Tree of Liberty, Shay’s Rebellion – Historic Lessons for Rebels Against Rigged System in Manufactured Housing



Programming note: ladies, there is a special message just for you in the last paragraph of this report. Please don’t miss it. That said, let’s dive into our headline topic.


Snopes has recently done their version of a fact check.  First, the topic, then their fact check, our analysis, some historic inspiration, and commentary.


They write, “On Sept. 10, 2019, the quote — “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants” — was included in a political comic from conservative cartoonist Ben Garrison:


The focus of the Snopes fact check.


Said Snopes, “In Garrison’s version, the “tree of liberty” is being destroyed by Democrats, Google, globalism, communism and the Illuminati (we’re not entirely sure what the bird on the right is supposed to represent in the cartoon). The inclusion of Jefferson’s quote seems to imply that the “tree of liberty” can only be revived via a violent rebellion against these groups and ideas.

This is a genuine quote from Jefferson.”

The timing on that is interesting, and MHProNews isn’t weighing in on this issue specifically, but rather, generically. Keep in mind we believe that legislators on both sides of the two major parties agree on manufactured housing’s importance and value. Furthermore manufactured homes – and affordable housing in general – are ideally nonpartisan or bipartisan in nature. Everyone needs a roof over their head that they can afford, and ideally we need many more secure owners than less secure renters.




Principles are what define, or not, a person or organization. Some people – and thus some organizations, which are made up of individuals – posture a principle.

Several themes and subplots are useful in understanding what has gone wrong in the manufactured housing industry, and by extension, in other segments of America. A country can be great and still be imperfect. Perfection isn’t the measure of excellence, as the great coach Vince Lombardi has noted.




The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of excellence too.


Excellence dr martin luther king jr wikicommons poster credit mhpronews 1024x768


Our son is amazing, but he isn’t perfect. The same is true in some sense for almost anyone who applies her or himself. There are any number of gifted people – many professionals, but others more too – who in their area of expertise – including in manufactured housing – are truly remarkable.

Hold that thought as we return to Snopes on that cartoon and fact check. Don’t worry, the points are well underway…


Said Snopes, “This quote comes from a letter Jefferson wrote to William Stephens Smith on Nov. 13, 1787, about Shay’s Rebellion in Massachusetts. While Jefferson, who was living in France at the time, seemed to support that rebellion and other such violent uprisings, he also noted in his letter that such acts were often founded by ill-informed groups. The remedy to these uprisings, according to Jefferson, was to “set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them.”

A transcription of this letter, as well as an image of this letter from the Library of Congress, can be glimpsed below:


Snopes is reliably left-of-center, say its critics and fans alike. That shouldn’t be construed as making them bad or good at what they do. Facebook uses Snopes, and they tend toward more progressive causes too, as some Republicans and Democrats on Capital Hill have been complaining about with increased concern. Senators Ted Cruz (TX-R) and Elizabeth Warren (MA-D) could hardly be more different, but each has weighed in on the growing concerns over the tech giants and their outsized monopolistic power in the marketplace. The News Media Alliance has said similarly about Facebook and Google. Senator Warren has said she plans to break them up. That claim is worthy of its own fact-check, but not here or today.


Tree of Liberty…

Back to Snopes on the Jefferson quote about the Tree of Liberty, per that source, “This quote, at least the selection that appeared in Garrison’s cartoon, has previously been employed to justify acts of war, rebellion, and violence. The quote was also scrawled across the shirt-back of American domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people when he blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, when he was arrested in 1995.

A few days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, author Jim Wooten also used this quote as the basis of an op-ed in The Atlanta Constitution calling on young people to sacrifice and join the military because the “tree of liberty” needed to be refreshed:


This image of the column by Jim Wooten was part of the Snopes fact check.


Let’s be clear, at no time has MHProNews called on violence, rather we have championed evidence and reason. The talk of America’s next allegedly pending civil war is raised on both sides of the left-right divide.

One of several reasons MHProNews and MHLivingNews cites sources and personalities on both side of the left right-divide – always striving for accuracy – is because there are arguably some that want to pit Americans against each other in potentially violent or other problematic ways.

