Veterans Day is when we honor all veterans, living or dead. Memorial Day is when we recall the sacrifices of those who died in America’s many wars so that we all might live as a free people. Anything that has happened before can occur again – that’s why history, bios, and obituaries provide valuable insights as well as memories. What we each experience at this time in history is a result of prior events in our life and that of the millions of others who make up this nation and our profession. Joseph “Joe” Ellis, was a veteran, but not one who died in battle. Ellis will be our initial report below. Why first? Because we are all wise to ponder not just this moment, but to consider the meaning of life, our choices, and to do so with death and our respective legacies in mind. Individuals are wise to act in a way that when others look back, that someone’s personal legacy will be one worthy of pride and accomplishment rather than an embarrassment to our respective memories for those who have loved or cared for each one of us. Then, following Ellis’ obituary, in our Memorial Day Reflections segment, we will start with a look at two famous speeches from two presidents that came from two different modern political parties, Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower and President John F. “Jack” Kennedy. Each presidential address sheds light on the themes of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Each president spoke about God, family, freedom, the struggles, opportunities, and challenges in America and abroad. These elements seemed a fitting way to weave aspects of Ellis’ life and to frame this holiday in a manner that we consider our own lives and those whom we hold dear on this Memorial Day. Instead of just beaches, backyards, burgers, and brats – as important as those are with family and friends – feel good about learning and applying a fine and useful takeaway from Warren Buffett, whom this publication has often critiqued. Some Buffett wheat is demonstrably correct in saying that reading is fundamental to understanding. That understanding can spark correct action. Buffett spends 5 to 6 hours a day reading not just business things, but history, biographies and an array of other topics. Reading and long-term thinking are two aspects of the Buffett persona that MHProNews gladly encourages.
In reading what follows, consider for the next several minutes your life, and that of those you care about. Reflect on our nation and world, and what it means to pursue freedom. Then ponder that as you consider what legacy is worthy of living for, and in the end, dying to strive for or achieve.
The history of a company, industry, profession, or nation are often told through the lens of people. Manufactured housing professionals are no exception to this rule.
Additionally, on Memorial Day, we recall and honor the sacrifices of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. On Veterans Day when our nation recalls all veterans, which would include Joe Ellis, who recently died and whose memory will be recalled herein.
Per Austin & Bell, here is their obituary for Joe Ellis.
Joseph “Joe” Newlin Ellis, age 92, of Stuart, Florida and formerly of Gallatin [FL], passed away Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Stuart, FL. Graveside services will be held Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 2pm in the Oakland Cemetery with Brother Randy Riggs officiating. No visitation will be held prior to the graveside service. Mr. Ellis was born October 19, 1928 in Springfield, TN to the late Richard and Pearl Fuqua Ellis. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, he liked baseball, NASCAR, and especially golfing. He graduated from Greenbrier High School. In 1963 Mr. Ellis was one of the founding members of LaSalle-Deitch Co., Inc., a distributor of products for the manufactured housing and recreational vehicle industry. He served as its President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman from 1971 until his retirement in 1992. In 1997 the company changed their name to LaSalle Bristol Corp when they merged with the BPC Division of Bristol Corporation and a subsidiary of Heywood Williams Group. After his retirement he continued to work as a management consultant. Mr. Ellis was a longstanding member of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute Advisory Board, serving from 2008-2021, taking on emeritus status in 2017 until his passing. During more than a 25-year association with the Vanderbilt Eye Institute, Mr. Ellis provided leadership and inspiration to those with whom he served. In 2013 he was appointed Board Chairman and continued to work tirelessly to help patients and families living with the life-changing impact of eye disease. The Ellis family supported research and created an endowed chair held by their family physician and close friend, Dr. Karen Joos. In addition to his parents Mr. Ellis is preceded in death by his brother, Thurman Dean Ellis. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Harpster Ellis and his daughter, Patricia Ellis of Gallatin. ##
Per Lasalle Bristol, their firm “sources, manufactures and distributes products for the factory-built housing, recreational vehicle (RV), commercial, and other related markets across the United States and Canada.” They specify that they do manufactured homes as well as other forms of factory-built housing, such as modular construction.
