Time will tell if or when the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division legal action filed vs. internet search and tech giant Google will be followed by similar ones against Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Berkshire Hathaway, and Microsoft. These are the so-called FAANG-BM brands that MHProNews and others have thought would in time draw the Trump Administration’s ire for their respective parts in the purported monopolistic practices that have steadily undermined various sectors of the U.S. economy.
Is it a coincidence that each of these firms routinely has ties to Democratic Party members, including former President Barack Obama and his Vice President Joe Biden? Hold that thought for later.
That’s not to say that this litigation is necessarily a politically motivated DOJ legal action. Democrats and Republicans alike have slammed various FAANG-BM brands, based on evidence that Congress, states, academics, and businesses have long decried.
Beyond our manufactured home profession’s stated concerns about antitrust and other violations of law, there are the stated positions of the News Media Alliance. They too have said that the slow but steady monopolization of the market has been occurring.
The impacts of these purported market manipulation and monopolization problems may seem innocent to numbers. But as but one example from beyond affordable manufactured housing, in the news media industry. The combinations of steady consolidation of various newspapers and other media outlets, combined with the steady starvation of advertising dollars and other pressures caused by Facebook and Google have arguably resulted in a narrowing of media coverage as well as the loss of literally thousands of journalists.
Is it any wonder that there can be more ‘fake,’ ‘weaponized,’ or agenda driven news when there are fewer competitors and far fewer journalists to report on such issues? Furthermore, these tech giants have become a source of intelligence gathering of consumers; that is a key part of their business models. Information about you, others in your household, neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family are also being gathered and sold. There is arguably a hidden cost to ‘free’ services such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, or others create.
Why did it take DOJ so long to act? First, one must look back to the Obama-Biden years. It is no secret that some of these same brands had steady access to the Obama White House. White House logs reveal that point, as does reports by left-of-center AP and others.
In the case of Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway, as MHProNews has previously reported, the relationship between Buffett and the Obama-Biden Administration was so cozy, that Buffett’s nephew served in the Obama White House.
Buffett’s support for the Obama-Biden agenda was rewarded by his being given the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award.
Pivoting back briefly to the specifics of this Google antitrust case, Adweek told MHProNews on 10.21.2020 in an email that “Despite previous speculation about whether the Department of Justice would pursue a case against Google over its ad stack, the lawsuit filed today focused solely on online search.”
With this approach, reported Adweek, the suit “strikes at the heart of Google’s grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist,” said Attorney General William Barr in a statement.
An Adweek “colleague” Scott Nover wrote: “The DOJ suit does not indicate how Google can remedy its alleged antitrust abuses but instead suggests “structural relief,” such as a breakup or divestiture.” The DOJ’s Google case may develop other wrinkles over time, due to the various holdings by parent company Alphabet, which also owns YouTube and more.
A range of sources across the left-right media spectrum have said for some time that an army of lobbyists and campaign donations were deployed in Washington in recent years in order to avert or slow down progress in this antitrust case and others.
MHProNews reported in 2017 that Bloomberg noted Buffett’s concern that Berkshire might be broken up at some point in time. The question arose again in May 2020, when an interviewer tossed a softball to Buffett on the breakup of Berkshire question. Buffett responded to in this fashion.
Note that Buffett mentioned the possibility of changes being made to taxes on foundations. He also spoke prior to that about his giving away his shares of Berkshire to charities. Those charities and foundations are routinely one and the same with Buffett, as it is with other billionaires. In turn, those foundations are tax sheltered and deploy capital in ways that would shock tens of millions of Americans if their impacts were better understood.
The examples of those impacts from foundations tied to Buffett’s donations, ones more industry specific above, and another more generally American below, exemplify the issue.
In this context, it is useful to keep in mind the Capital Research Center’s observations about “Deception and Misdirection,” as well as the words of Vladimir Lenin.
Then, in terms of market manipulation, ponder what Warren Buffett’s longtime Berkshire board member and fellow trustee in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said.
That statement mirrors what Robin Harding, who said he was a Buffett fan until he realized what he is doing to free enterprise, said about Buffett and his moat.
Buffett in the video above says that his giving and other strategies have been thought out for a long time and will “keep the wolves away.”
