“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” – Winston Churchill, based on an ancient Arabian proverb.
There are some 331.4 million people live in the United States, per Statista. Relative freedom and opportunities are what attract others from around the world to come here. If that freedom has or is changing, the significance to investors, professionals, taxpayers, and all others who desire true Liberty over Servitude cannot be understated. Additionally, if U.S. politics and various markets are being manipulated – as voices across the left-center-right divide allege – then that has an impact on investing, business, and employment options. That brief context is useful in examining the news analysis and its import from left-leaning attorney-turned award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald about “As the Insurrection Narrative Crumbles, Democrats Cling to it More Desperately Than Ever.”
As a preface, Greenwald – who is not a Trump cheer leader – was sounding the alarm about Democrats and Biden-Harris even before the 2020 election. For several months Greenwald has been building the evidence-based argument that the threats to liberty are coming from the political left and the billionaires who back them. Nor is Greenwald alone. Naomi Wolf, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and dozens of others in media, academia, and entertainment have similarly and for weeks-to-months warned their respective audiences that the political left that is serious threat to American freedom and thus for the American Dream. That is not to say it is the only threat, but it is the one that is troubling many thinkers that come from the political left and are warning against it.
It is no surprise that voices on the political right are decrying the threats from the left and their billionaires. The emphasis here on left-critiquing leftist is as useful as when those who are supposedly on the right are critiquing ‘their own.’ The notion of questioning authority used to be a mantra in this nation. That questioning of ‘authority’ is as important now as it ever was before.
Monster bills are working their way through Congress. Legislation that some deem unconstitutional as well as serious threats to the U.S. economically, socially, morally, etc. are significant to ponder while considering what Greenwald stated in his recent evidence-based news analysis to MHProNews. If Greenwald was a lone voice, perhaps he could be more readily dismissed. If he was merely making allegations without facts or evidence to back them up, then some might more readily discount or ignore his concerns.
But it is precisely because Greenwald and others across the spectrum are raising evidence-based examples of how American politics – and thus freedom – are being manipulated that it is worthy of thoughtful consideration. Greenwald’s observations will be followed by additional information, more MHProNews Analysis and Commentary.
|As the Insurrection Narrative Crumbles, Democrats Cling to it More Desperately Than Ever
If the threat of “armed insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorists” is as great as some claim, why do they have to keep lying and peddling crude media fictions about it?
Twice in the last six weeks, warnings were issued about imminent, grave threats to public safety posed by the same type of right-wing extremists who rioted at the Capitol on January 6. And both times, these warnings ushered in severe security measures only to prove utterly baseless.
First we had the hysteria over the violence we were told was likely to occur at numerous state capitols on Inauguration Day. “Law enforcement and state officials are on high alert for potentially violent protests in the lead-up to Inauguration Day, with some state capitols boarded up and others temporarily closed ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony,” announced CNN. In an even scarier formulation, NPR intoned that “the FBI is warning of protests and potential violence in all 50 state capitals ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.”
The resulting clampdowns were as extreme as the dire warnings. Washington, D.C. was militarized more than at any point since the 9/11 attack. The military was highly visible on the streets. And, described The Washington Post, “state capitols nationwide locked down, with windows boarded up, National Guard troops deployed and states of emergency preemptively declared as authorities braced for potential violence Sunday mimicking the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump rioters.” All of this, said the paper, “reflected the anxious state of the country ahead of planned demonstrations.”
But none of that happened — not even close. The Washington Post acknowledged three weeks later:
Despite warnings of violent plots around Inauguration Day, only a smattering of right-wing protesters appeared at the nation’s statehouses. In Tallahassee, just five armed men wearing the garb of the boogaloo movement — a loose collection of anti-government groups that say the country is heading for civil war — showed up. Police and National Guard personnel mostly ignored them.
