Southwest Virginia Job loses 2010-2020.
Southwest Virginia Job loses 2010-2020.

Social Apartheid Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee 2021

by Lewis Loflin

In 1997 I launched this website to protest the appalling job and labor climate in Tri-Cities. As long as one has outside income this place is great. For earlier material see Bristol Virginia Tri-Cities a Great Place to Retire 2018-19.

Southwest Virginia, etc. has been written off and marginalized for the same reasons as Baltimore - ruling class doesn't care.

I have documented extensively how government economic development programs never work. Their programs do not work with poor blacks in Baltimore. Their programs do not work with poor whites here. Enough said.

The Republican Party is hostile with American labor. They hate us and can't get enough foreign replacement workers to once again drive down pay scales. Both retiring Congressman Phil Roe and my Congressman Morgan Griffith voted to import millions more tech workers from India.

Bristol Casino Parking lot view.

Temporary Hard Rock Bristol Casino Now Open

Location: 500 Gate City Highway, Bristol, VA 24201-2372. Phone: (276) 696-3660, (888) 519-6683

The Hard Rock Casino has opened in the old Bristol, Virginia Mall, left abandoned by the Pinnacle in Bristol, Tennessee.

To quote on source, "The 30,000-square-foot casino has 870 slot machines, 21 table games and a Hard Rock Sportsbook."

The temporary Casino opened on July 8, 2022. Around August 20, I visited the Casino and spoke to two employees. According to them, they already had 500 employees. They are supposed to hire many more.

The permanent Casino and hotel complex should open in 2024.

These jobs are good news for the Bristol workforce. The anti-labor culture of local businesses does not poison Hard Rock.

Local dollars do not subsidize them to any degree. These jobs create competition for workers keeping regional pay scales in the service industry higher.

A sizeable outside employer makes it difficult for the Chamber of Commerce to work with local businesses to suppress pay scales. In the past, they employed this tactic.

Even before Hard Rock opened, service industry pay was up.

Minimum wage in Virginia rose to $11 an hour helped. Workers fed up with labor abuse and low pay left the labor force or found better jobs elsewhere.

Unfortunately, Fed Chairman Powell has announced he will destroy jobs and hurt workers to control inflation.

Inflation today results from supply chain disruptions and, the war on affordable energy, the banning of fossil fuels.

Southwest Virginia Population decline 2010-2018.

A study released by King University in 2016 notes the following:

Over the past several decades there has been a pronounced shift in the composition of personal income in the United States and in the regional economy – Tri­Cities metro area and the Southwest Virginia coalfield region. A half-century ago, earned income accounted for 75-80 percent of total personal income. By 2014, the share of total personal income attributable to earned income had fallen to 57 percent in the Tri­Cities and 50 percent in Southwest Virginia.

Economic Impact of Government Transfer Payments (PDF)

The problem is worse in the summer of 2022.

Southwest Virginia Population decline 2021.
Southwest Virginia loses another 8% of its population from 2010-2020.

To quote Zack Jackson at Virginia Tech:

"Regional wages are not competitive with statewide and national wages. Turnover is high for low-wage jobs. SWVA residents disproportionately live in poverty; many workers cannot afford a basic standard of living."

Adjusted minimum wage 1970-2022.

I refer to the adjusted minimum wage as $1.60 in 1970, adjusted for inflation in 2022.

The minimum wage in Virginia increased to $11 in January 2022. It is supposed to rise to $12 in January 2023.

Republicans are trying to stop the increase. Even $12 an hour September 2022 is still below inflation. Still worth less than $1.60 in 1970. It will be worth even less in 2023.

In general many jobs here run $2-$3 above minimum wage.

FedEx Facility under construction Bonham Road Bristol Virginia.

FedEx Distribution Center Coming to Bristol, Virginia

More good news for Bristol workers as new outside employers are hopefully free of local politics.

September 12, 2022, Bristol, Virginia: FedEx is building a 251,000-square-foot distribution center. Located on Bonham Road near I-81, Exit 7 creates easy access to a major interstate.

I work across the road from the construction site. Workers are leveling a mountain for the facility.

"Operation" is slated for 2023. It is unknown how many workers will be employed there. It is next door to the local UPS Distribution center.

