- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump rocketed from No. 72 on Forbes annual list of “The World’s Most Powerful People” in 2015 to No. 2 this time around. “Donald Trump is trading in Trump Tower for the White House,” Forbes notes in a jaunty review. “The New York native will become the first billionaire president of the United States, after upsetting Hillary Clinton in a surprising election victory.” Mrs. Clinton does not appear on the list at all. President Obama is ranked No. 48. Last year, he was No. 2.

“Any ranking of the world’s most powerful people is going to be subjective, so we don’t pretend ours is definitive. It’s meant to be the beginning of a conversation, not the final word,” notes Forbes contributing editor David Ewalt.

And who is the tip top of the list? That would be Russia President Vladimir Putin, who’s been there for a while.

“The world’s most powerful person for four years running, Russia’s president has exerted his country’s influence in nearly every corner of the globe; from the motherland to Syria to the U.S. presidential elections, Putin continues to get what he wants,” Forbes says. “Unconstrained by conventional global norms, his reach has magnified in recent years. In 2016 Russian hackers were accused of tapping into email accounts owned by members of the U.S. Democratic Party in a bid to aid the campaign of Donald Trump, who has regularly praised Putin’s leadership style. The Kremlin denies the charges, and President-elect Trump has also dismissed the possibility of outsiders tampering in the election, despite a reported CIA memo suggesting otherwise. Either way, with a likely ally entering the White House, Putin’s power may go largely unchecked for years to come.”

The lengthy power list includes 74 assorted elected officials, politicians, rulers, entrepreneurs, economic wizards, billionaires, CEOs and clergy. After Mssrs. Putin and Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in third place, followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pope Francis, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Google CEO Larry Page, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

ONE MORE PARTY

For those wondering about the aforementioned Hillary Clinton, she will be in the grand ballroom at the magnificent Plaza Hotel on Thursday, throwing a party for her most well-heeled benefactors — those megadonors who gave her campaign at least $1 million. Multiple press reports indicated that some very generous donors who didn’t make the cut were miffed that they weren’t invited.

“Clinton claims that it’s because the 4,800-square-foot ballroom can’t hold all of her rich friends. And she may be right. By the last month of the campaign, Clinton had bagged more than $1.4 billion from Democratic megadonors and friendly billionaires, packing the coffers of both her campaign and her affiliated SuperPACs. She outpaced her opponent, Donald Trump, in fundraising by almost 40 percent,” notes Emily Zanotti, a correspondent for Heatstreet. “More than a fifth of that haul was raised from just 100 individuals and labor unions. Her top donor, S. Donald Sussman, a venture capitalist and hedge fund manager, gave $20 million.”

LIBERAL AGENDA SWAYS BUSINESS NEWS

Voters may pine for straightforward business and economic coverage, but they didn’t get a whole lot of it, according to Julia A. Seymour, assistant managing editor for the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute, a conservative press watchdog. After poring over 2016’s coverage, Ms. Seymour shares some of the most blatant examples of business coverage that managed to support the liberal agenda.

She cites the “Big Three” broadcast networks in particular. ABC, CBS and NBC downplayed violence during rallies and occupations near the Dakota Access pipeline, portraying protesters more as “water protectors.” The broadcasters also ignored the faltering Cuban economy in often flattering portrayals of Fidel Castro following his death last month, “failing to expose the economic damage of Castro’s communism,” Ms. Seymour notes.

Networks overlooked the economic woes of “coal country” while glossing over major indicators of a weak U.S. economy to tout a “comeback. They also continue to “sound the alarm” on climate change, says Ms. Seymour.

THE POWER NAP REINVENTED

Therapists are rushing to assuage the “postelection grief” of Democrats. Entrepreneurs, meanwhile, are seeking to soothe the cranky folk in the nation’s capital as well. The power nap — made popular by the hard-driving IT and marketing entrepreneurs of another decade — has returned

“Type A White House staffers and lobbyists now have a new place to drop-in for a power nap or to meditate just steps away from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave,” advises Recharj, a “wellness company” offering meditation and 25-minute power nap sessions at a new studio that is indeed in close proximity to the White House. It opens Thursday.

“Washingtonians are feeling more stressed and fatigued than ever before. Our new studio offers a sanctuary to meditate, sip tea, power nap,” says manager Christine Marcella, who notes that the studio features “a spacious, eco-therapeutic meditation and power nap room” with such amenities as “private cubbies” and a kitchenette stocked with premium teas and other beverages.

POLL DU JOUR

58 percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s job performance as he prepares to leave office; 15 percent of Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats agree.

49 percent of Americans say Mr. Obama’s “accomplishments will outweigh his failures”; 13 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Democrats agree.

35 percent say Mr. Obama made progress on the nation’s major problems; 10 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats agree.

32 percent say Mr. Obama “tried but failed” to make progress; 27 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats agree.

21 percent say Mr. Obama made problems worse; 46 percent of Republicans and 2 percent of Democrats agree.

9 percent said Mr. Obama did not address the problems; 15 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,502 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 5 and released Wednesday.

Cheers and snores to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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