Welcome to UNKNOWN NEWS "News that's not known, or not known enough."
Helen & Harry Highwater's cranky weblog of news and opinion.
    ... with a tip of the hat to FactCheck.org, Media Matters, PolitiFact.com, and Snopes.    

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©   Helen & Harry Highwater and the individual authors.

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Why are we doing this?

     Democracy depends on an informed public discourse. As lies and misinformation are multiplied by mass media, by bloggers, by panicked or intentionally lying emailers, democracy is more and more imperiled, and eventually becomes unworkable.

     Please — our nation and our world face very serious, very
real problems. You can help, by not believing everything anyone says, and instead being skeptical about all the phony, non-existent problems that are only distractions. Check the facts, or if that's too much trouble, check with the people who do check the facts. We particularly recommend Columbia Journalism Review, ConWebBlog, FactCheck, Media Matters, RightWing Watch, Snopes.com, ThinkProgress, and Washington Monthly.

Glenn Beck

Pat Buchanan

Ann Coulter

Lou Dobbs

Fox News

Sean Hannity

Investors Business Daily

Rush Limbaugh

Bill O'Reilly

Sarah Palin

Michael Savage

This is not a comprehensive list of all the flip-flops, prevarications, and falsehoods written, uttered, or implied by every politician, every radio host, or every pundit. Good heavens, no — almost all politicians lie on occasion, so we'd need a much bigger computer and a staff of dozens just to catalogue the endless supply of whoppers with cheese.

     On this page we're primarily tracking a small subset of political lies — the bold-faced hokum that's been repeated so widely, for so long, it's become difficult to seriously discuss the issues without bumping into the bull. Lies debunked months ago, sometimes
years ago, are still recited as if they're God's honest truth. Some of these lies have been circulating, repeated over and over again on Fox News and the Rush Limbaugh Show, until they're treated as facts and become "accepted wisdom" in the nation's political conversation.

      How is it possible to have a democracy of "we the people" when virtually every issue under discussion is argued with lies?

     Shrewd observers have pointed out that almost all the lies listed on this page are lies from right-wingers, and that's correct.

     Of course, no honest observer can dispute that the Democrats in Congress are largely liars and hypocrites, but it's a different kind of dishonesty. Democrats frequently run for office with eloquent speeches about their strong belief in ending state-sanctioned torture, equal rights for all, firm regulation of corporate capitalism, peace instead of war, and so forth — claims which are all-too-often exposed as lies once the Democrat is in office, eagerly compromising or simply ignoring the "principles" claimed on the campaign trail. That kind of dishonesty is reprehensible, but it's routine in both parties.

     It's something different when someone's speaking plain lies about straighforward, almanac-style facts — stuff that can be quickly looked up and verified or debunked. When leaders on the left tell lies like that we'll definitely call them on it, enthusiastically. But that's not the Democrats' strategy. In present-day America it's the right-wing, not the left, that daily and routinely by design and intentionally builds its arguments on telling lies about facts.

     That's what this page is about — how the national debate is being intentionally subverted and debased by lies about the facts of the matter on almost every matter, lies told by major players who are widely seen as responsible adults even as they lie their asses off. Those liars are almost entirely Republicans, conservatives, and right-wing idealogues.

     There is no left-wing equivalent of right-wing leaders' perpetual lies about Obama's birth or radicalism, lies about "death panels", lies about factual things like budget numbers and tax rates and historical events, or all the other lies listed on this page.

     The Democratic Party doesn't have professional liars on payroll like the Republican Party's Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, Michael Steele, and so forth.

     There's no left-wing equivalent of Fox News, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, and other purported pundits, analysts, and commentators who act as lie megaphones, to keep blatant untruths in circulation on TV and radio around the clock.

     Democrats don't have widely-known politicians on the national stage who make news over and over and over again by telling lies. There's no left-wing competition for right-wing liars such as Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-Minnesota), Congressman John Boehner (R-Ohio), Congressman Dan Burton (R-Indiana), Congressman Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), former but still famous Congressman Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Senator Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire), Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa), Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), Senator John Kyl (R-Arizona), Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), former Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska), Congressman Mike Pence (R-Indiana), Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), on and on and on ...

     Saying "both sides do it" is just another lie. Both sides don't do it. One side offers a staggeringly huge, ongoing and unending flood of bullsh*t, on purpose, on radio and television, in debates and in ads, in interviews and in Congress, as a well-planned, organized, and efficiently executed strategy. The other side doesn't.

--Helen & Harry Highwater,  Unknown News 

Like the URL says, this website is about unknown news.

Our news comes only from mainstream, professional journalists or (rarely) other sources we trust entirely, with no nuttiness and no interest in the same news you see everywhere else.

What we believe

We believe in liberty and justice for all, so of course, we oppose many US government policies. This doesn't mean we're anti-American, redneck scum, pinko commies, militia members, or terrorist-sympathizers. It means we believe in freedom, as more than merely a cliché.

We believe you have the right to live your own life as you choose, and others have the equal right to live their lives as they choose. It's not complicated.

We believe freedom leads to peace, progress, and prosperity, while its opposite -- oppression -- leads to war, terrorism, poverty, and misery.

We believe it's preposterously stupid to hate people because of their appearance, their race or nationality, their religion or lack of religion, how they have sex with other consenting adults, etc. There are far more apropos reasons to hate most people.

We believe in questioning ourselves, our assumptions, each other -- and we especially believe in questioning authority (the more authority, the more questions). We believe obedience is a fine quality in dogs and young children, but not in adults.

Like America's right-wingers, we believe in individual responsibility, hard work to get ahead, and stern punishment for serious crimes. We believe big government should not be blindly trusted.

But unlike most right-wing leaders, we mean it.

Like America's left-wingers, we believe in equal treatment under law, war as a last (not first) resort, and sensible stewardship of natural resources. We believe big business should not be blindly trusted.

But unlike most left-wing leaders, we mean it.

Like libertarians, we believe it's wrong and reprehensible to arrest people for what they think, believe, look like, wear, eat, smoke, drink, inhale, inject, or otherwise do to themselves.

But unlike many libertarians, we're not obsessed with the gold standard, we don't believe incorporation is humanity's highest achievement, and we don't believe everything in life comes down to dollars and cents. We've read and enjoyed Ayn Rand's novels, but we understand that they're works of fiction.

We're skeptical, and we're sick of so-called 'journalists' who aren't skeptical at all.

A reader asks, what are our solutions?

We propose no solutions except common sense, which is never common. We like the principles of democracy, and the ideals broadly described as 'American'. The US Constitution is a fine and workable framework for solutions, when it's actually read and thoughtfully understood by intelligent statesmen and women. So, no manifestos from us. We don't dream that big, and if there's one thing the world doesn't need it's yet another manifesto.

Our suggestion is: think.

A fact-based instead of faith-based approach leads to solutions for most of the recurring issues of our time, from abortion to global climate change, pollution to universal health care, careful but real regulation of industry and economy, hunger, war, terror, human rights for humans not for corporations, science not religious doctrine in public schools, equal protection and prosecution under law, etc. Approach problems without glorifying stupidity, without demonizing intelligence, and answers usually come into focus.

These pages are published by Harry and Helen Highwater, happily married low-income nom de plumes and rabble-rousers from Madison, Wisconsin (with a few friends scattered around the world helping out).

We try to spotlight news that hasn't gotten enough (or appropriate) attention in American media, along with our opinions and yours.

We bang our keyboards against the wall, because it doesn't hurt as much as banging our heads.