“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Is Managing the Chinese Giant Wishful Thinking?

As China becomes richer, it is becoming more nationalistic. A blunt glimpse of that was apparent over the recent Olympic Torch protests. The Chinese public was genuinely angry over world reaction. There is no significant sign that this trend will not continue.

As China gets richer, it also becomes more dependent on foreign sources of materials and energy. It will need an ever expanding military to protect the unimpeded access to those sources. The world has seen this lethal combination many times in the past. Secretary Gates has noticed:

Gates Warns China Not to Bully Region on Energy

By ERIC SCHMITT New York Times
Published: May 31, 2008

SINGAPORE — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates issued a set of thinly veiled warnings to China on Saturday, cautioning that it could risk its share of further gains in Asia’s economic prosperity if it bullied its neighbors over natural resources in contested areas like the South China Sea.

Three years ago at the same lectern here, Mr. Gates’s predecessor, Donald H. Rumsfeld, bluntly criticized China’s swift military buildup. Last year Mr. Gates struck a more conciliatory tone, saying Beijing and Washington had a chance to “build trust over time.”

Mr. Gates seemed to take a third approach in his remarks to a major regional Asia security conference here, seeking to lay down clear markers of continued American commitments to the region while also obliquely criticizing China.

He said that in his four trips to Asia since becoming defense secretary 18 months ago, several countries had expressed concern about “the security implications of rising demand for resources” (translation: China’s voracious quest for new sources of energy) and about “coercive diplomacy” (translation: China’s contested claims of resource-rich territorial waters).

Mr. Gates said there were rewards for playing by an international set of rules in a transparent way. “We should not forget that globalization has permitted our shared rise in wealth over recent decades,” he said. “This achievement rests above all on openness: openness of trade, openness of ideas, and openness of what I would call the ‘common areas’ — whether in the maritime, space, or cyber domains.”

The secretary specifically praised Beijing twice, noting that he had recently set up a telephone hot line with his Chinese defense counterpart and that the American-backed, six-party negotiations intended to temper North Korea’s nuclear ambitions “would not be possible without China’s valued cooperation.”

Otherwise, Mr. Gates spoke in a diplomatic code that his senior aides said would be clearly understood not only in Beijing but also in other Asian capitals and by the hundreds of security experts attending the annual regional conference sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Mr. Gates and his aides had debated just how blunt he ought to be in his address, which opened the Saturday session. In the end, aides said, he accepted the argument that taking a more direct approach would play to Beijing’s advantage and that a subtler, more indirect tack would win more support among Asian allies.

In the speech he recalled disputes in the mid-1990s between China and its neighbors over competing boundary and resource claims in the South China Sea, tensions that have resurfaced among China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

“We urged then, as we do today, the maintenance of a calm and nonassertive environment in which contending claims may be discussed and, if possible, resolved,” he said.

Mr. Gates, as he did last year at the conference, said that the United States “seeks more openness in military modernization in Asia. Transparency enhances confidence and reduces competitive spending.”

He also delivered a scolding reference to China’s unannounced destruction of a satellite in January 2007 when he described how the Pentagon handled a similar situation much differently in February, alerting others before shooting down a failing satellite over the Pacific just before it tumbled uncontrollably to Earth carrying toxic fuel.

Lt. Gen. Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the general staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, pushed back during his speech, saying that China was not engaged in an arms race and that its military spending, compared with other sectors of its economy, was “limited and proportional.” In a clear reference to America’s plan to build missile defense systems, General Ma said deploying such defenses “was not helpful” to regional stability.

Mr. Gates made clear that central to the Bush administration’s Asia policy is maintaining American military might and economic sway in the region.

Indeed, Mr. Gates’s first stop on his weeklong visit to Asia was to Guam, where he took a helicopter tour on Friday to review Pentagon plans to spend $15 billion over the next six years to upgrade and expand World War II-era installations to accommodate thousands of additional American troops, and to broaden training missions with regional partners like Japan.

He said Saturday that Washington’s policy also focused on empowering regional allies to defend themselves by strengthening their armed forces and by building more robust economies and open political systems.

This policy is almost sure to endure no matter which party wins the White House in the November election, he said.

He showed an unusual flash on anger in response to a question after his speech about American efforts to deliver relief to cyclone victims in Myanmar, saying the United States has tried 15 times to get the Burmese leadership to allow more foreign assistance, but to no avail.

