Monday, August 13, 2012

Gibson Pays $350,000 Fine + $2.4M in Legal Fees


In the video above, Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz discusses with Mike Huckabee the $350,000 fine his company paid to the federal government, in addition to Gibson's $2.4 million in legal fees, to avoid going to trial, which would have cost $5-6 million.  No charges have been filed. 

86 Comments:

At 8/13/2012 2:35 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

This really seems to me to be a huge waste of time and money. I mean, it's guitar wood. I love guitar as much as the next guy (I am trying to learn it), but...it's guitar wood. If this was fake medicine or something like that, I could understand. But it's guitar wood.

 
At 8/13/2012 2:48 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I accidentally caught some of the 60 Minutes program yesterday. The tripe I caught was about a heroic bureaucrat fighting against all odds to find employment for the long-term unemployed in some program in Connecticut which was undoubtedly funded with money confiscated from people who might have otherwise used to, you know, employ people.

So here we have Gibson that is now out at least $3 million (I say "at least" because some very real expenses cannot be easily accounted for on a ledger) that it could have used to expand its business and, you know, employ people. But then we might not need heroic bureaucrats in a state in which I now no longer employ anyone as a result of the overactive heroic bureaucrats.

Maybe our Connecticut hero should have just told all those unemployed professionals to retrain as lawyers because the more corrupt the state....

 
At 8/13/2012 2:54 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

So here we have Gibson that is now out at least $3 million (I say "at least" because some very real expenses cannot be easily accounted for on a ledger) that it could have used to expand its business and, you know, employ people.

Plus, IT'S GUITAR WOOD

 
At 8/13/2012 3:09 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

How come the rest of the guitar industry is not involved in this?

Why is it just one company?

fair question?

 
At 8/13/2012 3:13 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Why is it just one company?

Rosewood itself is not illegal. But according to the report, Gibson did not follow the proper channels when they purchased it. From what I understand, Gibson arraigned for the rosewood customs to be filled out in India (where the rosewood was bought). The agent in India was supposed to fill out the US customs paperwork, but it was never done for one reason or another. By US law, the rosewood was smuggled in, although it was all over the board. One of those random fall-through-the-cracks things.

 
At 8/13/2012 3:16 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Because, Larry, this is how it works. They decide they need revenue and then choose a company to shake down. Note that the fine is small enough to make litigating it a relative loss even if Gibson wins.

Did you not know this is how government works? How it "regulates" for the "common good"?

 
At 8/13/2012 3:24 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: "how it works"

does that mean all the other guitar companies are doing the same thing but the govt is selectively enforcing by picking one small company?

there is quite an extensive list of companies:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_guitar_manufacturers

including Fender and Martin.

are they doing the same thing but the govt is ignoring them?

 
At 8/13/2012 3:29 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Jon Murphy,

The government could have notified Gibson that it was out of compliance, slapped them with a fine and we would have never heard about ti. Never mind that it's a stupid regulation for the purpose of lining the pockets of bureaucrats, this kind of fail in regulatory compliance is a daily occurrence in most firms.

There are so many regulations (most of them intentionally unclear) that committing only 5 felonies in any given day is a minor miracle.

It's clear that Gibson was not "smuggling" anything, but bureaucrats love the finer things in life too and this is the only way those parasites will ever get them.

 
At 8/13/2012 3:32 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I'm not denying the government could have done things better.

But Larry was just wondering why Gibson was being singled out.

I wasn't trying to offer any kind of commentary, right or wrong, on the actions taken. Just that the actions were taken.

 
At 8/13/2012 3:34 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Larry,

Here's my experience with bureaucrats: they tend to go after companies they don't like for reasons that would not be available to you and me.

Firms that are better politically connected can smuggle in not only rosewood but heroin and bureaucrats will turn a blind eye.

I don't know what's up with Gibson and I don't know anything at all about guitar manufacturing, but I sure have a lot of experience with how bureaucrats shake down companies. It's that knowledge that has helped me keep our overlords at bay.

 
At 8/13/2012 3:35 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Jon Murphy,

I know that. I wasn't contradicting you. I was elaborating.

 
At 8/13/2012 3:38 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

take a look at this company selling exotic wood for guitars:

http://www.bellforestproducts.com/exotic-wood-blanks/?gclid=CPa22KG65bECFcuP7QodkC4AZQ

there are quite a few companies like this on the web.

I can't help but think this is not just about exotic woods for guitars since no other companies that sell exotic wood nor other guitar makers are involved.

it just seems curious to me....

