About Jon Gabriel, Ed.

Jon Gabriel (a.k.a., @ExJon on Twitter) is the Editor-in-Chief of Ricochet. He is a political writer and marketing consultant, contributing articles to Ricochet, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, BuzzFeed, and the Heartland Institute. Until 2012, he served as Director of Marketing for the free-market Goldwater Institute, where he converted policy initiatives into compelling stories. In the private sector, Jon led marketing efforts for Cold Stone Creamery, Honeywell, and several technology companies. In his spare time he helped create a political satire blog, garnering several notices from Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, National Review, The New York Times, and other media outlets. Jon is a summa cum laude graduate of Arizona State's Cronkite School of Journalism and is a former submarine reactor operator for the U.S. Navy. When not obsessing about the news, he obsesses about the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Diamondbacks and indie rock. He lives in Mesa, Ariz., with his long-suffering wife and two precocious daughters.

The Stakes Are Well Done

 

The Claremont Institute recently granted me a Lincoln Fellowship, which offers a week-plus of seminars on American politics and political thought. But first, I have to read some books. A lot of books.

One of the first I picked up was Michael Anton’s The Stakes: America at the Point of No Return (2020). Anton famously dubbed 2016 “The Flight 93 Election,” and in The Stakes, he warned of what would happen if the Democrats took the White House in 2020.

In the chapter titled “If Present Trends Continue…,” Anton made several predictions of a Biden presidency.

Sorry, Dems. Trump Isn’t Going to Save You

 

“Headwinds.” That’s a word you never hear when a Republican is in the White House. If anything goes wrong, from a stock market dip to your teen getting mono, it’s the malevolent intent of the creepy GOPer drooling on the Resolute Desk. But when a Democrat’s in office, the press praises Our Noble Hero for facing down those dastardly headwinds. Record inflation, an overrun border, or a murderous flight from Kabul — or all three! —  President Biden, Obama, et al., didn’t cause the problems. They’re passive observers responding to completely random circumstances.

Politico resurrected this term of art from their 2009-2016 archives and is now applying it to Slow Joe:

President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats have struggled to overcome historical headwinds and worrisome economic trends in the lead-up to the midterms.

‘Quid Est Veritas?’ Biden Unveils Ministry of Truth

 

The Biden administration is creating a group to counter “disinformation” and “misinformation.” It will be led by a woman who repeatedly pushed both.

The Department of Homeland Security appointed Nina Jankowicz to head the group. Her previous job title was “disinformation fellow” at the Wilson Center, a title that seems a bit on the nose. While at Wilson, she frequently offered false narratives about Hunter Biden’s incriminating “laptop from hell” and Trump’s involvement with Russia. One might even call it misinformation.

On October 20, 2020, the AP interviewed Jankowicz who insisted the laptop was a non-story:

‘Hell Took a Body, and Discovered God’

 

Are there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!

If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.

To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Rest in Peace

 

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the former President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate and the longest-serving Senator in Utah history died today. It was announced late Saturday by his public policy organization, the Hatch Foundation. He was 88 years old.

A member of the Senate for 42 years, Hatch served during the administrations of seven Presidents. At the end of his term in January 2019, he was the ninth-longest-serving US Senator in American history.

DeSantis Understands the Best Defense Is a Good Offense

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis’s tussle with Disney has befuddled many right-of-center commentators. Some insist eliminating the Reedy Creek Improvement District is fundamentally anti-conservative. Others cheer on DeSantis and want other red-state governors to emulate him. The debate has strained ideological alliances, with pundits usually on the same side bickering on social media, podcasts, and tit-for-tat think pieces.

Luckily for the intelligentsia, I will settle the debate once and for all. DeSantis killing Disney’s sweetheart deal was A) conservative and, B) the correct decision. Here’s why.

For decades, conservatives have played defense on social issues. Then, when they’ve lost the social issue de jour, they play defense on the next issue, and the one after that. This is how we’ve arrived at teachers encouraging third graders to question their gender and reassuring Jake that turning into Jessica is just a scalpel and hormone shot away.

