I know that you, like I, are happy that the Imperial Federal Government of the By-God United States of 'Merica is on the job this morning doing important things like protecting us from products containing wood from trees illegally harvested.
I was really getting so worried about where the wood I've been buying and cutting into sections in my basement bar was coming from that I was having trouble sleeping.
They (the Federal Government) can't keep illegal immigrants from coming into the country taking jobs and committing crimes, but they can keep us from buying a match stick of wood or a guitar with an Ebony wood fretboard from Madagascar and India if they think it might violate the terms of the recently amended Lacey Act, something signed into law in 1900 by President McKinley.
Of course it was Obama and Holder and some of the other sniveling, booger eating, tree hugging, patchouli stinking, tied dyed wild eyed climate change believers that changed the Lacey Act in 2009 as soon as he got into office to cover exotic wood species like it already covered fish and other wildlife.
So now Obama and Holder and their armed Thugs are wasting time showing up with machine guns at private businesses around the country looking for "exotic wood." It's gotten so bad apparently that famous musicians are afraid to travel overseas for fear that when they return through Customs here in the US that their guitar might be confiscated...even if it is a 1950's vintage instrument built before the Lacey Act was amended...because they can't prove its origin and age.
Here's a link to the latest story about armed federal Thugs raiding the Gibson Guitar factories in Nashville and Memphis and hauling off private property they claim is illegally obtained.
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 just Gibson that is sweating. Musicians who play vintage guitars and other instruments made of environmentally protected materials are worried the authorities may be coming for them next.
If you are the lucky owner of a 1920s Martin guitar, it may well be made, in part, of Brazilian rosewood. Cross an international border with an instrument made of that now-restricted wood, and you better have correct and complete documentation proving the age of the instrument. Otherwise, you could lose it to a zealous customs agent—not to mention face fines and prosecution.
John Thomas, a law professor at Quinnipiac University and a blues and ragtime guitarist, says "there's a lot of anxiety, and it's well justified." Once upon a time, he would have taken one of his vintage guitars on his travels. Now, "I don't go out of the country with a wooden guitar."
And here's Gibson's response:
Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar Corp., has responded to the August 24 raid of Gibson facilities in Nashville and Memphis by the Federal Government. In a press release, Juszkiewicz said: “Gibson is innocent and will fight to protect its rights. Gibson has complied with foreign laws and believes it is innocent of ANY wrong doing. We will fight aggressively to prove our innocence.”
The raids forced Gibson to cease manufacturing operations and send workers home for the day while armed agents executed the search warrants. “Agents seized wood that was Forest Stewardship Council controlled,” Juszkiewicz said. “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.”
Juszkiewicz believes that the Justice Department is bullying Gibson without filing charges.
“The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.”
Here's an good example of how the government is handling things these days:
I swear, Ladies and Gentlemen...It's a truly screwed up world we live in when the government has the time to run around carrying guns chasing the remnants of DEAD TREES but they don't have the time and energy and resolve to defend our borders.
Then again, we get what we pay for and throwing tons of money at the problem is obviously not the solution.
Thus today we have the government pointing guns at people because they paid for wood which the government thinks possibly might not meet their standards.
Is that really the kind of thing that you want your government spending your money on?