A REAL Solution – Urban Tree Canopy|Act Now

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

The emerging concept of “green intelligence” is bringing much needed analytical assessments to the attention of mayors across the country.  We understand the ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300
importance of planting thousands of trees in our local communities. But apparently, where we plant trees really makes a difference.

How do we determine the best locations for each household to plant ten trees? Thankfully, the USDA’s Forest Service Northern Research Station has just released a valuable analysis termed UTC, Urban Tree Canopy. The UTC Assessment is made up of geospatial data that can be used to strategically outline where exactly new trees should be planted in a town or city, and approximately how many will net the maximum benefit. It can be used as a guide in every city in America to identify which areas in each city need more tree work and tree TLC. New York City’s Hudson Yards’ revitalization is an excellent example.

By the way, Urban Tree Canopy is the complete tree mass — made up of branches, leaves and stems — that covers the ground when looking down from above the treeline.

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Here are the facts:

  • Trees make a vital, positive impact on all communities, particularly cities where there’s a dense population
  • Trees improve storm water run-off by capturing rain water in their canopy and discharging it into the atmosphere.
  • The EPA asserts that, “Tree roots and leaf litter create soil conditions that promote the infiltration of rainwater into the soil.”
  • So with more trees, there should be less street flooding.

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  • Trees provide shelter from the heat, and lower urban temperatures.
  • Trees reduce air pollution by absorbing toxins into the roots, bark and leaves. Trees also absorb a significant amount of CO2, as well us provide us with the oxygen we need to live.
  • Once trees have been planted, wildlife habitat will soon follow. This rich habitat includes wonderful insects, birds, bats, butterflies and small mammals.

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  • Trees beautify our communities which increases property values and improves our mental health.
  • In fact, Thomas Jefferson, and our founding fathers for that matter, strongly believed that trees and gardens were so critical  in ensuring our emotional strength and stability, that they insisted trees be planted across Capitol Hill and that a Botanic Garden be established at its base.
  • Trees improve the economic viability of a city or town.
  • Trees nurture the community spirit and strengthen community ties. In this day and age with the opioid crisis still haunting our communities, it’s nice to know that we can grab onto something positive, inspirational and healthy that will improve our quality of life and draw us all together.

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The facts are clear. Numerous life saving benefits, and a plan that the whole community can participate in. Team work. It’s time to attend town hall meetings to discuss our local community’s Urban Tree Canopy assessment. Did our mayors and town counsel members even read the UTC released by the USDA’s Forest Service? Let’s find out.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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United States of America INC | Perspective

perspective

There have been 241 successful years that have passed since the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the launching of our democratic “experiment.” It now seems unfathomable to witness the dire circumstances Trump’s new mission statement has inflicted on modern society. Trump’s agenda is the polar opposite of the mission outlined by the author of the Declaration of Independence, and other founding fathers.

DONALD TRUMP: “I have made the tough decisions, always with an eye on the bottomline. Perhaps it’s time to run America like a business.”

So what “bottom line” is Trump referring to?

“Capitalism in its purest form is a society in which the market sets prices for the sole purpose of profits and any inefficiency or intervention that reduces profit making will be eliminated by the market.” ~Investopedia, definition of the Bottom Line

The Trump and GOP agenda is now clearly defined. This definition is the missing puzzle piece which should help us understand the GOP vision when we head to the voting booths on November 6, 2018. It appears that saving American lives in Puerto Rico, funding health programs for impoverished children, meals-on-wheels, cutting protective regulations, and a whole long lengthy list of life-saving initiatives were eliminated because they “reduce profit making.”

What are the key characteristics of capitalism:

  • TWO-CLASS SYSTEM: (1) capitalist class, owns the means of producing and distributing goods and services; (2) working class, works for producers and distributors for earned wages. There’s also a “division of labor” made possible by specialization as a result of education and training.
  • PROFIT MOTIVE: “Companies exist to make a profit.  The motive for all companies is to make and sell goods and services only for profits.  Companies do not exist solely to satisfy people’s needs. Even though some goods or services may satisfy needs, they will only be available if the people have the resources to pay for them.” ~Investopedia
  • MINIMAL GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION: “Capitalist societies believe markets should be left alone to operate without government intervention. However, a completely government-free capitalist society exists in theory, only. ” ~Investopedia (Trump doesn’t believe government-free capitalist society exists in theory only; he’s determined that America can be regulation free for the benefit of the 1%.)
  • COMPETITION: Must be a competitive market so monopolies don’t form. Markets set prices, not sellers (monopolies). If sellers set prices it’s no longer capitalism.
  • WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE: Adaptation is a critically important feature of capitalism. (For some reason Trump ignores this characteristic and doesn’t mind cutting profits to protect antiquated energy sources like coal.)