 
At 8/13/2012 4:03 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Larry,

The other companies may not trust their vendors with filling out and filing all the appropriate paperwork, so they may be more difficult for the parasites to get their suckers into. Or they're better connected. Who knows?

What we do know is that the action against Gibson (even if they were out of compliance) was WAY beyond anything reasonable to ensure compliance with idiotic government regulation.

This is a rare glimpse of the massive costs imposed on American businesses just for doing business in the United Sates.

This is the kind of thing that makes me less optimistic about America. In fact, I'm almost irreversibly pessimistic and I'm only getting more pessimistic.

 
At 8/13/2012 4:12 PM, Blogger bart said...

Doesn't some small company have to screw up once in a while to help out all the causes of the greenies? /sarcasm

 
At 8/13/2012 4:15 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

see... I'm OPTIMISTIC that the vast majority of other companies were left alone!

:-)

but I get your point.

 
At 8/13/2012 4:24 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I can't help but think this is not just about exotic woods for guitars since no other companies that sell exotic wood nor other guitar makers are involved."

You are correct, and it's NOT about guitars or wood, it is likely about support or non-support of the reigning administration.

For example Martin Guitar CEO Chris Martin IV is a longtime Democratic supporter, whereas Gibson CEO Henry E. Juszkiewicz is a Republican supporter.

It could be as simple as that

 
At 8/13/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Oh, they're not left alone, Larry. HEAVENS! We can't have that! They are just not sucked dry to the point of of bankruptcy.

Your gratitude, of course, is an expression of Stockholm Syndrome. At least you're not in a Gulag. At least you haven't been arrested at the command of the president and kept imprisoned forever as a political prisoner...I man a "terrorist", right? Dear Leader is so benevolent! It is a sad state of affairs in this country.

 
At 8/13/2012 4:30 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

geeze, Methinks....

 
At 8/13/2012 4:31 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Why is it just one company?

fair question?
"...

Didn't contribute to Obama?

Gibson finally hired lobbyests to get relief from the Lacey Act though...

 
At 8/13/2012 4:38 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Ron H., it is undoubtedly exactly as simple as that. And there's a flip side to that as well - regulators who do actually uncover fraud are powerless to do anything about it if the entity committing the fraud is politically connected. Ever heard of Madoff?

It just gets harder and harder to claim we have rule of law in this country or that we are free.

 
At 8/13/2012 4:42 PM, Blogger Hydra said...


The US Fish and Wildlife Service claims that the category of 9209 was "falsely applied" by the Indian exporter. The basis for this claim revolves around the definition of the term "finished product," as defined in Indian law. We were unable to research any specific Indian law that might have been applied by the US agents that defines "finished" with respect to musical instrument parts.

If the imported fingerboards had been less than 6mm (0.24 inches), the wood clearly would have been legal to import, under the HS Code of 4407.

However, the wood at Gibson was measured at 10mm (0.39 inches), and therefore was in HS Code 4408, which is illegal under the Lacey Act.



Read more: http://www.briefing.com/investor/our-view/ahead-of-the-curve/government-regulations-the-gibson-guitar-case.htm#ixzz23Ssvor81

 
At 8/13/2012 5:25 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Whatever it takes to give the government the patina of legitimacy.

I can see how the longer wood endangers us all. Gibson should be bankrupted, shut down and its officers jailed for endangering us, wood and who knows what else.

Yet, through all this, no charges were filed.

 
At 8/13/2012 5:37 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Methinks,

This Obama EPA parasite's theory of regulation may give some insight:

"It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in
the Mediterranean. They'd go into a little Turkish town somewhere,
they'd find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them.
And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few
years. And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not
compliant with the law."

 
At 8/13/2012 6:47 PM, Blogger Publius said...

The law in question is the Lacey Act, which, as correctly observed above, is poorly written, and even less poorly understood.

It is a license to extort.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/242357-gibson-guitar-agrees-to-pay-300000-to-settle-lacey-act-violations

However, Gibson could theoretically pass this cost along to their customers, of which I am one.

As far as end enforcement – confiscation – I dare anyone from DOJ to show up at my door.

 
At 8/13/2012 6:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Whatever it takes to give the government the patina of legitimacy.

I can see how the longer wood endangers us all. Gibson should be bankrupted, shut down and its officers jailed for endangering us, wood and who knows what else.