We Can No Longer Afford to Be ‘Respectable’

 

“What happened to that guy?” A lot of us have asked this question in the past few years about columnists, pundits, and thinkers we’ve always agreed with, only to see them taking a wildly different tack. Next, we’ll ask, “Did I change or did they?” I know I’ve changed quite a bit, but to see influential conservatives pushing “the conservative case for voting Democrat/Promoting CRT and Queer Theory/censoring Republicans/etc.” remains tough to stomach.

Many blast these (former?) conservatives on social media, but that’s never been my style. I expect people to disagree with me on most issues; a round of insults won’t change their minds anyway. Our discourse is too toxic as it is, so I’d rather promote the good and beautiful (i.e., my own brilliant ideas) than curse the infidel.

Yet, I can’t help but wonder what happened to so many influential commentators. “Trump broke them” is an easy out, yet doesn’t explain the ideological 180s they’ve taken. I’ve begun to settle on another cause, especially among newly woke-ish Christian writers. A recent interview tied a bow on my thoughts.

Get Vaxxed, People!

 

Not that vax; you made your decision about Covid long ago. I’m talking about Shingrix, a vaccine to prevent shingles recommended to people 50 and older. My doctor never mentioned it to me and, for the past two and a half weeks, I’ve been dealing with my oversight.

Shingles is a weird little bugger. If you ever came down with chickenpox, a virus named varicella-zoster lays dormant in your body. Then, if your immune system is weakened by stress, certain medications, or disease — whammo, it springs back to life. About one in three Americans get shingles, usually after age 50. (My wife got it in her mid-40s, so your mileage might vary.)

A big hit to my immune system was Covid, which I had about two months ago. In mid-March, my ear started hurting badly. Then fever and chills. Finally, five days in, I dragged my stubborn self to urgent care where they diagnosed shingles at a glance.

Finnish Intelligence Officer Explains the Russian Mindset

 

Former Finnish intelligence colonel Martti J. Kari.

Russia has always befuddled Western analysts, a fact best summed up by Winston Churchill who said the multicontinental colossus is “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” More recently, “experts” wondered why Putin was pushing forces to Ukraine’s border, then why he launched such a massive attack, and now why on earth he’s reducing cities to rubble and pushing civilians into mass graves.

What Is a Women’s History Month?

 

Since 1987, America has recognized March as Women’s History Month. In this year’s proclamation, President Biden wrote that the event “provides an opportunity to honor the generations of trailblazing women and girls who have built our Nation, shaped our progress, and strengthened our character as a people.”

Truly a noble effort. But in 2022, nothing can be so simple. We can’t even agree what a “woman” is, let alone “history” or “month.”

The latest example occurred during the hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R–Tenn.) asked the nominee, “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman?'”

Arizona Judge Tosses Teachers’ Union Tax Hike

 

While the presidential election got the most press, Arizona’s 2020 ballot had a proposition that made tax-cutters and fans of limited government very concerned. The electorate trended left that day, sending gun-grabber Mark Kelly to the Senate, giving five of nine congressional seats to the Dems, and approving Proposition 208, a tax-the-rich scheme pushed by ever-greedy teachers’ unions. Less than one percent of the campaign’s funding came from in-state sources.

The law imposed a 3.5% tax surcharge on taxable annual income over $250,000 for single persons or married persons filing separately, or $500,000 for married persons filing jointly or heads of households, to increase funding for public education. This nearly doubled the state’s highest tax rate. At the same time, it turned Arizona from one of the lowest-taxed states in the country to one of the highest.

As Californians fled to the east, they noticed Prop 208 and drove right through Arizona. Why settle a business in the Grand Canyon State if they’ll just have to move again in a few years?

The State of the Union Is About What You’d Expect

 

I watched President Biden’s State of the Union Address. It wasn’t my fault; Ricochet made me. Just be thankful you didn’t have to. It was bad, needless to say. Joe Biden is, well, Joe Biden, so no one expected soaring rhetoric, achievable goals, or a political change. He is what he is.

