RUSH: Now, let’s move on to this Internet business. And the reason that I want to spend just a little time on this before we get to your phone calls is Obama’s not the first, he’s simply the latest, in a long line of people to cite the Internet as a justification for big government. It’s interesting that the Internet is one of the only things they cite. Of course, Obama’s now talking about roads and bridges. Do you know, by the way, that we have twice as many miles of road as the ChiComs do?
And yet theirs is the economy that’s burgeoning and ours isn’t.
We got twice the number of roads, and we probably have more bridges than they do. That’s exactly right. With that huge landmass that the ChiComs have, we have twice as many roads, twice the mileage. I don’t know what the figures are on bridges, but it’s probably commensurate. So you have Obama. He’s just the latest to cite the Internet as evidence big government is solely responsible for the success of many (whispers) corporations — corporations, where people work.
It’s about all they can cite, so they glom onto it. And it’s important here. The Wall Street Journal spells it out: “ItÂ’s also important to recognize that building great technology businesses requires both innovation and the skills to bring innovations to market.” And they use, in this story, a contrast between Xerox and Apple. Now, let’s just get straight to it. The author of this piece is Gordon Crovitz, and it’s entitled, “Who Really Invented the Internet?”
Quote: “A telling moment in the presidential race came recently when Barack Obama said: ‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.’ He justified elevating bureaucrats over entrepreneurs by referring to bridges and roads, adding: ‘The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet.'” Crovitz writes, “It’s an urban legend that the government launched the Internet.
“The myth is that the Pentagon created the Internet to keep its communications lines up even in a nuclear strike.” Crovitz writes, “The truth is a more interesting story about how innovation happens — and about how hard it is to build successful technology companies even once the government gets out of the way. For many technologists, the idea of the Internet traces to Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser during World War II who oversaw the development of radar and the Manhattan Project.
“In a 1946 article in The Atlantic titled ‘As We May Think,’ Bush defined an ambitious peacetime goal for technologists: Build what he called a ‘memex’ through which ‘wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.'” Even if you don’t know what that means, what it did in the scientific technology community is: “That fired imaginations, and by the 1960s technologists were trying to connect separate physical communications networks into one global network — a ‘world-wide web.’
“The federal government was involved, modestly, via the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Its goal was not maintaining communications during a nuclear attack, and it didn’t build the Internet. Robert Taylor, who ran the ARPA program in the 1960s, sent an e-mail to fellow technologists in 2004 setting the record straight: ‘The creation of the Arpanet was not motivated by considerations of war. The Arpanet was not an Internet. An Internet is a connection between two or more computer networks.'”
So, Crovitz writes, “If the government didn’t invent the Internet, who did? Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol, the Internet’s backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks.” Do you know what TCP/IP is? What? How would you explain TCP/IP to somebody? Somebody in Rio Linda. (interruption) It’s like the phone number of a computer network. It’s like the phone number of a computer. Okay, TCP/IP. And hyperlinks, it’s obvious. That’s the link in a story that you click to take you to some other site. Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for creating the hyperlink.
“According to a book about Xerox PARC, ‘Dealers of Lightning’ (by Michael Hiltzik), its top researchers realized they couldn’t wait for the government to connect different networks, so would have to do it themselves.” I mean, the government did create this labyrinth, but they didn’t know what to do with it. At no time were they even pondering commercial applications for this, which is the point. Ah, you can debate — and people are gonna debate this ’til the end of time — whether it was a network communications system for nuclear attack; whether it was this or whether it was that.
The point that Crovitz is making here is that whatever it was and why it ever was invented, it was never intended by the government for commercial application. And had it been left to the government and had it remained the sole property of the government, it wouldn’t exist today. That’s all you really need to know about this. And yet Obama is running around claiming credit for it, as Algore did, and making it one of the reasons businesses — (whispers) “corporations” — are successful.
So back to Xerox PARC. “[T]op researchers realized they couldn’t wait for the government to connect different networks, so would have to do it themselves. ‘We have a more immediate problem than they do,’ Robert Metcalfe told his colleague John Shoch in 1973. ‘We have more networks than they do.’ Mr. Shoch later recalled that ARPA staffers ‘were working under government funding and university contracts. They had contract administrators … and all that slow, lugubrious behavior to contend with.'”
