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Jello Biafra – Machine Gun in the Clown’s Hand

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Jello Biafra, the former lead singer of the Dead Kennedys, has released his seventh spoken word album through his label Alternative Tentacles. Jello ran for Mayor of San Francisco in 1979 but was defeated by a wide margin. Jello has been an outspoken opponent of greedy corporations and the corrupt government system for years.

In Machine Gun in the Clown’s Hand (a 3 CD set), Jello addresses: George W. Bush, oil, Osama Bin Laden, Islamic fundamentalists, Ariel Sharon, Saddam Hussein, Bush’s fast track, human cloning, John Walker Lindh, the free trade agreement, NAFTA, UPS, Canada, the protests in Seattle over the World Trade Organization, Bill Maher, Ari Fleischer, Dick and Lynn Cheney, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., American Council of Trustees and Alumni, the CIA, corporate controlled mass media, Enron, Ross Perot, the Democratic Party, John Ashcroft, the US Patriot Act, military tribunals, Tom Ridge, operation T.I.P.S., the “Axis of Evil,” Hugo Chavez, Star Wars, a shadow government, the International Criminal Court, Racism, Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Senator Diane Feinstein, and his experience of September 11th.

And that’s just on the first CD.

Throughout the entire CD set Jello is critical of the motives behind many bills, policies, and procedures that the US government has put in place (most of which are since the World Trade Center bombings). He also points out some of the greedier actions of corporations that are trying to make a quick buck instead of looking after the welfare of the people that they market to. It isn’t an unpatriotic CD set at all. On the second CD Jello explores what Patriotism what really means on the track Be Patriotic-Fight the Government. He actually may step on some of the toes of his biggest long-time supporters by saying things that tend to fly in the face of punk rock idealism (i.e. he would love to see air marshals in every plane that leaves an airport…and that means more cops). In reality, if people would pay close attention to the end of the third CD, and put a few of Jello’s suggestions to practice, it would make this a much more moral and equitable nation to live in.

One of the more attractive features of these CDs (that is if you are sarcastic and slightly irreverent) is that Jello seems to have the ability to take the most obscure (or sometimes no so obscure) foibles that George Dubbya has said or done (think pretzels, baseball, and his almost stage-fright-like ability to jumble words) and interject them into his wild scenarios that are peppered throughout the CDs. Another true gem is the different ‘pet-names’ that Jello uses to describe whatever topic he is on. Some of the more memorable ones were: ‘Bushcroft,’ the ‘clown prince of the Texas Oil Barons,’ ‘Enwrong,’ ‘King George the first,’ and ‘Bush and his barnyard friends.’

Of course some of the ideas that Jello alludes to would be downright illegal (suggesting that if you work for a major corporation you can fight their unethical business dealings by downloading viruses and spread them over the network). However, the majority of the complaints and suggestions are 100% deserved and/or practical. Our country would do well to pay attention to Jello Biafra and his ravings. He just may be what our nation needs to finally become an international leader.

-Mike Frost

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