Monthly Archives: December, 2022

A Walt Whitman Poem for Christmas Day

Must We Really Stand Up for the Truth?

Dr Naomi Wolf 25/12/2022

It belongs, as he taught me and his many students, not to the author, but to the universe.

He also believed that even if a writer had just one reader, that was enough; the right words for the right reader meant that an entire universe was created. He was a Blakean, after all, and saw “Heaven in a Wild Flower.” He made literary use of the Talmud’s teaching: that if you save even one life, you have saved a world.

My dad also distinguished between what he called the “career” of the writer, and the “life” of the writer. “Careers” he held in little esteem; they came and went; the acclaim or the disdain of the world were meaningless to him.

But: were you truly living “the life of the writer”? That was the question about which he cared; his eyes sparkled when he asked it. And the “life of a writer” set a high bar.

The question meant: were you, every day of your working life, doing your utmost to tell the truth as you knew it; to make the manifestation of it in prose — he loved saying that lovely word, “prose” — beautiful?

Were you expressing what had to be expressed? Without narcissism, without laziness, without hiding, without false notes of pretentiousness?

“Had to be expressed” was a magical imperative, for he was also a Platonist; he believed that prose that felt true drew on metaphysical Truth; that such works derived from somewhere perfect before they were hewn by poor mortals onto the fallible page.

He quoted playwright Arthur Miller, who was supposed to have said to an admirer, who was praising a work of his: “You should have seen it before I wrote it.”

I am grateful for his teaching about our transcendental responsibilities.

I was once on a fellowship at an artists’ colony in Virginia; I was writing my second book. I was a very young, somewhat scared woman.

One of the visual artists there was also a tarot reader. She asked my permission to “read” my cards and thus, she explained, to assess my near future. I let her — hard in such close quarters to say no — and I confessed, as she was looking at the rather alarming cards in front of her, that I was worried about the reception of my next book, as the first one had been “controversial.” I was still so new at submitting to the public roar, angry or positive, and I was just getting used to — or rather, was not yet used to — people yelling at me on large public stages.

She gave me a stern look, and somehow echoed my father, whom she had never met: “It’s none of your business what people say about you,” she told me firmly. Meaning: our job is to do the work assigned to us by our soul’s commitment, and ignore what the world makes of it.

She was right.

I learned painfully, but now I truly don’t care what “people” say about me.

2022 has been a year of terrible combat in my life, and in the lives of those I honor. There is blood all over the floor.

You know that I believe we are in the midst of an all-out war on humanity. The war is aimed at religion of course, and at love and family; it is also aimed squarely at art, poetry, theatre, dance, music, and all the things we humans do that reflect that we are made in the image of God; that raise us up from the serf-like status of “hackable animals,” the gutter-level, where the global evildoers, the Hamans of our time, wish to reposition us.

I mention my father’s training in not caring what the world says, because we are at the end of a year in which the people whom I most respect, and my husband and I too, have been called lunatics, murderers, spreaders of lethal “misinformation,” ignorant, “unhinged,” “anti-science”, terrorists, unworthy of medical care, hysterics, and threats to society.

The people whom I most respect have seen their livelihoods vanish, their institutional affiliations disappear, their former colleagues turn their backs.

These people stood strong to keep a little flame of civilization alive; to save a world in which we don’t murder our elderly with drugs and force them to die alone, in which we don’t encourage depressed teenagers to kill themselves, as they do now in Canada; in which we don’t deny people access to society based on their bodies or their medical choices. To save a world based on justice, mercy and compassion.

Most of these heroes, I would venture to say, stood firm because they believed in something greater than the always-mistaken clamor of the world.

When I was interviewing Dr Jay Bhattacharya, early in 2021, I asked him, late in the discussion, why he had the courage to put his reputation on the line, given the unpopularity at the time of his anti-lockdown views. He had just shared his conviction that millions of poor people would face starvation if “lockdowns” were not lifted; many of them would be children. I pressed, probably annoyingly; finally he responded, modestly and quietly, that he was a Christian.

I am not a Christian, though I really love Jesus and try to follow him as my Rabbi (a subject for another essay, when I can find the words; I don’t even know yet what I mean by that).

But to me, speaking very humbly and with no great knowledge at all of what “being a Christian” means, there can be no better definition of “being a Christian” than what Dr Bhattacharya was describing, in that context.

That stance of his — that selfless commitment to stand up for the wellbeing of others – is to me a perfect example of the grace of which humans are capable when they have a higher calling. Rabbi Hillel, Siddhartha Gautama the Lord Buddha, The Prophet Mohammad, all expressed versions of this immortal truth.

