Accused Planned Parenthood Gunman Ruled Mentally Incompetent To Stand Trial

| Posted in Boat

By Keith Coffman

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) – The man accused of killing three people and wounding nine others in a shooting rampage last year at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado was declared incompetent to stand trial at a court hearing on his mental state on Wednesday.

The ruling by El Paso County Judge Gilbert Martinez effectively means a suspension in criminal proceedings against the defendant, Robert Lewis Dear, 58, stemming from the first fatal attack on a U.S. abortion provider since 2009.

The bearded, disheveled Dear, visibly angered at the ruling, called the judge “prejudiced” and a “filthy animal” as he was led out of the courtroom at the end of the 30-minute hearing.

Dear, who has proclaimed himself guilty and a “warrior for the babies” in previous courtroom outbursts, will be transported back to a state mental hospital in Pueblo, Colorado, for “restorative treatment,” and his status will be reviewed again in 90 days, on Aug. 11, the judge ordered.

Martinez cited the findings of two court-appointed state psychologists who evaluated Dear and concluded he was suffering from a psychotic delusional disorder that they said rendered him mentally unfit to stand trial.

The judge said he was convinced that while Dear could comprehend the proceedings from a factual standpoint, his delusions and paranoia left him unable to meaningfully assist in his own defense.

Martinez ordered Dear to undergo a psychiatric evaluation in December after the South Carolina native demanded he be permitted to fire his attorney and represent himself. Dear has insisted he is mentally competent.

A police detective who interviewed Dear after his arrest and testified at a competency hearing last month recounted Dear saying after his arrest that he harbored a belief that he was being followed by federal agents before the shooting.

Separately, defense lawyer Dan King mentioned in court on Tuesday that his client had smeared himself with his own excrement and drank his own urine from a toilet because he believed the jail was poisoning his drinking water.

Dear has been held without bond since surrendering at the end of a bloody five-hour siege on Nov. 27 at the Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs. A U.S. Army veteran and a mother of two who happened to be in the waiting area were killed, along with a police officer.

Dear has not formally entered a plea. Prosecutors have yet to say whether they would seek the death penalty.

Andy Cross via Getty Images

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Stephen Coates and James Dalgleish)

Read more:

You May Like:

4 Things To Remember When Life’s Really Kicking You In The Ass

| Posted in Accessories


When you’re chasing success in a certain endeavor, you will run into many challenges. I’ve realized that the more times you get challenged and want to quit but don’t, the stronger you come out in the end.

Accepting the challenge is the defining difference between those who become successful in life and those who don’t. Usually, the journey to success does not look how most people want it to. Often, there are detours.

As most get discouraged during this time, they fail to realize that the detour is leading them to an even more exciting and fulfilling success they didn’t even know possible.

Give Up On The How

Too many people want what they want and have a certain vision of how to achieve it. They think it’s the only way to get where they’re going. So, when things start to veer off in different directions, they look at the road they’re on and feel as if they’re on the wrong path.

So, they turn around to go back to where they started and either post up where they’re comfortable and become too scared to pursue and fail again, or they take another route, only to find the same issue arising later on, down that road.

It’s important for people to have visions because they need to know where they’re going, but they need to give up on the vision of how they will get there — that’s the one thing that can’t be controlled.

There are too many variables in the circumstances surrounding our lives. Why waste time and energy on elements that can’t be controlled when you could, instead, spend your time and energy on the things that can?

You Can’t Control The Direction Of The Wind, But You Can Always Adjust The Sails

Why do some people realize their dreams and some don’t? It’s simple: Those who realize their dreams and achieve success simply never gave up and maneuvered through the waging waters, however they could.

They believed wholeheartedly that as long as they kept going, they would achieve their success. Instead of wasting their time worrying and complaining about how it was happening, they focused on what they could do to make it happen with whatever they had. No excuses.

If you take a look at most successful peoples’ lives, there was always resistance of some sort. They went through plenty of challenges, failed often and wanted to quit numerous times, just like everybody else. But, after persevering through all that, they found their success.

There are many success stories like that. So, why do so many people quit on their own successes and think their journeys will be any different or less difficult than those who went ahead and made it to their desired destinations?

Accepting the challenge and appreciating what it will do for you and to you is the ultimate key to having everything you’ve ever wanted in your life. Give up on how it will look and give in to where it will take you.

Being Unhappy Is A Choice, Not A Life Sentence

Some people are so comfortable with resistance and accepting of failure they believe their lives are supposed to be complicated, unhappiness is a way of life and there’s no other way to live.

