Tennessee Tea Party groups to sponsor rally for Gibson CEO

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 2:07pm

Tea Party groups across Tennessee are sponsoring a rally in support of Gibson Guitar CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, who conservatives continue to cast as the victim of alleged federal government intrusion.

Guests include Republican U.S. Rep Marsha Blackburn, conservative radio talk show hosts Steve Gill and Phil Valentine, and Tea Party Express co-chair Amy Kremer.

The rally, dubbed “We Stand with Gibson,” is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8, at Nashville’s Scoreboard Restaurant near McGavock Pike and Briley Parkway. The political event –– not sponsored by Gibson itself –– follows President Barack Obama’s recent address to a joint congress that saw Blackburn bring Juszkiewicz as her guest, propping him up as a small businessman wrongly targeted by the feds.

Information about the rally is available at http://gibsonrally.blogspot.com

“This event is being organized by concerned citizens and groups across Tennessee, and in fact across the US, who are concerned about the extraordinary abuse of power represented by the raid of the Gibson Company by federal agents,” the website reads.

Groups listed as sponsors are 9.12 Project of Tennessee; Gibson County Patriots; Wilson County Tea Party; Tennessee ConserVOLiance; Americans for Prosperity; Tennessee Tax Revolt; Tennessee Tea Party; MidSouth Tea Party; Memphis Tea Party; and the Chattanooga Tea Party.

Nashville-based Gibson took center stage in August when federal agents in Nashville and Memphis seized ebony and rosewood imported from India after the celebrated guitar manufacturer allegedly violated the Lacey Act, which in 2008 was amended to prohibit the illegal trafficking of plants and plant products. Nearly two years ago, a similar raid on Gibson centered on imports from Madagascar.

From the outset, Juszkiewsicz characterized the raids of his company as the act of the “overreaching federal government.”

While Tennessee Republicans and Tea Party groups seized on the politics of the raids, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper has called the Lacey Act “way too broad.”

“In theory, anybody who travels across the state line with an old guitar is in legal jeopardy,” Cooper recently told reporters.

Cooper press secretary Stephen George said Cooper did not receive an invitation to the event.  

17 Comments on this post:

By: plainolamerican on 9/20/11 at 3:01

they'll be sorry when it's revealed that Gibson did indeed import illegal wood.
gibson should also pay for their crimes against their employees.
just because gibson is one of the worst rated companies in America doesn't mean their jewish ceo should get a pass on all illegal activities.

Gibson Guitar Anonymous: (Current Employee)

Pros
Good people overall. Great to be a part of the heritage of this classic American brand. Mecca for a guitar player.

Cons
An absolutely bizarre culture that top-to-bottom seems to revolve solely around trying not to upset the CEO. Meanwhile the erratic CEO seems to always be upset or flying off the handle about, well...anything. I've NEVER seen anything like it. So many smart people, who want nothing more than to give it their all, and do great work for this company that in many cases they were huge fans of before coming to work there; are reduced to keeping their mouths shut and keeping off of the CEO's "radar" by any means necessary. You will hear the phrase "stay off Henry's radar" echoed again and again by all sorts of folks top-to-bottom in the company.
Smart, creative thinking (or just plain logical thinking) is completely stifled in this environment. Through this culture Henry has cultivated, talented folks will routinely choose NOT to do what's best for the company/product/brand, but instead will choose what is most likely to keep them from incurring Henry's wrath.
The degree to which nobody seems to be willing to make a decision about anything is staggering. NOBODY wants to be the one to have to take the blame for anything. Doing so might make them accountable to Henry, and who knows what he might do on any given day? As a result, the buck gets passed indefinitely. Either that or employees begin cutting each others throats so as to avoid blame. Seen that happen WAY too many times, and it's always ugly.
Very often important decisions that require immediate attention by management simply get "submitted to Henry" directly which is a vague, nebulous, meaningless gesture. There's rarely ever an answer from Henry, and if there is you may be waiting months for it, at which time the situation will have long since turned into a crisis.
Information does not flow in this company. Strategies, goals, sometimes even basic product information are NOT communicated.
Morale is generally very low. I've heard the phrase "the land where nothing makes sense", repeated by employees from two different divisions in two different cities. That is not a coincidence.

