What Republicans Won't Cut
Social Apartheid in Tri-Cities Bristol Virginia-Tennessee 2011
by Lewis Loflin
Welcome to Tri-Cities and Bristol VA/TN. We are part of Southern Appalachia, a region more like a third-world banana republic. Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee is a divided city (by the VA/TN state line) symbolic of the division in our region as our many bickering local governments waste more tax dollars with the least results of anywhere in America. They maintain a system I describe as social apartheid; University of New Hampshire's Cynthia M. Duncan calls it Worlds Apart in her book on "Why Poverty Persists in Rural America."
The Virginia Employment Commission has released the Community Profiles for Washington and Smyth Counties. The job outlook is dismal as manufacturing will continue to decline and the lowest paid least stable occupations follow the above illustration.
Added January 2012
Housing Prices Come Crashing Down in Bristol VA/TN
The massive poverty they refuse to address and try to avoid discussing has finally reared its ugly head in the free-fall of home prices. To quote the Bristol Herald Courier December 26, 2011:
Homes prices in the region continue to decline as the country recovers from the housing bubble, according to data from the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors.
The average price for a home in Bristol, Tenn. last month was $125,765, down 26.5 percent from the same period last year. The year-to-date average is down 15 percent. The average price for Bristol, Va. was $74,833, down 4.8 percent from last year, and the year-to-date average was down 19.1 percent...
Foreclosures, especially in Bristol, are having a serious impact on the market ... 38.5 percent of homes sold were foreclosed properties and 33.3 percent in Bristol, Va...
Tennessee considering drug testing welfare recipients
Sullivan County's own Ron Ramsey is leading the charge to force those receiving welfare or unemployment to be drug tested and thrown off the system. This is the same county/state government that showered Sprint with $5 million in corporate welfare (incentives) to jump the VA/TN state line and move their low-pay call center a few miles from its present location.
Perhaps we should demand drug testing for stupid politicians that cut these dumb deals and cut them and their corporate buddies off from public assistance. Long live social apartheid.
(AP) - Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he expects lawmakers will pass a bill requiring drug tests for Tennesseans who get government assistance or workers' compensation. Other high-ranking Republicans aren't so confident. Ramsey recently told the Nashville Chamber of Commerce that a similar proposal last legislative session carried a $12 million price tag but didn't take into account the savings from cutting off benefits to drug users.
House Speaker Beth Harwell says that while she agrees with the aim of the drug-testing proposal, the state's top priority is balancing its budget. Gov. Bill Haslam has raised questions about whether the federal government's rules for the benefits programs give the state enough flexibility to start drug-testing recipients.
(Copyright AP) Posted: Dec 28, 2011.
Added October 22, 2011
86-year-old Annie Bell Smith was found strangled in her apartment at Springdale Village complex, an area known for it's high crime rates and drug problems. She was found dead Sunday July 10, 2011 by her paster when he came to pick her up for church. She "spoke" her mind and the police are closed lipped on details. They have "several people of interest." Read more...
Added Nov. 2011
43 People Arrested/Indicted for Drugs Spend Thanksgiving in Jail
by Lewis Loflin
Just a day or two before Thanksgiving 43 local residents are in or looking at prison. Two couples, one in Kingsport Tennessee and another in Glade Spring Virginia were nailed for meth labs in their homes. This led to one couple losing their 3-year-old son. Another 39 got drug indictments for mostly selling prescription drugs. This is just a sample of the out of control drug epidemic in this area shown below. This is a white and not black problem that's getting as bad as the worse inner city ghetto. Read more...
Added July 23, 2011.
Giving Public Money to Non-Profits in Virginia is Illegal
Cuccinelli says Va. constitution does not allow state to fund private charities
RICHMOND - Virginia's constitution does not permit giving state money to private charities, according to a legal opinion issued Friday by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, which could potentially affect millions of dollars in annual donations to nonprofit organizations across the state...Cuccinelli (R) wrote that "the Virginia Constitution forbids the General Assembly from making 'any appropriation of public funds, personal property, or real estate ... to any charitable institution which is not owned or controlled by the Commonwealth." State lawmakers had for years gotten around that provision by classifying charities as "historical" or "cultural" agencies.