Those who have broken through the hardships of life and realized their dreams look at these people, and all they want to do is wake them from their miseries and make them see that they, too, can achieve happiness and success. However, they must first think differently about their situations.

I grew up in a place where, unfortunately, there was a lot of crime and death, and it left so many people scared and unhappy with their lives. It happened so often that as a young girl, I thought it was just how it was everywhere.

Once I left that area and moved around the country, I was exposed to the reality that we were living unhappy lives because we didn’t know any better and our environments shaped our perceptions of what we thought reality to be.

It took me leaving my comfort zone and everything I knew, taking a chance on life, chasing my dreams and searching for something more for me to find the truth that there is always better out there.

Now, it was a matter of me making the choice to see life in a different light; to fall in love with the good in the world and choose to only see the good in everyone and everything.

What does it take to find the next level of success and happiness in your life? A choice. Plain and simple. A choice to seek knowledge. A choice to find an opportunity. A choice to choose happiness. A choice to think positively.

There’s an old Buddhist proverb that says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” Once you’re ready to make a change in your life, that teacher may come in the form of an experience, a mentor, a job opportunity, or just a pure gut intuition to walk away from a negative person or to let go of a negative experience in your life.

Once the choice is made and the action takes place, the universe will guide you to your next step.

Everything Happens For A Reason

If I had to look back to three years ago when I first started my career, there were so many times I was unhappy with something, so many times I wanted to quit and numerous times I didn’t understand why certain things were happening to me.

Looking back now, three years later, everything connects. Even my worst moments ended up being crucial to set me up and prepare me for my best.

And, even when I couldn’t understand certain things happening in my life, once I came through, I realized it all made sense. Had not those things happened, I wouldn’t be who I am and I wouldn’t be on the journey I am on today.

It’s hard to see this when you’re going through your trials and tribulations — that’s why you need faith. Faith in yourself. Faith in your guidance, whether it be from a mentor or a book or stories from people who have gone ahead of you and are where you want to be.

Tough times do not last, but tough people do. A tough time in your life usually ends up being a defining moment. Let it define you in a good way. Let it toughen you up and sharpen your mentality.

When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure. — Peter Marshall

Find out what you want out of life and then go crazy chasing it. Your success and happiness are there, just waiting to be realized. So, get up, stop complaining, accept the challenge and make a choice.

Find your purpose and pursue it with every last breath you have. And, once you do, you’ll thank yourself and soon realize that your destiny was to be happy all along.

Read more:

You May Like:

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory blames Democrats for ‘bathroom bill’

| Posted in Boat

(CNN)North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday defended his state’s contentious “bathroom bill,” calling it a response to activist overreach while criticizing the federal government for escalating the fight.

The Justice Department’s harsh condemnation of the law is “an insult,” McCrory told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead,” adding, “it’s a political statement instead of a legal statement.”
    Signed into law in March, House Bill 2 prohibits people from entering bathrooms that do not match the sex on their birth certificates — a distinction that opponents, now including top federal law enforcement officials, have called a violation of the Civil Rights Act.
    On Monday, the Justice Department and North Carolina filed dueling lawsuits, setting the stage for a long legal battle that could be destined for the Supreme Court.
    Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the legislation “state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals who simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security.”
    “It was not so very long ago that states, including North Carolina, had other signs above restrooms, water fountains, and on public accommodations, keeping people out based on a distinction without a difference,” the North Carolina native said at a news conference announcing the suit.
    McCrory, a Republican running for reelection this year, rejected Lynch’s comments and described any comparison to the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 1960s as “totally irresponsible.”
    He also defended the public rationale for the law and argued that the presence of transgender children in the facilities they prefer could infringe on their peers’ privacy rights.
    “There’s an expectation of privacy for the other girls or other boys in their junior high locker rooms or shower facilities, that the only other people coming into there are people of the same gender, or built as the same gender,” he said. “We need to work through these problems and not throw hand grenades at this issue because it’s a new, sensitive issue on all sides.”
    Still, McCrory said he had no intention of pursuing a “bathroom bill” until the city council in Charlotte passed a wide-ranging anti-discrimination bill that included protected bathroom access for transgender people.
    “I had no interest in this subject,” he told Tapper, again blaming Democrats in the city where he served a record 14 years as mayor between 1995 and 2009.
    Since he signed the bill over former colleagues’ objections, North Carolina has emerged as a national political battleground, with businesses withdrawing plans to expand into the state and entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Pearl Jam and Boston canceling scheduled performances.

