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The E-mail Tax Hoax Meets The Candidates 104

senort01 writes: "Who couldn't find this humorous? 602P, (the post office will charge for e-mail being sent to make up for lost revenue), a classic Internet hoax, was asked about in the New York Senate debate. Needless to say, both parties aren't going to support it! Thank god!" And for those who prefer their news both more direct and more fun, ContinuousPark writes: "Declan McCullagh's Politechbot mailing list is reporting that the lame e-mail hoax made it into the Clinton-Lazio debate." the_quark helpfully points out not only the famous Bill 602P itself but the USPS's stock page denying its existence.
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The E-mail Tax Hoax Meets The Candidates

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  • This CNN [] article doesn't give many details, but apparently the question was submitted online for the debate. Whoever was in charge of screening/selecting those questions is probably a little nervous about going to work tomorrow morning...
  • I'll vote for someone who knows ISA from PCI.

    And we all will end up in a country that eats mostly pizza and drinks only Mountain Dew :)

  • There is an interesting story in the moderation pool at Kuro5hin about this subject (it may not be in moderation pool later):;sid=2000/ 10/6/105910/251;tool=post&mode=moderate
  • Although risking a -1 redundant for this, here is the specific hoax page [] from CIAC
  • by Anonymous Coward
    not to mention the so-called "y2k bug"
  • I don't see too many big problems with that =)
  • Maybe maybe not, but you have to admit, it's pretty damn funny :o)
  • that this hoax is believable. Precedants such as the Communications Decency Act and other obviously unconstitutional laws get passed, so why wouldn't this be proposed?

    I mean, look at the congressional response to the OK City bombing. They passed "domestic terrorism legislation". Well Hello!!! The last time I checked, it was already illegal to set off a bomb and kill over 100 people. What do we need these laws for?

    I swear, if by some quirk of fate I ever end up in congress, I will *never* vote for such a stupid, idiotic, redundant POS. If anybody asks me why, I'll just smile and say that there was heavy pressure from the pro domestic terrorism lobbying groups.

    Ok... actually, now that I come to think of it... it was probably a rider on some other bill which was important. That's the cruddy thing about just about all bills. They are all like... Mozilla. Can't just have a browser bill, gotta attach an LDAP rider, a news clause, and some additional mail legislation.

    So, I couldn't vote against the bill; but I'd make a scene on C-SPAN.

  • by ( 217783 ) on Sunday October 08, 2000 @07:15PM (#721770)
    Who the HELL have I been paying my 5 cents to?!?!!

  • Shouldn't that be, "there's a kilosucker born every millesecond"? this is /. after all...
  • How about RFC #1438 [] describing IETF SOBs? Or RFC #2325 []? Or even better, RFC #2100 [] which details the naming of hosts.

    And an old but, but a classic, RFC #748 [] which details several "new" Telnet options to facilitate random data/service losses.

    I should probably point out that all of those were submitted on April 1st and are actual RFCs that are archived on the Internet Engineering Task Force []'s webpage. I've got a longer list, should anyone care, but I've got to pick and choose...

    The only point to this is that some real RFC's turn out to be hoaxes, in a way! Hope people find those funny. If not, then you should try and implement TCP/IP as described in RFC #1217 []. Either that or try RFC #2549 [] - it was discovered that Linux could not implement it because penguins can't fly.

  • they probably would, if there were such a thing as hell.
  • Well, something to think about the next time the subject of online voting comes up.

  • Yeah, when you get to think of it, it's much less of a fraud than it would be for you to describe yourself as "humorous".


  • At LinuxWorld (TM, etc) in Frankfurt one of the sendmail techie wizzards made a spam kill proposal which, thinking about it, isn' t really dumb.

    Every e-mail is taxed with 10 cents ($1 for messages > 50k), which the receiver can or cannot collect.

    Now, if friends or business associates send me mail, I sure won't collect. But I sure as hell collect on every piece of fscking junk sent into my general direction.

    Today it's essentially free (or very cheap) to send 3'000'000 of those Hot pr0n, just click here messages. Now if half the recepients collect 10 cents the spammer is suddenly out of $150'000, which hurts.

    Also those marketing geniuses which figure that their 3 Meg PowerPoint presentation is of interest to half the company would certainly think twice before pestering us again.

    Of course the micro payment infrastructure is not here yet, further refinements have to be applied, etc...

    But thinking about it, it's not that bad an idea to finally get rid of SPAM.

