On the plus side, last night's Desperate Housewives (ABC) featured Vanessa Williams' Renee a great deal more than last week.
There's an Australian man who's moved into the neighborhood. Renee's hot for him. She pumped Susan's husband Mike for information about him. He couldn't think of much but noted the man had a plaque in his home for something about charity work with the elderly. So Renee pretended to like the elderly and even paid the old woman that still lives on the street to pretend that Renee was always checking on her and bringing her hot meals.
He asked her out. She was happy and dressed to kill. But?
They weren't eating. Oh, they'd eat if there were any leftovers, but they were at a senior citizen's home to serve dinner.
One woman asked her, "What tastes good?" Renee replied it was free food and when did that ever taste good? The woman probed Renee and when she found out the Australian had brought her there, she started laughing and said he was playing a trick on her.
Renee confronted him and he didn't admit it but he really didn't deny it. And he asked her what she had against charity so she explained that she didn't have a great childhood and, as a result, she was shuffled around and had to depend upon charity and relatives.
It was a strong series of scenes for Renee. She had to be oblivious and rude with Mike and she had to be scheming in other scenes and then she had to pull off a deeper side. She did a great job. I wish the man she was acting opposite was more memorable. The only good actor (other than Carlos) that's been on while I've watched (last season, I started with Vanessa's first episode which was the first episode of that season) was Brian Austin Greene. Is it impossible to get some hot men on this show?
Did someone say no more Toms? Tom is so not hot. But he's a much better character now that he's moved out of the house. I really wish he'd let it rip with Lynette. She is the most annoying character. At least Gabby is supposed to be spoiled.
Lynette's tired of being the bad guy. Boo hoo. That's part of parenting and, Lynette, a lot of us raise our children without a partner so we can't whine to someone that we're tired of being the bad guy and they need to be it now.
But she won't tell her teenage son "no" to a party that she knows will have drinking and drugs. She tries to make Tom and Tom doesn't take her bait.
So their son goes and Lynette gets worried and calls him. But some other guy has his cell phone and starts asking her if this is a bootie call?
Lynette goes storming over to the party and some kids won't let her in the house. She already knew, before the party, that the parents wouldn't be home.
If Lynette's the bad ass she acts like, or tries to, she should have been able to get into the house to get her son.
But instead, she sees the keg, rushes over, gets the teenage boys to hold her -- HOLD HER UPSIDE DOWN -- and starts chugging.
That's why I hate Lynette. She tries so hard to be loved by people that don't even matter.
I'm sorry but a bunch of underage drunken teenagers liking you is the last thing a parent needs to worry about.
While she's playing human beer bong, Tom arrives and gets their son. Their son called Tom. That should have told Lynette something but she's clueless.
Bree got a note saying they know what she did and they were disgusted.
I like Bree. And I like the actress who plays her. But, come on, how does Bree know it's about the murder?
If you missed it, last season ended with Gabby's step-father attacking her and Carlos saving Gabby but accidentally killing the step-father. Gabby, Bree, Lynette and Susan made a pact to hide the body and did during the first episode this year.
Bree gets a letter and instantly knows it is about the murder. If it's about the murder, why her and not Gabby? All Bree did was hide the body. So why not Carlos?
It just seemed to me that Bree had enough enemies and a complicated enough life that it could have been sent to her for any number of reasons including a prank. (That's what the old woman told her it probably was when Bree went nuts and started asking if she'd seen anyone near Bree's mailbox. Bree lied and said it was an obscene letter.)
So because Mary Alice or whomever narrates the show, the dead woman, got a letter like that years ago, Bree went to the prison to ask Paul if he did it or if he knew who might have. He didn't have a clue.
But later he called her and said he spoke to the police about the letter and a guy was really interested. He gave a clue to his name but couldn't get it right so Bree asked, "Chuck Vance?" Yes. That's who she has been sleeping with and who was in her shower at that moment.
Gabby had told her it was too dangerous for her to be dating a snoopy police officer (due to the dead body) so Bree was going to break up with him. Until Paul's call.
