We Won’t Be Fooled Again


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

Letter to the Editor:

The latest mass mailing from the DDR Monster Mall Developers located in Ohio brings us greetings and thanks from the folks down in Sonoma County for the millions of dollars we trundle down in our SUV’s to spend there.

If Sonoma County is so fond of all the money we take there, why have they just rejected another Big Box store? According to the Press Democrat 9/3/09, “the Santa Rosa City Council voted late Tuesday to stop Lowe’s from building a big-box home improvement store on Santa Rosa Avenue, heeding the concerns of local business leaders who warned the chain store would hurt the community… Council members also worried that Lowe’s success would come at the expense of local businesses and their employees…”

Oh, now I get it. DDR wants to make us feel like fools for turning down their Monster Mall initiative, so they just make stuff up and pretend they’re somebody else.

I say it’s better to learn from others who have already made the mistakes and regret them, than believe those who will make  big bucks off us making those same mistakes ourselves. Santa Rosa is confirming what we have been saying.

Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities.
~~

Obama Trips Up On Al Qaeda


From JIM HOULE
Redwood Valley

OUR GOAL IS TO DEFEAT AL-QAEDA

On Thursday, September 24, 2009 President Barack Obama vowed in a speech to the UN General Assembly “not to permit safe heaven for Al-Qaeda to launch attacks from Afghanistan. In confronting them, America will forge lasting partnerships to target terrorists, share intelligence, coordinate law enforcement, and protect our people. He declared his administration’s strong economic support to Pakistan, a front line ally in the fight against terrorism. We have set a clear and focused goal: to work with all members of this body to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies’ a network that has killed thousands of people of many faiths and nations, and that plotted to blow up this very building”.

GENERAL MCCHRYSTAL: THERE’S NO AL-QAEDA IN AFGHANISTAN

Oddly enough, General Stanley McChrystal, who is in charge of US and NATO counter-insurgency efforts in Afghanistan directly contradicted the President’s findings in a speech on the 8th anniversary of 9/11 attacks: He said that: “I see no indication of any large Al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan”. The US currently has more than 47,000 troops on the ground and is building towards a total strength of 68,000 by year-end. All of these troops are engaged in battle with Taliban and Pashtoon tribal insurgency, none are fighting directly with Al Qaeda. Nevertheless, McChrystal, who seemed oblivious of having dismissed the President’s ostensible raison d’etre for the conflict, continued to defend the war, maintaining that it was winnable given increased effort and insisting that, while he had no evidence to back it up, he “strongly believes” our actions have prevented other terroris attacks.

All of this has left us a bit confused, so we went back to read the good General’s report to the Pentagon concerning the need for more troops to win the war. We expected that this would more clearly support the Administration’s objectives. While this report has not been made ‘public’ for fear of restricting Obama’s freedom to choose amongst various sources of advice, it was deliberately leaked to Bob Woodward, the highest profile investigative reporter in Washington. The leak was designed to gain maximum publicity and was snatched up by all the main stream media immediately. You might think that leaking a report the President had not seen would result in General McChrystal’s immediate dismissal or at least a rebuke. But the Pentagon had apparently reviewed and approved the leak and McChrystal is planning to testify about it before Congress quite soon.

THE PURLOINED LETTER

So what did this ‘purloined’ report actually say about increasing our forces and gaining victory in Afghanistan? “Greater resources will not be sufficient to achieve success, but will enable implementation of the ‘new’ strategy. Conversely inadequate resources will likely result in failure. However, without a strategy the mission should not be resourced.”

