Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell

WTF: 30 May 2008 – Stone, McClellan and the Greens

May 30th, 2008

Gordon Campbell on Sharon Stone, Scott McClellan and the Greens annual conference

1. In the wake of Sharon Stone’s comments at the Cannes Film Festival about Tibet and the Dalai Lama, China’s official state news agency has branded her “the public enemy of all mankind” – an even harsher review than those she got for Basic Instinct 2. The ire of the Chinese has been stirred by Stone saying she wasn’t happy about the way the Chinese have been treating the Tibetan people, and especially by them “ not being nice” to her personal friend, the Dalai Lama.

Good on her. All might have been ended there if Stone hadn’t added : “And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you’re not nice, that the bad things happen to you?” Leaving aside the inference that children who had been buried alive in the rubble of their schools were somehow the divine payback for the foreign policy sins of their government, the vehemence of the Chinese reaction to Stone – denunciations, banning her films etc – has been extraordinary.

As was the reaction of Dior Shanghai for whom Stone is the corporate face of their skincare range. Dior smartly removed all images of Stone fropm their outlets across China, while giving this succinct summary of a corporate morality for the ages : “We don’t support any type of commentary that will hurt the feelings of our customers,” Exactly. Lets’ keep politics out of skincare ! Even if Han Chinese colonization of the Tibetan people and of the Uighurs in Xinjiang – is at the heart of the issue. Not to mention the Chinese interest in Tibet’s vast mineral and oil

Still, the untold story about China’s impact on Tibet may revolve around the trade in yartsa gunbu – a caterpillar medicinal fungus as central to Tibetan identity as the yak and which at times in Tibetan history, has been as valuable as silver. The boom prices for yartsa gunbu may be proving more effective in undermining tradition than Chinese rifles. As this observer says

“Yartsa gunbu has developed into the single most important source of cash for rural households in contemporary Tibet….In short, rural Tibet is currently largely dependent on income from this fungus. It is remarkable, that the cash infusion via the yartsa gunbu trade in the last ten years seems to have accomplished what 50 years of top-down Beijing-prescribed development schemes hardly achieved, the integration of rural Tibetans into Mainland China’s economy. The cash income from the yartsa gunbu trade has acted as a catalyst for rural economic development, and this has been expressed in a general commodification of rural Tibet. The economic integration is well symbolised by herders exchanging their horses for motorcycles….”

2. Scott McClellan’s revelations about the (gasp) rampant lies and deceptions of the Bush administration that he served so assiduously in his role as White House press secretary, have shot his book to the top of the US best seller charts. It has also inspired this terrific parody by Michael Kinsley, based on what would happen if the old, lying Scott McClellan met the new, virtuous one. Sample :

It’s sad. It’s just sad. In all my years of public service, I am one of the finest people I have ever had the privilege to know and work with. I cannot imagine why I have chosen this moment to turn against everything I have always stood for—lies, deception, secrets, double talk—unless it was for a six-figure book advance. But the me I knew believed that some things, such as duty, are more important than money. That me saw misleading the public as the highest of missions. That me would never betray me the way this me has done. Frankly, it’s a puzzle. But I will be talking with me later this afternoon, on Oprah, and maybe then I will get some answers. Until then, all I can say is that it’s just very, very sad.

Besides exposing the lies and deceptions used to justify the Iraq invasion – no news there – the McClellan book claims the so called liberal media were total patsies for the White House spinmeisters:

“If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq. “The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”


3. The Greens annual conference runs through this weekend in Auckland – not many surprises are likely. Obviously, some definitive statement on the party’s support / non support for the Emissions Trading Scheme would be welcome, but that will probably have to await the final details being tabled on what the House will be being asked to endorse.

It would be more useful if the Greens could signal what role – if any – social justice issues will be playing in their election campaign. The previous twin pronged approach – environmental and food safety issues – increasingly looks like a party going forward forlornly with its eye on the rear view mirror. Food safety was last year. Food prices are this year’s concern among voters – and food and fuel prices are largely beyond the government’s control.

Which is why social justice is a more promising plank. So long as the gap between National and Labour remains very wide, soft Labour voters are ripe for conversion to the Greens. A focus on benefit levels, housing, child poverty and other justice issues would do more to swing those people over than a wonkish fixation on the ETS – which, when translated to voters, means only one thing : higher energy prices

The sideshow at the conference could still be Mike Ward, and his ongoing blocking of co-leader Russel Norman’s bid to enter Parliament on the party list. It is hard to believe that Ward – who loves a crowd – could pass up a chance for a U-turn, and another spin in the spotlight. Having made his point – which is uh, that’s he’s a very, very important guy – Ward could well decide that the love, and the unity and the hugs are worth a re-think. I’m not saying it will happen, but Ward could – for better or worse – still be the big story to emerge from the entire conference.


