocery sales are concentrated in the South and the middle of the country, illustrating a broader division in U.S. retail.
Why it matters: Retail has become one of the forces driving American inequality — and dividing us.
By the numbers:
The bottom line: No other grocer in American history has been so dominant.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo
UAW strikers in Bedford, Indiana. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
Some of the most famous worker strikes across history have drawn celebrity guests and performers.
So far, the United Auto Workers' GM strike — in which a preliminary deal was reached on Wednesday — has seen visits from activists and 2020 hopefuls alike, but no big-name musicians.
Thanks for reading!