Thursday, April 23, 2009







« America’s top businesses reflect the country’s financial health.

America’s Fortune 500 Break New Records—on the Way Down

April 22, 2009 | From

What does it mean for the rest of us when the nation’s top companies barely produce a profit?

America’s biggest companies are struggling. With revenues collapsing and debt troubles escalating, America’s corporate landscape may be about to be transformed. Forbes magazine just may have to issue a new list next year: the Unfortunate 500.

The top 500 U.S. companies by revenue are known as the Fortune 500. Unfortunately, 2008 was the worst year ever for the cream of America’s business crops. The list, published for the past 55 years, shows that overall profits for the companies in 2008 plunged an astounding 84.7 percent from the previous year to $98.9 billion.

The figures would have been even more disastrous had the price of oil not soared to $140 per barrel last year. Strip out Exxon Mobile and Chevron’s profits, and the total net profit for America’s top 500 companies would have been a minuscule $30 billion—a huge drop from 2007’s $645 billion in profits.

Other records were broken as well. Eleven of the top 25 largest corporate losses in list history took place last year.

Thirty-eight corporate giants disappeared from the Fortune 500 list altogether, in a puff of bankruptcy (Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers), mergers and forced government mergers (Wrigley’s, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch) or foreign takeovers (Anheuser Busch).

The struggles of America’s big companies are coming closer to home for many Americans. One out of every six workers in America was employed by a Fortune 500 company last year—the operative word being “was.”

As American businesses attempt to regain profitability, payrolls will likely be slashed.

The danger is that with so many companies cutting back, the mass layoffs could become a self-fulfilling cycle. Higher general unemployment means less consumer spending, which leads to further profit reductions and thus the temptation for companies to trim even more jobs.

“Everything that happens in business in the United States shows up in one way or another in the 500,” says Carol Loomis, Fortune senior editor-at-large. “It’s a mirror to the economy.”

Unfortunately, a look in the glass doesn’t show a very pretty picture right now. The reflection is a cracking economy and a future of further job losses on the way.



exclusive breaking news












2,800 crime gangs ravage UK streets

Police have identified 2,800 organised criminal gangs, nearly three times the number previously acknowledged, and admit that British law enforcement is ill-equipped to deal with the threat that they pose.


Al Qaeda's roars back in Iraq against double target: US and Iranians

DEBKAfile Special Analysis

April 25, 2009, 2:14 PM (GMT+02:00)

Victim of new suicide attacks in Iraq

Victim of new suicide attacks in Iraq

Hillary Clinton said on arrival in Baghdad Saturday, April 25, for her first visit as US secretary of State that the wave of suicide killings which accounted for more than 250 lives this month were "a tragic signal that Iraq was on the right path." She made it clear that the pullout of US troops from Iraq's main cities in nine weeks was still on track.

Many of the victims were Iranian pilgrims visiting Shiite shrines. Saturday, Baghdad closed the main border crossing from Iran until further notice.

Clinton's visit coincides with the arrival of the United States' new ambassador, Christopher Hill.

Friday, US Middle East commander Gen. David Petraeus told a House panel in Washington that attacks in Iraq will continue for some time and they may be the work of a network of foreign fighters from Tunisia. He said that four recent suicide bombers in Iraq were from that North African country. Officials captured one who planned an attack.

According to DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources, Al Qaeda is attempting a comeback in Iraq with the help of reinforcements moved long-distance from its Maghreb (North African) branch to bolster the remnants of its Iraqi strength. These fresh forces have re-extended the jihadis' reach from Mosul in the north, hitherto the last al Qaeda bastion, to Baghdad and other cities..

This development is seen by DEBKAfile's sources as instructive on two points:

1. Al Qaeda has not given up on Iraq. Encouraged by the coming US troop withdrawal for Iraqi towns in summer, it has pulled in reinforcements from far away for fighters whose faces are unknown to US and Iraqi intelligence and are spoiling for battle in the new arena.

2. By targeting Shiites and Iranian pilgrims with (female) suicide bombers, Osama bin Laden is warning Tehran and Washington that their unfolding bid to bracket their resources together for ending the Afghanistan and Pakistan conflicts will precipitate fresh trouble not only in those arenas, but also in Iraq. To this end, al Qaeda has launched a second offensive on a third front.

