By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine
George Bush told America he'd keep us safe from terrorists by having us take off our shoes at the airport.
Yesterday, Barack Obama again took the Oath of Office. And this Obama 2.0 is also going to save America from insane killers – by limiting ammo clips to ten bullets instead of 30.
At a television press conference about the Newtown school massacre last Wednesday, a tearful President called this, "meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this".
But, once again, we get to pretend that our presidents protect us and save us from what is murdering us and destroying us.
But The Great Assault Rifle Debate, like the War on Terror, is just another Weapon of Mass Distraction.
This is the second of Palast's weekly columns for VICE – beginning with a bang: a four-part series on Alex Jones, guns, Piers Morgan and Palast's penis. If you read the full version of part 2 of these reports right now at Vice Magazine,
You get a bonus: a free download copy of Palast's latest book, the bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits.
In all fairness to Obama, he also called – as Bush did – for a massive increase in the number of FBI files kept on Americans. I feel safer already, don't you?
Here's the facts, ma'am: There are about 4.5 million assault rifles in American civilian hands. That's around the same number as in tiny Switzerland (population: eight million). Tens of thousands of Swiss keep a 9mm Sig Sauer, like the one used by the Newtown killer. But we don't see the Swiss sweeping dead kids out of their schoolyards.
The weapon of America's deadliest mass killer, Timmy McVeigh, was fertiliser. Maybe we should ban bullshit, but that would shut down Washington and all five major TV networks.
At his assault-gun dog-and-pony show on Wednesday, Obama shed tears for the murdered victims, as well he should. But where are his tears for the victims of the MACT?
Let me explain. Last month, Obama bullied his own Environmental Protection Agency into watering down the "MACT" standards – the limits on industrial boiler pollution.
Under this loosened "MACT" rule, industry will get to triple the hydrogen chloride and triple the particulate filth they may dump into the air. The White House crows that Obama's bending over on this rule will save corporate polluters $1.5 billion (£945 million) a year. Yippee!
Last year, the White House proudly posted the statement of EPA's Administrator Lisa Jackson that her proposed boiler pollution rules would help "prevent 17,000 premature deaths [and] 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms."