North Korea Kabuki

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I, for one, am glad to see the Bush administration finally holding bilateral talks with North Korea, even if they’re just “discussions” and not actual “negotiations.” In the good old days, this was known as the “John Kerry plan,” and in those good old days it was the only feasible idea anyone had for dealing with Kim Jong Il and his budding nuclear program. Why the White House decided to wait years and years before facing the inevitable and pursuing this route is anyone’s guess.

More annoyingly, though, there’s so much smoke being thrown out in the article that it’s all one can do to grope around and try to figure out what’s going on. We hear that “Condoleeza Rice has repeatedly assured the North that the United States accepts North Korean sovereignty and is not seeking to invade it,” but in the intricate language of this particular chess game, that’s not quite true: as far as I know, the United States still has not uttered the three magic words Kim Jong Il wants to hear—“no hostile intent.” Then you have a Chinese “policy commentator” suggesting that China and North Korea don’t “get along well,” and Chinese involvement in negotiations would prove useless, which could be true, or it could be an excuse for China to continue to do nothing. And only in the very last sentence do we learn that, oh yes, North Korea may well have returned to the negotiating table because their neighbor to the south offered up 2,000 megawatts of electricity as a bribe. That would seem rather relevant, no?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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