Bristol Virginia Energy Research Center

New future for Bristol Virginia-Tennessee?

by Lewis Loflin

In 2011 Bristol-Tri-Cities was ranked number 5 in the 10 poorest cities in America by


Another $350,000 Wasted on Passenger Rail Study

The Bristol Train Station was a worthless project costing taxpayers $6 million and ten years to renovate. Finished in 2008 it has produced nothing of value in either jobs or economic development. They have been lobbying for years to get AMTRAK to come to Bristol, itself a massive waste of tax dollars. See $350,000 Wasted on Passenger Rail Study

Above is the $8 million Bristol Virginia Energy Research Center another empty building producing nothing. See Green Energy Boondoggle in Bristol Virginia.

When it comes to arrogance, power, and lack of accountability, journalists are probably the only people on the planet who make lawyers look good. -- Steve Brill

Rod Dreher, a senior editor at The American Conservative to quote on "mainstream journalists",

"The people who run American journalism, and who staff the newsrooms, think of themselves as sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and, culturally speaking, on the right side of history... (are) interested in every kind of diversity, except the kind that would challenge their own prejudices. Those include, bigotry against conservative religion, bigotry against rural folks and bigotry against working-class and poor white people."

Ref. Oct. 18, 2016 The Post-Trump Media by James Taranto WSJ

2016 has proven the mainstream press completely corrupt including the Bristol Herald Courier my local newspaper - I terminated my subscription of 24 years. They are the "fake news" more interested in propaganda than supplying facts. Wikileaks has exposed the mass collusion between Democrats and the press lap dogs. Wall Street scumbags have also been in on this as well. This is why we need alternative news sites such as this and many others. Before believing anything CHECK YOUR SOURCES! Get an education!

Many news stories may be partially correct and often incomplete or suffer political correctness censorship and outright omissions. News reports are filled with crime reports in particular with large urban areas with high crime rates. The Chicago Tribune stated outright it censors the race of criminals after complaints on this by its readers.

They claim race has nothing to do with the story, yet as of November 2016 over 700 people have died due to violence in the City most of the victims minorities. But on the other end the media claims police racism because so many minorities are arrested, while censoring vital information proving the arrests are based on mass criminal behavior by these very "victims" of racism. Thus their reporting is not news, but propaganda designed to push a political position friendly to the left wing racists in the Democrat Party looking for votes.

Immigration and climate change are two of the most distorted and propagandized subjects out there. One will have to research multiple publications and put the information together. Subjects such as climate belong under earth science - ecology is a social science not a hard science and in particular social sciences have no relation to real science and poisons it on college campuses. It's difficult for the average person to deal with that subject without a science background.

Hatred of Political Correctness

Post election Bill Maher noted two destructive trends among fellow liberals and has warned them to repeatedly on this. "Political correctness bullshit" and refusal to deal with Islam. Even David Axelrod admitted scores of counties that went for Obama in two elections went for Trump, how could this be racism?

The press and ruling elite behind it depend not on facts or allowing open debate, but the authority of approved "experts", the same kinds of people that got all of the polls and the election totally wrong.

In Why Do Democrats Look Down on Voters? November 23, 2014 By Clive Crook, a liberal, says,

This syndrome of Democratic disdain, I think, has two main parts. First, liberals have an exaggerated respect for intellectual authority and technical expertise. Second, they have an unduly narrow conception of the values that are implicated in political choices. These things come together in the conviction that if you disagree with Democrats on universal health insurance or almost anything else, it can only be because you're stupid. Voters recognize this as insufferable arrogance and, oddly enough, they resent it.

Democrats who might be asking where they went wrong in the mid-term elections - not that many of them are - ought to give this some thought. The conviction that voters are stupid, however, isn't just bad tactics. It's also substantively wrong...having conservative values doesn't make you stupid, any more than having liberal values makes you smart...