    Read more:

    You May Like:

    Newt Gingrich plays hardball, calls Chris Matthews out for his racism

    | Posted in Accessories!/FirstTeamTommy/status/240216660760477696

    In a short but oh-so-sweet exchange this afternoon on “Hardball,” Chris “Tingles” Matthews got his quivering leg handed to him by none other than Newt Gingrich. After ludicrously claiming that it’s Republicans who obsessively play the race card, Matthews was cruisin’ for a bruisin’. And boy, did he get one.

    Newt Gingrich catches Chris Matthews assuming food stamps are primarily used by blacks: #racist #footinmouth

    — Mick Hettrick (@mickhettrick) August 27, 2012

    Conservatives got thrills of their own watching Gingrich take Matthews to the woodshed:

    @NewtGingrich just owned Tweetybird Matthews who said he had a "diabolical smile!"

    — Kyle (@kyleraccio) August 27, 2012

    With a moonboot to the @$$. RT @RBPundit: Video of Newt PWNING Chris Matthews.

    — Ai-Everything (@AiPolitics) August 27, 2012

    Newt Gingrich schooled CHRIS MATTHEWS on @msnbc THE OBAMA channel.

    — Larry Williamson (@larrywitness) August 27, 2012

    Exactly the question to ask liberals. Newt Gingrich asks Chris Matthews, ‘What kind of racist thinking do you have?’

    — Mary Evans (@granmary7235) August 27, 2012

    ICYMI, @newtgingrich puts @hardball_Chris in his place. Not easy to stump the Speaker! #teaparty #tcot

    — Ivan Garcia-Hidalgo (@IvanGH) August 27, 2012

    RT @asskickymchotti Newt Gingrich asks Chris Matthews, ‘What kind of racist thinking do you have?’:<== What I love about Newt! #tcot

    — dan bear (@whufflepuppy) August 27, 2012

    Thank God Newt said it, finally! via @DavidLimbaugh

    — Jen Kuznicki (@jen5309) August 27, 2012

    Yesssssssss RT @McCormackJohn: Newt Gingrich Asks Chris Matthews If He Is A Racist via @buzzfeed

    — David Limbaugh (@DavidLimbaugh) August 27, 2012

    A. Freakin' Men. // Newt Gingrich: Chris Matthews "being a racist" (Politico), @RBPundit @NolteNC #TCOT

    — David Henry (@imau2fan) August 27, 2012

    @Newt_Gingrich Great job putting that self-projecting racist Christ Matthews back in his place and telling him like it is! Bravo sir!

    — rita (@ritamalika) August 27, 2012

    Oh yea! Newt Gingrich owns Chris Matthews asks him why he's racist for assuming it's only blacks… #news #conservative

    — preciseBlogs (@preciseBlogs) August 27, 2012

    Chris definitely had that coming. RT @BuzzFeed: RT @BuzzFeedPol: Newt Gingrich Asks Chris Matthews If He Is A Racist

    — Cindy Cooper (@CindyCoops) August 27, 2012

    Smile @hardball_chris, you just got Pwned!

    — Sean O (@Sean_for_3) August 27, 2012

    Bravo, Moon-Man. RT @BettinaVLA: Newt Gingrich Asks Chris Matthews If He Is A Racist – YouTube #TablesTurned #tcot

    — Jay Riley (@jayriley) August 27, 2012

    Newt Gingrich: Chris Matthews is the only dude around here acting like a racist. And a jackass, and a hack, and a…

    — Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) August 27, 2012

    After watching this video, I might have to switch back to my Newt avi ==>

    — Jenn Taylor (@JennQPublic) August 27, 2012

    Of course, a few people inevitably couldn’t process Matthews’ complete stupefaction:

    Gingrich can't find way out of box. He's hating his interview & can't twist words enough. Chris Matthews is enjoying it.

    — Kleyton Cooper (@kleytoncooper) August 27, 2012

    @TPM when did Chris matthews decide to raise hell? I'm loving this angry tweety look. Gingrich is making a fool of himself.

    — Steve Lubot (@fenwaysteve) August 27, 2012

    Chris Matthews absolutely filleting Newt Gingrich. This is hilarious

    — Lizzy (@Lizzy_Nielsen) August 27, 2012

    “Filleting”? Was she watching the same interview we were? Dream on, honey. Matthews got pwned.

    And such masterful pwnage is worthy of a masterful hashtag game. Enter #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist:

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist chocolate labs

    — Greg Pollowitz (@GPollowitz) August 27, 2012

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist Eskimo Pies. Who insults a culture by saying it puts a pie on a stick?

    — Razor (@hale_razor) August 27, 2012

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist Driver's licenses

    — Kyle (@kyleraccio) August 27, 2012

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist Math. Duh.

