Corruption is a strong word. Talk show hosts on radio and television are accustomed at using phrasing that sparks a reaction. Some bloggers do so too. The reason is that it often leads to more clicks and views. That said, sometimes a topic is so important that strong words are needed.
MHProNews uniquely in manufactured housing trade media takes both broad and granular look at various issues that directly or indirectly shed light on the plight of our once far greater industry. With that in mind, this runaway #1 trade media doesn’t look only at manufactured housing specific topics. Those ‘related’ issues often shed light that is useful for our industry’s professionals, investors, advocates, public officials and others who turn here for evidence, common sense, and ‘follow the money trail’ analysis.
MHLivingNews has laid out some of the harm that Google has arguably caused our industry, see that linked below, but this goes beyond that topic.
It is follow the money trail that Fox News’ Tucker Carlson laid out last night in a fascinating look at what he called the evolution of Senator Mike Lee (UT-R) from being a Google critic to being their deflector or purported defender. That video from last night, along with a transcript is further below.
In this column, we’ve provided a different prior video of Lee and Carlson that presents Lee’s side of the topic. That’s the fair way of doing things.
We also provide a video of Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, a tech guru in his own right, sounding off on Google. This video makes it clearer that Carlson isn’t alone in his concerns.
But from right-of-center Fox News’ website, we have this dated Aug. 20, 2019 – 3:05 – Utah Senator Mike Lee has changed his tune on Google.
Right-of-center Breitbart had a transcript on the video above, found at this link here, and is shown below.
It was just a few years ago that Utah Senator Mike Lee was a persistent critic of Google. In 2011, Lee grilled then-CEO Eric Schmidt at a congressional antitrust hearing. Before joining the Senate, Lee pushed for a law that would have banned Google’s largest force of revenue. That would be keyword-based advertising. Lee also egged on antitrust investigations of big tech and then accused the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, of going too easy on powerful companies — and good for him.
But fast forward to today. Today, Mike Lee is one of Google’s chief allies in Congress — maybe its biggest ally in the Republican Party. Lee has questioned whether Congress should even bother with antitrust investigations of tech companies. Lee has introduced legislation that would make it harder for the government to block corporate mergers. Lee has complained about the E.U. imposing fines on Google for its behavior.
Lee even came on this program and told that conservatives shouldn’t worry about Google or other tech companies silencing conservative speech online.
What happened? Why the change? Well, it’s possible that Mike Lee just woke up one morning and decided that his previous views had been wrong. Maybe. And yet evidence compiled by the Google Transparency Project suggests there may have been other factors at play here.
Starting in 2013, Google spent millions of dollars rolling out its high-speed Internet service, Google Fiber, in both Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2015, Google hosted a high-profile fundraiser for Lee at its Silicon Valley law firm. The fundraiser got a lot of attention, so Google backed out. But the fundraiser itself went ahead, and Lee received a sizable donation from Google’s political action committee.
Ever since that fundraiser and the money he took, Lee’s interest in having the FTC investigate tech companies seems to have completely evaporated. Google knows there’s more to politics than just donations. So in 2017, they hired a close ally of Lee’s to manage the company’s relationship with conservatives. The Internet Association — that is a trade group of which Google is a part — hired away Mike Lee’s senior counsel from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Google also collaborated with the Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute, two of Washington’s biggest conservative thinktanks.
The message they pushed was that Google and other tech monopolies are really something conservatives ought to celebrate. These companies are triumphs of the free market. We should be grateful for them. And worrying about their growing power and the ways they use that power is somehow socialist and un-American.
Of course, Google itself is socialist and un-American, so the argument never really made sense. But Mike Lee bought it completely.
When Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg came before Congress last year, he asked them only at the softest of softball questions. And a month later, Facebook announced it would build a $750 million data
center in Utah. A coincidence? Maybe it is a coincidence, or maybe it’s every bit as corrupt as it seems.
We asked Senator Lee to come on tonight to explain what exactly happened. He declined. We’ll keep asking until he reconsiders.
Dems, GOP and Antitrust
Democrats are not the only major party that is pressing the antitrust topic. There are Republicans and even President Donald J. Trump who have raised concerns on some of these same topics tied to powerhouse tech giants. A sampling of those are found in the related reports, further below the byline.
The Takeaways for MHVille Professionals?
Independents of all sizes, from the mom-and-pop shops to the larger independent companies, must grasp the notion that the monopolization of America has progressed to a high degree. It can be stopped. There are laws on the books that would make that possible.
Enforcing existing laws must be top issues for our industry.
· The Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000 has not been fully implemented, almost 20 years after its passage.
· The Duty to Serve (DTS) financing provisions of manufactured housing mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 is still at a flaccid stage, some might argue, a harmful state of affairs. Why are those two good laws not being fully enforced?
· Similarly, antitrust laws have for decades have been given lip service by administration on both sides of the left-right political aisle.
Our industry’s professionals should consider doing what a community leader has done, ask their congressional representative to hold public hearings, using their subpoena powers to compel testimony under oath. State attorney generals (AG) can be invoked to investigate. Several already are reportedly preparing probes of big tech. But manufactured home industry professionals should ask their state’s AG to do so involving manufactured housing specific purported corruption. See an outline of that, below.
President Trump, Senators Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren are all among those who have said, the “system is rigged.” When the left and right are both saying the same thing, it is time for more citizens to sit up and take notice.
Food for thought. That’s today’s second look at “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. Connect with us on LinkedIn here and here.
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