I am not Christian — I guess — but I tear up every single time I hear the child in The Little Drummer Boy say,

I am a poor boy too.


Because this is true for all of us.

We are all, but for the Grace of God, the starving children for whom Dr Bhattacharya, and only a few others, stood up, in the face of every kind of hostility and opposition, in 2020-2022.

“I am a poor boy too.”

Most forgot that obligation to the children, in the years 2020-2022, in order to fit in with the always-mistaken conventional wisdom, the current moment.

May we all remember, in 2023, that we are all supposed to speak up for the transcendent truth, which exists, no matter what the always-mistaken world has to say about us.

We are all supposed to save the lives of our brothers and sisters. Not just a few designated “heroes” — but all of us.

We don’t actually get to sit that out.


For my Christmas present to you I offer a quote, from Walt Whitman’s “Starting from Paumanok,” Part 5.


Whitman, a poet taught now in high schools, was vilified in his own lifetime. By the mass media of his day, by the important critics and by the government spokespeople, he was called: insane, filthy; and the 19th century equivalent of “unhinged”; poisonous, dangerous, profane; disgusting.

His books were illegal to print in Britain, and then were illegal to transport through the mails in the United States. He lost his comfortable job in the government.

His health failed. His publisher abandoned him. He sustained a stroke, and was partly paralyzed. He was, finally, so broken in health, and so very poor, that his supporters overseas had to send around a begging letter to get him some charity.

And yet. And yet.

He kept telling his truth.

Censored in two nations, he had a book being readied for publication on the day that he died.

Ultimately, Walt Whitman was not silenced – because history shows there is really no such thing as censorship.

Because the truth always emerges at last.


”Dead poets, philosophs, priests,
Martyrs, artists, inventors, governments long since,
Language-shapers on other shores,
Nations once powerful, now reduced, withdrawn, or

I dare not proceed till I respectfully credit what you

have left wafted hither,
I have perused it, own it is admirable, (moving awhile

among it,)
Think nothing can ever be greater, nothing can ever

deserve more than it deserves,
Regarding it all intently a long while, then dismissing it,
I stand in my place with my own day here.

Here lands female and male,
Here the heir-ship and heiress-ship of the world, here

the flame of materials,
Here spirituality the translatress, the openly-avow’d,
The ever-tending, the finalè of visible forms,
The satisfier, after due long-waiting now advancing,
Yes here comes my mistress the soul.”


“Here the heir-ship and heiress-ship of the world”…

By that, Walt Whitman meant — America.

Merry Christmas to you.

You, I, all of us, are asked by the grace of our human incarnation and condition — my mistress the soul — to stand up for it: for truth.

To stand up, too, relatedly, for the poor boy, for the poor girl; for humanity.

And yes; we are asked to do this — as the baby whom we celebrate today, showed us, as a man, how — at whatever cost to ourselves.

Outspoken with Dr Naomi Wolf is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.


A Walt Whitman Poem for Christmas Day

Must We Really Stand Up for the Truth?

Dr Naomi Wolf

Currency Rules – But it’s not OK

The Euro: Made in America by the Father of Reaganomics as a Tool to Smash the Power of Governments

Give me two good reasons why I should listen to some American tell me about the euro.

All right. Number One: We don’t care. There’s no emotional baggage here. Frankly, I couldn’t care less whether the Queen’s nose remains on your coinage or not.

Number Two: Americans invented the euro. And it’s time you learnt why.

In 1970, Professor Robert Mundell, now at New York’s Columbia University, proposed the ‘Europa’, based on his theory of optimal currency areas. It won him the Nobel Prize. On the Continent, Mundell is dubbed ‘father of the euro’.

But in the US, he is best known for the other creation he spawned. To Americans, Mundell is ‘father of Reaganomics’, the supply-side monetarism and tear-down-the-government philosophy which is the heart, soul and agenda of the extreme free marketeers.

Mundell was, even more than Milton Friedman, their leader. ‘Ronald Reagan would not have been elected President without Mundell’s influence,’ wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Jude Wanniski.

Canadian-born Mundell is a clever and cohesive thinker. It would be impossible to accept one side of his coin – the euro – without accepting the flip side: supply-side economics. They’re inseparable, like marriage and lies.

Let’s begin with Mundell in his own words. ‘They won’t even let me have a toilet,’ he told me last week. Mundell has bought a castle in Tuscany. (Like many supply-side economists, he created prosperity, at least for himself.)

His problem is that, to preserve the ancient structure, local officials won’t let him simply rip out a couple of walls to put in a bath and WC. His point is this: ‘Europe is over-regulated. Regulated to death.’

