August 26, 2011

United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.

The Fish and Wildlife Service agents come after the manufacturer of electric guitars.

And why you don't want to travel outside of the country with a vintage guitar... or maybe any wooden guitar.

52 comments:

bagoh20 said...

I always carry wood when I travel.

Carol_Herman said...

Wasn't there a band that did a song that said "UNITED Breaks Guitars."

And, they were on board ... when they looked out the window. To see the staff that loads the airplane playing "toss the guitar" to each other.

Wish I had a better memory for "tunes." I loved that one.

Why would anyone take a valuable instrument on board an airplane? TSA might think it was a bomber.

MikeinAppalachia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MikeinAppalachia said...

Just one more in a long line of revenue enhancements and saving the jobs of swat teams.

EDH said...

I don't know who they think they are...

Smashing a perfectly good guitar

He loved that guitar just like a girlfriend
But every good thing comes to an end
Now he just sits in his room all day
Whistling every note he ever played

There oughta be a law with no bail
Smash a guitar and you go to jail
With no chance for early parole
You don't get out untill you get some soul

traditionalguy said...

The Governments are all at war with their citizens now. Money is a root of all evils.

It is more and more becoming a protection racket with obviously phoney excuses to hurt people who don't pay up, and no longer a fair treatment for all country that the founders started here in the 1700s.

Bender said...

"I’ll work every day to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can."

The one-liner that won an election.

Things such as this demonstrate why we are looking at a repudiation, of massive landslide proportions, of Obamaism and liberal facism.

Ralph L said...

First Ivory, then Ebony.
Michael Jackson ODs.
Paul McCartney, run for your life.


Soon the Indians will be calling for a ban on Redwood.

MikeinAppalachia said...

"◦He has erected a Multitude of New Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

Palladian said...

It must be fun to have a bunch of dumb-ass federal thugs come root through your workshop at gunpoint.

Joanna said...

It's gonna be interesting when the Feds start confiscating rifles because there is no proper documentation for the wood.

Widely Seen said...

I can't deal with this just now as I am trying and trying to think of what branches and twigs of government may have outlived their usefulness and original charter...
Oh which could that be?
Where to search?

Jason said...

First they came for the energy companies, and I did not speak out because I was an acoustic musician and I was therefore not an energy industry worker...

WV: Strip

edutcher said...

And the Lefties were whining about Perry's "gaffe" (a word I hate, BTW, since it means whatever you want it to (considering it was coined by Michael Kinsley, no surprise), but, in this case, only meaning something the Lefties didn't like said by someone the Lefties don't like) about the treacherousness of Bernanke and QE.

Seems like it applies to a lot of this Administration.

David said...

The Feds have way too much time on their hands.

rick said...

David "The Feds have way too much time on their hands. "

And unfortunately, an unlimited supply of resources for which to carry their utter disregard for the rights of the citizenry.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ebony wood?

Raaaaacist!

Bob_R said...

Time to raid the feds and shut them down.

Pogo said...

I, for one, welcome our new fascist overlords.

Saint Croix said...

Is it just me or is the EPA frickin' insane right now?

It has to be one of Obama's most aggressive regulatory agencies. They are now basically doing cap and trade by fiat. We are going to have power blackouts, and huge increases in our bills.

Van Jones, the Commie and truther, was on the green side.

You would be hard-pressed to find a worse agency than Justice. But the EPA is trying its best!

AllenS said...

From what I understand, Gibson is non-union, so, there's that angle.

Scott said...

Ok, lawyers. Asking you:

If you own an illegal gun or an illegal drug, you can demonstrate it's illegal by its apparent characteristics (such as a gun's lack of a serial number, or a drug's chemical composition).

But if you own a guitar made 100 years ago, the federal government presumes that the Rosewoood fingerboard has an unlawful provenance, even though there is no characteristic of the fingerboard that makes its provenance apparent. In other words, you are presumed guilty until you can prove yourself inncoent.

I understand that there is no explicit Constitutional protection of a person's right to be presumed innocent. Nonetheless it is a basic human right that most civilizations around the world recognize, and it's been a part of common law for hundreds of years. It's obvious that the federal government is morally wrong here -- but is it legally wrong as well?