“We have reached out, they have kept their hands in their pockets,” he said.


  1. A lesser light said, "As China gets richer, it also becomes more dependent on foreign sources of materials and energy. It will need an ever expanding military to protect the unimpeded access to those sources. The world has seen this lethal combination many times in the past."

    Indeed. There is another nation which relies on imported oil and certain metals. She has eleven aircraft carriers and a constellation of 737 bases overseas. This has proven to be a lethal combination, particularly in Iraq where 1.2 million people have died due to the invasion and many more have been displaced.

  2. Geography China, and Burma -

    Military cooperation between the two gains China access to naval facilities on several Burmese offshore islands in the Indian ocean. This provides strategic leverage in southeast Asia generally and in the straight of Malacca particularly.

    Another geostrategic choke point (for Asian oil access) lies at Singapore, hence the relationship between the U.S. and Singapore.

  3. Kim-arista,

    A more focused light understands that there is no moral equivalency to your tribe. Some are sure of who they are, others less so.

    Let the light shine on American exceptionalism and national survival. You on the other hand are free to kowtow to whomever, just stay out of the way.

  4. 1.2 Million?

    You, Dear Heart, are an extremely "Dim" light.

  5. If I was the Proprietor, here, and you called Me a "Lesser" light I'd have your ass out the damned door so fast you'd be spinning on your ass like a top for an hour.

  6. My vote is to "lose" the bitch.

  7. A lesser light said, "This provides [China] strategic leverage in southeast Asia generally and in the straight of Malacca particularly."

    Since China absolutely relies on the free flow of oil through the Malacca Strait, this is no strategic leverage at all. If you mean that China can close the valve at that chokepoint and deprive Japan, the US would retaliate by closing the valve at the source. That means the game becomes one of keeping the sea-lanes open. If China wishes to ante up and get in on that game, they're welcome to it.

  8. A lesser light said, "If I was the Proprietor, here, and you called Me a "Lesser" light I'd have your ass out the damned door so fast you'd be spinning on your ass like a top for an hour...My vote is to "lose" the bitch."

    Allow me to make the tedious explanation. I like to archive my posts on my own blog. If I use names, then it becomes searchable in Google, and a person's name might be attached to a position that they didn't really take, but which appears to be the case, based on the way it was quoted. This was a concern first raised by 2164th in 2006. To that end, the "lesser light" convention scrubs the names and personalities out of the mix.

  9. To quote my favorite Philosopher (Me,) Horseshit!

    I still vote to "lose the bitch."

  10. Oh, any you can quote me, Anytime.

  11. " this is no strategic leverage at all"


  12. It's spelled, Rufus - R U F U S - Rufus

  13. I'm with Rufus.

    Will be back when membership fees are in force and are enforced.

  14. Teresita. This blog is not here to organize or promote your blog. Comments and ideas of interest will draw readership, but salting this blog or others with multiple posts under different personalities is transparently self serving and boring to others.

    Where some have been successful at providing multiple personalities, they have been mostly entertaining. Noms de plume are fine but your headdress full has morphed into a feather duster.

    I don't want anymore complaints. Capisci?

  15. Bwahahahaheehehehhe--

    The trouble is there's no violence inherent in our system here.

    Where's my shopping bag?


    Yeah, one name per contributor, that's the best deal.

  16. Whatever happens with China, I think it's safe to say the Chinese won't be operating under compassinate turn the other cheek Christian based rules. They'll be going the old big fish little fish way they, and most nations, always have.

  17. I'm of the opinion English comedy is the best comedy in the world. Some American comedy coming in a close second.

    My view may be twisted a bit by the fact I only speak English:)

    I do know Swedes are too damn dour to be funny for long.

  18. Handsome Hu, possumtater, and the rest had such distinct personalities it was hard to discern habu lurking in the background. With some others the primary face shines forth undisguised. With this lokken of lack there is a little puzzle. The sentence structure is a little off from T.'s usual. I ain't sure.

    At any rate, I'm calling this person or permutation 'the dimmest bulb' for now, to return her compliments to folks. That's D.B. for short.

  19. The majority buzz at Real Clear Politics and elsewhere is Hillary will be gone by the end of the week.
    Thursday maybe.

