Who were the people who took private jets to the Stop the Steal rally in DC? @abigailtracy found one group from Memphis and got quite the story. A must-read https://t.co/f2VrLICH9I
— Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) March 18, 2021
Vanity Fair‘s sweet spot, between glossy entertainment reporting and politics. “A Private Jet of Rich Trumpers Wanted to “Stop the Steal”—But They Don’t Want You to Read This”:
At 12:11 p.m. on January 5, an eight-seat Bombardier Challenger 300 jet took off from Memphis International Airport. A little over an hour and a half and one time zone later, it touched down at Dulles, just outside of Washington, D.C. The following day a seditious horde of Donald Trump supporters, unapologetically encouraged by him, mounted an insurrection to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. “After this we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you,” the 45th president told attendees of the “Stop the Steal” rally gathered at the Ellipse, a park a little over one mile from the Hill. At 2:11 p.m. the first of the mob had breached the Capitol on the west side of the building, near the Senate chamber. At 5:34 p.m. the sergeant at arms informed lawmakers that the Capitol was secure. At 6:39 p.m. the Challenger was wheels-up, an hour behind schedule, according to flight data. It touched down in Memphis at 7:25 p.m., back in central time.
As the dust settled in the capital city, the aperture of the moment largely focused on the most violent (the ones with zip ties and stun guns) and the most outrageous (the shirtless QAnon shaman). And while lawmakers reckoned with what would come next—would Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment? Would the inauguration bring more violence?—a murmur began to bubble among Memphis’s lily white country-club elite. Did you hear John Dobbs flew his buddies to the capital on his private jet? A photo posted to the Instagram account of George Zanone III features the lineup: Dobbs, Zanone, Carter Campbell Sr., Vince Smith and his wife, Kaki Valerius Smith, brothers Dan and Bob McEwan, and one unidentified man mug against the backdrop of the nose of a private jet alongside the caption, “Go follow @memphispatriots,” plus a Washington, D.C., location tag. The photo disappeared from Zanone’s social media grid, otherwise a memorial to dead ducks and deer, but not before a few quietly horrified members of local society could screenshot it. As for the Bombardier Challenger? It is registered to Baron Partners, a limited liability company that shares the same address, down to the suite number, with John Hull Dobbs Jr.’s eponymous investment firm, Dobbs Equity Partners.
Cumulatively, the individuals in the photograph with the plane are worth millions and millions of dollars, with business interests that span the southeast: sizable stakes in auto dealerships, financial firms whose earnings rival those of Wall Street shops, a chunk of the Corky’s BBQ chain, major real estate developments, hospitality services with clients including Marriott and Hilton hotels, and registered “plantations,” which are used as hunt clubs. Their cohort is emblematic of a certain segment of rich, white American society where the so-called quiet part is cacophonous background noise—private schools, booster clubs, country clubs. In Memphis there is a black-tie ball and festival where men and women, including Dobbs, dress up as royalty and anoint one another “queens,” “princesses,” and “kings.” This society is for the manor-born, and the conservatives among it have little to do with the caricature of the down-on-their-luck, economically anxious Trump voter of media lore. To wit: In the aftermath of the “Stop the Steal” rally and Capitol riot, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a state lawmaker, and a successful Texas real estate agent were among those swept up by law enforcement for their involvement.
When Vanity Fair asked Dobbs about the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, he initially denied knowledge of it. “I don’t know anything about a rally like that,” he said in a phone conversation, suggesting that Vanity Fair might have meant to contact John Dobbs Sr., his father. Dobbs Jr. said he was about to board a plane—at the time of the call, the Bombardier Challenger 300 registered to Baron Partners was in Colorado—and ended the conversation, but he did not hang up his phone for several minutes. During this period Dobbs could be heard discussing the phone call from Vanity Fair. When an unidentified person suggested somebody was “messing with” Dobbs, he dismissed the notion. “Were you there at Coca-Cola Woods when they called me?” Dobbs said. “They called me; The Commercial Appeal [a Memphis newspaper] was going to do an article, and it was going to be publicized. It was going to be all over, you know, Gwinnett [Editor’s note: He likely meant Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, which owns The Commercial Appeal] was going to pick it up.” The unidentified individual responded, “No comment.” Dobbs then said, “Well, I told ’em, I said, I don’t know what you’re talking about”—laughed—“You must be talking about my dad or something.” Then, “God, the last thing I want to do is talk to them.” When the unidentified individual said, “As your part-time spiritual adviser, do not talk to them,” Dobbs responded, “It wouldn’t be as bad now. I don’t know why, why is it still—why is it still a story for them?”…
“You guys are relative masters of the universe yet you feel the need to be up there and participate in this coup,” says one Memphis-born source who is younger but knows a number of the private-jet playgroup members through various social connections. “What happened that you decided not only this is your guy, but that you’re gonna hop on a private jet and go up there and participate in this?”…
That’s some quality branding work by Tennessee Republicans. https://t.co/b4KzUQEKEj
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) March 18, 2021
That’s “Kaki” as in “kakistocracy,” I take it.