He began talking about Ukraine, which was pretty good, graded on the steep Biden Oratorical Curve. There was a nice moment when he recognized Ukraine’s Ambassador to the US. The best part was his conclusion that “our forces are not engaged and will not engage in the conflict with Russian forces in Ukraine.” He also referred to Ukrainians as “Uranians” and “Iranians,” respectively.

Time for the West to Start Building Russia a ‘Golden Bridge’

 

As sanctions cripple the Russian economy and Ukraine bravely holds its own against Putin’s onslaught, it’s time for the West to prepare for a pivot. And they should do so by taking the advice of a 19th-century Russian general.

In 1812, Napoleon launched a full-scale invasion of the Russian empire, expecting a few big wins would force Czar Alexander I to capitulate. It had worked with other European leaders; should be wrapped up in a couple of months. But the old, obese, one-eyed General Mikhail Kutuzov had another idea.

As the invasion began, Napoleon took Smolensk, along with significant casualties. A victory nonetheless. He marched toward Moscow, adding far more French casualties (especially from disease). But he was still on the move. Kutusov and his generals heroically fought him at Borodino, about a day’s march from Russia’s old capital. They essentially fought the French to a draw in the bloodiest battle of the Napoleonic Wars, but surrendered the field and moved east of Moscow. A Pyrrhic victory for Napoleon, but technically a win.

Russia Invades Ukraine

 

In a speech Wednesday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation,” followed immediately by troops entering Ukraine and large explosions throughout the country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed the attack and declared martial law. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called it a “full-scale invasion,” adding, “Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”

Putin Recognizes ‘Independence’ of 2 Eastern Ukraine Regions

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has officially recognized the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, two eastern Ukraine provinces. He signed documents following a long speech carried on Russian television Monday.

“I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago,” Putin said, “to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.”

Biden Mumbles Statement on Ukraine

 

No one expects a Biden statement to build confidence on the homefront or inspire fear in our enemies. So we shouldn’t be surprised the president’s brief presser on Friday was an hour late and won’t change much between Russia and Ukraine.

The only news was the president saying he is now convinced Putin plans to invade his smaller neighbor. “Ashuhv hiss momen ahm covissed he’s made uh deshishan,” Biden mumbled, but stressed the Russian leader can choose diplomacy any time he wants. (Or, “dipomacy aways possumility” in Biden-speak.)

Trudeau’s War on Truckers Will Backfire … Badly

 

Freedom lovers around the world have cheered on the Canadian truckers who convoyed into the nation’s capital to oppose vaccine mandates. After arrival, they hung around Ottawa, proving a nuisance to nervous politicians and wealthy residents.

Unlike leftist protests in the summer of 2020, truckers haven’t smashed windows, burned down businesses, or assaulted cops and bystanders. Instead, they’ve held cookouts, helped feed the homeless, and fostered a happy party atmosphere.

Their demands are limited and simple. They want the Liberal Canadian government to end the vaccine mandate on truckers, a common-sense request for essential workers spending 99 percent of their workdays alone in a cab. PM Justin Trudeau and his bureaucracy could have ended this long before the convoy reached Ottawa by agreeing to their sensible position.

Creepy Porn Lawyer Convicted for Stealing $300K from Thicc Thespian

 

Former presidential hopeful and CNN commentator Michael Avenatti was convicted Friday of stealing $300,000 from adult actress Stormy Daniels. This marks the second felony conviction in two years for Avenatti, who rocketed to fame in the early Trump years pushing lawsuits and #resist conspiracy theories. Avenatti stole two book advances from then-client Daniels that totaled nearly $300,000.

Stephanie Clifford, stag name Stormy Daniels, claimed she had been paid $130K in hush money to hide a lewd liaison with the former president. This earned her a book deal with St. Martin’s Press and Avenatti stole the lucrative advance payments. By the time Daniels asked him for the money, he had already spent it, apparently on shiny suits and body oil.

Avenatti bizarrely decided to represent himself in the trial and called Daniels to the stand for a thorough berating. It was to no avail, as the jury decided the porn star who talks to ghosts and receives messages from a doll named “Susan” was more credible than the disgraced lawyer.