Posts Tagged ‘google’

Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation

June 3rd, 2019 Comments off



According to Rueter’s and Yahoo Finance, “The U.S. Justice Department is preparing an investigation of Alphabet Inc’s Google to determine whether the tech giant broke antitrust law in operating its sprawling online businesses, two sources familiar with the matter said.”


Officials from the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission, which both enforce antitrust law, met in recent weeks to give Justice jurisdiction over Google,” according to those sources, and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) which broke the story.

This word from Washington, D.C. will fuel speculation that Berkshire Hathaway brands, along with other tech giants that impact manufactured housing and the nation, will soon become more visible targets of antitrust regulatory scrutiny. Those who’ve relied on the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their industry trade mouthpieces would have had no clue that this has been brewing for years. Meanwhile, MHProNews has been covering this developing topic from several angles for years. Our sister site has been laying the foundation for understanding on MHLivingNews too, in reports like the one linked below.



In a series of direct quotes in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. MHProNews has given these firms an opportunity to refute or clarify the issues and concerns raised.  They and MHI have all declined responses.


Pivoting back to the Google-specific matter, this could be welcome news for manufactured housing industry professionals for several reasons.

Google declined comment initially, but DOJ would not confirm or deny the claim of an antitrust investigation. It’s worth noting that the European Union (EU) has fined Google billions for prior antitrust concerns.

During the Obama Administration, there was DOJ and FTC pressure on Google, but it went nowhere substantially. In April, 2016, the left-of-center news source – the Intercept – reported that “the Google lobbyist with the most White House visits, Johanna Shelton, visited 128 times, far more” than others. The Obama Administration and the tech giants – including Google – had a cozy relationship, by several mainstream media accounts.=

Lawmakers have complained about alleged political bias, its plans in China, and more.


“For the Good of Consumers and Competition”

TripAdvisor remains concerned about Google’s practices in the United States, the EU and throughout the world,” TripAdvisor chief executive and co-founder Stephen Kaufer said in a statement, adding: “For the good of consumers and competition on the internet, we welcome any renewed interest by U.S. regulators into Google’s anticompetitive behavior.” Note to first time visitors, MHProNews often takes direct quotes and turns them bold and brown to make them pop, but otherwise the content is as stated.

This is very big news, and overdue,” Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican Google critic, said on Twitter with respect to this investigation.  In that, he joined President Donald J. Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who said that Google is a threat to democracy.


Brad Says POTUS Trump is Right: More than Facebook & Twitter, Google Threatens Democracy, Online Freedom


This has become an increasingly bi-partisan issue, as what follows will reflect. While MHI devotees fly into Washington, D.C. today, will this even be a topic, unless a brave member raises the relevant questions?


The Broader Antitrust Picture and Manufactured Housing

As MHProNews has previously reported, several Democratic lawmakers and 2020 presidential hopeful candidates have made antitrust part of their platform.  Among the most visible to date has been Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA-D), who has renounced any corporate contributions in favor of individual donors.  Perhaps of more import to manufactured housing industry firms, Warren has sent off a round of formal letters of inquiry to manufactured home community operators. See that MHProNews exclusive report, linked here.

Even more specifically, Democratic Senators have asked the CFPB to take steps to curb allegations of predatory behavior by Clayton Homes and their lenders, see that recent report, linked here.

Senator Cory Booker (NJ-D) threw down an antitrust gauntlet with ABC News, in a video and report posted below.


Senator Cory Booker – ‘We Need a President…to Enforce Antitrust Laws,’ Digging Warren, POTUS Trump


Daily Business News on MHProNews reported in 2018 that the Trump Administration had prepared an antitrust executive order.


Draft EO for Trump Administration AntiTrust Order Obtained by MHProNews


This trade media platform also reported Democratic steps taken, such as the one below.


Lina Khan, AntiTrust Legal Queen, Set to Join Democratic Staff, FAANG & BM, Beware – Plus MH Market Updates


Sources have told MHProNews that Berkshire Hathaway has ‘beefed up’ its antitrust legal team, perhaps in anticipation of just such an expected move. That may also explain why Berkshire’s industry players who have allegedly been involved in allegations of antitrust and other potentially corrupt practices have remained silent when asked about this topic.



Learn more at this link here, here, and here.

MHProNews will continue to monitor this developing issue. Antitrust is likely to be a significant part of the 2020 debate.  Consolidation and monopolization is a concern across numerous industries, and manufactured housing is one of them. To learn more about this topic which is expected to expand to other giant firms, click the links above, or further below the byline and notices.

That’s this Monday morning’s first look at “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)



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“The Creepy Line” Video DocuDrama, Manufactured Housing – The Problem, Solution, and You

October 18th, 2018 Comments off



If MHProNews is writing about it, I want to know about it.”
Manufactured home industry executive reader.


Manufactured housing professionals use Google and Facebook for work and personally every day by the thousands.

Further, millions of manufactured home residents are doing the same.

Perhaps the most pressing, there is only one political force that is likely to take on this problem with anything might approach a solution.  These points are the ones that no one else in mainstream media are likely to mention, but will be the conclusion of this report on the subject of the raw power that Google and Facebook exercise in the U.S. and globally.

An eye-opening documentary, The Creepy Line reveals the stunning degree to which society is manipulated by Google and Facebook and blows the lid off the remarkably subtle – hence powerful – manner in which they do it,” per the summary/review on Rotten Tomatoes.

As former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said during a 2010 interview as he explained Google’s code of conduct: “The Google policy on a lot of things is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”

However, as Dr. Robert Epstein explains in the film, “Google crosses the creepy line every day.”

