Thank God our beloved Federal Gummint, which only wants to protect and serve and nurture us and make sure we’re “happy” whether we like it or not, saved us from all those fascist Nazi conservative Republican wingnut guitars.
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?
Why, crony fascism Amerika v2.0-style, of course. To wit:
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?
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.
See? Not hard to figure out after all—provided, as I keep saying, that you just assume the worst about Obama and Pals. Then everything, and I mean everything, suddenly makes perfect sense. Weaponsman sums it all up nicely:
After a five year legal bastinado, Juskiewicz settled for $250,000, on the advice of his attorneys. It was all a brush-back pass from a mobbed-up union: “Nice business you got here. Wouldn’t want anything to happen to it.” But the warlords of the US Attorney’s Office weren’t done. Their last demand for Juskiewicz was for Gibson to “donate” $50,000 to one of the prosecutors’ favorite environmental charities.
When someone says, “Give me money or I will harm you,” that person is no longer a participant in any kind of an organized system of laws at all, but of the oldest form of government of all: the dominion of the strong over the weak, and of the cruel over the gentle.
And, well, here we are. As I said way back when I first posted on this story, I’ve always loved Gibsons, and I’ll cheerfully buy all of them I can afford from now on just on principle alone (do note from that previous post that Gibson came out with a new model shortly after the Brownshirt raid: the Government Series II Les Paul, made from wood seized in the raid). Tragically, that number remains stuck at precisely zero. But hey, a guy can dream. WRSA provides the coda:
It will only get worse.
Especially as long as the perps see themselves as above the fray.
Precisely so. And that’s what really needs to change, although I’d correct that to say that they don’t see themselves as “above the fray” at all; they see themselves as right in the thick of it—masters and directors of it, and invulnerable to consequences or repercussion. A large number of said perps swinging by their necks from East Indian Rosewood trees would be a fine and fitting start towards correcting that assumption.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.