San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, November 30, 2012

Small Business Owners Are Greedy

There is an idiotic belief in the minds of many citizens of the Socialist Democracy of America that small businesses are morally superior to big businesses simply because they are small.  Indeed, the term 'big business' has come to be a pejorative term that is used to cast aspersions upon any company that grows large due to the fact that it has done a superior job of serving the public.  It almost seems as if the litmus test for moral propriety in the business world is directly related to the market capitalization of the company.  If a company is small, it is good.  If a company is large, it is bad.  That idea is utter nonsense.
There are several things that make a company immoral.  Any company that produces goods and services that are immoral is an immoral company.  Companies that provide abortions are immoral.  Companies that produce pornography are immoral.  Fortunately, most goods and services produced by companies in this country are not immoral.  The far greater incidence of corporate immorality is related to companies that are connected to government.  Any company that uses the coercive power of government to sell its good or service is behaving immorally.  Any company that lobbies for legislation favorable to itself and unfavorable for its competitors is behaving immorally.  It should be obvious that, when it comes to moral or immoral behavior,  the size of the company is irrelevant.  Still, the idea that size matters persists in the minds of envy-filled sinners.
A friend of mine sent me a photograph of a sign on the front door of a local business.  Here is what was written on the sign:
     When you buy from a Mom or Pop business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home.  You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, you are helping a little boy get his team jersey, you are helping a Mom or Dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage or a student pay for college.  Our customers are our shareholders and they are the ones we strive to make happy.  Thank you for supporting small businesses!
I cannot begin to say how much is wrong with that paragraph.  Still, I will try.
Notice first of all that the author of the sign is riddled with envy.  He cannot sleep at night because some CEO somewhere in the world makes more money than he does.  He is disturbed over the fact that some CEO somewhere in the world might own three homes.  Why is any of that his business? He does not say. We are all just expected to assume that the income and assets of other people is our business and when other people have income and assets greater than ours we have the right to ridicule them and accuse them of immoral behavior.  These are all classic signs of the sin of envy.  The author needs to repent of his sin.
I believe most of us realize that "Mom and Pop" stores are characterized by smaller inventories and higher prices.  In that sense they fill a niche market in the economy.  Provided there is no government coercion involved, small businesses provide a very valuable service for their customers.  Some people prefer shopping in small stores. Some people prefer less selection. Some people prefer higher prices.  People prefer "Mom and Pop" stores for a wide variety of reasons.  Good for them.  If you enjoy shopping at a "Mom and Pop" store I am certainly not going to mind your business and tell you it is wrong for you to do so.
On the other hand, I believe it is fair to say that most citizens of the SDA prefer more selection and lower prices.  That is the reason why "Mom and Pop" stores tend to struggle for survival when a Wal-Mart arrives in the neighborhood.  Is there anything immoral about desiring more selection and lower prices?  Not that I am aware of.  Is there anything immoral about going to Wal-mart rather than the local small business?  Not that I am aware of.  So why should someone who does not prefer to shop at a small business be made to feel guilty for not shopping there?  Wal-mart does not attempt to make folks who shop at small businesses feel guilty for doing so. What is going on here?
The writer of the sign posted on the door of his small business seems to believe that patronizing his business in order to pay for his kids dance lessons and team jerseys is somehow more noble than patronizing the local Wal-mart.  Is this true?  Consider the following facts.  Let's assume the small business has gross revenues of $300k/year.  Let's also assume that the owner of the small business draws a salary of $100k/year.  That means the owner of that business is taking one third of the business income for his own personal needs.  Also consider that he may or may not employee any of the local citizens.  Maybe during the busy season he will hire a couple of teenagers at the minimum wage.  Otherwise he probably makes due by working long hours himself and hiring his wife and kids.
In comparison, consider the case of Wal-mart.  Wal-mart, a notorious big business, is the largest retailer in the world. Wal-mart employs more people than any other business in the world.  Two million people work for Wal-mart and the average full time employee makes $25k/year.  In light of the enormous amount of responsibility involved in managing a company with two million employees and $444 billion in annual sales, Wal-mart pays CEO Michael Duke a whopping $18.7 million/year for his services.  I don't know but I would guess that Mr. Duke could afford a third vacation home if he so desired.  CEO Duke's salary represents, if I did my arithmetic correctly, .004% of the annual revenues of the company.  Compare his salary to the salary of the small business owner and tell me who is really being greedy?  33%  of company revenues compared to .004% of company revenues.  Compare his service to the community to the small business owner and tell me who really cares about his customers.  No employees in the small business compared to two million employees earning $25k/year at Wal-mart. 