Per the RV MH Hall of Fame, that nonprofit said the following about inductee Joe Ellis.
For over 30 years an active advocate for MH and RV causes at the state and national levels. Strong proponent for revision of state and federal regulations to reflect modern materials and standards. Served on MHI Supplier and Legislative committees.”
Ellis was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame before it arguably became more politicized during the Buffett-led Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) era of manufactured housing. While Buffett is commonly known, nevertheless, numbers of manufactured home industry professionals do not realize that Buffett led Berkshire plays an outsized role in both the RV and manufactured housing (MH) industries. One may wonder what will happen to the history or treatment of individuals who may take principled positions contrary to Berkshire’s as the history of the RV MH Hall of Fame advances? Once less political, the RV MH Hall of Fame in more recent years is arguably more of an extension of Berkshire and their allies acceptance or rejection.
This writer can not claim to have personally known Joe Ellis, but those who did spoke well of him. May Joe Ellis rest in peace.
Two Presidential Addresses (Focused Speeches)
Before beginning, let us note that both President Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower and President John F. “Jack” Kennedy were, like Ellis, veterans. Like Ellis, they survived their military service, which doubtlessly influenced much of their respective lives.
Ike and Jack served in different branches of the military. They are in their own ways thought of as war heroes, and understandably so.
Each speech – short compared to many by political leaders, addresses topics as important today as when they spoke their respective words. These two addressed took place less than a week apart. Following each presidential address, the first by a Republican, the second by a Democrat, there will be the promised additional MHProNews insights and reflections.
The first speech transcript is per the OurDocuments.gov website.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, is sometime called the military-industrial complex speech, but it covers much more. OurDocuments.gov says the speech took “less [than] 10 minutes,” and occurred on January 17, 1961, so just 3 days before the speech from President Kennedy that follows. The international struggles that Ike was referring to in his speech was the so-called Cold War between the Communists in nations like the former Soviet Union, Communist China, North Korea, and Cuba. President Kennedy will reference Cold War against Communism topic too. In the Ike speech, one must keep in mind that the ‘war avoided’ statement was a reference to avoiding an all-out global war with communism, because there were regional conflicts with communist powers.
All of what each said are important or they would not have said those words. That noted, MHProNews has highlighted a few sections from each address that speak to challenges today that harken back to when Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy spoke those words. They are critical in grasping how we got here, and how long the current struggles of a nominally free society have been underway. The Roman numeral segments are in the original.
Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.
This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.
Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.
Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the Nation.
My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and, finally, to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years.
In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the national good rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the Nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling, on my part, of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.
We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country.
Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.
Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.
Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology-global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle-with liberty at stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.
Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defense; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research-these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we which to travel.
But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs-balance between the private and the public economy, balance between cost and hoped for advantage-balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable; balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual; balance between action of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress; lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration.
The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of stress and threat. But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. I mention two only.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.
Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peace time, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United State[s] corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system-ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.
Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society’s future, we-you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.
Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.
Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose difference, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war-as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years-I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.
Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.
So-in this my last good night to you as your President-I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and peace. I trust that in that service you find somethings worthy; as for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.
You and I-my fellow citizens-need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nation’s great goals.
To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing inspiration:
We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.”
It should be kept in mind that Ike, along with others in his party, took one of the major steps in modern desegregation one the road to racial justice and social justice. When he said “all races” that was still a distant-sounding ideal
The text of the speech below is from the JFKLibrary.org website. As was previously noted, everything said is important, or it would not have been spoken in President Kennedy’s address. The highlighted portions should be viewed as anchors to consider other aspects of the address, and what that tells us about today.
For instance, President Kennedy speaks of not replacing colonialism with a worse form of “iron tyranny.” Set aside for the moment in both speeches how sincere the words might have been, and focus instead on realities. As the Walmart Effect post linked here makes clear, hasn’t a new form of “iron tyranny” that impacts people overseas and here in the U.S. taken hold? That is but one of several examples of why these speeches are worthy of careful attention, and should be understood from the vantagepoint of when they were spoken, but also from our perspective today. What has been missed? What has been accomplished? In considering the fears and concerns that both political leaders expressed, how many of those very issues may be at play today? And to what extent are they at work now?
