“What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history,”
– Warren Buffett, per MarketWatch.
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken,”
– Warren Buffett, per Brainy Quote.
“The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is. For to a degree, people read the press to inform themselves – and the better the teacher, the better the student body.”
– Warren Buffett, per Brainy Quote.
“I just read and read and read. I probably read five to six hours a day.”
– Warren Buffett – according to the Business Quotes.
“I want them [the Berkshire Hathaway CEOs] to judge every action by how it would appear on the front page of their local news paper, written by a smart but semi-unfriendly reporter, who really understood it, to be read by their families, their neighbors, their friends. And it has to pass that test”
– Warren Buffett, according to the Business Quotes.
“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
– Henry Ford, per Brainy Quote.
“You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
– Abraham Lincoln, per the Quote Investigator.
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we [some fellow Americans] destroyed ourselves.”
– Abraham Lincoln, per Brainy Quote.
“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime you find you get what you need.”
– The Rolling Stones, song lyrics, per YouTube.
“Never invest in a business you cannot understand.”
– Warren Buffett, per MarketWatch
“Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.”
– Warren Buffett, per MarketWatch
Notice: There will be certain relevant
disclosures at the end of this post,
plus linked related reports below the by line.
Give Warren Buffett his due.
The man is smart, and successful. Friends and foes alike can admit that fact. Mr. Buffett is well read. He is patient. When he sees a good opportunity to buy in an industry that makes sense, he strives to get a bargain when he can.
Those are all principles that Buffett himself has stated at various times. Not unlike the 45th President – Donald J. Trump – Warren Buffett has made himself accessible to the media for years.
But Buffett, unlike fellow billionaire turned President Trump, has owned several media outlets, some for many years.
Mr. Buffett has written in recent years about synergy at Berkshire Hathaway. Synergy is not a novel concept to one of the world’s richest men.
Misinformation – misunderstandings about manufactured homes – are among the larger challenges that the industry has. There is also an unjustifiable stigma about manufactured homes. Media is uniquely poised to address those issues. As Bloomberg exemplified earlier this, there are times when manufactured housing gets favorable and fair media coverage.
An important question should be, why doesn’t the industry get favorable media more often?
Before proceeding, let’s note Buffett is the well known chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns:
– Clayton Homes,
– Vanderbilt Mortgage & Finance,
– 21st Mortgage Corp.,
– Shaw Carpeting,
– NAI – the Joanne Stevens led manufactured housing brokerage company,
– along with other corporate and media interests that are captured in this next infographic.
Among those holdings by Berkshire are the BH Media Group. There are some 31 newspapers all told.
As anyone who follows Buffett and Berkshire knows, he can get on television virtually any time he wants to do so. CNBC has fawning coverage of Buffett. At times, so does Fox Business.
But back to the point.
If misinformation and misunderstandings are part of the Manufactured Homes (MH) Industry’s challenge, and Buffett understands the power of synergy between units of Berkshire, that raises a question. Given his gifted mind, why hasn’t Buffett’s BH Media Group done a campaign of favorable media coverage for manufactured housing?
Let’s use but one example from 31 that Buffett’s brands own to make the next point.
The above are screen captures of articles run by Omaha, the Omaha News Herald’s online edition, a BH Media Group paper in Buffett’s headquarters city. You might think of Omaha as his flagship publication, although he owns others with large readership, such as the Tulsa World too. They are mobile Google searches from yesterday, at the date and time shown, from Berkshire’s Omaha news website.
The first search above uses the term “mobile home.”
The second search used the term “manufactured home.”
Is it possible that Buffett has missed the importance of using correct terminology? So why would Buffett allow his own newspapers to allow misinformation about the industry to continue?
Hold that thought for now, don’t forget that they are failing to correct what they have the resources to properly inform millions. That said, let’s press on.
What Buffett’s Allies Missed
In fairness to Mr. Buffett, there are certain things that Warren Buffett’s minions in manufactured housing could not have anticipated. Those will be covered in part in the disclosures, near the end of this post.
But let’s note for the moment the quotes at top, above.
Buffett’s own words clearly state that he believes most normal people would have given up reading an article like this already. Quotes like the above, and others from “the Oracle of Omaha,” indicates that he counts on professionals like yourself most not doing too much reading. He teaches his unit managers certain principles, explains Kevin Clayton in the video above.
Put the quotes together, and the Berkshire brands count on most people avoiding details, and critical – meaning, analytical – thought.
Buffett also believes people have little or no interests in history, which along with reading, he finds quite useful and profitable.
Buffett also thinks people are chained to their habits. Sadly, he’s normally not incorrect. Will you be the exception?
Put those Buffett principles and his strategic “Moat” principles together, and it means that people – even intelligent professionals like yourself – can be manipulated, and financial advantages gained.
In a recent annual letter, Buffett quipped that Berkshire had 3 percent of the real estate brokerage market, which generated $1.3 billion in volume, adding “That leaves 97 percent [of the real estate market] to go.”
