Does that Gibson Guitar raid make more sense now?

posted at 11:01 am on May 26, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

An editorial at Investors Business Daily may wind up being filed under how did I miss this one? Following the recent revelations of cases where the administration appears to have used the muscle of the federal government to go after its political enemies, IBD takes a walk down memory lane to the strange case of Gibson Guitars and the federal raids on their facilities for alleged illegal importing of exotic woods used in their products. They reach one provocative conclusion.

The inexplicable raid nearly two years ago on a guitar maker for using allegedly illegal wood that its competitors also used was another targeting by this administration of its political enemies…

Interestingly, one of Gibson’s leading competitors is C.F. Martin & Co. According to C.F. Martin’s catalog, several of their guitars contain “East Indian Rosewood,” which is the exact same wood in at least 10 of Gibson’s guitars. So why were they not also raided and their inventory of foreign wood seized?

Well, let’s see… maybe C.F. Martin was getting their supplies from a properly regulated source? No. Did they fill out some forms that Gibson forgot to submit? No… so what could it be?

Grossly underreported at the time was the fact that Gibson’s chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, contributed to Republican politicians. Recent donations have included $2,000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and $1,500 to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

By contrast, Chris Martin IV, the Martin & Co. CEO, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee over the past couple of election cycles.

“We feel that Gibson was inappropriately targeted,” Juszkiewicz said at the time, adding the matter “could have been addressed with a simple contact (from) a caring human being representing the government. Instead, the government used violent and hostile means.”

The end of that story was a travesty, with Gibson being forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in a settlement where there was no finding of criminal action just so they could get back to business. At the time of the judgement, our own Mary Katharine Ham covered the story and found a lot wrong with it, but even she didn’t seem to suspect this situation. And in retrospect, it doesn’t seem all that surprising.

While all this was going on, there was plenty of reason to suspect that there was politics of some sort involved. With Democrats in control of the White House and the Senate, it didn’t seem much of a stretch to think that the eco-warriors were in full throated, chest thumping mode and they would be pushing the limits to show how much they were doing to save the planet. The Gibson story, with its hook of endangered forests and evil manufacturing giants stripping the land, was a perfect fit. But I don’t think many of us imagined that even the Obama administration would be so blatant as to simply launch a police state style attack on a company which supported their enemies while leaving friendly, Democrat donating competitors alone. Or at least I didn’t.

Is this paranoid, tinfoil hat territory? I assure you that Obama supporters reading this will declare it to be exactly that. But given what we’ve been finding in the news recently, is it really that far fetched? Not any more.


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The Obama IRS product rule:

The probability that you will be audited is proportional to the product of your contributions to Republicans with your competitors’ contributions to Democrats.

melanerpes on May 26, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Was there ever any doubt?

Most corrupt administration evah.

Xasprtr on May 26, 2013 at 1:51 PM

The Obama IRS product rule:
The probability that you will be audited is proportional to the product of your contributions to Republicans with your competitors’ contributions to Democrats.
melanerpes on May 26, 2013 at 1:50 PM

I hope they get Wesley Snipes to play barky in the movie. When he gets out of jail…….

VegasRick on May 26, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Same thing happened with the illegal GM bankruptcy case. They screwed the conservative leaning dealers, canceled their contracts with the automaker, even though those dealerships were very profitable and run well. Tens of thousands of people lost their jobs for NO GOOD REASON!!!!

Not a peep from the press.

karenhasfreedom on May 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM

…and Chrysler dealers!…the Politburo Press needed to visit the offices of the owners of some of these generational franchises…and look at the pictures on their walls!…a number of the ones who had pictures of mom and dad with RR or the Bushes are now empty…but the ones with Jimmy or BJ…are still hanging on the wall…and open for business…and believe me…most of their balance sheets had nothing to do with the determination…of who stayed open or closed!

KOOLAID2 on May 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM

Democrats play to win and they play for keeps, it’s the Chicago way. Meanwhile, far too often the Republicans only want to go along and get along with their Democrat Congressional frat brothers, the country be damned.

