Retired Air Force Colonel With Three Graduate Degrees Is Homeless And Sleeps In A Van

Blue Van - Photo by SuperTank17What 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.  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.

Blue Van - Photo by SuperTank17

What Have We Gotten For The Trillion Dollars We Have Spent On Wars In Afghanistan, Iraq And Libya?

Over a trillion U.S. taxpayer dollars have been spent on wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.  Whether you are for the wars or against the wars, it is important for all of us to step back and evaluate what we have really gotten for all of that money.  In Libya, we have actually helped al-Qaeda forces that were shooting at U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan take over the country.  Now they have announced that they will be imposing strict Sharia law on all of Libya.  After 10 years of having our boys shot up in Afghanistan, the Afghan government is so “grateful” that they are publicly saying that they will side with Pakistan in any future war against the United States.  In Iraq, Islamic radicals are beheading and murdering dozens and dozens of Christians and the new Iraqi government seemingly can’t wait to push the remaining U.S. soldiers out of the country.  We ran up well over a trillion dollars of new debt to “liberate” these countries, but are they really in better shape than they were before these wars?  Are we really in better shape than we were before these wars?

Today, the United States military has at least one base in more than half of all the nations on the planet.

The U.S. spends more than 7 times as much on the military as any other country on earth does.

Without a doubt, the United States will always need a strong military.  But with the national debt soaring to unprecedented heights, is it really wise for us to try to be the police of the entire globe?

We have poured well over a trillion dollars into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and we have very little to show for it.

Are Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya safer places than before we went to war with them?

No.

Are Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya producing fewer “terrorists” than before we went to war with them?

No.

Are we safer than before we started all these wars?

No.

Our government has spent well over a trillion dollars and the blood of thousands upon thousands of U.S. soldiers has been spilled and in the final analysis very little has actually been accomplished.

Let’s take a closer look at these conflicts and see exactly what we have gotten for all of the money that we have spent….

Libya

In Libya, we have actually helped al-Qaeda take power.

In Afghanistan and Iraq we were supposedly fighting to do just the opposite.

So just what in the world is going on here?

The price tag for the first week of airstrikes on Libya alone was 600 million dollars.

Yes, Gaddafi was a tyrant, but have we invested a lot of time and effort only to watch as an even worse government takes power?

According to The Telegraph, the leader of the Libyan rebels was openly admitting that his “troops” included jihadists that were firing bullets at U.S. forces in Iraq….

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

A recent article by Kurt Nimmo for Infowars.com discussed some of the other ways that al-Qaeda has been active in Libya during the fight against Gaddafi….

Despite Aujali’s assurance, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the former head of LIFG, was appointed to run a military council in September. He fought with al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In February, it was reported that al-Qaeda had set-up an Islamic emirate in Derna, in eastern Libya, headed by a former prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, Abdelkarim al-Hasadi.

Now that they have won, the “rebels” have announced that they will be imposing strict Sharia law all over Libya.

According to a new article posted on The Telegraph, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of NATO’s National Transitional Council, has even announced plans to repeal polygamy laws because they are not compliant with Sharia law….

Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi’s era that he said was in conflict with Sharia – that banning polygamy.

Should we be cheering this?

Why would the U.S. government want to spend a single penny helping al-Qaeda take over Libya and set up Sharia law there?

There should not be a single American (conservative or liberal) that supports what has gone down in Libya.

Afghanistan

The U.S. military has now been in Afghanistan for 10 years.  World War II lasted less than 6 years.  The U.S. government has spent over 467 billion dollars on the war in Afghanistan, and thousands upon thousands of our troops have been killed or wounded there.

Even after all this time, a single day of the war in Afghanistan costs more money than it took to build the entire Pentagon.

So are the Afghans grateful that we have sacrificed so much to bring “democracy” to that nation?

Of course not.

Just check out what Afghan President Hamid Karzai said during one recent interview….

“God forbid, If ever there is a war between Pakistan and America, Afghanistan will side with Pakistan”

Did you catch that?

Karzai says that in a future war between Pakistan and the United States, Afghanistan is going to be fighting against us.

But didn’t we bring them freedom?

No, we did not.

Instead, one radical Islamic government replaced another.

Today, there are officially zero Christian churches left in Afghanistan.

The new constitution of Afghanistan says that that Islam is the “religion of the state“.

