Another One Who Should Shut Up and Sing

Just this past week, I read an article in which the “Sir Elton John’s AIDS Foundation” raised more than $500,000 this year at the World Team Tennis annual charitable exhibition.  Commendable.  But when asked what the federal government should do to encourage more individuals to donate to charities like his, John told that “government should be doing our job for us” but “they’re not.”  He went on to say that the federal government “should be giving money” rather than “giving money to us to give away.”

I’ve got news for Sir Elton.  The government doesn’t have its own money to give away.  It’s not the government’s money.  It’s our money!

And let’s not forgot our thin-skinned cry baby POTUS who said, when heckled at one of his campaign rallies recently, “Let me just say this — these folks have been — you’ve been appearing at every rally we’ve been doing.”   “And we’re funding global AIDS. And the other side is not.  So I don’t know why you think this is a useful strategy to take.” “I think it would make a lot more sense for you guys to go to the folks who aren’t interested in funding global AIDS and chant at that rally, because we’re trying to focus on figuring out how to finance the things that you want financed, all right?”

Both President Obama and Elton John should check their facts before spouting off about something they obviously know nothing about.  Clearly, both are unaware that President Bush, in his State of the Union address in January 2003, announced the creation of PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, to direct $15 billion, yes, billion, to places where it’s most needed. PEPFAR was renewed in July 2008 with the intention of spending $48 billion from 2009 to 2013 on programs to tackle HIV and AIDS as well as tuberculosis and malaria.

My first question is always, “where in our Constitution does it permit the federal government to give away money?” That question never seems to concern politicians.

Obviously, Elton John doesn’t think that $15 billion and a large part – actually $39 billion – of the $48 billion is enough.  Instead, he squawks that the federal government should give even more money.

And to our President who loves to use partisan politics, I ask, “who actually is on ‘the other side’ who isn’t interested in funding global AIDS?”  President Bush – who was on “the other side” presumably because he’s a Republican – is the one who created PEPFAR, which spends more taxpayer dollars to combat AIDS than any other President or country for that matter.

So, as usual, the United States is in the forefront of the fight while the rest of the world sits back and expects us to do the heavy lifting.  According to Jon Leiden, spokesperson for the Global Fund, there’s been a decline in support for the global fight against the AIDS pandemic.  According to the Global Fund’s figures, the U.S. has pledged $4 billion dollars over the next three years – a 38% increase over our previous contribution — but apparently $2 billion short of what AIDS activists have been pushing the Obama administration to deliver.  Can you believe this?

To give you even a better idea of what America has pledged in comparison to the rest of the world, France pledged $1.5 billion, Japan $800 million, Canada $528 million, Australia $203 million, Russia $60 million and where is China in this mix, you might ask?  China pledged a paltry $14 million, higher only to pledges made by Luxembourg, Nigeria, South Korea, South Africa, Tunisia, Namibia and Kuwait.

Now remember that, with the exception of a relatively few cases, AIDS is the only disease that is totally preventable.  Don’t share needles and use a condom — simple.  Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Lupus, Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson’s – not so simple.

According to the CDC’s 2008 figures, out of 41,087 cases of AIDS, only 187 of those resulted from “hemophilia, blood transfusion, perinatal exposure, and risk not reported or not identified.”  All the rest involved male-to-male sexual contact, heterosexual contact, or injection drug use.  What makes me absolutely insane is when I read about men who know the consequences but deliberately engage in unprotected sexual contact for a variety of reasons none of which make any sense to me or should outweigh the risk involved.  God forbid anyone actually tells it the way it is.  So my question is how much of the billions of dollars is spent to inform people (1) not to share needles and (2) use a condom?

So, Mr. John, until you can answer my questions and tell me why there are so many new cases of AIDS which could’ve easily been prevented, why not take the advice of Laura Ingraham for a change and just “shut up and sing.”  Or better yet, because you think “America is an uncomfortable place to be at the moment,” why don’t you just leave.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website:



  • Myra Claybourne

    Thank you, that wasreally interesting. I was born in Russia in 1975 but my mother and I fled the country and settled here to England. To be honest, I didnt really care much about my russian past until my mum died last month, now I’ve been trying to discover as much as I can. Seemed like the food was as good a place as any to start from! You dont generally hear much about russian cooking do you? Anyway, I found a lot of russian recipes here that your readers might be interested in .

  • JDO

    Maybe Sir Elton can talk to Bob Geldof and ask him about how much the Bush admnistration did for AIDS in Africa.

    In truth, though, I’m sure that what Elton John or Barack Obama think of Bush’s efforts on the AIDS front doesn’t go breaking his heart.

  • Shirl

    Amen Leona! And Elton can take Paul Mcartney with him. They should both just shut up and sing (only).

  • Bruce A.

    This one is a bulls eye Leona. People never want to hear the truth & the comments by Elton John are further proff of that.

  • Ron

    When George Bush left office, he said that one of thing he was most proud of was what he did to combat aids. At the time I was disappointed because it wasn’t what he did, it was what the American people did. More importantly, it was what we did with borrowed money. I questioned where he got the power under the Constitution to spend money on Aids in Africa. Conservatives have always complained about Courts not following the Constitution and making laws. I have always been more concerned with the expansion of power in the executive branch. I always thought the framers thought it would be the weakest branch of government. For the past 22 years we have seen a steady expansion of the executive branch where the President makes laws through executve orders and executive departments, like the IRS, make laws through regulations. Finally, I always found it amusing that Laura Ingraham who makes a living of giving her opinion thought other people should shut up.

    • Tom

      Laura is a US citizen. Mr. John can comment on his country to his heart’s content.

      • Ron

        I believe Elton John pays taxes in this country. I am not sure free speach is limited to citizens. During the Iraq war, Laura had no trouble criticizing other countries for not participating enough.

  • Roger Ward

    As usual, Leona, your research is first rate and so well presented that it’s just about impossible to disagree. The facts are the facts.

    I like Elton John and don’t think he needs to leave …. but I do agree that he should “shut up and sing.” If he persists in talking, it would be nice if he presented a balanced view of the international funding which supports the fight against AIDS. The fact is that funding for AIDS research is oversubscribed, particularly when compared to the funding of other diseases, which kill many tens of thousands a year. A couple of years ago, I read a lengthy article which compared world-wide funding by disease, along with the death rate by disease. The information was shocking, as funding for AIDS was disproportionately large, far and away out of balance with the other diseases.

    If AIDS sufferers would behave responsibly, transmission rates would fall almost to zero and the disease would hardly exist. This is 2010; how long has AIDS been around? Since the ’70s or earlier? Forty years? Everyone has known for all these years how this disease is transmitted. If the AIDS sufferers persist in engaging in dangerous activity, why is the responsibility of the taxpayer to cure them? Of course, we need to keep searching for a definite cure, as there are some infected people who had no part in acquiring this disease: hemophiliacs and unknowing wives come to mind. They had no hand in getting AIDS and don’t engage in ongoing dangerous behavior, so we need continuing research to help them, but why should we spend billlions of dollars a year when almost no one needs to have AIDS and everyone knows how to prevent it?

    So, Elton John, how about it? Can we expect a more balanced perspective from you …. like how many dollars are chasing how few AIDS patients …. or should you just “shut up and sing.”