Bristol Virginia Energy Research Center

Bristol, Southwest Virginia Revealed

by Lewis Loflin

See Climate Science & Electronics Technology Links

See 2017 update removing out of date or obsolete material.

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

Taxpayer waste $8 million Bristol Virginia Energy Research Center another empty building producing nothing. See Green Energy Boondoggle in Bristol Virginia and Biofuel Scams Wastes Millions in Virginia.

Welcome to my website as 2017 makes this my 19th year on the web and have lived in Tri-Cities Bristol since 1984. Oddly this website was started to protest political corruption and poverty in the community, but most of the visitors prefer the religious-historical material over politics.

Update: It has been just announced a company will create 40 jobs in Lebanon, Virginia (Russell County) to manufacture belts, etc. for the mining industry. They will locate in the empty Teleflex building. Due to Donald Trump reigning in the destructive EPA-Obama war on affordable energy and blue collar jobs coal production has surged 25% from January-July 2017. These are the kinds of jobs we really need not green energy nonsense. July 27, 2017.

The 2011 Blue Ribbon Audit of the Virginia Tobacco Commission revealed 89 percent of their grants have never been accounted for. None of the recommended reforms have been implemented and nothing has changed in 2017. Their conclusion:

Grants Have Provided Benefits But Revitalization Remains Elusive;
TICR Has Made Grants With Limited Potential for Revitalization;
Well-Defined Revitalization Strategy Needed;
More Effective Governance Model Should Be Considered;
Most Awards Not Paired With Relevant Metrics.

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Poor People Reamed Again
Shocking: Can't Afford the Basics While Working
Requiring a College Degree to Clean Toilets
Practical Education Key to Escaping Poverty
Bristol Herald Courier Now a Victim?
What is Fake News?
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Just Added

Before you have a snowflake meltdown here is the definition of racism as use don this website:

1) Definition of racism: holding differing standards or treating people differently due to race, that like gender and species, is a product of biology. Examples of racism today is affirmative action, pretending one's value is based on race and not merit or individual achievement, etc.

There are no such things as trans-racialism, transgenderism, or tran-species. You are not a cat because your mental condition leads you to believe you are.

Racism has nothing to do with criticism of culture, politics, religion, behavior, etc. Islamic politics-religion or Latino Culture, for example, is not a race nor is Hinduism or Christianity. Yelling racism on every issue makes the term a joke.

Noting the high levels of minority violence and criminality is a critique of culture and behavior and for the same reason, the critique of white trash meth heads in this area has NOTHING to do with race.

Update July 2017: I warned about Nulife Glass and predicted it was a scam. In June they fired the few people they hired and left Bristol with between 20-30 million pounds of CRT glass - glass loaded with lead. Press reports claim Bristol is trying to sue the company but likely will get stuck with disposal. They sold a $1.3 million building for less than $200,000 and half of that was payed for by grants.

This is directly across the street from the empty Bristol Virginia Mall and on three sides are residential neighborhoods that objected to this nonsense.

The "fake news" Bristol Herald Courier attempts to paint a false narrative of a gender pay gap in Abingdon, Virginia. This is in fact a skills and occupation pay gap. See There's No Gender Pay Gap in Abingdon, Virginia

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Shocking: Can't Afford the Basics While Working

Ref. News Center 5 July 25, 2017:

Another not so shocking report confirms what I already know: half the population of Southwest Virginia can't afford even basic expenses even when members of the household work. This is according to the United Way of Bristol. This confirms my claim of the real poverty rate is 35% to 50% plus.

News Center 5 claims the following rates across the region for the real poverty rate which figures in living costs, etc. I'll assume:

Bristol Virginia 45%
Buchanan County 56%
Dickenson County 50%
Lee County 59%
City of Norton 54%
Russell County 53%
Scott County 45%
Smyth County 44%
Wise County 49%
Washington County 43%

This can't be blamed on the downturn of the coal industry engineered by the Obama EPA because half of the counties have no coal industry. The report went on about the trap so many working poor face: many earn too much for government benefits yet not enough to get ahead and are often one layoff, blown transmission, or doctor bill from the street.

Those on government money simply give up and live on it totally because the minute they even try to get a job government comes crashing down on them. Nearly all the job growth in Bristol has been in retail or call centers averaging about $9 an hour often part time. Yet near the Panicle Retail development that simply emptied the Bristol Virginia Mall has new housing nearby. They claim the rents run $800-$1000 per month plus utilities, which is unaffordable for many.

