Sunday, August 28, 2011

Qui Bono? Who Benefits? - or - Follow the Money

The reaction to the US raid on the Gibson factory has been widespread, even being picked up by Fox News - I saw it on the ticker along the bottom of the screen during the Irene-athon.  It has resonated with a lot of people concerned about the emerging police state and reinforces those views.  It was even picked up by groups not concerned with guitars, like The Truth About Cars, because the same "crimes" Gibson is being harassed about can apply to cars, too:
Here’s an example. Let’s say you are driving a Bentley Flying Spur with a rosewood interior. Importation of Brazilian rosewood is a felony under the Lacey Act. Do you know where the rosewood in your Spur came from? Can you prove it? In Gibson’s case, it was Indian rosewood that supposedly caused the bust; although the importation of Indian rosewood is legal, it has to be finished and prepared to certain standards in India. If raw Indian rosewood is sent to Bentley for finishing into dashboards — and make no mistake, that is how it is done — it may not break any British laws, but it breaks an American one, and you are now a convicted felon for visiting the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and coming back.
BS Footprint, commented that (perhaps) "A jealous competitor dropped a dime on them."  That's looking like a possibility, but it's just as likely that Gibson is being pursued because of Chicago-style politics as bloodsport.  Doug Ross has a long column today pointing out that Gibson's CEO donates to GOP candidates, while one of their chief competitors (at least, in acoustic guitars) contributes to Democratic candidates.  It's entirely possible this was started by Martin calling in a tip to DOJ, but it's just as possible (IMO) that the DOJ is running on its own. 
One of Gibson’s leading competitors is C.F. Martin & Company. The C.E.O., Chris Martin IV, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the DNC over the past couple of election cycles. According to C.F. Martin’s catalog, several of their guitars contain “East Indian Rosewood.” In case you were wondering, that is the exact same wood in at least ten of Gibson’s guitars.
Ross links back to the Landmark Report (source of that quote) which also says
The fact that the government would issue warrants based on their interpretation of another country’s laws is laughable–and scary–in and of itself, but that they would demonize an American, non-unionized (coincidentally, I’m sure) company for something that isn’t even a crime (especially not in the American lawbooks) is a gross misjustice. Keep in mind that the Indian government itself wasn’t involved in the Gibson warrants and raid. [emphasis added - GB]
Gateway Pundit runs with another story that centers the similarity with the NLRB prosecuting Boeing for opening a factory in South Carolina:  
Gibson is the only guitar company targeted by the Obama DOJ under the Lacey Act -- Tennessee is a right-to-work state.

Fender, Taylor, Rickenbacker, Danelectro, Carvin, MusicMan, and ESP are in California; Spector is in New York; Martin is in Pennsylvania; Guild, Ovation, and Hamer are in Connecticut; Alvarez is in Missouri; B.C. Rich is in Kentucky; Heritage is in Michigan; Washburn is in Illinois. --  All are forced-union states. [emphasis for Martin added]

Peavey is another guitar and electronics company, located in the right-to-work state of Mississippi.  --  Since 2009, Peavey has been the target of multiple lawsuits filed by a competitor, MUSIC Group, which alleges that Peavy products fail to meet federal safety and emissions standards.
It's worth considering the idea that DC just might be trying to hammer Gibson down, like a nail sticking up too high (they're too successful); that sort of treatment is not without precedent.  It's widely thought in the industry that the true intent of the US DOJ vs. Microsoft case was to extort political contributions from the software giant.  In the 1990s, Microsoft had risen from being just Microsoft, to being a dominant player on the world's stage.  They viewed DC as a continent away and irrelevant to the new world they were helping create, so their contributions to political parties and candidates reflected that disinterest.  But to use the old quote, "just because you're not interested in politics doesn't mean politics isn't interested in you", and they were harassed by lawsuits until they settled with DOJ.  Today, Microsoft contributes a bundle to politicians and campaigns.   The Ruling Class found them out of line and slapped them around until they agreed to pay their indulgences to the Vatican (Washington).

I don't think Gibson is big enough, on the economic scale, to warrant that sort of shakedown.

Eric Holder's Department of Justice has proven itself to be a political organization, that is stunningly corrupt, and not only not interested in enforcing laws, but willing to kill anyone anywhere to achieve their political goals (Gunwalker anyone?  Dealing with drug cartels to allow them to move cocaine into the US?).  The entire administration plays politics as bloodsport.  After all, resident Obama told a group of Latino voters, to "punish our enemies", and told followers in '08 "if they bring a knife, we bring a gun".

Does it seem even remotely out of character that they might try to destroy Gibson for being a non-union shop, or for not contributing enough money to democrats?  I don't think so either. 
(old school thugs were more direct than's thugs)


  1. Me, in broken record mode: This is why Leviathan must be repealed. Every law is a tool waiting to be used against someone, and it's simply beyond dispute that the application of laws on the books has been broadened whenever possible.

    It's well past time to return to just laws punishing actual crimes (malum en se) where there was both mens rea and an actual injured party willing to file charges and accuse someone of the crime.

    We are living witnesses to the return of tyranny. (Tyranny is the condition of being under the arbitrary rule of another -- arbitrary being the key.) The founders knew this well, and spoke at length about it.

    What are these laws and how they are enforced, if not arbitrary?

    Prosecutorial discretion one form of it -- the fact that laws can be enforced or not enforced at the discretion of government personnel is a two-edged sword. Great if you benefit from it, but it allows the government to keep really crazy laws on the books because they are not widely enforced...

  2. We're on the same broken record. I don't know how to search this way, but I bet one of the most common phrases on this blog is something like "throw out 75% of the CFR". All new laws and regulations should sunset in a few years. Plus, as a bonus, we could make it that re-instating the sunsetted laws would take much of congress' time and effort, limiting the number of new laws.

  3. "All new laws and regulations should sunset in a few years. Plus, as a bonus, we could make it that re-instating the sunsetted laws would take much of congress' time and effort, limiting the number of new laws."

    Yeah, let's make them hop on one foot while touching their noses. Poetic justice.

  4. "throw out 75% of the CFR"

    I'm a strict Constitutionalist, and I can't help but wonder how we ended up being legitimately subject to any regulatory agency (all of which operate under the 'authority' of the executive branch.)

    But of course, some people point to FDR's 1933 state of emergency and the ensuing Constitutional carnage, from which we have never recovered. Others point to the Civil War and reformation, from which we've never recovered, and the 14th amendment. And I stop wondering how and why...

    And this is where I start sounding like a broken record.

    The President (and/or his agencies) shouldn't (and arguably doesn't/don't) have any valid legal authority over you or me (or even a businessman) except in very specific and limited circumstances.

    So (IMO) it's not just a matter of getting rid of 75% of the CFR (a noble and worthy goal), it's about invalidating 99% of the bogus federal regulations that are used against American citizens and businesses.

    It's about turning things on their heads, in order to return us to a point where federal jurisdiction was strictly limited and not generally something that could be used against us.

    How do you think ten square miles surrounded by reality came to rule over us so completely?

    Just how deep down the rabbit hole can or should we go?