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banjos. 2009. Calilhanna). electronics. plus the entirety of Epiphone products (Echoes – Insight for Independent Artists. Under this premise. specifically ebony and rosewood. In addition to these signature electric guitars. Calilhanna). King’s “Lucille. operations ran smoothly for both parties. the Lacey act was amended in 2008 with broad bipartisanship and Bush administrative support to ban illegally logged wood products (USDA: APHIS). and accessories. Gibson concurrently makes acoustic guitars. mandolins. with their vehement Les Pauls. Gibson would be in violation of the Lacey Act. dobros. Employees were startled as more than a dozen federal agents with automatic weapons stormed into the headquarters in Nashville that day. to Angus Young’s SG and B. apprehending pallets of ebony fingerboards from the African island country. Until recently. further investigation by the feds would indeed persist. pianos (Baldwin). The federal government had claimed that Gibson attained illegal imports from Madagascar. which constitutes that countries cannot curtail contraband against the laws of other countries. with Gibson manufacturing and supplying the most indelible guitars to the most prominent musicians. the company has been fighting the seizure in court. Since then. on November 17.Building Beautiful Guitars Equates to a raid from the SWAT Team For many years Gibson procured their wood from Madagascar to build their ebony and rosewood guitars. the feds strategized a raid on the Tennessee compound of Gibson. However. such as the likes of Jimmy Page and Slash. arguing that the wood was exported legally from the African country. Gibson would also discontinue production of all wood from Madagascar after the incident (Echoes – Insight for Independent Artists. First passed in 1900 to restrict wildlife trade. juke boxes (Wurlitzer). heavily armed and at a contrived predisposition to shut down the factory.B.” linking Gibson to popular music dating back to the 1950s. . Although no one has been charged with criminal wrongdoing in connection with the raid.
) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India (Gibson). (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers. Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp. was perturbed by the current state of affairs when he exclaimed. but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. Weeks later.C. including a bipartisan assortment of environmentalists. law. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal.” Juszkiewicz. have jumped on Gibson’s bandwagon. said the reactions to the raids had unfairly politicized an effective law (LA Times). the opposition.On August 24. Boehner and Rush Limbaugh. Bush's Agriculture Department. Republicans especially. Groups like the "tea party. the federal government would make their second raid into the Nashville Headquarters of Gibson. and VIPs like House Speaker John A. They also went on to say that the illegally harvested wood from developing countries was undercutting the American forest products industry. and the Fish and Wildlife services have both declined to respond (LA Times). and is worthy enough for headline news.000 fingerboards. no charges have been filed with the Justice Department. saw this as an opportunity to scrutinize the over regulated government of the Obama Administration." the GOP.S. 2011. Conversely. However. the raid has generated publicity far beyond the normally subtle operations of Gibson Guitars. Henry Juszkiewicz. D. has also become a sought after broadcast voice as well as a speaker . a few guitar companies and a former official in George W. not because of U. They view it as an opportunity to exemplify the situation as an extreme case of how the oppressive regulations of current government are unjust and unwarranted. “The Federal Department of Justice in Washington. the material would be legal. diminishing domestic job opportunities and causing massive deforestation abroad. 700 guitar necks and 80 guitars (LA Times). this time usurping 10.
"Gibson is a well-respected American company that employs thousands of people. The intent of the Lacey Act is to protect woodworking jobs in India. a monopoly of tropical hardwood goes into flooring and furniture. .S. Juszkiewicz claims that the company’s agents in India received a ruling from Indian trade officials.among most conservatives after a corporate video Gibson released concerning the conflict. In addition to the mutual support. stating that the fingerboards could be exported. emanating from such an important Congressional figure. as recently as July. If the case does not hold up in court. The company's costs as a result of the raid? An estimated $2-3 million. or it proves to be a benign paper infraction. In October. also vouched for Gibson in his speech on September 16th. who invited Juszkiewicz to sit with him during President Obama's jobs speech. ergo a ban on the import would greatly affect many other guitar manufacturers in the U. making it very difficult to understand the logic behind these raids. albeit the Indian government has completely supported Gibson in exporting their wood to make fingerboards for the past 17 years (NY Times). government officials confirmed that a criminal investigation had begun. give the company a strong backbone in defending their stance. Boehner. According to the International Tropical Timber Council. while the entire music industry uses a minute one percent of this wood. showing their allegiance as well as depicting the righteousness of Gibson’s practices. House Speaker John A. Importing fingerboards from India is very common among American guitar makers. it could very well damage potential government efforts to inhibit illegal trade in forest products. a coalition of tea party groups held a rally in Nashville Tennessee a month after the raid. In fact. Why? Because Gibson bought wood overseas to make guitars in America? Seriously?" (LA Times) These strong words.