What the small business owner quoted above really wants is for people to come into his store and pay a higher price for his goods than they could pay elsewhere.  He wants customers to pay that higher price so he can buy things for himself.  Apparently the small business owner believes that the world owes him a living.  Apparently he thinks he is better than others and deserves more money just because he is small.  Apparently he thinks he is morally superior just because he has a smaller inventory and higher prices.  And he has the unmitigated gall to accuse other, more successful, businessmen of immoral behavior? 
Our author concludes by telling us that his "customers are his shareholders".  What?  How many of his customers have received a dividend payment?  How many of his shareholders have realized capital appreciation on their shares of stock?  Wal-mart has a return on equity for its shareholders of 22.5%.  Wal-mart shareholders enjoy a 2.24% dividend yield.  Wal-mart has 3.4 billion shares outstanding which are owned by millions of shareholders. Wal-mart is serving both consumers and shareholders in a magnificent fashion.  Our small business owner, on the other hand, is concerned only with paying his mortgage and sending his kid to college.  Then, to make things worse, the small business owner tries to guilt manipulate me into feeling badly about not helping him pay his own bills!  No Wal-mart employee or shareholder has ever done that to me.
The Christmas shopping season is upon us.  I will be spending a lot of time at Wal-mart the next month.  One thing I know for sure is that I will not be entering the doors of any small business.  I have found small business owners to be far too selfish and greedy for my tastes.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Judge Kessler's Tirade Against Tobacco

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled on Tuesday that tobacco companies must take out advertisements saying they deliberately deceived the U.S. public about the danger and addictiveness of cigarettes.  Seeing herself as an ad copy writer, Judge Kessler actually spelled out the precise wording the ads must utilize.  Each of the five ads must contain the following introduction:  "A federal court has ruled that the defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public by..."  What follows is the Judge's opinion about how the tobacco companies deceived the American public.  The Judge also wrote the content for the ads.  The following assertions must be found somewhere in the copy for each of the five different ads:
1.  "Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans every day."
2.  "Defendant tobacco companies intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive."
3.  "When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain---that's why quitting is so hard."
4.  "Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer and coronary heart disease in adults who do not smoke."
5.  "Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems, severe asthma and reduced lung function."
6.  "There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.'
Judge Kessler is a tyrant who should be deposed from her position as a judge.  This case has been in the courts since 1999 when the Department of Justice brought charges against Altria and Reynolds.  Clearly the only reason for the ruling is to shame, humiliate and defame the tobacco companies.  There is nobody alive today who does not realize that smoking cigarettes is accompanied with health risks.  That is old news.  Furthermore, there is no reason why the tobacco companies should be forced to spend their own money to confess to sins that they did not commit.  Yes, sins they did not commit.
The Judge's science is faulty (see 4-23-12 posting: http://madwelshman-unknown.blogspot.com/2012/04/anti-smoking-zealots-trample-on-basic.html ).  Consider each of the following scientifically accurate responses to her six mandated statements:
1.  There is no way to know how many people die each day as a consequence of smoking.  There are literally hundreds of contributing factors in the deaths of individuals, including smokers.  Asserting that 1,200 people are killed each day by smoking is nothing more than a wild guess.  Did that person die of smoking or obesity?  Was that heart attack caused by smoking, obesity, or genetic factors? To single out smoking as the cause of death is utterly ridiculous.
2.  Of course tobacco companies increased the amount of nicotine in their cigarettes.  One of the reasons people smoke cigarettes is for the stimulative effects of nicotine.  Coffee companies utilize caffeine in their coffee for precisely the same reason.  Coffee drinkers drink caffeine precisely because they are stimulated by it.  Some beverages (Monster) tout their high levels of addictive caffeine.  According to the Judge's reasoning all coffee manufactures and retailers should be required to perform the same mea culpa.