It would be nice to hear from a real lawyer about this.

lgv said...

Most citizenry have no idea what a business can go through with various regulatory agencies. I have been visited by the FDA, OSHA, plus various state agencies of Texas (yes, we have them in Texas).

Add all the other requirements from the IRS, EEOC, EPA and their ilk.

What you have to understand is:

1) They are of single minded purpose. Enforce their regulations without regard to impact. They don't care about the cost of compliance, the cost/benefit weighting of any enforcement, the impact on employees of any company.

2) They don't need to use reason or be reasonable. They are virtually unaccountable. This allows them to be irrationally vindictive. The average person doesn't know and has trouble conceiving that this is the case, but it is. I have plenty of anecdotes to demonstrate this.

Gibson had wood seized (stolen) by the same people in 2009. No charges, no return.

If Gibson was doing something wrong then, surely they would have changed policies and procedures.

Just more overreach and it is truly getting worse.

ndspinelli said...

They can have my guitar when they pull it from my cold, dead, hand.

Saint Croix said...

Not sure but Fish and Wildlife is a different agency from the EPA, I guess.

I don't remember Fish and Wildlife ever getting in the news before.

How is wood "fish"? Or "wildlife"?

And what the fuck, you're protecting trees in Madagascar now? Trees that died in Brazil in the 1920's?

rhhardin said...

I suppose a lute is grandfathered.

Beta Rube said...

It seems that government enforcers at all levels like confiscating stuff and hanging on to it, often without charges being filed.

Why is this legal? Is this fallout from the disastrous war on drugs?

I don't have the legal knowledge to quite get it, but it strikes me as not far removed from totalitarian thuggery.

fleetusa said...

Sad to add that at least with the hated IRS a taxpayer can negotiate a settlement as the IRS doesn't really like to go to court.

Saint Croix said...

you are presumed guilty until you can prove yourself inncoent.

This is actually how the IRS operated until the Republicans changed it. The legal presumption was on the citizen to prove his innocence. (Libs fought tooth and nail to keep the presumption of guilt in tax cases, by the way).

It's obvious that the federal government is morally wrong here -- but is it legally wrong as well?

I think most of the Administrative State is an unconstitutional delegation of authority. All these regs are supposed to be the enforcement of a statute. Ha! I'll bet the regs follow the statute about as well as the statute follows the Constitution.

Shouting Thomas said...

Wow!

That's scary.

I own several beautiful Gibson's. My guitars are incredible classics.

Saint Croix said...

Sad to add that at least with the hated IRS a taxpayer can negotiate a settlement as the IRS doesn't really like to go to court.

Nobody likes to be sued, not even the government. I imagine when agencies overreach like this they often find themselves smacked down. Meanwhile, while you wait the the 2+ years for your case to drag through the courts, it's a huge cost burden on business and industry. I mean, would you want to enter the guitar-making business if you had to have documentation on every piece of wood you used? How insane is that?

Distracted Critic said...

Don't we have bigger fiish (and wildlife) to fry?

PETER V. BELLA said...

This is one of the dumbest things our government does on a regular basis.

Keystone said...

What happened to that laser focus on jobs? This is going to put hundreds out of work for awhile.

Tank said...

Gibson Guitars

Enemy of the State.

Who knew?

Where to hide my SG? Not giving that baby up.

Boy, we are lucky to have the gummint protecting us. Except when actual crimes occur, of course. Then they appear later to help you fill out your insurance and medical forms.

BT said...

Here is a very funny piece by Iowahawk on this very subject:
New Scandal at DoJ as Illegal Guitars End Up In Hands of Mexican Drug Lords.

Enjoy.

Roux said...

In my experience Fish and Wildlife agents are some of the biggest jackasses around.

robinintn said...

AllenS, Gibson is headquartered in right-to-work Tennessee, where it moved from Michigan. It has been targeted twice now, unlike the other major guitar manufacturers, who are located in non-right-to-work states.

Also notable is that the justice department allegations are that the company violated INDIAN law.

The result will be Gibson moving its jobs to a more business-friendly, or at least predictable, environment somewhere outside US borders.

