Authentic history is often disturbing as well as inspirational. The videos that will be laced through this post will make that point.
When a great figure emerges, they routinely do so in periods of turmoil. Rough rider turned President Teddy Roosevelt emerged during the Gilded Age and the Robber Baron era to lead millions to resist the oppressive economic power of the so-called “trusts.” Decades later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to prominence during the civil rights battles that witnessed riots over economic, political and housing discrimination.
Those great leaders had feet of clay, then and now.
Saturday’s report linked below quotes billionaire Nick Hanauer saying if he and his fellow plutocrats don’t make changes, a police state or pitchforks are coming. He’s not being metaphorical. He’s serious. Paraphrasing Hanauer’s thesis – a gent who is the billionaire buddy of ultra-wealthy Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates – also stresses that there is more money to be made honestly and ethically than by manipulation or cheating of the masses.
Hanauer makes several interesting points. Don’t miss the billionaire’s controversial comments and our MHProNews analysis, which are among those in our weekly headline rundown, found further below. His statement make an apt jumping off point for this report.
Change can come through organized political action, but sometimes it is accompanied by violence.
Dr. King is honored in part because he used peaceful means, but he tried for years on end to force the hands of often reluctant political leaders. As Senator Kamala Harris (CA-D) and former Vice President Joe Biden reminded Democratic presidential nomination debate viewers last year, Biden’s buddies included segregationists who were racists. Ouch, right?
That’s not the normal narrative for their party, is it? But facts are what they are, and Senator Harris was quite right about her point. Republicans were more involved in pushing the voting rights and fair housing issues, but Democrats played a role too.
There was more than enough praise and blame to go around.
Then as now, finger pointing was part of the messy political and legislative process. But the usually peaceful protests by Dr. King didn’t change the fact that he too had feet of clay. King’s enemies pointed to his adulterous and at times purportedly abusive relationships with other women. Before we miss it, Republican icon President Ronald Reagan – for all his accomplishments – also had scandals like Iran Contra.
Part of the lesson is that the past reminds us that even great leaders had weaknesses and indignities. To think otherwise is to read history with one eye closed.
But when you look at videos like those from the civil rights movement era, don’t tell me that there hasn’t been progress. Of course there has. That said, there’s work to be done. Properly done, millions could benefit and more wealth would result.
Properly understood, the lessons of history are startling and read more like a novel than fiction.
For instance, Democratic and Republican administrations have presided over trade deals that sold out American workers by the millions. In doing so, those trade deals also undermined the ‘mom and pop’ businesses that politicians routinely claim to champion. Trade deals gutted the domestic textile and furniture industries in this country, to name but two.
Both major parties were involved in – or looked the other way – as military and/or CIA operatives brought illegal drugs into the U.S. during Vietnam conflict or our current war in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
While the political battle over sealing the southern border is now slowly moving toward erecting the physical barriers on the U.S. side of the line and currently have armed soldiers standing watch in Mexico. But drugs and crime have poured into the U.S. from Latin America, often via the Mexican-U.S. line. That flow continues. What’s occurring there is nothing less than human trafficking, not just drugs. They may not call it chattel slavery – and it isn’t – but in some ways, the lived experiences of those Hispanics could be as harsh as what blacks endured. Shallow graves mark the sites of those who crossed into the U.S., led by coyotes who have other crimes on their mind too. Rape, murder, drugs and human trafficking all sadly blend together.
It has never been just about despotism over minorities of color, either. Whites coming from England, Ireland or Italy have faced repression too. Dr. King would at times allude to that point. This isn’t about race alone, that too would miss the point of historic lessons.
Black talk radio callers in Chicago during the Obama Administration spoke openly and with disdain about the 44th president as ‘Barack O-Bush.’ When we lived in that metro, I sometimes tuned into progressive black talk radio and heard surprising claims.
While lecturing others on climate change, the former 44th president and his wife Michelle now jet-set were they wish, have contracts with Netflix and others for tens of millions of dollars and bought a posh mansion in toney Martha’s Vineyard on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean where the supposedly ‘rising seas’ would soon overrun it.