Yet, through all this, no charges were filed.
"

But it's impossible to overstate the seriousness of this crime, and the correct and necessary response was to dispatch 4 swat team members to Henry Juszkiewicz's office to hold him at gunpoint.

Lord only knows what horrors might have resulted otherwise.

What's really scary is that despite the grumbling, there appears to be very little serious outrage over this type of abuse. The founders took up arms and went to war for less.

 
At 8/13/2012 7:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"As far as end enforcement – confiscation – I dare anyone from DOJ to show up at my door."

I suspect the offending fingerboards lose their offensive nature once they become part of a guitar, and once they slip from the evil grasp of Gibson.

Just to be safe though, it wouldn't hurt to be suspicious of any offers to clean and tune your guitar free of charge.

 
At 8/13/2012 7:23 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Ah yes, Paul. Crucify the first five guys - but no need to be so random.

Gibson gets crucified, but when Jon Corzine robs customer accounts at MF Global (an infinitely worse offense), he walks. What do you suppose would have happened to him if he weren't a Demonrat ex-governor, Obama donor and Eric Holder's firm's client?

No SWAT teams to arrest Corzine, Ron H!

Paul, Gibson doesn't want to destroy its customers. It's not the government. And the government doesn't want to go after you because...well, your pockets aren't that deep. Bankrupting you won't even scare that many political enemies. You can breathe a sigh of relief that you're a waste of time for the mafia. For now.

I heart the government. They're just protecting us!

 
At 8/13/2012 9:08 PM, Blogger bobby said...

We're doing this wrong.

Every time the eco-loons have their way with someone like this, we need to react in a manner that will make them care.

Eagles and cougars are very easy to shoot. Delta smelt cannot survive with traces of bleach in their water. Dropping an unopened bag of salt pellets into a "wetland" kills all life within it.

Sad to have to even have such thoughts, but allowing a corrupt group of Marxist thugs to continue to graze amongst us will be worse in the long run.

 
At 8/13/2012 9:26 PM, Blogger bart said...

I couldn't disagree more bobby, and in so very many ways.

 
At 8/14/2012 12:02 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Bobby

"We're doing this wrong."

Your targeting the wrong things. Eagles, cougars, delta smelt and wetlands aren't the problem.

Unopened bags of salt pellets dropped on eco-loons works pretty well.

 
At 8/14/2012 8:00 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I am sensing sarcasm in Bobby's post.

 
At 8/14/2012 8:09 AM, Blogger bart said...

Jon Murphy said...

I am sensing sarcasm in Bobby's post.


Perhaps, but even if it's true, the sentiments were in very poor taste IMHO.

 
At 8/14/2012 10:16 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

exactly ron.

martin guitars used this same wood, but they were big political donors to the current administration. (unlike gibson)

see also: corzine, uaw, etc.

this is the sort of extortion/protection/patronage you would expect from the mob. (what else would you expect from chicago?)

 
At 8/14/2012 10:45 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Hey guys,

Forgive me, but I am unwilling to jump on the conspiracy train here.

I seems to me this is just an overzealous bureaucratic issue gone awry. The fact that Gibson is GOP is likely a coincidence. I mean, if there was a conspiracy wouldn't you want to go after someone more high profile that a guitar maker? He is pretty small potatoes.

 
At 8/14/2012 11:22 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich

"martin guitars used this same wood, but they were big political donors to the current administration. (unlike gibson)

see also: corzine, uaw, etc.
"

I can't imagine how much effort went into finding something actionable at Gibson, but it must have been enormous considering the obscure nature of the infraction.

But then it's only our money being wasted.

 
At 8/14/2012 11:51 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon M:

"Forgive me, but I am unwilling to jump on the conspiracy train here.

I seems to me this is just an overzealous bureaucratic issue gone awry. The fact that Gibson is GOP is likely a coincidence. I mean, if there was a conspiracy wouldn't you want to go after someone more high profile that a guitar maker? He is pretty small potatoes.
"

Do you not believe that politicians in general and this president in particular rewards his friends and punishes his enemies?

If you know something of Obama's rise to power in Chicago from a community organizer and the tactics he has used along the way, it is easy to attribute almost any slimy action to him.

It's hard to believe an overzealous bureaucratic action couldn't have been corrected by now, as Gibson was first raided in 2009, at which time over $200k in wood was seized. In three years none of that wood has been returned and to this day no charges of any kind have been filed.

As to being small potatoes, you are correct, but Gibson may be just about the right size to be made an example of - big enough to be highly visible, but not big enough to have big guns.