RJL on May 26, 2013 at 2:07 PM

wolly4321 on May 26, 2013 at 1:22 PM

I remember when the story first broke. We are a family of many guitars also. Still, all these things (like GM dealerships mentioned above) need to be drug back out in the light. I don’t know how long the press will stay angry and keep these things in the public eye, we need to get while the getting is good. I would venture to guess that most of the public is clueless.

Cindy Munford on May 26, 2013 at 2:16 PM

I don’t think it’s a stretch to compare the Obama Regime tactics with another Regime in its early days. Read how Hitler quashed dissent in the early days of the Third Reich. Remember the Obama 2008 campaign, the orchestration of the rallies, the stagecraft, the chant, “Yes We Can”, the glazed eyes of adoring crowds, school children signing of Obama? If you’ve ever seen film footage of the 1934 Nuremberg Rally, the comparisons are chilling. We are kidding ourselves if we think Obama is a blip on the radar screen. As dangerous as he is, the people shadowy people behind him are worse and they will not go away. Business as usual will not save us, something more drastic is required.

“The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force.” ~ Adolf Hitler

“Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state, for every form of power politics and any dictatorship-run state has its roots in the street.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

SpiderMike on May 26, 2013 at 2:20 PM

And our decent towards a Banana Republic continues…

Wood Dragon on May 26, 2013 at 2:30 PM

the gibson v martin political contributions were reported at the very beginning. i have no idea how you missed it.

jlw on May 26, 2013 at 11:07 AM

At that time, the liberals could have argued it was an anomaly. No more.

unclesmrgol on May 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM

I checked the LA Times searchable database. Not one word about Gibson.

Here’s the NYTimes look at things — one (a blog) kind of neutral, the other crowing about the fines Gibson was ordered to pay:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/a-closer-look-at-gibson-guitars-legal-troubles/

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/us/deal-with-gibson-guitar-corporation-ends-case-on-illegal-import-of-wood.html?_r=0

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B06E7D81339F934A3575BC0A9649D8B63

One can see from the descriptions of the penalties that the Feds were intent on throttling Gibson.

I really do wonder why their main competitor, who was importing identical woods from identical places, wasn’t also hung out to dry.

Scary.

unclesmrgol on May 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM

This is the reason my 2012 Les Paul studio, proudly made in Nashville, TN, has a Granadillo fretbroad instead of east indian rosewood. You know what? The Granadillo is just as good as the rosewood not just in my opinion but of studio musicians as well. I said Gibson was targeted when this happened, but none of my liberal friends could even consider that the government would target someone because of their politics.

Mini-14 on May 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

I was rather unsurprisingly disgusted when, after the story of the raid initially broke, I went to a recording and music internet forum that I used to frequent. I was hoping I’d see some negative reaction toward the 0bama administration for this.

Instead, I was greeted with post after post of musicians and recording engineers slamming Gibson, basically suggesting that they deserved it for what these people saw as their “unfair” business practices. (What was unfair about such practices was never clarified, though.)

Liberals really are liberals first. Even when other liberals go after what is near and dear to them, they’ll find a way to give their brethren a pass.

CurtZHP on May 26, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Jazz, you just confirmed what everyone who lives in Memphis already knows, especially the Gibson employees.

Next up, how many GM dealers who contributed to Republicans got to keep their dealership when Obama “liberated” GM and turned it over to the unions? Follow the money.

simkeith on May 26, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Just another instance that begs the comparison of the Dear Leader administration to that of say, The Sopranos. In contrast, though, at least Tony Soprano had some redeeming qualities, unlike Obama.

sgtstogie on May 26, 2013 at 3:42 PM

You look at what these Democrats do and realize that many companies give money to them. Do these Democrat donating companies deserve to remain in existence if they are supporting a mafia-like administration that does this kind of anti-business, anti-American stuff? Republicans have an obligation to use the power of government to put these companies out of business. It’s all about justice.

Some idiots would say “hey, you guys are not better than the Democrats if you do that.”, but that is like saying that imprisoning the Castro guy in Cleveland is no different than what he did to those girls.

Buddahpundit on May 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM

I’m glad Jazz brought this up again. We’re not tinfoil hat racists for seeing Obama for who he is. We warned people, but most hear folks talking politics and tune it out, figuring anything can be twisted to fit some narrative. Now is our time to teach.

txhsmom on May 26, 2013 at 4:34 PM

But given what we’ve been finding in the news recently, is it really that far fetched? Not any more.