Chemical Jigsaw Puzzles


From DON SANDERSON
Mendocino County

I’ve followed the chemical pollution conundrum for, what, fifty years and thought I understood all the risks to which we are exposed. The day before I began composing this, I stumbled upon an explanation of one alarming aspect of which I was somehow unaware: monoclonal antibodies as described by Stuart Kaufmann in his “Investigations”. This appears to be one of those critical patterns that connect of which most of us haven’t noticed, but which seem to me vital for us to understand. Can I not tell you? First, a bit of cellular biochemistry that has been cooked, I hope, to tender digestibility:

Every living cell has a cell wall consisting of fatty molecules that separate its interior chemistry from the world. The cell, however, must get nutrients from outside and otherwise sense what is going on out there in order to find that food and otherwise adapt to its living and non-living environment. In order to do this, certain molecular protuberances known as receptors poke from the inside through the cell wall to the outside. When a wandering molecule on the outside, referred to as a ligand, binds to a receptor, many things can happen depending upon the nature of the receptor.

A receptor may recognize a ligand as food and initiate a chemical process to move it through the cell wall. Alternately, when a binding occurs, the part of the receptor exposed within the cell may initiate a chemical reaction therein. For instance, if the ligand is the hormone cortisol, depending upon the nature of the receptor, a binding can result permitting fat storage, adjusting blood sodium levels, or cooling down an inflammation among others. That is, cortisol receptors may share an external molecular appearance while activating quite different functions inside. This is likely true for nearly all types of receptors.

Finally, there are those curious receptors known as antibodies that float around outside cells. When one end binds to a ligand, say a virus, the other becomes an active ligand for other receptors presented by immune system cells. This second binding results, hopefully, in the inactivation or death of the infecting agent.

Cells of all types, human, other animal, plant, and bacteria, have receptor/ligand pairs of multitudes of different types, many more of which are being regularly discovered. Thus, for us humans, there are those related to nerves (serotonin, dopamine, …), hormones (thyroid, female and male, cortisol, …), immune system (many, many), alertness (endorphins, …), wound and bone healing (interferon, …), food utilization (insulin, …), and so on.

A Cure For Cancer? Eating A Plant-Based Diet


From Kathy Freston
Huffington Post
Excerpts

Through a variety of experimental study designs, epidemiological evidence, along with observation of real life conditions which had rational biological explanation, Dr. Campbell has made a direct and powerful correlation between cancer (and other diseases and illnesses) and animal protein…

…the nutrients from animal based foods, especially the protein, promote the development of the cancer whereas the nutrients from plant-based foods, especially the antioxidants, reverse the promotion stage. This is a very promising observation because cancer proceeds forward or backward as a function of the balance of promoting and anti-promoting factors found in the diet, thus consuming anti-promoting plant-based foods tend to keep the cancer from going forward, perhaps even reversing the promotion. The difference between individuals is almost entirely related to their diet and lifestyle practices.

Most estimates suggest that not more than 2-3 percent of cancers are due entirely to genes; almost all the rest is due to diet and lifestyle factors. Consuming plant based foods offers the best hope of avoiding cancer, perhaps even reversing cancer once it is diagnosed…

Our work showed that casein is the most relevant cancer promoter ever discovered…

The biochemical systems which underlie the adverse effects of casein are also common to other animal-based proteins. Also, the amino acid composition of casein, which is the characteristic primarily responsible for its property, is similar to most other animal-based proteins. They all have what we call high ‘biological value’, in comparison, for example, with plant-based proteins, which is why animal protein promotes cancer growth and plant protein doesn’t.

KF: Are you saying that if one changes their diet from animal based protein to plant-based protein that the disease process of cancer can be halted and reversed?

TCC: Yes, this is what our experimental research shows. I also have become aware of many anecdotal claims by people who have said that their switch to a plant-based diet stopped even reversed (cured?) their disease. One study on melanoma has been published in the peer-reviewed literature that shows convincing evidence that cancer progression is substantially halted with this diet…

Read more at: 

Keep reading at Huffington Post

Monster Malls Are The Cause Of, Not The Solution For, Youth Unemployment


From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

A student at Mendocino Junior College writes (Letter to the Editor UDJ 9/24/09 – see it below) in support of Monster Mall Measure A: “…we, as young people, have no options for employment in Mendocino County. I have been trying very hard and just can not find work, it is not out there. Please do not risk the youth of this County’s one opportunity for employment and experience before we enter the fast paced job market after graduation.”

