Mendo Island Transition

Walmart’s Latest Scheme to Replace the Middle Class With an Underclass Forced to Buy its Shoddy Goods…



(Why we can’t shop our way to a Better Economy)

From STACY MITCHELL
Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Walmart’s planned takeover of urban markets threatens to cut off other viable economic development options.

Almost 30 years ago, as the U.S. was bleeding jobs, Walmart launched a “Buy America” program and started hanging “Made in America” signs in its 750 stores.  It was a marketing success, cementing the retailer’s popularity in the country’s struggling, blue-collar heartland.  A few years later, NBC’s Dateline revealed the program to be a sham.  Sure, Walmart was willing to buy U.S.-made goods — so long as they were as cheap as imports, which, of course, they weren’t. Dateline found that Walmart’s sourcing was in fact rapidly shifting to Asia.

Transition: Disobedience the true foundation of liberty…


life is struggle

From GUY McPHERSON
Transition Voice

As if he could peer into the future, Henry David Thoreau is credited with the expression: “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”

Herein I present a few recent examples of obedience at home. This essay is hardly comprehensive, and the hits keep coming, so this essay represents a minor start to a major issue. I’m certain many more examples will appear until American Empire finally sinks to the bottom of the cesspool in which it is mired.

I focus on the Obama administration because it is the most recent and also the most horrific example of imperialism. I refuse to play the game currently popular among Democrats in which Obama is compared to Mitt Romney or John McCain. Obama has a record as president, and Romney and McCain don’t.

Could fracking finally kill off rural America?


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From ERIC CURREN
Transition Voice

Gasland 2, the sequel to Josh Fox’s documentary about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, introduces a frightening image.

It’s not another money shot of tap water on fire, though the water well hose lit up by the owner of a multimillion dollar home in Parker County, Texas is a wonder.

Nor is the most frightening image an internal gas industry memo labeling residents of small towns in Pennsylvania or New York State an “insurgency” that

Transition: From Housing to Health Care, 7 Co-ops That Are Changing Our Economy…


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From CLAUDIA ROWE
Yes! Magazine

How manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, and others are doing business the cooperative way.

1. Green Worker Cooperative’s Co-op Academy
, The Bronx, N.Y.

Ideas for co-ops may flourish, but few people understand exactly how to make theirs real. The Co-op Academy is providing answers. Founded four years ago by Omar Freilla (who recently made Ebony magazine’s list of the Power 100), the academy runs 16-week courses that offer intensive mentoring, legal and financial advice, and help designing logos and websites.

Run by the South Bronx-based Green Worker Cooperative, the academy guides up to four teams per session through the startup process and has graduated four organizations now thriving in New York City. These include Caracol Interpreters, which is raising the bar on interpreter wages, and Concrete Green, which focuses on environmentally sound landscaping. Six more co-ops are in the pipeline.

“I’m amazed at how little knowledge and information is out there for the average person about how co-ops function and how to start one,”

Transition: Self-Employed? Build a Community First…


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From JOHN ROBB
Resilient Communities

I interviewed a couple of successful entrepreneurs last week on the Resilient Roundtable.

They are doing so well and having such a good time with their new business that they recently quit their “day jobs.”

They’re very lucky. They get to spend their productive hours on creative, innovative, and challenging work they can accomplish locally.

Not only that, their able to support themselves financially doing it.

What made them successful?

It’s a feature we are going to see again and again in successful businesses. It’s a feature that is going to make them resilient.

They built a small, but growing, community of customers and fans before they sold their first product.

A community of people that are enthusiastic about what they build.

A community that supported them when they launched and is now supporting them as they build out the business.

A Resilient Business

Transition: Cheap by Choice — When Frugality Means Freedom…


Use-it-Up

From DAISY LUTHER
The Organic Prepper

As a parent, sometimes I’ve asked my kids to do things they don’t want to do.  (Haven’t we all?)  The biggest key to their success in the endeavour is their attitude.

Scenario #1:

Me: Kiddo, it’s time to swap your winter clothes for your spring clothes. Please go through your closet, sort through your winter clothes and get rid of the stuff that’s too small or that you don’t want anymore.

KiddoI don’t want to!  I hate this! It’s not fair!!!

Kiddo goes through the closet, angrily shoving things in a garbage bag without taking a good hard look at things.  She sulks, pouts and is otherwise miserable.  She gets the job done but makes sure that it is unpleasant for all of us.