The Verge’s review makes the movie sound too political.


But Epstein explains during the video that he believed the person in the 2016 election that was benefiting from search engine bias was the more “qualified” candidate. Epstein explains how he was drawn into his research into the “Creepy Line” by inexplicable action taken by Google.


Further the Verge made several salient points. “It [the video] takes its title from Google executive Eric Schmidt, who said in 2010 that Google’s job was to “get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.” Schmidt has gotten no end of flack for that quote, and it’s easy to point out that Google is, in fact, often very creepy.”

The Verge’s review says, that “This theory [the premise of the documentary “the Creepy Line”] has been fueled by news about political discussions within companies — like Google’s internal controversy over employee James Damore, who was fired after circulating a memo criticizing the company’s gender diversity efforts. Breitbart recently published a leaked video from a Google meeting just after the 2016 election of Donald Trump, which includes co-founder Sergey Brin calling Trump’s presidency “deeply offensive.”

It’s the Verge that points out the push from across Democratic and Republican party lines for antitrust action against Google and Facebook.

CNS lays out one of several reasons how these experts discovered the problem, in a personal way. “Jordan Peterson,” a “professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, Peterson discovered a day after his testimony against a controversial Canadian law suppressing free speech regarding gender that his YouTube account and Google gmail account had been blocked.”


Manufactured Home Industry Pros and Rigged Searches – A.K.A. “Search Bias”

This isn’t just a search challenge in political issues, because it can happen in business too.  There are industry pros who have told MHProNews that sites that once had better search results suddenly and dramatically took a turn for the worse.



If a monopoly of money and information can influence politics, it can clearly influence businesses too.




Danny Glover quote from the fascinating video documentary, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page above.


“Shadows of Liberty” Movie Introduction, Affordable Housing, and You

The fast-paced, engaging docu-drama “The Creepy Line” points out that at one point in time, no one spends more lobbying Congress than Google. Other sources indicate that Facebook is not far behind. But on this most recent cycle, Jeff Bezos has given millions personally to candidates.  Is there any doubt that he’s trying to buy votes to prevent antitrust action against Amazon and his other investments, which now include factory built housing?


$300 Billion Market, As Predicted, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Alexa Fund Dives Deeper into PreFab Homes



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“…Epstein’s arguments are delivered in detail by a first-hand source,” but the Verge points out that other headlines and a variety of sources are used throughout the powerful documentary that even Rotten Tomatoes says is “eye opening.”  The Verge defends Google by saying that yes, they are biased, but that bias “is complicated.”

This is at the heart of the issue that we’ve been reporting on periodically for some time, which has included the work of Scott Galloway, who argues that regulation isn’t enough.  He and others believe that these tech giants must be broken up.

If you watch this on Amazon Prime, you’ll see why the Trump Administration is signaling that operations like these could be targeted with antitrust action after the midterms.  You can see a draft executive order on antitrust from the Trump Administration in the related reports further below.  That’s “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Draft EO for Trump Administration AntiTrust Order Obtained by MHProNews

September 24th, 2018 Comments off



Longtime manufactured housing industry readers know that the issues of monopoly or antitrust concerns have grown in recent years.  These relate to several sources of perceived antitrust threats that debatably harm independents, consumers, the economy, and others in the industry.


There are obviously voices and agendas on each side of the issues that follow. 

President Donald J. Trump, and members of his administration, have increasingly voiced antitrust concerns in the areas surrounding certain tech giants and their perceived bias. That bias impacts the content and news Americans are exposed to in searches and social media feeds.  As Brad Parscale (see linked article further below) and others have argued, that in turn threatens election outcomes, and thus the democratic process. 

The Daily Business News on MHProNews has led the industry’s coverage about such anxieties, along with how it is potentially interrelated to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway brands, and their alleged efforts to establish a monopoly in manufactured housing.

So, the start of serious antitrust activity by the Trump Administration that aims at Google or Facebook should not be seen as being limited to those subjects alone.  Indeed, the president himself has signaled other possible targets of such anti-monopolistic federal legal actions. 

With that introduction, and noting the linked related reports herein and below, let’s provide the full text of the White House draft of an Executive Order (EO), geared at antitrust action, as provided by Business Insider. Note that the typo below is in the original.  It will be followed with additional commentary, links, and analysis.



By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to protect American consumers and workers and encourage competition in the U.S. economy, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. Online platforms are central to American commerce and the free flow of news and information. Whether reading news or looking for local businesses, citizens rely on search, social media, and other online platforms to provide objective and reliable information to shape a host of decisions ranging from consumer purchases to votes in elections. Because of their critical role in American society, it is essential that American citizens are protected from anticompetitive acts by dominant online platforms. Vibrant competition in the online ecosystem is essential to ensuring accountability for the platforms that hold so much sway over our economy and democratic process. 

[Can expand this section, if necessary, to provide more detail on role of platforms and the importance of competition]


Section 2. Agency Responsibilities. (a) Executive departments and agencies with authorities that could be used to enhance competition among online platforms (agencies) shall, where consistent with other laws, use those authorities to promote competition and ensure that no online platform exercises market power in a way that harms consumers, including through the exercise of bias.

(b) Agencies with authority to investigate anticompetitive conduct shall thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws, as defined in subsection (a) of the first section of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 12, or any other law intended to protect competition.

(c) Should an agency learn of possible or actual anticompetitive conduct by a platform that the agency lacks the authority to investigate and/or prosecute, the matter should be referred to the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission. 