Yeah, uh huh. Never forget that there are scientists who deny climate change is as claimed, not a few on the fringes, but numbers of them. See a report about CLINTEL research that is linked here. The same crowd that told Americans there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq now want you to think the world will end in 12 years? Come on. For those of us old enough to recall, that story of global warming, global cooling (they can’t make up their minds) has been recycled several times with increased urgency since the 1990s. The earth is still here. They are scaring and brainwashing numbers, but the evidence to the contrary exists for those with the eyes to see.
Which illustrates that another lesson of history is that politics can often be a series of outrageous spin, lies and coverups.
So why are we surprised in our era when manufactured housing has encountered huge areas of corruption and deception? It might be a bigger surprise if that was not the case. The truth is stranger than fiction. Seriously.
Those who come along with a better method or a valid grievance routinely find resistance first, second, third and so on until enough finally wise up and say, ‘enough.’ Dr. King was a persistent squeaky wheel.
None of denies that America is a unique nation, no doubt about it. Because an article like this in China, Russia, Cuba, Iran or North Korea today would likely land the writer in prison or worse.
For those who have been led to think that socialism is the answer, look no further than the grandiose promises made to the people of those countries or failing oil- and resource-rich Venezuela. Compared to numerous places around the world, our citizens are fortunate indeed. But none of us should be too cozy about that, because there is work to be done.
Ronald Reagan was right; we are never more than a generation away from losing our freedom in America. The loss of total freedom is slavery or imprisonment. But never doubt that just as a century ago the uber rich of that epoch worked to legally enslave people of all races. It just wasn’t chattel slavery. Economic or political bondage can be less costly and easier to manage for the wealthy who want to dominate. That doesn’t mean that every rich person is evil, but if the wealthy wield their power politically, watch out.
Mark your calendar. That same battle to subjugate the masses of Americans through economic and political means is underway today. Thus again, billionaire Nick Hanauer point mentioned above and detailed in the report below is apt.
Hanauer said there is more money to be made by being fair with workers. He also explained how it would cost taxpayers less if big businesses paid workers more.
While making such useful points, his thesis misses but begs the question. Why not just break up the present-day monopolization of America?
The laws to stop monopolization already exist. For whatever her flaws are – and she has them – Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D) is correct about that point, as was now former presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker (NJ-D). What’s needed is the political will, said Booker. On that point, quite so.
Indeed, there are the start of some efforts toward antitrust or anti-monopolization law enforcement underway from members of both major parties. Its an issue that merits more attention for those in manufactured housing, but also in other industries or professions too.
Every Problem is an Opportunity in Disguise, So Opportunities Knock
Our part of the affordable housing industry could be at the forefront of positive political, economic and social change. Challenging the status quo could result in more profits, income and wealth for more Americans of all backgrounds. The lessons of history tell us that people of good will can’t afford to wait for perfect political leaders to emerge. They don’t exist here or anywhere else on planet earth.
To illustrate how serious billionaire Hanauer’s points are, ponder these realities.
- The uber-rich have been buying posh living quarters in underground silos for years, where they plan to hide away if rioting or other catastrophic events breaks out.
- Other ultrawealthy are planning rocket ships to Mars as their escape plan, where 3D printed housing would await them in the red planet’s lower gravity.
- Robotics and AI are advancing at a pace that will make human labor unnecessary in the near term. How many believe that those that own those machines will just let the rest of us live off their largess? Will the demonstrably selfish and manipulative magically become selfless?
Of course, there are political figures that want – not just gun control, but gun confiscation — why? Because they would rather face pitchforks than firearms.
The battle isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. Yes, there are differences between the two major parties, but neither is perfect. As we’ve outlined, each has had and continues to encounter their own scandals.
Manufactured housing legislation recounted in the interview linked below passed by widely bipartisan margins. To be effective, one must be able to look beyond the party label you happen to think correct.
While Democrats demonize President Trump and prepare for an impeachment show trial, they have signed a widely bipartisan USMCA to replace the NAFTA plan that went into effect during the Clinton Administration. It’s political theater. There are no perfect presidents nor perfect political leaders.
Senator Bernie Sanders (VT-I, and self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist) jets on a private plane while lecturing on climate change too. The hypocrisy in Washington mirrors that of the billionaires who claim they want higher taxes. When was the last time Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates or Warren Buffett just sat down a wrote a multibillion-dollar check to the U.S. Treasury? Exactly, never.
