Barack Obama

Under Investigation by DOJ for Using Banned Wood, Gibson Guitar CEO Will Attend Obama's Job Speech

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Via Instapundit comes news that the CEO of Gibson Guitars will be attending tonight's jobs speech by President Barack Obama.

Whose Justice Department recently raided Gibson on the grounds that it might have been importing illegal wood for use in its guitars.

Gibson chief Henry Juszkiewicz denies the charges and is attending as the guest of Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). The company was raided on similar grounds back in 2009 (that case is still pending). One of the major twists in the story? Juskiewicz is on the record as saying the DOJ told him that if they outsourced labor, there wouldn't be any issue:

CHRIS DANIEL:  Mr. Juszkiewicz, did an agent of the US government suggest to you that your problems would go away if you used Madagascar labor instead of American labor?

HENRY JUSZKIEWICZ:  They actually wrote that in a pleading.

CHRIS DANIEL:  Excuse me?

HENRY JUSKIEWICZ:   They actually wrote that it a pleading.

CHRIS DANIEL:  That your problems would go away if you used Madagascar labor instead of our labor?

HENRY JUSKIEWICZ:  Yes

More on the Gibson raids via New Jersey's Star-Ledger.

Here's Gibson's most-famous player, Les Paul, with Mary Ford, singing "Song in Blue":

Les Paul, incidentally, was one of Reason's 35 Heroes of Freedom, and not simply because he played a mean guitar (though that helped). He helped create the technology that allowed all who followed him be more creative. We wrote:

Paul was a terrific jazz guitarist who invented the solid-body electric guitar in 1947, helping usher in America's most liberating cultural invention of the latter 20th century, rock 'n' roll. He pioneered multitracked recording and built the first eight-track, which put the D into DIY while allowing bands like the Beatles to make lasting works of art.

Read the whole list of our heroes—certainly the only litany that includes Ron Paul, Willie Nelson, and Martina Navritolova— online here.

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  1. Moochers and Looters.

  2. Hey, the dozens (presumably) of federal agents who raided Gibson need something to do. Raiding companies creates jobs, don’t you get it?

  3. Outsourcing, is there anything you can’t fix?

  4. CEO of Gibson Guitars will be attending tonight’s jobs speech by President Barack Obama

    That is fan-fucking-tastic.

  5. sounds like the DOJ and the Fish & Wildlife Service have way way too much money if they can waste their time making armed raids to enforce Indian labor laws (which even India believes Gibson complied with)

    1. However, Gibson did not comply with the ‘donate to DNC/Obama’ rule.

      1. The whole Obama: “the purpose of politics is to reward your friends and punish your enemies” schtick. It’s what the Founders would have written in the Declaration if they had been smart enough.

      2. as cynical as i am, i don’t think this is political: odds are this came as a surprise to the obama administration

        i think this is an overeager bureaucracy with too much time and resources, filled with people wanting to make “the big case”, and also wanting payback because gibson fought them on the madagascar matter

        1. You may be correct, however a bigger problem is public doubt whether it is political or not.

        2. At this point in his administration, it simply is not possible any longer to give Obama the benefit of the doubt.

        3. It may not be political, but it is quite suspicious that a Gibson competetor which donates to democrats uses the same wood and is not investigated. Of course, it may be a coincidence that Gibson donates to republicans and is investigated. But I doubt it.

        4. I too doubt that this punishment was handed down by His Majesty, but there are some groups with liberal backers that had it out for Gibson. It is rather likely that the DOJ was responding to such demands.

        5. I don’t think this is political: odds are this came as a surprise to the obama administration.

          Utter nonsense. Decisions this big that are going to attract public attention don’t get taken without getting the requisite approval high up the chain of command.

        6. You aren’t cynical enough, then. I want your badge and gun, now.

        7. Uh, they were raided TWICE during this administration. There is nothing coincidental about it.

        8. The fact that Gibson is a non-union shop, and a repub donor, was raided, while their compeditors, who were union shops, and Obama donors, and used the same wood, but were NOT raided, certainly raises suspicions of cronyism

          But I also agree with your point that overzealous incompetence could also be a cause. But if that is the case, why wasn’t the decision reversed once it became news?

          In any event, whether the cause is corrupt cronyism, or overzealous incompetance, the decision is contemptable, and illustrates just out out of control insane the fed regulatory burocracy has become under Obama.

    2. “enforce” should be “interpret and enforce,” as in some of the worst instances they’re not really enforcing foreign laws but interpreting them differently and then enforcing them. Even a fucking amicus brief from the foreign government whose laws were ostensibly broken is not enough.

      In 1999, Huang was charged with a felony count of conspiracy to smuggle (Huang was in the supply chain, having purchased the “unlawful” lobster tails). However, the Honduran laws, which served as the basis for the U.S. government’s case against Ms. Huang, are no longer valid ? a fact the government of Honduras pointed out when it filed an amicus brief with both the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Huang’s conviction along with those of three others, were upheld in March 2003.

