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CENTRAL VIEW for Monday, May 29, 2000

by William Hamilton, Ph.D.

Odd facts to ponder

Recently, this observer reviewed much of the news coverage that followed after Matt Drudge broke the Monica Lewinsky story. I was struck by an odd fact. The only person who told the truth was: (drum roll) Linda Tripp.

Until last week, it looked like the only person who consistently told the truth about Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton would be the only person who would be punished by a court of law. Happily, the Maryland prosecutors handling the case came to their senses and dropped their wire-tapping charge against Mrs. Tripp.

Here’s another odd case: Conventional wisdom says the U.S. Justice Department went after MicroSoft® because the creators of Netscape® and other Internet browsing software were mad at MicroSoft® for giving MicroSoft Internet Explorer® away for free to people who bought MicroSoft Windows® software.

But the real story may have more to do with Novell®, a creator of computer networking software based in Utah. Until MicroSoft® came out with Windows NT® networking software, the Justice Department paid little heed to the complaints that MicroSoft® was giving software away or selling it so cheaply to consumers that other software manufacturers could not compete. Naughty-naughty MicroSoft®.

The chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah. It was only after Utah-based Novell® started complaining about Windows NT® that the Justice Department got serious about prosecuting MicroSoft®. Boys and girls, can you spell: p-o-l-i-t-i-c-s?

Actually, the Clinton Administration’s attack on MicroSoft® has much deeper roots that are both economic and philosophical. Back in the old days, governments knew how to tax and, therefore, control the makers of manufactured goods and farm produce. But government doesn’t have much experience taxing and controlling those things that spring from the mind and create their real value out in something or somewhere called: cyberspace.

But never fear. Somehow, someway, government will find a way to tax the Internet and slow its growth. Remember: if want less of something, tax it. If you want more of something, subsidize it.

Actually, the growth of the Internet started with an informal government subsidy. Government and university scientists were the first to connect computers together so they could talk with each other. And, we should give those pioneers full credit for finding a way that scientific data can be exchanged between laboratories and other places of scientific endeavor. But the invention of the Internet was more by accident than design. Only after the private sector became involved did the Internet leap for the stratosphere in terms of usefulness and growth.

Unless, of course, one wishes to believe Al Gore’s claim that he invented the Internet all by himself. Actually, I’m more willing to believe his claim that he and Tipper inspired the novel Love Story. Unfortunately for Al and Tipper Gore, Erich Segal, the author of Love Story says he did not draw his inspiration from them.

Speaking of claims. There must be something in the genes of liberal candidates for office that makes them prescient. For example, Hillary Rodham Clinton made a speech one time in which she said her mother gave her the name “Hillary” in honor of Sir Edmund Hillary, the first White person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Mrs. Rodham must really have had the gift of clairvoyance because her daughter Hillary was born in 1947 and Sir Edmund Hillary did not climb Mount Everest until 1953 -- six years later. The record also indicates Hillary must have inherited her mother’s clairvoyance because she was able to make over $100,000 in the cattle futures market almost overnight and with no previous experience.

Someone who may lack clairvoyance is George W. Bush. When George W. was one of the managing partners of the Texas Rangers baseball team, he concurred in the decision to trade Sammy Sosa to the Chicago Cubs for another player no one has heard of since.

William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today.

©1999-2017. American Press Syndicate.

Dr. Hamilton can be contacted at:
P.O. Box 2001
Granby, CO 80446

Email: william@central-view.com

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