(d) Not later than 30 days from the date of this order, agencies shall submit to the Director of the National Economic Council an initial list of (1) actions each agency can potentially take to protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias; (2) any relevant authorities and tools potentially available to enhance competition among and protect the users of online platforms.

(e) Not later than 60 days from the date of this order, agencies shall report to the President, through the Director of the National Economic Council, recommendations on agency-specific actions in response to paragraphs (d) of this section. Such recommendations shall include a list of priority actions, including rulemakings, as well as timelines for completing those actions.


Section 3. General Provisions. (a) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(b) Independent agencies are strongly encouraged to comply with the requirements of this order. 

(c) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to a department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals. 

(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.



Brad Says POTUS Trump is Right: More than Facebook & Twitter, Google Threatens Democracy, Online Freedom

Bloomberg and MHProNews reported last year that one of Warren Buffett’s more significant concerns is supposedly the threat of the breakup of Berkshire Hathaway. That breakup, should it occur, would be under some type of antitrust action, which could be initiated by federal regulators.  It could also involve civil antitrust cases, which can bring up to triple damages for a prevailing party.

Should serious antitrust case(s) occur, as it directly relates to manufactured housing, it would likely be caused by trend lines, facts, and factors such as those linked in the report and related video found in the linked report, below.


Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?


Any breakup or other major legal action that targets Berkshire, Clayton Homes, and their lending units would arguably send shock waves through the HUD Code home industry. It would have serious repercussions for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which is widely seen as dominated by Warren Buffett led Berkshire’s MH industry brands.

Antitrust action may create an array of opportunities and activities for others not seen for over a decade in manufactured housing, for reasons that N.Y. Stern Professor Scott Galloway has expressed.



MHProNews will continue to monitor and report on this developing story. “We Provide, You Decide.” (C)

  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

1. Terminology error – the word ‘trailer’ is in the original. It is unclear from the article if these are mobile homes, post-HUD Code manufactured homes, or a combination of both.

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“Work With Us Or Die,” Threat from Facebook’s Brown, per SUN Report

August 15th, 2018 Comments off


Campbell Brown is Facebook’s head of news partnerships.  According to reports from The Australian, Drudge, and the Sun, Brown told a group of media executives down under that they have to “Work with us or end up in hospice.”


Hospice is defined by Google’s dictionary as “providing care for the sick, especially the terminally ill” or dying.

In dramatic damage-control mode, Facebook denies that charge, and says that it was a statement taken out of context.

But what the issue spotlights is the problem of monopolies, or more precisely oligopolies. An oligopoly is defined as “a state of limited competition, in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers.”

For every independent business or hopeful startups, there is a rising tide of mega-corporations that dominate a given industry. While it is more pronounced in manufactured housing that in other industries, there are some similar trends.


Independents – Work With Us Or Die

Rephrased, what these giants are telling independent businesses in that pithy headline from “The Sun” – “Work With Us Or Die.

It should be chilling to those who believe in free enterprise.

As the Daily Business News recently reported, mainstream media is dominated by some 6 major conglomerates.


“Shadows of Liberty” Movie Introduction, Affordable Housing, and You

In manufactured housing, the concern is being raised that Berkshire Hathaway could have been correcting the record for years on the misconceptions about manufactured homes.  Why haven’t they?  It puts into question claims by Kevin Clayton, Berkshire Hathaway CEO, and Lesli Gooch, SVP for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).


Kevin Clayton, Leslie Gooch Sound-off; Left & Right Agree? Manufactured Homeland, MHI, & You


But the problem isn’t limited to them.  Thus part of the solution must be to understand the threat that domination by one or a few is harmful to the free marketplace, and ultimately to workers and consumers.


NY Stern University’s Scott Galloway on Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Capitol Hill Hearings


Facebook and Google, the later whose parent company is Alphabet, have been coming under fire globally. The EU fined Google for anti-trust activity. Congress and others are looking too.  While the headlines about Facebook are often tied to “fake news,” perhaps the more important issue is the raw power that these operations have over information.

As manufactured home marketers know, Google and Facebook can make or break your firm. So “shadow banning” and other ways that information is manipulated – or eliminated – by the FANG giants.


And as a multiple award winning retailer told MHProNews,Tony, no independent can afford to publicly fight 21st.” Agree or disagree with that retailer’s statement, but the thought that you can’t fight Clayton or Berkshire Hathaway is similar to the Sun’s pity headline, Work With Us Or Die.”

Are independent manufactured home businesses mere vassals or serfs to powerful megacorporations, and the association that those “big boys” dominate? A retailer in the article linked below thinks so.


How Many MH Independents, Retailers Have Been Lost Recently? “They Think They Own Us”


This is why the industry’s independents arguably must organize and push back in as many ways as they can. See the related report, linked below. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Google, Tech, Manufactured Housing, and Political Power

June 1st, 2018 Comments off


A few hours ago, if you googled “California Republicans,” the search engine would produce an information box listing “Nazism” as the party’s primary belief system,” per QZ.


As California gears up for its primary, many of the state’s Republicans are fuming over how Google described their party in its search results. Those searching for “California Republicans” or “California Republican Party” would have found a result that listed “Nazism” as one of the party’s ideologies along with “Conservatism,” “Market liberalism,” “Fiscal conservatism” and “Green conservatism.” Vice News spotted the listing and Google removed the label following a query from the publication,” per Engadget, a tech and electronics site.


As pragmatic political independents, given the power of search, editorially we find this troubling.