That 97 percent wisecrack was spoken like a true monopolist. In manufactured housing, he’s at or over 50 percent, in just 15 short years. The brokerage jibe was stated as matter of fact, but could also be construed as a jest. Thus, it’s brilliance, if he were ever asked to testify about the matter – or others – before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Congress, FBI investigators, or a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney.
Because as Bloomberg reported – and the Daily Business News on MHProNews spotlighted last year, the one thing that Warren Buffett fears is the breakup of Berkshire Hathaway. More on that later.
FEDs, MHI, Buffett’s Berkshire’s Clayton Homes Moat, Affordable Housing, and Billion$ in Manufactured Home Market Manipulation
In manufactured housing, Terry Decio with Skyline quipped on camera ” I’m tired of being the best kept secret, I’m ready to help house America.” Terry’s father Art was on the cover of Time Magazine, and in a good way.
Non-Profits, Foundations, MHVille, Professionals, and You
Kevin Clayton, President and CEO of Clayton Homes, was considered for a time as a possible successor to Buffett as chairman of Berkshire. In a puff video interview of Kevin Clayton shown below, not a word of Clayton’s or his friendly interviewer’s has been edited or altered. But text commentary and some images have been added, to put context and facts to what is said.
That combination of Kevin’s words, plus text that mention published MHProNews reports makes this video a powerful tool. The video and Smoking Gun 3 are a must to understand how once-powerful firms in our industry have vanished. Others re-emerged only after bankruptcy, and today, only some 20 percent of manufactured housing production is from the vast majority of manufactured home builders.
The principles he’s used have created what Maxine Waters (CA-D), and others have called a monopoly or near monopoly. Look at the trend line, noting that more details – including extensive quotes from Buffett and Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage Corp, are found in the report linked above.
Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage, and former MHI Chairman…
Our publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach was for some time quite chummy with Tim Williams, and Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison. Each of those two praised MHProNews and MHLivingNews. They can’t deny that, so they don’t.
Jim Clayton, the founder of Clayton Homes and Clayton Bank, praised 21st’s Tim Williams. Williams, per Jim Clayton, is likewise a brilliant, gifted and disciplined professional.
Notice that in none of our analysis or fact-checks of Buffett, the Claytons, Williams, MHI top staffers, or others in the mix does either MHProNews or MHLivingNews go beyond the facts, evidence, credible allegations – and so notes them. We don’t not use ad hominems or other cheap shots. Rather, we follow the facts, logic, evidence and the money trail. That’s prudent. That is the basis for credibility. That’s part of the reason why, we’re told by credible sources, hundreds of the top industry leaders are regular readers of MHProNews, plus thousands of the small-to-mid-sized businesses.
Competitors are also among our strong readers, again, per messages forwarded to us by their followers.
Until MHProNews, there were no manufactured home industry trade publishers that seriously did the kinds of fact-checks that we have done for years now. That doesn’t diminish the others who blog, or publish. It’s simply a statement of fact. The significance will be clear, further below.
It should be noted that about 18 months ago, the Berkshire dominated Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) directly and through purportedly outside counsel threatened MHProNews on a number of issues. We were a dues paying member at that time. Our reply was to call their bluff. After a brief flurry of direct and indirect activity, Berkshire dominated MHI decided to go quiet.
But what MHI has been doing is obliquely dealing with issues that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), and/or MHProNews have publicly raised in writing. On topic after topic, MHI has had to pivot. They don’t admit it as such. But they’ve come to realize that fact-checks of MHI, of Clayton, of 21st or other Berkshire brands are taking their toll on the industry’s perceptions.
How is that known? In part through third-party data which reflects a surge of traffic on MHProNews in the last 12 months.
Others in MHVille Claiming Harm by MHI, Berkshire Brands
A growing number of manufactured home professionals have met with, called, or messaged MHProNews’ publisher, and told their personal tale about the ways that “the moat” was – and related – was deployed against them.
At the proper time, and in the proper venue – no doubt after the midterms – those third-party stories will be told.
What Buffett feared, a skeptical journalist that seeks the facts in MHVille, is something that Buffett, Clayton, and Tim Williams/21st didn’t count on. How could they have known that our publisher, who:
– has an award-winning university background in history,
– earned a journalism scholarship,
– studied business as a minor,
– later entered the manufactured housing industry, earning numerous awards,
– would after some 15+ years in the trenches of the industry, would launch this publication?
– Who else besides someone who understand the industry well, still does consulting and services, could have pieced together the various elements of the puzzle that has caused experts to wonder why manufactured housing has struggled, while RVs, conventional housing, and automotive – among others – have grown substantially?
Williams himself, says our publisher, intentionally or not gave certain clues that resulted in some of these reports.
So too did Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, MHI’s president. Jim Clayton shared insights that are going to be upcoming in the days ahead.
Then, there is the ongoing study of Warren Buffett himself. Hold those thoughts.
Buffett’s Berkshire Empire, and the Intersection of Politics and Money
It is not new that money influences politics, and vice versa.