    — Ken Gardner (@kesgardner) August 27, 2012

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist Separating the laundry…He refers to it as segregating the laundry. #tcot

    — Marybeth (@MBGlenn) August 27, 2012

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist Enjoying a "White Christmas"

    — Bella Pelosi (@BellaPelosi) August 27, 2012

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist Himself bcuz he's white, which somehow gives him more credibility to do the same to other whites. WTF?

    — Shaughn (@Shaughn_A) August 27, 2012

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist Miracle Whip

    — NOT Jimi Hendrix (@jimithoughts) August 27, 2012

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist anyone who doesn't enjoy spike lee movies

    — Jared Gebhardt (@JaredGebhardt) August 27, 2012

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist mentioning the fact that Robert "Sheets" Byrd was not only a Klansman but a ranking Official.

    — Furrystoat (@Furrystoat) August 27, 2012

    #ThingsChrisMatthewsThinksAreRacist the content of someone's character

    — CRASHR (@CRASHR_me) August 27, 2012

    So, everything. That just about covers it!

    Read more:

    You May Like:

    Unprecedented ‘red tide’ crisis deepens in Chile’s fishing-rich waters

    | Posted in Boat

    The red tide algal bloom, which turns the sea water red and makes seafood toxic, is believed to be one of the countrys worst recent environmental crises

    A red tide outbreak is widening in southern Chiles fishing-rich waters, the government has said, deepening what is already believed to be one of the countrys worst environmental crises in recent years.

    The red tide an algal bloom that turns the seawater red and makes seafood toxic is a common, naturally recurring phenomenon in southern Chile, but the extent of the current outbreak is unprecedented.

    The southern region of Los Lagos has been affected in recent weeks by the largest red tide in its history, prompting fishermen deprived of their livelihoods to angrily demand more support from the government.

    Now there are signs that Los Ros, the neighbouring region to the north, has also been affected, local officials warn.

    The red tide zone is going to grow, it is a changing phenomenon, Ral Sunico, the deputy minister for fishing and aquaculture, told local radio station Cooperativa.

    Highly toxic samples have been taken in the region of Los Ros, which obliges us to close areas of the region to resource extraction.

    A fisherman inspects shellfish where the government has declared an emergency zone as it deals with the toxic red tide. Photograph: Esteban Felix/AP

    The red tide has caused tons of dead shellfish to wash up on southern beaches and paralysed the fishing industry, which is the mainstay of many coastal settlements. Fishing accounts for about 0.5% of the countrys gross domestic product.

    Fishermen have blocked access to the island of Chilo in protest over what they consider to be inadequate government compensation for their losses, leaving locals and tourists alike stranded.

    The government initially offered 100,000 Chilean pesos ($147) to each family affected crisis, but increased it to 300,000 pesos after complaints.

    Scientists say this years El Nio weather pattern is probably a key factor in the red tide, as it warms the ocean and creates bloom-friendly conditions.

    Hundreds of students and relatives of fishermen participate in a protest to support those affected by the toxic red tide. Photograph: Sebastin Silva/EPA

    Some fishermen are blaming the local salmon industry, the worlds second largest, for exacerbating the problem, citing the dumping of dead fish in March by salmon farmers after a bloom killed off much of their stock.

    The government estimates some 100,000 tons of salmon were lost, leading to a jump in global prices for the fish.

    The disruption of sea life along Chiles coast, in turn, has caused birds such as albatrosses and petrels to leave for other areas with better food sources. The bloom was also a factor in the mass beaching of whales and sea lions, authorities say.

    Sardine fishermen in the Bo Bo region have reported an abundance of octopuses but scarce numbers of sardines. Elsewhere, enormous jack mackerel have been seen while the usual hake have almost disappeared.

    Read more:

    You May Like:

    Tokyo Olympic Games corruption claims bring scandal back to the IOC | Sean Ingle

    | Posted in Boat

    Payments for members votes were supposed to be a thing of the past at the International Olympic Committee but new allegations will prompt fresh scrutiny

    Bungs and secret bank accounts; shadowy figures on the take and make; the bidding process for major sporting events shown to be as transparent as an oil slick. The script might appear stale given the numerous tales of scandals and scoundrels at Fifa and the IAAF, the global guardians of football and athletics respectively, in recent years. But now there is a fresh and intriguing twist.

    The grandest sporting organisation of all, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has stood aloof while the staggering tales of corruption surrounding World Cup and World Athletics Championships bids seeped out. We are different, the IOC insisted. We have reformed. And with few dissenting voices or evidence to the contrary, the bad old days of the late 90s, when members votes were bought for enormous sums during feverish races to host Olympic Games, had become a distant memory.

