What makes taxes a gray area is the obligation. Much like it's not patriotic to get drafted, it's not patriotic to "just" pay taxes. I turn my taxes into a patriotic duty by explicitly not claiming any deductions. I know i could claim my computer, my clothes, my travel - pretty much any bullshit thing i wanted - just by saying i needed it for work. I could claim charitable donations and a ton of other things. I don't. I don't because i believe that's taking advantage of less-fortunate taxpayers who can't afford an accountant or don't understand the tax law. I don't because i believe in contributing in my small way to the nation. Some would argue i might as well claim deductions and give the difference to charity (that's what some Republican bloggers were saying about Biden's statement), but charities are private entities - you can't make a donation to the federal budget, the one fund that benefits everyone in the country.
The funny thing is that i don't really feel Australian. I'm not a citizen here because i take citizenship very seriously and i don't want to pledge my loyalty to a country i don't plan on living the rest of my life in. I'll pay more taxes than i should because they've given me a good place to live the last 10+ years, but i'm not going to defend the country.
Not that they'd take me anyway. I've sorta wondered on and off about joining the military over the years - at least the reserves. My mom would kill me and i don't think my dad would be far behind. Not to mention pretty much all my friends. But you know, the concept is something i feel really strongly about. I really respect the guys who do that job. Back on point - i'd never get in. Not just because i'm not a citizen of any country but because i'm still taking medication for bipolar disorder. Fair enough, you don't really want to give a gun to a crazy person, but you gotta wonder how many 17 year old recruits are a flight to Kabul off going completely nuts and they just don't know it yet. What did Donald Rumsfeld say about known unknowns and unknown unknowns? Heh. I'm sure there are a lot of batshit soldiers out there.
So, in other news, immigration sucks. I've been researching while J wanders the outback and it ain't pretty. We need a lawyer. I should email her family and see if they can exercise The Network. Actually i should just email People In General. I really suck at emailing, Facebooking, Myspacing, whatever. I just read everything and then rant on here. I'm really good at text messaging, though. Hmm.