It is worth mention too that for all the decades of hype about the goals of peace via the United Nations (U.N.), that there are more conflicts in the world today than there were at the time these two presidents spoke. That is a simple statement of fact. Left-leaning Wikipedia cites 14 pages of that describe dozens of conflicts in the 1960s. The World Population Review says of 2020 that there are over 229 conflicts in or between various nations or internal conflicts around the world. From dozens to hundreds, how is that progress?
What has happened to all of the blood and trillions in treasure spilled and spent in the 60 years since these two presidents spoke to America? Who benefited from that trend? Who was harmed? This inquiry should not be overlooked on Memorial Day, nor forgotten on other days.
Inaugural Address of President John F. Kennedy
January 20, 1961
Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, Reverend Clergy, fellow citizens:
We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom–symbolizing an end as well as a beginning–signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe–the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.
We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage–and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
This much we pledge–and more.
To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do–for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom–and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required–not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge–to convert our good words into good deeds–in a new alliance for progress–to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.
To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support–to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective–to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak–and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.
Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.
We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.
But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course–both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.
So let us begin anew–remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.
Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms–and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.
Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.
Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of [God to] Isaiah–to “undo the heavy burdens . . . (and) let the oppressed go free.”
And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
Now the trumpet summons us again–not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need–not as a call to battle, though embattled we are– but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”–a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.
Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility–I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. ##
Additional Information and MHProNews Reflections
Everyone reading this had a mother and a father. Many reading this have a child or children of whatever age. We obviously all come from a range of different backgrounds and experiences. In that sense, those differences make us each as unique as our fingerprints or retinal scan. But in the sense that we are all part of the human race and children of the Creator of all life, we have commonality too.
The Eisenhower speech mentioned the military industrial complex. Part of that is the intelligence or spying industry. That same speech addressed the advance of science and technology. The Kennedy speech also aptly warned how science could be mis-used to harm humanity.
That should be pondered in the light of the current ‘pandemic.’ COVID19 is real enough. The evidence has been growing for over a year that is was the creation of the science that both Kennedy and Eisenhower feared could be misused. There is also growing evidence that the U.S. helped fund the research in Communist China where that plague – perhaps by accident – escaped. However that was released, by accident or intent, what seems certain is that China attempted to cover that contagion up. The World Health Organization (WHO) failed to do what it was designed and paid billions upon billion to do. Here in the U.S., our medical and intelligence services failed to do what they paid to do too.
Matters about those issues once censored by the tech giants like Facebook on that topic are suddenly okay to be posted again. Both Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower, in their own way during their term of office, spoke about the issues that concern evidence-based thinkers that span the left-right divide today.
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Let us not live under the delusion that government is going to ‘solve’ our problems. These two speeches, taken at face value – and examined now some 6 decades later – prove in the light of ever-mounting evidence beyond any reasonable doubt that corruption at home and abroad is real. The military industrial complex that Ike described is in some ways stronger now than then. The relationship between the tech giants and our spy services, to mention just one of many topics MHProNews has been exploring with and for our readers, is apparently stronger today than then.
We must not ignore that track record. To do so is to risk our own freedom and that of those we claim to care about and who will follow.
Both presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy spoke of their concerns and hopes. This platform and our MHLivingNews similarly seek to balance reality with the hope that things can be changed. Indeed, when one looks at history, one of the things we see is that time after time, powers and powerful people who were once thought to be invincible have in time come to naught. It has been so since Biblical times, when the Tower of Babel was toppled by God and the people and their languages scattered. The Sphinx in Egypt stands, but the ruler it was meant to lionize is just dust and dry old bones. Evil people have always existed. It is only when people of good will challenge those evils that authentic progress is made.
People in the modern era come into political office through support from the wealthy, via various media and forms of communications, and from the votes cast by people like you and me.
Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is superior in a financial or other sense to that of your parents. If that was earned honestly, good for you.
Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is not as good financially as that of your parents. If not, ask – why not? Martin Luther King Jr did not achieve social changes by brooding. He saw injustice, and worked hard to mitigate it. Let us not forget that the power of the state was brought against him too. The FBI wire tapped King and followed him closely.