DEBKAfile's military sources report that a major change in Iraq has opened the door to al Qaeda's recovery. The 100,000 commanders and fighters of the Awakening Councils, the strong arm of the US surge strategy for crushing al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents, has dropped out of the war.

After Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered mass detentions of the Sunni-dominated force's members, Awakening Council leaders suspect him of planning to disband it as soon as US troops are out of the main cities.

Their suspicions have gained ground from US restraint in halting the detentions. Awakening Council leaders now fear that in their haste to leave Iraq, the Americans will forget their promises to continue to protect their erstwhile allies and their rights and pay their salaries after the war on al Qaeda was won.

Therefore, for the second time in five years, armed Iraq Sunni strength and al Qaeda share an interest in battling central government in Baghdad, as well as the US and Iranian influence in Iraq.

In these sharply deteriorating circumstances, it has hard to agree with Clinton's assessment that Iraq is on the "right path."


My friend Harry is 94 years old

Are Americans tuning into LEMMINGS?

Lemmings are a breed of small rodents that eat constantly. reproduce lustily until its population grows so large that its natural instincts signal it's time to move to "greener pastures".
From this natural migration comes the mythical sighting of millions of the creatures, rushing into lakes, rivers and the ocean and to certain death.

Americans are not yet overpopulated (306,000,000) but, getting there. Neither are Americans starving (yet).

But, looking at the crowd of eager shoppers at a Wal-Mart super-center reminded me of a typical, mythical horde of lemmings rushing off to commit (slow) suicide.
A topical and literary "stretch" but, I'm tired so give me a little "poetic license" room.

If this sounds a bit crazy trace that craziness to my 30-year awareness of the creeping suicide of America and Americas as our Dance of Death with communist China continues along with the monstrous growth of Wal-Mart (3900 stores just in the U.S.) with NOBODY in or out of the polluted Halls of Congress raising a whisper that "most favored nation" trade treaties with COMMUNIST China and other cheap-labor countries has not only destroyed our magnificent manufacturing prosperity industries, but in stores like Wal-Mart are indeed giving the unthinking American made-in-China bargains (60 cents an hour factory labor pay) --- not realizing that every bargain that sends more dollars to China, Mexico, Japan, etc. GUARANTEES that your job and certainly one for your children is disappearing into the Third World.

China and others are wallowing in the wealth that comes from American purchases and even many "up-scale" stores.

My hospital bed, wheelchair, scooter, all kinds of braces -- all made in China and not available "made in America".

For how long?

Until the last of America's "old-fashioned" factory jobs disappear and millions of Americans are thrown out of work.

NOTE: SERVICE JOBS. as President Obama is planning, for infrastructure repair (roads bridges, tunnels, sewer, water, parks, environment) -- are all COST and EXPENSE JOBS. Workers will be paid with Chinese-borrowed money or pretty "funny money" printed by the Treasury with no GOLD to back it. Phony!

The only REAL (PRODUCTIVE) JOBS are those that produce a product that can be SOLD to consumers in the U.S. and, as used to be in the 1950s, with MORE of the same for EXPORT, EXPORT, EXPORT -- as we USED to do -- before Congressional crooks made it easy for vulture corporations to give our production secrets to China, India, Mexico, etc., etc -- and DESTROYED YOURS AND YOUR CHILDREN'S JOB FUTURE.

Oh!. . . There was a lemming connection somewhere? YOU find it, please. My eye is getting fuzzy.


Germany's slump risks 'explosive' mood as second banking crisis looms

A clutch of political and labour leaders in Germany have raised the spectre of civil unrest after the country's leading institutes forecast a 6pc contraction of gross domestic product this year, a slump reminiscent of 1931 and bad enough to drive unemployment to 4.7m by 2010.


The Imminent End of America

Everyone sees the economic crisis slamming America at home. Fewer recognize dangerous forces are gathering strength abroad. But only a handful understand just where this convergence of troubles is leading—according to your Bible. By Stephen Flurry and Robert Morley

“We’ve got a lot on our plate,” President Barack Obama told 60 Minutes in March.

Isn’t that the truth.

The White House is scrambling wildly to try to stimulate a mortally sick economy back to health by putting it deeper into debt. Its ad hoc efforts have driven many even faithful supporters of the new president to doubt his ability to turn the situation around. They have much cause for alarm.

