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If Gibson Is Not Safe, Nobody Is
Shout Bits Blog ^ | 08/29/11 | Shout Bits

Posted on 08/29/2011 12:09:44 PM PDT by Shout Bits

Last week, Gibson Guitar made the news as armed agents of the Division of Fish and Wildlife raided its factories in Tennessee. The gist of the federal complaint is that Gibson may have violated the laws of Madagascar and India by importing only partially finished guitar components and then further processing the materials with US labor. The 'may' qualifier refers to the fact that the multi-year investigation has yielded no charges whatsoever against Gibson. Whatever the specious merits of the government's investigation, the broader lesson is that federal regulatory authority is so expansive and vague, it enables corrupt bureaucrats to intimidate and punish nearly any honest business that falls under Washington's crosshairs.

It's worth mentioning that Gibson is a successful domestic manufacturer that employs hundreds of people that would normally work overseas. Musical instruments are a labor intensive product, and Gibson could easily reduce its costs by moving its operations to Asia. Like a few iconic brands like Harley Davidson, Gibson trades on its reputation for quality by maintaining US operations. To many professional musicians, Gibson is synonymous with guitars, the USA, and quality. While the US is losing its manufacturing base, especially where labor is a dominant component, Gibson has found a way to prosper, and provide employment to Americans.

Rather than thanking Gibson for its entrepreneurial spirit and being an ambassador for the US everywhere guitars are played, the Obama Administration has used a book of dirty tricks to stymie Gibson. Gibson's factories were raided two years ago, when government agents seized valuable inventory, yet the government never brought charges and refused to explain why it was still keeping Gibson's property. When Gibson sued the Federal Government for its right to private property, the Obama Administration responded with last week's new raid. One theory posits that Gibson is being targeted for retribution after it moved its factories from union friendly Michigan to right-to-work Tennessee – just as Boeing is being sued for opening a factory in South Carolina.

The government's motivation to punish a US manufacturer for using small amounts of rare woods is open only to speculation, but its tactics are textbook. Unlike any other litigant, the government has enormous advantages when it sets it sights on a victim. The government can confiscate any property it wishes without probable cause, as Gibson has learned. Such victims must sue to prove their innocence, which can take years. Meanwhile, the government's victim may not be able to continue to earn the profits required to defend itself. The government may time its action to inflict the most damage, as it did with Boeing by suing the airplane manufacturer only after it had invested $750mm in a new factory. Worst of all, the government frequently sidesteps or simply ignores court orders to cease its abuses.

The Gibson story is not a unique case of the government's capricious attitude toward the rights of businesses. There are so many laws and regulations that any company can become entangled in the web of a crafty bureaucrat. The Gibson abuses call for serious regulatory reform, and Shout Bits has a few ideas to start the process: 1.Congress should pass a law that requires agencies that seize property to either file a complaint against the alleged violator or return the property within 90 days. This is clearly the intent of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, but somehow the Executive Branch does not read the Constitution honestly. 2.Pres. Obama should issue an executive order stating that companies, such as Gibson, that have longstanding non-violent histories may not be subject to violent military-style raids. One of the government's dirty tricks is to raid the offices of mid-level managers with guns drawn, as was the case with Gibson. This tactic is nothing more than violent intimidation designed to coerce disclosure without the trouble of subpoenas or Miranda rights. The US does not need to resort to Stasi tactics to protect rosewood trees. 3.Congress should pass a law requiring agencies to publish safe harbor standards for its regulations. Even if Gibson is somehow guilty of misusing rare woods, the Government has never stated how Gibson could legally obtain and use these essential materials. As with many regulations, Gibson is forced to guess what procedures might comply with an ever shifting government interpretation of the law. On its face, the lack of known compliance standards is arbitrary and capricious, as that allows bureaucrats to upend decades old practices without warning.

Of course real Washington reform can only come from denying rogue agencies the free-time to concoct novel prosecutorial theories such as Gibson's reworking of fret-board wood as a violation of Indian law, or Crocs claim that its shoes are anti-microbial as a violation of pesticide laws. A Congressman needs to ask these would-be Napoleons 'by how much do we need to cut your budget for these abuses to stop?'