S. in an effort to prove Gibson’s innocence. Illegal logging has in fact declined since the 2008 amendments and groups like the Hardwood Federation continue to demonstrate their support of the Act. however. Congress extended the Lacey Act to apply to transportation across international borders and in 1981 Ronald Reagan signed legislation amending the Act to apply to logging. it’ll leave an indelible blemish on the Gibson name. and Energy Act (the “Farm Bill”). Their reasons are simple. a unanimous House Committee on Natural Resources approved its extension to lumber and “plant products” and it became law via the Food. In 2008. Many feel Gibson is a victim of the current regimes over regulatory . However. Ironically. attempting to secure environmentally nonthreatening sources of guitar wood. The U. Conservation. Bush’s veto (NY Times).If the case does hold up and turns out to be more monumental than originally perceived. this has many people in strong dissent with the Federal government. leaving them to criticize the Obama administration for targeting a guitar company. keeps reputable companies competitive and their workforces employed by ceasing the imports of companies that use illegally attained wood. the public relations campaign of Gibson is more focused on pointing out fallacies in the Lacey Act. Understandably. goes unsolicited. law to bag game in breach of one state’s laws and to transport it to another state. being enacted over George W. Over time. with India clearly being indifferent about its implementation. Gibson was an early leader through its line of SmartWood instruments. rather than defending their hallowed guitar company. However.’s enforcement of this Indian law. Lacey’s original legislation simply federalized state game laws by making it a violation of U. the Act protects endangered forests and most importantly.S. the Lacey Act has proved its significance. Anita Wadhani of The Tennessean has been pursuing some threads related to the program.
especially after they get the assent of the host nation? Choosing to prosecute instrument makers is certainly a questionable decision. either stating that the product does not have to be finished in India. This greatly benefits the supply chain of all companies involved because there is known security of their product getting to the next manufacturer. As stated earlier. can also do its part by simplifying the Lacey Act. For example. more macroeconomic issues. Congress could also amend the Lacey Act . distributor. the Lacey Act that the Obama Administration is mandating is a withstanding law that was inherited by the administration. yet the conflict seems so simple to avoid in the first place. Pertaining to the current issue.S. The U.policies. they could allow more than 1cm thickness of unfinished wood to pass through their borders (1cm is the current limit on unfinished wood.S. increasing the value of their product. Finally.5cm being the thickness allowed for finished veneered wood). So why then would the feds bully and harass an ostensibly innocent company to the point where they are losing millions of dollars? It is the question many other American citizens are asking themselves. With all this said. and retailer. or by being more lenient on their size restrictions. with . then how is the exporting nation supposed to know or even begin to think that they are breaking the law. if India wants to readily allow exports of their wood they should amend their laws. the entire music industry only uses about one percent of tropical hardwood. as well as solving broader.S. officials. it is easy to agree that the Lacey Act certainly has its ambiguities. If the host nation is compliant and regularly allows large shipments. to be certified by U. There are simple ways to fix this controversy. In fact. the best and easiest solution would be to simply allow timber and lumber companies located outside the U. The answer is undoubtedly equivocal. although.
or other instruments were built from woods that are now considered endangered (and illegal to import) from any sanctions. the government has since refused to specify on exactly why the raids occurred. what prompted the investigation and why has Gibson Guitars been the only company targeted? There have also been concerns over the interpretation of the Lacey Act. who has vital ties with the Tea Party. sending a letter to Congress and President Obama to voice concerns for their members. Musicians would also not have to worry about their favorite guitar being snatched from them mid concert. still needing to be raised. This would greatly ease the operations of federal officials as they would not have to line the border scouring for suspicious musical instruments. or . Calilhanna). violins. the previous text alludes to the fact that there are a number of questions. and two Tennessee Congressional leaders. Federal prosecutors have confirmed that there is a criminal investigation underway. nevertheless.” (Article in the Tennessean). which in the totality of all instances. The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) has gotten involved. is simply impossible (Echoes – Insight for Independent Artists. As you can see.to apply “stump to pallet” rather than “stump to shelf” (NY Times). Juszkiewicz attended President Obama’s recent jobs speech with not only Boehner.S.. implying that they inspect the wood before the shipment to the U. have filed a bill to amend the Lacey Act in the hopes of providing clarity and to “protect musicians whose older guitars. rather than after. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood). which is why some vintage guitar and ancillary instrument dealers now fear for their businesses. The companies are worried they’ll be asked to ascertain evidence of the origins of the woods used in the instruments they have been selling. a scene any fan at a concert would be appalled to see. Adding to the intriguing politics of these events. First off. but Blackburn as well.
