Friday, September 30, 2011

Another Country Heard From

Yes, the people in India have weighed in on the Gibson Guitar Raids.

"India's Timber Exporters' Association members say they will seek the intervention of Department of Foreign Trade and Chemical and Allied Export Promotion Council of India (CAPEXIL) to settle the issue. Association members are also planning to take up the issue with the Indian Embassy in the US."

Indian wood exporters see these raids as the work of disgruntled European Luthiers who sell inferior quality ebony and rosewood from other countries. That may be so, but it is American authorities who continue to have a problem with Gibson.

Upon reading the case file for the suit to regain possession of the wood that was seized in the first raid, I have to say that it looks to me like there is something else going on and that the government is behaving in a punitive fashion towards Gibson. For what reason, I am not as sure. Upon reading (at least the parts of the records that weren't sealed) it seems as though the government is trying to make Gibson "an offer they can't refuse".

Before the records on the case were sealed, it was made apparent that the government wished to retain possession of the wood as evidence in another long running case that they have been investigating. It looks very much to me as though there was to be an informal type of meeting to discuss that possibility when the government decided to raid Gibson again in August.
If that were not enough, now the Government is demanding that Gibson hand over yet more of the wood to them. If I were Mr. Juszkiewicz, I would cease to be very cooperative at that point.

That bare facts of the matter are that the government has seized two shipments of wood that was certified under the forest stewardship council. The government of India as well as India's Timber Exporters' Association say that the wood is legally a finished product under their laws and that the American government misinterpreted their laws and now the government wants Gibson to give up more of this legally finished, exported and purchased wood without having charged Gibson Guitars with any crime.

Now, I'm not saying that Gibson is pure as the driven snow, but in order for the law to be effective, it must be clear. The Lacey act is neither clear, nor set up for ease of compliance.

Doesn't sound like America to me. Okay, maybe a little like Chicago.If you would like to keep informed on this issue, check out these two facebook pages:Support for Gibson Guitars against DOJ intimidation and Musicians For Gibson Guitars And if you're in the Nashville area next weekend check out the Gibson Guitar rally

The reason I am so intent on this case is because it is demonstrating how we are losing our freedoms incrementally across the board. What can't be done with over criminalization and over regulation will be accomplished with intimidation. It behooves us all to keep an eye on this one. Perhaps I am overstating the case here, but a goodly part of the government's effectiveness depends upon the trust of the people. How much do you trust the government these days?

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;" ~ 1 Tim 2:1-3

Friday, September 23, 2011

Don't Ask but Tell all You Like

“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.”― George S. Patton Jr.

The recent repeal of the 1993 military personnel eligibility act went live a few days ago. It went live in spite of the fact that it was unconstitutional for the judicial or the executive branch to address a matter that is quite clearly delineated to the Congress and no one else. (US Constitution, Article 1, section 8)

The quote at the beginning of this post is pertinent and timely. Everyone does not have a right to serve in the military. There are and always have been strict entrance requirements. There is a reason for those requirements and that quote says it as eloquently as can be managed. But for those who don't understand the reasoning, who would label me homophobic or other less prettified names, the point of those entrance requirements is to limit the number of casualties incurred by our military.

I know a fine young man who planned to make the military his career after high school. he was denied admission due to a hearing defect. Surely those with hearing defects should be able to serve if they have that desire. Yet there is no outcry about the hearing impaired not being allowed to serve.

I know others who didn't meet the height/weight/intelligence criteria required to enlist. Where are the political movements for them? There are none. Why not? Because we recognize the value of being able to hear orders clearly in relation to a unit's ability to survive in combat. Because we recognize the ways in which these other things can cost our military lives.

The problem here is that unit cohesion is not seen as being just as vital to that struggle to "make the other guy die for his" as are the physical/mental requirements I mentioned above. This action on the part of the executive and judiciary branches, along with the badly skewed survey on how this change will affect our military will cost lives. Some of the highlights of the flaws that Congress ignored are :

"The Pentagon report admits “the majority of views expressed in [140 focus group sessions] were against repeal of the current policy.”

