by Mark West | Feb 22, 2017 | Constitution, Freedom, Justice, Liberty, Political, Protection
Imagine for a moment you are driving down the highway on your way to purchase a car in a town half-way across the state. You are excited to pickup the slightly used, sporty convertible for your spouse as a birthday gift. Because it’s a weekend, banks are not open, so you are carrying a substantial amount of cash to be able to pay for the car on the spot. It’s the only way you can take the title for the car with you when you purchase it.
All of a sudden you see blue lights in your mirror. You had your cruise set on the speed limit of the rental car you’re driving, but even so, your pulse quickens. You know you are doing nothing illegal, but just being pulled over causes you some anxiety.
As you pull to a stop, the officer exits his car and approaches your vehicle. He asks for your drivers license and registration. You provide your license and the paperwork for the rental car. (You planned to drop off the rental car in the town where you’ll pick up the convertible.) As the officer returns to his car, you’re uncertain why you were pulled over. Unbeknownst to you though, apparently your vehicle marks the description of an alleged drug dealers car about which the police received a tip. But they have mistaken you for him.
When the officer returns, he asks you if you have any large amounts of cash in your car. Being honest, you acknowledge you do. He then asks you to exit the car and begins to search the car. Upon spotting the cash in the middle console of the rental car, he takes possession of the cash and all of a sudden, what was to be an exciting afternoon of driving a convertible back on a sunny, mild spring day has become your worst nightmare. There will be no convertible in your future this day. And the large amount of cash you were carrying has been confiscated. Who knows whether you’ll ever get it back. A scenario very similar to this occurred right here in Tennessee as reported in this short investigative video.
Civil Asset Forfeiture (CAF), also known as “policing for profit” is an unconstitutional scheme that allows police to seize assets that they allege were involved in a crime and then keep or sell those assets. The owners may or may not be charged with a crime themselves but their assets can be retained by the police. The state of Tennessee has sanctioned this unconstitutional activity and some police officers (not all) are abusing this “legal” practice. Regardless of their motivation though, it’s something that should change.
CAF allows law enforcement agencies to confiscate private property from unsuspecting citizens on just the mere suspicion that a crime has been committed. That agency then uses the confiscated money or property to supplement their department’s budget. An officer doesn’t need to write a ticket or arrest the subject, and the accusation doesn’t have to be specific. All the officer needs to do is give the subject a receipt for the confiscated property to comply with state law. If the citizen resists the confiscation of his property, the officer can then arrest him and take him to jail, for resisting a peace officer.
Simply put, the officer can make an on-the-spot personal decision that whatever a citizen has in his possession was obtained from the commission of a crime. For instance, if a young man with long hair is driving a new Lexus, the officer can confiscate the vehicle if he merely thinks the car was purchased with drug money. No proof is needed, and the victim will never be arrested or prosecuted, let alone convicted of a crime. That citizen will simply lose his property. Being innocent until proven guilty is turned upside down with CAF.
Sadly, I’m not describing Nazi Germany, but rather it’s happening today in America as reviewed in this article from Institute for Justice. (By the way, Trump’s new Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a full supporter of CAF as a tool for fighting drug trafficking.) The problem is, there has never been a distinction made between innocent civilians and drug traffickers, and CAF makes no allowance for Due Process as guaranteed by our Constitution.
This abuse of power has been going on for quite some time. It is a flagrant violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and Tennessee is among the worst abusers of this tactic as revealed in this article “Police Officer Pockets $6,000 From People Who Had Their Cars Taken Through Forfeiture.” Although this practice has been used for some time under the guise of fighting drug traffic, there has not been a serious effort to put an end to it.
Until Now. Thankfully, there is a bill in the Tennessee state legislature that seeks to address this abusive practice.
Tennessee HB0421 and SB316 have been introduced by Representative Martin Daniel and Senator Todd Gardenhire respectively. The bills are an effort to end this unconstitutional practice. (The bill summary is below.) The House Bill is due to be heard in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on March 1st. It’s well known that law enforcement will have a heavy presence at the hearing in an attempt to defeat Daniel’s bill. It is important to offset their influence before the committee convenes.