  20. Just send the bills to the Elephant Bar. It's people like us end up paying for all things anyway---

    Taxpayers May Face Hurricane Tab


    May 31, 2008; Page A1

    WASHINGTON -- As hurricane season begins, Democrats in Congress want to nationalize a chunk of the insurance business that covers major storm-damage claims.

    The proposal -- backed by giant insurers Allstate Corp. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., as well as Florida lawmakers -- focuses on "reinsurance," the policies bought by insurers themselves to protect against catastrophic losses. The proposal envisions a taxpayer-financed reinsurance program covering all 50 states, which would essentially backstop the giant insurers in case of disaster.

  21. The National Spelling Bee was won with the correct spelling of this word--

    guer·don (gûrdn)
    A reward; recompense.
    tr.v. guer·doned, guer·don·ing, guer·dons
    To reward.

    Never heard of it before. But the speller won a guerdon over it.

  22. What's that tall Chinaman got in his right hand? A fan? A hanky? A guerdon to those that answer correctly.

  23. hmmm, looked at closely, he seems to be missing his left hand. Back from Saudia Arabia?

  24. Is that his braided hair going all the way down his front?

    What a strange dude.

  25. Beware The Inscrutable Chinese Hacker

    Long article about Chinese mischief hacking stuff in the west. Kinda scary, too. That tall Chinaman's "got something up his sleeve."

  26. Bob, get one of those pre-paid "trav'lin" cards for your laptop. You won't be at the mercy of prudish, old maid liberians messin up your bloggin.

  27. Afternoon all.

    From the President downwards, all Afghans know that the peace in Helmand is precarious.Fraser Nelson reports from a shattered land of corruption and murky power where warlords wait to see if the West has what it takes to stay the course and thwart a horrific new conflict,

    Here's a nice read from the Spectator

  28. No laptop, Ruf, and no trip till later this summer now it seems, but I like the idea. Those damned librarians, and even the motels, are really touchy, some of 'em. Got to protect the folk from people like you and me.

  29. 2164th: I don't want anymore complaints. Capisci?

    Take my name off the sidebar of your blog. I hereby permanently resign from the Board of Directors, and I will not accept any similar honors again. I do not forget unwarranted rebukes.

  30. Afternoon Whit. Anxiously awaiting news from the big committee meeting in D.C. concerning Florida and Michigan.

    My high school graduating class has a minor diplomat in Afghanistan now. I'll check out Classmates to see if he has made a report lately. Nice guy, but I think he's likely to have the influence of a rain drop in the ocean.

    Decades, that's about right. If then.

  31. Bobal: I do know Swedes are too damn dour to be funny for long.

    If I heard that you were stuck in an avalanche with the bus carrying the Swedish Bikini Team to a film shoot, I would consider that a Saab story, knowing that you would be miserable in such dour company.

  32. I'm tellin' ya, that Chinaman's got something up his sleeve, even though it looks like nothings there.

  33. Whit: ...where warlords wait to see if the West has what it takes to stay the course and thwart a horrific new conflict...

    Warlords waiting for the West to thwart a new conflict. That's like saying, "The council of pyromaniacs are waiting to see if the City Fire Marshal will stay the course and thwart a horrific new season of arson".

  34. If managing the Chinese giant is wishful thinking, what's the practical alternative? And, without dismissing serious concern, to what extent is 'giant' simply descriptive of population?

    Just askin'.

    I said last year that resources are being shifted ahead, south and east, in anticipation of rising challenges. But it's slow going. I absolutely agree with Gates that, as a counter, maintaining and strengthening the strategic relationships we already have is of paramount importance. Foreign aid and assistance, politically unfashionable though these are, are a hell of a lot cheaper than the alternative.

  35. I can't get myself to worry much about China (at least, not yet.) They just don't have much of a history of aggression.

    They're going to consume a lot of resources; but, they're kind of like us in that they're going to Produce a lot of resources, also.

    They're moving around a lot in Africa, and S. America, but they're not doing it in an aggressive way. They're, basically, just doing what we've always done; look for business opportunities, and sources of needed commodities.

    I know someone might throw "Tibet" into my face; and, I don't know enough about the Chinese/Tibet history to opine on it, but I'll just mark it down to some sort of aberration, and go on (at least, until some edumacates me on the situation.) Which I'm sure they will, mos skosche.