3.  Of course stimulative drugs change brain chemistry.  So does alcohol. So does caffeine.  So does sugar.  Why does the Judge nor require Coors, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts to pay for advertisements warning their customers about the impacts of their products upon the human brain?
4.  The allegation that secondhand smoke poses a significant health risk is pure junk science.  Read my April 23rd posting referenced above.

5.  Bringing children into the issue is nothing more than inflammatory.  What is said here is totally unproven and most likely false.
6.  The secondhand smoke argument is bunk.  This is just another way for the Judge to batter the tobacco companies.
Quite properly the tobacco companies bristled under the Judge's ruling.  They wanted to know why they had to post specious negative comments about the impact of smoking without also being permitted to post positive comments about the real benefits of smoking.  Why did the Judge not mandate the following statements?
1.  Smoking decreases your risk for obesity and obesity related diseases.
2.  Smoking decreases your risk for Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and some dementia.
3.  Smoking lowers your risk of dying after experiencing a heart attack.
4.  Smoking increases the function of clopidogrel in your system.  Clopidogrel is integral in preventing heart disease and strokes.
5.  Smoking reduces your risk of ulcerative colitis.  
6.  Nicotine is an anti-inflamatory agent and carries all of the positive health benefits of other anti-inflamatory agents.
Judge Kessler is clearly just out on some sort of personal vendetta.  No person who sits in the position of a federal judge should be permitted to act this way.  Her behavior is reprehensible.  But that is not the worst of it.  As usual, it does get worse. Consider the following.
The judge is forcing tobacco companies to pay for advertisements confessing that they lied to the American public.  If the judge wishes to establish that principle as a precedent, what necessarily follows?  Should every single time somebody is caught lying result in a legal requirement that the liar purchase media time and confess to that lie?  I think that is a good principle and I want it immediately applied.
That brings me to my favorite topic...politicians.  We have just come through an election cycle in which all of us were subjected to hundreds of political advertisements a day.  Without exception, every single one of those advertisements constituted the act of lying.  Whether it was a case of positively exaggerating the candidates own record, or a case of negatively exaggerating the opponents record, or a case of claiming to have the ability to do something (create jobs, eliminate poverty, create wealth, end world hunger, create world peace) that he did not have the ability to do, or any other of the hundreds of lies we were forced to endure, should the politicians now be free of moral culpability for their monstrous lies?  It seems to me that the one class of people who make their living out of lying to us constantly is given a free pass.  If Altria and Reynolds are going to be forced to pay for forced public confessions for sins they did not commit, then every politician in the country should be forced to pay for true public confessions for the lies they told during the last election cycle.  How about it Judge?




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Political Fantasy Vs. Economic Reality

Most of the people I know are depressed.  They are depressed because Obama was reelected.  They are depressed because they believe we are about to plunge off the fiscal cliff (see 11/9/12 post).  They are depressed because Obamacare is about to be enforced. They are depressed to the point they are signing petitions to secede from the Socialist Democracy of America.  Some of them are conducting research to determine which country to expatriate to.  In fact, just about everyone I know is depressed about the political situation in this country.
One thing that is being ignored by all of these depressed people is the fact that there is a big difference between what goes on in Washington DC and what goes on in corporate boardrooms around the country.  The media is obsessed with political news.  Almost nobody cares about economic news.  Let me give you a little economic news.  According to the American Institute for Economic Research (aier.org), there is much to be encouraged by in our economy.  Consider the following facts:
  • Although the overall unemployment rate is 7.8%, the unemployment rate in North Dakota is only 3% and twelve other states have rates of unemployment less than 6%. Furthermore, the rate of unemployment for people over age 25 who hold a college degree is only 4.1%.  Perhaps even more significant is the fact that the median duration of unemployment has dropped to 18.5 weeks, the lowest it has been in three years.  I believe this truth is directly related to the fact that unemployment benefits are finally running out.
  • Real (inflation adjusted) personal income is 1.8% higher today than it was a year ago.  At the same time household debt payments have fallen to 10.8% of disposable income.  That is the lowest rate of household debt since 1993.  All of this means that most folks have more much money to spend than they have in the recent past.
  • Despite what you have heard about the death of the consumer, real (inflation adjusted) consumer spending rose by 2% when compared to this time last year and now stands at an all time record high.  Clearly there is a major disconnect between what we are being told by the media and what exists in the real world.