closing down production and harassing business owners and their employees. The latest raids are tied to a shipment of ebony fretboards that were intercepted in Dallas in June 2011 marked with the wrong tariff code. Bullying small and medium businesses. confiscating private property. the code was off by one digit and was the result of a clerical error on a piece of paperwork (Echoes – Insight for Independent Artists. The circumstance calls for reconsideration on the power of federal government. it is difficult to understand why our government would target an American icon in this manner – there has been no outcry from the countries involved with the exports and no smoking gun. Once art starts being compromised for the simple and arrogant protection of a perplexing law. government takes a step forward. sending armed goons to American factories. In the current economic climate.perhaps most importantly. According to Juszkiewicz. wouldn’t you say? . Calilhanna). while man takes a step back. Gibson’s strong stance to combat the allegations will most likely prove to prevail after the dust has cleared. the raids will most likely be looked upon as a black eye on the federal government. what the pending charges might be. In conclusion. a curious strategy for nurturing domestic job creation.
com/2011/08/31/famed-guitar-maker-raided-by-federalagents/>. Echoes: Insight for Independent Artists. 08 Nov." USDA . Plant Protection and Quarantine. United States Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services.usda. 2011. <http://blog.. 2011. Ed. The New York Times: Arts Beat: The Culture at Large. "Gibson Guitar Becomes Cause Celebre for Conservatives . . Baldwin Pianos. Web." Echoes – Insight for Independent Artists.Los Angeles Times. 20 Oct.com/2011/10/gibson-guitar-under-investigation/>.gov/plant_health/lacey_act/>. and the Government Collide. <http://www2.com. "Famed Guitar Maker Raided by Federal Agents . Henry Juszkiewicz. 2011. Gibson Guitar Corporation. Politics. Calilhanna. McKinley Jr. Web. <http://artsbeat. <http://www.discmakers.latimes.com/Gibson. Business. Web." Culture and the Arts .com/2011/sep/27/nation/la-na-gibson-guitar-20110928>. Web. 31 Aug. 2011. "Gibson Guitar Under Investigation – Music. Gibson Guitar: Electric.ArtsBeat Blog . 08 Nov. Web.nytimes." Featured Articles From The Los Angeles Times. 2011.NYTimes. "Plant Health. 08 Nov.NYTimes.Works Cited Banerjee. 08 Nov. 2011. James C. <http://articles. 27 Sept.APHIS. 08 Nov. 2011. Acoustic and Bass Guitars. 2011.com. Andre. Neela.aphis.gibson.aspx>.blogs.
com/2011/10/gibsonguitar-under-investigation/#ixzz1d2x8BIU3 http://www. business..com.com/2011/10/gibson-guitar-underinvestigation/#ixzz1d2pGtR69 Read more: Gibson Guitar Under Investigation – music.Opinion Pages: Dot Earth.discmakers.gov/plant_health/lacey_act/ .NYTimes.com/2011/10/08/drop-that-guitar-and-put-up-yourhands/>.com/2011/10/gibson-guitar-underinvestigation/#ixzz1d2p3pJts Read more: Gibson Guitar Under Investigation – music.aphis. Read more: Gibson Guitar Under Investigation – music. business.usda. The New York Times: This is the second such raid in the past two years – the first happened in November 2009 at Gibson’s Nashville plant.discmakers. politics. business.blogs. Revkin. Andrew C.discmakers. <http://dotearth..nytimes. Web. and the government collide | Echoes – Insight for Independent Artists http://blog. and according to Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz. 08 Nov. politics. and the government collide | Echoes – Insight for Independent Artists http://blog. No charges were ever leveled.Dot Earth Blog . 2011. 2011.NYTimes. "Drop That Guitar and Put Up Your Hands. and the government collide | Echoes – Insight for Independent Artists http://blog.com. politics. 8 Oct. Gibson has not been able to recover the wood seized in the first raid and is pursuing the matter in court. ." Natural Resources and the Environment .
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