Friday, December 22, 2017

SAF, Calguns Seek Supreme Court Reversal of 9th Circuit Ruling

By Second Amendment Foundation

Bellevue, WA - December 22, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- Attorneys for the Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation have filed a brief seeking U.S. Supreme Court review and ultimate reversal of a ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in their long-running challenge of California's waiting period requirement on additional firearm transactions for people who already own guns.

The case is known as Silvester v. Becerra, which challenges the Golden State's 10-day waiting period on firearms transfers to gun-owning citizens.

"Rights delayed are rights denied," said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. "By defending this waiting period, the state of California is essentially saying gun owners are potential criminals who are considered guilty until they prove themselves innocent, which is silly because they already own guns.

"The Second Amendment, which was incorporated to the states via the 14th Amendment in SAF's 2010 Supreme Court victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago, is not a second-class right," he added. "Nor are gun owners in California, or anywhere else in the Ninth Circuit, second-class citizens who must be treated differently than any other citizen simply because they wish to exercise their right to keep and bear arms."

Gottlieb said the Silvester case "simply begs for attention from the Supreme Court."

"It is nonsense for the state to enforce a waiting period on someone who has passed a background check and who already owns other firearms and may have a concealed carry permit," Gottlieb observed.

As noted in the brief, "there is no suggestion that the California legislature ever considered or addressed evidence regarding the need for a cooling-off period either generally or, more relevantly, for those who already own a gun."

"It's time for the Supreme Court to straighten out this problem," Gottlieb concluded.

The Second Amendment Foundation ( is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

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Tax Reforms Opening Door for U.S. Investment Boom

By Canary, LLC.

Washington, D.C. - December 22, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- The $1.5 trillion tax reform package that Congress approved Dec. 20 has placed corporate America on the cusp of a major investment boom, says Dan K. Eberhart, CEO of oilfield services company, Canary, LLC.

Eberhart anticipates far-reaching benefits as a result of the tax reform in 2018. These benefits include decreased tax-withholdings for every American, increased local spending on capital investments, and new job opportunities from companies—including Canary.

"Now that Congress has sent an historic tax bill to President Trump to sign, I think we're about to see the economy take off after years of anemic growth," Eberhart said.

"This is a great opportunity for businesses like Canary," he added. "After years of uncertainty and slow growth, we have an incentive to invest in our business and our employees. And that's a great thing to be able to tell your staff at the start of 2018."

Key components of the tax reform bill include doubling the standard deductions for individuals and couples, doubling the per-child tax credit, and slashing the capital tax rate.

"Lowering the capital tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent is a huge win, as is full and immediate expensing on capital investments," Eberhart said. "Immediate expensing on short-lived capital equipment is expected to save companies $32.5 billion next year alone. That's huge for medium-sized companies like mine."

As a result, Eberhart said, Canary will finally be in a position in 2018 to respond to pent up demands for new equipment and personnel.

"We're still crunching the numbers, but I expect at the end of the day, that we will put several million dollars back into the business next year that we otherwise wouldn't have. We've got a lot of aging equipment that needs to be replaced—that money is going to be spent locally. And as our activity picks up, we're also going to need to hire more people."

On the Right Side of History?

Eberhart says the weak fund-raising support that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is now experiencing is proof that the Democrats' attempts to thwart tax reform does not line up with what Americans want.

Democrats have claimed the GOP's proposed tax reform would have negligible benefits for the average American and ultimately lead middle-class Americans to pay more in taxes.

The GOP, on the other hand, maintains that every U.S. taxpayer will see meaningful tax savings. A family of four earning $75,000 a year, for example, will be able to hold on to $2,000 more of their pay during that time, the GOP estimates.

In the weeks and months following the tax package's passage—Congress approved the bill with no Democratic support—DNC members may find it increasingly difficult to explain their stance, Eberhart said. Or maybe they'll regret their actions even sooner: Within 24 hours of the tax bill's passage, a number of major U.S. businesses responded with good news for their employees.