    The IOCs bullishness was evident as recently as March, when the Guardian revealed that French police were investigating the bidding process for the 2020 Olympics. The IOC president, Thomas Bach, brushed away any concerns: The IOC has done as much as any organisation can do to address the issue of corruption, he insisted. We have all rules and instruments in place to fight corruption with zero tolerance.

    Todays allegations should shatter that complacency. Two independent sources have told the Guardian that Tokyos successful bidding team for the 2020 Olympics, or those acting on their behalf, made payments of around 1.3m ($1.5m) to a hidden account linked to Papa Massata Diack, the former International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) marketing fixer who was recently banned from athletics for life. The orchestra of rules and instruments that Bach so proudly conducted have been unable to prevent an embarrassing cacophony.

    Those with long memories will recall that Japan previously played fast and loose with the rules as did many other nations. Nagano won the right to host the 1998 Winter Games after providing IOC members with trips to luxury hot spring resorts, first-class air tickets, and geisha although they insisted no sexual favours were provided while the-then IOC president, Juan Antonio Samaranch, was put up in the top suite at the Hotel Kokusai 21, which the Nagano Olympic Committee rented for 30 days at $2,700 a night.

    The largesse didnt end there. Nagano also provided millions of dollars in corporate contributions to help build an Olympic museum in Switzerland while the bidding race was going on. Mere coincidence, it claimed. All this was meticulously documented by its bid committee in a series of files that filled 10 large cardboard boxes. However when the focus turned on them, the papers were burned. As the bids former vice secretary-general Sumikazu Yamaguchi sheepishly explained: I didnt want the IOC members to be uncomfortable.

    It took the Swiss lawyer Marc Hodler, an IOC member for 35 years, to blow the whistle on what was really going on. His initial exposure of the Salt Lake City scandal in 1998 eventually led to 10 members being either expelled or resigning amid allegations of bribes and offers of scholarships, medical care, dubious real estate deals and even sexual favours during the bidding process for the 2002 Winter Olympics. Hodler also revealed the scale of the sums on the table: bribes of up to $1m for IOC members and payoffs to agents of up of between $3m and $5m for Olympic votes. Inducements and sweeteners were endemic. Dick Pound, the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency and then a member of the IOC who led the investigation into Salt Lake City, once stated that he had turned down a $1m bung in connection with a TV deal for the Olympics.

    Admittedly, playing the game did not always produce the desired result. Before the vote for the 1996 Olympics, the Melbourne bid arranged for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to hold a special concert so the daughter of a South Korean IOC member could play piano with them, yet they were still crushed by Atlanta.

    Such blatant behaviour is much harder to get away with nowadays. The IOCs reforms post Salt Lake City, including banning its members from visiting potential host cities before an Olympic vote, have stopped the worst abuses. It would be a surprise if it was revealed that there was anything wildly untoward about the bids for the 2008 Olympics, for which Beijing was always considered way out in front, or 2012 which has always been regarded as a straight and largely fair fight between London and Paris.

    That said, the French police are investigating the bidding process for the Rio 2016 Olympics. And a trawl through the IOCs current, former, and honorary members does not inspire complete confidence.

    The list includes such luminaries as Lamine Diack Papa Massatas father the former IAAF president, who is facing corruption charges in France which he denies, and was an influential IOC member between 1999 and 2013; along withSepp Blatter, the disgraced Fifa president, who was a prominent member for 16 years until 2015. Meanwhile, one of Blatters most loyal supporters, Issa Hayatou, one of two Fifa officials accused of taking bribes worth $1.5m to support the Qatar World Cup bid, remains an IOC member and denies the allegations against him.

    Less well known, is the Kuwaiti Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, a hugely influential IOC and Fifa executive committee member, who was recently accused in parliament by the Tory MP Damian Collins of using the Olympic Council of Asia to buy votes. The OCA strongly denied the allegation.

    That said, it would be churlish to not acknowledge the IOCs attempts to improve its voting procedures in recent years. They have tried. What the Guardians story shows, however, is that it is hard to completely protect such a lucrative and prized event as Olympics from corruption.

    So what could be done? One radical suggestion is for voting for Olympics Games to be replaced by auctions, with the highest bidding country winning, providing it also met the appropriate levels of technical expertise. Rules could be put in place to ensure such events switch continents regularly, and to ensure that those ranked poorly on the corruption perceptions index were not able to enter the auction. Crucially such a proposal would ensure that any bid money could be directed towards the IOC, and presumably the sports themselves. As yet there is no widespread clamour for such proposals.

