Bono and some others have recently put their celebrity weight behind the Red Campaign. A tithing campaign of sorts in which producers forward a percentage of their sales to African relief agencies so that anti-HIV drugs can be purchased. The (red) products are being sold for a significantly higher price than their regular retail price.
Sounds very noble. Too bad it is nothing but smoke and mirrors.
Here is what the Red "manifesto" looks like:
Does the Manifesto look familiar? It looks like the Communist Manifesto to me.
Bono and Oprah did some public relations by being photographed in front of a bunch of red-clad screaming groupies in order to promote the launch of a Red iPod line.
This is nothing but pure grandstanding. Bono gets credit for "doing something" about, yet another, dead-end Third World initiative. Oprah gets to focus on how wonderful she is - when she's probably anything but in private ("m'thinks the lady doth protest too much."). Look at all the other female celebrities who were lauded as "nice" - Katie Couric, Rosie O'donnell, Martha Stewart - all have been shown to have a significant dark side to their character. I'm sure the reason why Oprah has all of her employees sign a non-disclosure contract (which she rigorously enforces through the courts) is nothing more than another example of how "compassionate" she is. And the manufacturers of the various products get positive public relations, product placement and a bigger bottom line through higher sales.
It's a Win/Win --- for everyone except the people dying in Africa.
Michael Medved writes, "The exploitation of trendy African imagery is a bit laughable in some of the (RED) promotions. For instance, Converse is offering special (RED) shoes “made of Mali mud cloth, a traditional woven cotton fabric that is painted with dyes made of mud and bark.” Isn’t it just a bit laughable that some of the nation’s most trendy and well-heeled sophisticates will over-pay for shoes made of “mud cloth” and dyed with “mud and bark”?
He goes on to point out that it is laughable that many of the ads use sex to promote the products which are designed to help a campaign which is caused by rampant sexual excesses.
And then we have the people who are involved in this campaign - Bono, Oprah and WJClinton:
Mr. Bono is no saint and may even be called a hypocrite. According to WikiPedia, Bono has some 'splaining to do:
|As the leader of the "Drop The Debt" Campaign, Bono has been strongly criticised in asking the top richest 25 countries to drop the debt to the poorest countries, in effect requesting the tax payers to foot such debt. The criticism was underlined by virtue of the fact that Bono has recently moved his accounts base to Amsterdam in order to avoid tax payable on artists royalties - a tax artists in Ireland wouldn't have had to pay up to recently.|
U2 were able to exploit a 1969 artists-tax exemption, intended to help struggling artists, until it was semi-repealed in 2005 and pay relatively little tax despite their great wealth, estimated at €690 million+ by the Sunday Times. This, coupled with his charity campaigning has led to accusations, in the Irish media, that he is two-faced . When he criticised the Irish government for not meeting the DATA target of 0.7% of GDP to be set aside for the 3rd World a government minister, Conor Lenihan, suggested that if he paid his taxes then the government would be halfway to meeting the figure.
He has also been accused of hypocrisy for his decision to buy a 40%, £160 million share in Forbes magazine, as its pro-capitalism, right-wing politics are seemingly at odds with Bono's left-wing campaigning. Bono is reported to be an avid reader of the publication. An article in The Daily Mail on 12 August 2006 also presented a different picture of him than his own publicity. He is an owner of several luxury houses, a fleet of expensive cars and is a noted wine connoisseur who regularly spends thousands on a single bottle at his favourite New York restaurants. And despite his campaiging for reduction in fuel emissions, along with the other members of U2 he purchased an Airbus A320 to fly them around the world on their latest tour. His interest in making money was noted by investment expert Roger McNamee with whom he formed Elevation Partners, which invested £200 million merging two computer games firms. Sources also report he is interested in buying a stake in the large U.S newspaper group Knight Ridder in addition to his well-publicised
Bono and his liberal compatriots go full force after easy marks: global warming, starving children, thirdworld debt reduction, Land Mine elimination and addressing the Aids "epidemic". The easiest position to take are those that favor Children and Puppies. These vapid fools don't stand before the cameras criticizing Militant Islam, with the attendant murders of innocents. Each beheading video out of al-Jazeerah is met with deafening silence by the collective Left. Do you know why? It is easy to figure that one out. It's because Leftists are cowards.
The fact is that this campaign will do absolutely nothing to help the people in Africa. The reason that it won't help them is because their problems are rooted in their behaviors, not in the amount of drugs that they have access to. Look at all the money that is spent. Over the last 50 years, over $1 trillion dollars have been pumped into Africa in an attempt to jumpstart a "Big Push" in economic development. No "Big Push" has occured. The decadent and corrupt dictators line their pockets with the money and the masses continue to suffer because they aren't educated and, dare I say, aren't motivated to improve their own plight.
This chart shows clearly that pumping money into Africa does nothing:
The BBC wrote an article on this very topic. Entitled "Why Aid doesn't work" it is a scathing indictment of the touchy-feely liberal tendancy to throw money at a problem and then hope for the best. If nothing else, writes the BBC, aid to Africa seems to have lowered rather than increased economic growth. In fact, Africa seems to have a propensity towards a closed-door society that hinders, rather than helps, its overall economic position. When similar economic aid packages were injected into fledgling Asian economies, those economies were sparked into action. Thus the "Asian Tiger" was born. Sadly no such ignition occured in Africa.
The policies of debt elimination in Africa are destined to backfire. Why? Because it is a reverse subsidy. By eliminating the debt, the West is subsidizing poverty, illiteracy and illegitimacy. Whatever you subsidize, you get more of. Geldoff says that Third World debt is a direct result of Colonialism. That is ridiculous and is on the same level of logic as saying entitlements were needed because of all those years of slavery.
Thomas Sowell has something to say about Clinton, guilt and Third World debt relief:
|Are people around the world to be encouraged to look to us as their sugar daddy, instead of looking to themselves to do the things that have lifted other countries from poverty to prosperity? The whole world was once poorer than today's Third World and there was nobody to give them foreign aid. |
We should also forgive Third World debt, according to Clinton. What this means, in plain English, is that American taxpayers should be lied to when they are told that their money is being lent overseas, because no one should expect the loans to be repaid. It also means that no one should expect adult responsibility from Third World rulers, who live lavishly, build monuments to themselves and stash money in Swiss bank accounts.
The vast sums of money that can be borrowed legitimately from private lenders in international financial markets make it wholly unnecessary for Third World governments to "borrow" from the U.S. government in the first place. The difference is that private borrowing requires adult responsibility and investing the money in something that is going to actually produce some tangible benefits for people other than rulers and bureaucrats.
~Thomas Sowell - "Another Outrage"
But people like Bono, Oprah and Geldof won't let the facts influence how and what they devote their energies into. If it feels good doing it, then - by God - they're going to do it. If Oprah can pump up her ratings alittle with some cross promotional product placement in her show, then she'll do it. If Bono can talk about eliminating ThirdWorld debt and that gets him an audience with George Bush - complete with photo ops - then so be it. Sign him up. World Aid, Band-Aid, Live Aid, UniCef - all have done little or nothing to affect the people in Africa.
Don't pay the outrageous price on these (red) goods. Buy the product at its regular price and donate the difference to a local charity. The money will be used much more efficiently that way.