  • The difference is that bills in Congress aren't numbered that way. A legitimate bill in the house would be numbered HR-something and a legitimate bill in the Senate would be numbered S-something.

    If someone started talking to me about IETF RCS1532, or PCS1532 I would assume they are not an expert and got the name wrong (possably including the numbers).

    I don't see why congressmen think the public is any smarter. Especally when they keep passing laws the remove our need to think for ourselves.

  • Hey, does anyone else remember that classic oversvation made by David Frost on some British TV show in the 1960s:

    "In the US they have two political parties. They have the Republicans, who are the equivalent of our Conservative Party and the Democrats, who are the equivalent of our Conservative Party."
  • I'd like to ask you how you stand on federal bill 602P," moderator Marcia Kramer [], a correspondent for WCBS-TV, told the two rivals.
    I really can't blame the two senate candidates. Im sure not every politician in the US have memorized all pending Bill#s. This twit from "WC BS -TV" (emphasis mine) should be laughed right out of her job. Instead of hiring talking-head-bimbos and their Ken-Doll counterparts, why cant COMPETENT journalists be hired? Attractive isnt she? The sheeple respond well to pretty-journalists.

    [ogg-caveman-speak] Pretty Pictures...good - Big Words and Serious talk...bad[/ogg-caveman-speak].

    Im not saying you are incapable of intelligence if you are an attractive women, im saying that the likely hood (statistically) is less. Better odds that you are A) attractive or B) intelligent (same goes for men..*)I am beginning to think that the concept that 'all men are created equal' is going to be the downfall of the US. Fact is all men are NOT created equal. If decisions (at all levels) are going to continue to be made to play to the middle 60% of the population (sheeple) who arent capable of making minor decisions in their own lives were doomed. The sheeple continue to overwhelm the decisions made for the good of all (including themselves)... funny thing is most sheeple arent capable of understanding the argument let alone capable of rendering an informed, well-argued decision. I suggest the imposition of a test, like a drivers test, administered before any person is allowed to vote or participate in anything of consiquence be it nonprofit, governmental elections, town-council, BoyScout administration council - whatever.

    *Spare me the accusations of sexism.

  • Well Lazio has got to be pretty dumb.

    He has spent five years in congress yet doesn't recognise a non-existent congress man, even, more basic, Sentate bills are numbered S-nnnn, congress bills HR-nnnn. No piece of valid legislation would ever be numbered nnnn-SP.

  • The real point here is I could RESEARCH what the RFC's are and come up with an answer. The most disconcerting thing about this was that the moderator of the debate did not research this question at all!! Journalistic integrity is built on researching your topic.

    This example just higlights how far good objective journalism in this country has fallen.

    Before too many of you rant about /.'s occasional screw-ups with the facts sometimes, there's two things to remember.

    1) These guys aren't professional journalists running a senatorial debate.


    2) They generally fess up to thier mistakes and apologize for them. This is also rarely seen in modern journalism.

  • I got hit by another Canadian email virus

    The newfie virus

    This virus works on the honour system. Please delete everything on your hard disk then forward this message to everyone on your mailing list.

    After I deleted everthing on my hard disk I couldn't send out the required email

  • yeah i agree, it was good to sea that both Clinton and Lazio oppose it not just in politics but in principle. :)

  • I just want to ask all the people who think the politicians are stupid for not knowing that 602P is not a real bill to please inform me off the top of their heads what the titles of the following RFCs are: 1999, 2012, 3002, and 6521. If you can't tell what they are or even better can't figure out which ones are fake and which are real then what business do you have expecting politicians to know about all the bills being proposed to congress, especially since most bills are handled by specialized committees and rarely are heard by all of congress unless they have massive support.

    Second Law of Blissful Ignorance
  • PT Barnum was an optimist.
  • Needless to say, both parties aren't going to support it!

    The real enemy here is the "two-party system." First of all, in the US, political parties don't really even exist. Second, there are many, many more than merely two of them, and most are much friendlier to the interests of sanity than the Demoblicans and Republicrats. Stop buying into the idea that there are only two parties, or that party affiliation even matters. Bottom line: the two largest political parties are identical and have only one mission: to maintain and increase their own power. You can't count on either of their loyalty, either to your business or the interests of general justice and rationality. The instant some big special interest drops a million for some idiotic proposal, they'll both pull an about-face in the interests of money and power.

    Value your freedom? Vote against the two major parties.