It is not new that most people only lightly follow the news, much less politics. So knowing patterns of behavior – plus the machinations purported in Smoking Gun 3 and other reports – Buffett’s men in manufactured housing have had an advantage over almost everyone.
That was true until Tim Williams, Dick Jennison, Lesli Gooch – among others – statements and actions sparked the curiosity of our publisher.
It was something Buffett may not have anticipated. In fairness, how could he?
Buffett purportedly knows that the Trump Administration – and potential antitrust actions – are arguably the biggest threat to his operation. There are, per federal and other legal sources, already enough published to establish the basis for opening an investigation.
With that understood, and knowing that Congress could play a role in a major antitrust action, can you see why Clayton, Tim Williams, and other MHI insiders are supporting Democratic candidates in key races?
The good news?
Even largely left-leaning media polling reveals that the GOP candidates in several of these races show that the Democratic/Buffett/Clayton/MHI plays are poised for defeat.
But the votes are not all in, much less counted.
For those who think ahead, as Buffett does, the prudent move is to vote for Buffett’s Democratic opponents.
Otherwise, the nation could return to Obama era politics and regulations. Or MHAction style targeting could be aimed at your firm someday.
But there are other surprising facts we’ve not yet published. Stay tuned, and sign up for our ‘read hot’ emailed news.
Buffett Berkshire Brands, and the Intersection of Information
Never Give Up the Con…
“Never give up the con,” said Dinesh D’Souza in his acclaimed documentary, Hillary’s America.
You can watch this fascinating video on several streaming services. The teaser is posted below.
MHProNews identified 2 years ago documentaries like Clinton Cash that have had millions of views. Why would an ‘honest’ businessman support a political operation like the Clintons?
CNN is among the media outlets that reported federal probes of the Clintons that are underway.
The author of Clinton Cash, which did a ‘follow the money’ report on their controversy plagued foundation, later released a graphic novel, a teaser on that is shown below.
The point in part is that none of these are secrets. But who else in MHVille have tied together these various threads, for industry professionals to read or view them?
MHLivingNews – and MHProNews before it – were each launched with the idea that informed and motivated trade media had to be part of the solution for the manufactured housing industry’s growth.
We said at the top that there would be disclosures. Here they are, and those who’ve read us for years know these to be accurate.
Our publisher, quoting a line from a Clint Eastwood movie, says “a man has to know his own limitations.” Our editing could be more precise, and with more sponsorship, that will occur. Help us, help the independents of this industry, so that more growth will occur.
MHProNews and MHLivingNews evolved on certain topics, so we understand that others will catch up at different paces too.
But at each turn, we’ve laid out the facts as then known. No one has challenged the facts or allegations. There were too many voices saying similar things.
Our publisher has invited directly and in digital print public discussion of these items on video with MHI or Clayton/Buffett brands, that could be replayed for all to see. So far, no takers. Why not? If there is nothing to hide, why are they ducking legitimate discussion?
The answer may be in part in that Kevin Clayton video, posted above. It’s purportedly better than a deposition, in this respect. Kevin says things freely, that in hindsight are arguably stunning admissions, from an antitrust perspective.
The midterms next week could be a repeat of 2016. Democrats have very deep pocket billionaires, like Warren Buffett, pushing their agenda. Odd that the party that claims to be for taxing the rich, in fact is backed by the rich, isn’t it? Odd that a party that claims to be against monopolies, has so many oligarchs supporting it?
America went through the so-called robber baron era. It took federal antitrust efforts to break it up. The same will be true this time, only the challenge may be greater, since it isn’t just Buffett’s Berkshire that needs to be broken up. It is also the so-called FAANG companies.
And among them are those who are paying lobbyists and even former Barack Obama millions to help their cause in Washington, or to fight for their Democratic candidates on the campaign trail.
The next step is easy, for those who want to break free of the purportedly corrupted, rigged system. Vote for those who back the president who has already drafted an antitrust executive order.
Giving Buffett His Historic Due
Our headline and those quotes were all spot on. Buffett is a smart man. His game has been successful for years. But Team Trump arguably understands what Buffett, and the people behind the FAANG companies, have been doing.
The countdown is coming. The Trump Administration has been rebuilding the economy.
In MHVille, we’ve been honored to have a part in spotlighting these issues – and beyond research – our stories have often with the help of third-party news tips. Please keep those documents and tips coming. More special reports lie ahead.
The historic irony from the headline is this.
It’s the onetime history major who fell in love with the manufactured housing industry, and others working with him, that has been working to spotlight what and how the ‘big boy’s and their minions could not have anticipated.
Follow the evidence. Follow the facts. Follow the money.
Then, vote wisely, and get others to do the same. This worked in 2016, and it can work again in 2018.
Either way, more hard-hitting reports with solutions for MHVille will come after the midterms. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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Manufactured Home Resident Group President Cautions Against MHAction, Surprising Background Reveal to Manufactured Housing Action – manufacturedhomelivingnews.com
If you scratch deeply enough, people of good will can find some common ground with others of good will. There will be disagreements between people. It has been so, since ‘the fall,’ and is expected to continue that way until time comes to an end.