Add in both parties in 2016. Virginia politicians of both parties have similar idiot attitudes towards economic development when it fails year after producing nothing, then come back with millions more based on dumb academic studies only to fail again.

Bristol Virginia still screwing taxpayers for The Falls

The infamous Falls strip mall retail development has cost Bristol residents tens of millions in corporate welfare, massive debt, plus interest, are back shaking-down more public dollars. The Falls is centered on a Cabela's store. I believe Cabela's has sold out to Bass Pro Shop whose store across the state line in Bristol, Tennessee (about five miles away) may result in a shut down. Bristol Virginia politicians are in a panic. Recently they planed to pay over $650,000 for a fake waterfall.

The Pinnacle Project centered on Bass Pro Shop has spent one quarter of the amount of Bristol Virginia scammers and has been a massive success - it has emptied the Bristol Virginia Mall and has attracted around 50 businesses, while The Falls got a Lowe's that relocated from a mile away, Cabela's, a Sheetz gas station, and a restaurant or two.

Last September these Bristol Virginia idiots borrowed another $6 million, which $3 million was going for road work. Now the City scammers are trying to pilfer $1.8 million in public transportation funds to pay for interior roads, which are private property. They are trying to make the interior roads public so developers and the Bristol City scammers won't pay the cost.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has to approve the grant and if they don't, Bristol Virginia scammers will have to pay the whole $3 million plus interest. I encourage taxpayers to contact VDOT and voice our objection to this misuse of public funds for private profit.

New Specialty Crop Grants for Virginia Ten projects will waste $394,000 in USDA funding

October 21, 2016 Here is another jobs program for affluent professionals and zero for working people. To quote,

RICHMOND – Ten agriculture-related projects in Virginia have been awarded $393,999 in grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)...

"As one of Virginia's largest industries, agriculture depends on quality research and data to remain competitive in the 21st century economy," said Governor Terry McAuliffe. "These USDA grants will ensure Virginia farmers continue to yield some of the best crops on the market, with 40 percent of the funding directed toward research in various aspects of food safety and quality. I congratulate these organizations and educational institutions for pursuing innovative research that will help enhance marketing opportunities and food safety for growers across the Commonwealth."

Uhh, that's what have said for numinous previous grants. Governor Terry McAuliffe when not lobbying for foreign interests and trying to restore the vote to criminals, he directs the waste and diversion of millions of state and local dollars. Here is why we have no real job creation.

2016 Election on Globalism and Immigration

The working class white and black have been hammered by destructive trade and immigration policies benefiting Wall Street Republicans in alliance with post-national Democrats obsessed by race and gender. The victory of president-elect Donald Trump is the product of a white working class revolt has many in our community hopeful. Trump was preferred by around 75% of the voters with Trump signs everywhere. The Bristol Herald Courier, a fake news site due to bias, omission of facts, and hostility towards Trump and his voters, is also part of the problem. Here is part of why we had this revolt:

For the first time since the Depression, the American economy has added virtually no jobs in the private sector over a 10-year period. The total number of jobs has grown a bit, but that is only because of government hiring...from July 1999, when the economy was booming and companies were complaining about how hard it was to find workers, through July of this year, when the economy was mired in the deepest and longest recession since World War II.

For the decade, there was a net gain of 121,000 private sector jobs, according to the survey of employers conducted each month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In an economy with 109 million such jobs, that indicated an annual growth rate for the 10 years of 0.01 percent...

Ref. The New York Times August 7, 2009.

But is this really true? Zero job creation in ten years? Or is it the jobs simply never went to Americans, but a massive illegal, underground labor force?

During this same period, not even counting the continuing explosion of work visas, we got 5.6 million naturalized citizens in addition to 10-20 million more illegal aliens and guest workers.

This is why American workers, even those with college degrees, are becoming a permanent underclass. American wage scales have been stagnant for decades as government and business work together to create this situation, then go off on a racism name calling binge to divert attention from the real issue.