All over the country it was the same story. “But at the moment that Biden was taking the oath of office in Washington, the total number of protesters on the Capitol grounds in Topeka stood at five — two men supporting Trump and two men and a boy ridin’ with Biden,” reported The Wichita Eagle (“With Kansas Capitol in lockdown mode, Inauguration Day protest fizzles). “The protests fizzled out after not many people showed up,” reported the local Florida affiliate in Tallahassee. “The large security efforts dwarfed the protests that materialized by Wednesday evening,” said CNN, as “state capitols and other cities remained largely calm.”
Indeed, the only politically-motivated violence on Inauguration Day was carried out by Antifa and anarchist groups in Portland and Seattle, which caused some minor property damage as part of anti-Biden protests while they “scuffled with police.” CNN, which spent a full week excitedly hyping the likely violence coming to state capitols by right-wing Trump supporters, was forced to acknowledge in its article about their non-existence that “one exception was Portland, where left-wing protesters damaged the Democratic Party of Oregon building during one of several planned demonstrations.”
Completely undeterred by that debacle, Democrats and their media spokespeople returned with a new set of frightening warnings for this week. The date of March 4 has taken on a virtually religious significance for the Q-Anon movement, announced NBC News’ Ben Collins, who was heard on NPR on Thursday speaking through actual, literal journalistic tears as he recounted all the times he called Facebook to plead with them to remove dangerous right-wing extremists on their platform (tears commence at roughly 7:00 mark). Valiantly holding back full-on sobbing, Collins explained that he proved to be so right but it pains and sorrows him to admit this. With his self-proclaimed oracle status fully in place, he prophesized that March 4 had taken on special dangers because Q-Anon followers concluded that this is when Trump would be inaugurated.
This is how apocalyptic cult leaders always function. When the end of the world did not materialize on January 6, Collins insisted that January 20 was the day of the violent reckoning. When nothing happened on that day, he moved the Doomsday Date to March 4. The flock cannot remain in a state of confusion for too long about why the world has not ended as promised by the prophet, so a new date must quickly be provided with an explanation for why this is serious business this time.
This March 4 paranoia was not confined to NBC’s resident millennial hall monitor and censorship advocate. On March 3, The New York Times warned that “the Capitol Police force is preparing for another assault on the Capitol building on Thursday after obtaining intelligence of a potential plot by a militia group.” All this, said the Paper of Record, because “intelligence analysts had spent weeks tracking online chatter by some QAnon adherents who have latched on to March 4 — the original inauguration date set in the Constitution — as the day Donald J. Trump would be restored to the presidency and renew his crusade against America’s enemies.”
These dire warnings also, quite predictably, generated serious reactions. “House leaders on Wednesday abruptly moved a vote on policing legislation from Thursday to Wednesday night, so lawmakers could leave town,” said the Times. We learned that there would be further militarization of the Capitol and troop deployment in Washington indefinitely due to so-called “chatter.” NPR announced: “The House of Representatives has canceled its Thursday session after the U.S. Capitol Police said it is aware of a threat by an identified militia group to breach the Capitol complex that day.”
Do you know what happened on March 4 when it came to violence from right-wing extremists? The same thing that happened on January 20: absolutely nothing. There were no attempted attacks on the Capitol, state capitols, or any other government institution. There was violent crime registered that day in Washington D.C. but none of it was political violence by those whom media outlets warned posed such a grave danger that Congress has to be closed and militarization of Washington extended indefinitely.
Perhaps the most significant blow to the maximalist insurrection/coup narrative took place inside the Senate on Thursday. Ever since January 6, those who were not referring to the riot as a “coup attempt” — as though the hundreds of protesters intended to overthrow the most powerful and militarized government in history — were required to refer to it instead as an “armed insurrection.”
