22.1.17

The 45th President of the United States. Inauguration Speech 20th January 2017.

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: Thank you.
    We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people. 
    Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.
    We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
    Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.
    Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another -- but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.
    For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished -- but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered -- but the jobs left, and the factories closed. 
    The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
    That all changes -- starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
    It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
    What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
    Everyone is listening to you now.
    You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before. At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
    Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public. 
    But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
    This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
    We are one nation -- and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny. 
    The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
    For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we've defended other nation's borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
    We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.
    One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
    The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.
    But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
    From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. 
    From this moment on, it's going to be America First.
    Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
    I will fight for you with every breath in my body -- and I will never, ever let you down.
    America will start winning again, winning like never before.
    We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
    We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
    We will get our people off of welfare and back to work -- rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
    We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American. 
    We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world -- but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
    We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
    We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones -- and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
    At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
    When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity."
    We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
    When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. 
    There should be no fear -- we are protected, and we will always be protected.
    We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.
    Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
    In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.
    We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action -- constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
    The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. 
    Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America. 
    We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
    We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. 
    A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
    It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag. 
    And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.
    So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
    You will never be ignored again. 
    Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
    Together, We will make America strong again.
    We will make America wealthy again.
    We will make America proud again.
    We will make America safe again.
    And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.

    The Pollution Paradox by George Monbiot

    Dirty industries spend more on politics, keeping us in the fossil age.
    By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 19th January 2017
    Make America Wait Again. That’s what Donald Trump’s energy policy amounts to. Stop all the clocks, put the technological revolution on hold, ensure that the transition from fossil fuels to clean power is delayed for as long as possible.
    Trump is the president corporate Luddites have dreamt of; the man who will let them squeeze every last cent from their oil and coal reserves before they become worthless. They need him because science, technology and people’s demands for a safe and stable world have left them stranded. There is no fair fight that they can win, so their last hope lies with a government that will rig the competition.
    To this end, Trump has appointed to his cabinet some of those responsible for a universal crime: inflicted not on particular nations or groups, but on everyone.
