Wednesday, February 6, 2008

McCain Wins Big, Hillary and Obama Still in Tight Race

Despite the manufactured debate, McCain won big last night. He won 9 states, including California and New York. He now has a massive delegate advantage 615 to the nearest rival Romney, 243. Huckabee and Romney split the vote conservatives guaranteeing victory for McCain.

It's not so decisive among the Democrats. Although, Obama won more states and delegates last night Clinton, with the help of her victory in California, has an overall delegate advantage of 825 to 732. The Illinois Senator has narrowed the gap and has made this race very competitive when Hillary Clinton had a large lead just days ago. The Democratic race has a long way to go:

Senator Hillary Clinton won the biggest of the Super Tuesday primaries while Senator Barack Obama won more states, extending their struggle for the Democratic presidential nomination into next month and beyond.

Clinton, 60, won California, the largest prize in yesterday's voting. She scored victories in her own region, winning her home state of New York as well as New Jersey and Massachusetts, on the biggest day of voting in the nomination race. She also took Arkansas, Oklahoma, Arizona and Tennessee.

Still, Obama, 46, prevailed in Connecticut, next door to Clinton's home base. He also won his own state of Illinois as well as Georgia, Delaware, Alabama, Kansas, North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, Idaho, Alaska, Utah and Missouri. The only race still undecided was New Mexico, where Obama held a 518-vote lead over Clinton with 92 percent of voting precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. Thousands of provisional ballots remained to be counted.

[...]Hispanics gave about 60 percent of their votes to Clinton, he said. These voters were especially important in California, where they made up about 30 percent of the total Democratic electorate, Kohut said.

Most white Democrats favored Clinton, though Obama fared somewhat better among those voters than in earlier primaries, Kohut said. Blacks heavily favored Obama.

MSNBC reported that the exit polls found white voters split 51 percent to 44 percent for Clinton while blacks favored Obama by 80 percent to 17 percent. Women favored Clinton by 51 percent to 46 percent while men backed Obama 53 percent to 42 percent. Clinton's performance was slightly better than predicted by exit polls.

UN Survey: Afghan Opium High in 2008

Just part of Bush's legacy. It won't be long before Americans are dying from Heroin grown in U.S. occupied Afghanistan. So not only can't King George find Bin Laden but he is also funding al Qaeda:

Opium growth in Afghanistan's unstable south and southwest continues at an alarming rate, and is a windfall for anti-government forces who tax farmers, a U.N. report said Wednesday.

The report also predicted a further rise in cannabis cultivation this year.

"Europe, Russia and the countries along the Afghan heroin routes should brace themselves again for major health and security consequences," said Antonio Maria Costa, chief of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

Overall cultivation of opium the main ingredient in heroin is likely in 2008 to be similar to or slightly lower than it was in 2007, according to UNODC's latest Afghanistan Opium Winter Rapid Assessment Survey.

"Opium cultivation in Afghanistan may have peaked, but the 2008 amount will be shockingly high," Costa said in a statement.

At least the Bushies admit failure:
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan is "bumpy," and the international aid effort needs firmer coordination among the many nations participating.

[...]The United States is also seeking to bridge a rift among NATO allies participating in unequal measure in Afghanistan.

"It's bumpy and it's a lot of maturing that the alliance is having to do to do this," Rice told reporters.

Some major European allies failed to send significant number of troops to the southern front lines, leaving troops from the United States, Britain, Canada and the Netherlands to bear the brunt of a resurgence of Taliban violence in the region. Canada has threatened to pull out unless other allies do more of the hard work.

"It's true and we've made no secret about it that there are certain allies that are in more dangerous parts of the country and we believe very strongly that there ought to be a sharing of that burden throughout the alliance," Rice told reporters. "That said, I think we ought not to also dismiss the contributions that are being made by all alliance members."

Asian Stocks Sink after Dow Plunges

This is very dangerous. While the attention is on the primaries, we are seeing a crisis in the markets. We need to worry:

Asian markets plunged Wednesday after a steep drop on Wall Street overnight fanned investors' fears the U.S. economy was sliding into a recession that would sap demand for Asian exports.

n Hong Kong, the benchmark index plunged more than 6 percent in morning trading, while Japan's Nikkei 225 index sank more than 4 percent.

"It's unbridled pessimism," said Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. "Everyone is concentrating on U.S. recession, but Europe is also looking bad. ... We are in for a bear market now."

Economic data Tuesday showing the U.S. service sector shrank last month for the first time since March 2003 wiped out nascent optimism about the American economy that had lifted global markets last week.

The news sent the Dow Jones industrial average plunging 370 points, or 2.93 percent, its largest one-day percentage drop since Feb. 27, 2007.

Asian markets have dropped sharply from the beginning of the year amid worries about a U.S. — and global — slowdown. Many stocks rebounded some over the last two weeks after the U.S. Federal Reserve made two big interest rate cuts to shore up the weakening American economy.

But pessimism returned after the Institute for Supply Management reported Tuesday that its index of activity in the U.S. service sector, which accounts for about two-thirds of the economy there, dropped below 50, indicating contraction. It was the first time the service sector reading has contracted since March 2003.

Clinton Gets Most Lobbyist Money, McCain Most Help

Obama just alluded to Hillary's ties to the lobbyists. She and John McCain are the champions of what is wrong with America:

Democrat Hillary Clinton has raised more money from lobbyists than any other presidential candidate while Republican John McCain has more of them assisting his campaign.

Clinton took in $823,087 from registered lobbyists and members of their firms in 2007 and the second-biggest recipient was McCain, who took in $416,321, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based group which tracks political giving. Barack Obama, Clinton's rival for the Democratic nomination, doesn't take money from registered lobbyists, although he received $86,282 from employees of firms that lobby, according to the center.

McCain has 26 registered lobbyists as campaign advisers or fundraisers compared with 11 for Clinton and none for Obama, according to review of records compiled by Public Citizen, a Washington-based group that favors stronger disclosure laws for lobbyists.