Charlie said...

First they came for the Gibsons and I didn't speak out because I didn't play a Les Paul.

Jason said...

Violins frequently have ebony fingerboards. As someone who is a gigging violin player and a gigging Gibson player (J-45! RECOGNIZE!!!!!!) I am now an enemy of the state.

WV: Noveturd. I shit thee not.

Lucien said...

What a relief. If we ever do end the War On DRUGS!!!, then at least the storm troopers at DEA, FBI and local LEO agencies won't have to lose their jobs. Is this a great country or what?

For now, if you own a fur coat you should probably start thinking about how to document the fact that you have it as of 2011, or earlier.

E.M. Davis said...

God damnit, Carol.

Let me Google that for you

Sixty Grit said...

Obama has a laser-like focus on jobs - he is doing his best to kill them.

Gibson might move overseas to avoid this kind of thing in the future. The overreach of the Fish and Wildlife punks is way out of line - imagine trying to prove the provenance of an antique guitar that crosses the national border. What a freaking nightmare.

MadTownGuy said...

This is the second time that Gibson has been raided by US F&W. I recall them also fining an 11-year old girl's family $500.00 for rescuing a woodpecker (though once the story hit the news, the agency waived the fine).

Have these folks nothing better to do?

Mazo Jeff said...

"While my guitar gently weeps"

Aridog said...

traditionalguy said...

It is more and more becoming a protection racket with obviously phoney excuses to hurt people who don't pay up,...

Bingo! Even a Godfather would be proud.

Add to that it is very clearly federal persecution of a non-union company that relocated to a right to work state. Compare to Boeing, who you'd think, with all its federal connections would be immune. Nope. No one is that displeases the communal fascists in Washington.

Think I kid? I worked for a federal agency (the Army) and we were sued by Fish & Wildlife ... they sought monetary damages (and subsequent criminal charges) for some smashed bird nests on an island we were working on at the time....e.g., they claimed no one else could have done it. Case closed in their minds.

We won that case and they lost ... but they spent millions of your dollars on it, one federal agency suing another, with nothing but the barest of circumstantial evidence ... e.g., we wuz thar.

I long ago lost faith in any sense of equity or common sense in our governments, top to bottom.

sorepaw said...

If Congress started tomorrow on abolishing every Executive agency to which it has improperly delegated authority, the House and Senate would be able to keep busy for at least a decade.

Kirk Parker said...

I'm not saying we are there now--not at all--but stories like these do sometimes call to mind this quote from Gulag Archipelago:
"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur – what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked? The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! 'If. . . if . . . We didn’t love freedom enough... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.' "

Aridog said...

MadTownGuy said...

Have these folks nothing better to do?

Sure they do. They can cite and ticket you for your 8 year old picking up & keeping a rock from federal land. That might get you up to 3 years in jail and/or a few thousand dollar fine.

Now, given that they ARE "Fish & Wildlife" charged with protecting the environment in their way, where are they on the Asian Carp (Fish last time I checked) issue in the Chicago canals that drain to Lake Michigan? No threat there, eh?

Silly question, I know .....

chuckR said...

These guys are pikers on the revenue enhancement front. Just stop Joshua Bell at the border and seize his Stradivarius. I'm sure ol' Antonio didn't fill out the appropriate CITES, Lacey or whatever paperwork back in the early 1700's. Why seize a mere guitar when you can get a Strad or Guarneri and get a lot more bucks for it a gubmint auction?

These people are a cancer, a malignant cancer. Wife's BFF from high school works for Fish and Wildlife - I simply can't talk to her. They are pests, but EPA is a much bigger threat.

Sixty Grit said...

Instapundit has an interesting bit on this case - Gibson does not donate to Dear Leader. Martin does, and was not raided. Coincidence? I don't think so...

Paul said...

OMG!!!!

I have ebony Secret Service grips on my S&W Centennial .38s and .357 (I love those 5 shot wheelguns)!!!

OMG!!!

Are the feds coming for them?

Why they can get my Ebony grips when they pry them from my cold dead hands!

When ebony wood is outlawed... only the outlaws will have ebony wood!