    Recent research suggests that – if drastic action of the kind envisaged by the Paris agreement on climate change is not taken – ice loss in Antarctica alone could raise sea levels by a metre this century, and by 15 metres in subsequent centuries. Combine this with the melting in Greenland and the thermal expansion of seawater, and you discover that many of the world’s great cities are at existential risk.
    The climatic disruption of crucial agricultural zones – in North and Central America, the Middle East, Africa and much of Asia – presents a security threat that could dwarf all others. The civil war in Syria, unless resolute policies are adopted, looks like a glimpse of a possible global future.
    These are not, if the risks materialise, shifts to which we can adapt. These crises will be bigger than our capacity to respond to them. They could lead to the rapid and radical simplification of society, which means, to put it brutally, the end of civilisations and many of the people they support. If this happens, it will amount to the greatest crime ever committed. And members of Trump’s proposed cabinet are among the leading perpetrators.
    In their careers so far, they have championed the fossil fuel industry while contesting the measures intended to prevent climate breakdown. They appear to have considered the need of a few exceedingly rich people to protect their foolish investments for a few more years, weighed it against the benign climatic conditions that have allowed humanity to flourish, and decided that the foolish investments are more important.
    By appointing Rex Tillerson, chief executive of the oil company ExxonMobil, as secretary of state, Trump not only assures the fossil economy that it sits next to his heart; he also provides comfort to  another supporter: Vladimir Putin. It was Tillerson who brokered the $500 billion deal between Exxon and the state-owned Russian company Rosneft to exploit oil reserves in the Arctic. As a result he was presented with the Russian Order of Friendship by Mr Putin.
    The deal was stopped under the sanctions the US imposed when Russia invaded Ukraine. The probability of these sanctions in their current form surviving a Trump government is, to the nearest decimal place, a snowball’s chance in hell. If Russia did interfere in the US election, it will be handsomely rewarded when the deal goes ahead.
    Trump’s nominations for energy secretary and interior secretary are both climate change deniers, who – quite coincidentally – have a long history of sponsorship by the fossil fuel industry. His proposed attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, allegedly failed to disclose in his declaration of interests that he leases land to an oil company.
    The man nominated to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, has spent much of his working life campaigning against … the Environmental Protection Agency. As the attorney general in Oklahoma, he launched 14 lawsuits against the EPA, seeking, among other aims, to strike down its Clean Power Plan, its limits on the mercury and other heavy metals released by coal plants and its protection of drinking water supplies and wildlife. Thirteen of these suits were said to include as co-parties companies that had contributed to his campaign funds or to political campaign committees affiliated to him.
    Trump’s appointments reflect what I call the Pollution Paradox. The more polluting a company is, the more money it must spend on politics to ensure it is not regulated out of existence. Campaign finance therefore comes to be dominated by dirty companies, ensuring that they wield the greatest influence, crowding out their cleaner rivals. Trump’s cabinet is stuffed with people who owe their political careers to filth.
    It was once possible to argue, rightly or wrongly, that the human benefits of developing fossil fuel reserves might outweigh the harm. But a combination of more refined climate science, that now presents the risks in stark terms, and the plummeting costs of clean technologies renders this argument as obsolete as a coal-fired power station.
    As the US burrows into the past, China is investing massively in renewable energy, electric cars and new battery technologies. The Chinese government claims that this new industrial revolution will generate 13 million jobs. This, by contrast to Trump’s promise to create millions of jobs through reanimating coal, at least has a chance of materialising. It’s not just that returning to an old technology when better ones are available is difficult; it’s also that coal mining has been automated to the extent that it now supports few jobs. Trump’s attempt to revive the fossil era will serve no one but the coal barons.
    Understandably, commentators have been seeking glimpses of light in Trump’s position. But there are none. He couldn’t have made it clearer, through his public statements, the Republican platform and his appointments, that he intends to the greatest extent possible to shut down funding for both climate science and clean energy, rip up the Paris agreement, sustain fossil fuel subsidies and annul the laws that protect people and the rest of the living world from the impacts of dirty energy.
    His candidacy was represented as an insurgency, challenging established power. But his position on climate change reveals what should have been obvious from the beginning: he and his team represent the incumbents, fighting off insurgent technologies and political challenges to moribund business models. They will hold back the tide of change for as long as they can. And then the barrier will burst.
    www. monbiot.com

