Tag Archives: empowerment

Nickel-a-Meal FAST FOOD Empowerment

image2015 EMPOWERMENT Resolution #1 — FOOD CHANGE

The header graphic I designed a few years ago as a commentary on many of the leaders of the food and fast food sector. All the companies had anti-obesity or healthy eating corporate activities on their web sites, though most failed to live up to their promises.

The game is a bit different now. There are a number of significant food activists organizations in place now, and many people writing about geo-food strategies. But for the most part the major fast food conglomerates still control the Eating Games … where we all run around in hopes of not getting killed by their profit and marketing ploys.

As good as the challenges are, however, almost none seek to use the dollars in the food sector as dietary empowerment. Most actually blame us for not eating well or exercising as we should. Let’s Move is no exception, nor are other activist initiatives that seem to be afraid of the power of food money. Even Brazil came up short here.

In a website on AngrySodas – this poor treat is an easy and cheap target of a lot of criticism – I proposed a new way to deal with is. It centers on what I called a Nickel-a-Meal Campaign, an answer to my first 2015 Empowerment Resolution! (Which you can see as a previous past.)

My idea assumes we can use electronic money transfer systems as a form of an organic revenue collection process – sort of like making virtual plastic donation jars where those who use ATM/Credit Cards chip in an extra nickel with each burger purchase. When we swipe our cards now, many profit-making finance entities get a portion of what we spend before the McBurger monger does.

But what’s so bad is they do so by tapping into finance systems built with public resources – yet we have to cut and thus no voice. There is even an oversight body without us being present!

The Nickel-a-Meal Campaign seeks to rebalance this. I suggest an extra five cents (per burger, per meal?) be collected electronically after the main purchase transaction is processed, exempting it from fees and taxes. Then these nickels could be gathered and instantly transferred to food empowerment agencies in the region where they were received.

The stream of money is pretty massive. Perhaps $50 million PER WEEK, if large portions of food business participated! And if we utilized a unique finance system we create, it thrives as a community-inspired money source for EMPOWERED FOOD CHANGE!

How many advocacy agencies have access to even a portion of such a budget?

This kind of idea needs thinking and support – not to mention the drive of some supposedly caring food outlets.

Tell me what you think!


EMPOWERMENT RESOLUTIONS: 15 Steps to Change 2015

Jan 1

To change the world we with the gift of Empowerment, we need to get started on several fronts. Here are 15 ideas for 2015 …. My details for your arguments in the months ahead! Happy to hear your thoughts, complaints or suggestions. Merry New Year to All! (Oh…Thanks Mr. President for 2014)

Page 1 … 1-7…

Resolution page 1

Page 2 … 8-15 …

Resolution page

EMPOWERMENT POETRY – Change By The Verse! 2015

Sometimes we have to try different things. These words have been bouncing around. Hope the graphic looks good and is readable! Hope your Holidays were Happy and the New Year EMPOWERINGLY Merry!


2015 – Year of EMPOWERMENT

photo-37It’s time to get down and dirty and have fun with the idea that liberalism AND conservatism have come up short.

Both simply try too hard to find solutions to major social and cultural flaws by seeking partisan compromises of comfort. Essentially they each assume we’ll all get along better if we just try harder – either by mistakenly lionizing the past, or in ways perceived as desirable but not too radical.

Super speed technology and interactive accessibility have shown us we can do better; that we can make an entirely new playing field where ideas can grow in virtually any direction without making new problems, exploiting justice or worsening long standing problems and failures.

Empowerment strategies are unique, as mentioned in a recent video blog for RadicalNOT. [Not posted yet; search RadicalNOT YouTube after Dec. 26th! Sorry.]

They are approaches towards change that go as deep as necessary to improve or upgrade the promises we’ve made as a nation to be fair, respectful and just to all. They can adjust failed practices here and there, or they can open entirely new avenues towards much different kinds of solutions.

2015 needs to be the year for making EMPOWERMENT options more understandable.

There are existing EMPOWERMENT approaches for EVERY social, economic, gender, racial or identity challenge. And there will be more to select from once open, virtual discussions refine their ways and means.


How about 15 viable ideas for EMPOWERED change?


empower signI write and argue about a philosophy of empowerment. So I must be doing something right because people are starting to ask regularly what the heck I mean by that term; aren’t I just finding a new way of professing my liberal or progressive inclinations?

No, I’m not. Empowerment is a force for change that presumes that the systems we rely on are themselves grounded in engaging, supporting and opening the ways and means of action into the systems we use — and thus a method for ensuring that all social systems carry within themselves the avenues to challenges. They are approaches that fix problems while they help us and help us help each other.

If we have a system … for good, for bad; for social responsibility, for profit … it needs to carry within itself all that is required to empower its users to find solutions to issues or concerns related to its area or focus. Housing empowerment doesn’t give people houses; it enables our system of housing making and using to sustain avenues so all get houses. And most often that involves parterning with the largest force for collective protection we have, government.

Sorry libertarians! Starving or shrinking the beast isn’t empowering in most cases because it is used as an excuse to cut away the protections government offers to capitalism and consumerism — tactics that are seldom empowering (though interactive technology may be changing this game if we play it out right!).

Is it possible for there to be liberal and conservative forms of empowerment? Sure, I guess; though honestly in this time of fast-acting progress, conservative empowerment doesn’t make a lot of sense. But I’m open to reconsidering this if someone can convince me of the error of my ways.

If not, when I speak of EMPOWERMENT, I speak of systems that carry within them the ways and means (the actions and the resources) to fix the problems and engage those who are part of that very process. If we get this one right, then we don’t have to worry about what is radical and what is right. Good ideas will simply work.