  36. Q: "[T]o what extent is 'giant' simply descriptive of population?"

    A: Measured on a purchasing power parity basis, China in 2007 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, although in per capita terms the country is still lower middle-income...The Chinese government seeks to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil as its double-digit economic growth increases demand. Chinese energy officials in 2007 agreed to purchase five third generation nuclear reactors from Western companies. More power generating capacity came on line in 2006 as large scale investments - including the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River - were completed.

  37. They're, basically, just doing what we've always done; look for business opportunities, and sources of needed commodities.

    - rufus

    Absolutely. But in doing so, they seek (and obtain) critical political influence. That's the ultimate, and consciously sought, return on their investment. Tom Wolfe would describe it as the global favor bank. Some states are very effective at this. The French are exemplars and China uses much the same model. We tend not to.

  38. So while keeping in proper perspective their current, relative strength (or weakness), it is just not realistic to categorize 'the giant' as a benign, politically disinterested commericial entity.

    And they certainly are hell-bent on the reacquisition of Taiwan. By other means.

  39. I know the Chinese beat up on the Vietnamese some in the past.

    Colombia's Chance According to the NYT

  40. They have spent a good deal of time beating up on each other, too.

  41. Colombia’s Chance

    Published: May 31, 2008

    President Álvaro Uribe should seek a political settlement to try to bring the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in from the cold.

    And the presumed payoff is?

    I can think of one, and only one.

  42. "I know someone might throw "Tibet" into my face.."

    North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, these are all China made and supervised killing fields. Make no mistake about that.

  43. trish wrote:

    " is just not realistic to categorize 'the giant' as a benign, politically disinterested commericial entity."

    And their commmercial entityness is not arms length from the government.

  44. eggplant said...
    NahnCee said:

    "I've noticed that, too, but thought that perhaps I was (a) imagining things or (b) letting my ego run away again."

    Great minds work alike... For the longest while I also thought I was imagining things or allowing my ego to again get out of hand. However I suspect this is real. Compared to most of the Internet, the Belmont Club is like an oasis of sanity. I came here because I got tired of moonbats and loons shrieking at each other.

    NahnCee said:

    "Of course there's always (c) that the administration (and others) uses pre-selected sites like Belmont Club to run an idea up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes it before throwing it out for the media to do their piranha schtick over."

    They'd be crazy not to. Most of the people who post here are very bright. A policy guy from the federal government could post new ideas here anonymously and see how they played out. If the idea crashed and burned, none of his/her peers would be the wiser. Also the same guy could harvest new ideas here. I can imagine someone at a Condoleezza Rice staff meeting proposing some out-of-the-box idea then everyone else at the meeting quietly thinking to themselves, "Didn't I just read that at Belmont Club?".
    Condi, most definitely an out-of-the-box thinker and enabler!

  45. letting my ego run away again....

    I can imagine someone at a Condoleezza Rice staff meeting proposing some out-of-the-box idea then everyone else at the meeting quietly thinking to themselves, "Didn't I just read that at Belmont Club?".

    President Bush: Condi, what should I about Pakistan?

    Condi: Just a minute, I'll be right back.

  46. No one is proposing to leave Iraq, "Right now", doug

    That's the real deal, in a nut shell.

    Not one politico that is still in the race proposes "Right Now!" we disembark.

    Even Obama is leaving in two years, from "Right Now!", and that would be subject to events, as all things are.

    But to begin to implement the "Plan" that would have US out of Iraq in two years, now that would be fulfilling Mr Bush's promises, always a "good thing" when a Government keeps its' word.

  47. Obama has proposed everything from right now to eternity.
    ...about everything.

    "I could no more..."

  48. China earthquake 200,000 flee from growing Sichuan lake World news

    China's contingency plan to evacuate up to 1.3m flood-threatened survivors of the Sichuan earthquake got under way today with the movement of almost 200,000 people.

    The relocation to higher ground was started as fears grew that a huge lake may flood down from the mountains where water has built up behind an unstable landslide.

    It is the first stage of a plan to move up to 1.3 million people who live downstream of the Tangjiashan "quake lake", the largest of the 34 bodies of water formed by the seismic disruption on 13 May.

