Thank you for the pic and comments. I will gently call-out my LBS owner for telling me the brake housings were factory assembled. (Although in his defense, he may have been thinking about the cables inside the bars and not the long cable through the frame. It looks like one of his guys likely over-clamped the little cosmetic cover plate on the stem. It is still a bad design, in my humble opinion. I saved the smashed cable, and I plan to show him when I go back in for a fit touch-up.
The issue with the front brake is that the calipers softer, thin metal that can flex more easily than a typical Shimano or comparable caliper. Pads may have been an issue as well, but you could feel the mushiness in the basic mechanical action.