The new constitution of Afghanistan also states that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam”.

Earlier this year, I wrote about one Afghan man that was actually sentenced to death for converting to Christianity….

In Afghanistan right now, a one-legged Afghan Red Cross worker named Said Musa is sitting in a prison cell awaiting his execution.  Musa, a father of six children, was arrested by the Afghan government as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy last year.  He was sentenced to death by an Afghan court that was established by the new Afghan government that the United States worked so hard to set up.  He has been tortured and sexually abused for months.  An Afghan judge has told him that he will be hung within a matter of days.  So what was his crime?  He was a Muslim that has become a Christian.  Under Sharia law, that is punishable by death.  Is this is the “freedom” that we have sacrificed so many American lives to bring to Afghanistan?

Thankfully he was later released from prison and was able to get out of the country.

However, this just shows that the people of Afghanistan are currently experiencing a level of freedom that is quite comparable to what they experienced under the Taliban.

After all that the United States has done over there, very little positive change has taken place.

Iraq

Up to now, it is estimated that the U.S. government has spent over 800 billion dollars on the war in Iraq.

Thousands upon thousands of U.S. soldiers lost arms and legs in Iraq.

Thousands of U.S. soldiers will never be coming home at all.

But after all of our efforts, Iraq is still a far less safe place than it was before we invaded.

Christians and other religious minorities once were able to worship in peace, but now they are racing to get out of Iraq as fast as they can.

Why?

Well, because Christians and other religious minorities are being brutally targeted by Islamic radicals.

For example, about a year ago more than 80 Iraqi Christians were beheaded on a single day.  All that the Christians were trying to do was attend a church service.  One four-month-old baby was actually beheaded right in front of her parents.  You can see pictures of the shocking violence from that day right here.

Iraq is a complete and total disaster zone at this point.

The Iraqi government says that it is willing for U.S. military trainers to stay in the country, but they also say that there will be no more immunity for U.S. soldiers.

We have left the country in far worse shape than we found it, and Iraq is now a bigger breeding ground for terrorists than it ever was before.

You see, the truth is that the populations of these countries will continue to hold a grudge once we leave.  They are simply not going to forgive and forget.  There are millions of Islamic radicals in these countries that will never, ever, ever forgive the United States.  The hatred that they feel for us could be passed down for generations.

We have not brought freedom to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.  Instead, we have just replaced the tyranny that they were suffering under with new forms of tyranny.

Meanwhile, we continue to spend ourselves into oblivion.

Yes, the U.S. will always need a strong military.

Yes, there are areas where we actually need to spend more on the military.  For example, now that Barack Obama has completely gutted our strategic nuclear arsenal, that is one area that we desperately need to attend to.

However, we simply cannot continue to recklessly spend money like we are today.  We are in debt up to our eyeballs, and trying to be “the police of the world” is very expensive….

*Before the start of the “War on Terror”, the U.S. national debt was under 6 trillion dollars.  Today, it is getting very close to 15 trillion dollars.

*Right now, the U.S. military is in nearly 130 different nations and it has a total of approximately 700 military bases around the world.  It takes about 100 billion dollars a year to maintain these bases.

*U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.

*The United States accounts for 46.5% of all military spending on the planet.  China is in second place with only 6.6%.

Meanwhile, our national security just continues to deteriorate.  Millions of people have illegally poured across our border with Mexico and the federal government is actually suing border states such as Arizona to keep them from trying to stop this.

Our national security priorities are way, way out of whack.  We continue to waste money in some of the most bizarre ways imaginable and yet we continue to become less secure with each passing year.

Yes, the United States needs a very, very strong military.

Yes, national security needs to be a very, very high priority.

But what we have been doing over the past decade has not worked.  In fact, the Bush/Obama foreign policy has been an abject failure.  We have poured hundreds of billions of dollars down the drain and we are less secure today than at any point since World War II.

It is time to admit that Barack Obama and George W. Bush have been fundamentally wrong about these wars.  Because of their foolishness, we are less safe today and our allies are less safe today.

Afghanistan is not our friend now.  Neither is Iraq.  Libya looks like it is going to become an al-Qaeda paradise thanks to us.

There is very little “freedom” in those 3 nations today.  Instead, “Islamic law” is being shoved down the throats of the people living in those countries.

So, in the final analysis, what have we really accomplished?

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