Cancel Culture rears is fuguckly head again! (Can we call them the Kancel Kulture Kidz now?)
Awaiting it to become to “The Arrestocrats.”
Steve in the ATL
AL, check your e-mail!
And yet Tennessee is the state that provided Trump with the biggest absolute margin of victory. Hard to believe that they could have sent a thoughtful person like Al Gore to the Senate at some point in the past.
What kind of asshole redirects the heat towards his own father?
Is that GOP elephant dressed up as a frog?
Steve in the ATL
This article hits way too close to home….
Zanone was the one who died a few weeks later.
I seem to recall a reference to that black-tie event in a movie:
” a wretched hive of scum and villainy…”
Is it possible to hate these people enough?
No, no it is not.
I’m sure that these are all “very fine people”.
According to the article, these people dress up in green costumes & call themselves ‘Boll Weevils’. (And back in my youth, I thought the Knights of Columbus were embarrassing!)
“and ended the conversation, but he did not hang up his phone for several minutes.”
I’ve done that. Yak on the phone and then hit the “power” button, which only blanks the screen, does not hang up, does not power down. The call continues …
@WhatsMyNym: Died of what?
@Felanius Kootea: He passed away unexpectedly.
ETA: at least he didn’t fall off his balcony.
@Steve in the ATL:
Check your email.
Proof once again that money can’t buy intelligence, sense, taste, a moral center, the list goes on.
These fucking soulless clowns take a ride to an insurrection in a $24million aircraft like they were going to a concert. Can we bring back the “We Will Grease The Guillotines With The Fat Of Billionaires” tag?
with the biggest absolute margin of victory.
I guess that means population * %win? I would suspect Wyoming and Oklahoma of biggest percentages for trump.
@Kristine: Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy the boat to sail up close to it.
Thanks for he heads up.
@Mallard Filmore: In Android, you can have the “power button ends call”. It’s in the Settings – Accessibility.
You just reminded me to check this phone.
And Baron as in John Baron/Barron, I take it. These people have no imagination, among all their other failings.
Steve in the ATL
@SiubhanDuinne: mgmail is down. Send it to the same nym at bellsouth dot net, SVP
Sometimes I am amazed at how bad people are at using technology, and then I think about it and remember that in any human endeavor, half of the world is below average. (And stories like this remind me of something I read in a book called Coders about how stupid people outfox smart programmers all the time by doing really dumb things that the programmers did not think of. I think eventually really good programmers realize that any sentence that starts with the phrase “Nobody would be stupid enough to” is definitively wrong.)
@Steve in the ATL:
After Googling (yuck), I see the resemblance now. Thanks!
Idiot proofing is not realistic. Idiot resistant is.
Ever see those lemon juice containers shaped like lemons? The label on them includes “Plastic lemon. Do not slice.”
I was reading about longtime Senator Kenneth D. McKeller of Tennessee, who was finally ousted by Albert Gore, Sr. McKeller was “a product of the Memphis machine of ‘Boss Crump,’ a vendettist by temperament and a spoilsman by habit.” Hard to tell if the author was referring to the character of the Senator or the Boss, but probably both. I didn’t know that much about Boss Crump, but it seems like his temperament and habits were not too different from Boss Trump.
i’m not sure grease would benefit a guillotine. i think the ropes fray, though.
Steve in the ATL
@?BillinGlendaleCA: I’ve known all of these people since I was a child. They are not very fine people.
I read that whole VF article, hoping its breathless, revelatory style would disclose something I didn’t know. Alas, no. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many words devoted to such a singularly self-evident thesis: that closet racists identified with and felt emboldened by 45. Also, rich white people have silly rituals. Hoocoodanode?
Although I guess, on second thought, there’s still value in publicly shaming them.
@Steve in the ATL: The phrase “very fine people” comes from TFG.
@Ivan X: I have a feeling that won’t work, they’re probably incapable of feeling shame.
But where would we ever get some gut, or something like that, to reinforce the ropes? Damn, the best of plans…
A lack of shame is encouraged.
@different-church-lady: The kind of asshole who flies to DC to try to overthrow a legitimate election in favor of an overgrown manchild with the IQ of a wombat.
@Steve in the ATL: Would you consider doing a guest post?