To quote a local press report, "FedEx will also contract for package pickup and delivery services with service provider businesses that hire locally for drivers, helpers, managers, and other positions."

Also nearby is the 72,000-square-foot Amazon Distribution Center. That opened in September 2021.

The number of workers I guess at 200-400.

The press claimed Terry McAuliffe and local politicians claimed 400 new jobs. They lied, gave away millions.

To this day the press has never corrected this story. See 400 New Jobs is Just Zero Jobs

How could they spend millions on jobs and economic development and lose almost 29,000 residents?

How can spending millions on transportation and other economic development funds for an abandoned train station be rational? No trains run today; 15 years later, the building is still empty.

See Bristol Trainstation Still Empty 2022.

How do horse trails and horse camps facilitate transportation? Spending transportation funds on this is either irrational or simply fraudulent.

Washington County, Virginia, says this is about economic development, which isn't about jobs for those that live here:

"Economic development does not necessarily mean growth, although the growth of both population and revenue may be a result. Economic development means strengthening the community's economic base or the part of the local economy that brings in money from outside the county."

In reality, the money goes to the "haves" that control where it goes and who benefits.

Spending over $140 million on clean energy "research" centers results in empty buildings. Great for consultants, contractors, and their friends.

What is social apartheid? What does that have to do with Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee? Or Appalachia in general?

Some define this as "Social apartheid is de facto segregation based on class or economic status, in which an underclass exists separated from the rest of the population."

They discussed race as a diversion, where the population is 90% plus white. For that reason, the working class in the Bristol region faces hostility from Democrats for race plus class and Republicans' rabid pro-business anti-worker attitudes, plus class warfare.

Millions flow in from government grants, etc. Still, the general public is barred from the input process and locked out of government meetings. When disbursing public money, doors are locked.

The Bristol Herald-Courier, August 21, 2021, notes the following report from our Chamber of Commerce, paid for by an $81,000 Government grant:

BRISTOL, VA. -- The Bristol Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday released a report detailing the Twin Cities' biggest challenges and opportunities for economic growth... The report cited an aging population, the "brain drain" effect of talented workers "moving away to seek better employment opportunities" and low wages as some of the area's top barriers to economic development...

Darn, they dare mention low wages, something they have fought to maintain for years!

No kidding, the very things I documented here for over 20 years without a government grant to waste.

Note that Bristol is cut in two by the Virginia-Tennessee state line. Bristol, Tennessee, resides in Sullivan County, Tennessee, Bristol, Virginia, and Washington County, Virginia.

Often referred to as Tri-Cities centered around Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol. It usually includes Scott and Washington Counties, Virginia.

Myself in the news:

Tri-Cities labor market 2007-2016.

Update September 3, 2019. Based on data from Dr. Steb Hipple, an economist at East Tennessee State University (retired), his data goes to the 3rd Quarter of 2016. The level of job losses in Tri-Cities is staggering.

The Tri-Cities Consolidated Statistical Area comprises Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, and surrounding counties.

The Bristol Virginia-Tennessee, Kingsport, and Johnson City Urbanized Area Labor Market lost thousands of jobs shrinking the labor force that shrank unemployment rates. The above table shows a decline in the labor force by almost 18,000.

Since 1990, the labor force may have dropped by 50,000. It may have recovered some since 2016 except for the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chamber of Commerce that owns local politicians fights hard to keep pay low, unions, and worker protection out.

Politicians fight anything that benefits workers but can't pull out the public checkbook fast enough to fund corporate welfare and waste.

Poverty and low pay become a business asset and source of pride. It is related to statements such as this from local politicians:

"high unemployment can be an advantage because it increases the number of available workers...Our labor force is a huge advantage since the county unemployment rate is twice the state average, and regionally, the unemployment rates range from 3.5 percent to 15 percent..."

Or this statement from a man whose company received $10-$20 million in public subsidies to create 120 jobs, then filed for bankruptcy and left:

"It's a little-known fact that roughly 20 percent of the children in Southwest Virginia live below the poverty line and go hungry every night."

Kevin Crutchfield, President Alpha Natural Resources, January 15, 2009, in Abingdon, VA.

