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Trump Wants to Take Away Disability Benefits from Happy Veterans

Polipace Staff

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The Social Security Administration once again is floating an extremely ableist proposal: using social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook, to monitor people with disabilities who receive disability benefits from the government including the 1.3 million veterans.

It’s not uncommon for veterans to have both Social Security and veterans disability claims going on at the same time.

Alternatively, some veterans receive veterans disability benefits before applying for Social Security disability.

A “service-connected” disability is one that was a result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service.

The agency is arguing this is necessary to fight fraud, ensuring that people who “aren’t really disabled” won’t be able to collect benefits. For the disability community, the implications of this proposal are significant — and very scary. If they seem too happy on social media, or show their live is getting better in any way, shape of form, they might lose their benefits.

The government provides many forms of disability benefits. But most people think of Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income when they hear “disability.”

Social Security Disability Insurance is paid to people who worked at some point during their lives. It’s linked to their earnings, with people generally making less than $1,200 in benefits every month.

Social Security disability does not compensate disability claimants based on a partial loss of employability. You are either totally disabled or not disabled under Social Security’s definition of disability.

The SSA hasn’t yet offered specifics on how it might use social media in evaluating disability claims.

But writing for Forbes, Imani Barbarin, who has cerebral palsy and is an advocate for the disabled community, observed that the policy could backfire by mistakenly rejecting people from the program. She noted that such a proposal demonstrates a “fundamental misunderstanding” of disability and how a social media post made by a disabled person could easily be misconstrued.

“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,” Barbarin wrote. “Additionally, studies have shown that a majority of social media users show only the good in their lives, not the hardships or difficulties.”

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Trump

Russians Are Buying US Farm Land As Trump Tariffs Kill Farmers

Polipace Staff

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Foreign investors, mainly Oligarchs from Russia, acquired at least 1.6 million acres of U.S. agricultural land in 2016, the largest increase in more than a decade, according to a review by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting of the latest available federal data.

The data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that foreign investors control—either through direct ownership or long-term leases—at least 28.3 million acres, valued at $52.2 billion. That area is about the size of the state of Ohio.

“Foreign integration into the United States agribusiness sector has been steadily increasing over the last few decades,” agricultural law experts Marisa Bocci, Kari Larson and Paulina Wu wrote in a September 2018 report published in the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law.

The state with the most foreign ownership and investment is Maine, which has 3.1 million acres that are foreign-controlled, followed closely by Texas at 3 million acres.

Estimates of foreign ownership of agriculture land may be underreported as data can be inconsistent and the latest release is more than two years old. Still, it gives a strong indication of amount of foreign ownership and lease information.

Already, six states have laws banning foreign ownership of farmland. Those states are Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

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Trump

Trump Defends Withdrawal from Syria Because of “A lot of Sand.”

Polipace Staff

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Yes, you read that right: President Trump is defending his decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, saying, “It’s not our problem,” and that “they’ve got a lot of sand over there. There’s a lot of sand they can play with.”

He said the Kurds, longtime U.S. allies, are “much safer right now,” and added, “They’re not angels.”

Trump has been facing severe bipartisan criticism for having U.S. forces stand aside as the Turks moved into northeast Syria last week to attack the Kurds, who were allies of the United States in the campaign against Islamic State.

Trump spoke at a photo opportunity before meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday. The two are also holding a joint news conference.

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GOP

John Bolton Ordered Staff to Report Trump and Guiliani Because of Illegal Ukrainian “Drug Deal.”

Polipace Staff

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The New York Times is reporting that, responding to the Ukraine scandal, Trump aide John Bolton warned “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everyone up.”

Seems he was fired because he would have no part of President Donald Trump’s off-the-books shadow government Ukraine extortion scandal. Bolton also apparently implicated both the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and the president’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvany.

“I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton told senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs Fiona Hill to tell White House lawyers, The New York Times reports in a bombshell article late Monday night.

Bolton, who resigned from the Trump administration hours before President Trump tweeted he had fired him, instructed Hill “to notify the chief lawyer for the National Security Council that Mr. Giuliani was working with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on a rogue operation with legal implications,” Hill told House of Representatives investigators on Monday.

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