Email a friend     Go to Podcast

December 2021

Mission of the Watch Dawgs

The Mission of the Watch Dawgs

Welcome!  We are the Watch Dawgs, citizens of Athens, Georgia who ask questions, interview experts, speak out, and Raise a Lantern over Athens-Clarke government operations to inspect its books, audit it, and keep our fellow Athenians informed.

We expect our government to be Open, Honest, Frugal, and one that fully supports our Brave Guardians, the Police and First Responder men and women who protect us.

Our Watch Dawgs are also on the lookout for government Waste, Corruption, Abuse, and Election Fraud.

Likewise, we trust our government will defend our God-given Liberties and thereby unleash the Grit and Smarts of our city's Hard-Working and Self-Reliant People.

We believe Informed and Vigilant Voters are the best way to guarantee the Free, Prosperous and High Quality Life we enjoy in the Athens area today.

NOTE: While a Southern "dawg" is in our name and logo, we are in no way connected to the University of Georgia.  Yet, being Athens citizens, we are proud of our hometown UGA Bulldogs.

The Importance of Government Watchdogs

Independent watchdogs and critics of government are absolutely crucial to any democratic nation, state or local city/town.  The reason?  Watchdogs fill a much-needed government oversight gap.

Truth is, the public influences businesses and governments in entirely different ways.

Businesses (or merchants) are forced to be highly customer-conscious because consumers "vote" with their dollars every day for the products and services they want.  So if a new business provides consumers a better deal or a more useful product/service, dollars will naturally shift to that new business and away from other businesses.  Longer term, companies who fail to serve the public’s needs go out of business, being replaced by more value-creating competitors.

Government, however, is neither controlled by competitive forces nor consumer buying habits.  Governments are monopolies — for a citizen can only have one local, State, and national government.  Thus, only citizen open record requests, complaints, law suits, and voting in new politicians every few years can change the course of governments.

And in today's age of great cost-saving digital and internet-driven automation in the business world, why have governments failed to pare back their cost to operate?  Look at Washington, DC.  The regulatory, spending, and taxing power that our Federal government holds over Americans is increasing, not decreasing.

Yes, voting politicians out of office sometimes works, but rich and self-preserving government bureaucracies are highly resistant to real change.

Bottom line: history shows that without watchdogs and concerned citizens demanding change, governments can easily get out of control.

Watchdogs from Yesterday and Today

A good way to understand the mission of watchdogs is to hear the commentary of watchdogs from history and those active today:

Arguably, one of the first government watchdogs was Diogenes, a philosopher who was active in Ancient Athens, the Greek city-state that was the birthplace of democratic government.

When Alexander the Great addressed philosopher Diogenes and asked him if he wanted anything, Diogenes replied, “Yes, stand a little out of my sunshine.”

In another challenge to government, Diogenes was once seized and dragged off to King Philip, and being asked who he was, replied, “A spy upon your insatiable greed.”

Distrustful of the motives of his fellow citizens, he once said, “If you are to be kept right, you must possess either good friends or red-hot enemies.  The one will warn you, the other will expose you.”

Diogenes once lit a lamp in broad daylight and walked around the city saying, “I am looking for an honest man.”

    Diogenes was a Greek philosopher and social critic who spent a good deal of time in the city states of Corinth and Athens.  Living a life of poverty, he spoke about the human tendency to live artificial lives and be hypocrites.  Diogenes is also known as the Dog Philosopher, in part because he viewed studying dogs as a way for humans to learn how to live honestly.

“Let us dare to read, think, speak and write.  To preserve Liberty, the People must know the conduct and character of their rulers.  Let us rouse the People's attention and animate their resolution.”

    John Adams was a Boston area Lawyer who wrote the Massachusetts Constitution which served as model for the U.S. Constitution.  He became the second President of the United States.

“Consider the tendency of government to multiply offices and dependencies and to increase expenses to the limit of what the citizen can bear.  It behooves us on every occasion to take off the surcharge.  Otherwise, Government will consume all of what it was established to guard.”

    Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and was the third President of the United States.

“The government consists of people exactly like you and me.  They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office.

Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them.  Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing.  The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B.

In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.”

    H. L. Mencken was one of America's greatest pundits. He contributed to The Baltimore Sun for decades and also wrote numerous books, including his 1926 tome Notes on Democracy. As a libertarian, he valued liberty and believed that "any invasion of liberty is immensely dangerous to the commonweal".

“We have come to believe the problem in Washington is a sort of legalized bribery.  If outside interests can only be held at bay, we can and will get better leadership.

But what if we are wrong?  What if the problem is not bribery. . . but extortion?

What if the Permanent Political Class in Washington, made up of individuals from both parties, is using its coercive public power to not only stay in office but to threaten others and to extract wealth, and in the bargain pick up private benefits for themselves, their friends, and their families?”

    Peter Schweiser is president of the Government Accountability Institute and a former Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is a number one New York Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into eleven languages.

“For years, black political leaders in New York City aligned themselves with labor unions to block the construction of a Walmart in a low-income community with persistently high unemployment. 

According to a Marist poll taken in 2011, 69 percent of blacks in New York would welcome a Walmart in their neighborhood.  Yet these black leaders put the interests of Big Labor, which doesn't like the retailer's stance toward unions, ahead of the interests of struggling black people who could use the jobs and low-priced goods.”

    Jason Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, where he has published opinion pieces for more than 20 years. Topics include politics, economics, education, immigration, social inequality and race.

“We're living amid an artificial reality, persuaded to believe it's real by astroturf engineered to look like grassroots.

Big corporations rule the world.  You may choose not to believe it.  That’s exactly what they’re counting on.  They influence vast amounts of information we receive.  They control some facets of government so effectively that the government has all but given up trying to resist it.  And it’s the same whether we’re talking about Democrats or Republicans.”

“Judicial Watch has always believed that knowing the ‘character and conduct’ of the individuals who serve in the government and ensuring that the public is informed about what its government is doing is crucial to preserving our great republic.  As James Madison wrote:

    ‘A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both.’

Transparency is all about self-governance.  If we don’t know what the government is doing, how is that self-governance?  How is that even a republic?

Today, our government is bigger than ever, and also the most secretive in recent memory.”

    Tom Fitton is the President of Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group that for over twenty-two years has been the most active user of the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to promote transparency, accountability, and integrity in government, politics, and the law.

“The last couple of years have made the first 10 or 12 years of the VOTERGA organization worthwhile.  For many years, we felt that people weren’t listening to us.  We had the evidence and the facts but people weren’t listening.

Now people are starting to listen, and they’re realizing that the news media hasn’t been telling us the truth.  And the Secretary of State’s office hasn’t been telling us the truth.  So people now are waking up and they’re understanding.  They want election integrity, and they want election transparency like they’ve never wanted it before.”

    Garland Favorito is a Co-Founder of VoterGA, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that has led the election integrity movement in Georgia for 16 years.  VoterGA is dedicated to restoring the integrity of Georgia elections through verifiable, auditable and recount-capable voting.

Listen to Podcast:
The Mission of the Watch Dawgs

Athens — the Birthplace of Democratic Government

The picture above combines three image sources:

Copyright 2021 The Watch Dawgs

Dan Baker

Dan Baker

Dan Baker is editor of The Watch Dawgs and has been an independent market analyst/journalist in the telecom industry for 25 years.

He operates his own “boutique” research firm, Technology Research Institute, and edits his Black Swan Telecom Journal.  His current areas of telecom specialty include analytics/AI systems, fraud and identity theft, consumer protection from phone scams/robocalling, and connectivity/IoT solutions in Asia Pacific.

Dan has lived in Athens since 2016 and originally hails from Massachusetts where he learned his trade.  He also served for 9 years in the U.S.  Navy’s Pacific Fleet.  With a Bachelor Liberal Arts degree from Notre Dame, he’s not quite sure who to cheer for when the Fightin’ Irish come to Dooley Field.

Recent Stories