The Alpha Fiasco

Alpha Natural Resources filed bankruptcy after a multi-million dollar public incentives deal.

A sale involved selling their office building in Abingdon to Washington County. They paid millions over the appraised value—a deal done behind closed doors, like everything else.

They agreed to build a new headquarters building in Bristol, Virginia.

Then Alpha received $10-$20 million worth of land, kickbacks from the local utility, and State grants. They promised 120 new jobs and would retain even more.

Politicians claimed hundreds of new jobs. Companies not relocating or moving within the same community is job creation.

The "hundreds" of new jobs were a myth. Those "new" jobs never existed. Alpha filed for bankruptcy. They sold the building for $28 million in 2015. That was about the worth of the public money they received.

The developer pocketed the money, and Alpha moved their office across the state line. Now years later, their building is still empty.

Their corporate headquarters is now 340 M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Bristol, TN 37620.

Abingdon, Virginia, is the County seat for Washington County.

As a Washington County resident, I protested against the Alpha Building purchase.

They spent $2 million over appraised value. Plus over $1 million in renovation costs, plus millions in interest.

We already owned more than sufficient county office space.

One BOS member claimed this was part of the overall Alpha incentive deal.

I also warned those jobs would never materialize. That level of public funding in a failing industry (coal) was foolish.

I was proven right.

Bristol Virginia Energy Research Center

Repeat of 2012 Energy Fiasco

To quote one source:

"Average crude oil prices in 2012 were at historically high levels for the second year in a row. Brent crude oil averaged $111.67 per barrel, slightly above the 2011 average of $111.26. West Texas Intermediate oil averaged $94.05 per barrel in 2012, down slightly from $94.88 in 2011."

Oil prices hit $147.02 on July 11, 2008. Thus began an orgy of pork-barrel waste.

High energy prices combined with the 2008-9 housing bubble opened the door to government money.

Virginia politics drowned in a corrupt system of public-private partnerships.

Billions flowed for "green" energy research, biofuels, and university grants. Private business interests working in secret with economic developers pocketed millions.

Every effort failed. Because of government wars on fossil fuels, we are back to 2012.

Politicians and their business associates will pour billions down a green rathole.

In Southwest Virginia, we face a bleak future. The working poor that dominates the region will face higher energy and food prices.

Not just higher gas prices, but electricity costs as well. The Northern Virginia Climate Thumper cult demands more costly "renewable" energy sources.

I warned about this in 2010, and was proven right.

(Above) Taxpayer waste $8 million Bristol Virginia Energy Research Center another empty building producing nothing.

Yes we have broadband and spent millions.

Creating real jobs or raising the standard of living for workers, the priority is the opposite.

In fact, a so-called "futurist" came to Tri-Cities at the behest of business leaders to sell the idea. He gave a speech in Kingsport. Ed Barlow of "Creating the Future"

Quoting March 4, 2004, Kingsport Times-News:

"A significant component of your economic future in Sullivan County is recruiting Hispanics, making sure they get highly educated and integrated into the community. ... They can fill all of the various job categories you have. The future economic vitality model is based on the back of a well-educated, ethnically diverse work force..."

Comment: what in the heck do illiterate, unskilled Hispanics have to do with "well-educated" working minimum wage jobs? They imported thousands of illegal alien Hispanics into nearby Morristown and Hamblan County, Tennessee, with double-digit poverty rates. More here...

Exide Fires Bristol Workers - Received $34 Million in Stimulus Funds

In 2009 Exide announced the firing of 567 workers at its Bristol battery plant. That was 70 percent of its workforce.

Opened in 1994, Exide's Bristol plant is a manufacturing and distribution center for 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."


Ralph Stanley Museum.

Typical is the almost $2 million Ralph Stanley Museum that failed, and was taken over by the Town of Clintwood.

My sister lives there and there is no evidence this project brought jobs, etc. to Clintwood.

It is still there today. It is closed but supposed to open this spring in 2022.

Their website is

Why didn't Ralph pay for his own house?

Note Dickenson County has lost another 10% or more of its population since this opened. This museum is simply a gimmick in my view to funnel government grants.

See Looking back at the waste of Virginia Tobacco Funds.

