Making Matters Worse With Politics

Grind for August 28th, 2018
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”


The Headline

Gun control advocates freak out over Education Secretary’s proposal

The Grind

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is reportedly considering a proposal that would allow states to use federal funds to buy weapons for teachers.

Sec. DeVos could approve grant funding for firearms using a loophole in the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program – a federal education law designed to increase students’ access to education, bolster digital literacy, and improve conditions for learning.

The law does not explicitly prohibit weapons purchases.

The Details

The question of whether to arm America’s educators has been a hot topic since February, when a single gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, FL.

Following the tragedy, President Trump expressed his support for arming school personnel and for raising the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21. DeVos and Trump have both made it clear that firearms should only be an option for capable individuals:

“Must be firearms adept & have annual training,” tweeted Trump on the idea of arming teachers. “Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to states.”

News of DeVos’s plan, which originated in a New York Times report, prompted backlash from teachers’ associations and gun control advocates who insist that arming teachers would make schools more dangerous.

“Betsy DeVos wants to turn schools into armed fortresses and make kids and educators less safe,” argues Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “[DeVos] wants to turn the US government into an arms dealer for schools. That’s insane.”

Department of Education officials have pushed back against the claim that DeVos is considering using the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program to arm teachers.

When asked for comments, a Department spokesperson explained that the agency is “constantly considering and evaluating policy issues – particularly issues related to school safety. The secretary nor the department issues opinions on hypothetical scenarios.”

No Take Backs

The Headline

South African government wants to take farmland from white owners

The Background

South Africa’s minority white population controls roughly 72% of the nation’s farmland. This imbalance is left over from the colonial era, when European colonists stripped most black people of their right to own property.

Decades later, those purchases and seizures were enshrined in law by the National Party and its system of apartheid.

The News

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who refers to the inequality in land ownership as a “festering wound,” is backing a proposal to change the constitution to allow the government to expropriate land without compensation.

“This original sin that was committed when our country was colonized must be resolved in a way that will take South Africa forward,” said Ramaphosa, adding that expropriation could take place even without a change to the constitution. “Black people want their land back.”

As reported by The Washington Post, the South African government has already filed paperwork to seize two white-owned farms for $20 million. The farms are valued at about $200 million.

Last Wednesday, President Trump responded to media coverage of the issue by directing Sec. of State Mike Pompeo to look into “the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers.”

South Africa’s government lashed back against the comment and insisted it was not persecuting white farmers.

“[It is] absolute rubbish to say there’s white genocide,” argues Julius Malema, leader of the radical left Economic Freedom Fighters Party. “There’s black genocide in the USA. They’re killing black people in the USA.”

As critics and analysts have warned, the proposed land redistribution program will call property rights into question and weaken global trust in the South African government while doing nothing to help the millions of Africans living in poverty.

“It’s challenging because there are no models – in the 21st century – that show taking one group’s property away and giving it to another without compensation has not ended in populist armageddons,” notes financial consultant Garsen Subramoney. “Look to Zimbabwe and Venezuela.”

Did you know… Sheep, goats, octopuses, and toads have rectangular pupils.