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Everything posted by jasonlockwood

  1. Immigration and the welfare state

    Here is an interesting fact about Australian immigration, and I know something about it since I am an immigrant here: I am not eligible for any kind of welfare BEFORE I'm a permanent resident. There are a number of different types of temporary visas of varying lengths and purposes, but all share that trait. Obviously I don't agree with welfare at all, but at least here you don't automatically live off the state UNTIL you make the effort to become a permanent resident. Another thing that I hear is fairly recent: to get your PR, you MUST pass an English test. In America both of these things would be controversial, but here they are completely commonplace. It is expected that to become a permanent part of Australian society you have to prove your value. I won't comment on what's not great about immigration policy here, but those are a few points where I think they get it right.
  2. State of the States ... and Countries

    Fair enough and you make some good points about where you've lived. I added my comment merely as illustration that there are options outside the US that are at least as good as, if not better in some ways, than the US. Australia is one of them.
  3. State of the States ... and Countries

    I was wondering that myself. If a better life can be had elsewhere, then why not go after it? I won't pretend I live in a Laissez-Faire paradise, but Australia is an outstanding place to live for reasons I've discussed elsewhere.Depending on one's skill set, getting a permanent visa is a less odious process than in America, too.
  4. Dr. Peikoff on sex change surgery

    This is exactly what I've thought, too. It is tough for me to believe that someone with little understanding of sexuality and psychology can conclude he's living in the body of a woman or vice versa. What, other than feelings, are they going on?
  5. Elimination of Mortgage Interest Deduction

    In my mind, this is low on the list of things to mess with, anyway. In some better future where the government is much more limited to its proper functions, this may be something to consider, but until then I concur with Phil. As it stands, more people ought to rent until they really can afford a property.
  6. Elimination of Mortgage Interest Deduction

    Wouldn't eliminating the deduction fall under the heading of something to phase out to minimize the damage, much like a tiered phase out of Social Security? For example, existing home owners keep the deduction, but anyone buying after a cut-off date would not be eligible. Then, as taxes were lowered generally and regulations eliminated, those home owners who still had the deduction would no longer be in danger of financial ruin.Incidentally, there is no such deduction in Australia.
  7. Dr. Peikoff on sex change surgery

    I think at minimum Dr. Peikoff would need to talk to a number of these people before pronouncing judgement on the appropriateness of the surgery. That wouldn't make him an expert - far from it - but it would at least ground things in reality somewhat. I have met a number of transsexuals over the years, some who have had cosmetic surgery to appear more like women (or men), some who were in the process of changing completely into the opposite sex. I wouldn't say any of them were friends of mine per se, but I did know them on a casual basis and I would see them out in clubs and bars. With one exception, I found them all to be rather disturbed people, some more so than others. One in particular I found a sad case: a middle-aged man nearing 60 years old who 'figured out' he was really a woman. Now this person was pleasant enough to talk to, but clearly suffered from some real psychological problems. He did eventually make the complete change and appeared 'happy', but I had my doubts about that. Happy people don't drink themselves blind on a regular basis, as 'she' continued to do after the surgery. I agree that one cannot equate homosexuals with those men and women claiming to be born the wrong sex. The vast majority of gay men and women I've known, and in particular the younger ones, have been essentially reasonable people. I'm no expert on sexuality - other than my own - but most of the gays I've known eventually come to terms with their sexual identities and live fulfilling, productive lives, as I have. My interest in this matter is pretty minimal, but because I've had more exposure to transsexuals, I thought I could weigh in on the topic.
  8. Ah well, you know, it happens to the most socially adept people sometimes. ;-)
  9. I second Ray's congratulations, Bryson. Stepping out of one's shell can be daunting, especially if you've spent many years alone, doubting your ability to meet someone special. You might be surprised to hear that I struggled with this somewhat upon moving to Sydney. Shocking I know: Jason the man about the world worrying whether he can get a date. Nevertheless, a place like Sydney CAN be daunting in that it was not only a new city, but also a new country to get used to. Over time, however, as I grew more comfortable and found a friendlier neighborhood to live in, things began to pick up. Now, when I have friends visit me from overseas, they're amazed to see the niche of friends I've carved for myself in this wonderful but sometimes quirky little country on the bottom of the planet. I've even been dating again.
  10. The role of Government

    Yes, and those are the people I no longer attempt to engage. I reached a point that I found no value in discussing matters where the leftist would continue to misrepresent, distort or flat out lie and at the same time refuse to consider that alternate views were worth contemplating.Funnily enough, I was chatting with a friend recently who proclaimed that he thought socialised medicine 'rocked'. My reply: of course you think that. What can one say to such a mentality other than that? Of course, he wanted to know what I meant by my statement, and I simply said: based on your basic premise of what government ought to be, it makes perfect sense that you would advocate socialism of one stripe or another.
  11. Elimination of Mortgage Interest Deduction