I wrote the following and stand by it today. In 2022 these efforts have produced little, if anything.

Printed Kingsport Times-News January 10, 2005

Re: Virginia Tobacco Funds (December 6) the Times-News has missed the mark. These funds that should have gone for education, health care and economic development have become a ready source of fraud and waste for local Southwest Virginia governments.

This has produced nothing in the way of real jobs or helped the common people.

Tourism doesn't create good jobs, if at all. My relatives in Wise, Dickenson, and Russell Counties know of nothing any of these museums have brought in.

Carter's Fold near my home, has been given over $500,000 in government grants and hasn't produced a single job.

Bristol Virginia Utilities has received about $5 million in taxpayer funds (about $2.2 million in tobacco funds) touting fiber optics as job creation.

In one case they admitted running lines to areas they knew would never produce anything, then kept half the grant ($350,000) for expenses.

All they did was overbuild existing fiber optic infrastructure and have not connected a single customer that didn't get services before. After running up a whopping $50 million in external debt, they have failed to create a single job or bring in a single new business two years later.

Now Bristol, Tennessee is prepared to commit the same stupidity, while Bristol, Virginia has the highest electric rate in Tri-Cities.

Another $225,000 went to a seafood restaurant in Bristol. ($175,000 was EDA grants; $50,000 from Bristol Virginia Utilities.)

Another Bristol company received $1 million ($500,000 Tobacco Funds) to create 350 "new jobs," but instead we got 600 lay-offs.

The company kept the money. Washington County gave away $40,000 for a non-profit retirement community study that produced nothing.

As for Joy Manufacturing in Duffield, explain why they closed their facilities in Washington County, Virginia, industrial parks at the same time. The net result was a loss of over 100 jobs and millions in losses to taxpayers.

It's time to stop the waste and use tobacco grants for what they were intended for.

Lewis Loflin
Bristol, VA

Sprint Back-Stabs Bristol Virginia

"We didn't see it coming" says confused Bristol, Virginia leaders.

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.

See Sprint Moves to Sullivan County.

Crony Capitalism 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.

Nothing is known to have come of this deal.


We must ban government funding for private business ventures. Restore real free enterprise free of government money.

American Labor Participation Collapse.
American Labor Participation Collapse.

For a larger view of above click American Labor Participation Collapse

This was before the China Covid virus.

Below is more proof and the last I'll write on this subject. Morgan Griffith is my congressman VA 9th. Phil Roe represents East Tennessee 1st and is retiring. They are worthless.

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.

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.

Four East Tennessee Hospitals lose $74.5 million 2015-2017.Fig. 2 Four East Tennessee Hospitals lose $74.5 million 2015-2017.

Note due to overuse of Medicare, Medicaid, and uninsured are losing millions even before the Wuhan Flu. They are in a panic over Covid 19 due to a lack of intensive care beds and staff.

It is so bad they are begging retirees to come back to work. Most are refusing.

This problem can be traced to the same problems plaguing entire industries in this region: short staffing, under payed, over worked to the point of burn out. Dirty labor tactics.

When I taught community college I asked the head of the nursing program how long do nurses work. She said most quit after three years.

Same problem with nursing homes. Years of low pay has driven many to leave the region or retire. I know for a fact some have rehired fired drug users to fill positions. That is how bad it is.

Date July 17, 2021. The past 20 months of the Wuhan Flu crisis has affected little of Southwest Virginia. Our number of cases were never that high nor were deaths even with a large sick and elderly population.

The problem is and existed before is staffing shortages caused by the anti-worker, low wage business culture in this region.

Virginia Dept. Health reports as of August 20, 2021:

Bristol, Va. – 1,755 cases / 133 hospitalizations / 39 deaths (7 new cases / 1 new hospitalization)
Buchanan County – 1,705 cases / 124 hospitalizations / 47 deaths (2 new cases)
Dickenson County – 1,067 cases / 48 hospitalizations / 19 deaths (1 new case)
Lee County – 2,575 cases / 118 hospitalizations / 48 deaths (4 new cases)
Norton – 354 cases / 19 hospitalizations / 7 deaths (2 new cases)
Russell County – 2,478 cases / 137 hospitalizations / 40 deaths (21 new cases)
Scott County – 2,083 cases / 140 hospitalizations / 61 deaths (17 new cases / 1 new hospitalization)
Smyth County – 3,217 cases / 212 hospitalizations / 95 deaths (16 new cases)
Tazewell County – 4,046 cases / 195 hospitalizations / 77 deaths (30 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Washington County, Va. – 5,481 cases / 458 hospitalizations / 115 deaths (22 new cases, 1 new hospitalization)
Wise County – 3,636 cases / 191 hospitalizations / 108 deaths (40 new cases, 1 new hospitalization, 1 new death)