  • On the housing front, housing starts continue to rise and new home sales are up 27% compared to this month a year ago.  The value of existing homes rose by 11.3% over the past year.  The housing "bust" is over, despite what you continue to hear from the doom saying media. 
  • The stock market continues to rise.  I know that is hard to believe given the fact that the market can rise 15% over the course of the year and be totally ignored in news reports.  Then, when it drops 1-2% in a day of panic selling brought about by political news, that drop is the headline story for the news that day.   The fact is the S & P 500 is up 107% from its March 2009 low.  It is now only 12% below the October 2007 high of 1565.  I suspect we will get there soon.
There is a significant disconnect between economic reality and political reality.  Economically the SDA is doing fine.  Politically the SDA is a disaster.  It is extremely important to remember that politicians are only capable of inflicting limited damage upon the economy.  Despite the fact that most folks ascribe god-like powers to politicians, they are not gods.  When it comes to their meddling in economic affairs it is true that all they do is harmful.  But it is of limited scope and duration.  The economy of the SDA is much larger and stronger than the political machine.
Politicians and media outlets have a vested interest in keeping the populace of the SDA in mortal terror.  The more fearful you are the more you will watch them.  The media craves ratings and politicians crave attention.  Neither of them is worthy of your time and attention.  Ignore what you hear on the news and do your best to ignore the ravings of insane politicians (with Ron Paul now gone, there are no sane members of the political establishment left).   Instead, go for a walk.  Watch a ball game.  Go shopping.  Go for a drive in the mountains.  Invest some money in the stock market.  We are going to be fine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Black Friday Blameworthiness

Who is to blame for "Black Friday"?  That is a strange question actually.  Generally blame is assigned to somebody for engaging in an immoral behavior.  We don't generally blame a cow for producing milk or the atmosphere for producing rain.  Why should we believe that it is important to assign blame to a day simply because a lot of people decide to go shopping on that day?  Yet, many among us believe that there is something blameworthy about Black Friday.  Many among us believe that there is something immoral about individual people shopping on Black Friday.  Let's consider that idea for a while.
Dave Usechek of Parker wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post today.  In his letter he expressed an idea that I have heard many times from the select group of people who share his views.   His letter was entitled "Pushing back against Black Friday culture."  That struck me as odd for several reasons.  First, I did not realize that Black Friday had created something called a "culture".  Second I did not realize that I had a moral obligation to "push back against" that culture, whatever it is.  As usual, I found myself becoming more and more confused as I read his letter.
Dave talks about how he believes it is unfair for consumers to go shopping on Thanksgiving evening and Black Friday because of the "employee who has to be away from family so their employer can get that first dollar from consumers."  He goes on to assert that "the majority of retail workers who have to go in early are part-time people who receive no benefits or extra pay.  Would those who don't work retail accept those conditions from their employers?"  Let's consider Dave's argument for a moment.  Dave assumes that employers are masters and employees are slaves.  According to Dave, employees have no choice about who they work for and when they work.  Dave believes that employers are free to set the hours and pay scale for employees and the employees can do absolutely nothing about it except submit to their tyranny.  I would suggest that Dave has a distorted view of reality.  Nobody puts a gun to the head of the employees and forces them to work.  If they do not want to work Thanksgiving evening and Black Friday they are free to tell their employers so or to quit.  There is no coercion involved in the labor agreements between employers and employees.
Furthermore, how does Dave know that most retail employees who work on Thanksgiving day are part-time and receiving no holiday bonus pay?  Has he conducted a survey to discover this alleged truth?  He does not say.  He simply asserts it as true and marches forward.  Dave then asks an amazingly stupid question when he queries, "Would those who don't work retail accept those conditions from their employers?"  Duh!  Of course not!  That is why not everybody works in retail.  I would not accept those conditions so I do not work in retail.  On the other hand, a large group of people who work in retail have made the voluntary decision to accept those conditions.  Merely pointing out that not everybody likes the work conditions found in retail sales does not prove Dave's point.
