Interview: A Year’s Supply of Jello Biafra

As the only person I’ve ever talked to who has probably tried, how hard is it to get on the ticket for the President of the United States?

I think it depends on the state. Many parties have an automatic bye line every year that the Greens have never been able to get, unfortunately. Which is why the Democrats—not the Republicans—have put so much energy into keeping Ralph Nader off the ballot in so many states. Especially in ’04. I wondered if Clown Prince W. would have swiped another term, stolen another election, so easily if [the Democrats] put all that money into John Kerry instead of putting it into keeping Ralph Nader off the ballot.

It especially pissed me off that they blamed Ralph for costing Gore the 2000 election when it was so obvious they cost themselves the election, possibly on purpose. It’s not as though they fought that election fraud the way they could have by simply allowing African-Americans in North Florida to go on the air and demonstrate how they weren’t allowed to vote because of their race and it was much nastier even than South Florida.

It’s not as though they didn’t know about that stuff, because Greg Palast warned the Gore campaign and CBS News before the election that this was going down. And they wouldn’t listen to him. And then our old buddy Lieberman came in and said, ‘How dare you disrespect our soldiers by not counting all these military mail-in ballots that were postmarked after the day after the election.’ If they were postmarked at all. It just goes on and on. One more reason the corporate Democrats fuel my wrath.

But let’s go back to ‘I Won’t Give Up’ for a minute. There’s a great anecdote that I believe Amy Goodman relayed as well as some other people in print and on radio when Franklin Roosevelt first got elected, and I think there was still a long period between election and inauguration back then, till March or something. A labor leader approached FDR and gave him a list of demands, and FDR looked at him and said, ‘Oh, these are all great. Now make me do it.’

And I know exactly what he meant by that. Get your people in the streets! Get your people hounding their representatives! That way the stuff will get passed. You can’t just invest your hope in one person. And a lot more stuff did get passed. Maybe the Barackstar is already too coin-operated to ever try something like that I don’t know. The reason the Democrats fail over and over again is the turds they always push to the top of the bowl are dealmakers instead of leaders. Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and sadly it appears Obama, not leaders. Dealmakers.

Well that was supposedly the difference about Barack Obama. He looked like a leader.

Of what? B-U-Y-partisanship? They figure that’s all they need now. That’s why we haven’t seen the last of Sarah Palin. The bottom line is how much does it matter that Obama or a wingnut like Palin is the one on TV every night portraying the president for the masses.

When people down below aren’t causing enough trouble to get through, then we’re not going to get any of those things we don’t just want—but at this point—we desperately need. I may be almost 52-years-old, but I now am having grave fears that I’m going to live long enough to see the planet completely fucking collapse, and some species will survive, maybe even some humans somewhere, but it’s gonna be awfully inconvenient for the shoppers, let’s put it that way.

Is it capitalism, is that the worst part?

I think unregulated capitalism, yeah, and I don’t think it’s even capitalism anymore, it’s feudalism. The corporate lords and their coin-operated puppets from many different supposedly opposed parties. They are the barons and lords in high castles and every time we buy one of their products, we are their serfs.

The challenge is that the only way to completely divorce yourself from the that is to become some miserable fundamentalist cuckoo clock like Ted Kaczynski. The Unabomber was as pure as the driven snow, but look what it did to him. He paid awfully dearly for his art statement didn’t he? Living in a little cabin with one window in the middle of nowhere, freaking out all day, building these bombs right down to handcrafting the screws, and then mailing them to people he didn’t even know all because he couldn’t get laid.

There’s got to be a better way. And that’s what I stressed to the more radical-than-thou especially at the spoken word show is that if you don’t go quite as far as on the radical meter as to turn into a tiresome fundamentalist you’re more likely to be able to hang on to those principles for the rest of your life instead of flip-flopping the other way.

But we’ve managed to corporatize that drive to do something different or to appear to do something different right down to food, right down to Whole Foods and the rest of the green movement has seemed to completely devolved into more of the same.

From what I understand, clerks at chains like Safeway get paid a hell of a lot better than people at HellWhole Foods in part because they’re allowed to have a union. My girlfriend works at a construction company that does a lot of remodeling of supermarket and they have more trouble getting Whole Foods to pay up on their bills than any other client.

The CEO of Whole Foods sent off a missive to the Wall Street Journal that pissed a whole bunch of people off because it was anti-health care reform (at least in its state at the time), but they did something else recently with their employee benefits system—it was a perk for employee discounts that you could get better employee discounts based on passing health tests. You couldn’t smoke, no tobacco use, you had to have a BMI under a certain number, cholesterol level under a certain ratio, blood pressure under a certain ratio. And you could get whatever it was, up to some percentage off, in different ranges. But lets say you had a cholesterol problem, genetic or god knows what. It wouldn’t make a difference—you wouldn’t be able to qualify for the program.

I heard about that one. Growing up in Boulder, CO, I’m well aware of the dangers of a touchy-feely master race and organic hanging plant eugenics. As Zappa pointed out, what is going to happen when these artifact children become adults, and more to the point what happens when they’re in charge? (laughs)

Essentially what it was doing was incentivizing healthy people to eat healthier, and dis-incentivizing people who already have those problems to get around them. If you’re fat, your food costs more, if you’re not fat, your food costs less.

Some people just gain weight easier genetically. In some cases, it’s catastrophic for them, and we throw more and more kids and adults on psych meds and some of those cause massive weight gains as well. Remember when they switched the meds on Wesley Willis and he put on yet another hundred pounds and could barely walk for a while. He sounded like he was snoring all the time, and he was struggling to breathe.

Corn too. Corn’s in everything. Could be corn allergies rampant throughout the country. Nobody knows.

I’m more worried about bovine growth hormone myself, giving sinus infections and breasts to second graders.

I have had a sinus infection for about a year.

You live in New Jersey, no more need be said.