No. 196 /February 2003:
THE TODAY SHOW… "I think if the guy is doing something, it's better than nothing-but I just wonder if he's following through," Henry Rollins replied when asked about Bono by Britain's Sunday Mirror. "I like the idea of absorbing Third World debt, because otherwise these people are going to die. So if he's using all that rock star power, well right on. Like he's Mr. Africa Third World Debt Guy, which is a huge issue, but now, he's Mr. AIDS Guy. Well, wait a minute, how did you go from Third World debt to AIDS?
There's certainly nothing inherently wrong with dealing with debt and AIDS at the same time, but Rollins is right to question Bono's staying power. The U2 frontman's associates trap Bono. To truly follow through on his ideals and proclamations would expose the evil nature of those he cuddles up with.
Politically, Bono lives only in the moment and insists that we do the same. So there is no scrutiny of the fact that Jesse Helms (an honored guest at a U2 concert as part of Bono's debt relief scheme) is not going to help the poor in foreign countries when he's fought against school lunches and medical care for disabled veterans here. Nor has Bono deemed it worthy to respond to "cynics" (anyone who disagrees with him) who point out that Helms and his wife still own over a million dollars in rental property in North Carolina, much of it in ghettos and in serious disrepair.
Bono's selective amnesia came in handy when he traveled in Africa with Bush's then-Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill last year, not long after the former head of Alcoa called for abolishing Social Security and Medicare. Spending time being "influenced" by Bono didn't prevent O'Neill from jetting to South America shortly after the African jaunt to demand that Brazil accept $35 billion in new loans and repay the debt by slashing social services.
Now Bono will be honored in New York as "Person of the Year" by the Grammy charity MusicCares on February 21. Did Bono take the time to inquire if MusicCares still spends only ten cents of every dollar taken in to benefit the needy musicians it legally exists to serve, as the most recent available tax records show?
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