These announcements include:

  • Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp unveiled minimum wage hikes.
  • AT&T and Comcast announced $1,000 bonuses for hundreds of thousands of workers.
  • Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg announced $300 million in employee-related and charitable investments to spur innovation and growth.

    "The bottom line is that our country's new tax reforms are going to have much broader impacts on the economy and employment than critics of the tax bill have given Republicans credit for," Eberhart said.

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  • US Submarine - One of the Top 10 Most Mysterious Shipwrecks of All Time Discovered

    By Tiburon Subsea

    New York, NY - December 22, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- Award-winning explorer and underwater robotics expert Tim Taylor, President and CEO of Tiburon Subsea, has discovered WWII Submarine USS S-28 (SS-131).

    The S-28 is considered the most important lost US WWII vessel in the central Pacific according to the former director of the United States National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Outside Magazine included the USS S-28 in their feature article as one of the top ten iconic missing ships waiting to be discovered.

    US Submarine S-28 lost in 1944 with 49 sailors, now resting in 8700 feet of water. The bow is 115 meters East of the main body of the submarine.

    The USS S-28 sank on July 4, 1944 and was found in 2,650 meters (8700 feet) of water off the cost of Oahu, Hawaii with her entombed crew of 49 US sailors.

    The current mapping and filming of the wreck by the discovery team is yielding valuable information that can help determine and possibly solve the cause of the sinking. The data collected on this expedition is being shared with the US Navy Heritage Command. It is also important to share this news with the family members of the entombed sailors and we encourage direct family members to contact us at

    Tiburon Subsea specializes in advanced underwater technology supplying autonomous and imaging technology rental, training and support solutions. They are proud to support the "Lost 52 Project." This is the third lost US WWII Submarine discovered by Tim Taylor since 2010.

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    Realtors® Say Tough Work Still Ahead as Tax Reform Bill Heads to President's Desk

    By National Association of Realtors

    Washington, D.C. - December 22, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- The U.S. House and Senate today passed the conference agreement of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” marking a near end-of-the-road for Congress’s tax reform efforts this year. The president is expected to sign the bill later this week.

    Read NAR's extensive summary of the tax reform bill.

    The National Association of Realtors® raised strong objections earlier in the year to tax reform proposals put forth by the House and Senate, arguing those proposals threatened home values, eliminated the tax incentives to own a home for most Americans and potentially raised taxes on many middle-class families.

    On Friday, however, Congressional leaders announced a consensus agreement between the House and Senate that included significant changes to the bill. NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty said that while Realtors® still have concerns with the overall structure of the bill, fresh limits on the state and local tax deduction, and other changes, the final product is a significant improvement over previous iterations.

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act - What it Means for Homeowners and Real Estate Professionals

    Mendenhall added that while the work on tax reform is complete for 2017, next year will likely hold opportunities to further improve the tax landscape for middle-class homeowners, and issued the following statement:

    “The final tax reform bill is far from perfect, but it’s been greatly improved for homeowners over previous versions. Realtors® should be proud of the good work they did to help get us here. We generated over 300,000 emails to members of Congress through two calls for action and held countless in-person meetings with legislators, all of which helped shape the final product.

    “The results are mixed. We saved the exclusion for capital gains on the sale of a home and preserved the like-kind exchange for real property. Many agents and brokers who earn income as independent contractors or from pass-through businesses will also see a significant deduction on that business income.

    “Despite these successes, we still have some hard work ahead of us. Significant legislative initiatives often require fixes to address unintended consequences, and this bill is no exception.

    “The new tax regime will fundamentally alter the benefits of homeownership by nullifying incentives for individuals and families while keeping those incentives in place for large institutional investors. That should concern any middle-class family looking to claim their piece of the American Dream.

    “Realtors®’ work to help them get there will continue, and we look forward to joining members of Congress from both sides of the rotunda on that endeavor.”