As manufactured housing finance and community maverick Marty Lavin, J.D., likes to explain it, ‘pay more attention to what people do rather than what they say.’ It is only when words and deeds align that someone has true credibility.
The political leaders who gave us the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000 or the Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing lending in 2008 we’re people with feet of clay. As noted, both bills passed by widely bipartisan majorities. They were enacted into law by people who were not super women or super men. They were and are mere humans who did some things well while doing other things badly.
You have your weaknesses, and we have ours. That’s life.
The video below is from the final speech before King was killed. It is almost as if he knew what was coming. If so, then he should be seen as even more heroic.
It is often the weak – Dr. Martin Luther King, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan or others – that can struggle past their personal human foibles to do amazing things.
- Reagan was a key part in ending the Cold War and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
- King cheated on his wife and was being surveilled by the FBI, who thought he might be a communist. But King nevertheless did amazing things, despite the obstacles.
- George Washington and Thomas Jefferson we’re slave owners, but they did remarkable things that set our nation on a path – that via fits and starts for nearly 2½ centuries since the Declaration of Independence was signed – led us to where we are now.
Today 17 percent of marriages in the U.S. are racially mixed, mine is technically one of them. That was largely unthinkable 50 years ago. Some may recall the Sidney Poitier movie, Guess Who is Coming to Dinner. But chances are good that you know or are yourself part of such a couple in a racially mixed marriage.
What was unthinkable can become reality. But only be proper effort. President Lyndon Banes Johnson was by many accounts a racist. But he signed the Civil Rights Act into law and gave one of those pens to Dr. King.
Neither history is filled with ironies, tragedies, corruption and the will to overcome it.
The trade deal with Communist China that made the stock market movers and shakers happier recently is far from over. It is a deal with a problematic regime. The deal exists because workers in China earn far less than American workers do. Is the deal an improvement for us? Yes, but it is a truce in what will be a long struggle over a deal that should never have been made decades ago.
While some speak of living wages and worker rights, Republican and then Democratic Presidents made trade deals that repeatedly sold out American workers and smaller businesses. Give the man his due. Donald Trump was correct when as a rich private citizen in the 1980s he publicly criticized trade deals with Japan or other nations. It will take time to slowly unravel the harms that have already been done. American money made China’s military powerful thanks to decades of tolerance toward bad trade deals.
President Trump is no saint. Like Dr. King or Democratic Presidents John F. Kennedy or Bill Clinton, the 45th president is an admitted womanizer. If there is something other politicians could learn from him it is this. He told his followers from the start that he too used the rigged system. Given him the credit he is due. That candor and other blunt talk was rewarded by tens of millions who swear he is doing some things better than his predecessors. Millions who voted for Barack Obama then voted for Donald Trump. Ponder that fact.
While some label Donald the Disrupter a racist, Kanye West, HUD Secretary Ben Carson and a host of Hispanic and black leaders that know him say otherwise.
The swamp is far from drained, but are there reasons for hope?
It’s the intersection where politics and business meet. It’s messy. Visit D.C. Sit down with some politicos. Talk with them.
Let’s say it again, how things transpire in Washington isn’t pretty.
Political candidates often spin and lie about themselves and their opponents. If you aren’t already, better get used to it. But don’t let the nastiness turn you off because the non-voter is a welcomed outcome for those in power. Especially don’t let disappointments keep you from jury duty. It is among the most powerful votes you can possibly get. More on jury rights and powers – thank you founding fathers – another time.
For thousands of years of human history, one group – often led by seemingly fascinating characters – has tried to control, dominate, manipulate or oppress another group.
What Dr. King reminds us of is that women and men who are merely human can rise to the calling of doing what’s right – at least some of the time.
That happens when the squeaky wheel principle is put into effect.
Against that relative brief historic survey, American politics is better than most of the world and much of global history. The founding fathers gave us an imperfect but superior constitution, but that only occurred on the second draft. The first constitution – the Articles of Confederation – rapidly flopped. One doesn’t throw out the baby with the dirty bathwater. We take what rights and resources we have and build upon them.
Housing, economic and other issues of justice have long been near the heart of the American struggle. ICYMI or where too young to recall, this is just one of several riots that broke out over the years over such issues. It stands as a reminder that Hanauer’s point about pitchforks can take many forms. Ignore the lessons of history at your own peril.