Jazz,

From those of us saying this from the beginning of both this and the GM dealership closing, may I say,
“Welcome to the party, pal”.

AZfederalist on May 26, 2013 at 5:17 PM

When I was a stupid little college student I registered as a Democrat simply because of my emotional response to Nixon.

Tricky Dick and the plumbers look like a band of angels, or at least rank amateurs next to this lying POS and his administration. And he has stacked the deck with his appointments like Nixon could never have dreamed of doing. Neither did Nixon have the media, but now they (many of whom went the way I did, only they never grew up) must surely remember what they were kvetching about and see that what we have now is much worse; much, much worse.

I don’t understand. Kids in college are even more stupid, and the media is blind. Or else it’s much, much worse there too.

Shay on May 26, 2013 at 5:32 PM

I’m glad Jazz brought this up again. We’re not tinfoil hat racists for seeing Obama for who he is. We warned people, but most hear folks talking politics and tune it out, figuring anything can be twisted to fit some narrative. Now is our time to teach.

txhsmom on May 26, 2013 at 4:34 PM

How true. Old scandals which were laughed at or ignored can now be shown as what they truly are: menacing. I remember when the details of Gibsongate were first revealed. I wrote to my friend about it and he said, “That’s scary.” He had never heard about it. It’s all part of the same larger story, though, and all the pieces should be brought together. I personally think the Gibson incident is almost identical to the AP and IRS stories in being about Chicago-style bullying at the federal level; in contrast, Benghazi is convoluted, disgusting and cowardly but it’s something else entirely.

Burke on May 26, 2013 at 6:12 PM

In light of how the government has targeted Tea Party groups and conservative individuals, I think its time Congress investigate the raid on Gibson.

When I think about what happened here, I get that “there’s something rotten in Denmark” feeling about this.

Conservative Samizdat on May 26, 2013 at 6:46 PM

I don’t understand. Kids in college are even more stupid, and the media is blind. Or else it’s much, much worse there too.

Shay on May 26, 2013 at 5:32 PM

A couple of points.

First, old liberalism has morphed into progressivism. Liberalism in the sixties and seventies meant freedom from family values and rigid social rules; today’s progressivism in contrast is totalitarian. Castro and Chavez are heroes. Talk radio needs to be shut down. Of course the IRS will wipe out the Tea Party–that’s all to the good.

Second, a lot of outrage against Nixon’s scheming tricks was, I believe, manufactured. Their real gripe against him, I think, was the way he used anti-Communist rhetoric to get elected and stay in power. That’s what radicals really hated. But they concentrated on his manipulation of the democratic process to get low information voters (and college kids like yourself) riled up, because that’s more fertile ground for squishes.

Burke on May 26, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Is this paranoid, tinfoil hat territory? I assure you that Obama supporters reading this will declare it to be exactly that. But given what we’ve been finding in the news recently, is it really that far fetched? Not any more.

No, and hell no.

There are a lot of folks who realized that The Jugeared Jesus is a self-important zealot who will stop at nothing to forward his progressive agenda, and has been since his formative years.

It’s a damn shame that the media worked tirelessly to shield this poseur’s past and his philosophical bent towards the hard left. It’s no surprise to me that as reciprocation, The One back-stabs his makers with his DOJ flunky Eric the Red running interference, and seeks to muffle the very ones who pushed him to electoral victory.

There will be many more disappointed, or worse, with The Lightworker before it’s all said and done.

I hope I’m wrong.

hillbillyjim on May 26, 2013 at 7:03 PM

“Whoever can conquer the street will one day conquer the state, for every form of power politics and any dictatorship-run state has its roots in the street.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

SpiderMike on May 26, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Makes the beheading in England even more scary.

One might be modestly reassured after seeing what a hash the OWS groups made of their attempts at running civic organization, but the true dictators just use people like that as fodder for their own actions.

AesopFan on May 26, 2013 at 7:32 PM

An editorial at Investors Business Daily may wind up being filed under how did I miss this one?

Maybe because you don’t read the commenters adequately. This was brought up every time the Gibson case was mentioned here on HotAir. Every time. Nice to see IBD finally catching up to the intrepid “journalists” who comment here.

