Dr. Naomi Wolf joins the podcast this week to discuss whether or not the current COVID lockdowns are forever changing the face of the U.S. We’ll revisit her previous New York Times Bestseller The End of America because of the warnings she outlined are becoming today’s reality.
Dr. Naomi Wolf is an author, feminist leader, and a former democratic advisor. Her most recent books include the New York Times bestsellers Vagina, The End of America, and Give Me Liberty, in addition to the landmark bestseller The Beauty Myth. A former Rhodes Scholar, she completed a doctorate in English language and literature from the University of Oxford in 2015, was a research fellow at Barnard College and the University of Oxford, and taught rhetoric at the George Washington University and Victorian studies at Stony Brook University. Wolf lives in the Hudson River Valley. Her latest book is Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love (Chelsea Green Publishing, October 2020).
Welcome to, She Thinks, a podcast where you’re allowed to think for yourself. I’m your host, Beverly Hallberg. And on today’s episode, Dr. Naomi Wolf joins us to discuss whether or not the current COVID lockdowns are forever changing the face of the United States. We’ll revisit her New York Times bestselling book, The End of America because the warning she laid out years ago is becoming today’s reality. Before we bring her on a little bit more about her. Dr. Naomi Wolf is an author, feminist leader, and former Democrat adviser. Her most recent books include the New York Times bestsellers The End of America and Give me Liberty. A former Rhode Scholar, she completed a doctorate in English, Language, and Literature from the University of Oxford in 2015. Was a research fellow at Barnard College and the University of Oxford and taught rhetoric at the George Washington University and Victorian Studies at Stony Brook University.
Her latest book is Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love. And I would like to let everybody know that the book we’re discussing today, The End of America, has a new introduction, which you can download for free, as well as two chapters that you can download for free. All you have to do is go to chelseagreen.com to access those. Again, it’s chelseagreen.com. But Dr. Wolf, it a pleasure to have you on She Thinks today. And welcome to She Thinks, a podcast where you’re allowed to think for yourself. I’m your host, Beverly Hallberg. And on today’s episode, Dr. Naomi Wolf joins us to discuss whether or not the current COVID lockdowns are forever changing the face of the United States will revisit her New York Times bestselling book, The End of America, because the warning she laid out years ago is becoming today’s reality. Before we delve into that a little bit more about Dr. Naomi Wolf.
She is an author, feminist leader, and a former Democrat advisor. Her most recent books include the New York Times bestsellers Vagina, The End of America, and Give me Liberty. In addition to the landmark bestseller, The Beauty Myth. A former Rhode Scholar. She completed a doctorate in English, Language, and Literature from the University of Oxford in 2015. Was a research fellow at Barnard College and the University of Oxford, and taught rhetoric at the George Washington University and Victorian Studies at Stony Brook University. Her latest book is Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love. Dr. Wolf, it is a pleasure to have you today.
Thank you so much. And please call me Naomi.
Naomi, I will do so. We really are pleased to have you on today. I’ve been following you on Twitter. I’ve been seeing what you have been saying about COVID and the lockdowns and how this is leading to what you say is a totalitarian state. But I think before we get into the current day, I’d really like to discuss your book, The End of America. This is a book that we’re looking to right now, even though this isn’t your most recent release, this is a book from several years ago. But you relate it to what we’re seeing today. So can you explain to us… First of all, how long ago did you write The End of America? Why did you write it? And how does that relate to today?
Absolutely, I will answer all those questions. But before I do, I just want to say how grateful I am to be talking to you because I have followed the IWF for many, many years, and it is one of the examples I give when people say, “Do you have to be on the left to be a feminist?” And as you probably know, I think you can be anywhere on the political spectrum and be a feminist. So I appreciate the work that you all do. So I wrote the book, The End of America, in 2007. It was published in 2008. And I wrote it because I was seeing concerning signs at that time under the Bush administration. But these are really non-partisan issues. I was seeing concerning signs that indicated that we were heading away from a robust democracy and toward a declining democracy, toward tyranny.