    Chinese engineers have been trying to dig and blast a channel that would allow the lake to drain safely, but their efforts have been hampered by rainfall and the inaccessibility of the location.

    Despite flying 30 giant earthmovers to the site by army helicopter, the water has continued to build up behind the newly formed dam. At one point below the barricade, it is 23 metres (72ft) deep.

    Officials said it was unlikely to burst today but the risks will increase in the days ahead as heavy rain and big aftershocks are forecast.

  49. She'd "be crazy not to,"
    Sheik al-Bob Al.

  50. USA!USA!

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Space shuttle Discovery and a crew of seven blasted into orbit Saturday, carrying a giant Japanese lab addition to the international space station along with something more mundane - a toilet pump.

    Discovery roared into a brilliantly blue sky dotted with a few clouds at 5:02 p.m., right on time.

    The shuttle's trip to the space station should take two days. Once there, Discovery's crew will unload and install the $1 billion lab and hand-deliver a specially made pump for the outpost's finicky toilet.

    The school-bus-size lab, named Kibo, Japanese for hope, will be the biggest room by far at the space station and bring the orbiting outpost to three-quarters of completion.

    (AP) News photographers track space shuttle Discovery after its launch off from pad 39a at the Kennedy...
    Full Image

    "It's a gorgeous day to launch," NASA's launch director, Mike Leinbach, told the astronauts just before liftoff, wishing them good luck and Godspeed. Commander Mark Kelly noted that Kibo was the "hope for the space station," then radioed: "Now stand by for the greatest show on Earth."
    Florida and Michigan are each one half a state, breaking news says.
    I hereby extend an invitation to Barack Hussein to join my church. I will be a good friend, spiritual advisor, and straighten him right out.

  51. A Japanese plumber got busted for racking up 3100 hrs (4 million Yen worth) of phone time to a company featuring a lady on an automated info line.

    Detective, checking it out, said she sounded like a run of the mill info reader.

    ...Leave it to the Japs!

  52. From Pandora's Box to the International Space Station!

    What's Billary to do now? I'm betting she's out by Friday. Remember though, I'm always wrong.

    That's why, when Condi Rice drops by here for advice, she never reads my stuff.

    The Space Station needs a plumber! Position open now.

  53. Mətušélaḥ you keep on saying you are going to stop posting unless *add in reason here* yet you never stop. Wasss up wit dat?

  54. Just another friendly reminder of where we're Headed, Or Head Hunted under the coming new environmental dispensation.

  55. After closely examining the poor beggar--er, Native-- to the right of the small 'Compound B'--'Compound A' being at the bottom of the picture and 'D' at the top-- I conclude he is armed with a spear, rather than a bow.

  56. Al-Qaida chief death confirmed.

    An al-Qaeda trainer and explosives specialist involved in a range of European terrorist networks has been killed in Pakistan, the latest senior militant to die in a spate of controversial American missile strikes.

    The death two weeks ago of Abu Suleiman al-Jazairi, a highly experienced Algerian militant, has been confirmed only in the last few days, intelligence sources in Pakistan and Western Europe told The Observer. Al-Jazairi, thought to have been 45, died along with at least 15 others when the house in which he was staying in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal district was hit by a missile fired from a Predator, an American pilotless drone.

  57. Those Predators have been earning their keep.

  58. How would you like your kids to take THIS TEST?

    This is on the Australian Broadcasting Corp website - I kid you not.

    planet slayer . . . . . .

    Holy Moly . . . .

    Somebody needs to go to jail

  59. jeez,I may not be around much longer, and it looks like I should have left long ago.

    I hope it's aussie humor.

  60. Ernesto Fuentes Villagomez, age 30 of Winnemucca and
    Jose Torres age, 20 and his brother Margarito Torres, age 19 both of Winnemucca
    all die in shootout.

    On Sunday May 25, 2008 at approximately 2:30 a.m. the Winnemucca Police Department was dispatched to the Players Bar and Grill located at 1062 South Grass Valley Road on the report of numerous shots fired and multiple gunshot victims. A combined law enforcement team consisting of Officers from the Winnemucca Police Department and Deputies from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office responded to the dispatch call and secured the scene. There were approximately 300 patrons in and around the bar. No shots were fired by law enforcement during the incident.

