It’s funny when the shoe is on the other foot.

When former President Barack Obama used executive orders to implement policies that he couldn’t get through Congress, the Democrats and its public relations arm – the mainstream media – said it was a brilliant use of presidential power.

The Republicans said that Obama thought he was a dictator and had overstepped his authority.

Now President Donald John Trump is using executive orders to do what Congress won’t do. The Democrats and the mainstream media are apoplectic and accuse Trump of overstepping his power.

The Republicans are, of course, divided. Some side with the Democrats that Trump is behaving irresponsibly, but others applaud his actions.

With Obamacare, Trump gave Congress plenty of time to repeal or replace it and Congress failed to do anything, so Trump has now signed the death warrant for Obamacare.

When Trump was elected he didn’t seem to realize that his biggest opposition in Washington would come from the Republican-controlled Congress. Trump seemed to assume, as did most people, that the Republicans would put the election, where they didn’t support Trump, behind them and work with the new Republican president.

It took Trump about six months to realize that it was senseless to try and work with Congress because the incompetence level of the current Congress cannot be exaggerated.

So Trump has forged a different path. He has started challenging Congress to put up or shut up.

First he did it with Obama’s patently illegal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Even Obama said the program was unconstitutional before implementing it. Trump said he would allow the program, which was a partial stopgap measure for some illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children, to continue for six months, and if Congress didn’t act then he would.

So Congress has immigration reform on its plate with a deadline. If Congress doesn’t act then Trump is given a free hand to develop his own policy.

Then Trump did it with Iran, where he refused to certify that Iran was in compliance with the utterly absurd agreement Obama made, which required the US to fly planeloads of cash to Iran to get them to release American hostages, and then, once they signed, he agreed to hand them $150 billion, which Iran has used to support terrorism around the world.

Now Trump has done it with Obamacare and it is an absolutely brilliant plan.

Obama, who had no regard for the law because he was president and in his mind above the law, used illegal appropriations to prop up Obamacare. The appropriations – which currently amount to $7 billion a year and are paid to insurance companies – are illegal because Congress never authorized them and Congress must authorize all federal spending. Obama simply made the payments despite the fact that a federal court ruled them unconstitutional.

Trump said he would stop making the illegal payments to insurance companies unless Congress authorizes them, once again putting Congress in a box. The Republicans can’t vote to authorize the payments for a program that they all say they want to repeal.

Trump isn’t going to make the payments to insurance companies, which have been making out like bandits on Obamacare, and the insurance companies will have to raise rates through the roof or stop participating in Obamacare.

One option the insurance companies won’t consider is eating the $7 billion deficit created by payments that are too low to cover their costs.

Obamacare will implode all on its own, so Congress can either act and replace Obamacare with a better program or allow the health insurance policies for millions of Americans to effectively disappear.

Trump tried telling Congress he would sign any Obamacare repeal bill that it passed, which is a pretty good offer, but the Senate couldn’t get its act together.

In the US Senate it takes 50 of 52 Republican votes to get legislation passed because Vice President Mike Pence can break the tie. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been unable to put together 50 votes for anything.

McConnell now has a huge incentive to act – something that he seems to be incapable of doing.

*****

McConnell, in a statement he made in the Rose Garden on Monday, Oct. 16, revealed exactly what is wrong with his leadership and with the Republicans in the Senate who elected him leader.

McConnell said, “My goal as the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate is to keep us in the majority. The way you do that is not complicated. You have to nominate people who can actually win, because winners make policy and losers go home.”

First of all, McConnell’s goal should be to pass good legislation and govern the country.

When he ran for office he did not say – if you elect me I will work as hard as I can for six years so that I can be reelected. In fact, I would be willing to bet not a single Republican senator ran on the platform of elect me so I can get reelected. When these people are running for the Senate they talk about all the wonderful legislation they plan to pass.

McConnell was not shy about the fact that he doesn’t care anything about legislation or governing; what he cares about is keeping the Republican majority, and if that means not doing anything for a year, that’s fine with him.

It is the reverse of the attitude an elected official should have. McConnell should be trying to help his senators keep their promises to voters and to pass the legislation that they swore they would pass when they were running so that they will be reelected because the voters recognize they have been doing a good job running the country.