    Meanwhile, the IOCs response to the latest allegations will be closely watched. After the Salt Lake City scandal rocked it to the core, it held an emergency general assembly in which Samaranch warned the organisation was now on trial and must root out all forms of inappropriate or unethical behaviour among our membership. Nearly two decades later, those words hold true once again.

    Read more:

    You May Like:

    Wyoming welder, facing $16M in fines, beats EPA in battle over stock pond | Fox News

    | Posted in Boat

    Andy Johnson, of Fort Bridger, Wy., is pictured in an undated photo with his wife and daughters.

    A Wyoming man threatened with $16 million in fines over the building of a stock pond reached a settlement with the Environment Protection Agency, allowing him to keep the pond without a federal permit or hefty fine.

    Andy Johnson, of Fort Bridger, Wyoming obtained a state permit before building the stock pond in 2012 on his sprawling nine-acre farm for a small herd of livestock.

    Not long after contruction, the EPA threatened Johnson with civil and criminal penalties including the threat of a $37,500-a-day fine — claiming he needed the agency’s permission before building the 40-by-300 foot pond, which is filled by a natural stream. 

    “It was very threatening,” Johnson, a professional welder and married father of four, said of the EPA’s compliance order against him.

    “I was shocked and devastated and I didnt know what to do,” Johnson told Tuesday. “Im sitting there thinking, ‘Im the only provider for my whole family. How can I fight this?'”

    On Monday, lawyers representing Johnson announced that the federal government agreed to resolve the case and a federal court has approved.

    Under the settlement, Johnson’s pond will remain and he won’t pay any fines or concede any federal jurisdiction to regulate the pond. And the government won’t pursue any further enforcement actions based on the pond’s construction.

    The only conditions, according to Johnson’s lawyers, are that willow trees be planted around the pond and a partial fence installed to “control livestock.”

    “This is a victory for common sense and the environment, and it brings an end to all the uncertainty and fear that the Johnson family faced, said Jonathan Wood, a staff attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation who represented Andy Johnson in his court challenge to the EPA, and in negotiating the settlement.  

    “The EPA never identified any environmental problems with the pond,” Wood told “In fact, it’s been a boom for the environment.”

    An EPA spokesman was not immediately available for comment when contacted Tuesday. The government had said Johnson violated the Clean Water Act by building a dam on a creek without a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and claimed material from his pond was being discharged into other waterways.

    As the EPA was demanding the pond be ripped out, Ray Kagel, a former federal regulator, claimed it was a benefit to the environment by creating wetlands, habitat for fish and wildlife — and cleaned the water that passes through it.

    Wood said Tuesday that the EPA has a “broad interpretation” of the Clean Water Act and noted that federal law clearly exempts stock ponds from the rules of the agency.

    Under Supreme Court precedent, the federal government can regulate waters only if they have a “significant nexus” to navigable waters. Johnson’s pond drains to a manmade irrigation ditch, where the water is used for agriculture, according to the Pacific Legal Foundation.

    “The only thing he has to do is plant willows around the pond and put in a partial fence to control livestock,” Wood said. “The irony of this case is the government has insisted all along this isnt a stock pond.”

    Over the last four years, the pond has served as a safe and easily accessible water supply for his angus steers and horses. It’s also become a natural home for various fish — including brook and brown trout — and a regular stop for water fowl and moose. 

    Johnson said he hopes his legal case will give hope to others who might face similar battles in the future.

    This is a huge victory for us as well as private property owners across the country, Johnson said.

    The next family that finds itself in our situation, facing ominous threats from EPA, can take heart in knowing that many of these threats will not come to pass,” he said. “If, like us, you stand up to the overreaching bureaucrats, they may very well back down.”

    Read more:

    You May Like:

    5 Pacific islands have vanished | Fox News

    | Posted in Boat

    This small uninhabited island is slipping beneath the ocean in the Marshall Islands. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)

    At 94, the leader of the Paurata tribe on Nararo Island has had to abandon his village. “The sea has started to come inland, it forced us to move up to the hilltop and rebuild our village there away from the sea,” he says.

    Nararo is one of six islands in the Solomon Islands to be severely eroded by rising sea levels, which are climbing seven to 10 millimeters per year in the area, or three times the global average.

    Nuatambu Island has lost half of its habitable land since 2011. Taro in Choiseul province may soon become the world’s first provincial capital to be abandoned due to climate change, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

    But another five uninhabited reef islands have vanished entirely, according to a new studythe first that scientifically “confirms the numerous anecdotal accounts from across the Pacific of the dramatic impacts of climate change on coastlines and people,” researchers say, per the Guardian.