Advice to Senior Management
I honestly don't see anything getting better under Henry's reign. He's been running the company this way for so many years, there is little hope that he will change. I've watched SO many smart, talented people walk out of this company in complete frustration. The best and brightest leave for better opportunities and better work environments. He needs to understand that the culture that exists in Gibson right now is sick. Not unlike the "sick culture" that Henry himself says existed in the Norlin-era Gibson when he first bought the company and took over. He remedied that by firing everyone at the time. Well, it's sick again. Really sick. Only this time, Henry himself has cultivated the sickness. That toxicity has trickled down to every fiber of the company. He needs to understand that he's got a LOT of smart people willing to do great things for this company, but it's all for nothing unless he positively affects the culture from the top, down. Unlikely to happen, but that's what it will take.

By: pswindle on 9/20/11 at 5:33

There is always two sides to every story. Thanks for the truth. You will never get the truth out of Blackburn or the radio personalities. Remember, George Bush signed the amendment in 2008 about imported wood. They sure want to hang this one on President Obama, but not tnis time.

By: rdbjr on 9/20/11 at 6:56

What a wonderful era to be living in right now. If your company needs to pollute the air we breathe, send up all the billowing smoke you wish. If you believe that that 19th century technology is our future, hold those incandescent bulbs high. If you want to use illegal goods to manufacture your products, import all you need. After all, the EPA is nothing but a job killer, new technology would just require unnecessary change, and we all know that the government's nothing but an unwanted intruder in our llives. Thanks Rep. Blackburn! The country's future looks brighter than ever.

By: boyer barner on 9/20/11 at 11:56

I'm on the fence about the wood being imported. But I've heard many a story described above, by 'plainolamerican' that seem to hit the nail on the head.

That said, I think two different issues are involved here:

One is the general management of Gibson.

Two is government and trade issues.

Let's keep these issues separate.

I for one, believe we need to keep (and GROW) the manufacturing sector of our economy. So, let's take a look at that. Let's not throw Henry under the bus (he can do that himself).

Gibson is not some huge corporation that influences Washington. It's more of a "victim" of trade laws. And these trade laws have been put in place by big corporations. So, let's go after them.

Don't let Gibson become a poster-child for the misguided Tea Party folks or others (big corporations) who wish keep us from tending to what really needs fixing.

Yeah, Henry is a bit nuts. And though I may not be on his side, I am on the side of Gibson and its employees. I think that is how we need to approach things.

By: boyer barner on 9/21/11 at 12:02

And yes, keep Marsha Blackburn out of this. She'll do nothing but use it for political gain.

By: govskeptic on 9/21/11 at 7:53

The selective raid on this company versus any others makes it very much
a political issue! While this President is faced with massive unemployment
and appears on TV almost daily to discuss it, his administration continues to
throw up new regulations and requirements creating more dis-incisiveness
to employers than his over hyped speeches will ever create! The Justice Dept
is the main "strong arm" of the administration in either overlooking what they
wish or enforcing the projects they or the chief wishes for them!

By: Corn Dawg on 9/21/11 at 8:36

Another pampered millionaire who thinks the laws shouldn't apply to him.

What a fool! I guess its never occured to Juszkiewicz that his politicization of this might just p**s off a bunch of potential customers, regardless of their politics..?

Who needs government regulation when you have such an idiotic business strategy? I bet the employees at Gibson will be thrilled when sales go down and they're in the unemployment line thanks to their crazy boss.

My next guitar will be a Fender. Thanks for making my decision easier, you Teabagging idiot.

By: Moonglow1 on 9/21/11 at 9:18

Moonglow1: let law enforcement conduct their investigation without the tea parry drama.

To Marsha Blackburn: you should be jailed for impeding a federal investigation. Would you have led these same efforts in support of Enron, George Bushes friend Ken Lay. Did you think the government was over reaching then too? You need to be "investigated" for not doing your job. You were elected to the U. S. Congress and not to impede a federal investigation. You are engaging in treason.

