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Retired Air Force Colonel With Three Graduate Degrees: Homless and Cannot Find a Job Anywhere!

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Commentary written by: Lyle Rapacki

The picture of the Grand Canyon with a storm raging over it is a beautiful sight I have witnessed many times.  There is a certain awesome regal beauty in the power and violence of the lightening flashing against a backdrop of such serene beauty and color emanating from the canyon walls.  There is a storm raging within our Nation that is equally violent and powerful but not at all regal or beautiful.  The still growing storm of economic collapse is beginning to crash over the lives of people who have even faithfully served our Nation, our leaders, our citizens.  This still developing storm will prove catastrophic; not useful as even thunderstorms over the Grand Canyon can be useful.  The economic storm, which is still intensifying, will level much in its path including people.  Americans at a deep level sense this but continue to go about their lives thinking if they pay it no attention the storm will pass, little to no damage will occur, especially to them personally and a new election will simply bring new people with new ideas and new plans to return us to normal.  As long as Americans can still go to McDonalds, Starbucks, movies, and watch their favorite sports or shows there is no need to worry while the storm rages outside – we’re on the inside nice and dry and comfy. 


Warnings have been issued.  Several more will be coming but probably will be ignored or scoffed at as being alarmist and sensational only.  Please do not ignore the growing signs of the impending storm.  Read below the story of a highly decorated and educated retired Air Force Colonel.  The coming storm will not be a respecter of positions, titles, awards, and all the rest society deems important. 




Written by: Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse

What advice would you give to a retired Air Force Colonel that has three graduate degrees and that cannot even find work as a janitor?  59-year-old Robert Freniere once served as a special assistant to General Stanley McChrystal, and he has spent extensive time in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Google Images)

But now this man who once had an office in the heart of the Pentagon cannot find anyone who will hire him.  In addition to his story, in this article you will also hear about several other middle-aged professionals that cannot find work in this economy either.  Despite what the Obama administration and the mainstream media are telling you, the truth is that there has been no employment recovery in this country.  What you are about to read is absolutely heartbreaking, but it represents the reality of what is really going on out there in the streets of America today.

A lot of unemployed Americans believe that they cannot find work because they don’t have enough “education” or enough “experience”.  Well, the truth is that there are a whole lot of people out there like Freniere that have lots of both and still can’t even get hired as a janitor

After a 30-year military career in which he earned three graduate degrees, rose to the rank of colonel, and served as an aide to Pentagon brass, Robert Freniere can guess what people might say when they learn he’s unemployed and lives out of his van:

Why doesn’t this guy get a job as a janitor?

Freniere answers his own question: “Well, I’ve tried that.”

Freniere, 59, says that his plea for help, to a janitor he once praised when the man was mopping the floors of his Washington office, went unfulfilled. So have dozens of job applications, he says, the ones he has filled out six hours a day, day after day, on public library computers.

So Freniere, a man who braved multiple combat zones and was hailed as “a leading light” by an admiral, is now fighting a new battle: homelessness.

You can read the rest of that article right here.  This just shows how badly the private sector in the United States is failing.  Someone with Freniere’s education and experience should be able to find work easily if our economy truly was healthy.

And of course Freniere is far from alone.  Just consider the story of 59-year-old Nancy Shields

Earlier last year, the 59-year-old Shields lost her townhouse and now rents a single room in her Southern California town. At one point, she managed a team of 60 people for a large retailer. She lost that job in 2011 but took another one—and a 20 percent pay cut—some months later. When that store closed in 2012, her luck ran out, and she has been looking for work ever since.

“My federal [unemployment] benefits (were) about $1,200 a month, and that’s all I get. … I have been very dependent on the generosity of my family members,” Shields said.

Her retirement savings exhausted, Shields said she doesn’t know what she’ll do if Congress doesn’t eventually authorize an extension.