Of course, Dave really does not care about people who work in retail sales.  Dave is a socialist who hates the operation of the free market.  He especially hates corporate profits.  Probably because of his own personal financial failures, and also likely due to the presence of envy in his own heart, Dave is incapable of seeing the world as it really is.  He hates the financial success of others and he wants to do whatever he can to stop it and make it sound as if he is taking the moral high ground while doing so.  His powerful concluding statement says, "The only way to send a message to corporate America is to boycott the early openings, and when they see it costs more to open early, then maybe the culture will change and families will become the priority rather than the greed of society."  Wow!  I can hardly believe how much is wrong with that sentence.  Allow me to deconstruct it for you.
According to a news report that I watched last night, 247 million people went shopping on Black Friday.  Assuming there are 330 million people in the SDA and that roughly 300 million of them are qualified shoppers (reducing the total by ten percent to account for children and the infirmed elderly who cannot get out to shop), then 82% of  possible shoppers went shopping on Black Friday.  That percentage is a third higher than the number of potential voters who voted in the last presidential election.  Clearly, and quite rationally I would say, more citizens of the SDA like to shop than like to vote.  That simple observation is doing more to create a positive appraisal of my fellow citizens than anything I have thought about for several months.  Dave, however, disagrees with 82% of the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of America. 
Dave believes that the great majority of people who went shopping on Black Friday need to reverse their decisions to do so and boycott the evil, profit seeking corporations which are pulling families apart on Thanksgiving weekend.  A message needs to be sent to corporate America.  If only 82% of qualified shoppers would stay home on Thanksgiving weekend the evil, profit seeking corporations would lose money and keep their stores closed so we can all spend time with family.  What Dave fails to realize is that the consumers have spoken.  The consumers have already sent a very strongly worded message to corporate America.  The reason profit seeking corporations open their retail outlets on Black Friday is entirely due to the fact that 82% of the qualified shoppers in this country want to go shopping on that day.  Blaming the stores for being open is absurd.  Furthermore, the 82% of us who go shopping (I, by the way, am not one of them) do so because we are delirious about the prospect of getting a good deal.  What could possibly be wrong with that?  Only an envy filled, cantankerous old socialist who hates all free market transactions could find something wrong with Black Friday. 
Dave is happy to take the moral high ground and consider everybody but himself guilty of the sin of materialism.  Not only are retail corporations greedy, but those who eagerly patronize them are responsible for the collective "greed of society".  According to Dave, everybody is greedy.  Corporations are greedy for opening their stores.  Consumers are greedy for patronizing those stores.  The only people free from the stain of sin in this scenario are those who boycott Black Friday to spend time with family.  This all reminds me of a quote from ex coach and ex sports announcer John Madden.  After coming out of retirement to go back into the announcers booth he said that "time with family is overrated." 
Dave, like so many other people in the SDA, needs to mind his own business.  So what if 82% of us want to go shopping on Black Friday?  How does that hurt Dave?  If Dave does not want to go shopping then he should not go shopping.  I would be happy to join up with him for a long hike in the Grand Canyon on that day.  I too do not like to go shopping.  In fact, I do not like shopping any day of the year.  I would rather be anywhere other than a retail store.  But, I do not think you are immoral for going to the mall.  I do not consider myself to be your moral superior because you shop and I don't.  So go shopping if you would like.  I will go for a hike.  And Dave, well, you should just leave all of us alone and mind your own business.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Xanterra Environmentalist Propaganda

I spent Thanksgiving day doing a "rim to river to rim" hike in the Grand Canyon. For those of you who have been there, I did the South Kaibab to Phantom Ranch to Bright Angel loop hike.  It is considered to be a difficult day as it involves traveling about sixteen miles and climbing close to five thousand vertical feet.  There are numerous signs, posted by the park service, warning hikers to not attempt what we did.  Notwithstanding the government warning signs, we had a fantastic day in the canyon.  I was accompanied by eight friends who were also looking for a nice turkey day adventure.  After getting back to our hotel on the south rim that afternoon we relaxed on the front porch with an adult beverage and friendly banter about who was the strongest hiker in the group.  While sitting there I picked up a copy of a report that was sitting on top of the hotel room desk.  The report was entitled "Environmental Sustainability Report" by Xanterra.  Xanterra is the company that is responsible for managing the facilities at many of the nation's national parks. What I read in the report astounded me.