The Washington Post January 28, 2011. Republicans are among the worst for handing out public money to people they set up as non-profits just to get that money. The Rule of Law in Virginia has completely broken down and it's both political parties.
Barter Theatre Panics Over Cuts in Government Largess 2011
by Lewis Loflin
Cuts by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts has spread panic at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon,Virginia. Even after handing millions of illegal tax dollars to non-profits to promote the Barter and other basket case tourism venues across Southwest Virginia, cuts in government largess is now taking a toll. They may join the failed Ralph Stanley House, William E. King Art Center, and the Story Telling Center in Tennessee. The Barter Theatre is $400,000 short on their current fundraising drive. Read more...
Third World Government
To quote Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Governmental Studies: "The most corrupt region is Southwest Virginia - more indictments for political and public office corruption have happened in this region than all other parts of the state combined." According to a report from the Kingsport Times-News (May 22nd, 2010), "Tennessee is named the most corrupt state in the nation; Virginia listed as second." So here we have Bristol VA/TN located at the juncture of the two most corrupt states in the Union, and for Virginia, the most corrupt region of the state.
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." We will explore the real side of poverty and how government programs have mostly failed and benefited the rich and connected. They failed because local government was given the money under the guise of "local control" and "community block grants" which ended up as golf courses, the arts, recreation, and public funding for shopping malls, corporate welfare for local business, and pork-barrel roads leading to nowhere. We spend millions on public education and have great colleges, but watch in dismay as our young people flee the region because local business refuses to hire them.
The American people have spoken on immigration but the political elite will not listen because they are paid by their corporate benefactors not to listen...In America today, anything's for sale, even democracy.
Busted for quarter ton of pot.
Undocumented Foreign Migrant Population Floods Tri-Cities
Recent studies from the Virginia Employment Commission shows most of the job growth in Smyth/Washington Counties will be home health aids ($9 an hour) and food services at $244 a week. While manufacturing jobs will continue steep declines and most post office work for example will be shifted to Knoxville, the region is being flooded with undocumented foreign migrants are being used to fire/displace an already disadvantaged work force and further push down wage scales. Read more...
"I can safely tell you that given a proper amount of money to live on, there aren't jobs that Americans won't do. However, Americans will not live on two or three dollars an hour, and cram twenty people into an apartment...This will create a second class worker system that is only steps
removed from slavery."
Illegal Aliens take jobs from Blacks in Alabama
Leonard Pitts is a black racist from the Miami Herald. In his latest installment Looking for a job? Good news (11-5-2011) he laments the shortage of Hispanic labor in Alabama due to their crackdown on illegal aliens. He does attack the terrible working conditions in a sarcastic manner, but his real agenda is it's all white racism. These jobs have terrible working conditions so why does he think Hispanics deserve such treatment? Who is the real racist here?
The fact is this system of illegal labor the government allows is simply another installment of crony capitalism and the fact is blacks suffer the worst from it. In my view black Americans get a raw deal. Read more...
There has been no private-sector job creation in the last 12 years while we've imported millions of legal/illegal immigrants to take existing jobs. To quote The New York Times August 7, 2009,
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...
The entire article can be read can be read here. 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 illegal aliens. This is why American workers, even those with college degrees, are becoming a permanent underclass.
Some reports claim as much as one-third of those with 4-year degrees are reduced to menial low-wage occupations. No wonder the student loan default rate is exploding. American wage scales are in a freefall as government and business work together to create this situation, then go off on a racism hysteria binge to divert attention from the real issue.
The Republicans and Democrats differ only on the issue of government jobs. Republicans in particular want to break the backs of public sector unions while Democrats want to expand public sector employment. Private sector jobs are being destroyed by mass immigration, outsourcing, and automation.
Mass immigration creates massive inflationary pressures in particular with public services, housing, and energy costs. The fact is the US population has exploded 50 percent (100 million people) in only 40 years due mainly to our near open borders. At the same time environmental leftists have done everything in their power to throttle development putting additional inflationary pressure on everything. This will continue to create chaos and economic dislocation.