  6. Is DOJ is on intimidation and stonewalling business?

  7. When Obama gets to the part about how hard he’s working to create jobs for all Americans, Juszkiewicz should jump up and shout “You lie!”

    (BTW, this guy’s name illustrates exactly why Czechs and Poles are the best scrabble players on all of Gaia. We know how to use ALL the good letters. And also why we hate the Polynesians and Hawaiians so much – because they hog all the vowels.)

    1. Probably decently common Japanese name:

      Ai Inoue

      GTFO (most) consonants

  8. “myohmy|9.8.11 @ 9:55AM|#
    Is DOJ is on intimidation and stonewalling business?”

    You need to follow the ongoing PajamasMedia series they call “Every Single One”. They obtained the resumes of all the new hires under Holder via court order after a year of stalling by the DOJ on their FOIA request. EVERY SINGLE ONE of the new hires has a radical far left background and associations. They’re taking it division by division, are up to part 9 now and have yet to find a single exception to this odious, and odorous, practice:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/?s=“every+single+one”

    Remember when the left was ripping Ashcroft a new one for supposedly favoring conservatives in hiring, which turned out to be mostly a crock?

  9. One of the worst parts about this is that the Lacey Act (the law under which Gibson is being investigated) is a “strict liability” law. So, as people have been pointing out, if you cross an international border with an instrument, and a bureaucrat asks you “is that Indian rosewood, and when was it made”, answering “how the hell should I know” can get your instrument seized regardless of how truthful you are or how reasonable it is to expect you to know.

    I understand there are reasons for strict liability at the level of an importer or purchaser of raw wood (otherwise everybody would just have a huge incentive to look the other way) but enforcing it on end users is just insane.

    1. More than Indian rosewood, think about Brazilian rosewood. Luthiers bought so much of the stuff that Brazil ban its export. If you have an older guitar, it’s possible that you’ll have it confiscated for that reason or because there’s no paper trail on where the wood’s source. I really feel for antique re-sellers and collectors.

      Really, it’s thoroughly awful law.

      1. Some boutique luthiers still have old stockpiles of Brazilian rosewood that they will use for the fretboard on your custom-ordered guitar for a substantial upcharge. I’d really be afraid to take *that* through Customs.

        Personally, I prefer ebony fretboards, being an old Les Paul Custom and Jackson Soloist guy. Of course, ebony has some of the same Lacey Act problems that rosewood and mahogany do.

        1. Of course, Officer Dimwit at the customs booth (or at the Ag Dept.) isn’t going to know the difference, anyway, so you’re probably fucked either way.

        2. When’s Paul McCartney going to write a shitty song about ebony and rosewood?

      2. A Brazzy fretboard is nice but the fargin’ government will have to pry my Brazilain rosewood necked guitar out of cold, dead hands. It’s not called “crackwood” for nothing! The guitar is a thing of beauty – PRS Singlecut Artist Pack Emerald Green quilt maple top. Named her after my dear departed Mum.

  10. So, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is inviting Gibson chief Henry Juszkiewicz to President Obama’s joint-session dramatic reading of his teleprompter’s display.

    How disrespectful. I don’t which is worse: a Republican’s hosting a football watching party instead of attending, or inviting a guy who is living proof that Obama only knows how to destroy jobs.

    1. I sort of hope he was invited just to make a scene.

    1. Smithsonian Channel did a piece on the history of the electric guitar that shows solid body electrics did exist before Les Paul. But he did amazing things with his “log” and recording technology. A lot of really interesting stuff in that show.

  11. HOW DO YOU RAID A COMPANY AND TELL THEM “YOUR PROBLEMS WILL NOT BE AN ISSUE IF YOU OUT SOURCE THESE JOBS TO MADAGASCAR”? THEN YOU TELL EVERYBODY IN AMERICA THAT WE NEED TO CREATE JOBS HERE TO BUILD A STRONG AMERICA. ALSO WHILE THIS FOOL IS TELLING YOU THIS, HE IS ALSO TELLING G.E. TO BUILD PLANES IN CHINA USING CHINESE LABOR TO COMPETE WITH BOEING IN THE U.S.A. TALK ABOUT PISSING DOWN MY LEG AND TELL ME ITS RAINING. EVERY AMERICAN OUT THERE OUGHT TO BE F—–G OUTRAGED AND ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES FOR NOT SPEAKING OUT ON THIS.

  12. So now we finally have the essence of Obamas jobs program. Prosecute one of the best quality US companies in existence, who makes things in America for the whole world, because they will NOT ship jobs overseas. Did he get this idea from his new economic guru, Jeffry Immelt?

    It seems like every few weeks this administration come up with yet another new outrage, and yet another example of either mindless stupidity, corrupt cronyism, or outright treason.

    I ask all you leftists out there that still dare to defend Obama, can you come up with a single valid reason to justify this contemptable action???

    I also support those here who want to repeal the Lacey act. It is on a par with the incadescent ban for stupidity and big gov excess.

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