Gabby and Carlos are having problems. He can't perform sexually. She got a stripper to come visit their home. He made it clear -- I would have thought even Gabby could have caught this without being told -- that the guilt is why he can't get an erection -- the guilt over killing the man.
Susan can't handle her guilt either. She was leaving the grocery store and had forgotten to pay for case of soda on the bottom of her basket. She was stopped by a young security guard who started going off on her. Susan was like (zombie), "I am guilty." And she spent the entire episode trying to get strangers to scream at her culiminating in telling a cop who was only going to give her a warning that his newborn baby had jug ears and was ugly. And she tore up two photos of the child. At which point, she got arrested. She called Carlos to bail her out.
I feel sorry for Teri Hatcher because if I were writing the show, Susan's the last character I would worry about. I wouldn't plan an indepth story for her or anything. I'd just string it along because I'd know she (Teri) could make whatever I came up with work. And looking back on last season, I think she was majorly short changed by the writers because she does have that gift. Lynette was giving Meryl Streep like moments (in the writing, not in her performance) while Susan was off to the side and largely forgotten. I can understand the writers doing that and if I wrote for the show, I probably would as well. But I really don't think it's fair to always expect Teri's talents to make up for the fact that you don't really think through storylines for Susan.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Al Mada reports that there is not a lot of hope going into Tuesday's meet-up though Allawi is stating that he's "hopeful." Kurds continue to feel shut out and call for the Erbil Agreement to be honored as well as for something other than the oil & gas draft bill Nouri has proposed. As to the issue of the US military withdrawing at the end of the year, the article quotes a source reminding that the decision is Nouri's since he is the leader of the armed forces. Al Mada also reports Allawi is stating "no" to immunity for US troops that would remain in Iraq beyond the end of the year. Allawi notes that US Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani last week while Talabani was in the US and Biden stated that immunity is a must for US troops. The article also notes that Nouri has stated no US troops will remain in Iraq after the end of the year . . . except for trainers which is okay and universally recognized as being okay.
Al Mada also reports on Ayatollah al-Lami, a feminist who protested last Friday in Baghdad's Tahrir Squre and was abducted and tortured by a group which claims to 'defend Iraqi women's freedom' but actually is under Nouri's control. Photographs demonstrate that once abducted by Nouri's group, al-Lami's face was beaten and wounds on her back showed other signs of torture. Nouri has targeted the protesters for months now as well as journalists that cover the protests. This has led to a loud outcry from international human rights organizations as well as NGOs. One such group would be the International Crisis Group which last week issued a series of recommendations (see the September 27th snapshot) including that the US government and the international community need to publicly call out Nouri's government as needed: "Publicly express disapproval of the Iraqi government's and parliament's failures regarding long-overdue reform." Don't expect that to happen any time soon. When the LGBT community was being targeted, the US government ignored it and that was after the White House flipped to Democratic control. Regardless of which party holds the White House, they apparently both want continued occupation of Iraq and will overlook anything and everything in order to continue the illegal war.
In other protest news, Dar Addustour reports that college students in Erbil protested yesterday about education issues and that security forces fired in the air or on the crowd (it's not clear) to disperse the students.
And Barack let their leader and some of his followers go in a deal in the summer of 2009 -- a deal that the families of the 5 fallen soldiers were not consulted on or even given a heads up to -- because Barack didn't want to be president of the United States. That was too small for Barry. He needed -- his ego needed -- a world stage. So when the British needed something to get their 5 citizens kidnapped by the League freed, Barry said, "Screw dead Americans who were killed doing a job their government ordered them to do, I'm going to free the League -- this rag-tag group of killers -- because I don't give a damn about the safety of Iraqis and because I want to get in good with England."
So Barry released them and, as usual from Princess Tiny Meat, his 'grand gesture' fell quickly. Because the addiction to the Kool-Aid was still so high in 2009, let's drop back we'll drop back to the June 9, 2009 snapshot with the realization that some who looked the other way in real time will now be outraged:
***********This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it." ******
Agreed. Not only did Barry betray the fallen, he demonstrated yet again no one should trust him at the adult table by himself. His 'big' deal resulted in only one living British citizen released. Three corpses were released.