But the reverse is true too.

Pause. Breathe. Examine the evidence. Use common sense, logic and reason. As we have noted, when examined dispassionately, there are some things said by both major party’s leaders that are quite similar. It is their respective solutions that differ. This is a classic example.




The evidence from both left and right reveals that the “system is rigged” and so it should be no surprise if it is purportedly rigged in our industry too. The way to beat a rigged system is first to expose it. Then it must regularly get challenged until it is finally changed.

No one had to die when Bernie Madoff went to prison. That man Madoff and his minions got away with a lot for a long time. Who would have thought that after so many year he would have come to such a disgusting end? But so it is.


The same can occur in manufactured housing, but it will take persistence.  Not much in life is ‘one and done.’ Repetition, persistence can achieve what the justice that is necessary for MHVille and its many residents. Which brings us back to Snopes.

Here is the letter from Jefferson, per Snopes, that uses that quote illustrated in that cartoon.


Letter by Jefferson that is the origin of the Tree of Liberty quotation that is the focus of the Snopes fact check.


Here in a few moments below is what Snopes said is the text of that famous letter by Thomas Jefferson. Note that it speaks of lies and distortions by an enemy of the young U.S. Republic? A lesson is clear. Lies and distortions have long been a technique for one person, group, or nation to undermine others.

Ponder this pull quote from Jefferson: “the people cannot be all, & always, well informed. the past which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive;”

That is one of numerous examples of Jefferson or other founders’ wisdom and historic insight. Twisting or not knowing history is important. At some point in time, we may publish a history of manufactured housing, but until then, we share tidbits of historic points because it roots professionals in reality.

Here is the text of the Jefferson letter, per Snopes.


QuoteMarkManufacturedHomeLivingNewsThe British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. yet where does this anarchy exist? where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? and can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. they were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. god forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. the people cannot be all, & always, well informed. the past which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. we have had 13. states independant 11. years. there has been one rebellion. that comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. what country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms. the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. what signify a few lives lost in a century or two? the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it’s natural manure.


Let’s zero in on the close from the text of Jefferson’s letter from the above.


& what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms. the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. what signify a few lives lost in a century or two? the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it’s natural manure.”


That question from the long dead Jefferson is one for manufactured housing professionals, investors, advocates and others of good will to ponder. We too are locked in a war. Who says? Take Warren Buffett at his word in some instances.


Using this quote graphic should not be construed to support Buffett or the creator of the illustration.


Madoff is paying in prison. Will Buffett die in his bed, a hospital, or in a prison cell? How will he be remembered?

That struggle is underway. Rest assured that Buffett doesn’t plan on a jail cell.

Based on the evidence we’ve examined, often provided by others in our industry including those who work for a Berkshire brands, few in our era have arguably done more to harm our industry and nation than Buffett. But we believe the honorable way to defeat the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies is via exposure, debates, or in hearings, courtrooms and the marketplace.

As more begin to understand what Buffett has done to thousands of professionals, untold numbers of investors, and millions of Americans, will more stop doing business with the monopolizers and their pawns?

Cartoonist Garrison has used a famous quote by Jefferson, but he has used his art and wit to illustrate problems that he believes threatens liberty. Rephrased, Garrison didn’t grab a musket, he picked up his metaphorical pen, illustrating and sought to inspire others to share it. That’s peaceful, quite in keeping with Jefferson’s analysis of how rare rebellion had been in America. Not too different than Garrison in this respect, we too use pen and images.

Which brings us back to Snopes. They’ve not yet done their fact check on the article linked here and reported below.


Snopes and Manufactured Housing Fact-Check Project


We had a number who demonstrated to us that they submitted for that Snopes fact check, plus our own submission. A check of the Snopes site today revealed nada. That’s not proof that we are correct. Perhaps far better evidence of that is that no one from Berkshire, Knoxville, Arlington or their minions have dared question it directly.

Equally telling is that several public officials have examined that report and analysis and told us that they have found it compelling. More on that another time, but never forget. There is a goal and methodology here.