But almost overlooked amid the destruction that the government’s plans are wreaking on the American dollar and the national economy are the dangers encroaching from outside the country. Realizing that America is profoundly weakened by domestic economic problems, opportunistic predators are seizing the chance to lash out at the world’s most prosperous and powerful country.


Capitol Evacuated, White House Locked Down Over Airspace Violation

Human Swine Flu Spread to Texas and Likely Import from Mexico

Recombinomics Commentary 00:55
April 24, 2009

Now, five more cases have been seen -- all found via normal surveillance for seasonal influenza. None of the patients, whose symptoms closely resembled seasonal flu, had any direct contact with pigs.

Iran canceled air show when Russia warned Israel planned to destroy all 140 warplanes

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

April 24, 2009, 11:13 AM (GMT+02:00)

Iranian warplanes did not take off

Iranian warplanes did not take off

DEBKAfile's Iranian and intelligence sources disclose that Moscow warned Tehran Friday April 17 that Israel was planning to destroy all 140 fighter-bombers concentrated at the Mehr-Abad Air Force base for an air show over Tehran on Iran's Army Day the following day. The entire fleet was accordingly removed to remote bases and the display cancelled.

In the first week of April, Tehran announced it would stage its biggest air show ever to dramatize a ceremonial military parade in the capital on April 18. Iran would show the world that it is capable of fighting off an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities. Instead only four aircraft flew over the saluting stand. Iranian media explained that the big show was cancelled due to "bad weather and poor visibility," when in fact Tehran basked in warm and sunny weather.

Moscow had informed the Iranians that its spy satellites and intelligence sources had picked up preparations at Israeli Air Force bases to destroy the 140 warplanes, the bulk of the Iranian air force, on the ground the night before the display, leaving its nuclear sites without aerial defense. A similar operation wiped out the entire Egyptian air fleet in the early hours of the 1967 war.












The mercenary gang formerly known as Blackwater just won't go away

In January, the Iraqi government announced that it would “not issue a new operating license to Blackwater Worldwide,” which is now known as Xe, and that the company would have to be out of the country “as soon as a joint Iraqi-U.S. committee finishes drawing up guidelines for private contractors.” But the AP reports today that the company is “still protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq, even though the company has no license to operate there and has been told by the State Department its contracts will not be renewed two years after a lethal firefight that stirred outrage in Baghdad.” Some victims of that firefight are angry that the company has yet to leave…

Army: 3 vials of virus samples missing from Maryland facility

Dakota Arms Files Bankruptcy

Dakota Arms, a privately held firearms manufacturer in Sturgis, has filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the company announced. Dakota Arms manufactures rifles, shotguns and gun parts. The company moved to Sturgis from Minnesota in the mid-1980s. Through mergers and acquisitions, Dakota Arms has since brought gun maker Nesika Bay Precision, gun maker Miller Arms Co., and gun-case maker Dan Walter Cases to Sturgis.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009













9th Circuit Court Upholds
Second Amendment





Why would OBAMA spend a million dollars plus to conceal a ten dollar birth certificate ??

Is Obama campaign cash quashing eligibility suits?
FEC shows more than $1 million paid to top law firm since election

Posted: April 22, 2009
10:20 pm Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

President Obama may be using campaign funds to stomp out eligibility lawsuits brought by Americans, as his campaign has paid more than $1 million to his top lawyer since the election.

According to Federal Election Commission records, Obama For America paid $688,316.42 to international law firm Perkins Coie between January and March 2009.

FEC's Obama For America 2009 April quarterly report, disbursements by payee

The campaign also compensated Perkins Coie for legal services between Oct. 16, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2008 – to the tune of $378,375.52.

Robert Bauer of Perkins Coie – top lawyer for Obama, Obama's presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and Obama's Organizing

for America – is the same Washington, D.C., lawyer defending President Obama in lawsuits challenging his eligibility to be president.

Where's the proof Barack Obama was born in the U.S. or that he fulfills the "natural-born American" clause in the Constitution? If you still want to see it, join more than 360,000 others and sign up now!

As WND reported earlier, Bauer sent a letter to plaintiff Gregory Hollister, a retired Air Force colonel, of Hollister v. Soetoro, threatening sanctions if he doesn't withdraw his appeal of the eligibility case that earlier was tossed by a district judge because the issue already had been "twittered."


lightning over Washington, D.C.