TOPICS: Politics
KEYWORDS: gibson; gibsonguitar
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To: stranger and pilgrim

Ok thanks for correction, sorry for relaying bad info


21 posted on 08/29/2011 12:42:39 PM PDT by Mount Athos (A Giant luxury mega-mansion for Gore, a Government Green EcoShack made of poo for you)
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To: Mount Athos
No Martins for me after this!

I have been shopping but haven't found exactly what I want. If I buy new vs vintage (vintage is cool if you know a good luthier or know how to set one up and do the repairs) it's going to be a Gibson...probably a songwriter.

Expensive...yes...but I wasn't really impressed with the new Martins I played anyway.

I always wanted a Hummingbird or Dove but right now I'm leaning toward a songwriter.

22 posted on 08/29/2011 12:45:29 PM PDT by prisoner6 (Right Wing Nuts bolt The Constitution together as the loose screws of the Left fall out!)
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To: stranger and pilgrim

What year? The original raid took place in 2009. This raid in the past week or so was purely done (it seems) to try and intimidate being that Gibson was confident to win a Court case (the hearing was about to come).

If Gibson moved before the first raid in 2009 then the theory may very well be valid that they were targeted at the bequest of unions.


23 posted on 08/29/2011 12:45:50 PM PDT by TheBigIf
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To: Mount Athos

Gibson moved to Memphis 5 years ago during the Bush years.


24 posted on 08/29/2011 12:47:43 PM PDT by Coldwater Creek (He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty Psalm 91:)
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To: Mount Athos

Gibson was first raided in 2009. They then filed suit to clear their name and have their property returned which they were confident they were winning.

Now to step up the intimidation and play further hardball (it seems) the Obama administration produced a second raid.

If Gibson moved years ago then was it before the first raid in 2009?


25 posted on 08/29/2011 12:47:52 PM PDT by TheBigIf
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To: Coldwater Creek

Ok but still... as soon as a democrat gets power then they are attacked this way?


26 posted on 08/29/2011 12:49:10 PM PDT by TheBigIf
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

Do you happen to have a link to the warrant application.


27 posted on 08/29/2011 12:49:34 PM PDT by Valpal1 ("I’ll work every day to make Washington DC as inconsequential in your life as I can." Rick Perry)
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To: Shout Bits
Division of Fish and Wildlife ??

A Gibson is neither!!

28 posted on 08/29/2011 1:00:22 PM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: Shout Bits

Illegal aliens - OK
Gun Running - OK
Meth Labs - OK
ID fraud - OK
Voter froud - OK
Making Guitars - the Obama Regime lands on you like a ton of bricks


29 posted on 08/29/2011 1:00:22 PM PDT by 6SJ7 (atlasShruggedInd = TRUE)
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To: Shout Bits
HEY CONGRESS, when are you guys going to kill the budgets of these Obozo - Holder rouge law enforcement agencies, like the DOJ??
30 posted on 08/29/2011 1:00:45 PM PDT by drypowder
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To: Shout Bits

“If Gibson Is Not Safe, Nobody Is”

Which is EXACTLY the message the Obamunist Fascists want to send to Republican Corporate donors.

Remember folks, these aren’t your grandfathers Democrats. These are the America-hating Academic Socialists, and corrupt politicians we were told all our lives could NEVER take power in America.


31 posted on 08/29/2011 1:02:40 PM PDT by tcrlaf (PREFRONTAL LOBOTOMISTS FOR OBAMA2012!)
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To: Shout Bits
Division of Fish and Wildlife ??

A Gibson is neither!!

32 posted on 08/29/2011 1:06:22 PM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: Shout Bits
Division of Fish and Wildlife ??

A Gibson is neither!!

33 posted on 08/29/2011 1:06:22 PM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: DBrow

Your point is correct.

These ‘agents’ confuse regulatory agencies with law enforcement. It is an enabler of political corruption. These agents are a ‘praetorian guard’ which can be used as political tools, and they are.


34 posted on 08/29/2011 1:07:08 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: Shout Bits

A problem with this article. Businesses don’t have ‘rights’.

Individuals have rights.


35 posted on 08/29/2011 1:09:41 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: tcrlaf

“If Gibson Is Not Safe, Nobody Is”

Which is EXACTLY the message the Obamunist Fascists want to send to Republican Corporate donors.

Remember folks, these aren’t your grandfathers Democrats. These are the America-hating Academic Socialists, and corrupt politicians we were told all our lives could NEVER take power in America.”