    Researchers used sea-level records, wave models, and aerial and satellite imagery from 1947 to 2015 to evaluate sea levels changes in 33 reef islands, they write at the Conversation.

    The 21 exposed to “higher wave energy in addition to sea-level rise experienced greatly accelerated loss compared with more sheltered islands.” The remaining 12, situated in a low wave energy area, “experienced little noticeable change in shorelines despite being exposed to similar sea-level rise.” Villagers forced to flee sometimes find space on ancestral land.

    But “the majority of land is tightly controlled by traditional owners, so moving one group of people onto other peoples’ lands has been the source of ethnic conflict,” a study author tells the Washington Post.

    He adds “the rates we have recently seen in the Solomons will be experienced globally in the second half of this century.” (This study offers more bad news.)

    This article originally appeared on Newser: 5 Pacific Islands Have Vanished

    Read more:

    You May Like:

    U.S. Cant Force-Feed Hunger-Striking Immigrant Detainee Yet

    | Posted in Boat

    Immigration authorities tried unsuccessfully on Tuesday to get permission to force-feed a man on a 3-week hunger strike at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia.

    In a case that once again shines a spotlight on the isolated facility where a major protest broke out in September, a federal judge denied immigration authorities’ request to restrain Alaa Ismail Yasin and feed him intravenously or through a nasal tube.

    Contending that he qualifies for release, the 27-year-old Palestinian began refusing food on April 17 and says he won’t eat again until Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials let him go. ICE, in turn, says that if Yasin were to die as a result of the hunger strike, authorities would lose control of the detention center.

    Kate Brumback/ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Detainees at Stewart Detention Center leave the cafeteria after lunch to go back to their living units on April 13, 2009. Alaa Ismail Yasin, a detainee at Stewart, has been on a hunger strike for three weeks.

    U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Abrams’ decision does allow ICE to take blood and urine samples from Yasin to monitor his health, even if he refuses to give consent.  

    Yasin risks death if he continues to refuse food, according to a court declaration filed Monday by Eugene Charbonneau, a staff physician at Stewart. The detainee continues to drink water and has consumed “Boost,” a nutrition shake sometimes used as a meal replacement, on a handful of occasions.

    As of April 17, Yasin weighed 193.2 pounds, according to Charbonneau. By Monday, he had shed more than 20 pounds.

    Failing to force-feed Yasin could jeopardize security at Stewart, according to Sebastian Mason, who filed a separate declaration on Monday and serves as ICE’s supervisory detention and deportation officer in Atlanta.

    If Yasin were to die, Mason said, his death “would seriously affect the operation of the Stewart Detention Center and would adversely affect my ability and the Department’s efforts to maintain the security and good order of this detention facility.” 

    But Yasin says he qualifies for release.

    Federal guidelines require immigration authorities to review each detainee’s case after six months. Those who don’t pose a flight risk, terrorism threat or a danger to the public generally must be released if the U.S. government hasn’t been able to deport them. The six-month mark passed for Yasin back in March, but he’s still in custody.

    “I need to get out of here, that’s all I know,” Yasin told The Huffington Post in a telephone interview from detention last week. “I’m trying to do my best.”

    An ICE spokesman declined to discuss the specifics of Yasin’s case, citing Privacy Act restrictions, but said the agency respects prisoners’ right to refuse food.

    “ICE fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference,” the spokesman wrote in an email. “ICE does not retaliate in any way against hunger strikers.”

    They keep saying his departure is imminent, but theyve been saying that since September. Helen Parsonage, attorney for Alaa Ismael Yasin

    Born in the West Bank, Yasin first came to the United States on a tourist visa in 2013. He then took out a student visa and began studying English that year. Immigration authorities detained him on charges of using a false address on a government form and for working illegally at his uncle’s pizza shop in North Carolina, according to Yasin’s attorney, Helen Parsonage.  

    Yasin was locked in Stewart Detention Center in September, shortly after authorities there suppressed a major protest by punishing many of the participants with solitary confinement.

    Parsonage says her client was put in solitary confinement for signing a document that protested conditions at Stewart. The facility is run as a for-profit enterprise by the Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest private prison contractor.

    A CCA spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Yasin’s hunger strike.

    The fact that Yasin is Palestinian has likely complicated ICE’s efforts to deport him. Foreign countries must agree to receive nationals the U.S. wants to deport.

    The West Bank has a Palestinian government, but is under Israeli military control. The United Nations has recognized the state of Palestine without defining its borders, but the U.S. and Israel have not. That situation can leave Palestinian nationals in deportation limbo.

    Parsonage says that ICE has refused to release her client on the grounds that U.S. authorities have nearly secured his removal.

