Trump Administration Wants to Spy on Disabled People’s Social Media to Make Sure They’re Not Faking It

Trump Administration Wants to Spy on Disabled People’s Social Media to Make Sure They’re Not Faking It

Donald Trump’s administration and the Social Security Administration have been working closely together to cut down on the number of false disability insurance claims they believe are being filed. And the Trump administration’s newly proposed plan apparently involves studying the social media accounts of disabled people to make sure they don’t look active.

According to the New York Times, studying a disability insurance recipient’s social media isn’t a current practice, except maybe in especially suspicious cases. Former Social Security commissioner Michael J. Astrue said all the way back in 2012 that he was opposed to this idea.

“Social media sites are not exactly clear and reliable evidence,” he said during a Senate hearing. “Facebook puts up phony websites under my name all the time.”

But beyond social media’s unreliability due to fraud and fake accounts, there are troubling implications of this sort of proposal. The idea that you can determine a person’s level of disability based on a picture is as dangerous as it is ignorant.

Disabilities don’t all manifest the same way and definitely can’t be judged based on pictures posted to social media, a space where people tend to post images reflecting an idealized version of themselves and their lives. It’s cruel–not to mention inevitably ineffective–to essentially tell them they’re being watched to make sure they don’t appear too active, or possibly even too happy.

Imani Barbarin, a disability representation and inclusion activist, wrote in an essay for Forbes, “Disabled people don’t all function in the same way, and disability is not a set of stereotypes like taking selfies staring longingly at the world. They live lives while managing their energy for the activities they can handle and trying to make those they cannot more accessible.”

The plan to police disabled people’s actions, presumably being overseen by a majority of able-bodied SSA representatives, is rooted in a misunderstanding of how disability manifests physically in people’s everyday lives. Disabled people often describe being perpetually forced to prove or perform their disability. (For example, a number of stories have gone viral about people with chronic illnesses or other less-immediately apparent disabilities finding notes on the windshields of their cars parked in handicapped, accusing them of faking their disabilities.)

Many describe online spaces as being particularly fraught. Barbarin writes,

Another thing that the general public does not understand about disability and the internet is that attention to disability issues often operates within an economy of “Inspiration Porn.” Abled people often film, post, share and circulate photos and videos of disabled people doing extraordinary things as a litmus test to how “poor” life could be with a disability and how disabled people achieve “in spite of” their disabilities (quite often, this type of posting occurs without the disabled person’s permission). …

Quite often, in order for disabled people to be seen as needing help, nondisabled people need to see them as pitiful, helpless and ripe for a nondisabled person to swoop in and play hero. Without the ability to do so, a great many nondisabled people would not pay attention to disability issues. Disabled people know that, and it would appear the U.S. Government does as well. Public sympathies rarely side with disabled people who appear confident and comfortable in their own bodies. Therefore, there will be little outrage for cuts to disability benefits for active disabled people.

Disability insurance fraud is, reportedly, a widespread issue. Social Security estimates that it overpaid beneficiaries to the amount of $3.4 billion in 2017. If they feel they need to find a solution, that’s fine. But scouring social media to determine whether or not people look too active or too happy to really be disabled, is not it.

(via Forbes, image: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)

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Trump’s 2020 attack strategy: Smear Biden over mental fitness
By Eric Bradner, Ryan Nobles and Dan Merica, CNN

President Donald Trump and his allies have zeroed-in on an attack against Joe Biden, going after the presumptive Democratic governmental nominee’s mental physical fitness in a coordinated effort using smears and innuendo to paint him as ill-quipped to be President of the United States.

Trump for months has questioned the mental skill of the opponent he calls “Drowsy Joe.” Trump last week described Biden as “a sleepy person in a basement of a home,” and he has actually repeatedly recommended that Biden did not personally write declarations issued by his project criticizing Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

His project and the Republican National Committee have progressively focused its attacks on Biden’s tendency for on-camera verbal stumbles in recent weeks, as it looks for to define Biden after he emerged triumphant from the Democratic primary.

One example came previously this month, when Trump’s campaign launched an ad comparing Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, which closed with the line: “At least Bernie remembers his positions.”

https://twitter.com/parscale/status/1247928262036258816

The attacks are an early demonstration of how Trump will utilize the full Republican politician Celebration apparatus to run a scorched-earth campaign based upon personal insults and unwarranted insinuations– a heightened variation of his playbook from 2016, when Trump and his allies, without proof, called into question Hillary Clinton’s health. They have actually become a daily occurrence from Trump’s campaign, assistants and Republican allies throughout every medium possible– on social media, in campaign e-mail blasts and videos and on Trump-aligned media companies like Fox News.

Biden’s advisers and Democratic allies mention that Trump is guilty of many of the same verbal tics he is attacking Biden over, and often lies and embraces conspiracy theories.

