Escalating

The big story, of course, is North Korea. As The Washington Post’s Joby Warrick, Ellen Nakashima and Anna Fifield report, North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say. And, after North Korea threatened “physical action” in response to U.N. sanctions, Trump Threatens ‘Fire and Fury’ Against North Korea if It Endangers U.S., as Peter Baker and Choe Sang-Hun of The New York Times report. In other words, “Escalating toward possible nuclear war--from his family golf course,” tweets Eric Lipton. From Michael Fullilove, a “Reminder: the senior State Dept Asia posts remain unfilled. No Asia hands of note appointed to this administration.” 

Says Kurt Andersen, “‘Fire and fury like the world has never seen’ is a very North Korean phrase. First glance, actually thought it was.” In fact, as NYTimesPolitics tweets, “North Korea said it was considering a strike that would create ‘an enveloping fire’ around Guam.” Yes, “Warning of strike on Guam, North Korea tells Trump that the US isn’t the only one that can threaten preemptive war,” tweets Peter Baker. More on that breaking news comes from CNBC, North Korea seriously considering strike on Guam: Reports, citing state media.

For her piece, Trump’s Harsh Language on North Korea Has Little Precedent, Experts Say, Julie Davis of The New York Times interviewed presidential historian Michael Beschloss, who said, ““It’s hard to think of a president using more extreme language during crisis like this before.” To which Harris Meyer says, “Prof. Beschloss, let's cut the equivocation, this is scary.”

Although keep in mind, God gives Trump authority to take out North Korea's Kim Jong Un, evangelical adviser says. That’s from The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey. And so today, Trump warns that U.S. nuclear arsenal is ‘more powerful than ever before’, report The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and John Wagner, in what Rucker tweets is “The latest from New Jersey.”

For a “Cool look at Trump using rhetoric, then accidentally using those same words to maybe, possibly start a nuclear war,” Byron Hackett links to the piece from Daniel Dale at The Toronto Star, Did Donald Trump accidentally threaten nuclear war out of a penchant for hyperbole?: Analysis. Tweets Jon Passantino, “Kim Jong Un is now confronted with the dilemma that has vexed Americans: whether or not to take Trump literally.”

Word bingo

In “Timely reporting from @albertonardelli,” as Stuart Millar tweets, BuzzFeed’s Alberto Nardelli explains, This Is Why European Diplomats Think Donald Trump Is Dangerous. Among other things, we learn, “A small group of diplomats plays Trump bingo at international events while Trump is speaking,” says Matt Berman. Yes, “the “word bingo’ anecdote from this piece is, uh, remarkable,” notes Anne Helen Petersen. “Also, European diplomats stand around making fun of Trump so there’s that. Great story by @AlbertoNardelli,” tweets Miriam Elder. Bottom line: “US allies regard Trump as erratic and limited,” tweets Lisa Tozzi

In the midst of all of this, Trump hits new polling low as base shrinks, reports POLITICO’s Steven Shepard. Or as Timothy Noah puts it, “Extremely thorough review of the melting glacier that is Trump's base.” Tweets Kenneth Vogel, “Just 18% of voters approve strongly of the job Trump is doing -- a new low -- per new @politico @MorningConsultpol.” Adds Greg Sargent, “Yes, Trump's base is shrinking. Convincing evidence from @POLITICO_Steve. Which is why Trump is doing this.”

Not to worry, though, because Trump gets a folder full of positive news about himself twice a day (197,000+ shares), according to the latest from Alex Thompson at Vice. He writes, “One White House official said the only feedback the White House communications shop, which prepares the folder, has ever gotten in all these months is: ‘It needs to be more fucking positive.’” On a related note, Scott Bixby tweets, “FOR HIRE: An intern to prepare two 25-page dossiers per day telling me how great I am.”

So where does the chief of staff stand in all of this? In their new piece for The Washington Post, Robert Costa and Philip Rucker report that John Kelly is an apolitical force in a White House divided by ideology. Tweets Costa, “No one should expect Kelly, who enforced travel ban, to moderate Pres. Trump. So far, a neutral & terse force in WH.” Tweets Dan Lamothe, “Numerous retired generals are concerned about politicization in their ranks. This may reassure some about Kelly.”

Not good

Breaking news this morning is that, in late July, the FBI conducted predawn raid of former Trump campaign chairman Manafort’s home (23,500+ shares), as Carol Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind Helderman of The Washington Post report. “Predawn, that's... what's the word?... oh yeah: ‘not good,’” tweets John Patrick Pullen.

Meanwhile, USA Today’s David Jackson and Kevin Johnson are reporting that Trump has exchanged private messages with Russia special counsel Robert Mueller, noting that Trump's chief counsel John Dowd said that “he has passed along the president's messages expressing ‘appreciation and greetings.’” Ray Locker asks, “Who really believes that @realDonaldTrump thinks Bob Mueller is doing a great job?” Marcy Wheeler points out, “Trump's love notes to Mueller got the attention but this is an interesting non-answer,” referring the fact that Dowd “declined to comment on any request for documents related to the president.”

For his part, Mueller, several team members gave up million-dollar jobs to work on special counsel investigation, reports Matt Zapotosky of The Washington Post. Says Matthew Campbell, “One way to gauge seriousness of Mueller investigation: the cash his team is leaving behind to join.”

The under-news

Take a look at this “Massive data crunch on partisan news sites, FB, and making cash from political anger,” as John Cassidy tweets. BuzzFeed’s Jeremy Singer-Vine, Jane Lytvynenko, Craig Silverman and Lam Thuy Vo go Inside The Partisan Fight For Your News Feed. Tweets Silverman, “New deep dive from us: How ideologues and opportunists built a massive universe of partisan news on the web and FB.” Jack Shafer calls it “An essential story from @BuzzFeed about the under-news produced for right and left audiences.” Notes Christine Schmidt, “If you're not paying for something, you're the product.”

“Read this->” says Cecilia Kang, who links to When Silicon Valley Took Over the 'New Republic', by Franklin Foer in The Atlantic. Tweets Foer, “An excerpt from my forthcoming book World Without Mind--this is from a chapter on my sad end at the New Republic.” “About to talk to Columbia students re social media when @FranklinFoer on Silicon Valley ruining journalism dropped,” tweets Emily Bell. “Cathartic reading,” says Margarita Noriega.

This stings a little

“‘Reporters use these skills the least: Ability to coordinate two or more limbs’ OK don't be savage,” tweet Leigh Giangreco. A new Upshot piece in The New York Times asks What Is Your Opposite Job? “Now I know,” says Jed Kolko. “The opposite job of every job I've held or considered is ‘model’ so feeling good about life choices,” Laura Helmuth says. “In case journalists needed any more reassurance that we're unattractive,” says Kathryn Watson. “This stings a little,” says Ryan Teague Beckwith. “Ouch,” says Des Shoe.

“On the guy who wanted praise for loving his own wife and companies that make you think buying things is empowering,” as Nathalie Baptiste tweets, read “Empowering” my ass, from Gaby Del Valle of The Outline. Tweets Katie Drummond, “Today in ‘People who are smarter than me,’’ and Patrick Brusnahan says, “Very good amidst the whole ‘i love my curvy wife’-gate.”

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