Google's not out to cut down the small webmaster, or retailer who might exchange links with the Chamber of Commerce, or a retailer organization they belong to. That would be just a bit too much to believe, even for the biggest "conspiracy thinkers".
The point of Google's post, wasn't to send people into a frenzy and to get worked up about those links you get from family and friends or business colleagues. It was to say "Hey, don't think you can buy a bunch of links and fool us." Accumulating links in an unnatural way, is just going to make Google take a good hard long look at a lot of things related to how you got those links.
It's great that Google's communicating with webmasters. Unfortunately everything they put into their blogs is looked at with such a minutia, analyzed, interpreted and regurgitated back to the masses, that by the time it comes back around, it isn't even close to what was originally stated. We have mass hysteria on forums about what "it really means." Analysis about every little thing that Matt Cutts, Vannessa Fox or Adam Lasnik says gets dissected to the upteenth degree that it's really a wonder that these great folks continue to talk to all of us!
Basically, if you are trying to trick the search engines, eventually its going to come back to bite you in the rear. But, if you are honest about your efforts and aren't just concerned with where the links are coming from, but focus more on providing great content, you won't have to worry about those links - they will come.
Isn't that what Steve McQueen did in that Ford Mustang/Track in the Middle of the Cornfield commercial a year or two ago? :)