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    New Report Reveals Rapid Growth of Homeless Tent Cities Across U.S.

    By National Center on Homelessness and Poverty

    Washington, D.C. - December 22, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty released a new report, Tent City USA: The Growth of America’s Homeless Encampments and How Communities are Responding, reviewing the rapid growth of homeless people living in tents across the United States over the past decade, as measured by documentation in media reports.

    Research showed a 1,342 percent increase in homeless encampments reported between 2007 and 2017, with at least one encampment reported in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Encampments ranged in size, with half showing a size of 11-50 residents, while 17 percent had more than 100 residents. The report tracked the number of unique encampments as reported by the media, acknowledging that there are likely more encampments intentionally hidden or forced to move, and therefore not documented.

    As encampments become increasingly common, local governments have enacted laws to prohibit living in tents. Three-quarters of all encampments recorded in the report are prohibited by law; only 4 percent were reported to be legal. Cities such as Denver, CO, Olympia, WA, and San Diego, CA were cited in the report for particularly harsh laws and sweeps that criminalize people experiencing homelessness. The report notes that evicting—or “sweeping”--people from tent communities is costly and ineffective.

    “It’s cruel and counterproductive to take away the only shelter homeless people have,” said Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. “The proven solution to homelessness is housing, and ensuring it is available and affordable to people who have fallen on hard times is what will end homelessness, not criminalizing them for trying to survive.”

    City officials often refer to shelters as an alternative to encampments, but in most communities they are full. And even when they have space available, people experiencing homelessness say shelters present their own host of problems.

    “Agreeing to go to a shelter in that moment means losing many of your possessions. You have to pack what you can into a bag and leave the rest behind, to be stolen or thrown away,” said Eugene Stroman, a homeless person living in an encampment in Houston, Texas. “You give up all this property for the guarantee…of a spot on the floor for one night.”

    Eric Tars, senior attorney at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and lead researcher of the report, said, “People shouldn’t have to live in tents, but our report shares principles and practices for how communities can show compassion and meet basic needs in the short term.”

    The report can be viewed here.

    The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (the Law Center) is the only national organization dedicated solely to using the power of the law to prevent and end homelessness. With the support of a large network of pro bono lawyers, we address the immediate and longterm needs of people who are homeless or at risk through outreach and training, advocacy, impact litigation, and public education.

    The Law Center thanks the following law firms for their pro bono research support for Tent City USA: Ballard Spahr LLP, Blank Rome LLP, Hunton & Williams LLP, Nixon Peabody LLP, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. The Law Center also acknowledges the generous support of the Buck Foundation, Butler Family Fund, Deer Creek Foundation, and the Oakwood Foundation.

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    UN Votes Against Jerusalem As Capital

    By Liberty Counsel

    Washington, D.C. - December 22, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- The United Nations General Assembly voted 128-9 in an emergency session to declare President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void.”

    U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said the United States will put its embassy in Jerusalem regardless of the vote. However, President Trump will cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor of a United Nations resolution draft calling for the United States to withdraw its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

    “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in this assembly,” Haley said. “We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution” to the U.N. and when other member nations ask Washington “to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

    The draft U.N. resolution calls on all countries to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. Today, there were 128 countries voting for the U.N. resolution seeking to challenge President Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Nine nations voted “no” and 35 abstained, including Australia and Paraguay.

    “The U.N. is a theater of the absurd,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, President of Christians in Defense of Israel, and Founder and Chairman of Covenant Journey. “It has become a worthless institution and an instrument of attack against Israel. I am happy that America has a strong president and ambassador who will not be bullied. Why we continue to fund the U.N. is a legitimate question which this vote brings into focus. Of all the pressing world issues with North Korea, Iran, and terrorism, the U.N. ignores them and instead calls an emergency meeting to dispute the historical reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and to challenge where the United States chooses to place its embassy. I hope President Trump follows through with consequences that include defunding the U.N.,” said Staver.

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