There is nary a line without some slime. Snarky to the nth power. I am going to dissect this.

First Lady flying the flag as sour ally closes ranks
(Sour Times writer obviously loves writing mean things about President Bush.)

By Roger Boyes of the Times Online.

German city takes action to stem rising tide of hostility.
(They are letting their students and employees stay home.)

LAURA BUSH put in some of the groundwork yesterday for her husband’s conciliatory visit to Old Europe by praising the hospitality offered by Germany to US troops. She did so in a hangar at the Ramstein airbase, surrounded by 3,000 servicemen and so thoroughly sealed off from the rest of Germany that it might as well have been an offshore island. (I’ve been to Ramstein many times and it is a large airbase inside a forest. There is not a large city nearby. Ramstein AB’s east gate is about 16 kilometers, or 10 miles, from Kaiserslautern [K-Town]. Other nearby civilian communities include Ramstein-Miesenbach, just outside the base’s west gate, and Landstuhl, about five kilometers from the west gate.)

“Germany is a close friend and ally of the United States,” she said as the army families nodded and waved their paper flags. But in truth Germany, for their visiting President, is largely an abstraction. (What an obtuse statement! How can this writer know what is in President Bush’s mind. Who does he think he is? Douglas Wead?)

President Bush, who arrives in nearby Mainz today, will be riding and (briefly) walking through an empty city. Yesterday, it was starting to resemble a fortress, not just because of the legitimate fear of terrorist attack, but also because of German nervousness that the President might experience some of the lingering hostility to his policies. (Well, which is it? Fear of terrorism or fear of German hatefulness? My husband and I were stationed in Germany from 1999 - 2002 and Clinton came to visit before his term was up and everything was shut down for him too. I remember sitting on the autobahn for hours because of his Slickness.)

“We intend to make our voice heard,” a defiant Tina Kernter, of the organising committee of No Welcome to Bush, said. The anger at Iraq, at Kyoto and the repression of human rights, she said, has been enough to unite various tribes, from Attack to Pax Christi, into a huge swelling protest in Mainz today. (Tribes? Tribes? What? The Saxons and the Picts?)

In fact there is only the slimmest chance of Mr Bush even glimpsing a flushed anti-American face. (Oh, give me a break. President Bush faces that at every press conference!)

The Rhine — Europe’s busiest waterway — will be blocked to traffic for the seven hours of the presidential visit. The airspace over Mainz will, in a 37-mile (60km) circumference, become a no-fly zone and, as a police inspector reminded television viewers, it is now fully legal to shoot down any private aircraft that strays across the invisible line. Trains, too, will be paralysed. “This is not the way to make friends in Germany,” Hartmut Mehdorn, the head of German Railways, grumbled. (What a joke that man is. I used to take the train from Heidelberg to Stuttgart but I stopped soon after September 11th because looney tunes like Tina Kernter laid down on the tracks to protest against our invasion of Afghanistan. Once it took them two hours to get the idiots off the tracks.)

All school classes have been cancelled. Mobile phone coverage may be restricted. The Opel factory is to be closed for the day. “We will lose 750 cars,” a spokesman said. (My goodness. I’m sure the kids are so disappointed to have to stay home from school and the employees must be devastated to have to miss work. If Opel loses 750 cars shouldn’t environmentalists be rejoicing and hailing President Bush?)

Personal mailboxes have been dismantled in much of the city. Residents along the motorcade route have been told to lower their shutters and not to stray on to the balcony, even to smoke a cigarette. Police say, with a hint of menace, that this will “prevent misunderstandings”. Police marksmen can apparently get the wrong end of the stick. (Hint…hint….Germans are against smoking outdoors. As for personal mailboxes in most areas of cities the Germans have those block mailboxes which require a key to open. I don’t recall seeing very many personal mailboxes outside of German homes or even outside apartments. This guy is really reaching….but I wonder if they are removing the real danger?)

A stonemason with a stock of granite gravestones 200 metres from a possible presidential access road has been ordered to remove his stock. Some 1,300 manhole covers — that is, a cover for every accredited correspondent in the city — have been sealed tight. (Ooohh! The outrage!

Mr Bush had reportedly requested a town hall meeting with the Germans to flush to the surface some of the transatlantic differences. (subliminable reference to those ugly urinal stickers that Andrew Moore probably faxed to some of his comrades.)

Instead, Berlin proposed a short question-and-answer session with bright, uncontroversial graduates dubbed Young Leaders. No walkabout, then, even though that is probably the President’s most natural form of political expression. (Yes, President Bush does walk his talk. But Young Leaders? Is that kind of like Eason Jordan’s group that Bret Stephens belongs to? Ooh. They might be a little more controversial than one would think.)

Friendship and conciliation is to be the mood music in Mainz and the various disagreements — on Iran, Iraq and China — will no doubt be swaddled in euphemism during the after-lunch briefings. (I wonder why that is? Could it be that President Bush was right and Old Europe was wrong and now President Bush is being gracious to his lessers? As for mood music give them a little Tex Ritter.)

There was no mistaking the sourness of the German press; in the newspapers at least, the spirit of anti-Americanism will be heard. Mrs Bush visited eight wounded soldiers yesterday just flown in from Iraq. Der Spiegel magazine noted the fact and added: “The President himself does not like such visits . . . nor does he go to the funerals of fallen Americans.” (Roger Boyes glories in this paragraph but it seems somewhat ungrammatical. Actually First Lady Laura Bush visited about twenty wounded troops according to Fox News. Der Spiegel magazine simply gets it wrong….President Bush goes often to visit with wounded troops but doesn’t go to individual funerals. I am sure he doesn’t want to put the focus of attention on him but to give it to the grieving families but I am just a blogger so what do I know?)