  • They have to choose which sucker to vote for!

  • bad programming on the part of the virus writer, thank god. if he was smart he would've set it up to tell you to send the message on to everyone on your mailing list, and THEN delete everything on your hard disk. oh well. ;)

  • Hillary proved to be the smart one by her
    response while Lazio choose to look like a
    moron with his. Lazio automatically assumed that
    this was a real bill in congress and started
    bashing on the governement while Hilary was
    puzzled by the bizarre bill that she'd never
    heard of.

    Don't worry, there are plenty of politicians
    who are well aware of that phony bill, or at
    least their secretaries are.

    There was an article I read in the Grand Rapids
    newspaper (Michigan) where they explained that
    that phony bill got some phone lines jammed.
    There were more angry calls about this bill
    than people bitching at the President during
    the hypocrite republican's vendetta against
    the president for his blowjobs.
  • More can be had about this, and other urban legends/hoaxes/tall tales/whatever: []

    (one of my primary sources for dealing with hoaxes I encounter.)

  • by Sudderth ( 146030 ) on Sunday October 08, 2000 @07:20PM (#721791) Homepage

    If you check out WCBS' web article about the debate [], you'll notice not a single reference to the 602P hoax. On their message boards, however, a couple of people are screaming for the head of the moderator, "Chief Investigative/Political Reporter for NEWS 2" Marcia Kramer.

    My spider-sense tells me the Don Imus show (on sister station WFAN-AM) is going to have a field day tomorrow. I guess WCBS doesn't feel their own screwups are worth correcting.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Monopolies are bad. Duopolies aren't much better.
  • Don't like either Lazio or Clinton? Then vote Ficus 2000 [].
  • I think they missed the boat when the telephone was invented. Or are they just taking cuts from the phone company that we don't know about? Eww.. even better, satellites with the pagers and cell phones. That's just my point of view, and probably the view of others so I had to get it off my chest.
  • ...and the problem is...??

  • I just can't believe that they didn't at least have some intern verify the question. It took me all of 5 seconds to go to [], type in 602P under search for a bill, and get back "602P is an invalid bill number."
  • I've seen some otherwise intelligent, educated people get caught by this particular hoax

    Agreed... I've had that particular email sent to me by some bright friends who weren't so bright when it came to computers...

  • Boy, wouldn't that be something []
  • Clinton's statement implies that she could be in favor of government intervention in the internet, so long as she thinks it is "justified."

    I'm a NY resident and vehemently against Her Royal Highness for many reasons. I watched the debate this morning, though I admit I was half out of it due to being sick, and I remember her talking about the moritorium on internet taxation as part of her response to this question... To paraphrase, she said she wasn't in favor of taxation right now - she would like to continue the with moratorium so that access can be provided to as many people as possible and re-evaluate the situation later. Like I said, I'm admittedly biased against her, but to me, this smacks of "let it become really popular and then once most people depend on it, we can tax a broader base to generate money for new (bloated|wasteful) program X." It's not like the government doesn't already tax necessary utilities to generate revenue for certain programs.

  • Sorry, this bill would be too ridiculous for any politician to promote. It wouldn't get a single vote. You could get some votes for a bill written by a large corporation who wanted five cents per email. But the post office?
  • I admit that the idea of e-mail tax is absurd, but there are some points that can result from e-mail tax policy, if it is possible and properly administered to everyone.

    I remember a branch of UN suggested e-mail tax for helping underdeveloped countries build their IT infrastructure. Collect tax from welthier countries, then invest it in poor countries. I don't remember the gross revenue for e-mail taxes, but surely the size amounts to a massive one. The point is that there exist steep technological and social chasm between welthy countries and poor ones, and the problem can be solved with a simple policy like e-mail tax, without laying too much burdens on taxpayers.

    The overall cost is not so much as one might
    expect: Simply put, the cost for building 1 km of paved road is many times higher than laying 1 km of fiber optic cable bunches. One cent per e-mail might be too much excessive for the task.

    Another theoretical possibility of e-mail tax suggests is the prevention of spam mails. If we can adopt the policy that the tax price of sending e-mails goes up much higher than the number of e-mails, (1 cent for 1 mail, 100 cents for 10, 10000 cents for 100, for example) people will reconsider sending spam mails to tens of thousands of recipients. Or at least they will do it less frequently.