The six video links below, each about six to nine minutes long, are the result of a multi-year investigation by Channel 5 from Nashville. Watch them and you’ll see senior Tennessee law enforcement officers, including a District Attorney, justify the unconstitutional practice of CAF. A warning though, these videos may make your blood boil.
Below the video links is a list of the Tennessee House Civil Justice Subcommittee members, including the Chair. If you live in Tennessee, please make a quick phone call to each member and simply ask them to Support HB0421. And if you can also send an email, asking them to do the same, that would also be helpful. These committee members need to hear from you and me. (If you don’t live in Tennessee, I would encourage you to do some research to determine where your state stands on CAF.)
Without hearing from citizens, our legislators will assume that voters approve of law enforcement’s practice of unconstitutionally confiscating private property.
There is an effort to travel to Nashville March 1st to attend the Committee hearing. If you would like to go, please let me know and I’ll provide you with more info.
Nashville Channel 5 Investigative Videos:
NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Policing for Profit (2014) – Part 1
NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Policing for Profit (2014) – Part 2
NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Policing for Profit (2014) – Part 3
NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Policing for Profit (2014) – Part 4
NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Policing for Profit (2014) – Part 5
NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Policing for Profit (2014) – Part 6
HB0421 Summary: Forfeiture of Assets
As introduced, establishes a new procedure for the seizure and forfeiture of assets as the result of criminal activity; requires conviction for the underlying criminal conviction before forfeiture can occur; requires clear and convincing evidence that the property is subject to forfeiture; and provides that all forfeited or abandoned money be deposited in state general fund and all property forfeitures be sold and the proceeds go into state general fund. – Amends TCA Title 39; Title 40; Title 53 and Title 55.
Civil Justice Subcommittee
Chair- Mike Carter
Phone: (615) 741-3025
Phone: (615) 741-4389
Phone: (615) 741-4419
Phone: (615) 741-3774
Phone: (615) 741-3229
Phone: (615) 741-5625
Thanks to Steve Osborne, Chairman of the Sevier County Tea Party for his contribution to this article.
by Mark West | Nov 16, 2016 | Donald Trump, Enemy, Islam, Islamic Terrorism, Political, Prayer, Protect, Protection, Terrorism
On November 8, 2016 America entered a new era. The Trump era. And while there are many “firsts” with the election of President Donald J. Trump, there is one in particular that poses a significant challenge for our nation.
Donald Trump is the wealthiest individual ever elected President. In fact, Trump’s reported net worth of somewhere between $4-10 Billion is up to 100 times the size of the next wealthiest President during the last 100 years, John F. Kennedy.
But his wealth is not the real challenge. Rather, the nature of his wealth is what poses a monumental security challenge for our nation. Consider that Trump’s wealth is predominately comprised of a high profile real estate portfolio. From the five star, elite Trump Hotels, located around the country and in several foreign countries (including Islamic ones), to his corporate office complexes and skyscrapers, these properties could offer a high profile target for some of America’s worst enemies.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly singled out ISIS and other terrorist enterprises, making it clear that he would use the full force of the US military to defeat them. “I’m going to bomb the s*** out of them… and knock the hell out of them,” Trump promised.
Following the election, ISIS cheered the results, flooding Twitter with taunts, jeers and threats:
“Don’t try to hide, Donald. The mujahideen are ready.”
“Trump’s win of the American presidency will bring hostility of Muslims against America as a result of his reckless actions…”
The clear intent of ISIS all along has been to draw the world’s lone superpower into a head to head confrontation. This leading terrorist enterprise believes that drawing the US into a war will assist them in their recruiting efforts, while appealing to Allah to assist them in defeating the Great Satan.
So is a showdown coming?
If Trump is to be believed, he will be taking the fight to ISIS. But if ISIS is to be taken seriously, they are likely strategizing on ways to inflict maximum harm and devastation in unconventional but media rich ways, as they have often done in the past. Clearly they cannot take on the US military directly. So what could their targets be? Can we make some informed observations based on the previous methods ISIS has deployed? I believe so. And because of this, I see a dangerous threat to Trump and his related properties, and those individuals who might work at or visit them.
Obviously, Trump will be surrounded by the world’s finest detail, our US Secret Service professionals. And no doubt they are already preparing for every kind of threat and developing active contingency plans. But there’s one thing we should have learned by now, following hundreds of terrorist attacks around the world and many right here on our homeland. Protecting not only our billionaire President but also his expansive network of high profile assets, in a post 9/11 world, presents a new and unprecedented challenge for our nation.