The report noted the good news is more affordable housing and childcare. Not at $9-$10 an hour. Yet the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Virginia Tobacco Commission, etc. have dumped perhaps a billion dollars into Southwest Virginia alone and this is what we get. Yet nothing ever changes.

Being fairly low income I've come to know how to survive in a mostly rural area with few resources - I'll discuss how to make resources not depend on others for them. With a disabled spouse it's been a struggle to maintain any dignity much rather be largely self-sufficient. We know the good and bad of dealing with Medicaid.

For years I've exposed dysfunctional government and high levels of poverty. Now I'll balance that with positive aspects of a community I've lived in over 30 years. I won't pull any punches or engage in political correctness. The positives:

Low levels of crime despite a drug addiction problem among the lower class. Low cost of living relative to much of Virginia, good infrastructure, good roads, high speed fiber optic.

Mostly good healthcare, but doctor shortages due to high use of Medicaid, Medicare, and uninsured according to health officials I talked to - 75-80% of the population. We have one of the best Veterans Hospitals in the nation in Johnson City.

Low income levels are offset by a high home ownership rates (over 50%) and most other homes not under water. Housing prices are low relative to national averages. On the bad side too much public housing and its crime and social problems concentrated in Bristol Virginia.

For this subject I'll concentrate on Bristol, Virginia, Washington County, Wise County, and Scott County. I grew up in Norton, my wife in Scott County, we live in Washington County 7 miles from Bristol and 2 miles from Scott county. Most of Tri-Cities is south of Bristol, Virginia.

In general "Red" states, and Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee are very "Red", we have a high standard of living for the most even with lower earned income levels. The question is where does that income derive? To quote a study from the King Institute for Regional Economic Studies:

"The most troubling aspect of the Southwest Virginia economy is the decline in earned income in recent years. Real earned income fell 17 percent from 2011 to 2014. This is a direct result of declining production and employment in the coal mining sector. Due to the sharp drop in earned income, residents in Southwest Virginia received 72 cents in government transfer payments for every dollar of earned income in 2014. Comparable values for the Tri­Cities and the U.S. are 49 cents and 27 cents, respectively."

See the full King Institute for Regional Economic Studies Report.

With all of this why did Trump get as much as 75% of the votes in this and other similar regions? See Red States Higher Standard of Living

Note: since the election of President Trump coal production has risen 25% in five months, two coal-fired plants in Virginia are back on line, etc. A recent drive to Buchanan County we observed a number of new trucks hauling coal.

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Worthless college dergees

Practical Education Key to Escaping Poverty

by Lewis Loflin

Update Oct 26, 2017: "Is math racist? Does your skin color determine your ability to succeed in math? University of Illinois Professor Rochelle Gutierrez thinks so! She claims that white people are the ones able to achieve success in mathematics and therefore math only serves to perpetuate 'Whiteness' because minorities are unable to conduct abstract reasoning."

What does this even mean? The continued rise of irrationalism. She believes non-whites can't employ abstract reasoning. That is total racism and easy to disprove. Math isn't politically correct and doesn't give a hoot about one's race, gender, feelings. Thanks Bill Whittle.

See Intelligence Predicts Economic Social Outcome

Poverty has three sources: intelligence (as used here to refer to varying degrees and types of talent), behavior, and economic circumstances.


In America behavior is the main cause of poverty that transcends circumstances and intelligence.

Many lower income people of all races must end their stupid, irresponsible behavior. Drug use, dropping out of school, unwed motherhood, and simple lack of impulse control is leading to the ruin of millions. They can't afford dumb mistakes and should be held accountable for their own good. People ask all the time how we own a house living on less than $10 an hour in household income and a disabled spouse?

The answer is simple - get a damn job even if it's below what one expects. Even with college I've cleaned yards and basements to make ends meet. Yes we get a little help from the government (Medicaid because my wife is uninsurable), but I choose to work and refuse most government aid. Yes the job market sucks and some employers are abusive, but most will work with anyone willing to put in some effort.

We refuse food stamps, I raise a garden. We learned to can our own food, buy in bulk and buy reduced meat, and shop at Dollar Tree. We stay away form over using credit cards and never touch drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. I buy older fuel efficient cars (Japanese) I can repair and maintain. We saved and bought an energy efficient refrigerator, used new LED light bulbs, heat with a wood stove (and cut wood by hand without a $1500 log splitter) and cut our energy bill to about $100 a month! We don't sit around cold or in the dark.