The Richmond Times Dispatch (Nov. 24, 2016) claims illegal aliens number "more than a quarter million", but complains of a worker shortage. Yet Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe claims a $1.5 billion budget shortfall is because wage growth is so low to non-existent income tax collections are down.

Virginia has for too long depended on high paying federal jobs to float the state finances and sequestration has shown the rest of the state economy is a shambles. Yet the Trump victory riding on an abusive and unfair economic system was foretold in Virginia, but both political parties ignored the warning signs.

In 2014 David Brat, a college professor running on the Tea Party ticket, crushed house majority leader and 7 term Congressman Eric Cantor, spending only $200,000. The main issue was illegal immigration and the Republican Party's position of open borders and cheap, replacement workers.

The masses of imported illegal and legal immigrants drives down the wages of working people and supplies a cheap servant class for the affluent. Most of Virginia went for Trump, but wealthy Northern Virginia carried the state for Hillary. Time to start deportations and severe fines for criminal employers.

According to the New York Times (June 10, 2014) Cantor spent $5.4 million and while they noted the immigration issues in passing, chalked it up to he wasn't conservative enough, but missed the economic and other problems caused by mass immigration. Conservative has for too long been synonymous with Chamber of Commerce. Brat and Trump put an end to that fiction.

According to (Oct. 15, 2015) open borders advocates claim illegal aliens:

In 2010, illegal immigrants paid $183 million in state and local taxes in Virginia, according to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy. That included $109.6 million in sales taxes, $58 million in state income taxes and $15.5 million in property taxes.

The institute estimated that if the unauthorized immigrants were legally authorized to live and work in Virginia that amount would increase to $260 million in state and local taxes... If all illegal immigrants were removed from the Virginia workforce, the economic loss would be at least $11.2 billion and nearly 63,000 jobs...

First if the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy knows these people are illegal aliens why are they not being turned over to ICE? This lawlessness is so open and blatant no wonder so many are angry about it. And how much in taxes are they not paying as they drive down wages reducing tax collections even further??

This assumes the false narrative that American workers wouldn't take the jobs and pay those same taxes and even more because the wage scales wouldn't be artificially depressed. Then we wouldn't be dealing with almost $2 billion in jails, welfare, and trying to get chronic low-achievers to learn anything in school. In fact the problem of low-achieving non-Asian minorities is so bad Virginia adopted an open policy of differing education standards based on race.

Ref. Virginia New Achievement Standards Based On Race And Background, Huffington Post 8/24/2012.

While these liberal operated schools dribble on about racism, etc. they can't educate these children for whatever reason including lack of intellectual ability. That doesn't change the fact, according to the Center for Immigration Studies (, that over 90% of Hispanic immigrant families legal and illegal are on welfare and it's a multi-generational problem.

In addition violent crime from Hispanic gangs such as MS-13 blanket many parts of the state - with blacks these two groups account for 70-80% of the violent crime in Virginia. What's the dollar cost of all of this violent crime? Mass illegal immigration has driven millions of blacks across the nation out of the labor force and into poverty.

Illegal aliens in Virginia by country of origin.

Virginia (officially) has almost as many illegal aliens as Arizona ranked at 10 and 9 respectively. While the Arizona illegal population is mostly Mexican, Virginia is heavily loaded towards Central America, Asians, and Muslims. Illegal alien Muslims are a huge security threat along with Chinese spying with so many government and defense agencies in the area of Northern Virginia. As a security matter we must institute immediate mass deportation of this entire population.

One Pakistani "immigrant", Aimal Khan Kasi, murdered two CIA employees and wounded three others in 1993, was later executed in 2002. Pakistan, along with Saudi Arabia, are hotbeds of Sunni (Wahhabi) terrorism. The Somali refugee that went on a stabbing spree at Ohio State University November 2016 came through Islamist Pakistan.

See Kasi Execution Carries Fear of Retaliation.