The truth well told and explained often enough is powerful. Lies are repeated, evidence of the truth must also be repeated.

If our industry’s independents, manufactured homeowners, and investors want their freedom, they must fight for Independence day by day.

Let’s pivot.


Per History, “Shays’ Rebellion was a series of violent attacks on courthouses and other government properties in Massachusetts that began in 1786 and led to a full-blown military confrontation in 1787. The rebels were mostly ex-Revolutionary War soldiers-turned farmers who opposed state economic policies causing poverty and property foreclosures. The rebellion was named after Daniel Shays, a farmer and former soldier who fought at Bunker Hill and was one of several leaders of the insurrection.”

Now pay close attention to what History said next about Shay’s rebellion.


QuoteMarkManufacturedHomeLivingNewsWhat Caused Shays’ Rebellion?

The farmers who fought in the Revolutionary War had received little compensation, and by the 1780s many were struggling to make ends meet.

Businesses in Boston and elsewhere demanded immediate payment for goods that farmers had previously bought on credit and often paid off through barter. There was no paper money in circulation and no gold or silver to be accessed by the farmers to settle these debts.

At the same time, Massachusetts residents were expected to pay higher taxes than they had ever paid to the British in order to assure that Governor James Bowdoin’s business associates would receive a good return on their investments.

With no means to move their crops and make money to pay off debts and taxes, Boston authorities began to arrest the farmers and foreclose on their farms.”



Rebellion Analysis and Lessons?

American history, before and after the revolution against England, has had several recurring themes. One is that the system can be rigged, and people can be deprived of what they earned and worked for honorably.

There are only two choices. Give up or fight. Shay and others fought back and Thomas Jefferson applauded him and others in writing for doing so.

That could roughly fit into our own times with manufactured housing.

Literally thousands of professionals arguably lost their businesses or got a reduced valuation due to what we asked Snopes to fact check. It is perhaps no surprise that they are timid about taking on Buffett, Berkshire, and Clayton.


But those of us and manufactured home owners by the millions may have no other choice but to expose and compel public officials to do their jobs.

The case against Clayton is compelling. Who says? The sheer volume of readers like you, and those officials we’ve spoken with that have examined the evidence linked here or from the hub report above.

But more must be done. The battle is underway, and they know it. The so-called ‘new class of homes,’ now dubbed “CrossModTM Homes” is a perfect example of why the industry must fight to win. See the letter, linked from the report here and the reports immediately and further below.

Paltering, Manufactured Homes, CrossModTM Homes, Manufactured Housing Institute, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Manufactured Home Lenders, DTS, and You

The battle for manufactured homes and affordable housing ought to be fought with honor and determination to win. We are in it to win it, how about you?

Those rebels with Shay are like some farmers or laborers or those in the Gilded era who resisted a rigged system in their times and places in American history. Freedom, financial or otherwise, is never free.

U.S. Gilded Age – Politics, Monopolies, Corruption, Historic Insights, Lessons Learned?

In closing, we’ve stressed that the corruption in our industry purportedly involves public officials, logically and arguably some in the Government Sponsored Enterprises, and certain private businesses, nonprofits, and their leaders.

We don’t seek to alienate Democrats or Republicans. There are examples of corrupt acts from major and minor parties.

Affordable housing is a bipartisan or nonpartisan issue.


That said. Stay tuned, rebels. There is more to come. You can join those who have signed up for our emails in seconds via the link below.

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Ladies, as promised. Disclosure, we don’t have time here to dive deeply into our email list or other data, so we are accepting what MailChimp told us today in a message at face value.  It’s this. There are somewhat more men than women reading MHProNews’ x2 weekly emails.  Yes, this industry is male dominated, so perhaps that isn’t a shocker. But if women are to play a similar role in manufactured housing as in our broader society where men are statistically outnumbered by gals, we should have more female readers here.  That’s just logical. We’ll close on that note in this first look for today of News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing,” © where where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach for

Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and Connect with us on LinkedIn here and and here.


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