There is a serious need for clean up on aisle six in manufactured housing. The industry’s so-called leaders have rigged the system against the independents of our industry. In doing so, they’ve harmed the interests of tens of millions of Americans. While a corrupt few line their own pockets, they are picking yours and that of customers who deserve better treatment.
But the manufactured home industry is better than most believe, not worse. It’s generally the mom and pop operators who want to do right by their customers. It isn’t that bigger businesses are always bad, that would be a stretch. But power tends to corrupt. That’s why America’s founders worked to diversify power in the U.S.
Billionaire Nick Hanauer has a point when he says that more money could be earned by correcting the imbalances in the system. Not doing so could result in the ‘pitch forks or police state’ he says would come to pass if enough Americans of good will fail to rise to the challenges of our times.
- Hanauer mentioned Henry Ford. It was Ford who said that if Americans understood the banking system, there would be a revolution before morning.
- Honest Abe Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus rights, but he freed the black slaves. An imperfect, but historic American who is rightly celebrated.
- Lincoln was a great leader, but he was assassinated as was Dr. King, and so too womanizing President John F. Kennedy. But Kennedy had his moments of glory in the sun too. Democrats today would be well to recall that Kennedy cut taxes, he didn’t raise them. Kennedy was no saint, the 45th president isn’t either. But each has successes worth celebrating.
- History is messy, because people and politics are messy.
Tomorrow is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day. He was among those who challenged the status quo of his era. His work was part of an effort that changed history in our nation for the better. But there is work to be done, and there always will be.
The system is rigged. But the laws necessary to unrig the system already exist.
Manufactured housing has been undermined from within. Yes, we can talk about the roadblocks from without that impact our industry too. But if we had an ethical trade association in Arlington, VA instead of the purportedly corrupt mess that currently exists there, the manufactured home industry would be soaring. If you are a first-time reader or have been away for awhile, see the evidence uncovered with fresh documents given as news tips from on insider reported on the Masthead, linked below.
What has reportedly been going on at the so-called Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is a scandalous embarrassment. That said:
- There are already federal and state laws to root out corruption.
- There are already laws to break up, block and punish illicit monopolization.
- There are already fair housing laws. We already have the MHIA of 2000 or DTS.
We as white hat industry professionals must care enough to do what we can to stop what’s gone wrong. The source of those new documents that point fingers and names names were sent in as news tips. In a real sense that tipster – him or her – has arguably done something very useful. We hereby thank and applaud that person.
None of us are perfect, so we can’t expect perfect leaders. But if we who strive to do better muster the will, we may find that we have the skill and the laws are already on our side.
What lies ahead is much easier than what Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, King or others faced. Why? Because the laws needed already exist. Each of those leaders – plus others – must be treated with the same separation of their wheat from the chaff as you or I would want applied to our experiences.
We the People must insist on the proper enforcement of the law by people who are not perfect.
We can all share stories about some great or awful deal that was done. We can all brag about or lament how clever or misunderstood we have been. You and I are flesh and blood. Humanity can rise above the animal instincts. People of good will can upend people of ill will. That pattern has been part of the human story for millennia.
That said, if we don’t do intelligently act and soon, we can face our own Jacobin era ahead. There are Bernie brothers who have openly said that they are ready to riot and kill if they don’t get their way.
Billionaire Nick Hanauer – buddy of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates – is right to this extent. If we don’t fix what’s wrong soon enough, a revolution could occur. The uber-rich are preparing their underground bunkers, their isolated islands, their rocket ships into a space station, the moon or Mars. The super-rich who lack a conscience will have mechanized minions before long. Those robots or AI won’t protest that they are getting no pay.
There are already robots slaving away in Amazon and other warehouses. Robots and tech are poised to eliminate minimum wage jobs in restaurants. You may already check out in stores in lanes without cashiers. Smell the roses without missing the reality of those thorns.
If you are fortunate enough to be in the 1 percent, and ethics matters to you, there is time to make things right.
- Bernie Madoff sits in a Federal prison. But at one point, he was viewed as an untouchable and highly connected billionaire.
- Harvey Weinstein is facing an array of charges. How many think he’ll finally get what justice demands? Time will tell.