A letter like this is heartbreaking. The youth of our county and our country are some of the hardest hit from this recession. It is a tragedy that is not going away soon. Both entry-level and fast-paced jobs after graduation have ground to a screeching halt.

But allowing a Monster Mall into Mendocino County will only make unemployment worse here, as it has across the country.

Fact: Independent studies show for every job the Monster Mall Big Boxes bring, 1.4 are lost. That means the 700 slave-wage jobs advertised by the Monster Mall will destroy almost 1,000 current, better-paying jobs. The reason is simple: the job losses are larger than the gains because Big Boxes accomplish the same volume of sales with fewer employees, and pay poverty-level wages. The money circulating locally from those lost jobs go somewhere else. Not only that, they have killed millions of non-retail jobs by pushing our manufacturing jobs overseas.

For the sake of our local future, and the youth growing up in our county, please Vote No On Measure A.
~

Letter to the Editor (UDJ)

I am a student at Mendocino Junior College. In addition to my academic responsibilities, I also participate in athletics for the college. If anyone goes to the college and walks around you will see that we, as young people, have no options for employment in Mendocino County. I have been trying very hard and just can not find work, it is not out there. This is why the young people of Mendocino County need Measure A to pass. Having a job and maintaining employment allows for us as young people to learn the real ways of the world. Without any type of job experience we are seriously hindered once we enter the open job market. Now is not the time to be selfish in our actions. I have asked many people why they oppose Measure A and the prevailing answer is that they want Ukiah to remain closed off to the rest of the world. Frankly, that position is one of selfishness.

How Do You Spell Bailout?


From TOM ANDERSON
Ukiah

So, Developers Diversified Realty’s latest election glossy says Mendocino County has a bad case of the financial flu.

Look who’s talking.

Who but DDR, do you suppose, was very first in line for a TALF handout ($600 million) from the New York Federal Reserve Bank?

This weasel is pulling our collective leg, folks, if I may demean you with the term. Its ongoing, inevitable collapse is almost daily news if you’d care to Google it.

With 60 percent of its loans due by 2011, and 15 percent more in 2012, with an operating loss instead of profit, and no income except from assets it can sell at half price and whatever it can beg, Developers Diversified is about 23 months away from oblivion.

Although with $600 million from the feds in October, it can pay creditors now and throw the best election money can buy before it kicks off.

And the Masonite site will be a choice item at the corporate farewell sale, especially rezoned commercial/residential instead of drab old industrial. You get the point.

Can you believe these guys?

. . . Do you?
~~

Love a local business? Buy a share


From CNN Money

Sometimes it takes a village to fund a company.

John Halko was halfway through renovating an expanded space for Comfort, his mostly organic eatery in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., when the credit crisis hit. His source of funding — a home-equity line — ran out, so he applied for a loan at a local bank. He was turned down.

Halko wasn’t ready to throw in the dish towel. His solution? The modern equivalent of an old-fashioned barn raising. Instead of soliciting neighbors to lift timbers, he asked them to open their wallets. For every $500 they purchased in “Comfort Dollars,” his patrons received a $600 credit toward meals at the restaurant. As the community rallied around Comfort, Halko says, “it gave us hope.” He raised $25,000 in six months, and the new, larger space – now called Comfort Lounge — opened for business in May.

Plenty of entrepreneurs are turning to their communities for support in these tricky times. As the recession wreaks havoc on America’s economy, finding the money to launch, expand or even just sustain a small business is often a struggle. In the second quarter of 2009, venture capital funds raised the smallest amount since the third quarter of 2003, according to the National Venture Capital Association in Arlington, Va. Banks continue to pull credit lines and credit cards from many small businesses. Even proprietors who are willing to extract capital from their homes — often their biggest personal asset – can’t always do so, because the declining housing market has left so many homeowners underwater.