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The Birth of a (Virtual) Nation

Praise the Lord God of all thinks collective! In her infinite and forever appealing way, she has ensured that we are NOT alone. There is a reality of the matrices that blend social and cultural justice activities with very cool information and communication technologies (ICTs).

And it goes by the name of Informatics — that some of us old farts didn’t even know much about until recently.

From my perspective, what’s important is the new identification of this sector. Or what it’s founders call Community Infomatics (CI), the science of data and information storage and management made possible by information and communication technologies and marrying this with all of the wonders of community engagement for good stuff.

(I know it all sounds like something that chops and dices and it sold on early morning TV, but we hope to change this too!)

Community Informatics is, to me, the perfect way to use the knowledge and understanding of the progress that surrounds us and connecting it and all that it captures with EMPOWERMENT justice and activism.

Which, in my mind, is exactly what RadicalNOT is all about: talking about this as it hits the streets of change running at full and powerful speed. So to see that there are others already engaged … well … it’s enough to make a grown man delirious!

But more about my emotional health later. For now I just want to feed you the Wikipedia URL that talks about CI and that lays the groundwork for why I’d call it EI, or EMPOWERMENT INFORMATICS. Here is what one of the summary paragraphs says:

Cultures ensure their growth and survival by continuing the norms and mores that are the bases of their way of life. Communities can use the infrastructure of ICTs as a method of continuing cultures within the context of the Internet and the World Wide Web. Once a cultural identity is defined within the context of these technologies, it can be replicated and disseminated through various means, including the sharing of information through websites, applications, databases, and file sharing. In this manner, a group that defines its cultural identity within the construct of technology infrastructure is empowered to hold valuable exchanges within the spheres of economics, political power, high and popular culture, education, and entertainment. [emphasis added]

RadicalNOT endorses this view wholeheartedly. I love it. It makes my sociological heart go pitter patter!

I encourage you to jump over and take a look at the second discovery that got me pushing my Viagra aside. See the perspective’s manifesto of desires, so to speak, offered by the sector’s lead founding proponent, Michael Gurstein: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_informatics

Gurstein’s piece offers many elements of what this transformation means and why they are so important. We’ll dissect this soon.

In the meantime, start thinking of themes for the celebration party! True and effective impact is in the making, and its name is EMPOWERED INFORMATICS!!

Internet Equality – Obama’s Clear & Present Danger

clear harrisonIE, or Internet Equality, is so important that it demands the absolute attention of our Commander-in-Chief. Even in this period of self-inflicted policy foolishness – where people, generations, the planet are being fracked away — the loss of the empowerment potential from the InterWebs outweighs all other urgencies.

The president might well consider this the single greatest contribution his administration can make.

Capturing and harnessing the subtleties of the virtual domains in favor of profit and privilege (which will happen without Net Neutrality) will destroy the possibility of us having a national heritage that is a model for electronic and digital freedom and participatory liberty. Which is why the battle presents a clear and present danger that cannot be ignored.

Have at me Chicken Little-ites! Show me why the virtual skies are not falling on us, thanks again to the greedy and unjust profiteer?

The unfettered high-jacking of capitalism that we see everywhere in the non-digital domain demonstrates exactly why the world’s people cannot thrive without having their own access to powerful weapons of mass access, transparency and organization. We will simply not be able to compete against those who do the same in the name of virtual consumerism.

Once a price is put on every portal, it will become much more difficult and much less desirable to turn those doors into avenues for change and democratic empowerment. Of this I am very sure.

The soldiers of what must be Obama’s war for engagement on this front should be the cyber hackers and activists who hold the programming keys to the digital kingdom (and I do mean King, since women are too far out of the gamer games at this point!). For whether people like to admit it or not, the Snowdens et al are fighters against secret and stored hostilities, biases and crimes against governments and natures – all kinds, and particularly those that fire the passions of empowerment.

President Barack Obama should undertake two simultaneous strategies as CEO and Commander, each directed to allow for broad creativity and innovation by those who know the playing fields:

  • DEFLECTING AND DIVERTING: He should go about the task of opening false and appealing “nonpartisan” nonsensical negotiations with conservaterians on the other issues thought to be important (bettering Ocare, immigration reform, debt, etc.). This will keep the contrarians flaming with a false sense of victory; and then,
  • DISRUPTION OF SERVICE TACTICS: He should use his fledgling CEO/CIC capabilities unleash the magnitude forces of cyber agents of all kinds to discover their own ways and means of victor. Massive self-interest machines like Google are already proclaiming their need to harness the potential of the InterWebs, and we must meet and beat them with spontaneity before too much damage is done. But sadly we don’t even know our own capabilities for empowerment until we come together to learn more and practice what we seek.

Conservative ideals are kicking and screaming for survival because facts and technology have killed their Snow White dreams. No one can kiss and awaken the ignorant beauty of a false past, no matter what the fox says (or hides). But in throwing around shiny objects, we may be able to distract their attention why we build a better progress trap.

As for what unleashed, justice-empowered Cyber Warriors might do once freed to program and discover, we’ll not know until they try.

Government of all flavors for generations has built a darn good infrastructure of caring and compassion – underground networks for women involved with domestic violence, communities of color working together to be heard, young people feeling empowered to have a voice in their futures. Now’s the time to set this potential free in partnership with the blended values of profit and social responsibility. Only in this way will we get the full ROI of a culture build on freedom and democracy.

If we don’t, the dangers are clear and present.

I’ll vote for a war like this anytime.