Quote: “But full credit goes to the company where Mr. Taylor worked after leaving ARPA: Xerox. It was at the Xerox PARC labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks. Researchers there also developed the first personal computer (the Xerox Alto) and the graphical user interface that still drives computer usage today.” Xerox did all that. They sat on it. They didn’t know what they had ’til Steve Jobs came along and saw it. Now, one other thing about this.
When we were building this program back in the late eighties and early nineties, I was using CompuServe, and I’m gonna lay claim to this: I was one of the first major media figures to start using CompuServe, which was the competitor to AOL at the time. There was no Internet. (Well, there was, but I’ll get to that in a second.) CompuServe was an aggregator. CompuServe is where you’d get the AP wire and the UPI wire and newspapers. I remember starting in 1986 with my Apple IIc, using the ProDOS system.
I was using it for show prep.
That’s when I began the process of not using newspapers.
Then I bought first Macintosh, and the process simplified, and I remember using modems, 56K modems. It took days when 14.4 was the speed. It would take 30 minutes to download a 750-word column, if you actually wanted to download it. You could read it, of course; it would all display. But if you wanted to download, it took a much longer time. It took longer to fully display. But that became my sole mechanism. I was using three newspapers at the time to prep the program, and that, CompuServe, opened up avenues and vistas that I didn’t know were possible.
So I wanted to get them as a sponsor.
We were trying to build this program, and we were being avoided by conventional sponsors ’cause we were “controversial.” Yes, folks, even back in 1989 — even back in 1990 — the liberal media and everybody else was sending out warnings. “Don’t advertise! It’s controversial! It’s conservative!” We were dealing with that just as we’ve dealt with it from the get-go. So what we had to do is we had to go out and find people who had not advertised on radio before. We were also offering a different advertising technique.
The network advertising back then was called CPM: Cost Per Thousand. Those were advertisers who didn’t care about anything other than the number of people who heard the message. That’s all that mattered to ’em: CPM. Well, we decided (I decided), “We’re gonna have to abandon that, ’cause obviously we’re being ignored with those kinds of buys. So we’re gonna have to do results-oriented ads.” We had to go get sponsors who would be able to tell immediately when their advertising worked.
It was results oriented if they had a toll-free number or if they had any other mechanism for people to reach them. And CompuServe was a great test. I used them, I could endorse it, I loved it, and we’d be able to show them immediately how many new sign-ups they’d get if they became sponsors. But they were a bunch of liberals, and they were a little leery. But, to their credit, they took a meeting, and we went and met with ’em. By the time I met with CompuServe, I had just heard of the Internet.
I had just started dabbling with Mosaic, which was one of the first browsers. It even predated Netscape. I didn’t quite understand what I was doing, and hooking up to it was a nightmare. Connecting to the Internet was. I didn’t know TCP/IP. I didn’t know all this stuff. And there was nobody to really teach me. It was self-taught on the computer. And I remember going to the CompuServe guys and they said, “Ah, the Internet, that’s just something that the military is using.”
What was happening was, in the early days, some of the scholars and scientists that were using the Internet began to send e-mail from it and to join chat rooms from it. And people began to be made aware of things like the AlterNet and the Internet or whatever it was called at the time, and everybody wanted a piece of it. They wanted to find out what this was about, and the CompuServe guys properly (unbeknownst to me) looked at them as a competitor. They said, “Ah, the Internet’s nothing. They don’t do what we do.”
Well, we know what happened.
The Internet overtook everything and ate AOL and CompuServe. It absorbed them and so forth in time. But that first exposure to the Internet was Mosaic and the browser and trying to figure it all out. And the CompuServe guy is telling me, “Ah, it’s just a bunch of military people. It’s primarily Department of Defense, but there’s some government researchers on there, and they’ve started chat rooms.” And those were, of course, opinion oriented, which was what appealed to me about it.
RUSH: Okay, so I’m now talking to the CompuServe guys, and I’m asking about the Internet, and they say, “The Internet? It’s just a bunch of military eggheads and scientists who are using it in their spare time to communicate with each other and start chat rooms and so forth.” So my point is: Here you had CompuServe, which was what everybody uses the Internet for today. CompuServe was it, which begat AOL. CompuServe was very, very liberal. If I’m not mistaken, the guy who founded Free Republic got banned from issuing comments at various forums on CompuServe.