The ultimate special report on eligibility
Why millions still demand proof Obama is constitutionally fit for office

Posted: April 02, 2009
1:00 am Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily

With Barack Obama in the White House, millions of Americans are watching the news night after night in sheer shock, wondering out loud what the next unprecedented expansion of government power will be. Nationalizing entire industries with gigantic taxpayer bailouts; forcing taxpayers to fund abortion; releasing Gitmo prisoners onto U.S. streets; rapidly converting free-market, capitalist America into a government-run socialist state – every day seems to bring a new unconstitutional power-grab, critics say.

But arguably Obama’s most egregious, unconstitutional “power-grab” as president may have been his very first – being elected to the highest office in the land while steadfastly refusing to offer proof he is a “natural born citizen,” as required of all presidents by the U.S. Constitution.

That explosive story is the focus of the April 2009 edition of WND’s acclaimed Whistleblower magazine. It’s called “YOUR PAPERS, PLEASE? Why dozens of lawsuits and millions of Americans want Barack Obama to prove he's constitutionally qualified to be president.”


Israel shocked by Obama's approval of large Turkish arms sale to Lebanon

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

April 22, 2009, 10:49 PM (GMT+02:00)

Turkish commandoes will train Lebanese troops

Turkish commandoes will train Lebanese troops

DEBKAfile quotes senior Israeli military circles as staggered by the discovery that US president Barack Obama had approved a large Turkish arms sale to the Lebanese army, including the services of Turkish military instructors. This was taken as further proof that the US president is deaf to Israel's immediate security concerns. Lebanese president Gen. Michel Suleiman has more than once threatened neighboring Israel. When he signed the arms deal in Ankara Tuesday, April 21, he once again pledged publicly to place the Lebanese army at the disposal of the Shiite terrorist Hizballah in any confrontation with Israel.

If that happened, said one Israeli source, Israel could find itself under attack not just by Hizballah as in the past, but by a Lebanese army, well trained and armed by Turkey. He noted that more than 50 percent of Lebanon's fighting manpower are Shiites loyal to Hizballah.

The conviction is growing in Jerusalem that the US president endorsed the transaction as a means of breaking up the long-standing military pact between Israel and Turkey, because it interferes with his Middle East objectives. Our sources note that neither Washington nor Ankara bothered to inform Israel of the transaction or its scope.

After meeting Turkish president Abdullah Gul, Suleiman at the head of a large Lebanese military delegation signed the contracts for the sale and declared with deep satisfaction: "We reviewed the new [US] policies towards the region in the light of President Obama's recent visit to Turkey."


Retired Navy Seal Agrees With Orange Alert

Read your Orange Alert and passed it on to my ex Navy Seal friend and his take is as follows: He agrees with your assessment but thinks the time frame is more likely to be by July of this year. He also says shiploads of Hamas fighters are being sent to this country and if this is a fact, it would explain Obama's brain fart to send 100,000 of our troops to Afghanistan so they would not be in play to fight against the foreign "invasion". A perfect place to "hide" these Hamas fighters would be, in my opinion, in all of the Concentration Camp facilities located throughout the U.S. When the takeover order is given it will be total bedlam when the Hamas fighters are deployed and start the war on our soil. Yes we have many citizens with guns and such but are you aware there is a critical shortage of ammo? No bullet no bango! I hope you tell me I'm a bit short of a full deck but I smell a rat of tremendous size if all this comes to pass. Keep up the good work Steve.

Alan Keyes: Government Will Stage Terror, Declare Martial Law

Former Presidential candidate gives most dire warning yet about Obama agenda




Are you licensed to reload that ammo?
Alarm raised over treaty provision to ban activity

Posted: April 21, 2009
10:00 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

President Obama, who supported the handgun ban in Washington, D.C., before it was tossed by the Supreme Court, since his election has watched various proposals to ban "assault" weapons, require handgun owners to submit to mental health evaluations, and sparked a rush on ammunition purchases that caused some retailers to name him their salesman of the year. Now he apparently is going after those to reload their ammunition.

It was during an official visit earlier this month to Mexico that he affirmed his support for a proposed international treaty that addresses "firearms trafficking."