There’s more than plumbing on Mundell’s long list of bureaucratic bugaboos. ‘It’s very hard to fire workers in Europe,’ he complains. To solve such problems, Mundell conceived the euro. ‘It puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians.’

Yet that does not seem the most direct route to eliminating government. Even defenders of monetary union argue that each nation will remain in control of fiscal policy.

Oh no they won’t, says Mundell: ‘Monetary discipline forces fiscal discipline on the politicians as well.’ The Maastricht rules, the conditions for entering the euro – limiting annual deficits to 3 per cent of GDP and total debt outstanding to 60 per cent – leave little room for active government. As Mundell explains it, Maastricht limitations mean individual nations will have nothing left to entice inward investment except lower tax rates and de-regulation. Governments will compete by shrinking.

Wholesale privatisation is also, for Mundell, a predictable effect of monetary union. To meet the 60 per cent debt limitation, nations privatise infrastructure such as water or air traffic control. These asset sales don’t affect the public’s obligation to use these services, and the public still pays for them – but Maastricht is satisfied.

John Maynard Keynes wrote: ‘Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler a few years back.’ Now, I would never suggest that Baroness (Shirley) Williams is either mad or in authority – nevertheless, as a fervent supporter of the euro, she could explain, I thought, why Britain and Greece meet the criteria for one of Mundell’s optimal currency areas.

The Lib-Dem peer had studied at Mundell’s school. She told me she’d ‘read lots and lots’ on the Euro but not much ‘before the last 20 years’, so missed Mundell. (Actually, Mundell won the Nobel only last year for continuing work.) What of Britain as optimal mate for Euroland? She spoke of European tax and budget policies, though they have not a thing to do with reasons to meld currencies.

I would not say that Professor Williams (she teaches at Harvard) was faking it, but it was clear there was no point asking her about the supply-side economics underpinning the Euro’s conception.

Williams did argue that ‘tiny’ Britain must seek shelter within a large currency area. She may have thought I had a hell of a lot of nerve, as an American suckled in one big currency, to suggest Britain float alone.

However, the US does not have a single currency, at least not in the Maastricht sense. We have at least 50 currencies. Each state, every little burg and hamlet, has its own tax and employment policy. That’s what saved the US economy from Mundellian Reaganomics. What Reagan took away in federal funds, states and cities restored.

Recently, in my village outside New York, the fire department decided we needed a new fire house. The citizenry voted to issue bonds on Wall Street and tax ourselves to cover the debt. We didn’t need Washington’s approval. Neither the state nor the Almighty (Alan Greenspan) could stop us.

America’s states and municipalities have never ‘converged’ in the manner required of Britain by Eurocrats. As a result, debts of America’s governments and local authorities are easily double the Maastricht ceiling of 60 per cent of GDP. Yet the US economy is doing quite well, thank you. The American experience suggests that what Britain needs is not a lower rate of exchange with the D-mark, but a little more democracy.

I may seem to be drifting off the point by hauling in what is euphemistically called the UK’s ‘democratic deficit’ (the attraction to autocracy) into discussion of the euro. But, as the TGWU’s Bill Morris writes*, the risk of the euro is that it puts the economy ‘outside democratic control’.

This is not the whacko fear of a Sun reader that some Brussels bureaucrat will bark humiliating orders at Gordon Brown. Rather, says Morris, Britain’s government ‘could – if it so wished – ameliorate unemployment’. But monetary union ‘removes that power to nowhere’.

Morris underscores the point that no one is ultimately in charge of the euro. Rather, Britain’s economy will be ruled by the 3 per cent rule, the 60 per cent debt rule and the European Central Bank’s 2 per cent inflation target. This is the dream of Mundell’s monetarist circle – an economy run on automatic, by the monster in the box, a set of rules impervious to democratic forces – which will dictate policy long after they are gone and their theories are discredited.

Euro boosters think of monetary union as an an exchange mechanism to rival the Yankee dollar. But that was never the key concern of the euro’s North American inventors. Indeed, it is a supply-side axiom that a nation cannot gain long-term competitive advantage by altering the exchange rate any more than nations can alter the weather by switching from Celsius to Fahrenheit.

But what about the loss of jobs at Rover’s Longbridge and Ford’s Dagenham? Mundell’s collaborator, Art Laffer, told me: ‘If exchange rates made a difference, all cars would be made in Moscow.’

For supply-side economists, terms of trade are a sideshow. The real goal of the Mundell Reaganauts, like all revolutionaries, is to smash the state, in this case through Maastricht-driven tax cuts, state spending caps, privatisations and deregulation of labour markets (and plumbing).