    The officers on scene discovered three adult males who had died from obvious gunshot wounds. Two additional gunshot victims were also located. One of these victims, a 34 year old male, was transported to Humboldt General Hospital via private vehicle. The other victim, a 22 year old female, was transported via Humboldt County Ambulance. Both of these injured parties were treated and admitted to Humboldt General Hospital in “stable condition”. Both victims have now been released from the hospital.

    The initial investigation indicated that there had been two separate shooters during the incident. One of the alleged shooters, Ernesto Fuentes Villagomez, age 30 of Winnemucca, was among the three men who were dead on arrival. The other was a 48 year old Reno man who was initially taken into custody at the scene as a person of interest.

    The subsequent investigation lead detectives to believe that Villagomez entered the bar and at some point began firing multiple rounds. At least two of these rounds struck and killed the other two decedents, Jose Torres age, 20 and his brother Margarito Torres, age 19 both of Winnemucca. At some point during this shooting spree Villagomez allegedly stopped and according to witnesses reloaded his high capacity handgun and began shooting again.

    It was at this point that the second shooter, the Reno resident, produced a concealed handgun and proceeded to fire upon Villagomez who succumbed to his wounds. The Reno resident was in possession of a valid Concealed Carry Permit issued through the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.

    After further investigation as well as ongoing discussions with Humboldt County District Attorney Russell Smith, the decision was made that the shooting of Villagomez by the Reno man was a justifiable homicide as outlined in Nevada Revised Statute 200.120 and 200.160. Because of this the Reno man was released from police custody.

    Although the shooting occurred during the Runnamucca event weekend there is no evidence linking the incident to any rival motorcycle gangs or clubs. Additionally, each of the decedents and victims were all Winnemucca residents. The investigation is currently pursuing a lead that indicates that this event may have been the result of a long standing feud between several families. There have been no further acts of violence reported in relation to this incident.

    Used to be kind of a peaceful place, a little like the Vegas of long age.

    It's moving north....

  61. North to Alaska
    Go North !!

    The Rush is ON !!!

  62. Bobal: What's Billary to do now? I'm betting she's out by Friday. Remember though, I'm always wrong.

    “Mrs. Clinton has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the credentials committee,” said Harold Ickes, a senior adviser to Mrs. Clinton who serves on the rules committee.

    When does the Credentials Committee get together? The first day of the Convention, in Denver, three months from now. That gives her three more months to campaign, and hope there's a James Earl Ray out there.

  63. Who do you suppose the hoped for target be, Ms T?

  64. Was Stewart Granger's charactor in the US and Alaska, legally?

    Did he have work permits?

    Was John Wayne just trying to get him hitched, to get him legal?

  65. What with the price of real estate in Japan, that closet equals a nice condo here.

  66. In Slide One, guy on the right, maybe that's a blow gun he's got there. It makes me wonder, is a blow gun protected by the 2nd Amendment in the USA? He, at least, has no problem. Who's gonna take it away from him?

  67. UnContacted? Maybe, not so much.

    It's simply amaaaazing.

  68. Ha Ha Ha--that's excellent, Rufus!

  69. I'm still laughing, that's ten minutes now.

  70. 'Aliens' Ogled My Teen Daughters!

    those who have been anally probed by aliens would receive counseling or victims' assistance funds.

    But here's where the story gets strange.

    To publicize his efforts, Peckman held a press conference on May 30 announcing that he had definitive proof of alien visitation. This came in the form of a short video clip shot in Nebraska by a man named Stan Romanek in July 2003. At the time, Romanek was concerned that neighborhood Peeping Toms were looking at his teenage daughters.

    Ironically, Peckman's video itself is far less mysterious than how he managed to get 30 reporters at the press conference - not to mention national media attention - for a five-year-old, third-hand "alien" video that makes most Bigfoot films look like "Citizen Kane."

  71. Damn!
    maybe what they really need is a casino, a reservation ,and un ending monies from the govt!

  72. Doug: Japan man discovers woman living in his closet

    Some of my most productive time was when I was still in the closet.

  73. You must have posted some heavy duty stuff under "Damn!", Doug, cause all I get is--

    You don't have permission to access /images/signature_attachments/sig_560.gif on this server.

  74. That's why I titled it "Damn!"
    As a man with legendary precognitive ability, I felt it before I posted it.