This formulation was crucial not only for maximizing fear levels about the Democrats’ adversaries but also, as I’ve documented previously, because declaring an “armed insurrection” empowers the state with virtually unlimited powers to act against the citizenry. Over and over, leading Democrats and their media allies repeated this phrase like some hypnotic mantra:
But this was completely false. As I detailed several weeks ago, so many of the most harrowing and widespread media claims about the January 6 riot proved to be total fabrications. A pro-Trump mob did not bash Office Brian Sicknick’s skull in with a fire extinguisher. No protester brought zip-ties with them as some premeditated plot to kidnap members of Congress (two rioters found them on a table inside). There’s no evidence anyone intended to assassinate Mike Pence, Mitt Romney or anyone else.
Yet the maximalist narrative of an attempted coup or armed insurrection is so crucial to Democrats — regardless of whether it is true — that pointing out these facts deeply infuriates them. A television clip of mine from last week went viral among furious liberals calling me a fascism supporter even though it did nothing but point out the indisputable facts that other than Brian Sicknick, whose cause of death remains unknown, the only people who died at the Capitol riot were Trump supporters, and that there are no known cases of the rioters deliberately killing anyone
(Two FBI operatives have since anonymously leaked that it is looking at a “suspect” who may have engaged with Sicknick in a way that ultimately contributed to his death. But nothing still is known; Sicknick’s mother claims he died of a stroke while his brother says it was from pepper spray; and all of this is worlds away from the endlessly repeated media claim that a bloodthirsty pro-Trump mob savagely bashed his head in with a fire extinguisher.)
What we know for sure is that no Trump supporter fired any weapon inside the Capitol and that the FBI seized a grand total of zero firearms from those it arrested that day — a rather odd state of affairs for an “armed insurrection,” to put that mildly. In questioning from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on Thursday’s hearing, a senior FBI official, Jill Sanborn, acknowledged this key fact:
(The “one lady” who died referred to by this FBI official was Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed Trump supporter who was killed when she was shot point blank in the neck inside the Capitol on January 6 by an armed Capitol Police Officer).
The key point to emphasize here is that threats and dangers are not binary: they either exist or they are fully illusory. They reside on a spectrum. To insist that they be discussed rationally, soberly and truthfully is not to deny the existence of the threat itself. One can demand a rational and fact-based understanding of the magnitude of the threat revealed by the January 6 riot without denying that there is any danger at all.
Those who denounced the excesses of McCarthyism were not insisting that there were no Communists in government; those denouncing the excesses of the Clinton administration’s attempts to seize more surveillance power after the Oklahoma City courting bombing were not denying that some anti-government militias may do violence again; those who objected to the protracted and unhinged assault on civil liberties by the Bush/Cheney and Obama administrations after 9/11 were not arguing that there were no Muslim extremists intent on committing violence.
The argument then, and the argument now, is that the threat was being deliberately inflated and exaggerated, and fears stoked and exploited, both for political gain and to justify the placement of more and more powers in the hands of the state in the name of stopping these threats. That is the core formula of authoritarianism — to place the population in a state of such acute fear that it acquiesces to any assertion of power which security state agencies and politicians demand and which they insist are necessary to keep everyone safe.
There is, relatedly, a massive political benefit from convincing the population that the opponents and critics of those in power do not merely hold a different ideology but are coup plotters, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. That is the same political benefit that accrued from trying to persuade the population that adversaries of the Democratic Party were treasonous Kremlin agents. The more you can demonize your opponents as something monstrous, the more political power you can acquire.
And as Democrats and liberals now gear up to demand a new War on Terror, this one domestic in nature, it should be no surprise that the rhetorical leaders of their effort now are the same lowlife neocon and Rovian slanderers — Bill Kristol, David Frum, Steve Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace, Rick Wilson — who demonized everyone who questioned them as part of the first War on Terror as traitors and terrorist-lovers and subversives. It is not a coincidence that neocons are leading the way now as liberals’ favorite propagandists: they are the most skilled and experienced in weaponizing and exaggerating terrorism threats for political gain and authoritarian power.
Ultimately, if this “armed insurrection” and threat of domestic terrorism are so grave, why do media figures and politicians in both parties — from Adam Schiff to Liz Cheney — keep lying about it and peddling fictions? Politicians and media figures do that only when they know that the threat, in reality, is not nearly as menacing as they need it to be to fulfill their objectives of political gain and coercive power.
