From the latest TIME magazine came its “100 most influential people” ranging from Putin and Trump to Paul Ryan.

An arbitrary and generally mythical  list of mixed achievers, of course,  led me to wonder who didn’t make the cut. And why some did. All of the survivors were hailed with brief adulatory  comments by their admirers, none more so than House Speaker Paul Ryan’s icky  tribute  to Trump.  Technically the third most powerful politician on Capitol Hill (Trump and the other guy in the photo-ops ahead of him in the pecking order) , we have come to know Ryan as a  terrible  swimmer who  is no more accomplished than  that fellow at  the gym who is inept at treading water.

At this point in his career, Ryan appears to be content  in merely  being a survivor.  You may recall that he was chosen as Mitt Romney’s lively  running mate.  Didn’t work.

So here are a few excerpts from  Ryan’s paean to Trump:

“He always finds a way to get it done.”  ( Think:  Wall! Wall! Wall!)

“’Never afraid of a battle, he has made it his mission to fight for those who feel forgotten.”  (Think: the forlorn Wall Streeters)

“Where others would pivot, he stays true to who he is.” (Think : NAFTA, NATO, Chinese currency manipulation, Turkey, etc. etc. etc.)

That’s Ryan for you.  No. 3 obviously doesn’t read the papers or watch the TV news shows. Simply fills space, and obediently writes fiction.

* * *

Speaking of fiction, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says Trump has “no intention” of releasing his income tax returns.  “The president has released plenty of information and I think  he has given more “ financial disclosure  than anybody else,”  the secretary tells us.  “I think the American population has plenty of information”. Ha, Ha.

But Trump has insisted all along thtat he would release them once the mysterious audits were completed.  My hunch is that it could take forever because they are actually being audited, based on prenuptial agreements , by his first two wives as well as his family heirs.  Billions of dollars don’t go nearly  as far as they used to these days.