The fifth kidnapped victim?
Though Barry's 'big' deal was supposed to free all five, the League, years later, is now insisting they want a new deal (and figure Barry's just the pushover to give it to them?). Al Mada reports they have issued a statement where they savage the US government for not honoring -- and quickly honoring -- the agreement made with them. As a result, they say Alan McMenemy will not be released.
Peter Moore, the only one released alive, was a computer tech working in Iraq. Four British bodyguards were protecting him. The bodyguards were McMenemy, Jason Swindlehurst, Alec MacLachlan and Jason Cresswell. The families of the four have continued to publicly request that Alan McMenemy be released.
They condemn the "procrastionation" of the US government after the deal was made and state that a promise was also broken when "US forces did not stop attacks" -- apparently Barack made very grand promises -- so now Alan McMenemy will not be released. The statement is credited to Akram al-Ka'bi.
What the statement really does is demonstrate what many condemned in 2009: The US government, the administration, entered into an agreement that did not benefit the US or Iraq. They freed known killers from prison. Killers of Iraqis, killers of American citizens. There was nothing to be gained by that act for Iraq or the US. At some point, history will ask how Barack Obama thought he was fulfilling his duties of commander in chief by making such an ignorant move?
Using a conventional conspiratorial model, the CIA and the White House seem to believe that al-Awlaki's sermons and Samir's magazine, Inspire, were causes of several terror plots, including a Christmas 2009 attempted bombing of a flight originating from the Detroit airport and a later 2010 attempt to send hidden explosives on airliners to Chicago. Al-Awlaki is said to have inspired the Pakistani individual who attempted to bomb Times Square in 2010, and he exchanged 20 emails with Nidal Malik Husan, the Palestinian-American general who shot and killed thirteen soldiers at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.
Is this evidence of a terrorist conspiracy with al-Awlaki at the center? Perhaps more evidence will surface, but it seems to be another case of reversing cause and effect. Acts of violence are in response to the humiliation and hatred some people feel towards occupation, killing of innocents, night raids and drone attacks. The rage cannot be quenched by targeting and killing alleged leaders who, in the end, are replaced by others. According to the FOX News account, al-Awlaki was "not believed to be an operational leader, but a spokesman." Al-Awlaki denied that he had instructed Hasan to carry out the Fort Hood shootings but thought they were heroic. TheNew York Times reported that while al-Awlaki "denounced the September 11 attacks," he became a "dangerous radicalizing force," who issued "eerily calm justifications for violence," which grew "steadily more approving of anti-Western violence," especially after being imprisoned in Yemen in 2006 and 2007. (New York Times, October 1, 2011)
Every American adult knows what an armed conflict is. The U.S. is engaged in armed conflict in Afghanistan and Libya. It engaged in combat in Iraq from 2003-2011. Thus, every American knows that the U.S. is not engaged in an armed conflict in Yemen -- not a real armed conflict. Nevertheless, President Obama placed an American citizen in Yemen on a kill list. Anwar al-Awlaki and several other people were killed on September 20 by a "barrage" of missiles launched from drones operated by the CIA.
The president and his officials know that it is unlawful to kill persons in this way outside of armed conflict hostilities. So they have been asserting the U.S. is in a worldwide "armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces." This assertion defies common sense. So officials also assert we have a right to kill persons who pose an "imminent" threat under the law of self-defense. In fact, the law of self-defense, found in the U.N. Charter, permits force in self-defense on the territory of a state if the state is responsible for a significant armed attack. Yemen is not responsible for any significant armed attacks.
So are we seeing a repeat of the famous "torture memo" strategy? Arguments are being asserted that are just plausible enough to keep Congress, the courts and U.S. allies at bay so targeted killing can continue. Where we once debated the legality, morality and effectiveness of "harsh interrogation methods", we now discuss the legality of intentionally killing of suspected terrorists far from any actual armed conflict hostilities. In other words, the end justifies the means, especially with a plausible-sounding legal cover story.