News behind the news. This picture is me (white spot) standing on the bridge connecting European and North American tectonic plates. It is located in the Reykjanes area of Iceland. By-the-way, this is a color picture.
One State Department source tells CBS News the security teams weren’t “pulled,” that their mission was simply over.
State Department officials have told CBS News that Wood was not part of the security assessment in Benghazi and that his assignment to Tripoli means he was unfamiliar with the local situation in the smaller port city in the country’s east.
Wood, however, says some of the members of his own team and additional personnel from the State Department’s elite security detail – the two teams which left Libya in August – would have traveled to Benghazi with Ambassador Stevens had they still been in the country. He did not say how many additional security agents might have been deployed for the Ambassador’s trip to the city, which is at least 400 miles east of Tripoli, but he tells Attkisson that he’s wondered if it might have made a difference on the night of the attack.
This really looks as if the State Department had no idea of what was going on in Libya.
Today Hot Air posted a story about the ongoing saga of Gibson Guitar Company. As you know Gibson Guitar in Memphis and Nashville was raided in August of last year (see rightwinggranny.com) by the federal government and charged with violating the Lacey Act. During that raid, the government confiscated property worth at least $500,000. The guitar manufacturer had not followed to the letter a small part of India’s laws in importing the wood for its guitars. They had not violated United States laws.
Hot Air reports:
Apparently, Gibson used an inappropriate tariff code on the wood. According to Reason.tv, “At issue is not whether the wood in question was endangered, but whether the wood was the correct level of thickness and finish before being exported from India.” In other words, Gibson’s violation had nothing to do with forest preservation.
So how is the case progressing? The article reports:
Turns out, the DOJ has filed no charges. That means Gibson hasn’t had its day in court to defend itself — and the government still has all that confiscated property.
Thankfully, according to the article, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul has introduced legislation to amend The Lacey Act to remove each and every mention of “foreign law” in the Act and to substitute a civil penalty system with The Lacey Act’s current criminal penalties.
I hope this is resolved quickly–Gibson needs its wood–they make fantastic guitars.
Kimberly Strassel at the Wall Street Journal (unfortunately, subscribers only) posted an opinion piece on the August raid on Gibson Guitar by federal agents. The charges against the guitar company are rather complicated.
Ms. Strassel reports:
The company, after all, is not accused of importing banned wood (say, Brazilian mahogany). The ebony it bought is legal and documented. The issue is whether Gibson ran afoul of a techinical Indian law governing the export of finished wood products. The U. S. government’s interpretation of Indian law suggests the wood Gibson imported wasn’t finished enough. Got that?
This whole episode was a set-up. The idea was to discourage imports. In 2007, the Lacey Act, which was passed in 1900 to stop trade in illegal wild game, was expanded to cover “plant and plant products” and related items.
The article reports on the impact of this change on one company:
Furniture maker Ikea noted that even if it could comply with the change, the “administrative costs and record-deeping requirements” would cause furniture prices to “skyrocket.” The wood chips that go into its particle-board alone could require tracking back and reporting on more than 100 different tree species.
If you want to see an economy grow, this is not the way to grow it. Tennessee Representatives Marsha Blackburn and Jim Cooper are working to give companies some relief from this insanity. This is, unfortunately, another example of run-away government.