Ia vezi Schiau-Nazistu si Valachus-Dobitocus cate parale da Fuhrerul
vostru iubit pe "free speech". A trebuit sa anuleze o discutie in
Germania pt ca nemtii au refuzat sa manareasca intalnirea cu intrebari

Da, exact la fel ca Ceausescu si Kim ir Sen: numai aia aveau intalniri
cu "oamenii muncii" care erau pre-selectati si instruiti sa intrebe
cat de mult a crescut nivelul de trai in socialismul victorios. La fel
acum Bush: nu participa la nici o intalnire daca intrebarile nu sunt
masluite de la bun inceput. Nici asta nu miroase a fascism?

With a Hush and a Whisper, Bush Drops Town Hall Meeting with Germans
Der Spiegel

During his trip to Germany on Wednesday, the main highlight of George
W. Bush's trip was meant to be a "town hall"-style meeting with
average Germans. But with the German government unwilling to permit a
scripted event with questions approved in advance, the White House has
quietly put the event on ice. Was Bush afraid the event might focus on
prickly questions about Iraq and Iran rather than the rosy future he's
been touting in Europe this week?

The much-touted American-style "town hall" meeting the White House has
been planning with "normal Germans" of everyday walks of life will be
missing during his visit to the Rhine River hamlet of Mainz this
afternoon. A few weeks ago, the Bush administration had declared that
the chat -- which could have brought together tradesmen, butchers,
bank employees, students and all other types to discuss trans-Atlantic
relations -- would be the cornerstone of President George W. Bush's
brief trip to Germany.

State Department diplomats said the meeting would help the president
get in touch with the people who he most needs to convince of his
policies. Bush's invasion of Iraq and his diplomatic handling of the
nuclear dispute with Iran has drawn widespread concern and criticism
among the German public. And during a press conference two weeks ago,
Bush said Washington is still terribly misunderstood in Europe. All
the more reason, it would seem, for him to be pleased about talking to
people here.

But on Wednesday, that town hall meeting will be nowhere on the agenda
-- it's been cancelled. Neither the White House nor the German Foreign
Ministry has offered any official explanation, but Foreign Ministry
sources say the town hall meeting has been nixed for scheduling
reasons -- a typical development for a visit like this with many ideas
but very little time. That, at least, is the diplomats' line. Behind
the scenes, there appears to be another explanation: the White House
got cold feet. Bush's strategists felt an uncontrolled encounter with
the German public would be too unpredictable.

To avoid that messy scenario, the White House requested that rules
similar to those applied during Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's
visit two weeks ago also be used in Mainz. Before meeting with
students at Paris's Institute of Political Sciences, which preens the
country's elite youth for future roles in government, Rice's staff
insisted on screening and approving any questions to be asked by
students. One question rejected was that of Benjamin Barnier, the
24-year-old son of France's foreign minister, who wanted to ask:
"George Bush is not particularly well perceived in the world,
particularly in the Middle East. Can you do something to change that?"
Instead, the only question of Barnier's that got approval was the
question of whether Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority might create a
theocratic government based on the Iranian model?

The Germans, though, insisted that a free forum should be exactly
that. Wolfgang Ischinger, Germany's Ambassador to the United States,
explained to the New York Times last week: "We told them, don't get
upset with us if they ask angry questions."

In the end, the town hall meeting was never officially dropped from
the agenda of the trip -- instead it was dealt with in polished
diplomatic style -- both sides just stopped talking about it.

As an ersatz for the town hall meeting on Wednesday, Bush will now
meet with a well-heeled group of so-called "young leaders." Close to
20 participants will participate in the exclusive round to be held in
the opulent Mozart Hall of a former royal palace in Mainz, giving them
the opportunity for a close encounter with the president. The chat is
being held under the slogan: "A new chapter for trans-Atlantic
relations." The aim of the meeting is to give these "young leaders" a
totally different impression of George W. Bush. In order to guarantee
an open exchange, the round has been closed to journalists -- ensuring
that any embarrassments will be confined to a small group.

The guest list for the Wednesday afternoon gathering has been
handpicked by several US organizations with offices in Germany. In
recent days, the Aspen Institute and the German Marshall Fund have
sent lists of possible guests to the German Foreign Ministry. The
requirement was that all of the nominees had to be in their twenties
or thirties and they must already have been in a leadership position
at a young age. In other words: there won't be any butchers or
handymen on the elite guest list, but rather young co-workers from
blue chip companies like automaker DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Bank or
the consultancy McKinsey. The fact that two American organizations are
the ones managing the guest list suggests that the chat won't be
overly critical of Bush.

One participant in the Bush round is 31-year-old Katrin Heuel of
Berlin, an employee of the conservative Aspen Institute. Just a few
days ago, she received an invitation from the Protocol Office of the
German Foreign Ministry. She's a bit nervous about the encounter --
after all, Bush isn't someone she's likely to encounter in her daily
life in Berlin. She says she hasn't heard anything about questions
being scrutinized in advance or of any kind of script for the event.
"I will ask very open questions about Iran, North Korea and Russia,"
she said, adding that she's excited to see how the president will
react to the young people's questions.

Foreign Ministry sources said Berlin wasn't planning any briefing on
the course of the chat prior to the event. And it's unknown whether
the American staff will make any suggestions to the young leaders.
Then again, the day's issue -- a new chapter for trans-Atlantic
relations, seems to ensure that things won't get out of hand -- after
all, this event is supposed to focus on the future and not dwell on
prickly questions about the past.

With reporting by Matthias Gebauer in Berlin and Georg Mascolo in

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