Bristol Virginia for example with population of ~17,000 had a death rate of ~0.22%. The national rate assuming 338 million and 608,000 alleged dead 0.18%.

The reason I choose Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee as a focus point is its position on the Tennessee/Virginia state lines. It sits dead center of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.

Bristol Virginia sits in Washington County Virginia, Bristol Tennessee sits in Sullivan County Tennessee.

Washington County and Sullivan County are the wealthiest in the region. The surrounding counties are worse off. Even they are a joke when is comes to jobs and earning a real living. A lower cost of living only goes far with lower wage scales.

Bristol Virginia Job ad offering $500 sign on bonus.Fig. 3 Bristol Virginia Job ad offering a $500 sign on bonus.

But as of September 2021 workers have finally made some gains after decades of losses. Or so it seems. Crap service jobs are begging for workers and offering as much as $13 an hour for jobs 2 years ago were paying $8.

The reality is most jobs still fail to get above minimum wage adjusted for inflation from 1971.

NOTE: Minimum wage in Virginia increased to $11 an hour on Jan. 1, 2022 and is set to increase to $12 next January.

But business

Virginia did raise minimum wage to $9.50 an hour in 2021, something they should have done in 2008. Raising it now is meaningless.

Employers across the region claim they can't hire skilled workers or workers at all. They have only themselves to blame.

They refuse to train or apprentice new workers - they demand taxpayers do it for them. Hell why not pay their salaries too?

Even then they refuse to commit to hiring them. They refuse to raise wages to attract workers - on average pay-scales across this region are 40-60% below the State average even for a college degree. Most won't hire college graduates to begin with - got to maintain social apartheid.

An insidious coalition of the Chamber of Commerce, state, local government agencies actively engaged in a campaign to keep wages low and working people powerless.

Dirty labor tactics such as constant hire-fire, temp agencies, etc. Even economic development agencies using millions in public money helped business engage in this behavior.

As I was informed by a government agency hack, "Business doesn't give a damn about your skills, education or experience. We are here a assist business, period."

That attitude is typical of the abusive, bastard employers and pseudo-government economic developers in this region.

The only jobs they created was their own. In fact local governments help setup non-profits in order to get grants, most were wasted.

For example I remember the Weldon Cooper Center in Wise, Virginia (part of UVa at Wise at that time) told me how they did (to me) a bogus study to for the purpose of obtaining millions in ARC and Tobacco grants for a country music museum in Bristol, Virginia.

I don't know of any prediction the Weldon Cooper Center has ever gotten right.

$12 million later, and it has been open several years, there have no measurable benefit to the people of Bristol. Note Fig. 1 above as proof. They refuse to give me a specific list of jobs they claim to have created.

As one ex-city official put it, "one can't go by job numbers" or something like that. Then how does one promise thousands of jobs but can't document any of them?

And that has been the problem all along. No oversight where the money went and no metrics to measure success by.

Yes I could use Virginia Freedom of Information Act to check the City or local government end, but that doesn't apply to grant recipients or economic development! They get the money, nobody knows where it went.

This is compounded by Virginia Laws such as executive or closed session. Any discussion on anything related to grants, government contracting, corporate welfare (incentives) etc. are barred from the public.

The press and public are locked out of the meeting, proper records are seldom kept, no recordings etc. allowed.

This is why ten people went to Federal prison over backroom dealing at Bristol Virginia Utilities.

This is why the Virginia Tobacco Commission that has wasted nearly $1 billion needs an extensive and public forensic audit.

This is how taxpayers lost tens of millions in various economic development scams such as The Falls ($100 million) or the Nicewonder fiasco at Exit 7.