An important aspect of behavior is to be realistic about resources available and impulse control. If one can live without it don't buy it unless one can afford it - stay away form credit cards and pay-day lenders. Behavior is the difference between a poor household which is easy to overcome in time,vs. a dysfunctional household driven by vice, broken families, etc. Dumping money into those situations is a waste of time other than maintaining the dysfunction.

Resources and Talent

Many today are born into poor and dysfunctional households - but being poor doesn't mean the household is dysfunctional. Poor as I define it lack of material resources or in general money. In New York City a rent free apartment through the welfare system is worth $60,000 in income, but that doesn't mean the tenant has any money. America has an extensive safety net, but most the time it maintains the situation and punishes those trying to escape.

Thus poor people must learn to MAKE resources be it money or by learning to do things and what one can learn to do is related talent or intelligence.

The computers and electronics I use most have been built by me or come from salvage. Why billions of dollars in perfectly good stuff is being crushed or thrown into landfills just mystifies me. I taught electronics and electricity at a community college (part time) and have a website devoted only to electronics gadgets I designed and built. See

Yes I went to college, but most of what I do is self-taught. Most of what I've done can be done by the average person with some effort. People must learn to rely on themselves as much as possible, but the rest of us might have to step in and help those that really need it who try the best they can.

Oddly many lower income immigrants have figured this out. See We Can Learn from our Latino Community.

Now we come to the thorny and politically sensitive subject of education and the role of education. For years we've wasted billions trying to social engineer outcome equality as opposed to looking at individual "talent". Millions have useless college degrees and straddled with debt, others drop out or don't go because they couldn't hack algebra, etc. when in fact they should never have went to a 4-year institution.

Many schools such as those in Germany separate students by talent and skills onto differing tracks. A math wiz is on a college track, a medium math student on a vocational track. An engineer needs calculus and can design a machine, yet a factory worker today needs math skills as well on the algebra or trigonometry level to build, install, and maintain the machine.

Automation mean less workers are needed but they must have better skills. A machine operator ends up baby sitting the machine, programming it to a degree, and filling out paperwork. This goes with low-level cleaning and perhaps changing the oil.

Yet all three workers are needed to produce that can of pork and beans for 59 cents that's clean and safe to eat.

As an educator myself I know for a fact that any student of any race or social standing can learn and succeed, but all will never have an equal outcome. That doesn't mean for one minute that a calculus major is somehow a better human being than a high school graduate that can repair a car or build a beautiful wood cabinet.

We've developed this socially destructive attitude that there's no value in actually working with one's hands or creating real things we can use. This attitude of actual work has no value and only a piece of paper is what everyone should have because that has social value.

There is more real demand for good vocational workers than most liberal arts majors and they often make more money. So why don't we look at people as they really are and utilize what talents they have? Note that,

"Of the top 10 hardest-to-fill positions in the US, only three - engineers, nurses, and teachers - require university degrees. The other seven are: skilled trades, IT staff, sales representatives, accounting and finance staff, drivers, mechanics, and machinists.

The reasons employers cannot fill these positions are lack of experience, candidates asking for more money than they can afford (or willing) to pay, and lack of talent and training."


The problem in this region of Tr-Cities Virginia-Tennessee, and I daresay much of the country, is our education system is utterly determined to keep those entering skilled vocational trades from receiving a better academic background in science, math, etc. As a vocational instructor myself I have fought this problem for years only to be stonewalled time after time by the so-called education professionals.

At the bottom of the ladder are the totally unskilled - those with a high school diploma or less. Government policies and trade, mass immigration, etc. hurt these people th most and pretending everyone can go out and get a 4-year degree to make up for it is feel-good, self-righteous hype. They have failed and it's time to get real.

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PISA test scores 2015.

Poor People Reamed Again

Update: a report has been released showing that an additional 2800 illegal alien children dumped into our schools will cost $56 million or $20,000 each to Virginia taxpayers. Kathryn Watson at reports Gov. McAuliffe was asked about this, he shrugged it off as a Federal Problem. Federal Government placement of 37,000 illegal alien children (recent arrivals) has burdened state governments by $761 million for schools in 2014-15.