    Thus e-mail tax can help poor countries build their IT infrastructures and prevent spammers from bombing your e-mail box with the spams. :)

    But that's just an imagination and I don't think
    it is possible to check the exact number of e-mail transactions techonologically.

    Although the idea of e-mail tax itself is absurd, the effects e-mail tax might create is worth pondering on.

    In my opinion, the reason why UN once suggested the e-mail tax policy is to emphasize the social barrier between welthier countries and poor ones, not to get the real tax revunue.

    I'm a south korean. I am not a native speaker of english, so allow me some errors if any.
  • From a post on K5 [] by Zarniwoop:

    George Bush Loves You [] and Al Gore Loves You [].

    Isn't that nice?
  • Which again shows us the importance of open source software...
  • Yes, 602P is a fake - but that doesn't stop our good samaritans on Capitol Hill from fighting against it just the same. Our stalwart guardians of justice, as reported in the Washington Post [] back in May, have introduced a bill to prohibit the FCC from even possibly imposing Internet access charges, even though the FCC has said repeatedly that would never happen in the first place. According to sponsor Fred Upton (R-MI), though, his bill, the Internet Access Charge Prohibition Act [], "soothes the fears" of those thousands of people who have written him and other representatives because, frankly, they got bamboozled by the hoax. Upton's bill (HR1291) is still pending committee review before the House.

    So don't be too hard on Clinton and Lazio - at least they only talked about the fake; others are actually wasting real legislative time on it. Sigh... and you wonder why it takes so long to get anything useful done on Capitol Hill.

  • Uhm. I don't think Lazio or Clinton are putzes for responding to the question. I *do* think, though, that the debate comittee who, presumably, picked the question ought to be fired to failure to do research.
  • I bet clinton would support it if it only applied to people earning over 50k or whatever.
  • There's a sucker born every minute. -- P.T. Barnum
  • by Elwood Blues ( 127255 ) on Sunday October 08, 2000 @05:45PM (#721808) Homepage

    Man, I hate this rumor. I interned for a Congressman this summer, we sent out probably 50-100 letters a week to people who were concerned about this bill. They've sent out over 9,000 letters over the past THREE years on bill 602P and Congressman Schnell.

    Whoever started that rumor, has probably cost the taxpayers millions already. Unfortunately, congressmen (at least the good ones) are obligated to respond to all letters/e-mails received with valid snail mail addresses. They do not respond to simple e-mails, because there is no way of verifying actual constituency.

  • The parent post to this one, by Anonymous Coward:

    Re:Get a Life []

    Is one of the most intelligent things I have ever read on Slashdot.

    The only thing I'd add to it is that I think the reason why we have so much freedom today is that greater technology automatically me greater ability for bloody-minded busybodies to interfere in the lives of complete strangers.

    Unfortunately, without some new technology that actually enhances freedom (cheap, reliable spaceflight?) to counter our current control-every-aspect-of-an-individual's life technology, I don't think we can go back to the good old days...

    I really prefer the Age of Reason myself, especially to the coming Age of Eternal Darkness... (brought to you by a partnership between Sony and the American Family Association, tm, all rights reserved.)

  • Apparently Ross Perot was actually the "P" in that plan. He still supports it and hopes to make it one of his major platforms (in his fourth party quest for the title).

    1. The Meaning of Life []
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Sunday October 08, 2000 @05:42PM (#721811) Homepage Journal

    Here's the standard US Dept of Energy's Computer Incident Advisory Capacity (CIAC) website for tracking common Internet hoaxes.

    Most of the classics are in there, and they update this on a mostly useful schedule. I include this in the reply whenever one of my less-clued-in remote relatives asks "Is this legit?"

  • The only thing I'd add to it is that I think the reason why we have so much freedom today is that greater technology automatically me greater ability for bloody-minded busybodies to interfere in the lives of complete strangers
    Of course, I meant to say "so little freedom" instead of "so much freedom." Probably all the double think I've had to swallow (especially lately, it being an election year) has affected my mind, making it difficult to say, "Big Brother is ungood."

  • Could not the US Postal Service, patent the idea of "Delivering Mail", in any form? Mmmm gives me an idea, i let you all know what it is when i 0wn j00z :)

    This was an attempt to be funny, did it work?

    How every version of MICROS~1 Windows(TM) comes to exist.
  • God I wish someone would catch George Bush Jr. [] off guard with this!