This is a mainstream news report from a local CBS news affiliate. It reflects the quiet at the Capitol and notes that Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she was expecting the additional National Guard forces to be gone by now. Bowser is a Democrat. “We don’t know why additional forces have been requested,” said the Mayor. Republicans – not just Greenwald or leftist critics – are saying that there is no serious evidence of a threat. So why are troops, fencing, razor wire, and more in place?
What is occurring in the affordable manufactured home field has certain seemingly unique features as well as more common parallels in other parts of the American economy.
For instance, consolidation is a challenge in several professions – the RV industry, for instance – not just HUD Code manufactured homes. In the RV industry, not unlike manufactured housing, Berkshire Hathaway has a large presence. By the way – as a brief segue – it is worth noting that RV Business, a serious trade publication in their profession reported the following almost a year ago: “Breaking RV Industry News Report: Why Warren Buffett Sold His Airline Stocks Today’s Industry News.” – RVBusiness on May 4, 2020. Why is an RV publication reporting on airline stock sales? Because Buffett is a major player in their industry. It is not unusual for trade publishers – not just MHProNews, but others in business or specialized media – to look beyond their own industry to discern what a major player(s) may be doing.
That noted, to step back for a few moments to gain perspective on what is occurring in manufactured housing as well as other economic sectors, ponder this.
If someone is competing with Amazon, Walmart, or big box stores in the retail products sector, they face a daunting task. Some former giants have already crumbled in recent years. As the COVID19 influenced U.S. economy has hit millions of lower income Americans hard, dollar-type stores are reportedly rising once more. Indeed, some vacant retail or mall locations are reportedly being filled by such dollar or bargain store venues.
That should find the parallels in the affordable housing sector, right? More specifically, that should be a good sign for manufactured homes.
But the latest data this week for January 2021 does not indicate an uptick. Rather, new HUD Code manufactured home shipments reflect yet another modest retreat.
That slip in HUD Code manufactured home sales has occurred while far more costly mainstream conventional housing is reaching records in recent years.
Perhaps to distract from over two full annual cycles of year over year (YoY) dips in manufactured home sales, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has quietly dropped its monthly “economic report.” That monthly data from MHI provided manufactured home production and related insights in brief. For industry professionals, researchers, or other newcomers who may never have seen one, the MHI economic report used to look like this.
By contrast to MHI, the independent producers focused Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) still publishes its monthly data.
Unlike MHI, that MHARR data is readily found on the MHARR website.
The MHARR website provides several ways to navigate or find relevant manufactured housing information and news.
MHARR news releases are found on their website. MHARR posts that are emailed to their members but are also found on their website. Something similar is done with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the National Association of Realtors, or numerous other trade group websites.
That once more begs questions like the following.
- Why is it that MHI fails to provide its own news releases on its own website??
- Why does MHI provide emails that essentially tout their own performance, by using photo or video ops. But then MHI has for some years failed to post their own news on their own website, where that could then be readily compared at a glance for others to see their actual performance vs. their words or imagery?
- Put differently, does MHI mainly want to manage the messaging? Are they trying to posture rather than perform the function that their IRS Form 990 claims they are doing?
- If so, then what is the agenda behind that ploy?
By emailing MHI’s so-called ‘news and updates’ or ‘housing alerts’ only to their members and a targeted audience, and not publishing it, doesn’t that make it more difficult for the public, researchers, or their own members to rapidly find what they said or promised weeks, months, or years ago?
These are indirect examples of serious questions. What MHI does only makes sense if part of their goal is to create narratives that may benefit some, but do not benefit others. By controlling the dissemination of information, and making it more difficult to detect in a historic fashion, the case can be made that they are de-facto ducking, dodging, or deflecting from the record of performance vs. mere words, and thus from accountability.