King could have let that intimidate him. But he faced his fears and continued his work that arguably did benefit numbers in many ways. In saying that, one must keep in mind that King – as impressive as he was – was still a sinner. We must recall that many of our leader, indeed all of them, had their weaknesses as well as their strengths.
For longtime readers here, this next claim may not be a surprise. Almost all of us could be doing much, much better financially as well as emotionally and spiritually if we get to the core issues that are undermining the potential for great good in our society. Both of the presidential addresses shared above made a similar point.
In fact, let us note what both presidents above did. God plays a role in our lives and in our society. God gave us free will. The Creator of all gave us ten rules or commandments that if more commonly followed would lead to the most prosperous and healthy society imaginable.
Every social or other ill that we personally or collectively face involves one or more violations of God’s Ten Commandments. Don’t take my word for it, check it out. Think of any social or other injustice. Then look at the Ten Commandments. We have more laws now in America then we did in 1960. Yet, we still have law breakers. A law without morality is no check on evil.
Whatever our bank account says, we would die poor if we were the richest person on earth but then went to hell for all eternity.
Death can come slowly – giving us time to prepare – or it may come suddenly and unexpectedly. Financial or other assets – honestly earned – are fine. It is the manipulation of people and markets by the few that is abhorrent to God, and thus should be to each one of us too.
Our recent MHLivingNews report on the Walmart Effect includes a video that while imperfect, has far more right than wrong in it. It ought to be mandatory viewing for everyone, but then, mandating it would not make us free, would it? So, let us encourage instead that you watch it all and then encourage your circle to do the same. Because the Walmart Effect is arguably at work in our industry and in our nation.
On a personal note, I watched several parts of that Walmart Effect documentary with our son. He watched as kids his age – some older, some younger – are toiling away in modern slave like conditions. Youth that at the time it was filmed made a few dollars a day: in thousands upon thousands of instances those youth – and adults – were earning $3 daily or less in sweat shop conditions.
On camera, a then Walmart manager who was assigned to check out their production centers in another country was commenting on what the Walmart Effect video footage was documenting. That Walmart manager was shocked. That man said when the day was done with that first day of inspection, he wept when he learned what his company was doing to people. When he called and told his wife, he broke down in tears again. She reassured her husband that surely Walmart’s upper management would fix this.
They were among those who were obviously misled and were thus wrong. Walmart kept doing what they did before, that manager explained. They kept up what is arguably lies and propaganda to make themselves look better, so that those working for them and those shopping from them would keep doing so.
The case could be made that it is not just Walmart. President Kennedy warned against neo-colonialism. But isn’t that precisely what that Walmart Effect documented? Furthermore, it isn’t just harming those overseas. It harms those working for them on wages that in many cases are too low to live on. How is that possible? Because monopolists destroy markets. They are parasitic. Who said? Bill Gates in speaking about Warren Buffett.
The case can be made that while there are differences and distinctions, what was described at Walmart is occurring at Clayton Homes as well. Let’s ponder a few evidence-based example of that notion.
- Clayton sources components from overseas too, MHProNews is told. Kevin Clayton said as much in video camera in an interview with CNBC.
- Don’t you think that the cheap imports Clayton Homes gets from some nations are likely coming from some place with similar labor practices as that were documented by the Walmart Effect documentary? The answer should be painfully obvious.
- Then, when that Walmart Effects video speaks about unfair practices against competitors, do you stop and think that Clayton Homes has done to independents what Walmart has to their competitors?
- When the current and former Walmart employees finally spoke out against the abuses and harms of that firm, isn’t that akin to what MHLivingNews and MHProNews revealed from actual Clayton employees?
That Walmart Effect documentary won awards and accolades for good reasons. Among them is that the Walmart effect is not a one off. Among those interviewed were families who lost once successful independent businesses. You could feel the pain of those women and men who were interviewed, who may have had businesses that were profitable for decades or were even multi-generational. Do you think there are thousands of independents in our profession who have not felt a similar pain?
Isn’t the answer obvious?
But the Walmart Effect video did something else that was powerful. It showed numerous examples of people ‘pushing back’ successfully against Walmart at the local level. Perhaps one of the things that is lacking in our time are those willing to more vocally push back against the evidence of abuses by Clayton Homes and their various allies.