No surprise those behind these deals soon disappear from City Government. In fact they often leave the community entirely.

This place is so messed up they gave away over $50,000 in electrical equipment to a Red Lobster restaurant - then stuck City utility customers with the bill.

Most of the endemic class warfare in the local culture became exposed for all to see. In the past nepotism was key to getting into any of the good jobs - even that didn't work.

American Labor Participation collapse.Fig. 4 American Labor Participation Collapse.

The Lost Generation

Fig. 4 above illustrates the destruction of American workers. NAFTA, China, speculation bubbles on Wall Street, and tens of millions imported workers as tens of millions of jobs disappeared.

This was government policy. Every American worker had a corporate-globalist bullseye on their backs. Corporatist government at its best.

For the last generation going back to 1990 an entire generation had no chance to get a decent job. They watched their mothers and fathers downsized and ruined.

Those entering the labor market had no real jobs, thus gained no experience or work ethic. Becoming a good worker means having real jobs to learn how to work and start a family.

The results are predictable: drug use, broken families, single mothers, etc. and millions leaving the labor force.

The 20,000 to 30,000 workers fired across this region have retired or moved on.

Business forced to compete against slave labor in Mexico and China treated their workers like third-world serfs.

That is why many even if qualified won't work for employers with a reputation for abuse and low pay.

It would have been far better to let markets operate properly, cut off mass illegal immigration, and stop paying businesses to locate out of the country.

America first even if one hates Trump.

The Bristol Herald Courier August 21, 2021 notes the following report from our Chamber of Commerce paid for by a $81,000 Government grant:

BRISTOL, Va. -- The Bristol Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday released a report detailing the Twin Cities' biggest challenges and opportunities for economic growth...The report cited an aging population, the "brain drain" effect of talented workers "moving away to seek better employment opportunities" and low wages as some of the area's top barriers to economic development...

No shit, the very things I documented here for over 20 years without a government grant to waste.

Their answer to the problem is the same garbage central planning of the last 20 years:

The report also recommended focusing on eight key issues to drive economic growth over the next 20 years: arts and tourism, the music economy, a competitive workforce, entrepreneurship, housing, leadership and collaboration, downtown Bristol and targeted business...

Already did that and it failed! They had a luncheon in the useless Bristol Train Station they wasted $6 million in grants "fixing up" then around another $600,000 to lobby AMTRAK to come to Bristol.

Sorry Bristol the proverbial train has already left the Bristol Train Station. Another wasted $81,000.

That is why government efforts to "fix" this region's economy was a waste of time even if we eliminated corruption and graft.

Federal policy favoring finance and foreign slave labor over producing real things here is behind these problems.

My advice for those staying out of the workforce to collect handouts is get a job, any job.

Get to work on time and do a good job. Show the employer you are really worth $13 an hour.

Learn self-sufficiency because the broken system won't save you.

Get out of debt, live within your means. If your employer fails one might not have government handouts to fall back on.


The following are how history was altered by climate.

Mass Failure of Government Economic Programs

With those in Washington thinking they can buy a new economy with government central planning and mass amounts of money need to come to our region to find out what NOT to do.

Indicative of economic life in Bristol was the collapse of the Tenneva Holiday Inn on State near downtown. This in my opinion shoddy structure is still unfinished as of November 2021. It was started in June 2019.

In 2016 Ball Container shuttered its Bristol Virginia plant firing ~220 workers. Some Chinese firm Merchant House International Limited got the building in December 2017. There was more hoopla "jobs", millions spent, 400 new jobs promised to make towels.

Local press reports that by December 2019 only 50 jobs materialized, zillions more predicted by 2020. As of Novenber 2021 little has come of this as I predicted. Perhaps turmoil in Hong Kong (the company is based there) or the Wuhan Flu set things back?

What is really stupid is to locate a textile plant in an area where nobody has ever worked textiles. Thus the damn lies begin again.


Yet ABC 13 in Lynchburg proclaims the headline, "Hong Kong-based company expands in Virginia, creating 405 new jobs...Governor Terry McAuliffe was in the City of Bristol Tuesday, announcing that more than 405 jobs have been created."