    I've learnt since I moved down here there are schemes to lower the income tax burden via salary sacrifice and living away from home allowances, to cite a few examples. Correct me if I'm wrong, but tax returns are simpler in Australia, too.
  12. Less For More Vs. More For Less

    The other cause for optimism - and not the pie in the sky variety - is the fact that people like us are making actual inroads into the culture. Never in my life did I expect the word statism to come into the vocabulary of people who aren't Objectivists. Even my DAD, who has always been politically conservative and decried the liberals since as long as I can remember, has begun referring to the statists in power. Just when one thinks the end is nigh, Americans prove again and again that they're capable of reversing course. Without any doubt, there is a long road ahead, but I think real progress can be made over the next few decades.
  13. To The Bureaucrats: Sorry, But You DO "Suck"

    A an old high school friend of mine on Facebook said this in response to the 'loss' of Russ Feingold: "Whatever your politics, my great home state of Wisconsin blew it on this one." Let's think about this one for a moment. WHATEVER your politics? How can that be? For those who voted Johnson in, they are overjoyed that their man won PRECISELY for his politics. Leftists are so odd when their guys lose: they actually think those who voted their opponents in should be lamenting the fact. I considered posting a comment, but then reconsidered. No point engaging someone with that view. It's more fun letting them stew in it.
  14. To The Bureaucrats: Sorry, But You DO "Suck"

    Let 'em get angry. They deserve our derision and our scorn, so the rightful reaction is anger. May they live in a constant pissed off state, I say. I have lefty friends who are all depressed about the midterms and their real meaning. I'm pretty happy about their state of mind.
  15. Inception (2010)

    These kinds of fantasy movies always bring me back to why I like detective stories so much: there is an element of 'whodunnit' in them that keeps me coming back. The problem is Inception or other movies of its type (Shutter Island is another recent one) tease the viewer with a detective premise, but end up being visual pyrotechnics with little story. I enjoyed watching Inception for the experience, but I was left wanting at the end. On the other hand, the Millennium trilogy (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.) have captivating plots and little in the way of effects. They also have fascinating characters who do unexpected things which propel the stories forward.
  16. 401k Nationalization

    I did cash out before moving to Sydney in mid-2008, and against the advice of my sister, who is a financial planner. She insisted that I would 'probably' move back to the US at some point and then I would have all that money which would have accumulated interest over the years. Well, as it happened I cashed out months before the financial crisis and what I paid in taxes PALED in comparison to the value lost to my 401(k) had I left it alone. Not only that, but it enabled me to establish myself down here quicker than if I hadn't cashed out. I'm sure all of you have seen that for the first time in I don't know how long, the Aussie dollar is about to reach parity with the US dollar. My sister has since said I was wise to take the money and run. Oh, and I am staying permanently in Australia.
  17. Who Cares About the Truth?

    What *will* happen is not set in stone. A more accurate phrasing would be: 'if present conditions persist, then X is the logical outcome.' No-one on this board could have predicted the Tea Party movement in America - not even Rick Santelli, the man who started it all on CNBC, so I would be loath to write off the near future so quickly. Things can and do change for the better and we're living through that today.
  18. The Tea Party Movement

    Plus we can get some rabble-rousing Aussies and wannabe Aussies (i.e. me) to do some legwork, too.
  19. Your Life IS Your Own!

    I would consider it a badge of honor to get the negative comments. At least you know that you're angering the right people.
  20. Happy Birthday to free spirit

    Happy birthday Carrie! I hope you had a wonderful day.
  21. Inception (2010)

    I thought the movie was visually interesting to watch, but the plot was not all that compelling to me. None of the characters really engaged me, and the central idea of planting ideas in people's heads seemed like much ado about nothing. Some of the contrivances I could get past in the spirit of a fantasy story, but it was artifice. I personally found Nolan's other movies a lot more interesting, such as Memento and Insomnia.
  22. A God Who Hates

    I got my Kindle edition today.
  23. Happy Birthday to Brad Harrington

    Have a fantastic birthday, Brad. 29, right? ;-)
  24. Cheyenne's Event Center: "Time To Pull The Plug"

    Well it's a bit tougher considering there's no bordering country, but hey give it a try! ;-)
  25. Fat and glucose vs. fructose

    I reckon that you choose the things that you enjoy if that's what motivates you. I personally never feel ill after effects of the foods I eat, so I saw no need to change what I ate, but I did need to reduce the amount if I wanted to lose the weight. I do notice that I no longer can eat the volume I used to. For example, on a Saturday or Sunday morning, I might go downstairs to my local cafe for some eggs and bacon. I can now finish about half the portion they serve, whereas before I had no trouble eating the whole thing.