Going by critics such as Senator Jeff Sessions, he claims that we import with immigrants, illegal aliens, and work visas a staggering 2.5 million replacement workers per year, many never leave. That is 50 million people since 1996! Bear-Stearns before they went under in 2007 estimated even then the number was more like 20-30 million illegal aliens. The number of illegal aliens in Virginia could be easily 500,000 plus.

The The Underground Labor Force is Rising to the Surface report by Bear-Stearns highlights the following:

1. The number of illegal immigrants in the United States may be as high as 20 million people, more than double the official 9 million people estimated by the Census Bureau.

2. The total number of legalized immigrants entering The United States since 1990 has averaged 962,000 per year. Several credible studies indicate that the number of illegal entries has recently crept up to 3 million per year, triple the authorized figure.

3. Undocumented immigrants are gaining a larger share of the job market, and hold approximately 12 to 15 million jobs in the United States (8% of the employed)

4. Four to six million jobs have shifted to the underground market, as small businesses take advantage of the vulnerability of illegal residents.

5. In addition to circumventing the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, many employers of illegal workers have taken to using unrecorded revenue receipts. Employer enforcement has succumbed to political pressure.

6. Cell phones, internet and low-cost travel have allowed immigrants easier illegal access to the United States and increased their ability to find employment and circumvent immigration laws.

That where the jobs went for over a decade. This was going on as NAFTA devastated blue collar workers along with massive automation. I believe the 30 million illegal aliens is the correct number. Bristol never recovered from the 2000 bubble, then got hit with the 2007 housing bubble.

In 2016 all of the job creation in Bristol Tri-Cities, and its considerable, is mainly low-end retail, hospitality, and call centers, many part time. Latest jobs reports from ETSU economist Steb Hipple shows continuing jobs losses in manufacturing, information systems, etc. - the better paying jobs.

Millions spent on fiber optic infrastructure promising high-paying technology jobs, but instead got low-paying call center jobs replacing other low-paying call center jobs that left.

National economic downturns hit Bristol and similar communities like a battering ram. We get hit first and largely never recover. In addition political corruption at the state and local levels in addition to hostility and disdain of the ruling class towards poor and working class whites adds to the problem.

In addition, family breakdown, drug addiction, single mothers, and lack of work ethic is also a chronic problem here.

Republicans are rabidly hostile to labor and act as a branch of the Chamber of Commerce opposed to anything considered pro-labor. Republicans in Virginia are open-borders corporate-welfare snobs and elitists. They can't get enough replacement workers to boost business profits.

Democrats are simply open border racists including the local press and the government parasite class, while all for welfare expansion, are hostile to traditional culture and harbor disdain of blue-collar and working class whites who dominate here.

Local environmentalists, many who relocated here, attack most local economic development and display livid hostility towards the coal industry that provides one of the few avenues of a middle class living to those without advanced degrees or political connections.

Let's be careful not to scapegoat Mexicans, etc. but deal with the culture of greed and corruption in American business and liberal opportunism that causes these problems. See Yellow Press Lies About Mexicans. Nearby Hamblen County, Tennessee has imported thousands of illegal aliens that have spilled across the region taking a number of low-wage jobs created here. Tennessee ICE refuses to touch them, hopefully under a Trump administration they will be removed.

So nobody gets the wrong idea here, I believe in absolute equal treatment of everyone regardless of race, etc. One's worth is based on merit, achievement, and hard work, period. Non-whites must be held to same standards and treated exactly the same as white people with the same expectations, period. There is no right to equal outcome and affirmative action is simply state-sanctioned racism. What is it about "equal" treatment or a color-blind society you don't understand? What is it about Rule of Law you don't understand?

73% percent of immigrant headed households from Mexico and Central America are on welfare, versus 17% for South Asia. Natives it's 30%. Source Welfare use by Origin.

76% of all immigrant households with children collect welfare. 51% of immigrant households with one worker collect welfare. Source Welfare and One Worker.

For established and new arrival immigrants welfare use is very high and drops little even after 21 years. Source Welfare Use over Time.

