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Trump’s ‘Remarkable Escalation of Military Rhetoric’

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Trump’s ‘Remarkable Escalation of Military Rhetoric’

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Fire and fury like the world has never seen” –> On Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned that the mainland US would be “catapulted into an unimaginable sea of fire” if US aggression continued, and yesterday Donald Trump matched his bluster following reports that the DPRK had developed nukes small enough to fit in a missile warhead. The New York Times’ Julie Hirschfeld Davis talked to a bunch of experts, and concluded that Trump’s threats represented “a remarkable escalation of military rhetoric with little precedent in the modern era.”

Later, North Korean state-run media reported that their military is considering a strike on Guam, home to the Andersen Air Force Base. At The Atlantic, Krishnadev Calamur explains the island’s strategic and historic significance — and why threatening it may be a serious escalation in this standoff.

Fortunately, Will Ripley reports for CNN that “a Canadian government envoy, Daniel Jean, national security adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and his party arrived in Pyongyang” on Tuesday evening.

At Foreign Policy, David Lai and Alyssa Blair argue that after “25 years trying to stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons,” learning to live with a nuclear North Korea may be the only way to de-escalate the situation and ultimately get them to give up their nukes through diplomatic means.

Finally, a piece that was published at The Nation a couple of weeks ago seems worth revisiting today: Mark Hertsgaard made a commonsense appeal to revoke Trump’s “unilateral, unstoppable authority to launch a nuclear attack.”

Former Secretary of Defense William Perry weighed in on Twitter

As did the host of the Global Dispatches podcast…

And ABC’s social media editor captured the zeitgeist on Twitter…

Kim Jong Un may also get these –> Twice a day, according to Alex Thompson at Vice, aides give Donald Trump a folder “filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.” For the record: CNN Money reports that White House officials who spoke to Dylan Byers disputed Vice’s characterization of the packets, saying they were not limited to positive coverage. (h/t Reliable Sources)

Your rights: Use ’em or lose ’em –> The Trump regime “redoubled its support on Monday for efforts to remove people from voter registration rolls, siding with the state of Ohio in a case that could allow states to cancel registrations for voters who fail to cast a ballot over the course of several elections,” according to Ari Berman at Mother Jones.

How to Win Rural Voters Without Losing Liberal Values” –> “A century ago,” writes Martin Longman at Washington Monthly, “urban progressives and agrarian populists united around a politics of taking on corporate monopolies. The Democratic Party’s future may depend on doing the same today.”

Three years later…  –> Yahoo News’ Caitlin Dickson visited Ferguson, Missouri, three years after police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, and found “a city still traumatized by its turn in the national spotlight,” and where racial divides are still raw, but also a community where some residents are “hopeful that new police leadership will heal its wounds.”

Maybe America is already great –> The director of the Minnesota mosque targeted in a terrorist attack last weekend is thanking the local community for its “outpouring of support,” reports Al Jazeera. Since the bombing, the center has received over $120,000 in donations.

On the other hand, Sebastian Gorka defended the Trump regime’s silence about the attack by telling MSNBC that the bombing could be a “fake hate crime” perpetrated by the left to make people like him look bad. Charlie May has more on that at Salon.

Worth 1,000 words  –> The New York Times’ David Leonhardt says that the graphic below, which shows real income growth since 1980 for each slice of the economic distribution, “captures the rise in inequality better than any other chart or simple summary that I’ve seen.” Click the link to see some visualizations going back even further.

Courtesy of The New York Times.

Strange bedfellows –> Russian bots and trolls — and at least one prominent Russian nationalist — have joined forces with the “alt-right” in its campaign against national security adviser H.R. McMaster, according to Natasha Bertrand at Business Insider.

Does fact-checking work? –> While many people believe that the constant stream of media fact-checks on the president’s statements tend to “fall on deaf ears,” as CNN’s Brian Stelter puts it, he thinks it’s had a cumulative effect that’s increasingly evident in public opinion surveys.

The new heavyweight champion of the (prehistoric) world –> It’s Patagotitan mayorum, a newly identified, 120-foot-long, 76-ton “plant-eating behemoth” that made “the scary Tyrannosaurus rex look like a munchkin,” according to the AP’s Seth Borenstein.

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.

We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email.