But entrepreneurs are resourceful, and as the economic crisis forces them to seek new sources of capital, a growing number appear to be finding money in their own backyards. After all, local customers have a personal incentive to invest in their favorite businesses. And while no one is officially tracking the trend, anecdotal evidence suggests that the practice is growing.

Keep reading at here

New Big Ag Push To Fight World Hunger Is Missing What Organic Ag Is Already Doing


From Timothy LaSalle
Rodale Institute

The compelling humanitarian goals expressed today at the corporately sponsored Global Harvest Initiative symposium were laudable, as were some of the hunger-relief projects cited. Missing, however, was an honest assessment of the limits of dead-end chemical agriculture to play a leading role in actually feeding people.

Also absent from the high-powered forum was a prominent role for what organic agriculture is already doing to meet the most important goals on the food-hunger-nutrition side of the problem.

The event, despite all the good people presenting and all the calls for curbing the environmental harm of chemical ag, amounted to glitzy green packaging for the same unnecessary gift of chemical dependence for the world’s farmers. GHI is sponsored by ADM, DuPont, John Deere and Monsanto. (Yes, the same Monsanto which has promised to double its profits by 2012 with continuing introductions of “high impact technology” seeds.)

In his opening remarks, GHI executive director William Lesher placed the focus firmly on the need for more food, highlighting a projected “productivity gap” that will require a doubling of current world food output by 2050. This thinking follows the outlines of a white paper by GHI in April: “Accelerating Productivity Growth: The 21st Century Global Agriculture Challenge: A White Paper on Agricultural Policy.” Yet more food alone won’t help starving people until the global agricultural system radically shifts its focus to address the barriers of poverty (the inability to buy food) and distribution (getting food people want to where they are).

By framing global food security in terms of “not enough food,” the Global Harvest Initiative seems stuck on doing the same old thing harder and faster. It backers still push expensive seeds and continued dependence on climate-damaging inputs. Organic and near-organic techniques offer robust, biodiverse, productive and regenerative systems that can out-produce chemical approaches in drier and wetter seasons.

Keep reading at Huffington Post

Big Box Bloodsuckers: Inside The Slave-Wage Beast (video)


From How Wal-Mart is Destroying America
By Bill Quinn

[Wal-Mart not only sucks the financial life-blood from our community by nightly transferring our money to Arkansas billionaires rather than having it circulate in our community, but they also feed on the life-blood of their employees and their families. Other Big Boxes are forced to compete with Wal-Mart by adopting their draconian businesses practices, or be forced out of business. The Masonite Monster Mall will foist Big Box World on our small community changing it forever, raise the poverty level in our county, while their 700 slave-wage jobs will add immeasurable misery to our workforce. VOTE NO ON MEASURE A!-DS]

[See also I used to be proud to be a Wal-Mart employee video below…]

An interview with a former Wal-Mart manager of over 15 years…

Q: Joe, your wife tells me your hours as a manager were so long you barely knew your children?
Joe: Long hours were demanded—rarely less than seventy a week, most weeks eighty or more. Days off were rare. And I have gone as long as three years without a vacation. My wife literally raised our children by herself.
Q: Hourly workers, I’ve been told, are held to a minimum?
Joe: You won’t believed how they are treated. Managers try to keep employees’ hours under twenty-eight a week so they won’t be eligible for benefits. If business slows on any day, managers are instructed to send workers home anytime after they have four hours on the clock. Even department heads who are supposed to be regulars can be sent home, often working less than the eight hours they are entitled to…
Q: When you moved, did Wal-Mart pay your expenses?
Joe: No. Actually, the “system” was to ask store personnel to do you a favor by working off the clock to come out to your place and help you pack. You were moved to your next assignment, always, in a Wal-Mart truck.