March 20, 2002, - 7:04 am
By Debbie Schlussel
President’s Bush’s most influential advisor wears blue-lensed glasses, even at night. And in the Oval Office. He’s named after a hearing-aid store. And employed a convicted IRA terrorist as his bodyguard.
Bono, lead singer of pop band “U2,” is the driving force behind President Bush’s proposal, announced Thursday, to give outright grants to–and start forgiving the loans of–the world’s debtor nations.
With Bono at his side, Bush announced an extra $5 billion in aid (in addition to the $17 billion we already give) to debtor nations with few strings attached, plus raising our contribution to a global AIDS fund to $500 million.
If you’re against terrorism and tyranny, this policy is a disaster.
The world’s top debtor nations and recipients of AIDS funding include countries like Muslim Arab dictatorship Sudan, which practices murder, gang-rape, torture, and enslavement of Black Christians and Animists. The cozy, cooperative home to Osama Bin Laden for years, it is ground zero in Islamic extremism and a hotbed of terrorism. Oil-rich Sudan is also developing its oil-fields with the Chinese, doubling its military budget, and building new weapons factories with China.
Like Sudan, many debtor nations owe money to the US taxpayer–subsidized World Bank and IMF because their leaders squandered it for personal use, state-sponsored repression, military build-ups, and–sometimes–financing terrorism.
The top ten debtor nations alone, according to the IMF, owe at least $74.5 billion. Would multi-millionaire Bono forgive the price of U2′s concert tickets and CD’s–as he’s asking tax-paying US working stiffs to do? Contrary to Bono’s propaganda, which apparently charmed Bush, the claim that poor countries can’t repay debts is false, according to Jeff Lamb, the World Bank’s director of resource mobilization. “The record of repayment from those countries is pretty stellar,” he told The Washington Times in July 2001. “We have had around 3 or 4 percent of nonpayment over the years.”
The philosophy behind Bono/Bush’s new foreign policy, announced just six months after September 11th, is that “AIDS is a bigger threat than rogue states,” the rocker told AP. “It’s a bigger threat than Saddam Hussein.”
Really? Maybe that would explain why, last fall, Irish citizen Bono and U2 guitarist “The Edge” skipped their scheduled appearance at the “Concert for New York City,” honoring fallen WTC heroes and aiding their families, but showed up to their paid Madison Square Garden gig, where Bono lectured the crowd on “empathy with Muslims. They go to Church, too.” No, they go to mosques, some of which spout hate. Hate likely similar to that of convicted IRA terrorist John Noonan, whom Bono employed as his bodyguard. It’s enough to make you cheer that the Playboy Centerfold Edition of “Fear Factor” beat U2′s Superbowl Halftime performance in TV ratings.
Ironically, in announcing the new aid package, Bush used terrorism as an excuse, citing poverty as allowing “a terrorist regime to seize power” in Afghanistan and other nations. But the US gave Afghanistan billions, including over $117,869,525 in Fiscal Year 2001. That was only through July 9th, according to a USAID Information Bulletin to that date. Hardly a prophylactic to Osama Bin Laden taking over.
The strange worship of this emperor with blue glasses is not surprising in Hollywood, where Tom Cruise told a crowd that Time coverboy Bono “makes us all proud to be human” before bowing down to him. It’s Washington’s starstruck worship of Bono that is disturbing. “I appreciate Bono,” Bush gushed, after an Oval Office meeting and Presidential limo ride together, praising Bono’s efforts “to achieve what his heart tells him, and that is nobody–nobody–should be living in poverty and hopelessness in the world.” Doesn’t every Miss America contestant want that?
At meetings the most powerful Washington lobbyist would envy, Bono was repeatedly lionized by Colin Powell, Treasury Secretary O’Neill, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, and Senator Jesse Helms. “Your secretary of the treasury actually referred to me as a ‘serious person.’” Bono bragged to Hollywood friends, like Cher and Kevin Spacey.
Why are Bush and company so taken with a Greenpeace, gun-control touting celebrity to the left of Barbara Streisand? At the World Economic Forum in Manhattan, while far-left rabble-rousers protested outside, Bono’s foul-mouthed anti-capitalist pleas were welcomed inside by business luminaries like billionaire Bill Gates, who praised debt forgiveness but not likewise forgiving the price of Microsoft products.
Dilettante Bono, who named himself after the Bonovox store, told USA Today he learned of debt forgiveness from Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs. Harvard theoreticians running America, via aging rock stars. What’s next–John Kenneth Galbraith whispering in the ears of Aerosmith?
“A rock star’s right to be ridiculous is something I hold very dear,” Bono remarked. But a starstruck President’s right to consult a ridiculous rock star is something we should dread.
When celebrities and rock stars run the country, it’s a disaster. Especially one who sees the world through blue-colored glasses.
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