Google displays these boxes, called “knowledge panels,” for certain kinds of searches. Google “Goebbels,” for example, and up pop essential factoids about the Nazi propagandist, like when he was born and how tall he was,” QZ, or Quartz Media stated.


The QZ news site added, “Since Vice revealed the listing earlier today, the “ideology” field is no longer shown at all for the California Republicans. At time of writing, the field was still there for California Democrats.”

What’s QZ? “Quartz is a news website owned by Atlantic Media. It launched in 2012…. Quartz is a free digital news publication with no paywalls or registration,” said Wikipedia.


Why it Matters

The story is troubling on a variety of levels.

Google “define Manufactured Home,” and here’s what Google displayed this morning as the result.


It was years ago that MHProNews brought similar issues to the attention of the industry, and to MHI. We periodically publish reminders, which is part of the function of trade media. But where is the post-production trade association leadership in correcting this issue? MHI reportedly has two media/PR people, what are they doing? MHI has one or two staff attorneys, plus outside counsel. When will they properly define our industry?


It should be noted, that this has been the result from Google for years. Is it any wonder that so many in academia, media, public officials, policy advocates, and the general public gets manufactured housing wrong?



First, this underscores the power to influence in the hands of the so-called tech giants. In a society that has come to believe that every google search brings them dependable information, that turns out not to be true.

Second, it reveals the potential value of non-mainstream media. It wasn’t ABC, NBC, CBS, the New York Times, Fox or any other big news media outlet that picked this story up. It was Vice, with QZ and others coming up later.

Third, it reminds readers why the Daily Business News periodically spotlights concerns about the power of big tech, or monopolies in general. It is what NY Stern Professor Scott Galloway has called the Big 4 tech giants – and why he, as a pro-tech guy, has said that the Big 4 must be broken up. Not regulated, broken up under anti-trust laws. Senator Ted Cruz on the right, and a number of voices on the political left, have raised similar concerns over monopolistic power, especially in big tech.  But also with manufactured housing too.

NY Stern University’s Scott Galloway on Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Capitol Hill Hearings

Fourth, as the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) keeps adding staff, it raises the question, what are they doing to protect the industry’s interests of being properly defined? While this trade media and consulting operation was still an MHI member, such issues were raised with by MHProNews directly to the top MHI brass. We’ve published the evidence and concerns about improper definitions numerous times. What’s happened in Arlington? Clearly, there’s been no good result.


Not everything that happens in, or to, manufactured housing is MHI fault.

But a good trade organization stands up, and makes its best case to all comers. Who said? Among others – Frank Rolfe, a prominent MHI/NCC member, who until he was “talked to” – per reports from a Berkshire Hathaway team member, and others – Rolfe would periodically critiqued MHI and their actions. Bravo for him, back then. What about now?

Finally, it is a reminder that trade media and alternative media exists for very specific reasons. This site is number one “by a country mile” among industry pros, not because MHI made it so.

But arguably, it has been thanks to the support of the few.  This site has grown and dominated trade news, in spite of MHI’s alleged efforts to sideline, silence. or kill off this alternative voice.  We’ve been the number one for most of the time of our 9+ years of publishing existence.  Our traffic is a pragmatic vote by thousands of pros and investors – like yourself – who today will use their browsers, and hand-held devices to see what’s up.

As an organizational executive reader said, “…if MHProNews is writing about it, I want to know about it.”

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Wisconsin Housing Alliance – an MHI ‘Affiliate’ – Amy Bliss’ Messages Raise New Anti-Trust Issue


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Facebook, Google, and NY Stern Professor Scott Galloway’s Quest

March 14th, 2018 Comments off


Every day, tens of millions of Americans turn to Facebook for their social media, and to Google for searches.


Industry professionals strive in various ways to use both of those web-tech platforms for their marketing efforts.

The economic power of big tech is astonishing.  Google and Facebook reportedly eat up some 60 percent of all digital marketing revenues, not to mention their other income generating assets. That financial clout in turn is used in political, media, and other means of influence.

Over the past decade, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google—or, as I call them, “the Four”—have aggregated more economic value and influence than nearly any other commercial entity in history. Together, they have a market capitalization of $2.8 trillion (the GDP of France), a staggering 24 percent share of the S&P 500 Top 50, close to the value of every stock traded on the Nasdaq in 2001,” said Professor Scott Galloway in Esquire.

New York Stern School of Business Professor Galloway freely admits that he’s personally benefited from “the Four” tech giants.

The author, entrepreneur, and professor also wants to regulators to break up big tech, as their influence and power over the marketplace is so great, that it crushes competition.



Is it a surprise that across the left-right media and political divide, Galloway’s work is drawing interest? The Daily Business News has featured him in our market report in a video from left-of-center, CNBC.



Last night, it was right-of-center Tucker Carlson on Fox News that featured Galloway speaking specifically about Google (parent company, Alphabet) and Facebook in the context of the big four tech giants economic impact.

As the manufactured home industry struggles with it’s own challenges of market concentration – allegedly monopolistic power – over the industry and organizations of influence, such as the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), the Urban Institute,  and others – a question should be considered.

Are the tech giants – plus Berkshire Hathaway – sucking the oxygen out of the marketplace in manner that harms innovation, creativity, possible start-ups, existing enterprises, and workers? ##  (News, analysis and commentary.)


Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

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The Top 10 American Corporations, Manufactured Homes, and PreFab Housing

December 4th, 2017 Comments off

TopTenMegaCorpsDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNewsEvery professional adult interacts/or is impacted by every Top 10 U.S. based giant periodically.

But odds are excellent that manufactured housing operations, and interests like your business, are impacted daily – either directly, or indirectly – by the top 6 mega-corporations shown in the infographic below.