Jim… What was his name? I’m having a mental block on this. The Freepers are gonna kill me, but Free Republic started because CompuServe banned their guy. So the point in recalling all of this is that Obama and these people want to tell you the Internet was the foundation. It wasn’t. There were private sector firms long before the Internet was doing what the Internet was doing. It took people — innovators in the private sector — realizing what was there to innovative it and then market it.
They had to take it to market, make it applicable. The Xerox people came up with Ethernet. Why did they do that? Well, Xerox was in the copier business. That’s what they did. “Executives at Xerox headquarters in Rochester, NY, were focused on selling copiers. From their standpoint, the Ethernet was important only so that people in an office could link computers to share a copier.” That’s what they did with it, and that was it! It was tied to their specific need: Xerox copiers and so forth. The copier business was lucrative for decades, but they didn’t see what they had.
Others came along who did, and they expanded on it.
And I guess I’m not gonna be able to wrap this up yet, so sit tight.
RUSH: You know, folks, since I’ve started into this, let me change tack here ever so slightly. Because what I’ve realized is I’m dredging up a lot of memories with this. What I’m really talking about here is innovation across the board. And before we get to the innovation of the Internet and who really made it happen, I want to go back to the early days of this program. Actually it was in Sacramento where all of this stuff with CompuServe started. I didn’t approach them as an advertiser ’til this program began in 1989, but I started using them in 1985.
And I was one of the first adopters of e-mail in broadcasting. I used to say that I was the most accessible host in all of media because of e-mail. My CompuServe e-mail address was public. It was the only e-mail address I had. I responded to as much of it as I could, starting in Sacramento, and then when we moved to New York and took the program national. And at the time, everybody else in talk radio was just using newspapers. And this was a brand-new vista for me, and I was an information sponge.
Life was show prep, and having access to information six hours or 12 hours before it was gonna be published in a newspaper? That was gold! And it was fun. And it became a major, major part of my daily existence. A lot of people called it work. It wasn’t for me. My horizons were expanding; I was learning a new technology. I was becoming proficient at it. It was launching my business at a rapid rate. It all came together. And as it did, I had an opportunity to learn about all the various ways there were to access this information that was out there.
And as I say, when we made the sales pitch to the CompuServe guys, I asked them about the Internet, and they disparaged it because they knew what its potential was. And at the time it was just a bunch scientists and government people (primarily military) who were chatting with each other. They’d set up their own chat rooms just like CompuServe had chat rooms. I could even say that I might have been the first blogger. I was certainly the first to communicate with my audience off air — as extensively and as personally and in as detailed fashion — as I did on the air.
I invited them to do so.
And it was fun.
So, in the process of acquiring CompuServe as an advertiser, I’ll never forget going to see the operation. I envisioned this massive room. I didn’t know what would be in it, but I envisioned this massive room. Folks, everything was on it: AP, UPI, French News Agency, all the Chinese and Japanese news agencies. Reuters was on it. The Washington Post was on it. (It was called “WPost” at the time, not “WaPo.”) The Wall Street Journal was there.
All these columnists, too. Everything was there. Now, the people at the newspapers already had this stuff via wires, the AP wire and so forth. CompuServe had brought that to the public. And I think I was one of the early media figures — certainly in talk radio — to access it. And my only point in focusing on this is to try to let you know that the Internet was not something the government started and saw it through to what it is today. You know what my Compuserve address was?
Everybody had a number. Mine was: 70277.2502@Compuserve.com. That was the first e-mail address that I had. And then later on, you could use an alias (your name with it), but at first you couldn’t. Technology hadn’t gotten to the point of aliases. Any rate, so now where are we? Well, we’ve got CompuServe and we’ve got AOL (that came later). We’ve got the Internet out there, too, but it’s strictly government. It’s being sat on. It had very narrow intend uses by the agencies that were using it.
And the first people that really took it outside the government realm were the people at Xerox who used it to connect computers to the copy machines that they were selling so that it would help them sell copy machines. If you could link all the computers in an office to a copy machine, then it would facilitate the sale of copy machines and any number of accessories that were required and/or necessary. And that’s as far as it went for those people. Then, one day, Steve Jobs walked in there. In 1979, Steve Jobs walked in, and he saw what Xerox had.
They had the graphical user interface.
They had the mouse.
They had icons on the screen that you would point and click to make things happen.
At the time, there was no Windows. Windows was MS-DOS.