There are examples of professionals inside and outside of our industry who have raised the alarms, as is shown above and below. The case is apparently so strong that those, like Ohio’s Tim Williams and Elizabeth Birch – in trying to defend Clayton, Berkshire, and MHI only ended up making apparently unintended admissions that proved our allegations.
How we deal with each other, or how we behave in the face of injustice as well as opportunities matters. Every day is an opportunity to reflect and realize that the world we live in is partially of our making.
For those so blessed, a child or children are as much a part of our legacy as adults claim about whatever career, family, spiritual or other accomplishments.
Yesterday, like millions of others, we spent time in the backyard grilling and enjoying the blessings we have. Early in the day, we went to the beach. Our now teenage son met a family of two teens and two younger children. They worked together to create a pool and sand structure by the waters near Tampa-St Pete, FL.
That image is a good one, because it speaks to several pressing issues on Memorial Day weekend 2021. Some push concerns about racial or other injustices in a fashion that may have a core reality, but nevertheless is delivered in a manner that arguably seeks division over peace. Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy lived during a tumultuous time in our society’s race relations. Thanks to the efforts of many, we began the next part of the American journey towards a more just society. There have been failures as well as success in that journey. That photo of youth from different ethnic backgrounds speaks volumes about what is possible.
Our son has been in various private schools but in recent years has been home schooled. It is worth mention that the profession that puts a large percentage of their own children in private education are public school teachers. That should speak volumes. Parents, it was said long ago, are the primary educators of our youth.
Hundreds – perhaps thousands – in our profession have meet our son at various trade and association events over the years. They have routinely had good things to say. Based on what? Based upon what their eyes witnessed. He behaves much the same apart from us as with us.
These personal notes are not meant to in any way imply that others are not doing similarly. Of course there are. But it is an example that we strive to walk the talk day by day in our own lives. The nonsense that was arguably spewed by David Lentz at Green Courte Partners can be said to reflect the desire by too many to posture for others. Lentz partially admitted his errors, but would not make amends more publicly. That is to his and Green Courte Partners’ embarrassment, not ours. I was disappointed by Lentz, but others have disappointed me at MHI too. That doesn’t mean he is an evil fellow, he made an avoidable mistake and arguably compounded it. Too bad, because his firm is one of those that are making what is apparently going wrong at MHI possible.
Our son, along with millions of others, knows from a range of social, spiritual, and educational formation what the words that “all men are created equal” means. He knows that the term man or men might mean a male, but depending on context, can mean humans of whatever gender or background. Our son knows that words have meaning. But as or sometimes more important, our son knows that deeds can mean more than posturing words.
I’ve taken our son up to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. We have walked the hall of Congress together. We have have sat or stood tougher and conversed with candidates, elected, and appointed officials. We have met with others in our profession together. Step by step, he is learning the family business if he wishes to pursue that in his life. But whatever he pursues, he is getting an foundation.
That’s not so different than scores of others in our profession who have done, or are doing, similarly. While we strongly disagree with many of the business practices of the Claytons, nevertheless, in fairness Jim Clayton gave Kevin Clayton the education of a lifetime. Who said? Kevin did, see that in depth at this link here. What has Kevin done with that education and those opportunities? That’s a different question.
Beginnings and Endings
Some of us are closer to the start of our careers than others. Some of us are closer to the end of our careers and lives than we are to the time of our own youth.
For most, it is fair to say that we were not born with a proverbial silver spoon in our mouths. Between what our parent(s) did for us, what we learned in school and/or from life, we grew over time into the person we are today. But what we will be after this moment is in some measure, up to us.
Memorial day and these reflections are meant to spark that type of thought process.
It is a given that each of us has done things that are good and bad, right and wrong. It’s a tragedy that some grow up learning to hate or look askance at others for whatever reason. Once more, those two presidential addresses speak to those points.
If you are living in America and are reading this, or if you are from some other land, our world is at a new tipping point. The presidential addresses above are packed with insights. Following the presidency of John F. Kennedy, came Lyndon Banes Johnson (LBJ). Promises were made in his so-called Great Society programs. Trillions have been spent. So why is our nation in some ways not better off in terms of home ownership in general? Or minority home ownership in particular?