It Is NOT Just MHI…
As with any trade group, the officers and staff do what their board of directors decide. Staff implements policies at their board’s direction.
MHI has arguably violated several laws with respect to disclosures, for instance. When asked, by law, they are supposed to produce certain documents, such as their bylaws. When asked – even while MHProNews was still an MHI member – MHI has ignored those requests.
What do they have to hide?
When MHI has for years declined to provide the meeting minutes that in time produced the Fannie Mae MHAdvantage® CHOICEHome®, and CrossModTM homes programs, MHI declined to provide those closed door meeting minutes. What do they have to hide?
As MHProNews reported in the news analysis item yesterday, there are several bloggers and a publisher manufactured housing that claim – without serious evidence – to have the super duper audience and the most valuable manufactured home insights ever.
If that were so, then why is there a routine lack of accountability for the industry’s two full years of steady downturn? How can that downturn be tolerated during a well-documented and ever-growing affordable housing crisis? How can that downturn be accepted by those who claim to be promoting the industry?
Those points noted, the value of the Glenn Greenwald analysis to our industry is nuanced and multifaceted.
It was MHI member and attempted defender Andy Gedo who aptly said that because our industry is so consolidated, that it makes sense to look beyond our industry in order to gain some perspective.
Gedo is quite right. Looking at what is occurring in national politics, in other professions, in other parts of the housing industry, and then looking back at manufactured housing reveals new and keen insights for those with objectivity and a desire for truth vs. fictions and agenda-driven narratives.
As conventional housing soar, manufactured home sales snores. It is obvious that what was long called the big three in manufactured housing are just fine with the status quo.
Greenwald is working against the grain. As was noted at the top, so are others. In our profession, if someone is ONLY going to MHI or their affiliated state association meetings, then it may seem that competitive media – rather than MHProNews – is the dominant voice. But it is when that narrative and others are challenged that the story falls apart.
Greenwald on national politics has poked the right holes into the bogus claims about why keeping Washington, D.C. militarized is baseless. MHProNews reported on those mainstream media claims that a faceoff was coming on January 20th that never came.
There is fake news and analysis and then there are authentic news and analysis. Those willing to stand up and publicly proclaim and have their views and news examined must be more confident in their veracity than those who hide, duck, dodge, or deflect from doing the same.
The national trend toward undermining wide swaths of the economy is being mirrored in HUD Code manufactured housing. Nationally, it is powerful forces doing that – says Greenwald and others across the left-center-right divide.
In manufactured housing, MHProNews – and in a different and independent way, MHARR – makes similar points. While at times we touch base with each other on a topic, generally MHARR and MHProNews pursue our own reports, efforts, and investigations.
Or as Tim Williams from 21st Mortgage Corp aptly put it, when MHProNews agrees with someone, that agreement caries weight.
Weeks ago, Greenwald noted that there is a “blinding propaganda” at work in America.
Lifelong Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is also skeptical. He is a serious, evidence based critic of billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett.
When the nation is being propagandized, news is manipulated or censored, why is it difficult to imagine that something similar is occurring in our profession?
The macro and granular issues should thus be considered in order to get some reasonable level of clarity on why and how our profession is underperforming at a time of great and growing need.
What about that quote at the top, the enemy of my enemy is my friend? The 80-20 rule needs to be applied. My eighty percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy. There may be sharp differences between various groups in our industry or beyond it. But those 20 percent differences should be downplayed in favor of making the broad area of agreement actionable. Many if not most manufactured housing professionals are growth oriented. It is the minority – albeit a powerful minority – that seek to dominate others in the industry. While there are differences, that pattern is occurring in other professions too. The makings of a coalition of those who want to see the American Dream be more broadly realized is there to be forged for those with the eyes to see, believe, and then do.
Stay tuned for more of what is ‘behind the curtains’ as well as what is obvious and in your face reports. It is all here, at the runaway largest and most-read source for authentic manufactured home “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, 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 MHProNews.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.