Understanding these chief characteristics of capitalism should make clear what Trump is using as his rudder to steer America. And it seems that the reason why so many Republicans are willing to hold a blind eye to Trump’s dangerous flaws is that his danger pales in comparison to these capitalistic principles that are engrained in their way of thinking, after all capitalism is America’s economic system.

However, our federal government is not a business and should not be run following the principles of capitalism. This is a ridiculously hairbrained scheme.

THOMAS JEFFERSON: “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”

JAMES MADISON: “We are free today substantially, but the day will come when our Republic will be an impossibility. It will be an impossibility because wealth will be concentrated in the hands of a few. A Republic cannot stand upon bayonets, and when the day comes when the wealth of the nation will be in the hands of a few, then we must rely upon the wisdom of the best elements in the country to readjust the laws of the nation to the changed conditions.”

The United States of America has always taken the moral high-ground which has resulted in more than 200 years of global superiority. Trump’s vision to run America like a capitalistic business, has dramatically denigrated our standing in the world, and with the ballooning deficit…has undermined our financial strength. Further, Trump has taken the moral low ground, creating a tidal wave of enemies around the globe who now have America marked as their number one target.

Further, Trump has declared bankruptcy six times and appears to have America on the same trajectory. There’s no time to be celebrating. We have to take a long term perspective and rush to reinforce our nation’s initial core operating principle: “…the care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction…”

© Copyright 2017 – 2018. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Tillerson’s Moral Impairment Impacting Decision Making | Perspective

perspective

For decades we’ve witnessed a staggering phenomenon. Musicians, actors, writers, athletes, politicians and business leaders, many of whom were born with an abundance of natural talent, natural gifts that are magnified by disciplined training and education, until they reach the top of their field…and after arriving at the summit, they plateau for a few years, but very few can hold their edge, instead they most likely decline, many completely losing their gifts and talent all together.

Some of the stories have been heart wrenching. OJ Simpson became a murderer, butchering his ex-wife and her boyfriend. But he’s not the only “star” turned murderer: Oscar Pistorius, Aaron Hernandez, Phil Spector, Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols, Michael Jace from The Shield, Johnny Lewis – Sons of Anarchy, Howard Hughes, Robert Blake…the list goes on and on.

And then there’s the business leader side of the coin. The executives who transform into vicious criminals. This list is so incredibly distressing, mostly because of the sheer volume of well-educated and talented executives who’ve succumbed to the classic lures of financial gain, career boosting shortcuts, manipulation of stock prices, insider trading, fraud, money laundering, etc, many of whom have landed in jail or were charged millions of dollars in fines.

And don’t get me started on the incredibly promising politicians who get sucked into corruption schemes, defrauding taxpayers, bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion.

There are the insanely brilliant pop stars and actors who aren’t able to handle their fame and fall prey to drugs, leading to wretched endings as a result of overdoses, ie Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, and so many more.

How about the unfortunate twist of making it to the top, but once you get there you lose your mojo. This usually happens to writers, particularly singer-songwriters who can keep singing for decades but they seemingly no longer have the ability to write lyrics and compose. When was the last time superstars like Paul McCarthy, Billy Joel, Mick Jagger produced a new award-winning album? It’s been decades.

So apparently there’s an arc to success. Work incredibly hard, and finally make it to the top. But once there, and you’re no longer hungry and struggling, you may begin to lose your advantage if you don’t understand how you became successful, and don’t stay committed to maintaining the traits that made you a star. (Steve Jobs mastered this.)

But Trump’s billionaire cabinet, the majority of whom are clearly morally impaired, and suffering from extremely poor judgement, and making horrible decisions that are life-threatening for the American public, have not only lost their mojo and are clearly in a state of decline, they seem to have been transformed into enemies of the United States of America.

Moral impairment is a serious detriment especially when someone like Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is representing the people of the United States on foreign policy issues as well as our American values. So what’s going on here? How do we wrap our minds around Tillerson’s decision making?

