Skip to comments.Is Fed Raid on Gibson Guitar Company Enforcing Policy . . . or a Push to Target 'Made in the USA'?
Posted on 09/07/2011 11:12:41 AM PDT by jessduntno
They are among the most sought-after musical instruments in the world. Everyone from Chet Atkins to Les Paul to Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin to Slash of Guns n Roses played them. A vintage 1959 Les Paul guitar can go for as much as $400,000. Almost every kid who has dreams of music stardom wants a Gibson guitars.
Gibson is also a company that is proud to put the Made in the USA label on its instruments. While the company has lower-end lines that are made overseas, every guitar that bears the Gibson label is made in the U.S. by American workers.
On August 24, armed agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Homeland Security raided the corporate headquarters and two factories of the Gibson Guitar company. The agencies took away 24 pallets of Indian rosewood and ebony, as well as a number of guitars and computer files.
The federal agents contention is that Gibson had illegally imported the exotic wood, which is used to make fretboards and bridges for their high-end instruments. Under the 1900 Lacey Act, which was amended in 2008 to include wood products, American companies must abide by the laws of source countries when importing products. The intent of the law is to protect endangered species of wildlife and plants. U.S. Fish and Wildlife claims that the Gibson wood in the form of fingerboard blanks -- was illegal to export from India and therefore illegal to import into the United States.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/09/07/does-white-house-want-to-ship-jobs-overseas/#ixzz1XI7sui1G
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
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Gibson Guitar CEO: Don't Know Why We Were Targeted Henry Juszkiewicz on government probe into company's exotic wood imports
My guess would be that an officer or owner of the Gibson Company has “dissed” the current administration or someone associated with it. I was fairly recently on the butt end of the Fed’s wrath, and, although I wouldn’t call myself an expert, I sure know more than I used to. Now I fear my government.
“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”
Gibson’s chief “Made in America” competitor is C.F.Martin of Pennsylvania. They use the same wood for fretboards, but they are also big Democrat-Obama donors.......but I’m sure there is no connection.......
So it isn’t hurting the environment, and India isn’t complaining that the minimal amount of finishing involved in creating blanks is insufficient to meet its legal requirements. But Holder & Co. aren’t happy about this.
If all US based guitar makers use these blanks, I would guess Gibson got picked on because it is the biggest consumer of them. Holder’s trying to make them an example by this very dubious action.
“If all US based guitar makers use these blanks, I would guess Gibson got picked on because it is the biggest consumer of them. Holders trying to make them an example by this very dubious action.”
Their CEO is a HUGE GOP donor. The only one in this industry, from what I can find in research.
Push to target GOP supporters.
Clinton targeted Microsoft simply for NOT supporting him.....with enough $$.
This isn’t even the worst thing the Obama administration has apparently tried to do as a ruse for furthering the Democrat jihad, if Gibson’s GOP connections are why.
How about the Gunrunner scandal? Knowingly lifting existing safeguards that were working in order to flood the clandestine Mexican gun market (mostly going to drug cartels) with US made guns so that they could later point and scream that existing safeguards were not working. That’s a funny game till somebody gets shot (which some U.S. somebodies did).
Microsoft may have been a bit dodgy, but the arguments that the Clinton administration presented sounded like debates about how many pieces of software can dance on the head of a pin.
Tennessees fishermen have been trying to export catfish eggs to the European market for domestic caviar but cant get a permit until the feds are satisfied that Tennessee is complying with federal standards for fishing in Kentucky Lakeso the entire state is prohibited from exporting fish products.
Hey, bureaucrats gotta eat too.
Is it another issue of insufficient baksheesh being paid to the Rats?
Conservatives, IMHO, need to do four things about this kind of abuse of power: Take names, keep your own skirts clean, correct the abuse as soon as we take the country back, and prosecute offenders. Americans should be able to respect their government, not fear it.
The Gibson owner is a Republican and the the shop is non-union, and has, in fact, fought off unionization attempts.
This is simple Chicago-style payback.
The thing that I don’t quite understand about this case is, how the heck does the gov’t go about determining how much finishing labor Indian workers *should* be imparting to these fretboard blanks. (And I have played and bought and sold guitars for 45 years, so I know what all this stuff is)
Are Indian workers supposed to saw out the fret slots? (uhhh, no thank you)
Should they round the edges of the blanks in a certain way? How could they do they do that if they do not know the width(s) of the necks the blanks are supposed to go on? (and you wouldn’t do it that way anyway, you glue the fretboard on and then finish the neck as one piece of wood)
Should they cut out holes the inlays or the position dots go into? You cannot do that until the frets are sawn and you cannot saw the frets until you’ve really got the ends of the fretboard under control.
But regardless of how arcane all these guitar-construction details are, how is this parameter, the ratio or relative amounts of US vs Indian labor directed to the fretboards, how is this measured? Time? Pay amount?
Notice how all the lib musicians who play Gibson’s are silent.
They should make a stink.
“Notice how all the lib musicians who play Gibsons are silent.
They should make a stink.”
And they’ll All be playing Fenders, to support Zero/Nero, next week.
Never expect a Lib to take a principled stand on Any Issue which conflicts with their ideology.
