Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Saturday, 26 May 2012

We won't go Gently


Fearsome Baby Boomers
“This decade's retirees will be the first generation to be university-educated, opinionated, articulate and with time on their hands. What better "sport" to while away the slow hours of retirement by a generation used to being in the spotlight than objecting to property development projects?”

And

“They will demand services on a scale that has not been provided previously. And they will demand attention: protesting and agitating and generally making a nuisance of themselves.”

These quotes from my favourite demographer, Bernard Salt, caught my eye.

I reckon he’s on the money.

The gist of his article is that there’s never been a generation like the Boomers in the past, and there most likely never will be in the future.

We are demanding, assertive, and have changed the world (for the better, obviously).

He points out that we’ll be missed when the last of us leaves the workforce.

My guess is that the nation will go backwards. They really won’t be able to do without us.

(To get around Rupert’s firewall, just Google “The inexorable rise of the opinionated boomer retiree by: Bernard Salt)

Stan Rogers - Barrett's Privateers



Here, just for the hell of it, is a sea shanty.

My son reckons it's a drinking song. Any song you're singing whilst drinking is a drinking song.

Thanks Brendan.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Democracy?


























It’s strange how myths develop to the point where thay become part of the language. The USA is referred to as “The home of the brave; the land of the free”.

If freedom is defined as having the capacity to participate in the democratic process, perhaps our cousins stateside had better have another look at their definition.

A brief examination of some simple comparative statistics is revealing –

National Voter Turnout in Federal Elections: 1960–2010

This grid provides information about voter statistics, including age of voting population, voter registration, and turnout.
Year
Voting-age
population
Voter
registration
Voter turnout
Turnout of voting-age
population (percent)
2010**
235,809,266
NA
90,682,968
37.8%
2008*
231,229,580
NA
132,618,580*
56.8
2006
220,600,000
135,889,600
80,588,000
37.1
2004
221,256,931
174,800,000
122,294,978
55.3
2002
215,473,000
150,990,598
79,830,119
37.0
2000
205,815,000
156,421,311
105,586,274
51.3
1998
200,929,000
141,850,558
73,117,022
36.4
1996
196,511,000
146,211,960
96,456,345
49.1
1994
193,650,000
130,292,822
75,105,860
38.8
1992
189,529,000
133,821,178
104,405,155
55.1
1990
185,812,000
121,105,630
67,859,189
36.5
1988
182,778,000
126,379,628
91,594,693
50.1
1986
178,566,000
118,399,984
64,991,128
36.4
1984
174,466,000
124,150,614
92,652,680
53.1
1982
169,938,000
110,671,225
67,615,576
39.8
1980
164,597,000
113,043,734
86,515,221
52.6
1978
158,373,000
103,291,265
58,917,938
37.2
1976
152,309,190
105,037,986
81,555,789
53.6
1974
146,336,000
96,199,0201
55,943,834
38.2
1972
140,776,000
97,328,541
77,718,554
55.2
1970
124,498,000
82,496,7472
58,014,338
46.6
1968
120,328,186
81,658,180
73,211,875
60.8
1966
116,132,000
76,288,2833
56,188,046
48.4
1964
114,090,000
73,715,818
70,644,592
61.9
1962
112,423,000
65,393,7514
53,141,227
47.3
1960
109,159,000
64,833,0965
68,838,204
63.1
*Source 2008 election results: http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2008G.html.

Interesting stuff – I’m too lazy to do the maths, but it looks like participation in Presidential ballots (Bold) averages about the mid fifties, and congressional elections score in the high thirties.

Think about it. Only one Yank in two elects the President, and only one in three his/her congressional rep. This is the home of freedom as expressed by participation in the democratic process?

Given the control the Yanks exert over the rest of us through their military and economic power, I humbly suggest that if the Septics are too lazy to get off their bums and vote, then maybe residents of other democracies who are affected by American power should get a vote if they wish. Seems only fair.

Comparing the USA with other democracies is even more revealing -

Turnout in national lower house elections, 1960–1995
Country
Compulsory
Turnout
N
6
94%
N
2
93%†
N
9
92%
Y
12
91%
Y (not enforced)
9
90%
Y
7
90%
N
10
89%
N
12
88%
N
14
87%
N
9
86%
N
14
86%
Y (not enforced)
10
86%
N*
7
85%
N
2
85%
Y
12
83%
Y
3
83%
N**
7
83%
Y
14
81%[35]
N
8
81%
N
9
81%
N
2
81%
N
2
80%
N
9
80%
N
9
79%
N
10
78%
N
9
76%
N
9
76%
N
11
75%
N
11
74%
N
12
74%
N
6
73%
N
12
71%
N
2
69%
N
2
66%
N
2
61%
N
6
58%
N
8
54%
N
2
51%
N
18
48%***
*Compulsory voting until 1998
**Excludes pre-1968 elections, when voting was compulsory.
***Turnout rates during the period ranged from 55%
for general election years, to 40% to off-year elections
(those for which the presidency was not on the ballot).
Statistics from Mark N. Franklin's "Electoral Participation", found in
Controversies in Voting Behaviour (2001). Includes only "free" elections.
†Excludes pre-1989 elections. Sources: Electoral Service,
Election Qualifying Court. Voting is no longer compulsory in Chile.

Of the group of nations listed the USA ranks lowest, behind the likes of Romania, Poland and Estonia.

Given the apparent belief held by many Americans that their country is the bastion of democratic principles, I find that passing strange.

What is even stranger is this report in today’s Fart of the Nation.*

It seems that partisan and discriminatory laws are in place in some US states that make it virtually impossible to register to vote if you are poor, disabled, or elderly. Sure, these laws are being challenged, but their existence provides an interesting insight into the American definition of freedom.

It sure isn’t mine.

* The Australian 

Update - To get around Rupert's firewall on that link, do a Google search on  "Tough new voting laws threaten Barack Obama election by: David Weisbrot".

Monday, 21 May 2012

Song for my Dad

>
Great song and my dad's favourite.

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