Even 30% of immigrant households with no children are on welfare! Source Immigrant Welfare No Children.

Why are we growing and expanding an underclass so affluent white people and businesses can get cheap domestic servants and wage serfs? We can never get a handle on poverty unless we stop importing poverty and creating more of it at home.

Top ten pages on this website not including my homepage:

Social Justice Marxism

Appalachian Regional Commission Fraud and Waste

The ARC has spent countless millions in the region producing very little for the average citizen needing a good job and economic opportunity - forget badly needed services. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (Oct, 27, 2016 Kingsport Times-News) illustrates the nonsense that goes on here. $31 million will be mostly wasted under something called "federal Partnership for Opportunity and Economic Revitilazation (POWER) initiative" with $6.6 million to be porked out across a 25 county area around Southwest Virginia.

This will not produce a single job for a displaced coal mine or factory worker, but as usual is a jobs programs for affluent and connected white collar elites and social engineers. One of the most asinine I've seen is:

In Southwest Virginia, the largess includes $2.22 million to the Wise County Industrial Authority for the Virginia Emerging Drone Industry Cluster Project, intended to position five Southwest Virginia counties as "an epicenter" for drone R&D work, according to McAuliffe. The award will also assist Mountain Empire Community College to offer courses to operate drones and drone sensors for commercial and government applications.

Drones??? What drone industry? Those can be done anywhere, why in the world would such an industry locate to such a remote region? It sounds like another scam to leverage taxpayer handouts to some unknown company (they refuse to disclose who). This has gone on for years with no permanent results.

MECC established an unmanned aerial systems (UAS) segment to its programs about a year ago. On Wednesday, McAuliffe said the ARC award will train 64 new workers, leverage an additional $15 million in additional investment, and enable a private aerospace company to work on a major contract, with an eye toward the creation of 210 new and indirect jobs.

64 workers to do what and for who? Can I get a list of those jobs? In other words a government contractor getting more free stuff, if they even come here.

From MECC:

Big Stone Gap - Mountain Empire Community College will offer the region’s only college credit course in drone technology this fall. AVI-195 Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems will cover the principles of building, programming and flying drones. Students will receive hands-on training in quadcopter design and construction as well as learn to fly both assisted and unassisted FPV (First Person View) quadcopters. The class will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8:45 p.m., August 31 to December 15. To register, contact MECC’s Enrollment Service Office at 276.523.7474 or visit


MECC to Offer Class in Drone Technology

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College is seeking small business owners/operators who are interested in learning more about how Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) can be used to improve their business operations. UAVs are enabling construction, agriculture, real estate, reclamation, surveying, videography, security, EMS, and many more businesses to carry out operations more efficiently.

Businesses can utilize UAVs to offer clients new and exciting services, to attract new clientele, and to stay on top of their competition. MECC will offer a college credit course in drone technology focusing on UAV use in business operations. AVI-195 Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems will cover the UAV history, uses, design, assembly, programming, legality, mission planning and operations, maintenance, and flight. The class will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8:45 p.m. For more information, or to register, contact MECC's Enrollment Service Office at 276-523-7474 or visit

Now I get it, in a region where we have few jobs, local business will be encouraged to hire drone operators! Perhaps they can deliver pizzas by drone! Burger King might also be hiring drone operators! The only jobs this creates is for the grant recipients.

Others in the region include more than $1.4 million to the Southwest Virginia Regional Cybersecurity Initiative and include MECC, The University of Virginia's College at Wise and Southwest Virginia Community College.

That award seeks to create a certification/credential program aligned with industry needs and National Security Agency guidelines. Program goals include expanding the existing cybersecurity program at UVa-Wise via an accelerator space to assist companies to co-locate R&D activities. That project envisions training 161 new workers and retaining 110 jobs.

This is a lot like an earlier multi-million dollar IT training program that was supposed to train workers for Northrop-Grumman in Russell County that promised a thousand new jobs, but instead ended up being a few call center jobs. There is no evidence of any substantial IT employment in Russell County and information on the project, which is a state contract, is barred from public discloser.