As I have written about previously, a lot of unemployed Americans are going to lose their last lifeline now that their extended unemployment benefits are being cut off.  In fact, it is being projected that a total of 5 million unemployed Americans will lose their benefits by the end of 2014.  Many of those unemployed workers will end up losing everything.  One example of this is 53-year-old biotech researcher Vera Volk

Massachusetts resident Vera Volk also has a master’s degree, but the 53-year-old biotech researcher lost her job at the end of May and has been selling prized possessions in order to stay afloat.

“We’ve had to cash in everything that we could potentially cash in,” Volk said. “We’ve got our water heater down to the lowest we could potentially tolerate.” Volk’s extended unemployment benefits of $480 a week are the couple’s sole source of income. They’re four months behind on their mortgage, and although she and her husband have chronic health conditions, they couldn’t afford to keep paying for health insurance.

What would you do if you lost your job and couldn’t find another one no matter how hard you tried?

How would you stay afloat?

For 37-year-old Jeremy Botta, it is probably going to come down to selling off his most important possessions…

The pickup truck will probably be the first thing to go.

It’s the first new car that Jeremy Botta has ever bought, using his savings from working for more than 14 years at the same auto repair shop. “I bent over backwards—I worked almost a 100 hours a week on my salary to turn that store around,” said Botta, 37, who was laid off in April after the shop changed owners.

Have you ever worked 100 hours a week?

There are many Americans out there that put in crazy hours month after month and end up with nothing to show for it.

Now Botta is facing the very real possibility that he will have to sell his house just to survive…

“If it comes down to it, I’ll have to sell the house,” says Botta, who bought the place in Bend, Ore., just months before he suddenly lost his job, which netted him as much as $60,000 in a good year. Having already raided his retirement savings, Botta thinks he’ll need to take three or four part-time jobs, working 60 to 70 hours a week just to get by without the unemployment checks.

“I don’t know how people make it on minimum wage,” says Botta. Having applied for nearly 100 jobs without luck—including cashier’s positions at Home Depot and Lowe’s—Botta expects he’ll be pumping gas if he’s lucky.

In a previous article entitled “15 Signs That The Quality Of Jobs In America Is Going Downhill Really Fast“, I detailed how the quality of the jobs in the United States is rapidly deteriorating.

And these days it is not just those with little education that are being forced to work low paying jobs.  In fact, the number of college graduates working minimum wage jobs has doubled since 2007.

In addition, according to a National Employment Law Project study about 60 percent of the jobs that have been “created” since the end of the last recession pay $13.83 or less an hour.

But you can’t support a family on that kind of an income.  In millions of homes in America today, both the father and the mother work multiple jobs and there still isn’t enough money at the end of the month.

The middle class is being systematically destroyed and poverty is absolutely soaring.  In some areas of the country, more than 40 percent of the people live below the poverty line.  You can check out an interactive map which shows where the highest levels of poverty in America are right here.  As you can see, the southern half of the nation has been hit particularly hard.

In a desperate attempt to stay afloat, more Americans than ever are turning to emergency loans.  I have written about the payday loan scam previously, but now a new twist on that scam has emerged.

They are being called “workplace loans”, and companies all over America are beginning to offer them as “benefits” to their workers.  But the effective annual percentage rate on these loans can be as high as 165 percent

Arizona Restaurant Systems Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz., company that operates 28 Sonic locations in the state, allows workers to take out loans ranging from $150 to $500 that typically last two weeks.

The fees, ranging from $8 to $25 plus interest, don’t go to the restaurant franchisee, but to a lender called Think Finance Inc., which makes the loans. Based on the fees, the loans carry an effective annual percentage rate of 100% to 165%.

Please don’t get trapped in any of those loans.  They simply are not worth it.

Unfortunately, this is just the start of our economic problems.  We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline that will soon greatly accelerate.