The recent article by the New York Times on Tillerson, the State Department and employees claiming political retribution, has key Democrats calling on State Department watchdogs for an “immediate review.”

Tillerson has made a series of terrible management decisions that appear to be setting our foreign policies on a path of self destruction. Only an enemy would pursue such a course, or perhaps someone suffering from Mad Cow Disease. Tillerson’s in a critical role on the world stage and seems unable to apply the most basic management and/or executive principles in his role as Secretary of State.

The critical issues according to the New York Times:

(1) Key positions in major hotspots across the globe are vacant, 5 in the Middle East

(2) Employees with long careers and deep experience are being re-assigned to do FOIA data entry

(3) Tillerson insists FOIA requests are very important and employees have to help out with the extra workload

Employees are claiming this is political retribution.

What can Tillerson say to defend his decision making? Nothing. It’s an indefensible decision. How is working a job 10 levels below an employee’s pay grade a sound management decision? The vast majority of us know that this is illogical. Why does Tillerson believe any educated professional American citizen will buy this explanation?

None will.

So then yes, it’s clearly political retribution….which is another bad choice by Tillerson.

Moral impairment in a world leader is profoundly unsettling. Lives are at stake. The world is struggling under widespread unrest. We are the United States of America, a superpower, a bright positive force in a chaotic world.

Tillerson must resign or be removed. He’s in a state of dramatic decline. He’s lost his mojo, maybe even his marbles.

It’s. That. Simple.

 

© Copyright 2017 – 2018. ALL Rights Reserved.

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The Science Behind Political Polarization

Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Our nation’s founders seemingly thought of everything…

With Jefferson outlining so clearly and passionately our founding principles in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truth’s to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…

To James Madison concisely enumerating guidelines to effectively govern our united states in the Constitution and Bill of Rights: “We the People of the United States in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Unites States of America.

Yet none of the founders initially envisioned there would be political parties. They assumed Americans citizens would simply use common sense to elect the candidate they felt would best represent them.

So, back at the beginning, during a presidential election, the one who received the most votes became president, and the one who received the second largest number of votes became vice president.

Immediately following his signing the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin set sail for France, becoming the first Minister of France, living in Paris for eight years.

Thomas Jefferson replaced Benjamin Franklin as the Minister of France and called Paris his home for seven years.

John Adams also resided across the Atlantic for a number of years as a diplomat in several European countries.

Three Founding Fathers, three key visionaries, were outside the country when our very young nation was still a tiny sapling and very impressionable.

Back on the home front, an ambitious brilliant young military officer named Alexander Hamilton, rose in the ranks to become Aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War, and was a key figure in the decisive victory at the Battle of Yorktown that won the Revolutionary War. This was a stunning success. Alexander Hamilton was now at the top of his game.

Because Alexander Hamilton had become a close confident to George Washington during the war, and because of Hamilton’s immense ambition and passion for money and wealth, after George Washington was sworn in as first President of the United States, he named Alexander Hamilton as his Secretary of the Treasury, and Thomas Jefferson as his Secretary of State.

This dynamic became quite tumultuous soon after Jefferson and Hamilton began working together.

Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, who ardently believed everything he’d written in this historic document, was the champion of the hard-working industrious farmers and firmly espoused that the common man could govern himself and live freely on the expansive verdant land that seemed to stretch on indefinitely to infinity.

Hamilton believed that only the wealthy and privileged would have the proper amount of education necessary for governing and that America should be run similar to a monarchy, or even an autocracy — with an iron-fist.

Jefferson was startled that Hamilton had forgotten the principles outlined in our founding documents. Hamilton was in disbelief that Jefferson thought farmers were educated enough to know how to make good decisions. Jefferson was unnerved that Washington had such high regards for Hamilton after the war, and that Hamilton had far more say on critical issues than Jefferson. Hamilton soon formed the Federalists. Jefferson eventually countered by forming the anti-Federalists who later became known as the Democratic Republicans.

These were our first political parties. Two polar opposites.

So you see, it was Jefferson and Hamilton who taught us how political polarization happens in a democracy. The Declaration of Independence and Constitution are in the middle. Our nation’s principles and beliefs seem to be very clearly defined so there won’t be any mistakes about how to apply them to our modern life.

However, as soon as one key player or group/party becomes extreme with interpretation, there immediately forms an opposition group to offset this force — thankfully. This process is very scientific and is easy to visualize.

