“With new troubles, questions mount about Obama’s competence.” Yeah, sure: among the exact same people who have been asking such questions all along, and already know the answer. The other half of the country still doesn’t give a damn; they are and will remain all for him, no matter what disasters befall them under his ham-handed “stewardship.”
At some point you’ve asked the question enough times, and should maybe consider whether the question you’re asking is the right one. Or even relevant anymore, for that matter.
Update! Leave it to Hayward to ask one of the right ones: “Where do we go to vote against the Commissar of Undesirable Businesses, if we decide we disagree with his or her judgments…once we penetrate the veil of secrecy and discover those judgments have been rendered?” The answer to that one ain’t comfortable, or comforting. Which just makes it all the more important that it be asked.
Updated update! Related? Indubitably.
While 30 men in SWAT attire dispatched from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cart away about half a million dollars of wood and guitars, seven armed agents interrogate an employee without benefit of a lawyer. The next day Juszkiewicz receives a letter warning that he cannot touch any guitar left in the plant, under threat of being charged with a separate federal offense for each “violation,” punishable by a jail term.
Up until that point Gibson had not received so much as a postcard telling the company it might be doing something wrong. Thus began a five-year saga, extensively covered by the press, with reputation-destroying leaks and shady allegations that Gibson was illegally importing wood from endangered tree species. In the end, formal charges were never filed, but the disruption to Gibson’s business and the mounting legal fees and threat of imprisonment induced Juszkiewicz to settle for $250,000—with an additional $50,000 “donation” piled on to pay off an environmental activist group.
What really happened at the Nashville plant?
Another question leading to even more uncomfortable ones. The short answer?
Henry Juszkiewicz bought the troubled Gibson Guitar company in 1986. With revenues having dropped to below $10 million a year, the iconic 84-year old guitar maker was bleeding cash and on its way to bankruptcy. Since then, Juszkiewicz turned Gibson around, making it into an international powerhouse, growing at better than 20 percent a year compounded, with current annual revenues rumored to be approaching $1 billion.
A great American success story? Yes, but Gibson’s very success made it a fat target for federal prosecutors, whom Juszkiewicz alleges were operating at the behest of lumber unions and environmental pressure groups seeking to kill the market for lumber imports. “This case was not about conservation,” he says. “It was basically protectionism.”
It was basically gangster government, operating in collusion with powerful interests favored by said corrupt, fascist government. Gibson is a perfectly legitimate business being harassed for nefarious reasons by overpowerful minions of an illegitimate government; that’s really the bottom line, and it inexorably leads us to the most unsettling question of all: what are we gonna do about it?
Be sure to read all of it, because there’s a lot worth pondering contained in this one article. This is not an isolated incident, nor is it the exception that proves any kind of rule. What it is is the tip of a very big iceberg, one that threatens to send all of us to the bottom in the end.