Virginia schools are flooded with 95,000 illegal alien children costing taxpayers $1.2 billion - that's more than all of the economic development funds spent in Southwest Virginia over the last 30 years! The cost is so high because these students are low -achievers and illiterate even in Spanish - add in billions more in welfare costs. Less than 300 have been deported. Where is the fake news Bristol Herald Courier on this?

Total costs of just illegal aliens in Virginia is $2.469 billion. ( This doesn't include wage depression and cost of other people's poverty. In addition the net cost to Federal taxpayers is $116 billion.

On the other hand many refuse to work any job that illegals take because of both laziness, easy access to welfare, and low wages. It's a mixed bag.

The Heritage Foundation (2013) notes that of low-income households regardless of immigration status:

These households generate a "fiscal deficit" that must be financed by taxes from other households or by government borrowing. For example, in 2010, in the U.S. population as a whole, households headed by persons without a high school degree, on average, received $46,582 in government benefits while paying only $11,469 in taxes. This generated an average fiscal deficit (benefits received minus taxes paid) of $35,113.

The high deficits of poorly educated households are important in the amnesty debate because the typical unlawful immigrant has only a 10th-grade education. Half of unlawful immigrant households are headed by an individual with less than a high school degree, and another 25 percent of household heads have only a high school degree.

Southwest Virginia is over reliant (50% of the population) on these type transfer payments. In particular efforts at economic development is local corruption and culture end up creating wealth for a few well connected. They still refuse to confront the education problem.

Thus mass immigration legal and illegal hits those without advanced degrees, etc. far worse than the wealthy that benefit directly.

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Bristol Southwest Virginia Article Archive

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."

Weinstien, KKK, Trump, Las Vegas Shooter

Bristol Herald Courier Now a Victim?

Note the cartoon above has been altered as a parody.

"Progressive views on women, race, immigration and climate change should not be treated as opinion...How do you not 'take a side' on climate change, bigotry, the dehumanization of undocumented immigrants?"

Jessica Valenti, The Guardian.

Ms. Valenti is an example what is wrong with journalism today - they spew Progressive dogma and politics and not facts or news - what we tend to call "fake news". Polls show journalists are virtually all Democrats thus follow the socialist economics and identity racism politics that dominates the party.

Of the 100 largest newspapers 57 endorsed Hillary, 4 endorsed Trump. In 2013 only 7.1% of journalists identified as Republican, I'd say zero today.1

We want facts not Progressive politics passed off as news. Facts only, please.

Enter Bristol Herald Courier, Our View, "Enough with the 'fake news' labels Trump" The press has become offended and oppressed. They've gone from reporting facts to manufacturing or republishing political narratives, then snowflake out when called on it.

The editorial cartoon on the very page of this rant proves the Bristol Herald Courier is once again racist, biased, and bigoted and has done this a number of times attacking not only Trump, but broad swaths of their declining readership and millions of us "deplorable" Americans they disagree with.

They mixed Trump in with Harvey Weinstein, the KKK, and the Las Vegas shooter. None of these four entities have any relation to each other, but the Herald Courier editorial board engaged in libel while hiding behind the claim of "press" - this kind of abuse brings calls for stripping the "press" of their legal protections.

The mother in the cartoon says, "How about a rich white man, with unchecked power?" Let's talk about a "rich white man" named Warren Buffett that owns the Bristol Herald Courier and most newspapers in Virginia that "echo-chamber" the "fake news" Washington Post owned by another "rich white man" Jeff Bezos - a total lack of diversity of ideas from rich white men with a political agenda.

The Herald Courier complains, "The proliferation of the 'fake news' label has extended far beyond social media...Accusations have even hit us locally." I'm here to call them out on that very issue.

Allcott and Gentzkow define "fake news" to be "news articles that are intentionally and verifiably false, and could mislead readers." They attempt to exclude disreputable media practices and bias from the definition. 62 percent of US adults get news on social media, while 65% distrust the mainstream media and that concerns me. Print media influence in the 2016 election was down to 8%.2

I define "fake news" as articles designed to create false, biased, narratives with partial facts filtered through a Progressive filter, censor pertinent facts by omission, block discussion through editorial censorship, that is ideologically slanted, and designed not to give facts, but stoke emotion and sway public opinion. This skirts the fringes of propaganda and yellow journalism.

I never rely on social media for news. I'm usually forced to research the article to get at most of the facts outside of the slanted narrative.

Here is an example of the "fake news" narrative. The Herald Courier, and national press ran months of hysterical and false news stories of police hunting down black men for sport and shooting them. They censored the massive levels of black violence and criminal culture that leads to disproportionate numbers of police confrontations and arrests. That's the discussion we need.