In this, they share a little with left-wing supporters of the euro. England’s sharpest long-term strategist is Ken Livingstone. His long-term ambition is, he suggests, to demolish capitalism. How interesting that when the mayor called for rapid entry into the euro – presumably step one toward his ultimate goal – London’s captains of commerce applauded. ‘He understands us,’ one banker said. I believe he does.

* Emu and the Democratic Deficit, Bill Morris: The Single European Currency In National Perspective (Macmillan).* * * * *

Gregory Palast’s column “Inside Corporate America” appears fortnightly in the Observer’s Business section. Nominated Business Writer of the Year (UK Press Association – 2000), Investigative Story of the Year (Industrial. Society – 1999), Financial Times David Thomas Prize (1998).


Climate lockdowns coming? You will be tracked in your suburb and happy about it.

By Jo Nova

The 15 Minute City is a UN and WEF plan, because they care about you want you to drive less.

A cartoon from the WEF just for you good girls and boys:

In the WEF’s own words — this rearrangement of cities is absolutely about climate change:

As climate change and global conflict cause shocks and stresses at faster intervals and increasing severity, the 15-minute city will become even more critical.

And the solution was the pandemic (they really say that):

The obvious, yet incomplete, answer is the pandemic…. with COVID-19 and its variants keeping everyone home (or closer to home than usual), the 15-minute city went from a “nice-to-have” to a rallying cry. Meeting all of one’s needs within a walking, biking or transit distance was suddenly a matter of life and death.

And then the dark hand of the totalitarian managers appears, as James Woudhuysen, warned in Spiked in late October:

The madness of the ‘15-minute city’

The green agenda is taking inspiration from the illiberal days of lockdown.

To this end, Oxfordshire County Council, which is run by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, wants to divide the city of Oxford into six ‘15 minute’ districts. In these districts, it is said, most household essentials will be accessible by a quarter-of-an-hour walk or bike ride, and so residents will have no need for a car.

On the surface, these 15-minute neigbourhoods might sound pleasant and convenient. But there is a coercive edge. The council plans to cut car use and traffic congestion by placing strict rules on car journeys.

Residents will have to register their cars with the council and they will be tracked to count their journeys through the key gateways. It’s the social credit scheme that starts with your car and works like anti-frequent-flyer points.

Under the new proposals, if any of Oxford’s 150,000 residents drives outside of their designated district more than 100 days a year, he or she could be fined £70.

The concept of the 15-minute city was born with ‘C40’. Chaired today by London mayor Sadiq Khan, C40 calls itself a ‘network of mayors of nearly 100 world-leading cities collaborating to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis’.

Climate lockdowns? Seriously?

It all sounds a bit ridiculous to suggest a lockdown “for the climate” but listen to the BBC.  They’re working awfully hard to persuade us — they obviously think voters won’t want this. Here they are connecting the “15 Minute City” to the fun of covid lockdowns, and setting this up as though it’s totally normal for the government to decide who your friends are:

How ’15-minute cities’ will change the way we socialise

And furthermore lockdowns in Paris were great social moments where we all made friends. Who knew how much fun it would be to be told you couldn’t drive far?

.. for Fraioli, the two-month lockdown that began on 17 March – confining her to a 1km radius of her home – gave her a nuanced, enriching view of her neighbourhood. “I discovered it’s possible to feel like you’re in a small village in Paris,” she says. “To get to know your neighbours, to maintain good links with shopkeepers, to favour local craftsmen and shops over large supermarkets. I even joined a citizens’ movement where people prepare food baskets for homeless people. I thought I would have a hard time living the lockdown, but I was perfectly at home, in a quiet place.”

I don’t seem to recall “getting to know neighbours” as being part of any lockdown anywhere?

And lookout —  the 15 minute city is not just Oxford, but turning up in BrisbaneMelbourneBarcelona, Paris, Portland and Buenos Aires. It’s everywhere.

Oxford City Council is moving faster than the rest

Apparently, not enough people are catching buses or riding bikes. But instead of making that more appealing, the totalitarians will force it through tracking and fines. Oxfordshire has just approved on November 29th, the “traffic filters” trial which will turn the city into a “fifteen minute city”. The Trial will start in Jan 2024.

It’s a crowded area, Oxfordshire, and no one likes traffic congestion, but in a free world the problem is self-limiting as drivers get fed up with delays and exorbitant parking costs, and they car-pool or choose to catch the bus or ride a bike. But in Big Nanny State the local rulers start making rules about who can and can’t visit and how often, and they want your car registered on their own special list with cameras to track you and fines to punish you. They offer exemptions of course, but then you have to apply for them and get permission.