  • Here [] is another anecdote about this amusing incident, found at MSNBC.
  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Sunday October 08, 2000 @05:44PM (#721816) Homepage Journal

    Looks like they reorganized last week. The new, more memorable address: []

  • "I am absolutely opposed to this," Lazio said. "This is an example of the government's greedy hand in trying to take money from taxpayers that it has no right to."

    Don't you find it amazing that politicans can twist any little question into a big issue.
    Its also a good indication of the little candidates know about technology when they can't even see that the "tax" would be in every way impossible to enforce...

  • Kind of says a lot about the candidates, their unwillingness to admit that they hadn't heard of the 'proposed legislation'. Makes you wonder what other issues they are 'pretending to be up on'.

    ************************************************** *****

    PBS Documentary on the 30 year War on Drugs tonight! 2 part special [], tonight and tomorrow night.

    Seems like this affects as many geek's lives as, say, LEGO robots, or Start Wars trailers....

    I wonder if they'll mention that one of the candidates for president [] wants to end it.

    Couple of video clips here [] and here [].

  • I'm happy I don't live in New York with such ignorant people running for Senate. I'd like to see the gov't try to charge $.05 per message.

    At least one (or both) of them didn't say they agreed with it.
  • Nah, just start using web-based email from a .uk (or whatever) domain... I'd love to see the US gov't try to tax email that doesn't even go through US servers :)

    However, no candidate for any position would ever support (openly) any sort of tax increase, unless it only affected the wealthy. They might very well support it after they're elected, but never while *trying* to get elected.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...should at least take up the issue of the $10,000 cookie recipe...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... one of them had responded "you dumbass that's a hoax"
  • Well, since the RFCs haven't hit 3000 yet, your last two aren't valid. For the politicians, 602P is not a valid designation. It's sorta like using a period in a domain name. H.R. 602 or S. 602. Which means they should have recognized it as a fake immediately.
  • Not to mention he is running to be part of that government.
  • Marcia Kramer: Mrs. Clinton, what do you think congress can do to prevent such computer problems as the "Mellisa" virus?

    Mrs. Clinton: Who is Mellisa?

    I'll vote for someone who knows ISA from PCI.
  • Thanks for that link. I hadn't yet heard if the moderator thought it was real or was just testing the candidates.

    In any case, you're right. The person and/or people who blundered by letting that question through might want to spruce up their resumés tomorrow.

  • The two party system has worked well and it turns
    out that we live in a free country which is
    the best in the world.
  • It's truly sad that these senate candidates even considered the fact that this might be a bill. It might normally be understandable to not remember every bill by name, except this isn't even the proper syntax for a bill! Bills normally have the preface H.R. in the House of Representatives or S in the Senate. Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio should go do their homework and find out how their new job will work before running for it!
  • I love it when i forget to format :P
  • Mrs. clinton: Mellisa, is she going out with Bill?
  • ...with the same 'company' which produced Carnivore, promises that it will protect our privacy, and can't even protect the privacy of the researchers [] who are studying it. Being clueless enough to believe this old hoax indicates they are probably both more than qualified.

  • Um, someone should do something nasty to whoever thought up the "broadcast this message to everyone in my contact list" command. Grumble.

    The last one I saw had the whole "they can't do this if we forward this to $BIGNUM people"; I wonder why - perhaps their servers couldn't take the load?


    The government is going to start charging a fee of $2 every time you open your mouth unless you tell everyone you pass in the street about this.

    Yes. Hmmm. It'd make a change from cellphones going off during math lectures :)

  • ok... hehehe, this one works great...

    Take an ad out in a newspaper that says:

    Never fail a drug test again!!! Send 10$ TO: ..

    When you get the money, send them a small peice of paper that says:


    Sorry, that was offtopic, but it's damn funny... :)

    cat /dev/random>/dev/audio

    (said by the person who, upon installing kernel framebuffer support, promptly tried cat /dev/audio>/dev/fb0 - "ooh, pretty colours!")

  • It's not the name of the bill that bothers me, but more the description. It probably caught them off guard, but I would have expected intelligent political leaders to spot the difference between a hoax and something that defies common sense.

    On the other hand, who cares? It's just funny. Blame the guy who wrote the question for not verifying his/her facts.