There are also many possible takeaways for the forward-thinking manufactured housing professional to be found in this Top 10 list.

3 Time Frames: Top 10 Corps. – 100 Years Ago, 50 Years Ago & Nov 2017

To reflect how rapidly change can occur, the market cap at the opening bell for Amazon today was $562.34B, per Nasdaq. That nearly $20 billion more than it was when this chart below was created.

But look back 100 years, to 1917.  Not one of those then-giant companies are in the top ten today.

From 1967 – 50 years ago, and within the lifetime of thousands in the manufactured housing industry today – once giant Kodak is no more.  The dominant retail player 5 decades ago was Sears, which has long since been supplanted, first by Walmart, and more recently, by Amazon.


As MHProNews noted in a pre-dawn report this morning, the top 2 publicly-traded giants in manufactured housing in 2000 – plus Palm Harbor Homes, others – melted away, filed bankruptcy, reorganized, etc.  Today’s dominant players in manufactured housing look to be just as unstoppable as many believed the old-2000 era Fleetwood and Champion Homes were then.


Today, the Fleetwood and Palm Harbor brands are subsidiaries of Cavco, and the Champion brand was reconstituted as a privately-owned firm.

Given the fact that manufactured housing’s #1 Clayton Homes and #2 Cavco Industries – per their own data – are growing at a slower pace than the industry at large, are there already possible warning signs that some in MHVille are overlooking? Are there vulnerabilities that these 2 largest HUD Code firms have that other competitors could exploit?

To answer that, what does this top 10 corporations chart tell you is the answer for such questions?

Impact of the “Tech Lords”

Apple and Microsoft are known by virtually everyone, and interacts/impacts with virtually daily.

Alphabet is “now the parent company of Google and several former Google subsidiaries,” says Wikipedia.  So, it’s used by – and their search results and ads impact – the manufactured housing industry in a big ways.

Google’s Going Modular Housing

Google and a former Amazon exec (see linked article below) are dabbling in prefab housing.

Inside MH – Not Every Democrat, Not Every Republican – Politically Incorrect, Factually Accurate

Will the tech giants dive into factory-built housing more deeply?  If so, shouldn’t we expect a big, disruptive market impact?

Microsoft may be diving into prefab homes soon too.

Bill Gates’ Subsidiary Belmont Plans Smart City of Future, What Role Will Factory Built Homes Play?

The same could happen with Facebook, which along side Google, are huge vehicles for marketing today.  Any chance these moves influenced Warren Buffett’s deeper buy into Apple, while selling off IBM?

Dive, Survive, or Thrive?

For mom-and-pop to even mid-sized manufactured housing operations to survive and thrive in this era of mega-corporations requires a strategy that based upon reality.  Wishful thinking and head-in-the-sand behavior simply won’t work.


If you are an independent, or provide products and services to independents, never forget this graphic below by the left-of-center media outlet, the Atlantic.




Political Impact of the Mega-Corps, Which Also Impacts the MH Industry

The political reality behind these top corporations are worth noting.

JP Morgan’s well-known leader is Jaime Dimon, a Democratic supporter who recently pushed the tax reform plan in a big, public way.

Why Democratic Leaning Jaime Dimon, of JP Morgan, Calls Americans to Support Tax Reform

Johnson and Johnson CEO, Alex Gorsky, has served as part of the Trump Administration’s American Manufacturing Council.

That said, the bulk of these giants tilt left.  Their leadership tends to favor Democratic candidates in their politics.

Warren Buffett has sizable stakes in Wells Fargo, and as previously reported, a growing stake in Apple.

All 6 of the top mega-corporations have a pro-Democratic tilt.


Never forget who Warren Buffett (right) supported, and that Hillary Clinton, left, was for higher taxes and strengthening the CFPB. Credit – Boston Globe.  More recently, Buffett on POTUS Trump, and politics is linked here.

So, when Democratic senators or congressional reps are trash-talking about ‘soaking the rich,’ are they really, truly going to go after those who are the core of their donor-base in recent election cycles?  Isn’t that ‘soak the rich’ just political spin, designed to make the masses feel good, while the truth is quite different?

Money, power, and politics have always mixed in America.

But as award-winning Marty Lavin has observed, pay more attention to what people do than what they say, and follow the money.


Lavin is an MHI award-winner, and a success story in communities, retail, and finance.

When you follow that money, much of it leads back to these top 10 mega corporations, which touch our industry and consumers in a myriad of ways, day-by-day.

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, fact checks, analysis, commentary.)

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SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for

Sunday Morning Weekly Recap Manufactured Housing Industry News, September 3 to September 10, 2017

September 10th, 2017 Comments off

Featured image credit, MHProNews.

Our new September issue is live. Our featured articles will be available on the home page. Our September theme will be available mid-week this week.

 To see the line-up of over 2-dozen featured articles for this month, along with the headline commentary, please click the link above.

Manufactured, modular and prefabricated home professionals know that how a home got to its location should not define a person or their dwelling.

What the Daily Business News spotlights day-by-day are the tragedies, triumphs and struggles for acceptance of the obvious solution for millions for the growing affordable housing crisis in the U.S. and beyond.

When you read the lineup for the month found on the home page, you can reflect on another motto as you chart your own professional path ahead: “We Provide, You Decide.”  ©


What’s New On MHLivingNews

Manufactured Home Community Survives Hurricane Harvey, Damage Reports, and Relief Efforts

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Featured image credit, KreditGoGo.