According to a blogger who follows such issues, the treaty was adopted by President Clinton years ago, but never ratified by the U.S. Senate, a goal Obama now has adopted.

The answer is finally here to the real reason why guns and church must mix!

The writer, B.A. Lawson, says, "If you reload your own ammo you may find yourself engaged in 'Illicit Manufacturing' of ammunition under an arms control treaty that President Obama started pushing last week in Mexico."


Pentagon pick: Bush 'mindlessly' supported Israel
New top adviser warns Obama may not give Jewish state 'blank checks'

Posted: April 21, 2009
9:44 pm Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

The Pentagon
JERUSALEM – While President Bush was "blindly" and "mindlessly" supportive of Israel, President Obama may be less willing to give the Jewish state "blank checks," says Rosa Brooks, the Obama administration's new adviser to one of the most influential Pentagon officials.

Brooks will advise Michelle Fluornoy, the undersecretary of defense for policy, a position that wields enormous power over drafting U.S. military doctrine in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Until accepting her position earlier this month, Brooks, who did work on behalf of George Soros' philanthropic foundation, also served as a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. A WND review of her opinion pieces in the newspaper finds trends that defenders of the Jewish state may view as anti-Israel, including distorting history to seemingly whitewash Palestinian terrorism.







New law to 'manage' 8 million 'volunteers'
Obama signs huge expansion of youth brigades legislation

Posted: April 21, 2009
10:03 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

President Obama today signed into law the "GIVE Act," H.R. 1388, which expands massively the National Service Corporation and allocates to it billions of dollars, and one executive for the program now says it will allow for the "managing" of up to eight or nine million people.

WND has reported on the plans to assemble such a corps ever since Obama told a campaign stop in Colorado Springs in 2008 that he wants a "Civilian National Security Force" as big and as well-funded as the U.S. military.

The bill includes a "National Service Reserve Corps" whose members have completed a "term of national service," "training" and "not less than 10 hours of volunteering each year."

In a conference call with reporters on the plan, Alan Solomont, the chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, said the 75,000 current members of the AmericCorps program "leverage" about 2.2 million volunteers, and the total of all such volunteers who are managed through the federal program total about four million.

He said the possibility with the expanded authorization and funding means that up to eight or nine million could be involved.

David Kupelian David Kupelian

Why I care about Obama eligibility issue

Posted: April 20, 2009
1:00 am Eastern

© 2009

With the entire so-called "mainstream press" ridiculing those millions of Americans who still ask questions about Barack Obama's yet-unproven constitutional eligibility to serve as president, you might wonder why WorldNetDaily and Whistleblower persist, virtually alone in the major media, to cover this issue.

Personally, I'm interested in it for two simple reasons.

First: Barack Obama is hiding something. About that statement, there can be no dispute. Despite dozens of lawsuits, with plaintiffs including a former presidential candidate, a former deputy attorney general, many legislators, active-duty U.S. military and other serious people, Obama simply refuses to release his original, long-form birth certificate. That's the one that could actually prove he was born in Hawaii. What is posted on Obama's "Fight the Smears" website as well as is the abbreviated short-form "certification of live birth" that could have been issued for a child born overseas, and thus does not prove he was born in Hawaii. What is so difficult about this to understand?

As I said, he's hiding something. I want to know what it is. And I want the world to know what it is.

Where's the proof Barack Obama was born in the U.S. or that he fulfills the "natural-born citizen" clause in the Constitution? If you still want to see it, join more than 355,000 others and sign up now!

Ask yourself: Why would Obama have a team of high-priced lawyers fighting to stop his Occidental College records from being released? If I were elected president, don't you think my college records would be made public? Similarly, he has lawyers fighting all the eligibility lawsuits, many of which are simply demanding proof – which Obama could easily provide – of the specifics of his birth time and place, something the U.S. Constitution unequivocally and unapologetically demands of presidential candidates.

The lawsuits started well before Obama won the election. You'd think that after he won the November popular vote, after the Electoral College confirmed him in December, after he was inaugurated in January, the lawsuits would fade away. After all, he won – get over it. But the legal challenges attempting to compel Obama to prove his natural born citizenship are increasing, not decreasing, with each passing month. Perhaps the realization that he's damaging the country in unimaginable ways is imparting urgency to those who hope he can be removed from office if it's proven he obtained it by fraud.