Thus, the extreme polarization created by our current president, is a measure of how far off the center of our founding principles this new negative force has taken us. The resistant opposition currently battling trump and the GOP, is a predictable outcome based on Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion. The same outcome as was seen with Thomas Jefferson’s resistance to Alexander Hamilton.

Now that we understand what’s been taking place this past year and the science behind it, it’s easier to see what needs to be done to correct the situation. It seems that the only way to really stop these polarizing swings is to get back to the middle. But until we get back there, we need to maintain a fierce opposition the same way Jefferson did.

 

Resourcefulness

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” ~Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1839

This famous maxim may have been penned for the first time in 1839, but it was proven by some of our notable founding fathers — Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Ben Franklin in particular — decades before.

Stay tuned…

 

Recommended Reading, Th Jefferson, 1787

Thomas Jefferson was a prolific reader. In fact, his personal library was so massive that when the Library of Congress burned in the War of 1812, Jefferson sold the majority of his book collection to the United States Government to replace what was lost. Jefferson had to learn seven languages in order to read all the books he acquired. Many words were spelt differently back then, and punctuation was also a bit dissimilar.

The following is the recommended reading list Jefferson sent to his nephew Peter Carr in a letter dated August 10, 1787. Many of these are on Amazon:

ANCIENT HISTORY:

  • Heredot
  • Thucyd
  • Xenoph
  • hellen
  • Anab
  • Q. Curt
  • Just
  • Livy
  • Polybius
  • Sallust
  • Caesar
  • Suetonius
  • Tacitus
  • Aurel
  • Victor
  • Herodian
  • Gibbon’s decline of the Roman empire
  • Milot histoire ancienne

MODER HISTORY. ENGLISH:

  • Tacit
  • Germ. & Agricole
  • Hume to the end of H. VI. then Habington’s E.IV.
  • Sir Thomas Moor’s E.5. & R.3.
  • Ld. Bacon’s H.7
  • Ld Herbert of Cherbury’s H.8.
  • K. Edward’s journal (in Burnet) Bp. of Hereford’s E.6. & Mary.
  • Cambden’s Eliz. Wilson’s Jac.I. Ludlow (omit Clarendon as too seducing for a young republican. By and by read him)
  • Burnet’s Charles 2. Jac.2. Wm. & Mary & Anne
  • Ld. Orrery down to George 1. & 2.
  • Burke’s G.3. Robertson’s hist. of Scotland

AMERICAN:

  • Robertson’s America
  • Douglass’s N. America
  • Hutcheson’s Massachusets, Smith’s N. York
  • Smith’s N. Jersey
  • Franklin’s review of Pennsylvania
  • Smith’s, Stith’s, Keith’s, & Beverley’s hist. of Virginia

FOREIGN:

  • Mallet’s Northn. Antiquities by Percy
  • Puffendorf’s histy. of Europe & Martiniere’s of Asia, Africa & America
  • Milot Histoire Moderne
  • Volatire histoire universelle
  • Milot hist. de France
  • Mariana’s hist. of Spain and Span[ish]
  • Robertson’s Charles V.
  • Watson’s Phil. II. & III.
  • Grotii Belgica
  • Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical history

POETRY:

  • Homer
  • Milton
  • Ossian
  • Sophocles
  • Aeschylus
  • Eurip
  • Metastasio
  • Shakesp.
  • Theocritus
  • Anacreon
  • […]

MATHEMATICS:

  • Bezout & whatever else Mr. Madison recommends

ASTRONOMY:

  • Delalande &c. as Mr. Madison shall recommend

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY:

  • Musschenbroeck

BOTANY:

  • Linnaei Philosophia Botanica
  • Genera Plantarum
  • Species planetarium
  • Gronovii flora [Virginica]

CHEMISTRY:

  • Fourcroy

AGRICULTURE:

  • Home’s principles of Agriculture — Tull &c.

ANATOMY:

  • Cheselden

MORALITY:

  • The Socratic dialogues
  • Cicero’s Philosphies
  • Kaim’s Principles of Natl. religion
  • Helveticus de l’esprit et de l’homme
  • Locke’s Essay
  • Lucretius
  • Traite de Morale & du Bon[heur]

RELIGION:

  • Locke’s Conduct of the Mind
  • Middleton’s works
  • Bolingbroke’s philosoph. works
  • Hume’s Essays
  • Voltaire’s works
  • Beattie

POLITICS & LAW:

  • Whatever Mr. Wythe pleases, who will be so good as to correct also all the preceding articles which are only intended as a group work to be finished by his pencil.

