My Journey: Flyover to Finance to Defence, with Scams Along the Way, to Naked Capitalism
I was destined to have a warm place in my heart for NakedCapitalism, and my fondness has only grown over the years. So if you feel the way I do, please first take a mini-detour and go to the Tip Jar to donate or subscribe!
Before I was born, my father had already lived a colorful life: Ran away from home before high school; lied about his age to join the Army; was wounded in combat in Korea; became an avid reader of poetry, philosophy and history; had friendships with combatants on both sides of the Bay of Pigs, senior mafia leaders, politicians; and eventually settled down (in a way) to work as a road conductor and union officer on the railroad.
My father taught me to be a critical thinker, speak my mind, and never be afraid to challenge authority. He also taught me to spot scams, rackets, and political dirty tricks by sharing his firsthand knowledge of how things worked “on the inside”.
I grew up in the postindustrial Midwest. I was one of the kids bussed in from the “other side of the tracks.” I had the good fortune of learning computers in the early years when it was the wild, wild west, and dived right in before high school. My interest at the time was in operating systems and computer networking, which required me to understand how all the parts of complex systems fit and interacted together. My curiosity, combined with my father’s street smarts, made me a handful in school. By the time I entered college, I already had enough experience with computers to earn a living, so I ended up dropping out to follow the current of market demand.
My career path led me on a course that would shape my world view and put me on in intersecting track with the path of Naked Capitalism. If you are fond of Naked Capitalism, please help by contributing. The Tip Jar tells you how.
My career began to transition from a focus on computer consulting to the broader enterprise business functions and initiatives that relied upon efficient access and exchange of data. My engagements have included working for senior leaders of top companies in oil, investment banking, accounting, and marketing research, and eventually, the materiel development function within a service branch of the Department of Defense. Along the way, I also dabbled in supporting white collar crime investigations (in a very Scooby Doo way).
Over the years, I watched globalism and monopoly forces chip away at the United States industrial base to displace it with service industries that valued marketing and PR over science and engineering. Companies shifted focus from designing, making, and fixing things to just buying and selling things. There are now fewer and fewer people that know how technologies and processes work, or that possess the critical thinking skills necessary to dissect complex challenges and opportunities.
Politics have shifted as well; more people are vulnerable to manipulation or strong arming by globalists and monopolist, or susceptible to magical thinking quick fixes that have no hope of succeeding.
I began following Naked Capitalism during the subprime mortgage crisis. At the time, much of the national dialog was carefully framed to the tactic of ‘blame the victim’, which left the true villains off the hook. I was energized by the great work that Yves had done to highlight critical symptoms and root causes proving the mendacity and duplicity of mortgage bundlers by methods such as robo-signing.
What impressed me most was Yves’ approach of gathering important expert web coverage and adding her own content or analysis that would carefully dissect the modus operandi of the perpetrators. There is a quote in the military “Amateurs debate tactics, professionals study logistics”. Yves’ meticulous attention to process detail, and her domain knowledge appealed to my inner Scooby Doo (“…and I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”). I was hooked.
I have been an avid follower of Naked Capitalism for more than a decade now, and its quality and tenacity just keeps getting better. If you follow Naked Capitalism long enough, you’ll realize that they catch the scent of the most important issues months or years before the mainstream media catches up. All while staying ahead of the curve with expert analysis from Yves, Lambert, Jerri-Lynn, and the link suggestions and comments from a growing army of high-quality followers, often experts in their own right. Chip in to help keep this lean machine running full speed at the Tip Jar.
From this year alone, a few of the covered topics and links that have interested me the most include:
OPIODS – The unraveling of the supply chains, lobbyist cover stories, and regulatory capture. It is also refreshing to watch profiteers like the Sackler family get slowly encircled by karma.
ENVIRONMENT ¬ Particularly Glyphosate and microplastics, two examples of issues where Naked Capitalism was early on scene. I have no doubt that much of what has been revealed here has been the genesis for broader media reporting, and public demands for ridding of their use and restitution for the damage that they have created.
PRIVACY – From Facebook, to medical records, to phone tracking, to open microphones and cameras, to facial recognition, and on and on, Naked Capitalism has become a go-to source for understanding the breadth of abuses and how they are monetized, lobbied, and legislated.
CALPERS – I continue to be impressed and highly entertained by the relentless uncovering of new scandalous behavior and arguably criminal mismanagement of this massive pesion fund. Each day, I tune in to see if today is the day that the great monster that controls its management will finally be vanquished.
Naked Capitalism was my first serious exploration into the blogosphere. Prior to that I had primarily followed television and online newspapers. I began to read other bloggers from the “Blogroll”. After a very brief time, my information sources of choice were primarily blogs (with Naked Capitalism once or more a day), and a few major newspapers. I also found that I almost never went to television for news. Oh, and may I add to TV news “GOOD RIDDANCE!”
After familiarizing myself with the blog medium, I began to appreciate how much Naked Capitalism stands above others. I was initially drawn by the quality feature articles, then I soon began to discover the high caliber thanks to light-touch comment moderation. If you read many comments on blogs or even online newspapers, you see that many are emotional rants, tribal regurgitations, and trolls. I know Yves is sometimes overwhelmed by the torture of keeping the comments clear of nonsense, but her contribution is not unappreciated.
I believe that Naked Capitalism has some of the most useful and thought provoking comments in the blogosphere.
Another great distinction is that many quality articles and links come from the readers themselves. There are very few online forums where readers have such a direct influence on future content. I am convinced too that many other blog and news sources get story ideas from Naked Capitalism stories and comments.
So readers, pat yourselves on the back for your covert influence on mainstream reporting which sometimes becomes apparent on topics like Uber thanks to Hubert Horan’s withering, fact-packed analysis, and Yves’ dogging of private equity fees and abuses. And give at the Tip Jar to stir up even more trouble!
Another way I have been impressed and inspired by Naked Capitalism is in the quality of the people and discussions that attend the ever-growing number of meet-ups (which our donations help make possible, hint, hint, the Tip Jar beckons). I try to make as many as I can, and have often driven many hours to attend. Each time, I was always glad I went. Naked Capitalism draws a great community of intelligent and friendly people eager to improve our world.
If you read this far, then consider yourself ONE OF US. You are a member of the Naked Capitalism family. So please pay a visit to the Tip Jar and help us make our family proud.