And more of the usual tourism pork-barrel waste:

Also in Southwest Virginia, a $3 million grant will go to Friends of Southwest Virginia in Abingdon for the Building Appalachian Spring: Growing the Economy of Southwest Virginia project. The funds would develop new access points for the New River, provide a 4,000-square-foot Gateway Center to the High Knob Recreation Area in Wise and Scott counties, and create a 30-mile multi-use trail connecting Breaks Interstate Park to downtown Haysi's business district, among other tourism related projects.

Finally in Southwest Virginia, a $14,214 grant to Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Network to provide grant writing assistance to raise funds for the creation of a regional craft beverage cluster to strengthen Virginia's agriculture industry and tourism in the region, and build off an extensive network cultivated by the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation.

The region is awash in fiber optic, which is a nice utility, but has had no impact they are willing to state on job creation:

Tennessee projects to share in the overall grant awards include $400,000 Erwin Utilities in Erwin for the Temple Hill and Bumpus Cove project to install 35 miles of fiber optic cable, serving 680 households and 30 businesses and help spur the needs of the tourism industry in that area.

You mean tourists will come here to use fiber optic? What do we need this nonsense for? There's already a nearby Bush cannery:

A $353,086 grant goes to the town of Unicoi for the Mountain Harvest Kitchen Incubator and Entrepreneurial Training Program. The funds will help purchase equipment for a shared use commercial kitchen where value added processing of locally harvested products will take place.

So now I can can my garden produce and sell it on the side of the road. We have several "incubators" that have produced nothing. More college professor jobs, nothing for working people:

A grant of more than $1.5 million goes to Marion County, Tenn., for the Marion County Regional Center for Higher Education Phase II & III Project, to construct a 30,000-square-foot educational facility to house new technology and industrial training programs.

A wildlife center? We already use reclaimed mine land in a number of projects, what is this supposed to prove? The 19 acres isn't worth a fraction of this money:

Among the grant awards in Kentucky, $1.8 million goes to the Appalachian Wildlife Foundation Inc. in Corbin for the Appalachian Wildlife Center Infrastructure Project. The funds will be used to provide water infrastructure at the center's future site, located on 19 acres of reclaimed mine land — as a conservation education and research facility, and feature the largest elk restoration and viewing effort in the U.S.

$1.8 million to view elk??? I can view those from my house for free. To quote government hacks:

"Each of the Virginia POWER grants announced today takes us one step closer to building the new Virginia economy," McAuliffe said. "From the tourism and agriculture industries to drone technology and cybersecurity, we must do everything we can to leverage our homegrown assets and create opportunity and economic diversification in our coalfield regions...These federal investments will enable Appalachia's coal impacted communities to continue their work developing innovative paths towards economic resilience...They will directly support the region's emerging industries that are making Appalachia America's next great investment opportunity."

What happened to the millions of previous investments in "emerging industries"? Can I see a list of those other than jobs for state agencies?

It's time to defund and end the ARC as the government waste it is.

What does all of this have in common? 1) money goes to benefit the elite, not the workers or those struggling. 2) Doesn't consider reality in the region as it exists. These ideas are based on academic studies by people that know nothing about the region or the people that live here. 3) Most programs are designed to leverage additional grants going to the same closed circle of professionals and political hacks.

Why There is No Equality in Fairfax County Virginia

by Lewis Loflin

In the article "Are We Equal?" by Dr. Walter E. Williams the answer is no. In today's economy beset by falling wages for marginal and unskilled workers, along with large scale family breakdown among low-achievers of all racial groups, attempts at social engineering equality is creating social chaos. See Why There is No Equality in Fairfax County Virginia

In a free society composed of unequal individuals, the drive to level the playing field is a totalitarian desire and a threat to freedom because it empowers government to confiscate the talents and earnings of some for the benefits of those it favors. The expansion of governmental power into every individual sphere whatever its justification entails a loss of freedom for all.