This reminds of a jpg on another thread of the Constitution wrapped around a TP role with an inset of a laughing Zero and the motto, “C’mon, want did you think I was going to do with it?”

http://www.law.utk.edu/faculty/davies/DaviesTLR04.PDF

“Contemporary constructions of the constitutional provisions that were meant to restrain the government’s criminal justice powers are now quite distant from the original meanings of those provisions. Indeed, although recent Supreme Court decisions sometimes purport to look to the text and original meaning of those provisions, the constructions given typically have little connection to the historical meanings”

You’ve got to wonder just How FAR do these idiots have to actually Push before the ‘Reagan Democrats’ wake up help us take our country back?


36 posted on 08/29/2011 1:31:51 PM PDT by To-Whose-Benefit? (It is Error alone which needs the support of Government. The Truth can stand by itself.)
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To: TheBigIf

In the first raid they confiscated over a million dollars worth of legally imported Madagascar Rosewood. Gibson was suing for its return and was confident of success.

The 2nd raid was based on even flimsier allegations and appears to be for intimidation.

My question is... where is the million dollar Madagascar Rosewood now? Is it still in federal warehouse/evidence locker or has it been stolen/sold out of federal custody?

If it’s not politically motivated, then it’s about money, theft and government corruption.


37 posted on 08/29/2011 1:33:41 PM PDT by Valpal1 ("I’ll work every day to make Washington DC as inconsequential in your life as I can." Rick Perry)
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To: Valpal1
This is an egregious, serious abuse of power by an out of control, lawless Administration.

Hopefully this will be an overreach of jump the shark proportions that really backfires on these guys.

BTW, giving guns and law enforcement responsibilities to Game and Fish employees, Firemen, and other non LEO government employees invariably attracts exactly the wrong type of personality. These people are more often than not ego driven, wannabe secret agents types who love to brag about “having a gun and getting to arrest people”.

They are exactly the personality profiles that real police departments screen out during the police academy hiring procedure and /or weed out during police academy training.

I mean, seriously, do you really need to carry weapons into a reputable, long established musical instrument factory to execute a search warrant for alleged “contraband hardwood” .

Even the Nazi Gestapo would feel embarrassed to stoop to such demeaning behavior. However, criminalizing even the most trivial of life's daily routines this is the primary goal all totalitarian regimes - it's easy to control the people when all people can arbitrarily be charged with some trumped up criminal charge at any time.

38 posted on 08/29/2011 2:01:43 PM PDT by rdcbn
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To: Valpal1
In the first raid they confiscated over a million dollars worth of legally imported Madagascar Rosewood.

Legally imported according to whom? Gibson?

It was virtually impossible to legally import Madgascar Rosewood in 2009. That may be why Gibson didn't identify the rosewood as "Madagascar" rosewood on the import papers.

Gibson didn't have the Lacey Act papers on the Madagascar Rosewood. Source

Gibson's internal emails from that era stated that "all legal timber and wood exports [from Madagacar] are prohibited because of wide spread corruption and theft of valuable woods like rosewood and ebony."

However, the employee noted that Gibson might be able to get 'grey market' Madagascar Rosewood from a particular source. That's the source that Gibson used when it imported the Madgascar Ebony without the Lacey Act papers, the Madagascar Ebony with the paperwork that unintentionally or intentionally left off the place of origin. Source.

I don't know that it's a black-and-white case that Gibson "legally imported" the Madagascar Rosewood seized in the first raid.

Remember that 2008-2009 was during the era of a political coup in Madagascar and that armed rebels were logging national forests for rosewood and ebony, and that the wood, which the Madagascar government said was illegal to sell, was being sold by the rebels by routing it through other countries.

39 posted on 08/29/2011 2:02:21 PM PDT by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred.)
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To: tcrlaf
“If Gibson Is Not Safe, Nobody Is”

Which is EXACTLY the message the Obamunist Fascists want to send to Republican Corporate donors.

Remember folks, these aren’t your grandfathers Democrats. These are the America-hating Academic Socialists, and corrupt politicians we were told all our lives could NEVER take power in America.

________________________________________________________________________

First they came for the musical instrument hard wood and I did not speak out because I was tone deaf..................

We all know where this leads. Lets speak out - LOUD

40 posted on 08/29/2011 2:06:20 PM PDT by rdcbn
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