This is just one more reason to offer up prayer for Donald Trump, his family, his team, and the entire Trump empire.
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. I Peter 2:1-2
by Mark West | Oct 17, 2016 | 2nd Amendment, Courage, Defense, Enemy, Evil, Freedom, Guns, Liberty, Personal Protection, Protect, Protection, Self Defense, Terrorism, Urgent
Do you know how to protect yourself in the event of an attack at your home or office?
Are your home and office hard or soft targets?
If an attacker grabbed you or your loved one, what is your fastest and most effective response?
If you were caught in a surprise attack at close range, are you confident that you can protect yourself and disable your attacker?
In the event of a natural disaster, how do you help yourself or those in need?
Earlier this year, my wife, Lori, and I, teamed up with Executive Operations Group, to build a private shooting range at Liberty Ridge Ranch, our 125 acre property just a few miles outside Chattanooga in Bradley County, TN (Cleveland).
Executive Operations Group (EOG) was founded by my friend Dr. Omar Hamada, a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Special Forces (Airborne) who is an accomplished physician and business executive living in middle Tennessee with his wife and four children.
The EOG instructors are world-class, combat-hardened ex-Special Forces, Delta, SEAL, and CIA veterans. They include martial artists and MMA coaches and champions. These are not your ordinary NRA-Certified Instructors or your average self-trained survival guys. These are the best in the world combat-experienced guys who have real world life and death experience. They have fought for our country and their passion continues to make our world a better and safer place. And that means getting you the training you need. Each trainer has an estimated $1 Million+ worth of training invested in them by the US government.
EOG will be holding the following two courses at Liberty Ridge Ranch in the next few weeks:
Pistol Training Program: October 28-29
Executive Operations Survival Training: November 16-20
To find out more about each program, including cost, visit EOG’s website at http://executiveoperationsgroup.com/
Each class is limited to 15 students so don’t delay. They are sure to fill up fast.
Come with a desire to learn and the passion to make your life and the lives of those around you better and safer.
If you want Hands-on personalized training from Special Operators — the most elite warriors in the world — experienced in real world military engagements, then EOG will give you the skills necessary to protect you and your family in the event of a terrorist or criminal attack, a natural disaster, or other real life emergencies.
Don’t delay. Be sure to check out their website and consider signing up today.
by Mark West | Sep 28, 2016 | 2nd Amendment, Bible, Constitution, Freedom, God, Gun Control, Guns, Liberty, Political, Protection
Perhaps one of the greatest areas of division in our nation today is the debate over guns. For the last several decades we have seen politicians, celebrities, corporations and even religious groups come out against the idea that Americans should be able to own guns, and carry them on their person. Firearms known as “assault rifles” — in particular AR-15’s — have been heavily targeted by activists and politicians.
Despite our national debate, our Constitution, through the Bill of Rights, codifies this fundamental right with these words:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
“To keep and bear arms…” Can there be any clearer wording? But for what purpose was that right codified?
Of course, the phrase just before those five words, provides some insights: “the security of a free state.”
Whenever there is a discussion of the right to bear arms, people generally cite one or more of these three reasons for owning guns:
- For hunting
- For self defense and personal protection
- To maintain a free state (and stave off tyranny).
It should be clearly noted that the 2nd Amendment is NOT about hunting. Rather, when the 2nd Amendment affirms that “a well regulated militia [is] necessary to the security of a free state” it is clearly inferring that without arms, a state is more likely to descend into tyranny. Armed citizens pose a tangible threat to political leaders whose intents are less than pure.
But there is a deeper value than simply staving off tyranny.
At the heart of preserving a free state is the idea of self-defense. One does not seek to preserve a free state simply for the value of the state, but ultimately for the benefit that flows to the individual. Thus, it is the epitome of self-preservation to maintain a free state. As such, the foundational value to the 2nd Amendment is self-defense.
I have discussed and debated this topic over the years with friends on both sides of the issue. Some opponents have occasionally cited scriptural passages to assert their belief that guns should be banned, or at the very minimum, greatly restricted.