Since the targets of the levelers are the creators of society's wealth, an inevitable result of social justice is generalized poverty and economic decline. The desire to level the playing field is also the creator of the new racism.

People are clearly unequal in beauty, intelligence, character, upbringing, and other vital aspects of personhood that lead directly to inequalities of celebrity, power, wealth and social standing. Because these inequalities are rooted in human nature, there can never be a level playing field. Moreover, the efforts to produce one must lead (and historically have led) led to the loss of individual freedom.

This is because the field can only be made equal - and then only superficially - by governmental force as an all-powerful state takes the earned fruits of one person's labor, intelligence, and talent and distributes it to those it prefers , and does so in the name of "social justice."

Ref. Horowitz, David; Perazzo, John (2013-01-02). Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream (Kindle Locations 308-311). The David Horowitz Freedom Center. Kindle Edition.

Fake Capitalism

Most of what passes for job creation is either graft or fake capitalism. The following extract illustrates this:

Ref. Fake Capitalism by Nicole Gelinas City Journal Nov. 2016 It's not free markets that have failed us, but government distortion of them.

2016 housing subsidies of $99 billion even at artificially lower interest rates.

These subsidies have fired the growth of the housing industry. Between 1975 and 1979, the U.S. Treasury paid out $102.6 billion in mortgage­interest breaks in today's dollars.

Between 2015 and 2019, the Treasury will pay out $419.8 billion in such tax favoritism, a more than fourfold rise, nearly ten times the population increase. Interest rates in the 1970s for a mortgage was 9 percent, twice what it is today.

Taking today's lower rates into account, Washington has increased the mortgage subsidy more than eightfold. It's no surprise that mortgage debt has soared, to $9.5 trillion, from $2.6 trillion in inflation­adjusted dollars in 1981. Back then, mortgage debt constituted 31 percent of our nation's GDP. Today, it makes up nearly 53 percent.

Here 50% of the economy is government checks, at the same time a substantial number of residents own their property with no mortgages.

Update July 2016: Here we go again another 180 layoffs May-July 2016. See the following:

Printed Bristol Herald Courier June 27, 2016

This is related to illegal transfer of assets from Bristol Virginia Utilities electric customers to underwrite the OptiNet telecom division. This was illegal. So far 9 people have been convicted on scores of charges and most are serving prison time.

By Lewis Loflin | Bristol, Virginia

As an early critic, I warned in 2005 about BVU being used to cross-subsidize Optinet. There was no way they could spend thousands per household, even with massive amounts of government grants, on what they were charging. Additionally, these grants were received under a false pretense of economic development.

The reason they can't figure out "Who OK'd $23.4M transfer" is closed sessions, when no records are kept. Both I and the Herald Courier tried to sit in on the BVU board meetings, only to be kicked out as they called closed session. For more than two years, I tried through the FOIA to get the minutes, ending up with pages of "closed session," meeting adjourned.

This extends to the Bristol City Council and the Washington County Board of Supervisors. Local politicians constantly appoint each other and their associates to multiple boards, all operating in secret under "closed session," making the FOIA and public accountability impossible.

What I'm shocked about is the nonsense they are being sent to jail over, when tens of millions of public dollars were squandered and wasted across this vast array of pseudo-government agencies and nonprofits.

Public dollars have no business underwriting private capitalism or shopping centers. OptiNet was built with public dollars and should remain public property. It's time to end the culture of corruption surrounding economic development projects and government grants.

Let's put citizens on these boards who are not connected to chambers of commerce or government bodies. Sever business from the government. End secrecy. Finally, force agencies, nonprofits, etc. on the government dole to do proper record keeping, including recording all meetings and making everything, including the IRS paperwork, easily available to the public. Put an end to closed sessions and force politicians to conduct public business in public.

Terry Kilgore and the Tobacco Commission.