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Featured image credit, AccuWeather

September 5th, 2017


Featured image credit, CPAPracticeAdvisor.

September 4th, 2o17


Featured image credit, Ewoow.

September 3rd, 2017

## (Headline news recaps.)

(Image credits are as shown above – or on the original pages where first posted, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Whistleblower Spotlights Tech Giants Threat to American Business, Left & Right Politicos React

September 4th, 2017 Comments off

Featured image credit, Ewoow.

Google, Amazon and Facebook were platforms that could become tools “to snuff out competition,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) warned during a keynote speech at a New America Foundation, Open Markets event in 2016.

Voices on the political and economic left and right share her concerns.

Anyone who loves markets knows that for markets to work, there has to be competition. But today, in America, competition is dying. Consolidation and concentration are on the rise in sector after sector. Concentration threatens our markets, threatens our economy, and threatens our democracy.”

Every one of those bullets in her speech have been spotlighted in recent weeks on the Daily Business News, though not always in ways that the senator may have had in mind. Warren’s full speech is available here for download.

Along with the rest of the population, tens of thousands of manufactured housing professionals use Google.  Many industry pros use their pay-per-click, and other marketing and tech services too.  Google’s dominance in search is an issue that touches almost everyone who is “wired.”

Threat Perceived by Both Political Left and Right 

That warning from Senator Warren’s speech was made a year ago, per Business Insider.

Now, the realities behind her warning may becoming more obvious to citizens and leaders across the spectrum, as will be reflected in this report.

Google’s Massive Anti-Trust Fine


Image credit, New America Foundation. Warren’s full speech is available here for download.

In June, Google was fined a record-breaking $2.7 billion in a European Union (EU) anti-trust ruling that determined that they unfairly favored their own products over their rivals, per the New York Times.

In Europe, companies must compete on the merits regardless if they are European or not,” Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s antitrust chief said recently. “What Google has done is illegal under E.U. antitrust rules.”

Hours later, an article appeared on the New America Foundation’s website, praising the EU for standing up to Google on this matter.

The New America Foundation is a public policy think-tank. It has received over $21 million from Google, Eric Schmidt – the executive chairman of Alphabet, parent company of Google – and the Schmidt family foundation, since 1999.

Until 2016, Schmidt was also the chairman of New America Foundation.


Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Image credit, Marketing Directo.

Not long after the article was posted, New America heard from Schmidt.  He told the group’s president, Ann-Marie Slaughter, that he disagreed with the article.

For a brief time, the article was removed from the organization’s website.

However, it was back up only hours later. New America says it was due to “an unintentional internal issue,” not because of the disagreement with Google’s Schmidt.

Just How Much Can Tech Giants Like Google Influence?

I’ve been there for 15 years,” Barry Lynn told the Guardian. “And for 14 everything was great. In the last year or so it has got more difficult. And from every piece of evidence that we are seeing that has to do with pressure from Google.”

Until recently, Lynn ran Open Markets, which was a New America Foundation initiative.  That Open Markets’ research has led to liberal, moderates and conservative criticism of tech giants – like Google – who are dominating their respect parts of a given market.

That research may have cost Lynn – and the entire Open Markets team, consisting of both full-time employees and volunteers – their place at New America.

I criticized Google. It got me fired. That’s how corporate power works,” Lynn titled an article he contributed to the Washington Post.

Does that kind of corporate power reveal itself in manufactured housing? Certainly, it does from the prism of Google, Facebook and social media.  But are there other ways that such corporate power is revealed?  A previous Regulation Nation Daily Business News report explored that question.


New America


Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of New America Foundation. Image credit, New America Foundation.

Days after Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of New America Foundation, got complaints from Schmidt, she wrote “the time has come for Open Markets and New America to part ways,” in an e-mail to Lynn, per the New York Times.

She also made a point to state that the decision was “in no way based on the content of your work.”  But Lynn believes otherwise.

We are in the process of trying to expand our relationship with Google on some absolutely key points,” Ms. Slaughter wrote in email to Mr. Lynn, urging him to “just THINK about how you are imperiling funding for others.”

The official reason for parting ways with Open Markets, is because of “imperiling the institution as a whole.”

Lynn believes that New America was afraid of losing the funding from Google, one of their biggest backers.

Google is very aggressive in throwing its money around Washington and Brussels, and then pulling the strings,” Lynn said. “People are so afraid of Google now.”

Google is a very sophisticated team of people. They know how to spend their money and wield their influence in ways that usually get them what they want,” Lynn said.

In terms of researchers, the danger is that research and work writing about Google, about platform monopoly in general, work that should be be doing for the good of the American public will not be done.”

Google’s Influence Over Public Opinion, and ELS’ Sam Zell’s ‘Math’

The Daily Business News recently reported on how ways that companies like Google, Facebook and Apple – among others – can influence public opinion.

But also important to manufactured housing professionals are how allegedly monopolistic corporate power exerts influence over the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and through that body, to almost every facet of the industry.


In a previous, and regulation/monopoly related Daily Business News report, ELS’ same Zell laid out the facts how regulations harm smaller businesses, which results in consolidation. Consolidation leads to monopoly. To see that report, click the image above or the link here.


  • ELS Chair Sam Zell,
  • MHI Vice President Jenny Hodge
  • and others inside and outside of manufactured housing have made written allegations and/or video statements that lead some to a compelling and troubling conclusion. Heavy regulations force small businesses, out of business, and into the hands of consolidators.

Over time, those consolidators can become monopolies. Consider the graphic further below, produced by Cavco Industries.