And it was really early days, they were just straws in the wind. But what I did was I looked back at totalitarian or fascist regimes on the right and the left in history. And I saw that there was kind of a blueprint that would-be tyrants always do the same 10 things. They take the same 10 steps, whether they’re on the left or the right. And that these 10 steps when they are taken inevitably lead to the end of democracy, the closing of democracy. So I kept up those warnings under the Obama administration because it didn’t matter to me that I’m a Dem, he’s a Dem. Didn’t matter. He carried forward some of those tyrannical steps that had been set in place. And I kept up the warning under Trump. And now, people often have asked me over the last 12 years, will you tell us when we’re at step 10?
And I’ve always said, there’s still hope. We’re not there yet. But actually, we are now at step 10. I’m sorry to say we’re here. And that what I really want people to understand is under the guise of a real medical emergency, and often would be tyrants use crises, real crises, and they hype them and they manipulate them and exploit them to seize power under the narrative of a real pandemic. We are absolutely seeing the takeover of our democratic system and the establishment of emergency laws, which are closed.
And so, let’s get into that 10th step a little bit more. You talk about the pandemic as really being the why leaders were able to take so much of this power. Did you expect that it would be a pandemic that would get us here? And what were the specific things that elected officials did that allowed the citizenry to allow them to take this power? I would say that in many ways we have let elected officials take emergency powers and take our freedoms away. Correct?
Yeah, we have. I mean, I gave the American people a pass for about six months because we were afraid and it was new… We were constantly being told, this is a new virus. We don’t know how it works. There are going to be tens of thousands, millions of bodies stacked up. And fear is always used at these moments to terrify people into submitting, to give up their democracy. I mean, [inaudible 00:06:51] made this point, if you scare people enough, they’ll let you do anything. So I don’t blame the American people initially. But a year in, I do blame us. I do. And I really appreciate those states where governors are standing up and saying, “No, I am not going to hold onto emergency powers. We’re going to open up. We’re going to respect the rule of law and the constitution.”
And I’m very appalled… I am a liberal and I don’t mean to liberal bash, but I have to be honest, I’ve always been honest and put the constitution above partisanship. I’m horrified that my own team is using this pandemic to shut down freedom of speech, to enforce… Invest powers in the CDC that no public health agency is supposed to have, according to our checks and balances. That democratic governors like Mario Cuomo in New York, where I live, and Gavin Newsom in California, are in engaging in tyrannical suppression of their own people. Forcibly shutting businesses, which is basically theft. Forcibly keeping children out of school, which is a human rights violation. Imposing mask mandates, which is also a human rights violation. I mean, forcing isolation, which violates the Geneva Conventions. Trying to hold our kid’s hostage so that they can force vaccines on kids, which should be a parent’s choice, of course, and violates informed consent laws, and so on and so on.
I’m sorry, not Mario Cuomo. Andrew Cuomo. His son is our governor in New York State. So all of these things are being done like Andrew Cuomo, I get an email every 30 days that tells me that my governor in New York State is extending emergency law for another 30 days. And there’s no oversight. There’s no way to stop him. 14 senators have mobilized to try to claw back his emergency powers. But as history shows, once people have emergency powers, it is very difficult to get them back. And there is no emergency in Columbia County where I live. I crunched the numbers and there are fewer people dying of COVID in my County than deaths of despair due to lockdowns, which include opioid overdoses, suicide, drug addiction overdoses, and so on.
It’s catastrophic. And I went to the town hall in Salem, Massachusetts, Massachusetts is also closed, yesterday. And I was told there are not going to be town meetings reopening for the foreseeable future because Governor Baker, who’s a Republican, and he’s still doing, has emergency powers. And they wouldn’t show me any data to support the justification for emergency powers. So basically in the city of Salem the citizens’ rights are suspended. And Massachusetts is like the birthplace of American freedom and democracy. So this is happening across the country. And it’s absolutely terrifying.
One of the things that have surprised me, because it’s not just our U.S. constitution, which of course is paramount. It’s also state constitutions that have been violated when these emergency powers have been extended past what is usually expected if there is some type of emergency. Usually, that’s weather-related where a governor needs to make decisions because the legislature can’t get together. These powers were just willingly giving these governors certain states. Here’s what I want to get into, is the psyche of those who want to take the power. Why do they think they know better than a citizen, somebody who they represent? Why do they not trust that individual with the freedom to make decisions about their health and about schooling and children, et cetera?