Masses of cheap slave-labor imports have kept some of the pressure in check, but not with education, housing, and medical care. Housing costs are finally being driven down to realistic levels and sooner or later forced government cutbacks will begin to force down education and medical costs. Government meddling is the primary cause of much of the inflation to begin with.
Seaman Corp. Supposed to Hire 15 Employees
The Kingsport Times-News (Nov. 17, 2011) is reporting Seaman Corp. in Bristol, Tennessee has completed a $7 million "expansion" and might hire 15 people over the next three years. Sullivan County officials refuse to disclose the subsidies the Company is receiving if any. It's more of the nonsense "jobs retained." Sullivan County and it's corporate welfare arm NETWORKS claims 85% of "new jobs" are from "expansion", but in reality are either job shifting within the community or rehires. We shall see if those 15 "new" jobs ever materialize and if they are actually with Seaman or a temp agency.
Seaman to their credit does seem to invest in the US instead of overseas to the tune of $20 million. They have been trying to reduce cost, but are being forced to raise prices, not a good sign for hiring. I see no evidence from their website they are hiring. They supply fabric type products to the building industry. For more on this company see www.seamannewsroom.com. I wish them luck.
Exide Dumps Bristol Workers after Receiving $34 million in Stimulus Funds
In 2009 Exide announced the firing 567 workers at Bristol battery plant or 70 percent of its workforce. Opened in 1994, Exide's Bristol plant is a manufacturing and distribution center of lead-acid batteries used in the automotive, marine and specialty industries. They had 817 employees at the time. They did some rehires that were proclaimed "new jobs." Read more...
Sprint Dumps Bristol Virginia for Bristol Tennessee
Here is another example of one low-wage community trying to outbid the neighboring low-wage community at taxpayer expense for low-paying jobs. Sprint has turned down a lucrative corporate welfare package from Bristol, Virginia and will jump the State line to Sullivan County. Read more...
Crony Capitalism Times Three Comes to Wise County
Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bolling along with local economic development hacks are having a pork party in Wise County. Republicans scream about government waste with President Obama and his failed stimulus plan. They call it waste, but do the very same thing. In this case three private sector startups got almost $9 million in corporate welfare largely repeating earlier failed efforts at the same thing. Read more...
Ranked near the bottom for healthcare, again
As for the healthcare that the tens of millions in Tobacco grants was supposed to go for before they got diverted to pork barrel waste, the Bristol Herald Courier reports (March 31, 2011),
Six Southwest Virginia counties rank among the state's 10 worst localities in terms of their residents' longevity and overall physical and mental health, according to a report released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation...
According to this year's health rankings report, Russell County ranked 123rd out of the state's 137 counties, Tazewell County ranked 124th, Lee County ranked 125th, Wise County ranked 126th, Dickenson County ranked 127th, and Buchanan County ranked 130th.
This is nothing new as the region has been ranked in the bottom 10% in the nation for years. Perhaps a billion dollars in economic development have produced little return for the average citizen. It does fund a lucrative industry in grant farming for non-profits, consultants, developers, and government hacks.
Healing Hands Health Center Gets $10,000 Grant from AT&T
One of the great resources for the working poor in Bristol is not the government that just wasted $11 million to turn a wrecked and empty garage into a country music museum, but an organization called Healing Hands Health Center. Thanks to a generous gift from AT&T of $10,000 they can continue to carry on a service in desperate need in this community. Read more...
The Ralph Stanley Museum Fiasco. I warned five years ago that the two million wasted on this project would go down the toilet. After spending $2 million to refurbish the childhood home of defunct country music star Ralph Stanley, the town of Clintwood Virginia had to grab the so-called "museum" and got the government agency that gave them much of the funding to write off the debt.
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For former Congressman Rick Boucher the election of President Obama, his parading him around the region, and his part in the Cap and Trade Energy Tax cost him his House seat. After 28 years where he diverted millions of Federal dollars to every kind of pork-barrel waste one can imagine, the 9th. District loses another Virginia House seat due to population loss, and poverty went up in most areas. Here is a history of his fall from 2008-2010.
Congressman Rick Boucher a history of waste:
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