But one would have to be completely illiterate of dozens of Biblical passages to suggest that God opposes the concept of people possessing and using weapons. Today, I’d like to highlight just a few such passages that not only establish clear examples of the concept of self-defense, but more importantly, they teach a principle any responsible person should incorporate into their own lives.
The stories of Esther and Nehemiah both highlight the principle of self-defense and how these two individuals, greatly used by God, would not have prevailed, but for the role of weapons, and the personal ownership and use of arms by ordinary citizens.
In Esther, we read the story about the attempted annihilation of the Jews by Haman, an evil government official who was second in command to King Xerxes. Through deception, Haman convinced King Xerxes to issue a mortal decree which we read of in Esther 3:
The decree was written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with the king’s signet ring. Dispatches were sent by swift messengers into all the provinces of the empire, giving the order that all Jews—young and old, including women and children—must be killed, slaughtered, and annihilated on a single day. This was scheduled to happen on March 7 of the next year. The property of the Jews would be given to those who killed them. (Esther 3:12-13)
When Haman’s malicious plot was uncovered and he ultimately lost his life over it, King Xerxes issued another decree that granted the Jews the authority to defend themselves (their version of the 2nd Amendment):
The king’s decree gave the Jews in every city authority to unite to defend their lives. They were allowed to kill, slaughter, and annihilate anyone of any nationality or province who might attack them or their children and wives, and to take the property of their enemies. (Esther 8:11)
And we see a few verses later how the Jews exercised their right to self-defense:
On that day, the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but quite the opposite happened. It was the Jews who overpowered their enemies. The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the king’s provinces to attack anyone who tried to harm them. But no one could make a stand against them, for everyone was afraid of them. So the Jews went ahead on the appointed day and struck down their enemies with the sword. (Esther 9:1-2, 5)
Did you note the reference to a sword? (I wonder if that sword might have been an Assault Sword, perhaps referred to as an AS-15?)
If there’s one thing that should be learned from this story, it is that the Jews were held up as an example of what to do when threatened by an enemy. Passive submission was not the default. Rather, these ordinary citizens picked up their arms and actively sought to defend their families and property. It should also be noted that as the enemies who sought the Jews harm realized the Jews were armed and prepared to defend themselves, many of the enemies backed away from the fight, illustrating that strength acts as a deterrent.
In the story of Nehemiah, the setting is in Jerusalem as the Jews are seeking to rebuild the wall around the city. As they are working day and night to complete their task, we again find the Jews threatened by an enemy that seeks to harm and kill them. Nehemiah, their governor, is a wise man whose walk with God is exemplary. Upon seeing the threat posed by the enemies of the Jews, the governor encourages his citizens to fight:
The Jews who lived near the enemy came and told us again and again, “They will come from all directions and attack us!” So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows. Then as I looked over the situation, I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:12-14)
Because the threat was imminent and ongoing, Nehemiah and his fellow citizens even found it necessary to remain armed at all times as we see here:
During this time, none of us—not I, nor my relatives, nor my servants, nor the guards who were with me—ever took off our clothes. We carried our weapons with us at all times, even when we went for water. (Nehemiah 4:23)
So in just these two biblical examples, we see support for the underlying principle in the Second Amendment, self-defense. If the time allowed, we could cite dozens more.
But here’s where the rubber meets the road for you.
Pressure will no doubt intensify in the coming months to restrict and control gun ownership, with the ultimate goal of subverting our Second Amendment and disarming you. If you allow this to happen, or if you ultimately acquiesce to any unlawful “decree” by Washington, you will be ignoring the preponderance of history that reveals that a disarmed citizenry leads to an oppressed people. But more importantly, you will be violating a fundamental biblical principle, the value of self-defense, which is not only your right, but your obligation to stand for your family, and others who are threatened by thugs, criminals… and politicians.
If you are a gun owner and want to learn how to better handle your weapon, we will be hosting a Basic Self-Defense Course at our private shooting range at Liberty Ridge Ranch October 28-29. The course, led by elite instructors from the US Army Special Forces, will be a day and a half event and will provide you with the rock-solid foundation for protecting yourself, and your loved ones. Spots are very limited. For more info, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click reply, if you received this as an email.
by Mark West | Jun 22, 2016 | Barack Obama, Islam, Islamic Terrorism, Liberty, Political, Protection, Safety, Terrorism
This week, in the wake of the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history, President Obama’s Department of Justice, via US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, released an excerpt of the transcript between Omar Mateen, the Islamic terrorist, and a 911 operator. However, the excerpt provided was scrubbed to exclude references to “ISIS” and ISIS leader “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” It was as if Obama and Lynch chose to use White-Out to cover up after another Islamic terrorist attack.