Beverly, you’re asking such an important question. And the answer is really heartbreaking. That’s the essential question, right? And that should be how our democracy works, of course. That our elected officials represent us and listen to us and respond to us. Unfortunately, I can never forget what I learned as a political consultant at the highest levels. And that was to the Clinton re-election campaign and to Gore 2000. And those were pretty reasonable politicians. But I mean, you may or may not agree. But they, even so, the people who influenced the shape of policy even then were special interests, and that has only gotten worse. So in a crisis especially, what happens is big, big, special interest. In this case, it’s pharmaceuticals. It’s big tech, which is up 27% every quarter since the pandemic began. It’s corporations like Amazon, which is also up astronomically.
And other entities that profit from this, they’re the ones who are clustering around governors and policymakers and saying, “Okay. The response has to look like this. We need distance learning.” Because the distance learning tech platforms had just made $300 million this year. They had these distance learning curriculum ready to roll out. It’s a fantastic opportunity. As Rahm Emanual said, “Never waste a good crisis.” To keep our kids alone and isolated, even the children who are not at risk, and to mint these millions year after year. The same thing I watched play out in detail in New York State. I’m a tiny landlord. As a single mom, I fed my kids by having saved up through scraping a tiny piece of property that let me have a steady income when being a writer didn’t let me have an income to feed my kids.
And so, during the pandemic, Andrew Cuomo served his buddies in the real estate industry, and Bill de Blasio served his buddies in the real estate industry, by preventing evictions for six months. So this sounds compassionate. There’s no epidemiological reason for it. But what it really does is it shakes out small businesses. This is a war on the middle class. It’s a war on everyone who isn’t a gigantic corporation. It kills small businesses. It kills restaurants. It kills small landlords. And then there’s one moment when all the property prices in New York, in the New York area, I watched this happen, dropped like 25%, because that was two weeks after the evictions limitation ran out. So all those tiny landlords like me, or immigrant families, or people who barely could hold on, had not made any income for six months.
They were desperate. They sold at a fire sale. And gigantic institutional investors scoop that up. Same thing with pharmaceuticals. Believe it or not, people at the CDC get revenue from vaccines if they hold patents. And there’s something called the CDC Foundation, which gets tens of millions of dollars a year from Bill Gates and from pharmaceuticals. Bill Gates and pharmaceuticals also give millions of dollars to both political parties. You and I don’t necessarily give millions of dollars to both political parties. So these influencers at a high level are able to craft the response to this pandemic. And in an emergency with emergency powers, you have no pressure from citizens. Or they get upset, but there’s nothing they can do about it, to stop this feeding trough for special interests. To keep your kids at home, to drive everyone on to technology, which makes millions for tech companies, to kill small businesses, and so on and so on.
Yeah, I know that we, on this podcast, have focused specifically on teacher’s unions as well. And that being one of the roots causes why we see certain areas where kids aren’t going back to school because of the special interest incentives there. I want to get to the ability to be able to take this power. And that has to start by sowing seeds of fear. People being fearful. Obviously, there are understandable concerns with this pandemic, especially for those 65 and older, those who have preexisting conditions. It’s not to minimize that. We have hundreds of thousands of people who have died in this country and the world much more. When we look at sowing fear, do you think the media has been a role player in this? Because people have to be fearful in order to give up their rights to their elected officials. What role has fear and the media’s display of that fear, has it played a part in that?
Beverly, absolutely, these are the right questions to ask. Because when you ask and answer these questions, you see gigantic pieces of the puzzle fall into place. Without these answers, it’s very confusing what’s happening to us. So, yes, I want to let people know that The Gates Foundation has given again, tens of millions of dollars for, “COVID education,” to the New York Times, NPR, The Guardian, The BBC, and a number of other news outlets, according to the Columbia Journalism Review and my own scrutiny of The Gates Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 990s. So they’ve blanketed these news outlets with cash for COVID education.