Holder didn’t do this alone. He isn’t smart enough.
This came from someone in the White House. Just as did Gunwalker.
Just another scheme to ruin American business.
This won’t affect Holder’s people. Led Zepplin & Aerosmith already recorded enough Les Paul tones for every rap and hip hop playah to sample for their latest angry rant rhymes - I mean songs.
Nonsense. Gibson's chief competitor is Fender. Fender's top guitars are American Made.
Gibson primarily makes electric guitars, the Les Paul, SG, and ES line being the most famous. Fender makes the Stratocaster and the Telecaster, among others. Famous electric guitar players are frequently lumped into the category of Gibson players or Fender players.
Martin doesn't make electric guitars. None. Not a one. Nada. Zero. Zip. Zilch.
Martin makes acoustic guitars and competes with Gibson's Bozeman, Montana acoustic factory (which was never raided). Some acoustics have electronics inside them, but they're not electric guitars (and Taylor would be the principal acoustic guitar maker in that segment).
That whole "Martin's the main competitor" business came from the same blogger who said Chris Martin was a Democrat donor (true) and Henry Juszkiewicz was a Republican Donor. That blogger conveniently didn't mention Juszkiewicz's $2,000 donation to Democrat Jim Cooper earlier this year.
Henry Juszkiewicz's comment about the government saying "in a pleading" that Gibson should use foreign labor was never made about the East Indian Rosewood blanks.
Juszkiewicz said it was made by the government about the Madagascar ebony case that's already a civil contraband forfeiture case (I think the government's wrong on the East Indian Rosewood argument, but that Gibson made the whole thing look suspicious by using a proxy "ultimate consignee" on the shipments through Dallas and Canada).
Juszkiewicz stated that the government made the labor comment "in a pleading," but you'll notice that Gibson and Juszkiewicz have not produced that pleading. It would be a nail in the government's coffin if Gibson did. TIt's a public document and Gibson could produce it - if it existed. However, I've accessed all of the pleadings from U.S. vs. Ebony Wood in Various Forms, Case No. 3:10-cv-00747 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division. The government never says that.
You can access the documents yourself at www.pacer.gov through the case name or case number.
I'm not saying the government is right (the armed raid disgusts me and I think the government's wrong on the East Indian Rosewood issue). I just believe that the truth lies between the government's statements and Gibson's and Juszkiewicz's self-serving press releases.
Never expect a Lib to take a principled stand on Any Issue which conflicts with their ideology.
It may be because Gibson's and Henry Juszkiewicz's stands often fit in with their liberal ideology. Juszkiewicz is a founder of The Rainforest Alliance (and board member until the Madagascar Ebony confiscation, after which he resigned and asked the Rainforest Alliance to help Gibson develop a procedure for the legal import of wood).
He's also a member of The Environmental Defense Fund, which battles global warming, and a board member of the We Are Family Foundation, whose mission is "respect, understanding and cultural diversity."
Juszkiewicz is "active in the Clinton Global Initiative and numerous environmental causes."
This is all from Gibson's Corporate Kit on Juszkiewicz (I've known he was involved in liberal causes because of my connections in the music industry).
Gibson Guitar runs the Gibson foundation has been involved in replacing musical instruments lost in Katrina since 2005 (I say, thanks, Gibson), and promoting the John Lennon Education Bus Tour.
It's clear how FR posters feel about the raids . . . and the government's position . . . but Juszkiewicz has never been a poster boy for conservatism. Nor has Gibson under Juszkiewicz. Liberal musicians can identify with that part of Gibson.
“It may be because Gibson’s and Henry Juszkiewicz’s stands often fit in with their liberal ideology. “
Definately Food for Thought.
I’ll have to look further into this.
You're welcome to look further into it, and you'll find that all of those associations between Henry Juszkiewicz and liberal groups are correct. He's always being photographed in a tuxedo at some liberal event - or events to raise money for leukemia or cancer research.
However, I don't think the musicians concern themselves too much about the ideology of the makers of their instruments . . . at least they've never had to do so, because the other guitar manufacturers and CEOs don't show up in black tie at conservative affairs as Henry does at all these liberal affairs, nor sit on conservative boards, as Henry does on all these liberal boards.
Henry Juszkiewicz IS Gibson. Although he first purchased it with two Harvard Business School buddies (one of whom has since left), Henry runs Gibson with an iron fist. Nothing is done by or at Gibson without Henry's control.
Based on my knowledge of the industry, I've always assumed that there was a good chance that one or more disgruntled Gibson current or former executives has been feeding information to the government. Out of 11,000 companies, Gibson was ranked the #1 Worst Place to Work in the U.S. in 2009 (down from #5 in 2008). Click on Gibson to read employee comments. Most of the negative comments by employees are about Henry by name or by title (CEO), with complaints about how frequently people are fired without warning or severance, and the rate of executive turnover.
There are tons of interesting quotes about Henry Juszkiewicz at www.glassdoor.com from current Gibson employees. As one employee says about Gibson, it’s “”an absolutely bizarre culture that top-to-bottom seems to revolve solely around not trying to upset the CEO.”
That’s quite an eye opener.