  • Mrs.Clinton had never heard of the bill and said so. Both candidates were opposed to the idea. The fool here was the debate moderator who asked the question. That's the difference between "journalism" and "media".
  • Not the Messerschimdt, theyd want the specs of the Enigma - so they can wear a T-Shirt with blueprint on the back!
  • Hmm... lets see. 1999 is a summery (anything ending with 99 is a summery, assuming it's in range) and last I checked we weren't into 2900 let alone 3000 yes. And we definatly aren't to 6521... So that leaves 2012 which I'd have to look up, but I would guess it to be legitimate since you probably included at least one. Of course it could be an april fools....
  • "All men are created equal". In a free society, I interpret this to mean that all people have (or should have) equal opportunity. It does not mean all people have equal ability or will have an equal outcome.
  • >I remember a branch of UN suggested e-mail tax
    >for helping underdeveloped countries build their
    >IT infrastructure.
    >Collect tax from welthier countries, then invest
    >it in poor countries.

    Yeah, that's a great idea. Then maybe they could extend it to taxing us to feed, clothe, house and educate all the world's citizen's, too. In 10 years, we'll all be third world citizens. But like good socialists, we'll be much happier because everyone's equally poor.

    Hey, it's worked so well in the past, let's try it on a global scale!

  • I'll second that. Unfortunately, I DO live in NY. I've been tempted to move lately because it's becoming obvious that Hillary is going to win, mostly because Lazio is an idiot. I'm having a real hard moral problem this year because I can't ethicaly vote for either NY State Senator candidate or eitehr candidate for the Presidency. It's almost a foregone conclusion that the Democrats are going to win both, which, as much as I wish it were not so, is probably a good thing, because the Republicans simply failed to provide a candidate worth his oxygen quotient.
  • $5 says the moderator of the Clinton/Lazio debate will have a slightly harder time finding another moderating position after pulling something like that...
  • I heard some caller to a radio show this morning claim that this rumor came about as a result of a Canadian bill 602P that was real. Someone repackaged it as though it were happening in the U.S. This is the first that I've ever heard this part of the legend, so I thought I'd pass it along. The whole idea of taxing emails is so absurd that I have difficulty believing that any legislative body would actually entertain it, but this is Canada after all :-)
  • by AntiPasto ( 168263 ) on Sunday October 08, 2000 @05:53PM (#721844) Journal
    and I'm sure yours... thought it'd be a nice idea to run a one page ad in the NY Times just saying "Last chance to send $1 to: [address]"... anyone got some other crazy ideas your friends throw at you?


  • I've always wondered how people were stupid enough to keep forwarding on all those ICQ rumours (you know, the ones about ICQ starting to charge people unless you forward the message on).

    I used to make fun of people that sent them on, but now I wonder if I was being too harsh!? ;)

    Slashdot are going to start charging a fee of 10 cents for every 'first post', unless you forward this on to everyone in your email address book.

    Ahem... ;)

    "How much truth can advertising buy?" - iNsuRge [] - AK47
  • by vertical-limit ( 207715 ) on Sunday October 08, 2000 @05:57PM (#721846)
    I know that this is an infamous hoax, but it's unfair to trash the candidates for not knowing about it -- remember, most Slashdot readers tend to specialize in technology, but for politicians, that's just one of dozens of areas they have to worry about. There's also foreign policy, health care, crime, education, the environment, and a lot of other fields, each with their own history and rumors. We can't expect them to know about every piece of legislation that does -- or in this case, does not -- exist.

    I think we should be more glad about the fact that both candidates were enthusiastially against this bill. Even the idea of an e-mail tax is ridiculous; it's good to sea that both Clinton and Lazio oppose it not just in politics but in principle.

    It's all a matter of trust. Trusting no politicians is not an option and will hurt you economically if others do take the risk -- nor is trusting every fool with a gavel. The truth is in the middle. I'm grateful to be living in a country where I think I can (mostly) trust the government to provide me this kind of services. So, whether you trust Clinton and Lazio or not is not very relevant. The major advancement here is the clear and present danger that e-mail taxes present.

  • Both disagreed with the idea, but neither had heard of the bill.

    Certainly, one can't expect the candidates to have heard of every bill, particularly considering that neither of them are currently in congress.

    However, I'd expect them to know that "602P" is not a bill simply because it does not have the correct format for a bill number. Bills are either H.R. nnn (for those originating in the House) or S. nnn (for those originating in the Senate). Bill numbers never have a letter at the end.

  • Yeah right.

    MMhhh let me think... Company might have the chance to make a lot of money without having to do anything? Yep, they would drop it.

