Saturday News: The party of fearmongering


NC REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES PLAY THE CARAVAN CARD AGAINST DEMOCRATS: The ads feature darkened, threatening images of immigrant caravans, dark-skinned people throwing rocks, crowds rioting. Some are federal ads, broadcast and tweeted by everyone from President Donald Trump to congressional candidates. But others are Republican ads in state races, from the North Carolina Supreme Court to the state Senate and House – offices that have no control over federal immigration policy. Steven Greene, a political science professor at North Carolina State University, said the candidates and outside groups airing the ads are betting voters don't know the difference. Other ads for state candidates label opponents as "dangerous" and "extremist." One by a national political action committee claims a vote for any Democrat is a vote for socialism and chaos.

SUPPORTERS OF WAKE SCHOOL BOND CONFIDENT OF ITS PASSAGE: Wake County’s voters have been trending more liberal and Democratic, which could push a $548 million school construction bond referendum to victory on Tuesday. A coalition of business leaders, PTA groups and liberal activists have thrown their support behind a school bond referendum that would help pay for seven new schools, 11 major renovations and other projects, such as school security upgrades and new computers. Based on internal polling data and high early voting turnout from Democrats, bond supporters say they’re confident but not cocky that the referendum will win voter approval. “I feel like we’re in a good place,” said George York, co-chairman of Friends of Wake County, the business-backed group formed to promote passage of the school bond referendum. “Raleigh and Wake County get it that it’s a good thing for the citizens and children of Wake County. I feel we’ll be victorious next week.”

EPA MAY FORCE AQUA NC TO CLEAN UP ITS ACT ON MANGANESE: Residents in northern Wake County have complained for years about discolored water, but Aqua North Carolina, the private utility that serves the area, blamed the problem on naturally occurring chemicals and said there wasn't much it could do. That could soon change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is required every five years to examine up to 30 contaminants to determine if they're primary drinking water concerns. Manganese, which Aqua has said is, along with iron, the primary culprit for the brown water, is on the list this year. The EPA cites recent studies that show high levels of manganese can effect the central nervous system, posing a higher risk to children, the elderly and pregnant women. The prospect of action gives hope to Aqua customers frustrated for years by water that looks undrinkable, stains sinks and bathtubs and ruins clothes and appliances.

OBAMA BLASTS KEMP WHILE STUMPING FOR STACEY ABRAMS IN GEORGIA: “They will try to disenfranchise you and take away your right to vote,” the former president told an estimated 6,000 people at an evening rally at Atlanta’s Morehouse College. “If you are aspiring to the highest office in the state in which you pledge to look out for the people of your state, then how can you actively try to prevent the citizens of your state from exercising their most basic right?” he asked. Kemp became secretary of state in January 2010. During his tenure, more than 1.4 million voter registrations have been canceled. About 53,000 voter registrations have been put on hold under a state law requiring the applicant’s name to exactly match that on other government records. An Associated Press investigation found that almost 70 percent of those registrations were from African American applicants. Obama arrived in Atlanta late Friday after speaking at a rally for Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.

NIGERIAN ARMY QUOTES TRUMP TO JUSTIFY MASSACRE OF PROTESTERS: The Nigerian Army, part of a military criticized for rampant human rights abuses, on Friday used the words of President Trump to justify its fatal shootings of rock-throwing protesters. Soldiers fired this Monday on a march of about 1,000 Islamic Shiite activists who had blocked traffic on the outskirts of the capital, Abuja. Videos that circulated on social media showed several protesters hurling rocks at heavily armed soldiers who then shot fleeing demonstrators in the back. The Nigerian military said three protesters were killed, but the toll appears to have been much higher. Amnesty International and leaders of the protest said more than 40 people were killed at the march and two smaller marches, with more than 100 wounded by bullets. A Reuters reporter counted 20 bodies at the main march. The army’s official Twitter account posted a video, “Please Watch and Make Your Deductions,” showing Mr. Trump’s speech on Thursday in which he said rocks would be considered firearms if thrown toward the American military at the nation’s borders. “We’re not going to put up with that,” Mr. Trump said in the clip. “They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back.”