To bring the loop back to affordable manufactured homes, the two quotes below from two different Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) members shed light on the issue. The first is from Andy Gedo, the second is from Kevin Clayton, President and CEO of Clayton Homes.
Perhaps the reason that Clayton Homes, MHI, or their surrogates so dread the notion of a debate or public discussion of their performance or lack thereof to advance the interests of the independents and consumers of manufactured housing is because even a keen mind like Gedo’s not only failed to disprove the contentions and thesis of MHProNews on this topic, but he ended up providing additional reasons to believe that the prima facia case is what reality says it is.
Additional Information, MHProNews Analysis and Commentary
Language that is at times coded, misleading, or deceptive is an observation made by several Buffett watchers. When the Omaha World Herald was spun off earlier this year along with dozens of other Berkshire newspaper holdings, workers their cried foul.
Allegations of monopolistic, predatory, racist, and other deceptive trade practices have been made by a range of voices including from the Democratic Congressional representatives shown below.
While several in mainstream media have raised these issues, from sources across the left-right media divide, in manufactured housing trade media in recent years, MHProNews and MHLivingNews have stood virtually alone in spotlighting these vexing issues.
Just as Buffett ‘gives away’ billions in philanthropy – that his own son Peter Buffett has said yields little practical change, but rather entrenches the status quo – acts of apparent good will by others in the Buffett-Berkshire orbit may be nothing more than window dressing designed to “keep the wolves” away.
Buffett who at times speaks straight, and at other times arguably coyly, was blunt about his views on what is occurring in America as reflected in these first Buffett quotes.
It is against a fact-pattern of a steady and relentless squeezing out actual or potential competitors – not only manufactured housing, but also in other industries – Buffett’s Castle, Moat, crocodiles, sharks, and piranhas kind of comments over the year, combined with a close look at the evidence and historic pattern, make it clear that steady monopolization is a goal.
Biden’s campaign, per left-of-center Politico, assured Wall Street that their status quo would not change. Biden touted his recent call with Warren Buffett who has not formally come out to support him, but who has on several occasions blasted candidate turned President Trump. Others, like Bill Gates, who are in Buffett’s class are both indirectly and directly supporting the Biden campaign, pro-Biden PACs, and those candidates who support them.
Rephrased, there are good reasons to think that if a Biden Administration is the result of the 2020 election, the monopolistic, moat building billionaires like Buffett, Gates, and others will only continue to enrich themselves while others are harmed.
The Gates Foundation supported the WHO before and since the pandemic. Left-of-center sources have pointed out that collectively a trillion dollar increase in their collective wealth has occurred.
A case in point is what’s occurred in 2020 with the pandemic. There is considerable evidence that Gates had advanced knowledge of what was coming. See the report above. The consequences of that knowledge is the trillion dollar plus surge in the personal wealth of oligarchs and plutocrats such as Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg, George Soros and others.
When Bloomberg pledged to give $100 million dollars just to help the Biden campaign win Florida – a single but important swing state – that should paint a picture of how the class warfare and crony capitalist game is played.
When Facebook and Twitter are censoring conservative content with no similar censorship of progressive or left-wing content, and their donations overwhelmingly go to Democrats and the Biden campaign, that too should be a serious signal as to what the future looks like.
When a sitting Obama-administration era Vice President Biden is accused of using family members in a pay-for-play scheme that the New York Post and others are beginning to expose, it becomes clear just how much the ‘swamp’ in Washington works, and just how rigged the system is.
There are any number of voices that have been calling for a breakup of this or that part of the FAANG BM brands. Some examples follow.
Independent businesses, smaller investors, the general public, public officials, academics, and more in media must be taught the serious harms caused by failing to rigorously enforce antitrust and other laws designed to protect the free market.
Failing to protect America’s small businesses, which have historically been half of the jobs in the U.S., has ripple effects through nearly every aspect of our economic, political, and social structures. If President Trump wins a second term, there are reasons to believe that more antitrust action will follow. If the Biden-Harris ticket wins, expect what Politico said to occur – the status quo, much as happened under the Obama-Biden Administration. The slide into a post-Constitutional feudalistic society will be hastened, if not completed.
Vote wisely to protect your future and that of those whom you care about.
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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.
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