 
At 8/14/2012 11:59 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

By the way Jon, if you think I now look to too much like you I will change my avatar. :)

I may anyway. The whole point of an avatar, after all, is to differentiate us.

 
At 8/14/2012 12:22 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

It's not a conspiracy, Jon. This is how it works.

I seems to me this is just an overzealous bureaucratic issue gone awry.

Nothing went "awry". An investigation conducted in a purposeful, over-zealous and abusive manner cannot to be said to have gone "awry". At no time did the government lose control of what was going on.

Given my direct personal experience with regulatory examiners, including confessions of regulatory examiners, and what I've seen regulators do to other firms (thankfully never mine) I can assure you this is exactly how things happen.

Nobody is saying that Obama ordered an attack on Gibson. That's not how these things happen.

Either Gibson pissed off some petty bureaucrat in some enforcement division or the division needed money, attention, to prove something - whatever. The possible reasons are many and have nothing to do with Obama or Democrats directly.

For any of a long list of reasons, a firm is targeted. A politically well-connected firm will NEVER be targeted this way. Why? Because, as a regulatory examiner confided in me, even if evidence of outright fraud is discovered during so much as the course of a routine examination, a politically connected firm will never be charged unless the fraud is so monstrous as to become a real problem for the political connection. So, nobody will target target politically connected firm unless it serves the person or entity giving that firm cover. Ever.

On the other hand, firms that are not politically connected become the targets of bureaucrats quite readily. It's quite shocking when one first comes into contact with this. Regulations are left vague on purpose so that the enforcement agency has broad latitude to interpret them as it suits it, allowing it to inflict damage on its chosen victims at will and it have every incentive to do so. For example, FINRA examiners are paid bonuses based on the amount of the fines they haul in. The trick is similar to what happened with Gibson - set the fine as high as you can, but low enough to make it not worth fighting. There is plenty of incentive to torture firms and these kinds of incidents can only become more common as bloated regulatory bureaucracies look for victims to supplement what they consider puny federal stipends.

So, there is no Democrat conspiracy to destroy a little guitar maker. There is, however, every reason to believe that this is an aggressive action launched by petty bureaucrats against a firm that had no political cover. Note that the administration didn not step in either. I'm sure that Gibson will mend this oversight and our political overlords will grow even bolder in their shakedowns of companies. Of course, because this is probably not a direct command from the leaders of the ruling party, doesn't mean much. That happens too. I recall that many years ago when the government's legal case against Hugh Hefner fell apart he suddenly became the target of investigations from every regulatory department from the SEC to OSHA.

Did you think these bureaucracies are staffed with angels doing their damndest to protect you from rosewood?

 
At 8/14/2012 12:28 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I can't imagine how much effort went into finding something actionable at Gibson, but it must have been enormous considering the obscure nature of the infraction.

Not at all, Ron H. Regulations are written extremely vaguely in order to allow as much latitude for enforcement agencies as possible. Also, the agencies responsible for enforcing regulation have a policy of not clarifying how they intend to enforce the regulation for exactly the same reason. The regulatory system is a license to abuse.

 
At 8/14/2012 12:30 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Do you not believe that politicians in general and this president in particular rewards his friends and punishes his enemies?

I didn't say that. I just have a hard time believing the President or the Democrats would say "alright, guys. We have 8%+ unemployment, civil war in Syria, recession in Europe, drought in the Heartland, but let's stop everything and comb through the import-export records of companies who have donated to the GOP." I just find it hard to support, that's all.

 
At 8/14/2012 12:31 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Upon reading Methinks post above (which I saw after I posed my last piece), I find it easier to believe a petty bureaucrat with a grudge rather than a political conspiracy.

 
At 8/14/2012 12:32 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

By the way Jon, if you think I now look to too much like you I will change my avatar. :)

Nah, I think your fine. They do look like they are done by the same artist, though.

 
At 8/14/2012 12:48 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I couldn't disagree more bobby, and in so very many ways"...

Oh dear!

Gog bobby! Go!

 
At 8/14/2012 12:54 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"What's really scary is that despite the grumbling, there appears to be very little serious outrage over this type of abuse. The founders took up arms and went to war for less"...

Bingo ron h!

More Examples...

 
At 8/14/2012 12:56 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Perhaps, but even if it's true, the sentiments were in very poor taste IMHO.

Was it really worse than any of the sarcastic things I say?

Forgive me, I don't mean to be contradictory here but I am pretty sure I've said worse things in sarcasm.

