The Federal Government wants *still* to tax phone calls
that specifically access the Internet.
I argue below that such taxation is constitutionally
unprecedented, and unlawful.
This ciculating rumor is, however a hoax.
I recently received the following message, and returned a response
arguing such complete unconstitutionality for such a taxation that
it would require a Constitutional Amendment that would defy and
contradict many Constitutional rights and safeguards.
I do not even touch here on the invasions of privacy that
implementing such a tax would require.
All the money grabbers are getting very cozy with each other.
If it isn't the insurance companies, it's the phone companies.
That argument of uncostitutionality follows the Forwarded message,
------------------------ A Forwarded Message ------------------------
CNN stated that the government would in two weeks time decide to allow
or not allow a charge to your phone bill equal to a long distance call each
time you access the internet. The address is
Please visit the address above and fill out the necessary form! This is
not a joke ... but REAL. We all were aware that the governement have
been pressured by the telephone companies to consider such a charge and not
If EACH one of us forward this message on to others in a hurry, we may
be able to prevent this injustice from happening!
Evidently, this is for real ... Please take the time and vitis the URL
address and follow the instructions. Your vote may make a BIG
difference. None of us should be charged a long distance call each time
we access the internet.
In addition, please forward this to all your friends and relatives that
also acces the internet.
-------------------- End of Forwarded Message ------------------------
In the Constitution of United States of America,
Article I Section viii
"Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties,
imposts, and excises, to pay debts and provide for the common
defense and the general welfare of the United States; ...."
The proposed taxation is contrary to the general welfare.
Article I Section ix
Gives Congress the right to tax persons and things,
with equitability among the states, and places certain
restrictions on such taxation. In particular,
"No Capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion
to the census or enumeration hereinbefore directed to be taken."
"No tax or duties shall be laid on articles exported from
States then do not have the power to tax as proposed.
The Power of taxation is understood in the Constitution to
be on persons and things only. This interpretation has
traditionally been upheld by the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the Congress of the United States Passed the odious
Amendment XVI, that allowed for income tax, with the words,
"Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes,
from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the
several States and without regard to any census or enumeration."
Whether "income" was a thing, and whether such taxation could be done
"in a proportionate way" as directed by Article I, Section IX were
the contentions that could only be solved by passing an ammendment.
Now, "income" has been legally declared a thing, which is then taxable,
and the idea of taxation having to be "in a proportionate way",
has become moot.
Notice that this fetid amendment directly defies the prior
constitution, and that it says nothing about withholding.
The writers of the Constitution could not have anticipated
The Internet, much less the idea of accessing it by telephone.
Neverthe less -
TAXATION MAY ONLY BE ON PERSONS & THINGS:
I still assert and stand to be contradicted, that there is
no place in the constitution or any law of the Federal
Government where anything but persons or things are taxed.
We get the idea that our telephone calls are taxed; they are
not. The telephone companies are taxed on the basis of income
of the companies, and by regulatory law, the companies are
permitted to pass that tax proportionately on to us
Now, what about telephone calls which specifically access the
internet? What distinguishes them from any other telephone
call? I claim that what distinguishes them is a mental activity
of "intent". What the exact telephone number may be is
inconsequential. We may just as well be specially taxed for
calling our parents, or perhaps our spiritual or legal advisors.
How can a mental process be taxed? By what authority?
NATURE OF THE INTERNET:
The internet is essentially a "free" extended set of relationships
that covers the globe. Yes, there is financial support of the
Internet backbone that consists of a series of supercomputers.
We are already paying for this with our tax dollars. The rest
is either directly commercial (.com), or is supported by selfsustaining
nonprofit organizations, and by at least hundreds of thousands
of people who contribute their work, knowledge and time gratis,
just because they think it is a great thing - which it is.
The Internet is a relationship; it belongs to no one. One
could argue that it does not even come under the domain or
authority of any government, and therefore may not be regulated
or taxed in way.
GOVERNMENTS' LOVE & HATE
Governments have a love hate relation with the Internet:
they hate it because by its very nature, it escapes
their control, and exceed their domain and authority;
they love it because it is useful to them, and
allows them to perform certain operations more cheaply.
It is also great in the service of espionage.
I wonder how much the Federal Government has been saved just
in postage stamps? One might expect a decrease in taxes from
this. One would be wrong. Governments just pretend to give.
POSITION OF THE SUPREME COURT:
It has been made very clear by the Supreme Court of the United
States that the Internet should remain unfettered
by special laws pertaining to it, in its scathing condemnation
of the federal government's attempt to impose the CDA.
A special taxation of access calls to the Internet exceeds the
authority of the States, and of the Federal Government.
It is also in violation of the First Amendment, the Ninth
Amendment and the Tenth Amendment.
Congress shall may no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech
or of the press; or the right of the people peacably
to asemble, and to petition the government for a redress
The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights
shall not be construed to deny or disparage others
retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the
Constitution, nor prohibited by the States, are reserved
to the States respectively, or to the people.
If the Federal Government of the United States wishes to tax
telephone calls that access the internet, it must pass an
Amendment to that effect, in direct defiance of all of this.
The phone companies are the ones pushing for this crime to
be made law. Should it come to pass, you will hear great
whining and howling about how much it costs them to change
all their software and about how many prople they now need
to hire to handle the bureacratic internals of billing.
So, of course, they will need to raise their rates to cover
the increased costs. Poor phone companies :-*(
Email from Tom Livingston on the HOAX.
Thanks to Jim Cartmell for finding CNN article on FCC and Internet
long-distance charges, and to Tom Livingston for fowarding this information.
This brief article can be viewed at the following
I (Tom) continued to dig and found an FCC Fact Sheet that resolves this
FCC FACT SHEET
No Consumer Per-Minute Charges to Access ISPs
The following fact sheet provides information in response to erroneous
reports that the FCC is planning to impose per-minute usage charges on
consumer access to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The bottom line is
that the FCC has no intention of assessing per-minute charges on Internet
traffic or of making any changes in the way consumers obtain and pay for
access to the Internet.
For complete details of this fact sheet click on the following link:
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Uncivilization and its Discontents
Email me, Bill Hammel at
bhammel AT graham DOT main DOT nc DOT us
READ WARNING BEFORE SENDING E-MAIL
The URL for this document is:
Created: February 10, 1999
Last Updated: February 12, 1999