That lie led to the murders of police officers, riots, and the Lakeem Scott incident on the Volunteer Parkway - "fake news" has become lethal. The Bristol Herald Courier by "regurgitating" these lies could incite outright violence and murder in my opinion.

Yet the ruling elite and their press propaganda news outlets are in a panic to regain the narrative. Congress in crafting a censorship bill over "fake news" - Google, Facebook, and Twitter already actively suppress content under a similar guise of "fake news" that doesn't meet their ideological approval or political correctness. What is the Herald Courier' view on censorship?

The Bristol Herald Courier whines, "But even with diligent, verifiable substantiation...the problem of denial persists." The press engages in using each other as sources producing an ideological echo-chamber. They rely on approved ideological sources such as the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center, various Democrat Party special interests, political activists, etc. Again the Alt-Left-Progressive echo-chamber - spare me any more unnamed sources.

The "press" has no special right not to be criticized and fact-checked themselves - or to be trusted. You are not another in the long line of offended victims. The Bristol Herald Courier and its staff can decide to be real journalists or simply snowflakes and a mouthpiece for a "rich white man" and his minions.

Lewis Loflin, proud deplorable.

1. The Washington Times article "New York Times' Social Media Policy Only Hides Political Bias, Doesn't Eliminate It" by Bradford Richardson Oct. 17, 2017.

2. Journal of Economic Perspectives Volume 31, Number 2 Spring 2017 Pages 211-236, Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election by Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow

Sources of 2016 Election News:
Radio: 6.2%
Print: 8%
Social Media: 13.8%

Gallup polls reveal a continuing decline of "trust and confidence" in the mass media "when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly."

Trust in Mainstream media: Democrats 52%, Republicans ~18%, overall ~35%. 65% of the public doesn't trust the mainstream media. 62 percent of US adults get news on social media - that's scary.

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Requiring a College Degree to Clean Toilets

by Lewis Loflin

February 19, 2013 The New York Times article It Takes a B.A. to Find a Job as a File Clerk shows just how bad the job market has become even for college graduates. Even a $10 an hour job now requires a B.A. degree even when the job has nothing to do with education:

Economists have referred to this phenomenon as "degree inflation," and it has been steadily infiltrating America's job market. Across industries and geographic areas, many other jobs that didn't used to require a diploma - positions like dental hygienists, cargo agents, clerks and claims adjusters - are increasingly requiring one, according to Burning Glass, a company that analyzes job ads from more than 20,000 online sources, including major job boards and small- to midsize-employer sites.

This up-credentialing is pushing the less educated even further down the food chain, and it helps explain why the unemployment rate for workers with no more than a high school diploma is more than twice that for workers with a bachelor's degree: 8.1 percent versus 3.7 percent.

This has nothing to do with becoming more technical, but simply a way reduce the number of people even applying for a job, which can often number in the thousands. Those with true usable scientific, technical, and vocational skills don't have this problem.

A college degree is no longer a path to a middle class lifestyle it once was, in fact for some a degree is becoming an expensive joke. But if one can control the cost of their student loans they still have a better chance than those with no degree at all. It's become more related to drive and ambition than simply a piece of paper.

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What is Fake News?

Allcott and Gentzkow define "fake news" to be "news articles that are intentionally and verifiably false, and could mislead readers." They attempt to exclude disreputable media practices and bias from the definition. 62 percent of US adults get news on social media, while 65% distrust the mainstream media and that concerns me. Print media influence in the 2016 election was down to 8%.

I define "fake news" as articles designed to create false, biased, narratives with partial facts filtered through a Progressive filter, censor pertinent facts by omission, block discussion through editorial censorship, that is ideologically slanted, and designed not to give facts, but stoke emotion and sway public opinion. This skirts the fringes of propaganda and yellow journalism.

Ref. Journal of Economic Perspectives Volume 31, Number 2 Spring 2017 Pages 211-236, Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election by Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow

Sources of 2016 Election News:
Radio: 6.2%
Print: 8%
Social Media: 13.8%

Gallup polls reveal a continuing decline of "trust and confidence" in the mass media "when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly."

Trust in Mainstream media: Democrats 52%, Republicans ~18%, overall ~35%. 65% of the public doesn't trust the mainstream media. 62 percent of US adults get news on social media.

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