Cavco is lead by Joe Stegmayer.  A 2003 article in Forbes revealed concerns by some Clayton Homes stockholders over the then pending acquisition by Buffett is this quote. “I’m perplexed,” said Stegmayer, a former Clayton division president. “Jim Clayton is not one to be scared by down cycles.” 

Consider too this quote from the same Forbes article, 

The mobile home [sic] industry has been in a four-year funk following a period of irrational exuberance and overexpansion in the 1990s. The business seems to be bottoming out. Why sell out now? Even with the merger premium, Clayton shares would be fetching 60% of what they traded at a year ago.”  Why, indeed?

DefiningSICinJournalismDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-comAnd this too from that Forbes report in 2003, If Buffett captures Clayton, it will be his second dip into the [manufactured housing industry] business. He soon will be the largest shareholder in Oakwood Homes, thanks to special bankruptcy loans that moved his claim on assets ahead of other creditors’ claims.”  Those were the steps that lead to Clayton’s dominance in manufactured housing today, as is reflected by Cavco’s graphic, below. 


Clayton and Cavco, per the chart above, are now some 62% of the industry’s total production. Between the two largest firms, they control 3 out of the 4 seats on the Manufactured Housing Institute’s all-powerful executive committee. To see the Cavco report this chart comes from, click here.

Another report last week revealed Democratic lawmakers and others who are concerned over what they called a “near monopoly” of manufactured housing

So Google and tech giants are just the tip issue that policy advocates are concerned about.

Back to Google and New America’s Denials of Their Influence


Tyra Mariani, Vice President of New America Foundation. Image credit, New America Foundation.

New America financial supporters have no influence or control over the research design, methodology, analysis or findings of New America research projects, nor do they have influence or control over the content of educational programs and communications efforts,” said Tyra Mariani, Executive Vice President of New America Foundation.

Further, a press release from New America Foundation in response to the New York Times article states that the separation from Open Markets is something that has been in the works for months.

For the past two months, we have been working with Barry Lynn to spin out Open Markets as an independent program, as we have done with other programs, to preserve his leadership, keep the program together, and maintain a strong relationship with New America,” the press release reads.

New America holds itself to high standards of transparency, diversity, and independence. We are proud of the work we do and the values we uphold.”


New America Foundation logo. Image credit, LinkTank.

New America Foundation also made the e-mails to Lynn available to the public for transparency – but only Slaughter’s end of the conversation was provided. The e-mails are available for download here.

Google has also released a statement on the matter, per the New York Times article.

We don’t agree with every group 100 percent of the time, and while we sometimes respectfully disagree, we respect each group’s independence, personnel decisions and policy perspectives,” said Riva Sciuto, a Google spokeswoman.

How Big of a Threat do these Tech Giants Pose?

The claims that Lynn is making against New America Foundation, and Google are ominous. They aren’t to be ignored, say policy advocates on the left, center and the right.  For an example beyond Senator Warren’s concerns that those giants could crush competition from smaller businesses, was a more recent voice from the right that raise the same issue of monopoly.

Now former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon proposed that companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon should all be treated and regulated as monopolies.


Image credits are as shown, text and collage credits,  Note our recent report that Harvard/MIT has after extensive study determined that Bannon and Breitbart are not racist or “alt right.” See that report, linked here.

Open Markets and Lynn are exposing these issues through their research and publicized claims.

Google, and Other Monopolies Impact on Manufactured Housing

There are two ways that the challenge of monopoly being raised impacts almost everyone in manufactured housing.

The first is that Google is picking winners and losers billions of times daily in their search results.

While SEO (Search Engine Optimization) was and is important, many are ‘buying their way’ to the top of page on results.  That creates more revenue for Google, and tilts the playing field towards those who pay more money to Google. In an industry such as manufactured housing, that means that the larger the company, the more likely they are to be buying traffic, through Google, Facebook or others.

The second impact is perhaps only modestly more subtle.


MHI’s location at 1655 N Fort Myer Dr. #200, Arlington, VA 22209 – across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

MHI claims to represent all aspects of manufactured housing, as the collage graphic from their website below demonstrates.  So when MHI addresses – or fails to address – an issue, it can tend to spillover onto smaller entities that may not have the same ability to reply to public concerns. 

That pattern has been demonstrated many times in recent years.  Some examples are: 

For independent companies in the manufactured home industry, such patterns can lead to the “worst of all worlds,” as MHARR said recently in a report.  MHProNews has published that organization’s concerns for several years, as MHARR spotlights ways MHI agenda impacts independent businesses.  


So be it Google, tech giants, MH industry lending or other forces within manufactured housing itself, professionals experience the various ways potential monopolies can impact smaller businesses.


Several left-of-center news media, Democratic lawmakers and non-profit groups are apparently converging around a narrative that Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage, and 21st Mortgage are exercising monopolistic influence over the industry, through their domination of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). See that report linked here, or by clicking the image above. George Allen, a generally right of center blogger and part-time defender of MHI, has called MHI an “oligarchy,” which he defined as power in the hands of the few. Find Allen’s and other industry professional’s comments, linked here.

As the recent report – found in the linked image above – documents how Democratic lawmakers and others are accusing Berkshire-Hathaway and their units of being a “near monopoly.”  The Daily Business News has tracked the steady pattern of industry “consolidation” by Clayton, and to a lesser extent, number two producer, Cavco Industries. But that consolidation is happening beyond production, to other parts of the industry too. 


Under-reported until last week is the true extent of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway’s divisions lending domination. Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, and 21st Mortgage and Finance are all well known.

But Wells Fargo is a top 5 manufactured home industry lender too, which Buffett’s Berkshire has a large stake.