And despite relentless propaganda from the mainstream media about how “good” things are, most Americans are very pessimistic about where things are headed.  According to a survey conducted in December by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 54 percent of all Americans believe that life in America will “go downhill” as we approach 2050, and only 23 percent believe that life will improve during the next few decades.

Also, Americans seem to have very little faith in the federal government at this point.  According to a shocking new poll that was just released, only one out of every 20 Americans believe that the government is functioning well and needs no changes, and 70 percent of all Americans do not have confidence that the government will “make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.”

If you are waiting for our politicians to fix everything and save the day, you can quit holding your breath.  They are way too busy having fun and raising money for their next campaigns.

For example, despite the fact that our country is falling apart all around us, Barack Obama just took an extended holiday vacation out in Hawaii and played his 160th round of golf since taking office.

Our “leaders” are not going to rescue us from what is coming.  That is why it is imperative to get prepared for the coming storm while you still can.

Time is running out.

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    Total 14 comments
    • MissingRonnieR

      This is B.S. look up what a retire Col. is paid. He spent 30 years with free medical care and free housing. He bought groceries at a reduced Post Exchange rate. Even now he has medical benefits most CEO’s would envy. This story is a crock.

      • Boxed in Freight

        “Retired Air Force Colonel” with a 3/4 of his salary monthly retirement payment? :lol: :lol: :lol:

      • Bronson

        There is more than meets the eye. There are always opposing forces, always.
        If these forces can intercept anyones life. Foolish people think otherwise.

      • Bronson

        How do you know what this guys take home pay is? You do not know. Oh, did you read some flow chart? Maybe he has kids getting his money?, or owes.
        Plus Like I said, there is always more than meets the eye. Look at the position he had, This is an example of the Man that knows to much. There is a code, and he is being punished, and made an example of. Even if he finds a job, they will continue to make his life a living hell. If your living a sheltered life, and have someone to put a band-aid on your boo-boos you will never know, ask any good fence rider!!!

        Anyway how can you judge someone when you do not know the full story….this alone makes no sense.

      • Bronson

        Also until you have experience loosing everything after serving your country, you have no clue.
        You think the health care is so great………These Doctors at the veterans Hospital will threaten Vets behind closed doors, and they get away with it. If your in need of surgery, they can, and will say it is in your mind, and in some cases put the Veteran on a mental Lock Up Ward.
        Although if someone is a good behind kisser, and good fence rider, a non patriot, they get some candy.

        Wake up, and smell the stench it is all around you, and on your shoes.

      • zzaxx

        Yes, it’s BS. I’m a 48-yr old retired Air Force Colonel with 25 years in. I get $6000/month in retirement before taxes, plus very affordable health insurance. If this guy stayed until 30 (sounds right for his age), he is getting a lot more because of the 2.5% per year increase.

        What this probably really means is that he planned to retire to Northern Virginia and get a $200K/year defense contractor job while paying for his kids to go to expensive colleges. That didn’t work out, and he doesn’t want to relocate to the many places in the country where he could live comfortably of his retirement.

        And yes, I did find a high-paying job and I live in a high cost of living area. But I had a Plan C in mind when I retired in case the job offers didn’t happen. There are advantages to growing up in the Midwest and having family there. Turns out I received 8 job offers, but as a Senior Engineer, not another Middle Manager.

    • GuitarLots

      Retired Bill Clinton … Homeless … I mean hopeless

    • whyohwhyohspellsyoyo

      It didn’t happen really did it, you made it up didn’t you? His pension would be enough to keep him in pretty good style, or did you fail to mention he’s a crackhead or something.

    • whyohwhyohspellsyoyo

      B for bs, his pension would keep him warm and fed, or is he a crackhead?

    • Bronson

      I have worked as a janitor in the past, and had a college degree. Although I was injured very severely in the military. At the time did not know it, and was in need of emergency surgery..The VA Doctors said I was Nuts…….I ended up loosing everything I owned because of the foreign Doctors at the VA Medical Centers.
      I consider myself lucky to be alive, and glad I found some real doctors at a private hospital that cared, and rushed me into emergency surgery.