Thankfully, following an overwhelming outcry from American citizens, Attorney General Lynch reversed course in less than 24 hours and released the full transcript of the 911 calls. It’s extremely troubling though, to say the least, that anyone in our government would think that omitting such relevant info is appropriate.
This is how the scrubbed transcript was initially released:
Orlando Police Dispatcher (OD): Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
Shooter (OM): In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]
OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.
OD: What’s your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted].
OD: Ok, What’s your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].
OD: Alright, where are you at?
OM: In Orlando.
OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]
Imagine for just a moment, how this kind of approach might have read on December 8, 1941 when President Franklin Roosevelt responded to the deliberate attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor:
“Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of [omitted]. I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by [omitted] on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the [omitted] empire.”
Looking back in history now, we would see such a response from the POTUS as not only ludicrous and naive but more importantly, mortally dangerous. Thankfully, President Roosevelt understood the existential threat posed by Japan and he not only named them as the enemy, but he responded with these words: “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.”
Fast forward seventy-five years though, and we see an administration that is either so stooped in political correctness that it cannot bring itself to allow the words of the actual terrorist to be disclosed, or worse, it naively believes that there really is no threat posed by ISIS and its Islamic soldiers, who walk among us. Based on the actions and words of Obama and his administration over the last seven years, there is no question that the President seeks to provide cover for Islam.
As noted, because of political pressure, Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynn acquiesced. But her initial willingness to “white-out” the facts that are perhaps the most relevant to explaining the motive behind the worst mass shooting in our history, is extremely telling. And it’s not unprecedented for the Obama administration. There have been other instances when words were changed to deemphasize the role Islamic terrorism has played in other attacks.
If you’ve ever used the product White Out to cover up a word, you know that while the product’s white smudge hides the mistake, the original word is still underneath. Likewise, while Obama and his underlings may attempt to white-out Islamic terrorism, the grave threat this 1400 year old ideology poses remains. And as Obama continues to employ this white-out strategy, American lives will continue to hang in the balance, just as they did in Los Angeles, Little Rock, Ft. Hood, Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Orlando, and more.
The question we must ask ourselves is what role has Obama’s failed and dangerous strategy played in the loss of American lives? And how many more lives will we continue to lose between now and January 20, 2017, Obama’s last day in office? No one knows. But one thing is for certain, there is no chance that Obama will reverse course at this point.
But there are at least three steps you and I can take to counter Obama’s dangerous white-out policy:
Individually we must remain vigilant. All muslims are not terrorists and they do not all pose a threat. But nearly all terrorists over the last couple decades have come from the Islamic faith, interpreting its doctrine and teachings in keeping with their founder, Muhammed. So be aware of this truth. If you see something or someone that appears suspicious, inform your local law enforcement.
Inform your friends, family and neighbors of the the reality of the threat of Islamic terrorism. Forward this article to others. Make sure they are provided with news from sources other than ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and even FoxNews. There are many unfiltered and non-politically correct sites that can provide you and others with the true nature and scope of the threat posed by Islamic terrorism. Three which I consider very credible are Center for Security Policy, Political Islam, and Act for America.
We must encourage our political leaders and law enforcement to step up and fill-in the gap that Obama has created. You’ve heard the old saying that “all politics is local.” This same concept applies to law enforcement. Your local sheriff is likely the most important individual who will either acknowledge the threat of Islamic terrorism or he will embrace the Obama “white-out” strategy. Thankfully, my local Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond has taken a strong stand against Islamic terrorism, following the Islamic attack in 2015 in Chattanooga that killed five servicemen. And while his stand has brought great criticism by the naive apologists for Islam, Sheriff Hammond has remained steadfast in his understanding of the threat, and because of this, our community is safer as a result.
I close with the thoughts of two of our founders and the responsibility we all bear, for both our individual safety and our nation’s liberty.
“Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty.” Thomas Jefferson
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” Thomas Paine