The Gates Foundation is also funding vaccines and involved in K-12 education and so on. They have way too much power. As a result, I don’t think the media is really free to run a story like really everything’s much better now, or kids… What’s really true. The facts that I’ve learned that have led me to adjust my own fear level and response as a caring mom and a conscientious person really haven’t come from news outlets that are corrupted by Gates money. They’ve come directly from scientists or from peer-reviewed studies.
And so, when you open the New York Times, they’re reporting with data that’s A, corrupt. News outlets, as you know, per journalistic ethics should disclose if they’ve got funding that is a conflict of interest. But the second thing is they’re also using really bad data and they’re using it to scare people. An example of this is the digital dashboards that I’m sure everyone has seen if they read national news. The COVID-19 Tracking Project, or the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health COVID dashboard, that all the major news outlets link to. Well, I run a digital government data dashboard as CEO of a tech company, Daily Clout. And I know that you can tell any story with a digital dashboard if the data sets aren’t linked. And they aren’t linked. So you can’t check them. And these people who run these dashboards are funded by Bloomberg, who also is making a fortune as a tech guy on lockdown. And also lockdowns and a lockdown economy give someone like Bloomberg the ability to really short or long the economy kind of with legal insider trading.
Like if you know because you’re funding the dashboard, pardon me, what the data are going to say five minutes before everyone else does, you can make a fortune investing. Going long on Amazon, if you know that lockdown is going to extend another week or whatever it is the numbers are doing. These do not state health agencies. These are not verifiable numbers. And they do really sneaky things like they report numbers cumulatively. So that every time you open that dashboard, it says, “Half a million people have died.” And they don’t say over the course of 12 months. It reads like today. Or they’ll do things like not update the data over a holiday. And then you’ll get a huge spike. It looks like a huge spike.
And also, the CDC is playing games. Like a few months ago, they changed the definition of how they count COVID so that they counted it with pneumonia and influenza. And those diseases kill people every year by tens of thousands. In 2017, 70,000 people died of the flu. Those are big numbers. But they just folded it all into one category. And then when they couldn’t create a category that was robust enough of people dying of COVID, they changed it to death with COVID. And you see these same games being played in Britain and in Canada and other places that populations are being scared with COVID data. And I just want to say one last factual point. In Minnesota, two state senators did what people really should do, which is they audited the death certificates. And what they found with a real audit, because no one’s checking these numbers independently.
Is that 40% of the death certificates had been inflated as COVID deaths. And the same thing is happening in Britain. People are starting to say, “My loved one was assigned as having died of COVID or with COVID, but they died with dementia, or in a car crash, or if cancer or various other causes of death.” And you and I are journalists. And we both know that when there’s this much fudging and lack of transparency, that’s a red flag. And as one scientist, who’s a whistleblower, pointed out, it’s during a public health crisis that data about the crisis should be especially transparent and verifiable. The last thing I want to add… Can you hear me? I just want to make sure you’re there.
I am here.
Okay, great. The last thing I want to add without getting too nerdy about this, the people really deserve to know, is that there is a scandal with the tests. Maybe if your listeners haven’t heard this yet, maybe they have. Because it really hasn’t been reported on CNN or NPR. It should be. It’s a huge story. But the PCR tests, which are most of the tests that you get, like the one I got when I went to CVS and had a COVID test. Those can be dialed up to generate false positives at an industrial scale when the cycle threshold is raised above 25. And an investigation found out that labs were running them at 35, even 45, which is guaranteed. I went and reported this out at a PCR test lab with a PCR test expert, that many other people have reported this. Which is guaranteed to generate false positives. A PCR test can report as positives the flu or a cold that you had months ago. So as a result… And the other thing is duplicates are not being counted.
So, if I get tested every week like a relative does who works at a restaurant, there’s nothing to keep her positive test from being replicated over and over as if it’s multiple people. So this combination of sloppiness and error means that we really can’t know how bad this pandemic has been because the WHO issued a correction in January of this year saying, “Labs have to disclose at what level they’re running these cycles thresholds because these tests are generating false positives at an industrial scale.” So that’s the kind of facts behind these pandemics. It’s bad, bad science. Bad numbers. I’m not trivializing this at all.
