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.

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.

Tom Brady to Retire from NFL (Update: Or Is He?)

 

After 22 seasons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (and former New England Patriots) quarterback Tom Brady is retiring, according to ESPN.

He has won seven Super Bowl rings, the most by any single player in NFL history. He also holds the records for the most touchdown passes (624) and the most passing yards (84,250). This season, he was the leader in both touchdowns and passing yards.

Earlier in the week, appearing on his “Let’s Go” podcast with host Jim Gray, Brady used the word “satisfied” to describe his NFL career, which caught the attention of many who know a man who rarely was satisfied with his achievements. Brady cited his family’s desires as a heavy factor in his upcoming decision.

Democrats Oppose Replacing a Justice During an Election Year

 

In September 2020, Democratic Senators were unified: No President should nominate a Supreme Court Justice during an election year. With the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer, they now face a similar dilemma. Let’s see their positions just 16 months ago.

Chuck Schumer (D–NY): “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled.”

Breaking: SCOTUS Shoots Down Biden’s Vax Mandate

 

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked President Joe Biden’s Covid vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule, which took effect Monday, required employees to get vaccinated, or get tested weekly and wear a mask.

The court ruled 6-3 against the OSHA plan, blocking it from taking effect while other legal challenges play out.

January 6, One Year On

 

As anniversaries go, Jan. 6 is a pretty lousy one — especially for Republicans.

After losing the election to Joe Biden in a squeaker, then-President Trump wasted two months promoting increasingly unhinged conspiracy theories and fanned the flames of outrage among his most dedicated supporters. Some people on the fringe took this all too seriously. Following a particularly ugly Trump speech, the crowd tore down barriers surrounding the US Capitol, assaulted police officers, and forced their way in.

The paragraph above is nearly a word-for-word recap from the post I wrote that afternoon, “Impeach. Remove. Bar from Office.” As of this writing, that article has received nearly 1,200 comments. Early on, many comments were positive; by the end, it was nearly all negative. It caused a lot of controversy on Ricochet and references to it kept popping up in my posts throughout 2021.

Your Picks for the Best and Worst of 2021

 

A lot of websites and podcasts are sharing their year-end lists and I thought Ricochet members should have their own. Here are the categories; you can share your picks in the comments below. (Mine will be in the comments as well since I’m more interested in your choices than mine.) You can interpret these categories any way you see fit. Happy list-making!

  1. Best/Worst Republican Politician of 2021
  2. Best/Worst Democrat Politician of 2021
  3. Best/Worst Political Play of 2021
  4. Most Underreported/Overreported Story of 2021
  5. Best Movie of 2021
  6. Best TV Show of 2021
  7. Best Book of 2021
  8. Best Podcast (on Ricochet or elsewhere) of 2021

…and Rest in Peace, Harry Reid

 

A tough day all around. Veteran Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston announced Tuesday night that former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has died at age 82.

Reid served as a US Senator from Nevada for 30 years, retiring in 2017. He led the Senate Democrats from 2005 until his retirement and was the Majority Leader from 2007 to 2015.

Prior to that, Reid was a city attorney for Henderson, NV, a member of the Nevada State Assembly, Lieutenant Governor, and Chairman of the Gaming Commission. Before being elected to the Senate, he represented Nevada’s 1st District in the US House for two terms.

Rest in Peace, John Madden

 

John Madden (right) with his longtime play-by-play man, Pat Summerall.

Legendary NFL coaching and broadcaster John Madden unexpectedly died Tuesday morning. He was 85 years old.

Madden was a wildly successful head coach of the Oakland Raiders, garnering a 103-32-7 record and besting the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. He then stepped off the field and into the broadcasting booth to become football’s most beloved color commentator.

Biden on Covid: ‘There Is No Federal Solution’

 

During the 2020 campaign, Joe Biden promised to “shut down” Covid and blasted President Trump for letting governors make the public health decisions best suited to their states. Eleven months into the Biden presidency, the virus is nowhere close to being shut down and the White House has decided governors should handle Covid on a state-by-state basis.

“Look, there is no federal solution,” Biden said to the National Governors Association Monday via video. “This gets solved at the state level.” He was joined by Anthony Fauci, Rochelle Walensky, and White House Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.