    5.1.17

    How to lead, care for, and inspire great work in a social work team. (hint-probably works for all teams!)

    A recent Social Work Essay was invited by the Recruitment Company-Liquid Personnel with a £1000 first prize so I entered.  I was not shortlisted but here are some of my less bizarre thoughts on the subject below.
    “The average ‘career lifespan’ of a social worker is just 8 years.  What can be done to increase engagement among social workers and keep them in the profession for longer?”
    My title is:
    How to lead, care for, and inspire great work in a social work team.

    Mirror a loving family under pressure.
    Train, support, develop, stretch, and trust.
    Use authority with great care and sparingly.
    Continually recognise and celebrate good work and achievements.
    Make lots of space for laughter.  Share food a lot.
    Make lots of space to meet and share.
    Continually emphasise-service-to service users and each other.
    Resist cultures of overwork and presenteeism.
    Always accompany a negative criticism with a positive solution.
    Insist that negative feelings are shared and talked through.
    Continually emphasise personal and professional safety.
    Grow and invest in your workers over time.
    Be clear about the team’s Mission Statement.
    Have whiteboards everywhere-magnetic ones!
    Encourage familiarity and pleasure in research.
    Create the practice of always cascading training.
    Insist upon loyalty to the team as a basic expectation.
    Sometimes play music in the office.
    Shared lunch is positive but never obligatory.
    Encourage your social workers to take breaks and go for walks.
    Have regular group supervisions on complex cases.
    Train your social workers to be at ease with authority in safeguarding cases and to project it with confidence but also with compassion and understanding.
    Make supervision an exciting, challenging but ultimately affirming experience.
    Be a leader-servant.
    Encourage the keeping of a professional journal and file-including all training, qualifications and Continued Professional Development hours.
    Treat all bullying and disrespect, racism, sexism and oppression as if it were a disease from whatever source.
    Have Friday lunch together in the pub regularly.
    Treat all students as custodians of the future of the profession.
    Create gold stars and Employee of the Week Awards but with much humour and laughter while subversively celebrating outstanding work.
    Stand up for Social Work as a profession for heroes and wounded healers.
    Have at least one suit for court-the best you can buy-Navy blue is best.
    Teach yourself and your team to become the best possible writers.
    Read and critique each other’s written work.  Remember the best writers are always the best readers.
    Always, always carry a notebook and pen.
    Learn to be and teach everyone to become, great note takers.
    Become expert in using technology.
    Use Evernote.  Scrivenor.  Devonthink.  Ulysses.  Todoist.  Wunderlist.  Word.  Mindjet.  Pages.  Powerpoint.  Keynote.  Excel.
    Always ask for the other point of view, likewise advice.  One of the most common things to hear in a social work office should be ‘what do you think?’  Director or Social Worker-No matter what your role.
    Meditate every day.
    Physically exercise and take care of your body through fitness and nutrition.
    Every social worker of eight years experience should be a highly trained and confident-
    ·     Meetings chair
    ·     Minute-taker
    ·     Report writer
    ·     Counsellor and therapist-Child or adult or both
    ·     Events organiser
    ·     Coach
    ·     Trainer
    ·     Presentations specialist
    ·     Theoretician
    ·     Self-organiser
    ·     Possessor of brilliantly developed interpersonal skills
    ·     Court Expert
    ·     Mediator and negotiator
    Pessimism is not a good mind-set for a Social Worker.
    Practice the facial expressionism of a good actor so that from the back of a Court you leave a judge in no doubt of your feelings.
    A successfully managed worker is one who is excited about coming to work in the morning.
    Be proud of being a Social Worker.  Encourage pride in the profession.
    Consider your Senior Leadership Team as having the best of motives.  Understand the hugely difficult decisions they must make in this time of Austerity.
    Senior managers!  You need to communicate Austerity much more effectively.
    Be a master and mistress of Email courtesy.
    Too high caseloads mean low quality work-understand it is an inevitable equation that will lead to the loss of good people.
    Review all your professional priorities at least weekly.
    In order for doing to be effective it must be preceded by thinking and planning.
    Never sign your name to anything you don’t believe in.
    If anyone ever tells you Social Work is about covering your arse, they don’t understand it.
    Regard vulnerable children and adults as priceless works of art are regarded by museums.  Not problems but the reason for your professional existence.
    Avoid management-speak like the plague.  Use language to be clearly understood.  Avoid acronyms and abbreviations.
    Social work skills are gradually accrued over years of practice and study.  At about eight years a social worker is coming into their power to make excellent independent decisions.  If they leave the profession at this point you lose not only them but all the knowledge that is in their heads when they walk out the door including the mysterious value of their intuition.  It is irreplaceable and to lose it is to fail as an organisation and as a profession.  Staff retention needs the profession’s best minds. NOTE: staff retention needs a better title more descriptive of its various elements.  How about- ‘The joy in the job Project?’
    Social Work is not about processing forms-it is about transforming lives.
    Regard an Ofsted Inspection as an opportunity to show off!  Celebrate it!  There’s nothing worse for social workers than to be contaminated with the fear of a Senior Management Team on the brink of an Ofsted visit!
    Let us articulate as a whole profession what we see as our future role in our society.  Let’s be a bit more pushy about it!
    Join the British Association of Social Workers (BASW).  Get involved!
    We don’t do this bizarre and wonderful job for the money.  Certainly not for the prestige.  Not for the popular acclaim!
    Maybe we just want to do something valuable and worthwhile? To give back something?  Maybe we love humanity?  Maybe we have traces of brokenness in our own lives that spurred us on?
    A myriad of reasons and maybe no reason we can articulate yet.
    But it’s a damn fine thing to do, this Social Work!  We should be proud of ourselves!  We should be proud of each other!
    Quite simply, when we speak the truth of what we do, that is how we will keep on doing it. 
    Go well, and shine brightly!

    Anthony Dougan 
    December 2016
    heartofbalance@gmail.com