All I know is, Obama is hiding something. After all, he has it totally within his power to make all these lawsuits and "birthers" look foolish with a simple, 30-second phone call to the Hawaii Department of Health, saying, "I authorize you to release to the public and press a certified copy of my complete, long-form birth certificate."

The rest of the press declines to cover this issue (except to mock it), not because there are no valid legal questions involved and not because it isn't newsworthy – what with dozens of lawsuits, some of them in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. No, they don't cover it because they're afraid of losing favor with the president they were largely responsible for installing, and they're also afraid of being marginalized and ridiculed by their colleagues in the press.

Ironically, the "mainstream media," as well as members of Congress questioned by constituents about the eligibility issue, and even the Obama administration itself, all cite as a primary "independent" expert source on the issue, is part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, which critics point out is linked to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge organization where Obama worked for several years with former "Weather Underground" terrorist William Ayers.





Suleiman in Jerusalem to coordinate Egyptian-Israeli positions for talks with Obama

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

April 22, 2009, 11:26 AM (GMT+02:00)

Obama and Abdullah see eye to eye

Obama and Abdullah see eye to eye

Middle East policy-making went into high gear in Jerusalem Wednesday, April, 21 as prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu called a special security cabinet session in the morning ahead of Egypt's senior negotiator, intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman's arrival.

Suleiman arranged to meet the prime minister, defense minister, foreign minister, opposition leader and president. After exposing Hizballah's Iranian-backed machinations to destabilize the Egyptian government, Cairo finds it is fighting an enemy shared with Jerusalem.

The Egyptian visitor and his Israeli hosts will therefore seek to define common interests now that the White House has finally announced that Netanyahu, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas are to be invited for separate talks on Middle East peacemaking on dates ranging from late May to early June.

The announcement followed Obama's conversation with the visiting King of Jordan, Abdullah II at which, DEBKAfile's exclusive Washington sources disclose, the US president accepted the extended Arab peace plan initiated by Saudi Arabia and reaffirmed at a foreign ministers' conference in Amman this month. He will present this formula to his three Middle East visitors as the starting point for the diplomatic process.

Three major flies in Washington's peacemaking ointment are, one, the rival Palestinian Hamas and Fatah factions failed to achieve a power-sharing accord in the negotiations brokered in person by Gen. Suleiman. Mahmoud Abbas therefore represents only one Palestinian faction - and not necessarily the largest one. The rejectionist Hamas and the Gaza Strip would be left out of any peace equation and be well-placed to sabotage it.

Second, Syria stands opposed to the Arab peace initiative.

The Israeli position will be clarified by Netanyahu when he meets the US president in Washington in about a month. Whatever concessions he may offer, they will not include acceptance of the 1948 Palestinian refugees or the renunciation of historic Jerusalem to the Palestinian state, both key Arab demands.

The new Arab peace initiative version presented by Abdullah simply spells out some of the provisions of the original text, such the nature of the "normal relations" on offer by Arab governments. This and other gestures would reward Israel for its withdrawal to the pre-1967 war lines, i.e. its pullback from the West Bank, Golan Heights and historic Jerusalem, its acceptance of Palestinian statehood and the return of the refugees to their former homes.

The two leaders agreed the document would not be published before Obama presents it to Netanyahu at the White House. He will ask the Israeli prime minister for an immediate answer and urge him to accept the Arab peace plan as the basis of direct negotiations with the Palestinians and Syria in which the United States will be actively engaged.

Our sources add that the US president is seriously considering making a televised speech before Netanyahu's arrival to play up the Arab proposals on offer for far-reaching Israeli concessions to the Palestinians and Syria.

Before Abdullah left Washington, Obama called on all Middle East parties to start the ball rolling by making sweeping faith-building gestures in the coming months.


Shortage of guns, ammo reported

President Obama has said he respects the Second Amendment, and last week signaled that he will not seek a renewal of a U.S. assault weapons ban. Do you believe him?

Retailer rates top five best selling guns

9 mm, .40 and .45-caliber

2. Springfield XD: 9 mm, .40 and .45-caliber

3. AR-15 semiautomatic rifle

4. Remington 700 bolt action rifle; various calibers (deer season)

5. Kel-Tec .380: small handgun (best selling concealed weapon)

SOURCE: Doyle Gray, Shootin' Shop, Abilene

Reporter-News Photo by Ronald W. Erdrich Greg Riggins of Frontier Sportsman opens a box of ammunition for a customer Monday at his store. Behind him, the shelf Riggins keeps his ammunition on is more empty than usual as gun owners, who are nervous over rumors of government legislation, stock up on bullets and shells.