It based its “no-risk” assessment of open homosexuality for military effectiveness on a panel of 11 unidentified, nonscientific personnel.(emphasis mine)

It dismissed 67% negative views expressed by combatants by suggesting their lack of service with homosexuals feeds the negativity."

Shame on us for not speaking out more, but more shame on Congress for allowing their Constitutional powers and authorities to be so usurped. We have failed our military. I can only pray that the cost is not more than we can pay.

"Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." ~ Matt 15:14

Friday, September 16, 2011

All for One and One for All

Maybe a better title would have been "A Tale of Two Guitars" but it seems as though Gibson is suffering from an increasingly common malady. Whether it goes by the name of over legislation or over criminalization, the results are the same. The law becomes increasingly more of a "Sword of Damocles" than a structural component of a freedom loving and stable society.

Gibson Guitars, if you are not familiar with the facts, has been raided twice. Once in 2009, when much of their stock of wood was confiscated supposedly because they were in violation of the Lacey Act. Gibson cooperated fully with the government, went to court and proved that they had not violated the Lacey Act. Their property has yet to be returned.
Then, in August of this year, Gibson Guitars was raided again. Raided by Government agents with automatic weapons. Again, supposedly because of violations of the Lacey Act. (For a more comprehensive overview, please check out the Gibson site.)

The next component to this story, is that Gibson's competitor, Martin Guitars, uses the same wood, from the same supplier in Madagascar, and yet, has suffered no raids. What's the difference? At the moment, the suggestion is that they made contributions to different political parties.

Whether or not this is the case, there is a significant interest in this case for all Americans.

First, the suggestion of political favoritism or even political motivation is particularly troubling. In other years, under other administrations, such could be dismissed as sour grapes far more easily. Statements from the head of the DOJ and Mr. Obama, among others seem to indicate that there is rampant, unethical use of government power and funds to reward and punish Americans at the whims of the current administration.

Then there is the matter of the confiscated property. How long should it take for property to be returned when charges have been proven to be unfounded? How long could the average American survive if their house or car were confiscated in this way? Would it significantly impact their standard of living? Where is justice in this situation?

Then there is the matter of the armed raids. Is it necessary to use that sort of force in a case where the company has been 100% cooperative with the government?
When the company has a good reputation in the community and there are no indicators that there would be any sort of resistance?

I know, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected in law enforcement work, but a little common sense and courtesy can go a long way. This was not a drug bust with people known to have weapons and engage in violence, it was a raid on a legitimate business that had already demonstrated full cooperation.

Finally,(at least for this post)there is the issue of the Lacey Act itself. In 1981, Congress removed the heightened proof standard of "willfully" from the statute, making "knowingly" the standard. There is an increasing amount of legislation making crimes out of things that most people would not ordinarily think of as criminal. It used to be said that ignorance of the law is no excuse. But, the law used to be fairly straightforward. An individual could deduce, with common sense, what was likely to be illegal and what would be fine. Not so any longer. In addition to the increased number of laws criminalizing actions, there is a lack of the requirement to show criminal intent in those laws.

Bearing all that in view, it appears that Gibson guitars is fighting the good fight for us all. Their case demonstrates all of these challenges at once. Do support Gibson by signing their petition here. And do keep an eye on how this case is handled. This is our nation. The duty to keep it free is ours. Do call your legislators...before it becomes illegal.

Gibson does make some lovely instruments.

"Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness." ~ Isaiah 59:9

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 A Day of Remembrance

Remembrance, NOT service.
A day to remember that we were viciously attacked by those following the dictates of their god. That's right, their god, not our god, because no matter what nonsense you may have seen, heard or read, allah and the God of the Bible are not one and the same.

It is a day for remembrance, and well do I remember that day. I turned the television on only because the lesson I had planned for my son that morning was to watch a newscast and discuss how today's events turn into tomorrow's history. It was a very effective lesson.