Friendly Advice, August 10, 1787

Thomas Jefferson, forever the mentor…followed in the footsteps of George Wythe and Dr. William Small, his two favorite mentors, sharing advice daily through letters, as well as verbally with those who crossed his path.

The following are highlights from a letter written by Jefferson, while living in Paris as Minister of France, to his nephew Peter Carr back home in Virginia.

It’s exciting that Jefferson’s tips still apply today. They’re invaluable…I happily share them here (some words were spelt differently back then):

Aug 10, 1787

Dear Peter,

Friendly introduction! To this… “I will add a few particular observations.”

(1) Italian. … “will confound your French and Spanish”… “I have never seen a person speaking the three languages who did not mix them.”

(2) Spanish. “Bestow great attention on this, and endeavor to acquire an accurate knowledge of it. Our future connections with Spain and Spanish America will render that language a valuable acquisition. The antient history of a great part of America too is written in that language. I send you a dictionary.”

(3) Moral Philosophy. We were “destined for society.” Our conscience is shaped relative to this. We were all born with a sense of right & wrong in stronger or weaker degree. We can strengthen our conscience through exercise just like any of our other limbs. Besides this we must read books that provide us with insights in aiding our moral development. (Enclosed is a list of books.) But above all else, “lose no occasion of exercising your dispositions to be grateful, to be generous, to be charitable, to be humane, to be true, just, orderly, courageous, etc. Consider every act of this kind as an exercise which will strengthen your moral faculties, and increase your worth.”

(4) Religion. The “consequence of error” of your religious beliefs may “be too serious.” The laws of nature must be applied to the bible, reject everything in the bible that contradicts nature. God surely “approves the homage of reason” above “blindfolded fear.” Read the New testament, all the histories of Christ. Christ was either: (1) “…begotten by god, born of a virgin, suspended and reversed the laws of nature at will, and ascended bodily into heaven” (2) “of those who say he was a man, of illegitimate birth, or a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions of divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally…by Roman law.” … “you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject any thing because any other person, or description of persons have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable not for the rightness but the uprightness of the decision.

(5) Travelling. Makes men wiser, but not necessarily happier…this because when they return home, they can’t easily apply all that they learned while traveling to their current circumstances. “Their eyes are forever turned back to the object they have lost, and its recollection poisons the residue of their lives.”

There is no place where your pursuit of knowledge will be so little obstructed by foreign objects as in your own country, nor any wherein the virtues of the heart will be less exposed to be weakened.”

Be good, be learned, and be industrious, and you will not want the aid of traveling to render you precious to your country, dear to your friends, happy within yourself.”

Additional Notes:

    • Walking is the best exercise. Walk a lot. Two hours per day.
    • Health is the MOST important focus after morality.

Write to me often and be assured of the interest I take in your success, as well as of the warmth of those sentiments  of attachment with which I am, dear Peter, your affectionate friend,

Th Jefferson

Importance of Spanish, Thomas Jefferson

During these tumultuous times with trump as President, and with Steve Bannon on the attack with a longterm mission of destroying our American institutions and our democracy as well, this so that he can establish his own “bright idea,” it’s important to remain grounded and revert back to our Founding Fathers’ beliefs and intentions in setting up the ROCK SOLID DEMOCRACY of the United States of America.

Immigration is a particular focus since trump is aggressively wiping out Immigration as we know it, Immigration as we’ve always believed it to be, and Immigration that led our ancestors to make America their home.

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, expressed in a letter to Peter Carr (Jefferson’s nephew and the Justice of the Peace for Albemarle County) of Virginia on August 10, 1787 while Jefferson was Minister of France in Paris:

“2.Spanish. Bestow great attention on this, and endeavor to acquire an accurate knowledge of it. Our future connections with Spain and Spanish America will render that language a valuable acquisition. The antient history of a great part of America too is written in that language. I send you a dictionary.”

∞ ∞ ∞

Socratic Method

Back at the beginning of time, in the 1700’s when our Founding Fathers were ardently debating how the colonies could free themselves from tyrannical King George III and his oppressive regime, the vigorous debates of our forbears were typically pursued using the Socratic Method…an ancient system of reasoning brought back to life during the Enlightenment Era.

Stay tuned…