Crony Capitalism At Its Ugliest

Eric Clapton with Gibson Les Paul guitar

Is it any wonder American businesses are afraid to open their doors in the reign of King Obama?

Today Gibson Guitar’s CEO Henry Juszkiewicz announced that the company has settled with the Dept. of Justice, who ruled last year that Gibson had violated the Lacey Act by importing unfinished rosewood for guitar fingerboards from India and Madagascar.

It was clearly another case of “picking winners and losers”, the Obama administration’s favorite political tool – used to bludgeon opponents and reward cronies and contributors.

You see, most guitar fretboards are made with imported rosewood.  Guitar manufacturers often buy fretboards which have been manufactured in India, and the Indian government is grateful for the business (memo to Obama – most nations appreciate the chance to employ their citizens).  In fact Martin Guitars imports the very same rosewood for its guitars, from the same suppliers that Gibson does.  If this is a crime (which it has not been proven to be), it certainly is a victimless one.

Gibson plants were raided by armed federal agents, who confiscated $1 million worth of rosewood inventory.  They were shut down for a time, and now the company has been extorted for a $300,000 fine and a $50,000 “contribution” to the US National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Martin’s use of the same rosewood has never been questioned.

Oh, did I mention that Gibson’s CEO Juszkiewicz is a Republican supporter, while Martin’s CEO, Chris Martin, is a long-time donor to the Democrat party?

We have always been taught that there was a presumption of innocence in this country, and an opportunity for defense and redress if we have been wrongfully charged.  Unfortunately in today’s world where government agencies and czars rule with impunity, that’s no longer the case.  A bureaucrat can be judge, jury and executioner.

“We’re in this really incredible situation. We have been implicated in wrongdoing and we haven’t been charged with anything,” Juszkiewicz said. “Our business has been injured to millions of dollars. And we don’t even have a court we can go to and say, ‘Look, here’s our position.”

Due process be damned, this is politics.

The “picking winners and losers” tactic has worked so well on the national level that our Montana Democrat administration has taken the page from the Obama playbook.  Stay tuned as that story develops.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I don’t know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps – George Harrison
(guitar solo by Eric Clapton on a GIBSON LES PAUL )

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