Guardian Liberty Voice, You Are Terrible.

Let me start off by stating the nature of my relationship to the organization. I was/am (at least as far as I know, at the time of publishing) a “certified writer” for Guardian Liberty Voice, or whatever permutation of that name suits them. I signed a non-disclosure agreement that regards as confidential any information regarding their revenue generation, marketing, publishing and advertising. However, I don’t believe I saw anything in there that forbid me from mentioning that I never got paid anything for writing almost 80 articles for them between the months of November and December. Let’s just leave it there and make sure I don’t end up tempted to breach any legal stuff, alright? I’ll say that I’m in the process of considering my options. There is a lot that I’d like to say, but I have the feeling that unless I want my life to be hell on earth, I had better keep it civil. Sometimes complaints on the internet have a habit of disappearing from sites that first record them, then offer to remove them for a fee, among the Damoclean swords of legal action threatening those who don’t pursue anonymity.

But here’s the thing: It’s incredibly frustrating to think that I can’t really talk about how messed up that is, because making an argument of it would require me to disclose the terms I agreed not to, right? Unless, of course, they were already considered to be public knowledge, at no fault of mine, which they might well be. It’s safe to say that I’m not the first writer they burned, and the internet has something of a trail. Ultimately, however, I’m broke and not really in the mood to tempt either fate or lawyers.

Let me vent about my life for a bit.

I moved to California in 2010, and was blessed with a job the first week I got here. I stayed there for three years, and got promoted rapidly. It was in a factory, where I got into machining. Most of my work history is in manufacturing. Anyways, I left due to my wife and I getting extremely angst-y over the appearance that I was tricked into working night shifts, stranded there, and subjected to two consecutive years of mandatory overtime. I didn’t get to see my wife much more than on Sundays (though there was a period when Sunday was also a mandatory overtime day), and our relationship was suffering over my not being around. I requested time and again to be transferred back to the day shift during that period, and it all came to a head when one of the day shift department leads (the same job I did at night) quit and moved to Las Vegas, and another died in a motorcycle accident about two weeks later. Despite the ridiculous situation of having three leads on night and one on days, I was actually insulted for asking to transfer to days again. That burnt me bad enough that I got a second job during days, and a couple of months later quit my night gig to go full time at the new place.

The new place was a bit of a sketchy proposition, It was in a guy’s hangar. Yes, hangar, as in a garage for a personal aircraft. It was a nice neighborhood, anyways. Well, under pressure from his second-in-command, he finally relented to moving the business into an actual leased property. It probably helped that some sort of county regulator had been tipped off that he was running a substantial manufacturing operation out of his residential property and ordered him to cease. Well, in moving the business, I got to experience a whole wonderful variety of safety-scoffing activities, like cutting copper air pipes out of the 20′ high ceiling of his hanger, while standing on the forks of an ancient forklift that actually used a manual transmission, with a reciprocating saw. And driving the box truck he bought (with a trashed head gasket) from an auction while loaded till the bed was sitting on the axle 20 miles back and forth through traffic, and then driving my own vehicle with a five gallon bucket from Home Depot full of nitric acid sitting shotgun. Et damned cetera.

Well, that ended when I heard from his office lady (who was really nice, but not even in the neighborhood of qualified for what she was being asked to accomplish) that first, he had charged a trip to a strip club and a laptop he bought his kid onto a company card, and second, the business was broke and he wasn’t paying our social security contributions or other mandated withholdings. So, I started applying around, and got a job in a real machine shop as a journeyman machinist.

My initial elation got a little bruised when I realized that the atmosphere was “miserable sweat shop hell hole,” and that there weren’t many long time employees. Basically, they rolled people with a quickness. Well, I lasted six weeks with them, and then was let go before my 90 day trial was up for having a three percent scrap rate. It’s important to note a couple things that go into that figure. First, the average job was something like 20-25 pieces to fill the order, so if you regularly scrapped your set-up part (the first piece of material you put into the machine to check the program, measure and verify that everything is within dimensional tolerance), you would automatically be at four or five percent scrap, self reported. Next, they were an ISO certified, Department of Defense approved aerospace manufacturer. They did work for Lockheed Martin and the friggin’ Luftwaffe (still the name of Germany’s airforce), along with many other prestigious organizations. What that means is that you want to be obsessive about checking tolerances and self-reporting scrap. See, sometimes you can make a bad part and shuffle it in with the good ones, because good and bad can be determined by arbitrary minutiae like being off-size by .0001 inches, but you don’t want to try that when you’re making parts for airplanes. It’s an ethics thing. What did this company expect for a scrap rate? Less than one percent. That, my dear reader, is a damned fantasy when you’re doing set-up work every 20 or so parts.

This is getting long, but I hope you understand. My bitching is therapeutic.

Well, the day they let me go was my birthday, this past September. Awesome, right? So I went home and hit up the Craigslist jobs section, and came up with an interesting employment lead. A company, who I also ended up signing a confidentiality agreement with and therefore can’t name, was hiring people as third party proposition players for the role of player/banker in California card clubs. I made it past the interview phase and to the end of paid training (which involved an intense amount of training toward getting really fast at counting hands of blackjack and baccarat), to be let go the first day that I showed up for my shift, on the grounds of “We just don’t think you’re the right fit.” I could deal seven hands of blackjack, hit them one-by-one to house rules (hit a soft 16, stay on a hard 16 and up), and resolve them against a dealer hand in less than thirty seconds. Expletive, chain of expletives. My luck is cancer incarnate.

That, my friends, is where I was when I fell for Guardian Liberty Voice’s sweet promise of paying me to write. Vulnerable, on my ass, wife getting stressed at our finances.. I played my hand wrong, and appear to have screwed myself out of eligibility for unemployment benefits through the process.. And I’ve been applying for crap jobs like retail sales for about the last month, to no positive result. That should explain why I had disappeared through January.

It honestly seems like the internet itself is turning into more of a sewer than normal, though after factoring personal bias, it’s more likely that my eyes have just opened and allowed me to see the ways things are monetized. My dear reader, the very article you’re reading in this exact moment is something of an endangered species, in that it’s not part of an affiliate program, nor does it dip its fingers into the waters of astro-turfing fake expertise.

I’ve been defiantly pro-capitalism for about the entirety of my life, but I’m to the point of sickened at the effect that the cancer I’m alluding to is having on the availability and quality of information. Ethics are sickly, rotting and putrid things, these days. It’s wrong. And, that is a direction that I will be taking my blog in from here on. I want to be something like a spotlight of internet advocacy, which will require that I descend to the depths of con artists and expose myself to their legal teams. I guess I’m just at the metaphorically suicidal phase.

Well, send me money or something. Just kidding, I didn’t leave any place for you to.

I seriously may have to consider a Patreon account, though. Anyways, thank you if you read this. It’s hardly journalistic or containing significant merit to publish, but to that end, I do have some ideas on the burner. Classic tales of fraud, like a homeopathic “doctor” who claims an M.D. that came from an unaccredited university that was sued by the state of Florida, or how essentially blackmails people to purchase their service, if they want to amend arbitrary and unsubstantiated reports filed against them, which the site refuses to remove because of a legal maneuver that holds the issuer of the report as liable for libel in lieu of the site. But until I’m prepared to tackle that one, let me cover my ass by advising you not to take my word for it, and that this entire article is simply for your entertainment. =)

Signing off and maybe getting some sleep,

-Brian Whittemore


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