Monday, October 24, 2011

GIBSON GUITAR STRUMS THE "OBAMA BLUES"















Imagine the following company:
A thriving and successful American business started in 1902 with U.S. manufacturing plants that employs U.S. workers to produce high-end, iconic musical instruments.

Sounds like the idyllic company and one that couldn’t possibly exist under the Obama economy. But such a company does exist, its name is Gibson Guitars Corp., and it’s being bullied by the Obama regime for the most inane reasons. Gibson, the quintessential American company and manufacturer of the iconic Les Paul Gibson guitar, is under siege by the Obama regime, ironically the very regime that is touring the country in a Canadian made bus with the President in full campaign mode desperately pleading for national support for his failed, repackaged $500 billion jobs “stimulus” proposal.

Ostensibly the focus of the Obama regime’s attack on Gibson is related to the government's unreasonable interpretation of an obscure law called the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act makes it a crime to import plants or wildlife into the U.S. if those goods were obtained in a way that breaks the laws of another country. The regime claims Gibson violated the Lacey Act through the manner in which they utilized exotic ebony and rosewood fingerboards from India in the manufacturing of their guitars. Apparently, according to the regime, Gibson violated the Act by importing ebony and rosewood fingerboards that were not 100% processed in India, under Indian law, and by Indian workers.

The Obama regime also has a similar beef with Gibson pending from 2009 dealing with Madagascan wood obtained in violation of Madagascan law. On August 24th the DOJ raided Gibson’s Tennesee HQs and two factories, shut down it’s operations, seized 24 pallets of Indian rosewood and ebony, as well as a number of guitars and computer files, causing lost productivity and $1 million in lost profits. The regime still holds $500,000 of Gibson property from the pending 2009 accusation.

That’s it! Environmental PC and governmental red tape run amok. The only offense Gibson apparently committed was that Indian workers did not process the fingerboards in India and instead 40 Gibson workers processed them in the U.S. Neither the 2009 nor this recent accusation has resulted in formal charges from the Obama regime; just intense harassment.

In a press statement Henry Juszkiewicz Gibson Chairman and CEO said,
“Gibson is innocent and will fight to protect its rights. Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of ANY wrong doing. We will fight aggressively to prove our innocence. 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.”

Mr. Juszkiewicz also challenged the ambiguity of the Lacey Act by saying it requires companies to use “due care” not to import wood that was harvested illegally but does not explicitly define what that requirement entails and stated, “You shouldn’t pass a law unless you’re very specific about how to abide by it.” Advancing business uncertainty—a guiding principle of the Obama regime’s economic deterioration strategy.

Maintaining the integrity of national and international environmental laws is critical. But in times of chronic national unemployment of 9.1% with the President imploring Congress to pass his so-called jobs stimulus package it’s baffling to have that very same administration attack a profitable and fully staffed U.S. company, jeopardizing its profitability and risking employee’s jobs.

After creating all of this confusion and embarrassing press the common sense expectation would be that the Obama regime would call off the investigative dogs. But in typical bizarre fashion the Obama regime actually advised Gibson to ship their fingerboarding jobs overseas! According to Gibson’s chief legal counsel Bruce Mitchell, the government encouraged Gibson to have the fingerboard work done overseas. Mitchell is quoted as saying,
“I think they’re taking the position that we should be shifting these jobs overseas. We have – probably 40 people in our factory here just at USA who are doing the inlays into the fingerboard … that are putting the fret on. If all that was to be done over in India, then …. those jobs would be lost.”

So while President Obama touts his repackaged smoke and mirrors $500 billion “stimulus’ snake oil bill with one hand, he strangles U.S. companies employing American workers with regulatory red tape, risks their ongoing business and encourages them to ship jobs overseas with the other.

As one ponders why in the heat of one of the worse economic recessions and unemployment periods in American history would the Obama regime target a successful company like Gibson using shaky legal grounds, the other ponder is if other guitar companies are being targeted under the Lacey Act. The materials used in guitar manufacturing must be relatively common amongst manufacturers, so other guitar companies most assuredly must be under investigation for the same charges levied against Gibson. In fact, one of Gibson’s leading competitors, C.F. Martin & Co., employs the same wood as Gibson and admits that several of their guitars contain East Indian rosewood, which is the exact same wood used in at least ten of Gibson’s guitars. But for some reason C.F. Martin’s plants have not been raided by the DOJ, nor are there any current or pending charges against its manufacturing process.

The reason could lie less in the Obama regime’s concern for how exotic wood is processed and more in good old fashioned political partisanship. C.F. Martin’s CEO, Chris Martin IV, is a long-time Democratic supporter having made $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC. But Gibson’s CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is a Republican who has donated to Republican candidates. The appearance of partisanship in the Obama regime’s attack on Gibson is transparent, shameful and insidious and informs the public that this administration does not care a whit to reduce unemployment. Its sole raison d'être is to advance its socialist agenda and will reward those who support them and terrorize those who rebuke them.

Selective targeting and intimidation tactics are actively employed in the Obama regime. Woe to those American companies who are doing their level best to stay afloat and maintain their employees in this Obama-induced economic funk and are simultaneously harassed on trumped up charges simply because their management does not support the regimes’ socialist agenda. They too could find their business under siege.

When the Obama regime is beating down a business it’s a helpless feeling and all they can do is sing the “Obama Blues”--just ask Gibson and Boeing. If they need any guitars for the instrumental they know where to look.

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