WATCHDOG ORGANIZATIONS

For these two major reasons, the role of watchdog organizations, has grown tremendously. They have become central to the tasks of identifying problems, providing information about national security and domestic issues where the conflicts of interest appear. Many of these organizations have been operating for years and have extensive background and historical information. This depth makes it easy for them to identify patterns and quickly spot wrongdoing.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

There are a number of non-profit, consumer watchdog organizations that have a mission of protecting the American consumer, especially after the Wall Street practices in the mortgage industry led to a financial crash in 2008 that led to the Great Recession and caused many to lose their homes. The importance of these watchdog organizations has grown exponentially during the first few weeks of this administration.

The Consumer Finance Bureau was formed after the 2009 Great Recession to protect the American consumer – Main Street from predatory practices – Wall Street. The bureau has been effective in achieving it’s mission. At this writing this administration is threatening to abolish the agency and his position is supported by a Republican Congress and will be overseen by a Goldman Sachs executive who played a prominent role in the practices that led to the collapse of Wall Street in 2009

The administration has said that they would like to abolish this agency in spite of it’s very successful protection of American consumers. A current topic is the “fiduciary rule”, a rule that simply states that a financial advisor, stockbroker etc. is required to put the best interests of the client first. To ordinary people, this is just common sense. However, Republicans and the Trump administration think this rule is a representation of too much regulation.

This is a very good example in the sea change with regard to what is expected of citizens. We need to understand what these regulations mean, figure out how to protect ourselves from predators in the environment and then vote for politicians that have our best interest in the forefront, not the best interests of Wall Street

\http://www.consumerfinance.gov/

Public Citizen is a good example of a non-profit watchdog organization with a broad and very professional approach.

https://www.citizen.org

This website is a good place to start learning about the Wall Street vs. Main Street issues and the people involved. It is a good place to track national issues related to financial issues.

http://ourfinancialsecurity.org/

The sites below are more focused on specific consumer issues, not on the larger political situation.

The Federal Trade Commission also plays a role in consumer protection.

https://www.ftc.gov/about-ftc/bureaus-offices/bureau-consumer-protection

the Federal Deposit insurance Corporation also plays a role in consumer protection.

https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/

http://americaswatchdog.com/

OVERVIEW OF WATCHDOG ORGANIZATIONS AND WIKIPEDIA LISTING

Wikipedia is an excellent place to start any kind of research on a topic and is especially good at providing basic facts and links to more information. A general rule of thumb is to be able to find the same information in three reputable sources.

Below is the Wikipedia listing of the many non-profit watchdog organizations that have been established to be the eyes and ears of the American public.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Government_watchdog_groups_in_the_United_States

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OVERVIEW OF LIBERAL LEANING WATCHDOG ORGANIZATIONS

Many watchdog organizations are concerned with government overreach, government secrecy, unauthorized government action and actual wrongdoing, and lack of government transparency. This orientation makes these sites particularly useful in these times. They already have a healthy skepticism of government in normal times and are highly attuned to violations of civil rights, government cover-up and corruption.

https://activism.net/government/watchdogs.shtml

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

The ACLU’s mission is to fight civil liberties violations whenever and whereever they occur.

Coalition for Progressive Values

To infuse progressive values throughout public policy in America by connecting progressive organizations, their members and other citizens with each other and to ballot initiatives, campaigns and legislative action.

Common Cause

a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen’s lobbying organization promoting open, honest and accountable government

Their Washington Watchdog area is particularly useful

Endgame Research Services

provides research services and training to citizens who are working for corporate and governmental accountability, and who are committed to socially just and ecologically sustainable societies.

The Freedom Forum

a nonpartisan, international foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people. The foundation focuses on four main priorities: the Newseum, First Amendment freedoms, newsroom diversity and world press freedom.

The Freedom of Information Center

Serving the general public and the media on questions about access to government documents and information

From The Wilderness

by Mike Ruppert who, according to Dick Gregory, is “the man who cost CIA Director Deutch his guaranteed appointment as Secretary of Defense after confronting him at Locke High School with hard facts about CIA dealing drugs.”

Human Rights Discussion & Mailing Lists

Discussion of human rights issues including civic, political, economic and social rights, as defined by international law.

The Independent Institute

Enlightening ideas for public policy

The Lighthouse – a weekly e-mail newsletter – is a good read

InFact

Challenging corporate abuse

Building grassroots power

Institute for First Amendment Studies

a non-profit founded in 1984 to expose and counter the political activities of the radical Religious Right

People for the American Way

committed to defending democracy and bringing the ideals of community, opportunity, diversity, equality and fairness together to form a strong, united voice

politechbot.com – by Declan McCullagh

a moderated mailing list of politics and technology. Topics include privacy, free speech, the role of government and corporations, antitrust, and more.

Power Structure Research

an approach to the study of power that highlights the unequal distribution of resources upon which power is based (e.g., wealth, political office, control of the mass media) and the importance of formal and informal social networks as the means by which power is concentrated and institutionalized

Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD)

Instigating democratic conversations and actions that contest the authority of corporations to govern.

ProgressivePunch.org

a non-partisan searchable database of Congressional voting records from a Progressive perspective

Public Citizen

Protecting Health, Safety & Democracy since 1971

Founded by Ralph Nader

School of the Americas Watch

SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the US Army School of the Americas, under whatever name it is called, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC)

Want the real dope on the feds? Want to know what government enforcers actually DO rather than what they SAY they do? TRAC is a source for nonpartisan facts on federal law enforcement. Its mission: to put the government on the record–it’s own record.

TRAC the ATF, DEA, FBI, IRS and others…

United for a Fair Economy

Creators of the excellent and informative site Billionaires For Bush Or Gore .com

working to address the widening income and asset gap in our country

WartimeLiberty.com

the place to find factual, no-nonsense information about the tension between liberty and security during wartime.

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Common Ground
We don’t need to search any further for common ground in our country. We have it.
We all want the same things – a safe, prosperous, free, democratic nation with opportunity for all. At the same time, we will all be harmed if our democracy, our free press, our Constitution and our core American values are threatened. We will all certainly be harmed if reckless behavior triggers any number of potential armed conflicts.

None of us know how this will all play out so let's make a deal. Let’s get up to speed on the issues, establish some facts, take action and watch what happens together . . .