Oxfordshire County Council Pass Climate Lockdown ‘trial’ to Begin in 2024

Vision News, November 30th

Oxfordshire County Council yesterday approved plans to lock residents into one of six zones to ‘save the planet’ from global warming. The latest stage in the ’15 minute city’ agenda is to place electronic gates on key roads in and out of the city, confining residents to their own neighbourhoods.

Under the new scheme if residents want to leave their zone they will need permission from the Council who gets to decide who is worthy of freedom and who isn’t. Under the new scheme residents will be allowed to leave their zone a maximum of 100 days per year, but in order to even gain this every resident will have to register their car details with the council who will then track their movements via smart cameras round the city.

Every resident will be required to register their car with the County Council who will then monitor how many times they leave their district via number plate recognition cameras.

In the end, these aggressively overmanaged schemes mean more paperwork, more tracking, more jobs for bureaucrats and more free passes for “friends” of Big Government.

The more rules you have the more corrupt the system gets. For example, some city blocks are included in the favored list with 100 passes, while others get just 25 — so the property values of the inner circle addresses rise. As a bonus, in years to come property developers “in the know” and on the favoured list with certain councilors can arrange for rezoning on the right day (the one after they buy the property) and voila — that’s a nice capital gain for them

“Reconnecting Oxford” wants to end these artificial blockages

From “Reconnecting Oxford” –– a protest movement to stop filters and road closures.

The councilors held a major consultation process but apparently knew the outcome. It says rather a lot about the attitude of one councilor who said it was going ahead whether people liked it or not.

Traffic filters will divide city into six “15 minute” neighbourhoods, agrees highways councillor

Oxford Mail, October 24

ROAD blocks stopping most motorists from driving through Oxford city centre will divide the city into six “15 minute” neighbourhoods, a county council travel chief has said.

And he insisted the controversial plan would go ahead whether people liked it or not.

Businesses in Oxford are not impressed:

Hotelier Jeremy Mogford, who owns the Old Bank Hotel in High Street and the Old Parsonage Hotel and Gees, both in Banbury Road, described the plan as disastrous for business.

He previously told the Oxford Mail: “What we have is people making decisions that don’t live in the city centre or spend much time in the city.

“The council has adopted the position that climate change is real”

Skeptic and long range weather forecaster Piers Corbyn spoke to the council to warn them:

[Piers Corbyn said] “The point is that the basis of these documents are false – man-made climate change does not exist and if you don’t believe me, look at the sky. You should have a special meeting to discuss whether man-made climate change exists or not.”

Responding to Mr Corbyn’s claims, councillor Andrew, the council’s cabinet member for highways management, said: “Mr Corbyn said climate change is not real – this council has formally adopted a position that climate change is real.

“Mr Corbyn you are wrong, we are right.”

Well that’s it then. Councils control the weather. If this had nothing to do with climate change they could have said “we’ll see” and dismissed him anyway. But they have to believe…

Oxfordshire council has already infuriated local businesses earlier this year with road closures and traffic calming measures which have reduced the customer base significantly. Drivers destroyed 20 bollards in less than three weeks, and one frustrated cafe owner put up a giant billboard in protest saying “So much for democracy”. Even cyclists don’t like the traffic slowing measures, saying their road trips are more dangerous.  There is at least one Oxford protest group that seems to have some success in stopping the road closures.

So who does want the traffic filters? Oxford University and the bus companies, and the council which expects to make £1.1m from fining errant drivers.

From the Oxford City Council Consultation page we see the plan is to reduce journeys that you think are necessary but the councilors don’t.

Why are we introducing trial traffic filters?

Across our county, we want to reduce unnecessary journeys by private vehicles and make walking, cycling, public and shared transport the natural first choice.

This will help us deliver an affordable, sustainable and inclusive transport system that enables the county to thrive whilst protecting the environment and making Oxfordshire a better place to live for all residents.

And it is about “protecting the environment” by tracking you and resisting your movement.

Canterbury is planning something spookily similar –– dividing up the city into five different districts with drivers unable to cross between zones without being fined. The old grid system of cities made for shorter distances and more choices. The new system offers only more obstacles and less freedom.

h/t David Maddison, John Connor II and Tonyb

UPDATED: the post has been re-edited to clarify exactly what is happening at Oxford, and to spell out the link between the “15 minute cities” plan and climate change and pandemic lockdowns, thanks to comments from Tonyb.

Source: Joanne

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