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    1. 3 Responses to “WTF: 30 May 2008 – Stone, McClellan and the Greens”

    2. By danielshaw on Jun 1, 2008 | Reply

      The earthquake epicenter is located in a Tibetan-inhabited area. By referring karma, Sharon Stone is effectively cursing many Tibetan victims for the divine punishment. Check the Free Tibet web site for more information. The paragraph begins with: “Many people do not realize that the epicenter of the earthquake was in an area of eastern Tibet now … China’s Sichuan province” (

      Karma can be a reward or punishment. The Tibetan and Chinese people in the earthquake zone have been suffered badly, but the Chinese government has gained wider support. Does she like to have this type of karma?

      According to a New York Times article, she accused Dior to put their apologetic words into her mouth, and she has nothing to apologize for. Well, at least to many Tibetans. Otherwise, they would think her good friend and their living Buddha gave them the bad karma. Please, Sharon, make a sincere apology, at least for the holy name.

    3. By Leon Henderson on Jul 28, 2011 | Reply

      If Sharon Stone is “The Public Enemy Of All Mankind” than God only knows how the heck the Chinese would describe the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Henry Kissinger, Bush Snr, Dubya, and Blair – to name only a few!!!

    4. By Leon Henderson on Jul 28, 2011 | Reply

      Gordon, the Greens want to abolish GST and replace it with a “Hone Heke Tax”: this is a tax on “shifting” currency and kicks in above a certain amount, and whereupon the sum “shifted” is taxed on a proportional basis of “X” percent of the amount (of course, you know all this, Gordon, but am putting these details about it here in case someone who is browsing Scoop! and who may not know about it -and most don’t because the last thing the Corporate Mass-Media want the Working Class to know about is Green Social and Economic Policy: the Mass-Media keeps portraying them as being only a bunch of “tree-huggers” and “GM worry-warts” – can here see some of the Green Party Policies); repeal the vicious Benefit Cuts of 1992, peg all Benefits to the Average Wage (as Superannuation is), and then update Benefits for the massive extent to which they have relentlessly been falling further and further behind the annual inflation rate for nearly fifteen years (Shipley and Free-Market-Capitalism were being so exposed by the appalling Consumer Price Index figures from the relentless price increases of everything, that Shipley resorted to a “Solution”… and which was to revise the way in which the CPI was calculated!!!! In no time at all the figures suddenly went from being ever-increasingly more and more horrendous, to Amazingly, Wonderfully Excellent! How? By removing meat, bread, milk, butter, etc from the calculations!!! And so was inflicted another vicious boot in the guts to the poor, because all Benefit increases are calculated on the CPI, and it is from this Orwellian stunt of Shipley that Benefits have every year been getting further and further behind: the Green Party not long ago obtained the results of a study they had commissioned into this very situation, and the report from this thorough investigation revealed that Benefits have lost nearly fifty-percent of their “buying power” over the last fifteen years; in other words, if Benefits had of kept pace with the REAL rate of inflation over the last fifteen years, they would be DOUBLE the amount that they are! The study proved that Benefits were 47% [forty-seven-percent] lower than they should be); make all Government monies go through Kiwibank (this concept is utter Anathema to the National and Labour parties because of their supine vassalage to Wall Street, IMF, World Bank, and WTO, and this is why they always shunt all Government monies through the foreign-owned Westpac Bank); the Greens want a massive State-House building programme commenced urgently: they correctly say it would provide enormous employment and pay huge, positive, social-wellbeing dividends (and these are the kind of dividends that REALLY ARE worth something to the country) besides being desperately needed – urgently needed, and not least after the National Party under Shipley flogged off all the best State Houses (more than seventeen-thousand houses) to the Land-Sharks after all of the tenants were thrown out into the street! While this was going on, John Banks, who had just become Mayor of Auckland, threw all the Auckland Council pensioners out of their Council Flats into the street after having flogged all the flats out from under them to property speculators!!! By God it was evil, it was scary what was going on everywhere under that vile brute Shipley. The same Shipley who right now revels in a swag of extremely lucrative Government sinecures: but Shipley’s snout is never anywhere except in the trough. Will conclude with another major Policy of the Green Party which in 2008 they kept on trying to force the Labour Party to allow them to introduce it as a Bill for First Reading, but the Labour Party adamantly refused every time. And the Policy? Well, it is where everyone is allocated a monthly “block” of electricity calculated in Units. Each “block” is amply sufficient for an average household to have plenty of electricity for all their requirements, and is at a very reasonable rate. But the moment anyone exceeds their “block” (by, as the Greens so eloquently put it: “squandering electricity on heated swimming pools, heated towel-rails, and chandeliers”) then the BIG charges rapidly kick in and escalate on a bell-curve upwards. The Greens repeatedly tried to make the Labour Party introduce the Bill when that woman in Auckland died from having her power disconnected, and which shut her electrically-powered respirator off, but the Labour Party venomously refused because they have not got the guts to defy Goldman Sachs’ Shem-amil-Yakoube (who is the New Zealand version of Henry Kissinger, and mean this literally).

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