Where do they hire these reporters? That was a lie in 2017 and the story has never been corrected. This is among many of Governor Terry McAuliffe's failed announcements.

The press simply reprints press releases and never follows up on their own stories. They might be doing just fine, I called their contact number at (276) 285-3703 and waiting to hear back. Oddly I got a person and not a company.

Virginia Interment College closed in 2014. They got millions in Tobacco and other economic grants to develop a "tourism degree program." I looked into this and there is no evidence any such program ever existed. They got the millions and though "financial collapse, shrinking enrollment and lost accreditation" slams the doors. Money gone, no accounting again.

Then to quote,

Chinese entrepreneur Zhiting Zang acquired the lifeless former VI campus at auction in December 2016 and announced intentions to establish a school under the aegis of his U.S. Magis International Education Center in Flushing, New York.

They were supposed to open February 2021. Still nothing. The Bristol Herald Courier tried to get more information but, "There was no response to a request for more information." Been there done that for years. Did Mr. Zhiting Zang get government money?

The Bristol Train Station wasted $6 million in highway and economic development grants still sits empty 15 years later. They spent at least another $500,000 plus lobbying to bring AMTRAK to Bristol. Spend millions on a train station and no trains. Nothing again.

Our $12 million Country Music has been open several years. No evidence of any real impact on the economy. I drove by the other day and the parking lot was mostly empty. Perhaps the Wuhan Flu is keeping the millions of visitors away?

I could go on with this for hours. $100 million in energy research centers. Failed. Call centers collect millions in public funding as "technology jobs" open and close like clockwork.

Northrop Grumman opened up in Russell County Virginia in 2006 as part of a lucrative Virginia state contract. They claimed the "creation" of 1000 new high tech jobs. Never even came close.

They were so incompetent Morgan Griffith my present Representative tried to get the contract pulled according to press. They still insist they created 1000 new jobs that never existed and the facility has all but closed 2 years ago.

The Virginian-Pilot September 15, 2010 led with the headline, "State data debacle doesn't disappear." To quote,

House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith wanted to know whom to blame for weaknesses in the state's computer contract with Northrop Grumman...Virginia's leaders thought that by turning over their computer system to a private company, they could rid themselves of responsibility for a core government service that just happens to be indispensable to the functioning of every other government service. That dangerous assumption is directly responsible for the substandard service taxpayers now receive as well as the flawed contract that may prevent the state from collecting meaningful penalties from Northrop Grumman.

Again a typical backroom deal. I was blocked from getting information on this from Virginia. I attended their job fair and found the number of promised jobs and pay scales were a scam. The damn taxpayers even paid for the phony job fair!

Northrop Grumman was a defence contractor with no experience in telecom. The results anyone could predict. The press closed the article with this quote,

That's not good enough, and state leaders must insist that the taxpayers are fully compensated for lost productivity and aggravation...

Read the story from the Virginian-Pilot: State data debacle doesn't disappear.

For a list of related stories see Three Decades of Job Losses in Southwest Virginia.

They did nothing. Now we come to mother of debacles and it is Bristol Virginia again. They spent over $100 MILLION to finance a failed shopping center!

$100 Taxpayer Funded Shopping Center to get Apartments?

Ballad Health

Ballad Health is our regional healthcare provider for "21 counties across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, with a secondary service area encompassing an additional six counties in Western North Carolina and two counties in Southeastern Kentucky."

Before the Wuhan Flu they lost between $50-$60 million in a single year. Website February 19th, 2021 reported a loss of $49 million during the pandemic from a single quarter ending in December 2020. They lost more than that prior to 2020.

My predictions of further population and economic decline continues even with millions in corporate welfare, public bailouts of business, and wasted government grants.

Ballad's Health Needs Assessment 2019 reveals just how bad the situation is on a number of issues. Sullivan County is better off than most of the region and their outlook is poor.

Ballad reports the County had a population 86,739 in 2018 and is expecting no population growth. The population over 65 will swell from 22.6% to almost 25%. Same in Washington County Virginia at over 24%. 22% of the adult populations are smokers.

Income across the region is far below Virginia and Tennessee averages. Low-wage Tennessee average state income is $42,300, Sullivan County $35,100. Southwest Virginia is even more dismal compared to Virginia.