I have previously posted about the meaningless nature of the term "sustainability" (August 17th posting).  With the opportunity to read an actual report about how Xanterra is being sustainable I was giddy with anticipation.  As I read the report I learned several things.  One of the first things I learned was that Xanterra has managed to reduce "fossil fuel" consumption at Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) by 30% in the past year.  They accomplished that amazing feat by using leftover vegetable oil from the various restaurants on the south rim as fuel sources.  As I read the report I became very confused.  While walking around I had noticed that all of the buses that shuttle visitors around to the various sites at the GCNP are proudly operated with natural gas.  The last time I checked natural gas was considered to be a "fossil fuel".  So was Xanterra telling me that they had managed to reduce the consumption of gasoline by 30% or did they really expect me to believe that they were operating their shuttle buses with 30% greater efficiency on natural gas when compared to the old gasoline or diesel versions?  I know that natural gas is actually a less efficient fuel when compared to gasoline or diesel.  In that case switching to natural gas should have increased fossil fuel consumption.   I became quite confused as I continued to read the report.
Adding to the confusion was the fact that that very same page of the report also described how diesel fuel consumption had risen by 180% over the past year.  The last time I checked diesel fuel was also a "fossil fuel".  How could diesel fuel consumption rise by so much and fossil fuel consumption allegedly decline by 30%?  It made no sense to me.  As I scratched my head and looked out among the pine trees on the south rim I noticed that there were several very large propane tanks just on the perimeter of the hotel property.  They were concealed (hidden?) behind some wooden fences but they were there.  I wondered if those propane tanks were providing the fuel for our room heat.  I seriously doubted that there was sufficient leftover french fry oil to heat all of the rooms on the south rim.  The last time I checked propane was also considered to be a "fossil fuel".  Now I was really confused.
While sitting there in the warm afternoon sun I heard the sound of an approaching train.  As the train came closer I could hear the distinct sound of the engine chugging.  The sustainability report produced by Xanterra proudly informed me that the train that was approaching the south rim had been re-fitted to run on waste vegetable oil.  Astounding!  The report went on to say that Xanterra runs a passenger train to the south rim five times a year that runs exclusively on used french fry oil.  They joyously wrote that the air was filled with the aroma of french fries as the train approached the rim.  Yet the train runs every day.  I guess the other 360 times per year the train comes to the park it runs on diesel fuel.  That would account for the 180% increase in diesel fuel consumption.  The report featured a photograph of one old train plodding along with dark fumes filling the air and another train running on vegetable air with fume free airspace above the engine.  As the train went by I did not smell french fries.  The train that went by that day was operating on diesel fuel.
The report went on to say how proud Xanterra is to operate "green".  They recycle plastic.  They reuse water.  They do everything the greenies tell us to do to save a planet from myriad nonexistent dangers.  They were especially proud of their propaganda efforts.  They informed the reader that there were dozens of stands around the park stuffed to the gills with literature designed to convince ignorant visitors that the planet was doomed if companies like Xanterra did not take over the world and operate it greenly.
I flipped through every page of the report.  When I got to the end of the report I realized that I had just read a complete report on environmental sustainability and there was not a single mention of how much anything cost.  There was no mention of how much it cost to convert from gasoline to natural gas buses.  There was no mention of how much it cost to convert from diesel to vegetable oil train engines.  There was no mention of any cost whatsoever.  I have read a company report or two in my lifetime and this was the first one I have ever read that told me nothing about the finances of the company.  That is when I realized that profit was not a factor for Xanterra. Xanterra runs as a government monopoly and at taxpayer expense.  It does not matter that Xanterra could not operate profitably in the free market because it does not have to.  All of the extra costs associated with being green were being paid for by taxpayers like me.  Now I was angry.  Why should I be forced to pay for the nonsensical delusions of a company that is pandering to the bad science and moral turpitude of the greenies among us?  Why should more money be extracted from me by the IRS to fund activities I believe are a total waste of money and with which I completely disagree?  Of course I know the answer to those questions.  Because I live in the Socialist Democracy of America and in the SDA the opinions of the minority are irrelevant.  Majority rules.  Although I do not really believe that the majority of the citizens of the SDA are environmentalists, I do believe that they like to say that they are.  As a non-environmentalist, my wishes, thoughts and desires for the management of the canyon are overruled by those who think they know better than me.  I put down the report and wandered back to the south rim to watch the sunset. The canyon was beautiful, as always.