 
At 8/14/2012 1:00 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I'm not saying to give Bobby a free pass. Just call me out if I am being a jerk.

 
At 8/14/2012 1:22 PM, Blogger bart said...

Jon Murphy said...
Was it really worse than any of the sarcastic things I say?

Forgive me, I don't mean to be contradictory here but I am pretty sure I've said worse things in sarcasm.


Same here on sarcastic comments.

The biggest difference is that I know you're being sarcastic even when you don't explicitly say so, and if I wonder out loud, you clarify or correct the intent.

There has been plenty of time elapsed since his post for him to clarify if it was sarcasm or not.

I've been on many unmoderated and anonymous boards over the decades and have experienced real psychos who actually post stuff like that and actually mean it.


We just plain don't know if bobby is a real wacko/psycho/whatever or not. That he hasn't posted that it was intended as sarcasm, given the time elapsed, says something to me.

 
At 8/14/2012 1:28 PM, Blogger bart said...

Jon Murphy said...
I'm not saying to give Bobby a free pass. Just call me out if I am being a jerk.


It's just a difference of opinion.

Extreme posts where killing animals and similar real anti-social acts are involved will always get a negative response from me - at least when it isn't clear to me that it wasn't sarcasm.


 
At 8/14/2012 2:09 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I just have a hard time believing the President or the Democrats would say "alright, guys. We have 8%+ unemployment, civil war in Syria, recession in Europe, drought in the Heartland, but let's stop everything and comb through the import-export records of companies who have donated to the GOP." I just find it hard to support, that's all.

Of course you don't. What you describe is a highly improbable scenario.

But, not impossible. It's not impossible precisely because nobody has to stop doing anything at all to destroy a firm or an individual. That only happens in movies. If the president decides to destroy a company for whatever reason, all he has to do is request that any one of the alphabet soup of government agencies from the IRS to the FTC to launch investigations into the firms' activities. Every firm is always out of compliance with something because it's impossible to stay in compliance with everything. Or almost anything, really. Very few regulations are as clear as "you must keep the firm's customer's money segregated from the firm's money." Yet, when a prominent Democrat didn't segregate (at the very least) and possibly even intentionally stole the money, nothing happened to him. And it's difficult for me to describe how seriously regulators take that segregation, though I'm sure you can understand why they do.

It's up to us to keep an eye on the crooks in government. They've stacked the deck against us.

 
At 8/14/2012 2:25 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon M:

"Upon reading Methinks post above (which I saw after I posed my last piece), I find it easier to believe a petty bureaucrat with a grudge rather than a political conspiracy."

I agree. Her explanation is more plausible than mine, and she is in a position to know of these things.

I do note, however, that no one in a position to do so has reined in this supposed petty bureaucrat with a grudge.

I'm sure future Gibson contributions to the ruling masters, of whichever party they happen to belong, will prevent such problems in the future. :)

 
At 8/14/2012 2:47 PM, Blogger givemefreedom said...

This is another excellent example of the damage that is done to the economy by the growth in government bureaucracy. They exist and they must justify their existance by making examples of companies through the selective enforcement of law(s) that are so many and varied that it is impossible to be in compliance of all of them.

The natural progression of this expanded government control over every aspect of our economy and our lives is for our country to become like the now failed socialist state of Greece. See the story linked below about how a Greek entrepreneur was required by the Greek ministry of health to supply a stool sample!!!!

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite2_1_21/02/2012_429208

 
At 8/14/2012 2:53 PM, Blogger givemefreedom said...

I just remembered that I first saw this story of Greek Bureaucracy gone amok in CD.

Back in Feb of this year I think.

 
At 8/14/2012 8:46 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

You keep making dares like that.

 
At 8/14/2012 8:48 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

No charges were filed? On what basis was a settlement reached?

 
At 8/14/2012 8:52 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Good point. Corzine hould have been held accountable.

Someone at Gibson sound have been held accountable. Do that and see how fast the lackey act becomes understandable.

 
At 8/14/2012 8:53 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Eco loons should pay a fair price cor what they get.

 
At 8/14/2012 8:57 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I do not buy the conspiracy argument here. If there was a conspiracy it is much easier to believe the company conspired with the Indian export agent to deliberately put a false export class on the items.

 
At 8/14/2012 9:17 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Extreme posts where killing animals and similar real anti-social acts are involved will always get a negative response from me"...

Since when is killing animals an anti-social act?

 
At 8/14/2012 9:49 PM, Blogger bart said...