    “They keep saying his departure is imminent,” Parsonage told HuffPost. “But they’ve been saying that since September. That’s why he’s on hunger strike.”

    Read more:

    You May Like:

    Former U.S. Marine Describes Being Tortured For Years In Iranian Prison

    | Posted in Boat

    WASHINGTON — A former U.S. Marine who was imprisoned in Iran for over four years is suing the Iranian government after publicly disclosing details about the torture he says he endured there.

    Amir Hekmati was one of four Iranian-American prisoners released from the country in January as part of a negotiated prisoner agreement with the U.S. He is now seeking unspecified damages from the Iranian government for false imprisonment and torture, according to a civil complaint filed Monday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

    In the complaint, Hekmati’s lawyers allege that Iranian intelligence officials whipped their client’s feet, struck him with a Taser, forced him to into a “stress position” for hours, hit him with batons, threw cold water on the floor of his cell to keep him awake, and left a bright light on in his room at all times to “invoke sensory deprivation.” His captors forced him to take addictive medications like lithium pills, only to withhold the medication later to induce symptoms of withdrawal, the lawyers charge.

    The complaint states that Hekmati was held in solitary confinement in a 1.5-by-1-meter (roughly 5-by-3-feet) cell for the first 17 months of his confinement at Tehran’s Evin Prison. He was allowed to leave his cell once every three days for 20 minutes to take a cold shower, according to the complaint.

    During that time, intelligence officials allegedly tried multiple tactics to pressure the former Marine into confessing to be a spy for the CIA. In one interrogation, Hekmati’s lawyers said, Iranian officials told him that his sister was in a serious car accident and he could only call his family after submitting a confession.

    By December 2011, evidently frustrated at Hekmati’s refusal to say he was a American spy, his captors moved him to the Parsian Esteghlal International Hotel, gave him a change of clothes, food and cigarettes, and told him he would be released after being interviewed for a training video for the Iranian Intelligence Ministry.

    During the interview, Iranian officials told Hekmati to state that he worked for the CIA. He initially refused, but ultimately complied in hopes of being sent home. Afterwards, he was returned to his solitary cell in Evin and his “confession” was broadcast on Iranian state TV.

    The former Marine later wrote Secretary of State John Kerry a letter that was smuggled out of prison, stating that his confession was “obtained by force, threats, miserable prison conditions and prolonged periods of solitary confinement.”

    The treatment detailed in Hekmati’s 11-page complaint is just the “tip of the iceberg,” said one of his lawyers, Scott Gilbert, in a phone conversation on Tuesday. Gilbert, who worked with the former Marine’s family last year to help secure his release, also represented Alan Gross, a former U.S. development worker who spent five years imprisoned in Cuba.

    Hekmati traveled to Iran in August 2011 to visit family. He planned to return home later that month to begin a graduate economics program in Michigan, but was arrested two days before his scheduled departure.

    After a 15-minute, closed-door trial in January 2012, Hekmati was convicted of “espionage, waging war against God, and corrupting the earth,” according to his complaint, becoming the first American to be sentenced to death in Iran since the 1979 revolution. An appeals court overturned his death penalty sentence in March, and he was re-sentenced to 10 years in prison for “cooperating with a hostile government,” his complaint states.

    Hekmati was freed in January 2016, along with Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, who said he has worked as an FBI advisor. In exchange, the U.S. released or dropped the charges against seven Iranians accused of violating sanctions. 

    Gilbert spoke positively of the State Department’s efforts to release his client, but Hekmati’s family has expressed concern that his freedom was tied to the fate of the nuclear negotiations between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers. Indeed, the prisoner exchange occurred just hours after the nuclear accord was implemented earlier this year.

    The State Department declined to comment on Hekmati’s current legal proceedings.

    Hekmati’s lawyers are seeking damages from the Iranian government under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Iran, which does not recognize dual nationality and treated Hekmati as a U.S. citizen, is unlikely to honor a U.S. court ruling. If the court rules in Hekmati’s favor, it is possible he could collect damages from seized Iranian assets, an outcome that may be supported by a recent Supreme Court ruling.

    A spokesman at Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment on Hekmati’s case.

    Hekmati served in the U.S. Marines from 2001-2005 as an infantry rifleman and translator, and later worked as a government contractor with a focus on translation services.

    Now, nearly five years after his arrest, Hekmati is back home in Michigan, living mostly with his mother. After surviving two tours in Iraq as a Marine, he is plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in prison, said Gilbert.

    “He truly wishes this could all be erased,” the lawyer said. “He would like to get his life back.”

    Read more:

    You May Like:

    Available RSS Topic Feeds To the Right