Scenario #2:

Me: Kiddo, it’s time to swap your winter clothes for your spring clothes. Please go through your closet, sort through your winter clothes and get rid of the stuff that’s too small or that you don’t want anymore.

KiddoOkay – this gives me a chance to see if there’s anything I can re-purpose, too!

Kiddo goes through the closet, eagerly sorting items into piles.  She comes up with a good stash of ‘new’ materials for craft projects, a bag of donations, and 2 shirts that were buried at the back that she forgot she had.  The job is done and the end result is its own reward.

Switching over to a more frugal lifestyle can be just like the above scenarios.   You can embrace it and relish the challenge of it, or you can sulk, pout and be absolutely miserable.

Transition: Bioregional Wool Milling…


mgMatt Gilbert, Mendocino County

From FIBERSHED

The mission of Fibershed is to change the way we clothe ourselves by supporting the creation of local textile cultures that enhance ecological balance, and utilize regional agriculture while strengthening local economies and communities.

Our first fundraising event for a regional cotton mill was almost two years ago today.  We gathered to celebrate the first 7 months of our project that had taken on the challenge to create bioregional attire from our local farms and wild places.

The funds raised from that feed-barn fashion show were graciously, and somewhat surprisingly donated back to us by cotton farmer we raised them for.  Sally Fox asked that we take those (humble) funds and instead of having them be used for perhaps one small piece of cotton processing equipment

Transition: The Hard Road Ahead…


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From JOHN MICHAEL GEER

The latest round of political theater in Washington DC over the automatic budget cuts enacted in the 2011 debt ceiling compromise—the so-called “sequester”—couldn’t have been better timed, at least as far as this blog is concerned. It’s hard to imagine better evidence, after all, that the American political process has finally lost its last fingernail grip on reality.

Let’s start with the basics. Despite all the bellowing on the part of politicians, pressure groups, and the media, the cuts in question total only 2.3% of the US federal budget.  They thus amount to a relatively modest fraction of the huge increases in federal spending that have taken place over the last decade or so. (I sincerely doubt that those of my readers who were in the US in 2003 noticed any striking lack of federal dollars being spent then.) In the same way, those who protested the “tax increases” at the beginning of this year by and large failed to mentioned that the increases in question were simply the expiration of some—by no means all—of the big tax cuts enacted a little over a decade ago in the second Bush administration.

At a time when the United States is spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year it doesn’t happen to have, and making up the difference by spinning the printing presses at ever-increasing speeds,  a strong case can be made that rolling back spending increases and giving up tax breaks are measures that deserve serious consideration.  Any such notion, though, is anathema to most Americans these days, at least to the extent that it might affect them.

Hey Ukiah City Council and Staff: Let’s Cut the Bullshit on Costco and Walmart — Big Box Stores Kill Jobs, Increase Taxes and Destroy Communities…


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From Institute for Local Self Reliance

Below are summaries and links to key studies that examine the impact of Wal-Mart and other large retail chains and, in some cases, the benefits of locally owned businesses. For ease of use, we’ve organized these studies into the following categories, although they do not all fit neatly into one category.

  • Economic Impact of Local Businesses vs. Chains Studies have found that locally owned stores generate much greater benefits for the local economy than national chains.
  • Retail Employment These studies examine whether the arrival of a superstore increases or decreases the number of retail jobs in the region.
  • Wages & Benefits Studies have found that big-box retailers, particularly Wal-Mart, are depressing wages and benefits for retail employees.
  • Existing Businesses These studies look at how the arrival of a big-box retailer displaces sales at existing businesses, which must then downsize or close. This results in job losses and declining tax revenue, which some of these studies quantify.
  • Poverty Rates Counties that have gained Wal-Mart stores have fared worse in terms of family poverty rates, according to this study.
  • Social and Civic Well-Being This study found that Wal-Mart reduces a community’s level of social capital, as measured by voter turnout and the number of active community organizations.
  • City Costs These studies compare the municipal tax benefits of big-box development with the cost of providing these stores with city services, such as road maintenance, police and fire—finding that cities do not always come out ahead.
  • State Costs Because many of their employees do not earn enough to make ends meet, states are reporting high costs associated with providing healthcare (Medicaid) and other public assistance to big-box employees.
  • Subsidies The expansion of big-box retailers has been financed in part by massive development subsidies and tax advantages provided by local and state governments. These studies document those subsidies