Since I knew you'd take the bait and have a hissy fit.

 
At 8/14/2012 11:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"No charges were filed? On what basis was a settlement reached?"

Gibson agreed to a settlement and DOJ agreed to drop the case without filing charges. After 3 years and $2.4 in legal fees, and a prohibition on importing needed wood from India, Gibson finally blinked.

Charges and going to trial would have cost an estimated $5-6 million in legal fees, so they cut their losses and can now get back to the business of making guitars.

From the above link:

"The agreement disclosed Monday defers prosecution for criminal violations of the Lacey Act and, along with the penalty charge, also requires a community-service payment of $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to be used to promote the conservation, identification and propagation of protected tree species used in the musical-instrument industry and the forests where those species are found. "

In addition to the above, wood valued at over $200k that was siezed 3 years ago will not be returned.

You could have easily found your own answers if you were interested.

 
At 8/14/2012 11:45 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I do not buy the conspiracy argument here. If there was a conspiracy it is much easier to believe the company conspired with the Indian export agent to deliberately put a false export class on the items."

Well of course. It's nearly impossible to believe that any government bureaucrat who can essentially operate above the law with an unlimited budget would ever do anything unethical.

Reread Methink's take on that.

 
At 8/15/2012 7:57 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

I also do not buy the conspiracy argument and I do not buy the lone wolf nor the "Obama sent me" argument.

We have had for decades, examples of the govt going after companies as part of their regulatory mission.

Nothing has changed. It's the same as it has always been.

Remember when the govt "went after" cigarette companies, lead paint companies, mercury in tuna companies, toxic discharges companies, companies that trade in Ivory, etc, etc, etc.

While I can and do appreciate the Libertarian and anti-govt views here, the simple truth is that we've always had regulations and we've always had disputes about regulations and their enforcement.

For instance, the Lacey Act's formal name is the Lacey Act of 1900.

And Congress, not any President, is what added wood products to that law in 2008.

http://www.eia-global.org/lacey/P6.EIA.LaceyReport.pdf


 
At 8/15/2012 9:47 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

We have had for decades, examples of the govt going after companies as part of their regulatory mission.

Nothing has changed. It's the same as it has always been.


I challenge you to find a single regulatory agency with "going after companies" as part of its mission. Go on. all of their mission statements are made available to the public they pretend to serve. The SEC's mission is to "maintain a fair and orderly market". Nothing at all about reducing liquidity by making it impossible to operate and thus eroding the fairness and order of markets. The difference between the published statement and what actually happens.

Things have changed. It's gotten worse.

But, here again you're back to your idiotic assertion that because it's always been that way, it is the correct way.

Slavery is an institution as old as humanity itself. I suppose we shouldn't have changed that. Serfdom was the norm for centuries, it must continue into the future.

Idiots have always been idiots and that will never change. Thank God that although there are more many more idiots than smart people, the smart people are able to outsmart the idiots most of the time.

 
At 8/15/2012 11:02 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

TI challenge you to find a single regulatory agency with "going after companies" as part of its mission.


I'm saying the opposite. The assertion that there is more of this going on now is unsupported.

Without some real evidence, it sounds a lot like just more cherry-picking.

I see no other guitar makers nor importers of exotic wood involved in this.

If this was really selective enforcement, don't you think his legal help would be among the first to point that out?

 
At 8/15/2012 11:02 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

TI challenge you to find a single regulatory agency with "going after companies" as part of its mission.


I'm saying the opposite. The assertion that there is more of this going on now is unsupported.

Without some real evidence, it sounds a lot like just more cherry-picking.

I see no other guitar makers nor importers of exotic wood involved in this.

If this was really selective enforcement, don't you think his legal help would be among the first to point that out?

 
At 8/15/2012 11:10 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

You don't see much, Larry.

No. Gibson's lawyers would point out nothing because pointing that out would fall on deaf ears and likely piss off the bureaucrats. You have to handle bureaucrats like you handle angry wasps. Such a thing would only be pointed out in court.

Your assertion that regulators are not becoming overactive is unsupported. This is something you know nothing about.

But, suppose that bureaucrats have always been this randomly destructive, as you assert. Only a dimwit would find comfort in that.

 
At 8/15/2012 11:20 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

Your assertion that regulators are not becoming overactive is unsupported. This is something you know nothing about.

But, suppose that bureaucrats have always been this randomly destructive, as you assert. Only a dimwit would find comfort in that.