GWB on May 26, 2013 at 8:28 PM

First, dear leader developed his laser like focus. Now we’ve given him drones and he’s learning how to use them. He’s targeted American citizens on foreign soil, but how long before it will be on our soil?

Kissmygrits on May 26, 2013 at 9:53 PM

No. It always made sense. It was obviously political from the start.

The Rogue Tomato on May 27, 2013 at 2:40 AM

” . . .in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.”

Mein Kamph

wyntre9 on May 26, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Tenwheeler on May 27, 2013 at 9:16 AM

I’ve got a Les Paul with a rosewood fretboard. Perhaps I should keep my 44 mag next to it.

msupertas on May 27, 2013 at 10:31 AM

how did I miss this one?

Most of us didn’t. There was never any doubt that this was cheap punk thuggery to punish Juszkiewicz.

I’m sick of getting the middle finger from this lying little worm.

Ventura Capitalist on May 27, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Buddahpundit on May 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM

You can’t punish rational human actors responding naturally to the incentive structure that is in place. Want to change outcomes? Change the incentive structure–i.e., shrink government.

These corporate decisionmakers see a way to get in the good graces of those who control the levers of power. Don’t punish that; that is the rational course of action. Tear down the levers of power instead, and there will be no incentive to support the tyrants.

thirtyandseven on May 27, 2013 at 11:56 AM

When I read news like this, I feel glad I’m Canadian.

The aspects of America that I once admired are now disappearing under Obama.

To my American friends, I feel so sorry for you.

Canada has always been a free country, just not as free as America. Is that true anymore, or are we now the freer nation? And what will happen to what’s left of your freedom after three more years of Obama?

Johnny 100 Pesos on May 27, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Glenn Beck reported on it extensively at the time also.

Colorado Anne on May 27, 2013 at 3:27 PM

And this has probably been discussed before regarding Obama Care. Oh, you’re a republican contributor? I’m sorry, but that life saving procedure will not be covered. Democrat contributor? Of course it’s covered!

Colorado Anne on May 27, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Tenwheeler on May 27, 2013 at 9:16 AM

My mother was born in 1918 and I think that what Hitler wrote was probably true of that generation of people and the ones who came before them — maybe a few who have still grown up in God-fearing rural areas now.

For all intents and purposes, I believe our current problem is a country of liars. No ethics are taught in schools or colleges except the art of the deal, where the ends justify the means.

This turns us into a country where we accept that people lie all the time. They lie about being sick or their children being sick to get out of work. They lie about their children being sick so their children can go shopping with them. They lie about why they didn’t show up for a charity event and why they couldn’t bake a cake or cookies for a bake sale.

When I was about 1 week past six years old (1968) my parents and I were going to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. To get there, we had to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. When we pulled up to the toll booth, the toll-taker asked if “the little lady” was under 6 years old. My parents looked at each other and told the man that I had turned 6 the week before. When I was older my mother often brought up this story saying that my Dad and she just looking at each other knew that it would be so easy to say I wasn’t 6 yet and get the lesser fare and in the same moment knew that it would be the worst possible example to set for me.

Yes, they were the greatest generation but they spawned, for the most part, a generation of spoiled, entitled, children. And those spoiled entitled children have spawned future generations with an even greater sense of entitlement and less care for the truth.

Greyledge Gal on May 27, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Gibson’s Legal needs to commence litigation forthwith. Refresh the statutes and go after them. Using the now precedent of the IRS, AP, Benghazi, et al., and looking back on this it’s overtly obvious what this administration did to Gibson was unlawful with vertical damages obvious that continue. This was a shakedown pure and simple by this administration and I trust all will be standing tall before the man and that would be the United States Citizen.

Tangerinesong on May 27, 2013 at 5:30 PM

This is incredibly old news to me. I said that at the time it happened. It was well known that the Gibson guy was a Repub supporter and Martin was a Dem supporter but people said I was just a paranoid nutjob. The government would never do anything like that. There had to be some other reason. Vindicated at last. Remember, just cuz yer paranoid doesn’t mean they ain’t out to get you…

Big John on May 27, 2013 at 9:37 PM

I was thinking of buying a new 12 string…it won’t be a Martin.

kirkill on May 30, 2013 at 1:39 PM

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