Windows wouldn’t become what it was ’til after they stole it from Jobs, from Apple. And they already had their base of MS-DOS computers all over the place. So their expansion was built in. Jobs said later that Xerox just didn’t know what they had. So the Macintosh (actually, the Lisa; the Macintosh came later) was created with the graphical user interface, the GUI. “As for the government’s role, the Internet was fully privatized in 1995, when a remaining piece of the network run by the National Science Foundation was closed — just as the commercial Web began to boom.”
It wasn’t until 1995. Still no Fox News. It was 1995 when we had CompuServe and AOL and all those things, and the big birth didn’t happen ’til around the mid-nineties. “Blogger Brian Carnell wrote in 1999: ‘The Internet, in fact, reaffirms the basic free market critique of large government. Here for 30 years the government had an immensely useful protocol for transferring information, TCP/IP, but it languished.'” It’s not so much that they were to blame; it’s just not what they did. By definition, government wasn’t there.
People don’t go into government to innovate in the private sector. They go there for entirely different reasons. So they have this technology. That’s what’s so laughable about Algore coming along later and saying he invented the Internet. He didn’t know what it was. They had no intention of it becoming what it became. They didn’t intend for it not to, either. Innovation doesn’t happen in government, not private sector innovation. Carnell: “In less than a decade, private concerns have taken that protocol and created one of the most important technological revolutions of the millennia.”
And it isn’t gonna be long before practically every aspect of your computer life is somewhere on the Internet (i.e., The Cloud) as opposed to on your device. As Mr. Crovitz writes here in the Wall Street Journal: “It’s important to understand the history of the Internet because it’s too often wrongly cited to justify big government. It’s also important to recognize that building great technology businesses requires both innovation and the skills to bring innovations to market.”
You gotta know marketing.
“As the contrast between Xerox and Apple shows, few business leaders succeed in this challenge. Those who do — not the government — deserve the credit for making it happen.” Now, understand: Nobody would be out there writing things disparaging the government if it were not for Obama running around trying to lay claim to and credit for the Internet being a government creation. Folks, it’s diabolical what he’s doing. He’s got this chip on his shoulder about corporations.
He’s got this chip on his shoulder about achievers.
He’s got this chip on his shoulder about successful people.
He doesn’t think they’re genuine. He doesn’t think that they’re real. They have acquired what they have through chicanery. They’ve cheated. They’ve lied. They’ve stolen. They have not paid people fairly. Or whatever his beef is. So he runs around and says that the Internet made it possible for all these “corporations” (Evil word! Evil word!) to get rich and further abuse people. And it’s a two-pronged thing, because now he’s asking for people to place, in him, the confidence to do even more great innovation like this.
“Just let the government handle it, and we can have ten times more Internets out there!”
The fact is, Barack Obama wouldn’t know how to innovate a thumbtack, much less a computer network. Barack Obama is still using BlackBerry! Barack Obama, Timothy Geithner, none of the people in this administration have ever drawn a paycheck in the private sector. They have not made a payroll. They don’t have the slightest idea how the Internet happened. They don’t know how it works; they don’t know why it works. But they’re right in there (just like liberals everywhere) trying to claim credit for it.
And had it been left up to them, none of it would have ever happened. Now, the Internet’s origins were in fact DOD, Department of Defense — (whispers) “military,” another evil word. It’s the one area of government Obama despises, the one area of government he genuinely wants to pare down, genuinely cut. The military is where government does things right, more often than not. So next time you hear that the government created the Internet and businesses have not paid properly for all of the wealth government allowed them to create?
Understand that the government is the biggest winner on the Internet, and they didn’t do anything for it. All they have to do is sit around and siphon taxes off every dollar earned. They had nothing to do with innovating it. They had nothing to do with taking it to the private sector. They had nothing to do with taking it to the free market. They had nothing to do with monetizing it. Zilch. The only thing they do is erect regulations that get in the way. And the real thing Obama wants to do with the Internet is tax it. That’s what you need to keep in mind.
When it comes to the Internet, Obama sees a giant new revenue source via taxation. And so all of this — that Roanoke speech, all of this — is a setup to try to convince as many Americans as he can that the achievers are not genuine, that they’re illegitimate. “They’ve earned a lot of money that they haven’t really earned. It’s not theirs. It’s other people’s money, and the Internet’s just the latest example of how government is being ripped off.” All this sets the stage for new regulations and new taxes against these people who did it “unfairly” and so forth.