I do not see any evidence that regulators are running amok - more than they ever have.

and no I do not take any comfort in that - only that we've had regulations for a long time and we've had enforcement of regulations for a long time.

...and We've ALWAYS had people who are fundamentally opposed to the govt and to regulations - for a long time.

I just don't see much evidence of increased enforcement.

I suspect that Gibson basically thumbed his nose ...like this guy:

http://www.fws.gov/northeast/le/stories/ivoryindictment.html

or this guy;

http://joel.wrytestuff.com/swa780045-Dont-Try-Trafficking-In-Sperm-Whale-Teeth-Or-Be-Sure-To-Save-Your-Profits.htm

now I realize that you are probably opposed to any/all of these actions but they are just two of many that have been pursued by those "zealous" regulators.

 
At 8/15/2012 11:45 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

The government has been violating people since the beginning of time. It's no big deal, Larry. Hopefully, next time you'll be their victim and I'll be there to remind you that it's no big deal.

 
At 8/15/2012 12:49 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I see no other guitar makers nor importers of exotic wood involved in this."

That's the point, Larry, which you have missed as usual. You don't see enforcement of the Lacey Act against other guitar makers who use the same wood, because no actions against them are being taken. You don't know what they may have done wrong because they haven't been raided, had wood seized, nor been accused of anything. Unless you believe 100% of all crime is detected and prosecuted your argument is silly.

"Without some real evidence, it sounds a lot like just more cherry-picking."

The real evidence, if any, would have been presented in court. There was no trial, Larry, and no charges filed.

"If this was really selective enforcement, don't you think his legal help would be among the first to point that out?"

Yes they would have - at trial. Do you think they should hold public news conferences to proclaim the unfairness of selective enforcement abgainst their client?

"All us guitar makers are doing it, but DOJ is only picking on our client."

Even you must wonder why it was necessary that a swat team with automatic weapons raided the Gibson facility as if they expected dangerous armed resistance. Is that how you picture a guitar factory? Armed gangsters protecting the companies illegal wood supplies?

Do you really believe Gibson's CEO is so dangerous that it was necessary for four armed commandos to burst into his office to hold him at gunpoint?

The bottom line here is that Gibson decided to cut their losses and pay the ransom after having the boot of the DOJ on their neck for three years, with no end in sight - just as you might decide to pay off that cop who threatened you with a jay-walking ticket even though you knew you were innocent, because the lost time and money required to fight it would cost more than the payoff.

It's amazing that you fascists can continually hold the State blameless for so many tyrannical actions.

 
At 8/15/2012 1:00 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I do not see any evidence that regulators are running amok - more than they ever have."

So you agree that regulators run amok, but you question whether the level of amok-running has increased?

That's an improvement, Larry, good for you.

"I just don't see much evidence of increased enforcement."

And how do you measure it? Just what are you looking at as you make that ridiculous comment?

 
At 8/15/2012 1:15 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

And how do you measure it?


Oh I'm quite sure those that would want to show it could show something like the increased number of enforcement actions.

Gibson chose to spend his own money in a very public fight and from what I can see is out of step with most, if not all, other guitar companies.

now he's crying "victim" when he chose the fight.

A "better" way to have this fight would be through The Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association (GAMA) or FSC - Forest Stewardship Council and others.

he chose the go-it-alone route.

 
At 8/15/2012 1:29 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"And Congress, not any President, is what added wood products to that law in 2008."

Well of course, but that's hardly the point. The law is not enforced by Congress, but by agencies that report to the President. In any case none of this discussion is about the applicable law, but about enforcement of it.

What do you think the correct level of response by the DOJ should be when a company may have violated the Lacey act, and may have done so inadvertently?

Would a citation requiring a fine have sufficed, or was an armed response necessary as it might be if the suspected offense at the Gibson factory was pipe bomb making, and major armed resistance was expected?

Was it really necessary to hold $200k of wood belonging to Gibson for 3 years while not allowing Gibson to import more even legally?

Why weren't any charges filed in more than 3 years?

Even you should have trouble answering those questions.

 
At 8/15/2012 1:36 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Well of course, but that's hardly the point. The law is not enforced by Congress, but by agencies that report to the President. In any case none of this discussion is about the applicable law, but about enforcement of it.


well of course, it IS the point because Congress knows that enforcement will be handled by regulators.

re: what should have DOJ done?

exactly what they did do.

The Ball was in Gibsons court from the get go.

