" Turkey’s constitutional court today supported an effort to block a candidate for the country’s presidency whose background is in political Islam, pitching the country into early national elections and a referendum on the role of religion in its future.
In a 9 to 2 ruling, the court upheld an appeal by the main secular political party to stop Abdullah Gul, the current foreign minister and a close ally of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from becoming president, objecting to what it says are his Islamic credentials.
But the ruling, which involved the legality of a parliamentary vote for Mr. Gul that was held last Friday, was more political than legal: The court is part of Turkey’s secular establishment, which is now mounting an assault against Mr. Erdogan and the emerging class of devout Turks that he represents, and its decision did not come as a surprise.
Both Mr. Gul and Mr. Erdogan have their roots in political Islam, and the prospect of a president — the highest secular post in the country — whose background is in political Islam has alarmed some Turks.
Earlier today, the sense of unease surrounding the current political confrontation was heightened when Turkish police arrested hundreds of protesters who took to the streets in a May Day rally in Istanbul, beating some and dispersing the crowds with water cannon, according to news agency reports.
The uncertainty surrounding the country’s future unnerved international investors: Turkey’s financial markets fell for a second day running, although the decline was less marked than on Monday.
The court’s ruling appears to have brought Turkey to a defining moment."
* tpmtv: Josh discusses the Niger forgeries, Ray McGovern etc. Josh doesn't think that McGovern has what he says he has (proof that the OVP was involved)
"First, the contrast between how the Israelis address the failures of their war and the way Americans have addressed our failures in Iraq is depressingly stark. Whereas the Cheney/McCain/ Lieberman/Kristol faction continuously shrieks that recognizing our failures is to aid and abet the Enemy -- and therefore we should simply shut our eyes and yell "Victory!" as loudly as possible until we win -- the Israelis debated the war from the beginning as candidly and critically as can be, and recognized and openly acknowledged that it had gone terribly awry.
Similar efforts in the U.S. to investigate the grave errors made with regard to Iraq were continuously obstructed by the GOP-led Congress. Efforts to investigate how things went so wrong in Iraq routinely prompted -- and still prompt -- accusations of subversiveness and even treason.
Third, during the Israel-Lebanon war, right-wing devotees of Israel in the U.S. routinely accused those who questioned or opposed that war of being anti-Israel or, even more despicably, anti-Semitic. As always, they attempt to equate blind support for right-wing militarism with "support for Israel," and disgustingly characterize any deviations from their extremist ideology as "anti-Semitism."
Yet now this Commission has concluded that the Israeli attack on Lebanon was ill-conceived, misguided, and harmful to Israel -- just as many opponents of that war argued it was. As is so often the case, the American faux-warriors who (from a safe and protected distance) mindlessly cheer on every act of Israeli aggression are the ones who inflict more damage on Israel, and make it more vulnerable, than virtually any other group.
Though they attempt to manipulate and bully acquiescence to their extremism by depicting themselves as the very embodiment of both Israel and "Jews" (thus rendering disagreement with them tantamount to both anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic hostility), they are nothing of the sort.
Finally, Israel issued this report even knowing that -- to invoke the Cheney-ite cliche -- it would "embolden the enemy." Predictably, Hezbollah immediately cited the Commission's report as "proof" that it won, that Israel lost, and that in light of the report, "no one will take us lightly from now on, especially since we have only gained strength of late." Israel obviously knew that the report would be exploited by Hezbollah this way, but it issued it anyway.
Mature societies do not make decisions by wondering what the Bad People want and then automatically doing the opposite. That is the mindset of a child. Had that perspective prevailed in Israel, they never would have issued this report, and likely would never have withdrawn from Lebanon at all --- because: "hey, Hezbollah wants withdrawal from Lebanon and will be 'emboldened' by it and happy about this Commission report and therefore we can't do any of that. We have to stay and fight and stifle criticisms of the war, otherwise Hezbollah will be happy."