      So until you know the full story, do not judge people…..VETS get sorry treatment, and if they complain they get punished.

    • Don't be hating!

      Poor guy. He just gave up. That’s all

      • Bronson

        Yes your right, Also if someone is sick physically, the pain will wear down someones mind, and cloud their thinking. It is difficult to keep going, after enduring pain for month/years. I look back and am very thankful I had the will power to pull through……It had gone on so long, the trauma from surgery could have been the end of me.

        There are some very good ethical doctors at the VA Medical centers, although on the other hand their are some that are evil, and think they are to good to care for Veteran, and dis-like Americans., Some will even go so far as to pretend they cannot speak English. I have also been threatened recently by a VAMC Doctor. These Doctor make their Threats behind closed doors, and do not put nothing in writing unless they are trying to make the Veteran look bad.

        Yes order lab test, and behind your back without the Veterans knowledge, they order drug test. They do this hoping to find something to use against the veterans to cover their butts. I had them test me for Drugs 4 times in one month, it was totally wrong, and without my permission.

        I also recently had to again go to a private hospital for more surgery, because the foreign VA Doctors Dis-like me, this is how they practice medicine in their Countries, they do not follow ethical practice, and violate the patient bill of rights. I have my complaint form filled out ready to be mailed, and also writing Congress, request a full investigation in this matter. If a Veteran trys to handle this, and contact the patient representatives, nothing comes from it, and the Doctors not being professional will threaten the patients telling them they will be put on the Mental ward, and locked up if they continue to complain. These foreign Doctors at the VAMC have their little circle, and stick together, very plain to see, Oh yes they are smart, and hide their actions.

        Nothing may come out of my Complaints, although I will handle this in a professional manner, and keep writing letters.

        There is a lot they cover up…….

    • American Man

      My first thought about the Colonel was the same, shouldn’t he have a pension ,medical coverage, a good amount saved, invested in a home, belongings ??
      Why would he be looking for a job ?
      It must be , he is not mentally stable, or his departure from the military was so debilitating because of political retribution for disagreements , that the man was financially ruined and decimated .
      What forces, what crap is going on in the military that he would crumble, and that the Secretary of State Gates would be so telling of the military being so fractured by the Administration??
      This is more than just a jobless story.

    • HereAmI

      When your nation no longer produces anything to back its currency with, and all the gold you once had has long since been pawned against continuing loans, and all government spending is done on borrowed money which has to be paid back with interest, things are very dire. China has bought most US debt; and so if the US defaults on its spiralling interest payments, the holder of the bond can repossess the nation. This is why they have bought your debt instruments for so long; to gain possession of the only hard assets which are used to back them. These bonds are linked to US land and citizens and infrastructure; so expect a Chinese repo move very soon. That’s why they are massing across the border in Mexico. If you revolt against your totally corrupt jewish-infected government, they will be over the border the same day, with MRAPs and every conceivable form of military muscle. Guns won’t help you. You will then find that you have a new government with slanty eyes, and the myth of representative government which you have foolishly believed in will be over, and the beast will reveal itself. They will build big Foxconn factories for you to work 18-hour days in. Families will be split up. The military and the police will be employed at higher rates than you get to enforce martial law over you.
      Until very recently, nations had to accept the worthless US dollar in exchange for their trinkets because they needed it to buy their oil; the scam was called the petrodollar; the US allowed Saudi Arabia to hike its oil prices to whatever level they chose in return for insisting on payments for the oil in USD. This is why Gaddafi and Saddam were taken down, because they started accepting euros or gold for their oil. But this cosy scam is now over. China is shifting to a new payment system for its oil which is not being bought with the USD, so the US party is OVER.
      When the end comes, and that will be sooner than you think, it will be nothing short of cataclysmic.
      And you started out so well…

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