Plus, McConnell made a quip that no doubt he was told would be funny, because it doesn’t appear he has much understanding of humor, but the line, “winners make policy and losers go home,” isn’t the least bit true in McConnell’s Senate because he has now had nine months to make policy with a Republican majority in the Senate and he has failed miserably at making any policy. That is, unless you consider it a policy to take long vacations, sit around in lavish offices with scores of staffers paid by the taxpayers to take care of your every whim, go to long lunches with your buddies and spend the few days you are at work every month raising money for reelection.

What he should have said is, “winners get to hang out in the Senate, where we have really cool offices, lots of staff at our beck and call and only work a couple days a month, and losers go home.”

Steven Bannon is right. All the Republican senators who support McConnell and his primary goal of being reelected should find themselves in a tough fight in the primary.

McConnell, the campaign wizard, didn’t do very well when he poured millions of Republican dollars into the campaign in Alabama for Sen. Luther Strange, something his fellow Republican senators no doubt noted.

McConnell also told his people to distance themselves from Trump during the presidential election because Trump couldn’t win, indicating that he is not the political wizard he has convinced his buddies in the Senate he is.

McConnell is an old, worn out politician, practicing the politics of the 1980s. He has no business being the majority leader of the Senate because he has been in Washington so long that his goal is simply to stay there and not get sent home by the voters, which he freely admits.

The US Senate is an extremely tight knit club. They can and do fight amongst themselves, but if an outsider says anything derogatory about a senator then the entire Senate goes after them.

To the men and women in the Senate, being a senator has become far more important than being a member of a political party or being an elected official who actually tries to represent their constituents. As McConnell said, the goal of the Republicans in the Senate is to get reelected.

*****

Steve Bannon no longer works for Trump, but the two reportedly still talk frequently. Bannon has attracted attention by stating that he was going to run primary challengers against every sitting Republican senator except Sen. Ted Cruz.

There is nothing that Republican senators fear more than a well-funded primary challenge. They feel confident that they can beat the Democrat running against them in the general election because they can tie the Democrat to higher taxes, Obamacare, weakening the military and out-of-control social programs.

But a Republican challenger from the right will tie the incumbent to all of those same things. If you are running for reelection as a Republican, how do you explain the over $20 trillion national debt, the fact that Obamacare hasn’t been repealed or that tiny North Korea is allowed to threaten the US?

It’s a nightmare scenario for the Washington insiders who also don’t want to have to go and mingle with the common people in their home state but want to stay and live like royalty in Washington.

But look at what Trump has done. he has put three issues on the Senate’s plate with timelines. Either they act or he will act.

At the same time, Bannon is running around telling anyone who will listen that all of these swamp creatures are going to face a well-funded primary challenge.

It could be a coincidence or it could be that Trump is once again outmaneuvering his opponents. This whole thing could have been cooked up in the Oval Office before Bannon left the White House.

Trump, like most sentient beings in the country, is extremely frustrated with the Senate. So all of sudden Trump has found a way to put pressure on the Senate to act and Bannon is putting on pressure by promising they will be primaried.

The carrot didn’t work so now Trump is trying the stick.

It’s seems far more likely that Bannon and Trump are still working as a team than that Bannon left the White House and is now operating completely independent of Trump or that Trump no longer values Bannon’s advice.

This has all the hallmarks of a Trump-Bannon plan, one of those being that the mainstream media have completely missed it. Trump and Bannon seem to be in complete agreement that the mainstream media are made up of bounders, poltroons and cads, and furthermore the two are continually proving that their opinion is right on target.

*****

The impromptu press conference held in the Rose Garden with McConnell on Monday was another Trump stroke of genius. McConnell looked like a mouse caught in the middle of the kitchen floor when the lights come on. He didn’t know which way to run.

To McConnell’s credit, he stuck it out while Trump fielded question after question and McConnell dutifully trotted over to the microphone when Trump handed a question over to him.

Proof that the White House press corps is made up of a bunch of whiners and complainers is the fact that they complained about the president of the United States going out in the Rose Garden and answering any question they threw at him for an hour. The reporters complained about not being given enough warning about the press conference and that the scene was chaotic because they were behaving like kids at the ice cream truck after they were told everything is free.

When presidents don’t hold press conferences the reporters complain bitterly about lack of access; here was a case where they were given tons of access and they still complained.

According to Keith Koffler at the White House Dossier, Jonathan Karl of ABC said, “I have probably had more opportunities to ask questions of President Trump over the past two weeks than I had of President Obama during the last two years of his presidency.”

