Sunday, April 24, 2005

If Clinton Had Done This...

Yes, it's a tired refrain, but I'm just getting sick of all these things which would've blown up into a 7 week orgy of hate on Hardball with "constitutional scholar" Ann Coulter bloviating about the immediate need for impeachment:

New York ­ The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission meets three times a year in various cities across the Americas to discuss such dry-but-important issues as telecommunications standards and spectrum regulations. But for this week’s meeting in Guatemala City, politics has barged onto the agenda, TIME’s Viveca Novak and John Dickerson report.

At least four of the two dozen or so U.S. delegates selected for the meeting, sources tell TIME, have been bumped by the White House because they supported John Kerry’s 2004 campaign. The State Department has traditionally put together a list of industry representatives for these meetings, and anyone in the U.S. telecom industry who had the requisite expertise and wanted to go was generally given a slot, say past participants, TIME reports.

Only since the start of Bush’s second term did a political litmus test emerge, industry sources say. The White House admits as much: “We wanted people who would represent the Administration positively, and—call us nutty—it seemed like those who wanted to kick this Administration out of town last November would have some difficulty doing that,” says White House spokesman Trent Duffy. Those barred from the trip include employees of Qualcomm and Nokia, two of the largest telecom firms operating in the U.S., as well as Ibiquity, a digital-radio-technology company in Columbia, MD, TIME reports.

One nixed participant, who has been to many of these telecom meetings and who wants to remain anonymous, gave just $250 to a Democratic account supporting Kerry. Says Nokia vice president Bill Plummer: “We do not view sending experts to international meetings on telecom issues to be a partisan matter. We would welcome clarification from the White House.”