After the President’s opening remarks, he asked the governors if they had any questions. Zients broke in, saying, “I think we’re going to clear the press first.”

St. John Chrysostom on Christmas

 

I behold a new and wondrous mystery! My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.
The Angels sing!
The Archangels blend their voices in harmony!
The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise!
The Seraphim exalt His glory!

All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side the Sun of Justice.

Always Winter, Never Christmas in Covidland

 

Our house is decorated, the Christmas tree is up, and all the presents have been bought. Well, almost all; I’m sure we’ll find some last-minute must-haves. Our holiday season is normal, outside of inflated prices and a deflated Santa that blew into our yard last night.

But New York City, Washington DC, and other blue cities are observing Covidmas again this year. The dreary winter weather matches their residents’ dreary mood. “Fifteen days to slow the spread” has dragged to 21 months with no end in sight. Politicians shame the unvaccinated, teachers’ unions threaten more school closures, and progressives tut-tut Christmas revelers.

To Celebrate Worst Inflation in 39 Years, Biden Raises Debt Limit

 

Friday morning, the Labor Department reported that US inflation reached its highest level since 1982. The consumer-price index, which measures what consumers pay for goods and services, rose 6.8% in November from the same month a year ago.

But President Joe Biden has a plan: more debt spending. “[T]he challenge of prices underscores the importance that Congress move without delay to pass my Build Back Better plan, which lowers how much families pay for health care, prescription drugs, child care, and more, Biden said. “Passing BBB is the most immediate and direct step we can take to deliver.”

Granted, the Congressional Budget Office reported Friday that BBB will add $3 trillion to the national debt. But President Joe Biden has a plan for that too: raise the debt ceiling again.

Jussie Smollett Found Guilty on 5 of 6 Counts

 

A Chicago jury has found Jussie Smollett guilty of the first five counts of disorderly conduct for making false reports to police that he was a victim of a hate crime in early 2019. He was found not guilty on the sixth and final charge.

Nearly three years ago, the “Empire” actor reported that he was attacked by two white men who called him racist and anti-gay slurs, put a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him, all while shouting, “This is MAGA country.” Smollett claimed it occurred while he was out visiting Subway in the wee hours of the morning during a freezing winter polar vortex.

Despite the story being ludicrous on its face, leading Democrat politicians, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, immediately believed Smollett’s bizarre tale, as did many leading celebrities and progressive activists. Local media soon pulled apart the fabricated story while powerful Chicago pols tried to prevent his prosecution.

Misremembering Pearl Harbor with Mr. Williams

 

Japanese photograph taken during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

Mr. Williams was the best substitute teacher at Shadow Mountain High School. Not to say he was good at teaching. To be honest, he was terrible. But any day students saw the elderly man shuffle to the chalkboard to scribble his name, we knew we were in for a treat.

The first time I had him “teach” was for my freshman Algebra class. He didn’t mention math. Instead, he gave us a play-by-play of Dec. 7, 1941. Mr. Williams had enlisted in the US Navy before the war and was stationed at Pearl Harbor.

Norm Macdonald’s Thanksgiving Speech

 

Norm Macdonald was a regular guest on Dennis Miller’s radio show back in 2010 or so. My Thanksgiving tradition is to listen to Macdonald’s speech about the many things he’s thankful for. Here’s my transcription; audio included below.

Firstly, I’m thankful for the fine ladies who live across this country and leave pies on their windowsills, so an old chunk of coal like me might have a meal from time to time.

I’m thankful for all of my five children, especially the one that I like.

This Thanksgiving, Choose Gratitude over Grievance

 

Political commentators spend most of their days following the awful things happening in the world. Bad news, after all, is what dominates the news cycle.

War, death, poverty, and injustice (and the occasional cat video) fill our laptop screens from the moment we wake until we go to bed. By the fourth day of the workweek, it’s easy to cycle between outrage and despair.

People on all sides succumb to this emotional low road, which is why there’s so much anger about failed politicians, terrible policies, and broken promises. Our grandparents would yell at the newspaper, our parents at the TV, but now everyone can hear our complaints. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube spread everyone’s misery worldwide.