So Berkshire’s brands dominance in manufactured home lending is larger than many may have previously believed.  Did their dominance influence how MHI approached the Duty to Serve issue?


While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge, Doug Ryan at CFED, and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI. Soheyla Kovach approaches this from a fresh and unique perspective, as her report and analysis linked below proves.

Lesli Gooch, Sr. VP at MHI pushed back against CFED/Prosperity Now manufactured housing pointman Doug Ryan’s claim that MHI’s Berkshire units are a monopoly.  While a legal determination would be needed for that allegation, the quiet – or periodically vocal and visible – debate on MH Industry concerns over monopoly and how it impacts independent businesses in manufactured housing will rage on.

Back To Google…and “Citizens Against Monopoly”


Image credit, Pro Market.

These effects are in so many corners of the political economy,” said Lynn.

The Open Markets team will stay together and continue to research and report on the growing threat of monopoly by tech giants under a new name, that has yet to be determined.

In the meantime, they have launched a website called Citizens Against Monopoly, which accuses Google of “trying to censor journalists and researchers who fight dangerous monopolies.”

This concentration affects our economic well-being.  It’s what explains why, for example, the percentage of Americans who own their own businesses has been falling for the last generation.  As more and more of the economy become sown up by monopolistic corporations, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for entrepreneurship,” Lynn wrote in his Washington Times article. ## (News, analysis.)

(Editor’s note: The EU has already decided that Google has violated their anti-trust laws. The concerns and allegations noted above in Julia Granowicz thoughtful report spotlights a variety of voices, which span the political and economic spectrum.  They serve as a reminder to this question.  Does MHI/key members of theirs violate RICO, or anti-trust policies? “We Provide, You Decide.”   ©


RICO Act graphic, credit YouTube.  Click here or the image above to see that special report.


To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

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JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.


Steve Bannon, White House Chief Strategist, Wants Google, Facebook Treated Like Monopolies

August 3rd, 2017 Comments off

Bannon is one of the driving forces behind Breitbart, and is widely seen as having played an important role in President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Google has been online for almost 19 years now.

Facebook has been for 13 years.

During that timeframe, both companies have become dominating giants.

In 2017, Google is the top ranking website in the United States, and the world.  It’s closely followed by YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Facebook is ranked number three world wide, per WeForum, which cites data from Alexa.

Google, YouTube and Facebook are all routinely used marketing tools in manufactured housing — and all other kinds of marketing too.


Disclosure. MHProNews’ sister operation, provides professional services to the industry, which routinely maximize online results through ‘white hat,’ organic methods. These involve using the resources named in this article, but often by using, or other methods that allow the user to skip paying anything to those giant tech companies. Image credit,

Besides having the world’s top 3 visited websites, Alphabet/Google and Facebook account for 99 percent of revenue growth in digital advertising in the U.S. in 2016, according to the analysis of IAB estimates.

Overall the U.S. digital advertising industry grew 21.8 percent in 2016, says Pivotal Research.

The big point is that if Google and Facebook are the primary interfaces to buyers, over the long-run they own the relationships and the related data,” Pivotal Research Senior Analyst Bill Wieser told Business Insider via email. “Every partner they work with is subservient.”

Internet Utilities, Advertising, and Monopolies

Wieser isn’t the only one who sees potential problems. White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon, has long been saying that the internet giants need to be regulated like utilities, and treated like monopolies.

In fact, as The Intercept points out, Facebook’s founder even Mark Zuckerberg called Facebook a “social utility” for the longest time.

I think there’s confusion around what the point of social networks is. A lot of different companies characterized as social networks have different goals — some serve the function of business networking, some are media portals. What we’re trying to do is just make it really efficient for people to communicate, get information and share information. We always try to emphasize the utility component.” – Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg told Time in a 2007 interview.

However, as they also point out Zuckerberg appears to have taken away that slogan in recent years, likely at the advice of legal council, hoping to avoid just what Bannon and others are considering.


Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is already a force in manufactured housing marketing, could be poised to enter the factory built housing space, and is widely rumored to be running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. Image credit as shown.

When Bannon says he believes there should be laws put in place to help regulate these things he does not mean by letting the  government take complete control. Rather, they could cap advertising fees and prices, since many see it as an essential place for people to advertise their businesses (see disclosure, second image, above). 

Rumors have it that Zuckerberg, who announced a road trip back in January, might be gearing up to run for the White House. Is part of Bannon’s strategy to head off a potential POTUS Trump 2020 rival?

POTUSDefinedManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe trip the Facebook founder spoke if is supposed to be for personal growth, “meeting regular folk”, and to “understand America.”  That sounds like an exploration of a campaign, further supported by the fact that Zuckerberg has hired Clinton campaign team members (more on that in a future report).


Bannon is known for edgy, controversial positions – and for being brilliant in his work. The tweet above is one example of some of his more controversial statements. It may also shed light on the Zuckerberg, Facebook, Google strategy. Image credit, Twitter. 

Google and Facebook Are Growing Offline As Well

Regular Daily Business News readers will know that Google and Facebook both have physical stakes in the market as well. Google is planning to build 300 units of modular housing that will be used for temporary employee housing; and Facebook – although their building method has yet to be confirmed – is planning to build a whole “village” or town called Willow Campus.



The manufactured, modular and prefab housing industries are deeply impacted by these operations. The Daily Business News will continue to lead the charge in providing coverage on this and other issues that impact a business, investments, or career like yours. # # (News, analysis.)

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JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz for Daily Business News on MHProNews.