A few today are race hustlers. Shame on all those who are race baiters, or are busy posturing and preening instead of doing what is right. Because many of them surely should realize that what they do makes matters worse, not better. May God help them to change their sordid and harmful ways.
Your Legacy – Turning a Blind Eye, or Facing Reality with Purpose and Courage with Eternity in Mind?
I’d like to think that not all billionaires are evil and selfish. But some clearly are evil money and power hungry monsters. Billionaires and their rewarded minions who do not repent may seem to ‘enjoy’ a good life. But if they end up in hell for eternity, they will learn how wrong they were. Like those ancient or contemporary examples of falling from feigned grace, the truth is often known.
In age after age there are people past and present who build their respective Tower of Babel. They pay to craft an image of themselves that may or may not comport with reality.
They must not be allowed to swindle the American Dream from millions of our fellow citizens. For those in other lands, you too have your Davos – World Economic Federation – types.
Propaganda is real in our nation and all others. It is only misinformation and a lack of understanding that allows this vexing pattern to occur. Because there are more of us than there are of them.
Eisenhower warned against what we are now living. Kennedy did too. But so have scores of leaders from both major parties. That is not to say that their warnings may have been authentic, God knows. That noted, what is certain is that if we pay attention to what is happening, learn how it operates, and then act to change it, that is the only way that true progress will resume.
Civic Alliance – Amazon Jeff Bezos Facebook Mark Zuckerberg Buffett-Berkshire-Backed-Kraft-Arabella Advisors Bill Gates Microsoft Twitter Jack Dorsey CBS Disney-Inside Scoop- 1000 Corporate Nonprofits Plan to Oust President Trump Hiding in Plain Sight – plus Sunday Weekly Headline Recap
Let’s be clear, like all elected officials, Ike had his weaknesses and strengths. But he merits credit for the ways he tried to move towards a more just society. Kennedy too, irrespective of his flaws, was arguably assassinated due to stepping on the wrong toes in that big corporate, big government, propaganda and criminal complex.
Some criminals wear a suit, sports jacket, or snappy casual clothes. Some criminals don’t look as sharp but commit far more petty crimes. Why is it that we continue to allow major corporate criminals to rape, racialize, rip off, and otherwise undermine our society? Wrong is wrong, and it is never a matter of opinion. Rather, it’s a matter of God’s law.
On this Memorial Day, or whatever day you happen to read this, think about your eternity. Think about your legacy. Think about the type of society you want your children, grandchildren, or other loved ones to grow up in.
The case can be made that the Walmart Effect is the Buffett and Clayton effect too. To see more about that case, just look at the linked reports. Dig deeper. Because ignorance is no longer an excuse.
We cannot be a person of good will and ignore what is occurring in America. The wealthy are buying officials and arguably have rigged the system and some (thankfully, not all) American elections. They can be stopped. Once more, the ancient Sphinx of Egypt is a reminder that those who exalted themselves all come to an end.
Our profession can be a force for great good. Generational wealth creation is routinely tied to home ownership. We could be one of the strongest professions in America. But our industry and our personal businesses will only attaint its true potential if we rid our ranks of arguably illegal and immoral behavior.
We could bring a better life to millions in America if we stop those who have for too long rigged the system. The wrongdoers have come from both political parties. There are right-thinkers who have at various times done right in both major parties too.
There are risks in every conflict. We are in a war from within and without. Buffett said so.
But the risks of economic and moral slavery may be far worse. We have the legal means to right what is wrong.
We are all sinners who should aim to become saints. Thomas Jefferson, a sinner too, nevertheless got some things quite right. We tolerate evil until it becomes intolerable.
Programing note: a special report on Federal research and manufactured home lending is coming. Barring the unforeseen, it may come as soon as tomorrow. Stay tuned.
As to the issues raised in this report, a 500 word executive summary of the pattern and ways they can be solved are found in the WND column linked below. Don’t just read it, share it with your circle. That’s for your benefit and for that of others.
For all those who have had a loved one paid the ultimate price for our opportunities, let us extend our sincere thanks. Happy Memorial Day to all.
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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
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