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“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
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“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union

21. Recession Causes States to Cut Welfare

Sources:
Mother Jones, January 15, 2009
Title: “Brave New Welfare”
Author: Stephanie Mencimer

Associated Press, March 26, 2009
Title: “States consider drug tests for welfare recipients”
Author: Tom Breen

Student Researcher: Samantha Barowsky, Southwest Minnesota State University
Malana Men, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Douglas Anderson, PhD
Southwest Minnesota State University

Many states are in the midst of an aggressive action to push thousands of eligible mothers off Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), traditionally known as welfare. Families are being denied aid so that savings can be redirected in state budgets.

Nationally, the number of welfare recipients fell more than 40 percent between 2001 and June 2008.  Louisiana, Texas and Illinois have each dropped 80 percent of adult recipients since January 2001. The state of Georgia had a 90 percent drop, with fewer than 2,500 Georgian adults receiving benefits, down from 28,000 in 2004.

In Georgia last year, only 18 percent of children living below 50 percent of the poverty line—which is less than $733 a month for a family of three—were receiving TANF.

In 2006, the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence conducted a survey to find out why so many women were suddenly failing to get welfare benefits. They discovered that caseworkers were actively discouraging women from applying. Welfare caseworkers were reportedly telling applicants that they would have to be surgically sterilized before they could apply for TANF. Disabled women were told they couldn’t apply because they didn’t meet work requirements. Others were warned that the state could take their children if they applied for benefits. Women are increasingly vulnerable to sexual assault and exploitation—sometimes by the state officials or caseworkers assigned to help them. Arrests of women for prostitution and petty crime went up as more and more families were denied welfare.

Students completing college degrees were misinformed that they would be denied aid once the turned twenty, regardless of graduation status. Students as young as sixteen were told that they must work full time or lose benefits.

Texas reduced its caseload by outsourcing applications to a call center, which not only wrongfully denied some families, but lost applications altogether.

In Florida, one innovative region started requiring TANF applicants to attend forty hours of classes before they could even apply. Clients trying to restore lost benefits had once been able to straighten out paperwork with the help of caseworkers. In 2005, officials assigned all such work to a single employee, available two hours a week. The area’s TANF caseload fell by half in a year.

Because of the recession, many Americans turn to the safety net of government assistance programs such as food stamps, unemployment benefits, or welfare. In an effort to discourage applicants, lawmakers in at least eight states want recipients to submit to random drug testing.

In March 2009, the Kansas House of Representatives approved a measure that mandates drug testing for the 14,000 people getting cash assistance from the state.  In February, the Oklahoma Senate unanimously passed a measure that would require drug testing as a condition of receiving TANF benefits. Similar bills have been introduced in Missouri and Hawaii. A member of Minnesota’s House of Representatives has a bill requiring drug tests of people who get public assistance under a state program there.

During the Clinton era of welfare reform, states were given a fixed amount of money regardless of need.  The TANF block grant was a $16.5 billion grant in which Georgia share alone was $370 million a year. States could divert the funds to any program vaguely related to serving the needy.  Since states receive the same amount of federal funds regardless of how many people received assistance, states were encouraged to deny benefits.  “Even if caseloads go to zero, they get the same amount of money,” notes Robert Welsh of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

States have used the surplus TANF money to expand childcare, job training, and transportation to help recipients find jobs. The Government Accountability Office found in 2006 that many states were moving federal welfare funds away from cash assistance to the poor, or even “work supports” like childcare, to plug holes in state budgets.

TANF is a gateway to education, drug rehabilitation, mental health care, child care, even transportation and disability benefits—tools for upward mobility.
“Welfare is the only cash safety-net program for single moms and their kids,” notes Rebecca Blank, an economist at the Brookings Institution, “One has to worry, with a recession, about the number of women who, if they get unemployed, are not going to have anywhere to turn.”

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