Reporter-News Photo by Ronald W. Erdrich Greg Riggins of Frontier Sportsman opens a box of ammunition for a customer Monday at his store. Behind him, the shelf Riggins keeps his ammunition on is more empty than usual as gun owners, who are nervous over rumors of government legislation, stock up on bullets and shells.

A year ago, Doyle Gray had 50 to 80 rifles and handguns in inventory at the gun shop he manages in Abilene. Today he has about a half dozen firearms on hand.

In the past several months sales on guns and ammunition at shops in the Big Country are shooting up since customers fear changes in gun laws at both the state and national level.

Shortages in guns and ammunition are trickling down from the suppliers to the retailers.

"We haven't had any pistol ammo for two weeks," said Gray, who manages the Shootin' Shop on North 6th Street. "The factories are running 24 hours a day, and we still can't get any ammunition."

Other shop owners are experiencing the same problems.

"We are running out daily," said Greg Riggins, manager of Frontier Sportsman, on South 14th Street. "I've never seen it like this in the 15 years that I have been in the business."

Gun and ammunition retailers attribute the shortage in guns and ammo to the November presidential election. "There is one reason, and that is the president," said Gray.

Gray and others say the fear that the Obama administration may follow through on campaign promises to increase taxes on guns and ammunition and to reimpose a ban on assault weapons may be driving the surge in sales and the shortages.

"People are in panic mode," said Gerry Laing, manager of Weakley-Watson Sporting Goods in Brownwood. "I can't keep ammunition -- what used to sell in two weeks is selling out in day."

According to a recent story in The Wall Street Journal, purchases of guns and ammunition are surging across the country. Nearly 4 million background checks -- a key measure of sales because they are required for the purchase of a gun from a federally licensed seller -- were performed in the first three months of 2009.

That is a 27 percent increase over the same period a year earlier, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Last fall Beverly Sullivan, who lives in Mills County, had to wait six weeks before she received her new .45-caliber handgun. She also had to wait to receive the ammunition.

"I wanted to buy a case of ammunition, but the store owner wasn't selling it by the case because he didn't have enough," Sullivan said.

Most folks are looking to buy handguns from .22-caliber to 9 mm varieties. Consequently, the requests for concealed handgun licensees are rising.

Gene Hackman, who teaches concealed handgun classes in Abilene, says his class enrollments have increased since January.

Texas issued 73,090 licenses in fiscal year 2008. The state requires applicants pass a training course, pass a criminal-background check and be at least 21 years old. The number of licenses issued since January was not available from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"But we have noticed a definite uptick in the number of applications we have received since January," said Tela Manage, spokeswoman for the DPS.

Some consumers are buying assault rifles because they believe if an assault weapons ban is reinstated, the rifles could become collectors items. Currently an AR-15 rifle sells for $1,000 and up.

But statements from the White House indicate there are no imminent plans to ban such weapons.

Between 1994 and 2004 it was illegal to manufacture weapons in the banned categories, but weapons already in circulation could be resold. The law also prohibited stores from selling ammunition magazines able to hold more than 10 rounds.

"We had one gentleman come in recently and buy two (AR-15) rifles because he said he could get a better return on them than he could on a CD at the bank," Riggins said, adding that he is completely out of that model. "I have a waiting list."

Some say retailers are fanning the rumors that Obama may try to place restrictions on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, even though statements have come out of the Obama administration saying that the president supports the Amendment.

Earlier this month, Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 54 to express opposition to federal legislation infringing on the individual right to keep and bear arms.

The resolution reasserts our "right to keep and bear arms to protect oneself, one's family, and one's possessions from either the lawlessness of other people or the tyranny of the government."

Senate Concurrent Resolution 54 specifically opposes the Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record Sale Act of 2009 filed in Congress, which would require all firearm owners to apply for and carry a federally issued license to keep a firearm in their home.

"I urge our members of Congress representing Texas to do all they can to stop the Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record Sale Act of 2009 from being passed into law and to help stand firm for our rights," Estes said in a recent news release.