It’s worth noting that when Hillary Clinton was running for president she went nearly a year without holding a press conference, and when she did hold one, it was short and ended when reporters started asking real questions.

That was OK with the mainstream media because she is, after all, Hillary Clinton and was going to be president.

*****

Some people have asked how all the false information, what Trump calls fake news, gets reported in the mainstream media about Trump.

It’s simple. The report will read, “two sources close to the White House” or “three sources with knowledge of the situation” or something like that, but really all it takes is a couple of folks in the White House, and they can be dishwashers or lawn care specialists because it rarely gives any information about what they do. The way the stories are written you don’t know if it is the vice president or a flower arranger.

But to get past the rules of the mainstream media is amazingly easy. The reporter gets a hot tip from the flower arranger at the White House who says that Donald Trump is secretly addicted to fried pork rinds; President George Bush the elder got him hooked on them and he can’t get through an entire meeting without a crunch or two.

So the reporter goes to their editor or producer with this hot story and the editor asks, how many sources do you have. The reporter explains one, but he has been at the White House a long time and is really reliable.

The editor says get two more sources and we’ll go with the story. So the reporter calls the source back and says, I need two more sources – who else has seen the president actually eating pork rinds?

The source either gives a couple of names or says, let me call you right back; we have a droopy daisy in the Map Room and I’ve got to get right on it.

The source then calls a couple of like-minded buddies who work in the White House and tells them about the pork rind scandal and they agree to be anonymous sources on the story. They can say that it is an open secret and everyone knows about it, although they have not personally seen any pork rinds being eaten.

The reporter gets two more sources and the story is good to go.

*****

I know the conspiracy theorists are going nuts over the Las Vegas shooting, but there are a couple of questions that it would be good for law enforcement to answer.

One is about the number of shots fired by Stephen Paddock. It seems that they are claiming he fired for about 10 minutes. Firing about 1,000 rounds to kill and wound over 500 people would show remarkable accuracy or luck. But I’ve watched all the videos available and listened to the audio, and I don’t hear anything close to 1,000 rounds. If you want to know what 1,000 rounds sounds like, there is a video of a guy firing 700 rounds from a machine gun designed to fire at that rate, and it takes a long time. It’s continuous firing for over a minute.

Paddock was firing semi-automatic rifles with bump stocks to make them fire like automatic rifles, but the barrel on one of these would melt if he tried to fire 700 rounds, plus he would have to change magazines at least 10 times.

And they have shown photos of his room. The floor should be littered with casings. There should be at least 1,000 casings on the floor, which means they should be everywhere. Are we supposed to believe that he spent his last 50 minutes of life picking up shell casings and putting them in a box so they could be recycled. It doesn’t seem likely.

If Paddock fired at the rate heard on the videos, it doesn’t seem possible that he could have fired 1,000 rounds in 10 minutes.

Maybe the videos are just picking up his last couple hundred rounds, but there must be one that has the entire sequence. Certainly someone was taping the concert and would have the shooting from beginning to end.

Are we supposed to believe that he fired 800 rounds or so before Jason Aldean left the stage? That doesn’t seem likely, and, I’m no expert, but firing at that distance using a bump stock it seems like 1,000 rounds would be the least he would have to have fired to cause the number of deaths and injuries, and actually the number should be higher, because people did start running for cover and it appears from the videos the crowd was not as dense toward the end of his firing.

Plus there is the question that perhaps will never be answered: Why did he stop firing after 10 minutes? He still had 50 minutes before the police came in the room.

These are questions law enforcement needs to answer to quiet the conspiracy theorists; until they do, the conspiracies are going to get wilder and wilder.

It seems the questions about what happened to Jesus Campos – the security guard who didn’t appear for a scheduled press conference and couldn’t be located – have been answered. It appears he wanted to be paid for his story, and he was, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

But now, the timeline keeps changing.

The first story was that he was on the hall because some other guest had left their door open and it set off an alarm. He heard the shooting from Paddock’s room and, when he went to the door, Paddock shot him through the door.

The second timeline was that Campos went to the door 10 minutes before the shooting started, but he says he heard shooting.

The newest timeline is that he went to the door 40 seconds before the shooting started.