To the tea party members of Congress: I should not be paying for your lifetime pension and generous health benefits. In particular when you tea crazies want to take mine away. Why are we taxpayers supporting you financially to engage in efforts to impede a federal investigation. What really crazy behavior!!! But behavior representative of low functioning dummies like Blackburn who could not hold a "real job. "

By: cityjvtao on 9/21/11 at 9:40

Just like Corn Dawg - I'm switching to using just my Fender guitars from now on. No more Gibson’s or any of their related products. I cannot support a company that aligns itself with the likes of Marsha Blacburn and the tea party. I encourage my fellow musicians in Nashville and across the nation to ban Gibson until CEO Henry Juszkiewicz is out. It’s clear he has aligned the company with the far-right conservative ideologues.

By: Moonglow1 on 9/21/11 at 9:55

Moonglow1: switching products is a great idea. We do have clout. We can put these arrogant CEOs and their companies out of business by not purchasing their products. So simple. So you CEOs out there in alignment with the tea nuts. You had better listen up and wise up.

And Blackburn: perhaps you should get back to your "light bulb" protest. However with each passing hour yours are on dim!!

By: Doveplayer on 9/21/11 at 10:47

If you really think Gibson is the only guitar manufacturer using illegal imported wood, I'd like to talk to you about some swampland for sale in Arizona. The law as it reads is anything but clear. They can make it fit whatever meets their needs. I have an older Gibson, I never asked about the wood, I don't care. As far as buying a Fender, I think I'll pass. I'd buy a G & L first. They are much more in line Leo's vision. The whole wood deal is politics. Doesn't matter the administration, it's politics. O may not have started it, but he sure didn't stop it either. Government has it's greedy hands in everything we do. Doesn't anyone care about that?

By: LFCRed on 9/21/11 at 11:51

Playing guitar & working in int'l shipping/logistics, interesting story indeed! There are rules in place & players to help - i.e. freight forwarders, customs brokers, etc. If Gibson's buyers and/or freight providers failed to follow the rules, they should be held accountable...

By: Loner on 9/22/11 at 6:47

Sounds like a brand new music festival for Metro Nashville..."Scab-fest 2011". A chance for idiots and A-holes to meet other idiots and A-holes....how touching.

Juskiewicz is a scabby scofflaw...shut him down.

Buy a Martin, save the planet; buy a Gibson, support the anti-science, anti-labor, environmental scofflaws and secessionist Jesus freaks.

By: sidneyames on 9/22/11 at 7:13

By: pswindle on 9/20/11 at 5:33
There is always two sides to every story. Thanks for the truth.

swindle, you left out the other part to the equation: There is always three (3) sides to every story: There is Henry's (the owner of the company's) side; plainolamerican (a possible disgruntled employee who wishes he could own the company's) side; and the TRUTH.

Each person views the story from their own perspective and relates it as such. Somewhere in the middle of these two people's story, there is a greater truth.

Martin does in fact use the same wood. And ALL guitar builders probably use it. BUT for some reason Obama's team didn't go after the "industry"; it went after the one builder that contributes to the GOP. That seems odd to me, if not downright wrong.

OH YEAH and now Martin is taking advantage of the "sh-etuation" by advertising with UPS in an ad talking about their logistics! Ha, ha, ha! Yeah! this one was put into place with some of the White House logistics!

By: TN4th on 9/22/11 at 9:47

Oh, pleeezzz. He probably broke the law. The relevant agency investigated. That's what they are supposed to do. The Tea Baggers are supposed to support respect for the law, but what they support instead is hatred for government, except where they can use it to force their fundamentalist woo on the rest of us.

By: macjedi on 9/22/11 at 12:19

So tired of this douchebag. Maybe he should have sought amendments BEFORE he broke all the rules. TYPICAL teabaggery... expecting to be hard-assed about law and life till it affects their own greed and/or xenophobic pandering.

By: Gary Lampman on 9/22/11 at 4:41

Its not surprising that the Tennesse Corporate Bed Bugs are willing to stand against the law of the land. According to business the laws of the land are not to apply to them and these corporate Kiss-ass coattail chasing whinners.Think that corporations are improvished and desitute! It is not Government overreach ,Unlike the bush era Patriot Act that trampled on civil rights and That is overreach! So it is true that these yahoo's believe that the wire taps etc are just fine .

Republicans wanted Government to go into your Bedrooms ,Tap your phone lines, and give immunity for the NSA for Data Miing and permit other illegal and responsible behavior. Ever Hear of a Police State ? That is what they want.