    No really I am sure they would not only smile but grin from ear to ear if they would get the chance to propose and push such a thing through.
  • Shamless for's UrbanLegends site: http://urb anl ax.htm []

    They have complete writeups on both versions of it... US Version [], Canadian Version []. If you bother to take a look, notice how thses two e-mails are almost EXACTLY the same, save for the differneces in Canadian/American government references. At least these jokers aren't discriminating over political boundaries... I'm just surprised that the Canadian version doesn't have a French translation to go along with it...
  • Shouldn't be too difficult, the man blames the Columbine incident on DOOM. Also, didn't he just finish bashing Wiccans a couple days ago?
  • by aozilla ( 133143 ) on Sunday October 08, 2000 @06:00PM (#721851) Homepage
    Of course, we know that Good Times really is a virus, which propagates itself around the internet. Instead of capitalizing on a bug in the OS, it capitalizes on a bug in the user, which causes the user to think the message is legitimate, and pass it on. See also, "The GPL Virus".
  • I wouldn't mock Ross Perot if I were you. Remember that he did make a large part of his fortune founding EDS Systemhouse. He's a pretty smart person.
  • I can't believe this, I'm stunned. If you ask a question, it is wise to be familiar with the subject area before asking. It seems that maybe 80-90% (ok, we'll say a majority) of Internet users knew of this hoax. If the moderator is a non-Internet user then he/she has no business asking the question. I have to know who it is.
    I doubt he/she has email (or would give out (lol)).
  • Coulda been worse - at least their reaction, when put on the spot with something they didn't know about and hadn't paid attention to years of hoax warnings, was "no, we shouldn't be taxing the net" as opposed to "yes, my staff has been evaluating the right way to tax the net and we'll be sure to check out that proposal as well."
  • Which is just another sign of why it's so easy for big business to buy off congress...

    Anyone can pay a congressman a "campaign contribution", but congressmen in general only care about the opinion of people who can vote for them. So if you have money, they'll be more than happy to listen to you, but if you don't, they won't care as much, and will only care if you can vote for them. Also, democracy means that you don't need 100% of congressional members to vote on a bill, so big business only needs to pay campaign contributions to a majority of them.

    What happens if you aren't in the constituency of those voting for the bill? Tough luck my friend, you're now forced by law to hand over your first born child to the RIAA and second born to the MPAA. You get people making decisions which affect you but who aren't answerable to you.

    It sounds a little far fetched, but bear in mind that these two little organisations have already had laws made which makes it illegal for you to modify your VCR in some ways, and illegal to view content you legitimately own unless you use something made by another "co licensed company" who has paid them millions in fees.

    Oh, and don't forget that RIAA would love to get rid of CDs and Cassettes because there's no "access control" restrictions to them. If they choose to stop selling CDs/cassettes, you will not have any comeback.

    The revolution will be televised...
    ...but it will be encoded with macrovision, so you won't be able to record it for historical purposes. Fair use? What's that?

    Gotta love Amurrika :)
  • On the other hand, it is easier to seek forgiveness than permission. At least the politicians know how unpopular this would be and are less likely to get away with sneaking it in (not that they won't try sooner or later anyway)


  • No, Gore would report with an absolutely straight face that he had invented the art of baking cookies, whereas Bush would play the "just regular folks" card and say that he left all the baking to his wife...

    - Ravn
  • I just want to ask all the people who think the politicians are stupid for not knowing that 602P
    is not a real bill to please inform me off the top of their heads what the titles of the following
    RFCs are: 1999, 2012, 3002, and 6521

    The difference is that bills in Congress aren't numbered that way. A legitimate bill in the house would be numbered HR-something and a legitimate bill in the Senate would be numbered S-something.

    I find it absolutely incredible that a sitting congressman doesn't even know the numbering scheme used for bills. Just how stupid do you have to be not to know that? I'm a Canadian and I know that.
  • I remember a branch of UN suggested e-mail tax for helping underdeveloped countries build their IT infrastructure. Collect tax from welthier countries, then invest it in poor countries

    Since when is Switzerland a poor country?

  • One thing the news story does not mention is if the debate moderator thought it was a real bill or simply mentioned it as a test for the candidates. If it's the former, the moderator should be fired for not fact-checking before asking questions. If it's the latter, she should be commended for creating such a hilarious moment.
  • I don't know if you can judge everyone by their knowledge of common internet hoaxes. Politicians, by necessity, are generalists; they have to know a little bit about everything, and I've seen some otherwise intelligent, educated people get caught by this particular hoax.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant