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Aug 26 2011

Boot of Big Government Comes Down on Gibson Guitar

Who would have thought that when fascism came to America, it would be implemented by harmless-sounding agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? In its latest crime against liberty, this malignant tentacle of Big Government wraps itself around the neck of an American icon:

Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

It isn’t the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian’s ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name “United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.”

The question in the first raid seemed to be whether Gibson had been buying illegally harvested hardwoods from protected forests, such as the Madagascar ebony that makes for such lovely fretboards. … [W]ith the new raid, the government seems to be questioning whether some wood sourced from India met every regulatory jot and tittle.

Makers of guitars aren’t the only musical victims of our rogue rulers running amok:

Consider the recent experience of Pascal Vieillard, whose Atlanta-area company, A-440 Pianos, imported several antique Bösendorfers. Mr. Vieillard asked officials at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species how to fill out the correct paperwork — which simply encouraged them to alert U.S. Customs to give his shipment added scrutiny.

There was never any question that the instruments were old enough to have grandfathered ivory keys. But Mr. Vieillard didn’t have his paperwork straight when two-dozen federal agents came calling.

Facing criminal charges that might have put him in prison for years, Mr. Vieillard pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of violating the Lacey Act, and was handed a $17,500 fine and three years probation.

Just as non-politically correct food tastes better and non-politically correct cars drive better, musical instruments made out of non-politically correct materials sound better. Once again we see that liberalism being a totalitarian ideology, there is no corner of human existence that it won’t repress and diminish.

Pete Townshend goes to work for the US Government.

On tips from J, Ghost of FA Hayek, SR, Cargo Pilot, and oferphuxake.

28 Responses to “Boot of Big Government Comes Down on Gibson Guitar”

  1. Fiberal says:

    This is really over the %**$#@!!!! top.

    When are we going to get this country back to sanity!

  2. AC says:

    Hopefully this will wake up some of the youth who naively believe Obamunism only comes down hard on big oil.

  3. Fiberal says:

    Tell you what…they’ll take my guitars when they pry my cold dead fingers from the ebony.

    This would never happen if Amy Winehouse were still here.

  4. innominatus says:

    First they came for the Gibsons
    But I said nothing because I have a cheap-o Ibanez

    Then they came for…

  5. Glad to see the government is focused on fighting our real enemies.

  6. StanInTexas says:

    Micheal, according to the Obama Administration, *I* am the real enemy. Me and everyone else on the Right.

  7. Kevin says:

    Well, I’m glad to see our government concentrating on what’s REALLY important to the millions of unemployed Americans.

  8. DiaperStain LaFlatulence says:

    I won’t comment because this enters into head explosion territory.

    Too much cognitive dissonance. Government regulation destroying rock and roll, another leftist sacred cow.

  9. Geeknerd says:

    Ebony and Ivory…

    I get it! It’s about SEGREGATION, and therefor RACIST!!!

  10. KHarn says:

    REGRESSIVES keep saying “what’s wrong with a mLITTLE government regulation?” and “why can’t we just TRY a LITTLE socialism?” and conservatives keep pointing at stuff like this. Yet they NEVER learn.

    LAO, ERIC, and company, THIS is what YOU are fighting for and what WE are fighting against! Do you still think you’re so smart?

  11. Trace says:

    This is a sad, sad day for America.
    Her death throwes are getting worse.

  12. Fiberal says:

    So what’s the f’n idea here; BO’s regime is out to make every one with a decent guitar a criminal?

    Is this part of theat Loaf-Of-Whore Janet the Planet’s idea of homeland security?

    First cars, then guitars; anything that defines individual identity.

    I’m going to go read the most politically-incorrect, banned-in-America R. Crumb comic I can find.

    F Irene. This is the worse news today.

  13. Fiberal says:

    That should have been, “that” Loaf-Of-Whore..

  14. Fiberal says:

    I’ll tell you one thing…

    I am not playing a %##@&^^**!!! Taylor guitar.

    No way, no how.

  15. Adam says:

    Gibson has been known for only using wood harvested in a sustainable manner to make its guitars. For the government to accuse them of violating environmental laws is laughable.

  16. oferphuxake says:

    OT: I follow this Algore freak project facebook because it’s hilarious. And this time, I may have just laughed myself to injury:

    My god, these people bring such light into my life

  17. Eoin says:

    Adam, laughable, if it weren’t so terrifying. This has FAR more repercussions than fucking around with one company. Essentially ANY company that deals in the manufacture of ANY product produced from wood (my father is a cabinet and furniture maker) will have to worry about these goons focusing their ire on their business, even if they’re not doing the importing of the wood products.

    This is only the beginning my fellow Americans. Keep your powder dry.

  18. Brian_Boru says:

    They’re gonna hate me then. All my guitars are Taylor guitars. They’re made from the purest virgin Mendocino County trees, just like the ones my daddy and his daddy and his daddy used to cut down to live the American Dream.

  19. Ghost of FA Hayek says:

    not only that, but in this article where Gibson responds to the raid, they have been kissing the hind teat of enviro-luddites all along.
    “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.”

  20. Spurwing Plover says:


  21. TMI says:

    Two Oregon guys are responsible, from what I’ve found.

  22. Bob Roberts says:

    I think you missed the best part:

    Still, musicians cling to the old materials. Last year, Dick Boak, director of artist relations for C.F. Martin & Co., complained to Mother Nature News about the difficulty of getting elite guitarists to switch to instruments made from sustainable materials. “Surprisingly, musicians, who represent some of the most savvy, ecologically minded people around, are resistant to anything about changing the tone of their guitars,” he said. You could mark that up to hypocrisy—artsy do-gooders only too eager to tell others what kind of light bulbs they have to buy won’t make sacrifices when it comes to their own passions.

  23. Rogertheshrubber says:

    Actually, a better caption might be something similar to what Pete actually said at the 1977 Kilburn show which was being filmed for “The Kids Are Alright” film:

    “There’s a guitar up here, if any big-mouthed little git wants to come up and fucking take it off me”

    Just substitute (hah!) “federal weenie” for “git” and I think it works.

    Fucker always did have a strong Libertarian streak.


  24. Son of Taz says:

    Events like this are one of a thousand reasons so much US manufacturing is being done in other countries. Good paying manufacturing jobs helped create the middle class here, yet the current generation will never have the opportunities previous generations had.

  25. Swamp Music says:

    Come and take my Les Paul , you’ll die trying.

  26. Joek Loth says:


  27. Fiberal says:


    At the bottom line, it doesn’t matter who gets hit, what matters is that the DOJ is raiding a guitar business. That is pathetic and a raw display of Eric Holder’s idiocy.

    The DOJ should not be raiding a guitar shop OR a gun shop OR a medical marijuana dispensary, OR any other legitimate business. This is sick, ego-driven totalitarianism.

    And Holder is playing with raids like Moose is going through taxpayer money. In the meantime, he squashes the case against the Black Panthers.

    Raiding Gibson. Good grief; that soul-less, arrogant bastard.

    What needs to happen is for businesses marked for destruction to fight. Had Microsoft fought Janet Reno and Bill Clinton or if Google had fought the BO administration in court instead of settling, we would see a much better playing field for capitalism.

    But they don’t fight. They settle.

    If Gibson fought this fascistic move tooth and nail and asked for donations for a legal fund, they would probably win.

    And the republicans need to get behind these businesses. In fact, the republican party should have sent teams of lawyers up to Alaska to fight for Palin’s governorship when the dems came after her.

    The rotten republicans should have stood behind Walker in WI and Brewer in AZ.

    But they didn’t.

    This is not just taking away an instrument from a kid. This is every bit as much liberal fascism that can be found anywhere.

    And as long as those who are affected and those in power do not work to get the public educated and involved and then just sit around on their enormous, over-fed asses and watch it happen, jackboots will be kicking down everyone’s door eventually.

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