Guns vs. Guitars
by Joel Bowman
The Daily ReckoningIf I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now,
’Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.
~ Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Bullying small and medium businesses, sending armed goons to American factories, confiscating private property, closing down production and harassing business owners and their employees; a curious strategy for nurturing domestic job creation, wouldn’t you say?
The above strategies might seem ludicrous, even downright criminal, to we laypeople, but to government officials, it’s “all in a day’s work.” Take, for example, the latest case of The Feds vs. Gibson Guitars.
Actually, it’s not even a case yet, not officially…but that didn’t stop armed agents from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (these guys have guns?) from raiding two of Gibson’s production facilities in Tennessee and its Nashville headquarters last Wednesday. The agents confiscated “nearly $1 million in Indian ebony, finished guitars and electronic data,” according to the company’s CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz.
“It was a nightmare,” fumed Mr. Juszkiewicz after the incident, “We had people sitting there making guitars. We had no weapons.”
This is not the first time the feds have actively sought to bum Gibson’s vibe (a job-creating vibe, let us not forget – Gibson’s Tennessee factories alone employ over 700 people). The feds last crashed the party back in 2009, seizing a shipment of ebony from Madagascar. They claimed they were there – and, again, armed – to enforce the Lacey Act, a century-old endangered species act that was amended in 2008 to include plants and animals.
But before activists get their patchouli incense sticks in a knot, it’s worth noting that Gibson is not your typical – or even atypical – enemy of the planet.
“Agents seized wood that was Forest Stewardship Council controlled,” Juszkiewicz noted, in a quote carried on the company’s website. “Gibson has a long history of supporting sustainable and responsible sources of wood and has worked diligently with entities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace to secure FSC-certified supplies. The wood seized on August 24 satisfied FSC standards.”
Your editor has no idea where the Forest Stewardship Council, the Rainforest Alliance and Greenpeace stand in this particular case…but we’d bet it’s not on the side of the “greedy, seal-clubbing, old growth-uprooting capitalist pigs.”
“We’ve been importing this wood for 17 years, consistently, on a regular basis, with no problem,” Juszkiewicz told Fox News yesterday. “And our competitors continue to use and buy this wood without any problem today.”
Juszkiewicz says the government won’t tell him exactly how – or if – his company has violated that law.
“We’re in this really incredible situation,” continued Mr. Juszkiewicz. “We have been implicated in wrongdoing and we haven’t been charged with anything,” he says. “Our business has been injured to millions of dollars. And we don’t even have a court we can go to and say, ‘Look, here’s our position.’”
It’s also worth noting that the relevant law doesn’t actually protect the trees themselves…just how – or, more specifically, where – the wood is finished. It’s perfectly legal for Gibson to use the wood, in other words, it just can’t use its own workers to fashion the wood into a guitar. That work needs to be done in India. Call it “mandatory outsourcing”…from the same people who will next week bring you their ideas on how best to create jobs in America....................http://lewrockwell.com/orig12/bowman-joel5.1.1.html