- Jeffrey Epstein died in prison. While they called it a suicide, the private medical examiner who examined the evidence says it is far more likely he was murdered. Killed while a video camera went dark. How convenient is it for a man to die in a cell who had the dark secrets of politicians and the wealthy?
Warren Buffett might die in his sleep. But the self-professed atheist from Omaha might follow Madoff and Epstein into prison if he lives long enough. But that will occur only if enough people of good will push authorities to hold him accountable for alleged violations of antitrust, SEC, RICO and numerous other laws.
We believe the evidence strongly suggests that Buffett isn’t to be admired or mimicked. Rather, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway is arguably a billionaire criminal in a suit that public authorities should pursue for the dizzying array of ways he’s purportedly harmed millions of Americans and thousands of manufactured home industry professionals. Ours isn’t the only industry harmed, but manufactured housing is our focus on MHProNews.
Big-league cons or other criminals have often cloaked themselves in an air respectability. They give to charity while they arguably rip others off for far more money than they give away. Truly savvy cons might own newspapers, tech or social media platforms. The modern day plutocrats may have stock in the firms that publish or produce mainstream news.
Of course, the system is rigged. It has long been so.
The new Robber Barons of our contemporary Gilded era are more devious than the ones from a century or more ago. The new con in the 21st century are streaming videos, SNAP cards and housing vouchers; by contrast, the ancient Romans only gave their people bread, gladiators and circuses.
There is more razzle dazzle today than yesteryear. But human nature is the same. Don’t wait for perfect leaders. Do the best you can based upon your circumstances. Be the change you want to see.
You can resist the power grabbers and manipulators subtly or openly. We’ve opted to be as open as possible, because its prudent for us to do so. You must decide what’s the best approach for you and yours. Ponder and pray about it, but don’t be on the sidelines.
Speaking for ourselves, we work with political and business figures across the left-right divide. You would be wise to do so too, because the uber-rich have been doing that for generations. Once more, let’s stress – we’re fine with money honestly earned. We are not cool with dishonest wealth.
There’s a brilliant piece of music that illustrates the jarringly historic points being made quite well.
“Hallelujah” was written by Canadian singer Leonard Cohen back in 1984, but it wasn’t until more recently that the song has become popular.
Hallelujah tells the tale of King David, the hero of ancient Israel revered by Christians and Jews alike. David – beloved of God and slayer of the evil enemy Goliath – cast his eyes on a lovely married woman. David not only took her, he then arranged for the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. King David then lied and tried to cover it all up.
Doesn’t that sound eerily like many a modern scandal?
Those details aren’t all in Cohen’s lyrics, but they are alluded to and help explain Hallelujah’s powerful meaning. We are mortals who often do good but who also do wrong. We need salvation. In the end, we must throw ourselves at the feet of our Creator and beg for mercy.
David confessed his crimes. He was given mercy from God. Hallelujah’s a beautiful and inspirational piece of music based on moving elements of human history.
Two versions of it are posted above and below. Enjoy and be inspired.
America isn’t perfect. There’s always more work to be done. Freedom has never been free. The struggle for freedom can take economic, political, informational and other forms. But the good news is that here in America, the laws needed to right what’s wrong already exist.
It is an election year. That’s potentially a big plus.
Be the squeaky wheel that encourages public officials to do whatever is right. You don’t have to lecture them on what they missed, focus instead on the issues that need to be addressed. Be an agent for challenging the corruption of the status quo.
Ask your elected officials of whatever party for investigations, for public hearings and then prosecution as warranted. Want help? Let me know, and I’ll walk you through how readily it can be done.
With no further adieu, see what we mean in the above in each of the featured reports and a new interview that are linked below. The dates are from 1.12 to today, 1.29.2020.
What’s New on the Masthead
What’s New on MHLivingNews
What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews
History reminds us that are numerous opportunities to turn lemons into lemonade by doing what’s right. White hats in MHVille can do so by making a bright line distinction between themselves and the black hats. White hats should also work to correct what’s wrong, because doing so is right, the more profitable way plus we have the laws on our side that can make accomplishing those needed corrections a reality.
There is always more to come, but that’s it for now on this Sunday installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, week in review, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.)
(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.