Jobs-Retail Reports Nothing to Celebrate

Finally got some job growth in Tri-Cities! According the Steb Hipple at ETSU 4th Quarter 2015 a great!

Regional employment grew 2.6% during the October to December period - metro employment growth at 1.5% on a year-to-year basis. The last three quarters simply represent the best regional labor market performance since the Great Recession of 2008-09.

But: Job growth was led by retail trade, leisure & hospitality, and professional & business services. Smaller job gains were reported by government, wholesale trade, transport & utilities, and education & health services. Job declines occurred in manufacturing, information services, and other services.. Employment was unchanged in financial services, and construction.

In other words the lowest paid unstable occupations. Retail sales were up 19.4% "Lower energy prices continued to keep the overall price level barely above 2014 levels." Overall, 2015 was the best year in local retailing since the Great Recession of 2008-09.

In May 2016 some are claiming we are sliding into another recession even with low energy prices and absurdly low interest rates.

Quoting futurist Ed Barlow before the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce:

"Seniors create low-wage service jobs. They tend to withdraw from working, and they generally don't create new wealth. A retirement community strategy has long-term negative economic consequences unless there is a diverse economic base of other employees around it...A significant component of your economic future in Sullivan County is recruiting Hispanics, making sure they get highly educated and integrated into the community."

Back Taxes Sought

Bristol Virginia is so broke and hungry for public dollars to feed its corporate welfare hogs they plan to go after those that owe back taxes. $1.47 million - $850,000 in real estate taxes and $600,000 in personal property taxes. Why such a panic? To quote,

"For more than a decade, the City has regularly borrowed millions against its anticipated tax collections..."

With such massive debts and irresponsible borrowing it's easy to understand why there's such a panic.

Posted April 16, 2015:

See Growing Poverty and Job Losses in Tri-Cities VA-TN

Bristol Virginia Tri-Cities Crime 2014

Former Bristol Employer Gets $188 Million in Tennessee Corporate Welfare

The antics of Electrolux Corporation is an example of the rampant corruption of Republican Corporatism I've ever seen. They are literally paying companies to fire and downsize American workers with our tax dollars.

One critic put this deal in perspective when it closed just its Canadian operation:

So Electrolux was able to get rid of 60 workers, cut the wages of the jobs they kept by more than $4 per hour, get a more central distribution location, and a free factory courtesy of state and local governments in Tennessee.

The state also agreed NOT to sue to get the money back if Electrolux closed or failed to deliver!

Read the whole sorry story: Obscene Electrolux-Tennessee Incentive Deal Puts State at Risk by Lewis Loflin

The dismal future of the working poor in this community is tied directly to a job structure hostile to working people. The shocking loss of retail sales in Bristol is proof that many have little disposable income.

J.C. Penney Slams the Doors in Bristol

Another retailer pulls out while we waste $100 million underwriting shopping malls.

J.C. Penney plans to close its Bristol Mall store as part of a nationwide effort to shutter "under-performing" stores, the company ... plans to close 33 stores in 20 states, including its 86,000-square-foot local store...This marks the second major Bristol Mall anchor store to announce plans to leave. Last May, officials with Belk announced plans to replace its mall locations in 2015 with a new store in The Pinnacle retail center being developed near Interstate 81's Exit 74 in Bristol, Tenn.

Mayor Odum said losing J.C. Penney and the 50 jobs it represents makes it "vitally important" to complete (the $65 million taxpayer funded) The Falls retail center currently being developed near Interstate 81's Exit 5.

The closings are expected to idle a total of about 2,000 employees and generate a savings of about $65 million.

January 15, 2014 Ref.

To quote the late Bill Deel, a retired English teacher from Clintwood, Virginia, "We're becoming more and more Third World here...The best and the brightest leave."

Healthcare Meltdown

Business in the region is also on the government gravy train planning on maximizing profits at public expense - nowhere is this more true than healthcare. Now it seems to have backfired.