It seemed to make sense that when Campos came to the door Paddock quit shooting, but if the security guard came to the door first, why did Paddock quit shooting after 10 minutes, and how did Campos hear the shooting 40 seconds before it started?

The public deserves an explanation of what happened and some kind of timeline that works. The exact time Paddock started shooting should be easy to establish because the sound had to be recorded at the concert.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that a 28-year-old woman who posted a lengthy piece on Facebook about her experience, and the fact that she was certain there was more than one shooter, suddenly died. She was not injured in the shooting, but after her Facebook post she reportedly had a seizure and died.

Why was she so convinced that there was more than one shooter and do other people who were there agree?

The lack of information about the events of that night are disturbing, and law enforcement authorities owe the public some kind of explanation. Perhaps there was another shooter and law enforcement wants him to believe they aren’t looking for him. There are a lot of explanations, but the public has a right to know what happened and they need to settle on one timeline.

*****

If you are not a Hillary Clinton fan, and I imagine that would include most people who read this column, it’s great fun to watch some of the interviews she is doing with foreign journalists.

The journalists in Great Britain and Australia don’t worship Hillary Clinton and don’t know that they are not supposed to ask her any questions that she doesn’t want to be asked. It’s great fun to watch her recoil and squirm when she is asked a question about why she is blaming everyone else because she lost, or about her emails, which of course were not her fault.

No doubt American mainstream media journalists are horrified that anyone would ask Hillary Clinton a tough question since, during her long controversial campaign, they didn’t manage to ask her one.

It is also worth noting that Hillary Clinton, who, according to her, has nothing wrong with her, fell again and this time reportedly broke a toe.

Once again she tells a story that only a true Clintonite would believe – that she was running down the stairs and fell backwards up the stairs.

Try it. When running down the stairs, because of the laws of physics (which even apply to Hillary Clinton), it is nearly impossible to fall up the stairs. It’s incredible easy to fall down the stairs and most of us at some point in our lives have done it, but she says she fell up, so maybe the law of gravity, like the laws of the United States, don’t apply to Hillary Clinton.

I’m with Trump on this one. I hope that Hillary Clinton’s ego is so large that she runs in 2020 and the Democrats are still so in love with her that she gets the nomination.

*****

People have questioned why I haven’t written about the amount of golf Trump plays. I did write about former President Obama’s nearly weekly trips to the golf course.

One reason is that it appears Trump is using golf the way businessmen have used golf for decades – to make deals. Recently Trump has played golf with Sen. Lindsey Graham and with Sen. Rand Paul. These are senators who have not been friendly to Trump or his programs.

It’s a lot different to go out and play golf with someone you’re trying to make a deal with and playing golf with some underlings in the White House, which is what Obama did.

You rarely heard it reported that Obama was playing golf with other politicians. He sometimes played with famous celebrities, but usually played with some minor functionaries who worked in the White House.

Besides, everyone knew that Trump played a lot of golf and owned a lot of golf courses. Obama was sold to the American people as a basketball player, and then once he got elected he gave up basketball for golf. Maybe there is nothing wrong with that, but if there is nothing wrong with playing golf, why is it that Obama didn’t admit while he was campaigning that his real passion was no longer basketball but golf.

*****

Those who are so opposed to nuclear power should take a look at the US Navy, which has 86 nuclear powered ships and has never had an accident involving the nuclear propulsion system.

If the US is capable of building nuclear reactors for 86 ships that travel all over the world without a nuclear accident, doesn’t it seem that same technology could be used at a stable site on land to generate electricity?

The reason the US doesn’t have more nuclear powered generators is the same fake news that Trump talks about all the time.

When the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor had a partial meltdown in 1979, the mainstream media reported it as a major disaster.

What other major disaster didn’t have the loss of one human life or result in a single injury that required hospitalization?

What Three Mile Island actually proved is that nuclear power is a safe form of generating electricity, but the news reporting on it was so overblown that people were convinced that hundreds of people died and people in a vast area were exposed to dangerous amounts of radioactivity. Neither is true: Nobody died and no one was exposed to excessive amounts of radiation.

Some radiation was released by the plant, but there is radiation all around us. In North Carolina, a lot of us live in brick homes; we are exposed to more radiation than people who live in homes made of wood, and people who live in homes built out of stone are exposed to even more radiation. But the amounts are so miniscule that it isn’t worth worrying about.

Parisian Promenade at Bicentennial Garden