As one Biden ally put it: “Has Trump taken his own guidance and downed a gallon of bleach yet?”

The attacks weaponize Biden’s propensity to stumble over words, utilize the wrong word or interrupt himself in the middle of long answers by stating, “anyhow,” and altering course. To fans of a former vice president who in December 2018 called himself a “gaffe maker,” those long-time spoken tics have always belonged to Biden’s public persona. They are made more forgivable to his advocates by Biden’s openness about conquering a stutter.

Aside from periodic jousts amongst assistants on Twitter, Biden’s project has mostly neglected the Trump project’s attacks.

Biden-world’s view is that the political and media landscape has actually shifted because 2016, when every Trump attack on a rival was treated as novel and took command of the project narrative on social media and cable news.

His consultants pointed to Trump’s stopped working efforts to guide the political discussion in the 2017 Virginia governor’s race, when he and his GOP allies cautioned of the MS-13 gang, in addition to the 2018 midterms, when Trump’s message concentrated on caravans of refugees approaching the US-Mexico border.

” The misapprehension that whatever Trump wishes to speak about is inherently efficient and that he gets to act as the media’s at-large task editor has actually been closed,” a Biden consultant said.

As Biden has adapted to marketing in the age of coronavirus– knocked off the campaign path and rather transmitting occasions and interviews from a transformed rec room in his basement in Delaware– Trump’s project is seizing on every on-camera miscue, with conservative Trump allies such as Fox News host Sean Hannity then magnifying them.

” His sharpness, or absence thereof is on screen every day, every time he talks,” Trump project spokesperson Tim Murtaugh informed CNN in response to concerns about the technique. “His failure to keep a train of thought going is obvious.”

Biden frequently looks down at his notes, which Trump’s allies have actually mischaracterized as Biden dropping off to sleep. Trump’s boy Eric Trump tweeted a seven-second video from Biden’s online broadcast with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, along with the hashtag “#SleepyJoe.”.

https://twitter.com/EricTrump/status/1255213748811374596.

Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign supervisor, said Trump “always projects his biggest weakens on his challenger in an attempt to deflect criticism from himself.”.

” What is very clear is the White Home thinks his presidency will be evaluated on how properly he is managing coronavirus, so it makes ideal sense that he is now attempting to accuse his challenger of incompetence, which is ridiculous.”.

The attacks resemble how Trump’s campaign pursued Clinton in 2016, Mook noted. Trump and his campaign frequently cast the former secretary of state as sick or unhealthy, a technique that was further elevated after Clinton stumbled after a September 11 occasion in New York due to concealed pneumonia.

” I simply see a pattern regularly from 2016 all the way through now, which is, he attempts to predict his most significant issues onto his opponents so he gives the media a false equivalence to attempt to muddy the water,” Mook stated. “Part of the factor he was so obsessed with calling Hillary Clinton dishonest is because he is probably the most deceitful individual to win the White Home.”.

Biden advisers argue that Trump’s efforts to caricature Biden won’t overcome the same qualities that insulated him in the Democratic primary: After 5 decades in the public eye and eight years as President Barack Obama’s No. 2, voters feel like they know him.

Biden frequently expresses distaste for attacks on his rivals’ character. His aides say that by questioning Biden’s mental capability, the President is guiding the project toward concerns of character and fitness.

” This is asinine to tee up– since it’s 10,000 times even worse for him,” a Biden adviser stated.

As an example of how easily Trump could be parodied, Biden’s assistants indicated a video from The Daily Show in which Fox News hosts and analysts’ comments about Biden’s mental skill were interspersed with videos of Trump’s own verbal flubs.

Biden spokesman Andrew Bates tweeted The Daily Program’s video, which has been seen 3.6 million times on Twitter, on March 25, in action to Trump spokesperson Matt Wolking tweeting: “When is the last time Joe Biden was lucid?”.

https://twitter.com/AndrewBatesNC/status/1242886701002960896.

” Triggering voters to assess prospects’ mental states is a devastating proposal for Donald Trump, so we’re never going to prevent him from going there,” Bates said.
– CNNPolitics.

Trump’s 2020 attack strategy: Smear Biden over mental fitness By Eric Bradner, Ryan Nobles and Dan Merica, CNN President Donald Trump and his allies have zeroed-in on an attack against Joe Biden, going after the presumptive Democratic governmental nominee’s mental physical fitness in a coordinated effort using smears and innuendo to paint him as ill-quipped to be President of the United States. Trump for months has questioned the mental skill of the opponent he calls “Drowsy Joe.” Trump last week described Biden as “a sleepy person in a basement of a home,” and he has actually repeatedly recommended that Biden did not personally write declarations issued by his project criticizing Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. His project and the Republican National Committee have progressively focused its attacks on Biden’s tendency for on-camera verbal stumbles in recent weeks, as it looks for to define Biden after he emerged triumphant from the Democratic primary. One example came previously this month, when Trump’s campaign launched an ad comparing Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, which closed with the line: “At least Bernie remembers his positions.” https://twitter.com/parscale/status/1247928262036258816 The attacks are an early demonstration of how Trump will utilize the full Republican politician Celebration apparatus to run a scorched-earth campaign based upon personal insults and unwarranted insinuations– a heightened variation of his playbook from 2016, when Trump and his allies, without proof, called into question Hillary Clinton’s health. They have actually become a daily occurrence from Trump’s campaign, assistants and Republican allies throughout every medium possible– on social media, in campaign e-mail blasts and videos and on Trump-aligned media companies like Fox News. Biden’s advisers and Democratic allies mention that Trump is guilty of many of the same verbal tics he is attacking Biden over, and often lies and embraces conspiracy theories. As one Biden ally put it: “Has Trump taken his own guidance and downed a gallon of bleach yet?” The attacks weaponize Biden’s propensity to stumble over words, utilize the wrong word or interrupt himself in the middle of long answers by stating, “anyhow,” and altering course. To fans of a former vice president who in December 2018 called himself a “gaffe maker,” those long-time spoken tics have always belonged to Biden’s public persona. They are made more forgivable to his advocates by Biden’s openness about conquering a stutter. Aside from periodic jousts amongst assistants on Twitter, Biden’s project has mostly neglected the Trump project’s attacks. Biden-world’s view is that the political and media landscape has actually shifted because 2016, when every Trump attack on a rival was treated as novel and took command of the project narrative on social media and cable news. His consultants pointed to Trump’s stopped working efforts to guide the political discussion in the 2017 Virginia governor’s race, when he and his GOP allies cautioned of the MS-13 gang, in addition to the 2018 midterms, when Trump’s message concentrated on caravans of refugees approaching the US-Mexico border. ” The misapprehension that whatever Trump wishes to speak about is inherently efficient and that he gets to act as the media’s at-large task editor has actually been closed,” a Biden consultant said. As Biden has adapted to marketing in the age of coronavirus– knocked off the campaign path and rather transmitting occasions and interviews from a transformed rec room in his basement in Delaware– Trump’s project is seizing on every on-camera miscue, with conservative Trump allies such as Fox News host Sean Hannity then magnifying them. ” His sharpness, or absence thereof is on screen every day, every time he talks,” Trump project spokesperson Tim Murtaugh informed CNN in response to concerns about the technique. “His failure to keep a train of thought going is obvious.” Biden frequently looks down at his notes, which Trump’s allies have actually mischaracterized as Biden dropping off to sleep. Trump’s boy Eric Trump tweeted a seven-second video from Biden’s online broadcast with Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, along with the hashtag “#SleepyJoe.”. https://twitter.com/EricTrump/status/1255213748811374596. Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign supervisor, said Trump “always projects his biggest weakens on his challenger in an attempt to deflect criticism from himself.”. ” What is very clear is the White Home thinks his presidency will be evaluated on how properly he is managing coronavirus, so it makes ideal sense that he is now attempting to accuse his challenger of incompetence, which is ridiculous.”. The attacks resemble how Trump’s campaign pursued Clinton in 2016, Mook noted. Trump and his campaign frequently cast the former secretary of state as sick or unhealthy, a technique that was further elevated after Clinton stumbled after a September 11 occasion in New York due to concealed pneumonia. ” I simply see a pattern regularly from 2016 all the way through now, which is, he attempts to predict his most significant issues onto his opponents so he gives the media a false equivalence to attempt to muddy the water,” Mook stated. “Part of the factor he was so obsessed with calling Hillary Clinton dishonest is because he is probably the most deceitful individual to win the White Home.”. Biden advisers argue that Trump’s efforts to caricature Biden won’t overcome the same qualities that insulated him in the Democratic primary: After 5 decades in the public eye and eight years as President Barack Obama’s No. 2, voters feel like they know him. Biden frequently expresses distaste for attacks on his rivals’ character. His aides say that by questioning Biden’s mental capability, the President is guiding the project toward concerns of character and fitness. ” This is asinine to tee up– since it’s 10,000 times even worse for him,” a Biden adviser stated. As an example of how easily Trump could be parodied, Biden’s assistants indicated a video from The Daily Show in which Fox News hosts and analysts’ comments about Biden’s mental skill were interspersed with videos of Trump’s own verbal flubs. Biden spokesman Andrew Bates tweeted The Daily Program’s video, which has been seen 3.6 million times on Twitter, on March 25, in action to Trump spokesperson Matt Wolking tweeting: “When is the last time Joe Biden was lucid?”. https://twitter.com/AndrewBatesNC/status/1242886701002960896. ” Triggering voters to assess prospects’ mental states is a devastating proposal for Donald Trump, so we’re never going to prevent him from going there,” Bates said. – CNNPolitics.

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