I know people who have been really sick and a couple of elderly people who have sadly passed away from this disease. But we as a nation have lived through bad diseases before, much worse than this. We’ve lived through the Spanish Flu, and cholera, and typhus, and smallpox and HIV, and never in the constitution, I say this lot, does it say, “This all is to be suspended in the event of a bad disease.” In fact, as someone pointed out recently, it’s in difficult times that… The constitution is meant for difficult times to get us through them with our liberties intact.
Absolutely. And before we get to what we can do, I want to take a moment to highlight IWS Champion Women Profile Series, which focuses on women across the country and world that are accomplishing amazing things. The media too often ignore their stories, but we don’t. We celebrate them and we bring their stories to you. Our current profile is representative Nicole Malliotakis from New York’s 11th congressional district. To check out her story, do go to iwf.org to see why she’s this week’s Champion Woman. And just to follow up on all of that, Naomi, I think there’s a valid reason, I’m one of those included in this, which is those of us who have questioned the numbers, questioned the data. I’ve had family members with false positives. We have our own personal experiences. But we’ve also seen the contradictions, even the CDC most recently saying that they’re… Here are the freedoms that they’re going to give back to us. And it’s like, you never had those freedoms. Those are our freedoms.
And you can make suggestions based on science. But I think even the numbers themselves, people have had many questions. Of course, the big story in your home state of New York has been Andrew Cuomo and the nursing home disaster and his policies and the coverup of those thousands of seniors who died because of his COVID policies. And I think when we hear all of this, and we hear the data that you’re giving to us, we ask, what can we do? If we’re at step 10, if we’re already at step 10, is it too late? Or do we see glimmers of hope? Because we see certain politicians saying, “No, we’re giving the power back to the people.” Or they never took it to begin with. Are there enough pockets of elected officials who aren’t trying to take this power for themselves and enough people who are willing to stand up for it that it’s not yet hopeless?
Well, Beverly, this is completely up to us. I mean, I don’t want to minimize the gravity of the moment we’re at. If we don’t act like literally now, every single day, it will be too late. And I don’t think Americans have any idea. Some of them do if they came from totalitarian countries, but most Americans… Or if their ancestors did. Most Americans, thank God, don’t have any idea how… That there is something much scarier than a bad disease, and that is life without freedom and we’re hurdling in that direction. So I do see hope, but it absolutely depends on us as individuals, as patriots. And the most important thing I can do, we can do, and I think it’s notable that I was de-platformed from multiple platforms after I called for this. But the most important thing we can do, as was my husband, is to unite across partisan lines, to create a movement, a freedom movement, to save our liberty. And that there are many action steps there.
I mean, Moms for Liberty in Florida who are conservative, and moms around Jennifer Sey, who’s Democrat in San Francisco, who care about getting their kids back to school without masks on their little faces are uniting. And other moms are reaching out to them to open schools. I am in touch with a bunch of lawyers across party lines who are suing state governors because these laws are completely illegal. We can unite to really say to those in power that the midterms and the next presidential election is going to go to people who put freedom first and give back emergency powers. But honestly, if we don’t move quickly, there won’t be real elections for midterms. There won’t be real elections for the presidency.
I mean, that’s what happens in a closing society. It’s window dressing. So absolutely every single day we have to be winter soldiers and not summer soldiers. Winter patriots. And really join across party lines. The things that divide us, you and me, for instance, we may not agree on abortion, or we may not agree on guns, but we absolutely need to put those things in second place and join as many millions of us, because I’m hearing from them, across party lines, agree on defending the constitution and putting these people… Prosecuting them as traders. And that is what we can do.
And we appreciate at IWF your bravery and speaking up on this. I know that the people who disagree with you are very swift to cancel and to hurl insults. And I’m sure you have received your fair share of that. So we appreciate your bravery in this. And also be an encouragement for all of us to speak up because so much is at stake. Again, the name of the book is The End of America. It’s over a decade old, but we are seeing the fruits of what was said there come to fruition today. It’s an important book. And also, I just want to mention once again, that Naomi’s latest book is Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love. But we do appreciate you coming on and sharing the facts and the data and not filtering that through a lens that benefits just political power. So we appreciate what you have done for the sake of the constitution and freedom. And thank you for joining us today.
Well, I appreciate all of you and thank you for this conversation as well.
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