On the positive side due to the population being over 90% white we have very low crime rates even with high poverty rates. Poverty has little to do with criminality.

In Washington County Virginia violent crime is 127 per 100,000 while Virginia was 194. That is 65% lower than the rest of Virginia. We also have massive gun ownership and a number of criminals over the years have been shot.

But on health outcomes we rank far below the rest of Virginia. The fact our Wuhan Flu death rates adjusted for other factors was lower than Virginia.

In April 2019 the Bristol Herald Courier reports, "New health rankings show SW Va. near bottom, NE Tenn. much higher."

Those differences can be explained by higher average income in Virginia than Tennessee. I covered this before. See 'Go Virginia' Scam More of the Same Government Waste 2018.

Below is more proof and the last I'll write on this subject. Morgan Griffith is my congressman VA 9th. Phil Roe represents East Tennessee 1st and is retiring. They are worthless.

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.

Update December 2019: One of the worst child abuse cases in Sullivan County is in the news again. See Baptist Preacher-Wife Sentenced to 179 Years

Also see 2007 Christian-Newsom Race Murders Rock Knoxville.

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.

A gang of Blacks in Knoxville kidnapped, raped, and murdered a young white couple after a carjacking. The press was more interested in the Duke-Lacrosse hoax - the black whore that lied about the young men later went to prison for murder.

See 2007 Christian-Newsom Race Murders Rock Knoxville.

Kelli O'Laughlin of Chicago.

Another victim of a black criminal on parole. Yes - white lives matter too!

Female victims of black violence.

Religious Traditions

My interest in this subject is from a historical and philosophical viewpoint. This came from a controversy over the Ten Commandments being placed in local courthouses.

For the record I'm not a Christian or Jew but hold them no ill will. I believe in fact based science, not consensus based science.

There is a great deal of material on this site in regards to religion, in particular subjects related to rational monotheism and the Bible. Because Christianity was a product of the Hellenism Alexander the Great would be a good place to start taking another look. The later Roman Empire as such never "fell" in 479 AD, it merely changed form, a process going back a few centuries.

"We can not command religion, for no man can be compelled to believe anything against his will."

Why study the historical Jesus?

To quote a Christian:

Because our faith is based upon a historical figure for whom more evidence exists than for Julius Caesar. Christians, Jews, journalists, theologians, historians and skeptics all take an active interest in every archaeological or manuscript discovery that might shed light or doubt on the origins of our faith. We, too, must be armed with these facts to confirm our faith and equip ourselves with reasons for the faith we hold in order to answer enquirers (1 Peter 3.15). Jonathan Went

"We can not command religion, for no man can be compelled to believe anything against his will."

Western concepts of God have ranged from the detached transcendent demiurge of Aristotle to the pantheism of Spinoza. Nevertheless, much of western thought about God has fallen within some broad form of theism. Theism is the view that there is a God which is the creator and sustainer of the universe and is unlimited with regard to knowledge (omniscience), power (omnipotence), extension (omnipresence), and moral perfection. Though regarded as sexless, God has traditionally been referred to by the masculine pronoun.

Concepts of God in philosophy are entwined with concepts of God in religion. This is most obvious in figures like Augustine and Aquinas, who sought to bring more rigor and consistency to concepts found in religion. Others, like Leibniz and Hegel, interacted constructively and deeply with religious concepts. Even those like Hume and Nietzsche, who criticized the concept of God, dealt with religious concepts. While Western philosophy has interfaced most obviously with Christianity, Judaism and Islam have had some influence.

The orthodox forms of all three religions have embraced theism, though each religion has also yielded a wide array of other views. Philosophy has shown a similar variety. For example, with regard to the initiating cause of the world, Plato and Aristotle held God to be the crafter of uncreated matter. Plotinus regarded matter as emanating from God. Spinoza, departing from his judaistic roots, held God to be identical with the universe, while Hegel came to a similar view by reinterpreting Christianity.

Issues related to Western concepts of God include the nature of divine attributes and how they can be known, if or how that knowledge can be communicated, the relation between such knowledge and logic, the nature of divine causality, and the relation between the divine and the human will.

Extract from God, Western Concepts of | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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