That day's events spurred me to learn about Islam. Because the first rule of war is "know thy enemy", and Islam, by that attack had made itself clearly and unequivocally the enemy of America. I listened to President Bush call Islam a religion of peace and urge us to be tolerant and careful of one another. I was willing to give American muslims the benefit of the doubt. To say to myself that, surely, this was the work of radicals and extremists.

Ten years later, I am well versed in the inconvenient and politically incorrect truth. The truth that Islam, true Islam is every bit as violent and bloody as those who had been sounding the warning klaxons towards America's vulnerability had claimed and worse.

Am I saying that all those who call themselves and think themselves muslims are violent jihadis? No. Many are simply poorly informed and the victims of taqiyya or following a fad. Many are what Christians would refer to as "casual" followers. You know, the sort who only attend church on Christmas and Easter and call themselves Christians because that's how they were raised and they never saw any point to getting upset about it, or to study it enough to know what they believe and why. Those muslims are probably just as nice and normal as any other American.

The problem is, that because Islam not only permits, but encourages lying to advance the cause of Islam (Which, by the way, is nothing short of world conquest)you and I cannot tell which ones are which and so the only ethical and responsible course of action is to assume that all are devout followers of the true Islam and therefore cannot be trusted at their word.

This is not me being racist - Islam is not a race. This is not me being hateful - I love all people, and the God I follow, Jesus Christ, died for His love of ALL people. This is not me committing slander or libel against the followers of Islam, as by their own holy texts, they are to engage in some form of jihad (yes, there is more than one form, many of the most insidious forms of jihad are peaceful.) and do whatever it takes to conquer the world for allah. This is simply the truth.

I find it more than a little sad that we have come ten years from that attack (And more than that from many other jihadist attacks against America)and we still are not willing to stand up and speak these simple truths about Islam.

We did not choose this battle, but we will fight it. I suggest that my fellow Americans stop calling the watchmen on our walls names and start getting to know our enemy.

One last thing. To Mr. Obama, I know you were raised during your young life in Indonesia, a very different culture, and by communists when you came to live in this one, so you are a bit out of step with traditional Americans, but this must be said. You should cease your attempts to re-cast 9/11 as a day of service. We resent it. I resent it. I resent even more your administration's direction to downplay the role of Al Quaeda in that vicious attack. You can say all you like that America is not and never will be at war with Islam, but saying it doesn't make it true. We know who attacked us and some of us have been taking the trouble to learn the truth of why. It is an insult to the people of this nation to pretend that the followers of Islam, represented by those jihadis,weren't making a declaration of war by that attack. Doing so divides us further, when we need to be unified.

Know thy enemies America...before it's too late.

"Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.
" ~ Judges 16:23

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sheboygan TEA Party

This is just a posting of my videos from the event. Some of them are cut off, because my memory card was running out of room and I wanted to be sure to have some left for the keynote speakers. To those who were cut off, my apologies and I offer you the option of e-mailing me to set up an interview on the BTR show to give my readers the opportunity to hear what they missed.

I hope to set up interviews with many of the speakers soon.

Pastor David King I arrived a bit late, so I missed the first part of this:

Oriannah Paul:

Matt Seaholm:

Bruno Behrend part 1:

Bruno Behrend part 2:

Ethan Hollenberger:

State Senator Glen Grothman:

WI Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefish:

Vicki McKenna:

Orville Seymer of the CRG network also spoke, but I only had 8 minutes left for Mr. Johnson, so I just took his photo to paste here. But check out their site: . If you need guidance to organize about an issue, they can help you.

Senator Ron Johnson pt 1:

Ron Johnson Pt 2 (all 17 seconds that the full memory card would let me get.):

"But wisdom is justified of all her children." ~ Luke 7:35

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sheboygan 3rd annual TEA party

Just passing it along. This is today, Saturday, Sept. 3rd 2011.

"Then I consulted with myself, and I rebuked the nobles, and the rulers, and said unto them, Ye exact usury, every one of his brother. And I set a great assembly against them. " ~ Neh 5:7