He could have done what he just did - long ago and instead chose to engage in a go-it-alone fight.

and now cries "victim".

 
At 8/15/2012 1:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Oh I'm quite sure..." isn't much of an argument.

Your statement "I just don't see much evidence of increased enforcement." is a general assertion that requires support.

"I just don't see much evidence of increased enforcement - because my eyes are closed." Isn't good enough.

 
At 8/15/2012 1:42 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Your statement "I just don't see much evidence of increased enforcement." is a general assertion that requires support


nope. I'm not claiming there is increased enforcement to start with.

I'm RESPONDING to that assertion.

Where is the BEEF?

 
At 8/15/2012 1:51 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Gibson chose to spend his own money in a very public fight and from what I can see is out of step with most, if not all, other guitar companies."

Yes, Henry Juszkiewicz chose to annoy the wasps by asking to be formally charged with whatever the DOJ was accusing him of, and complaining about the heavy handed tactics used in the two raids on his facility.

How dare he!

As you yourself pointed out, Gibson is the only guitar maker that's been accused of any wrongdoing, so it's not clear what you mean by "out of step".

Do you believe that every wrongdoing is detected and punished, so being accused but not charged means you are "out of step"?

 
At 8/15/2012 1:53 PM, Blogger givemefreedom said...

Larry,

If you want more examples of regulators running amok all you need to do is go to this site that CD has featured in many posts:

http://www.ij.org/

Lots of amok running listed there.

 
At 8/15/2012 2:02 PM, Blogger givemefreedom said...

or try this site for even more amokking by regulators:

http://reason.com/archives/2012/06/23/i-say-tomato-you-say-no

 
At 8/15/2012 2:08 PM, Blogger givemefreedom said...

And while this is not regulators per se, it is Obama running amok with our tax dollars:

http://news.investors.com/article/622168/201208141740/gm-costs-taxpayers-25-billion-dollars.htm

 
At 8/15/2012 2:13 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The Ball was in Gibsons court from the get go."

Do you mean it was necessary that Gibson prove it's innocence? Is that how the law works now in this country? I thought it was necessary to formally charge people with a crime, and then take those charges to a neutral court where a judge and jury can decide the truth of the charges. Don't we still go to all that trouble, or is mere allegation all it takes?

I guess I can accuse you of stealing my car, and unless you can prove you didn't, you will go to prison.

"He could have done what he just did - long ago and instead chose to engage in a go-it-alone fight."

He could have just paid a fine without any crime being proven, but only alleged? Sure, anyone could do that whether they're guilty of anything or not.

As Gibson was the only company accused of anything, it seems that "go it alone" is the only option. Neither GAMA nor FSC had any standing in that case, and weren't accused of any wrongdoing.

Well, Larry, I see that you have evaded or failed to respond correctly to any of the substantive questions, so I guess we're done here. I've wasted enough time on you.

 
At 8/15/2012 2:22 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " Henry Juszkiewicz chose to annoy the wasps"

yup... oh my god.

and big bad Obama is piling on...

OMG.

and govt is big, bad, and super nasty

OMG!

Every other manufacturer of guitars and exotic wood importers have FAILED to "annoy" the Wasps.

ergo.. they are "afraid" and on Gibson was brave enough to dare challenge those nasty regulators.

barf!

 
At 8/15/2012 2:57 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"yup... oh my god.

and big bad Obama is piling on...
"

Larry goes on to argue like a little girl.

 
At 8/15/2012 3:07 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " Larry goes on to argue like a little girl"

re: " And while this is not regulators per se, it is Obama running amok with our tax dollars:"

and so it goes here in CD....

 
At 8/15/2012 3:13 PM, Blogger givemefreedom said...

Larry goes on to argue like a little girl.

Ron,

That is it just Larry's version of putting his fingers in his ears and chanting "nanananananana....I can't hear you".

A standard tiresome response from him when he has lost an agruement.

 
At 8/15/2012 3:18 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Why does it seem like local government officials are competing with each other to see who can implement the most obnoxious rules against people in their respective communities growing food?"

.....

" And while this is not regulators per se, it is Obama running amok with our tax dollars:

http://news.investors.com/article/622168/201208141740/gm-costs-taxpayers-25-billion-dollars.htm"

and so it goes in CD...

anti-regulation, anti-local-govt,
anti-Federal govt and anti-Obama.

yup.

 
At 8/15/2012 9:50 PM, Blogger givemefreedom said...

Yes Larry,

Limited government and free markets. Congrats you finally caught on.

 

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