BTW, I’ve been reading Robert Gordon’s It Came From Memphis, there’s some good reading in there about your uncle and the Stranded in Canton days.
James E Powell
The press/media put that racist a hole in the White House and protected him nearly all four years. They are constantly working to make it seem like some kind of mystery as to how he managed to get so many white Americans to become his cult followers. Can’t be the racism, right? Never. It’s never that they are racists.
Completely OT: I had no idea, none, that so many people have bits of pencil lead embedded in their hand, legs, and even eyelids. The responses to this tweet!
stace on Twitter: “@kiiingsleyy i did this with a pencil in my hand in grade 4 and the led has been stuck in my hand ever since…….. hell https://t.co/WJSRLcejkv” / Twitter
build them with either kevlar rope or aircraft cable.
good for a couple hundred thousand heads.
Steve in the ATL
@PJ: I miss traveling and meeting up with Juicers, because I have a lot of stories that I’m not willing to post on the internet…
And yes I have read that
@randy khan: Sounds similar to the framers of the Constitution (who I think actually knew that someone might, but hoped that, you know, an insurrectionist might be impeached and removed, for instance).
@Steve in the ATL: I’ll have to start showing up for these Balloon-Juice meet-ups when things open up.
ETA: After posting, I realized that “BJ meet-ups” may have a different connotation outside of this blog.
Steve in the ATL
@PJ: if you want to chat offline, get my email address from AL or one of the other front pagers
No, it’s absolutely not possible. Pay them a visit FBI.
@Steve in the ATL: I’ve been skimming the thread, but my favorite person from Memphis died before I was born – Richard Halliburton. Yes, of That family… He was actually gay and didn’t want to toe the line, but he did very well writing semi-factual travel books. I loved them, and I think I still have all of them, including at least one autographed. One of my aunts either got the autograph or found the book, I dunno which. Considering, it might be it was a real time signature.
His books just encouraged my wanderlust. I mean, it was already there.
This is why we read this blog.
@Steve in the ATL: Well then, I’ll see you on our next Snowbird Road Trip if you’re willing to meet us South of the Gnat Line.
I got a coupon offer from Fry’s that reads:
Can someone tell me what the fuck “organic seltzer” is?
i just read the Wikipedia page on Crump, and it sounds like he actually was pretty good for his time!
Didn’t Fry’s go belly up?
CO₂ for carbonation collected from free range grass fed cattle?
Bruce K in ATH-GR
Oy! I don’t know any wombats, but I did read Ursula Vernon’s Digger, and on that basis, I demand an apology to the wombats of the world!
@NotMax: Well, the electronics stores here in San Diego have. (Shit.) The food stores elsewhere, I dunno. Or care.
@NotMax: Different Fry’s, although they both used the same logo. The one that is kaput was an electronics outlet, the other one is a grocery store.
@NotMax: That’s the electronics store. Kroger uses an alias in Arizona.
I wouldn’t drink Michelob beer. Certainly not going to drink their water “product,” even if they said it was produced with the farts of fairies
Shame about Fry’s Electronics. I bought my current laptop there and would have bought my next later this year.
@Bruce K in ATH-GR: Kalimera! You’re totally right: that was an insult to wombats.
I last visited a Fry’s around Christmas 2019, and the shelves were mostly bare. When I realized that almost of all the Blu-rays Fry’s had in stock were from independent companies like Arrow, I figured out that the big distributors were no longer extending them credit. I’m surprised the chain lasted an additional year. I’m saddened by its decline and demise, if for no other reason, the stores around here tended to hire a lot of technology-savvy kids from Third World countries
Oh, and my understanding is that the second-generation of the Fry family that inherited the grocery chain, quickly realized that the grocery business is cutthroat with tiny markups, so they sold the chain to Kroger and started the electronics chain with the money they received.
@karen marie: Organic seltzer?
My home gym (exercise bike and 10kg dumbbell set) arrived this morning, a few hours ago. I have just spent a more or less pleasant afternoon assembling the bike (without the help of the tools, which were very cleverly hidden in the styrofoam padding; I didn’t find them until I was done). Fitness, here I come.
Guess what? There is one.
@Amir Khalid: You may possibly be interested in a March 12 New York Times article featuring Liverpool F.C. forward Mo Salah. Titled “In Cultural Shift in Egypt, a New Growth Industy Emerges: Curly Hair,” the article reports on a movement among Egyptians to embrace and celebrate their naturally curly hair. Stigmatized as “rough,” and “country,” curly hair was for decades concealed through straightening processes. This has taken a toll on Egyptians’ self-esteem, and on their hair as well. Now, naturally curly hair is coming into it’s own. Young Egyptians cite football hero Mo Salah, with his mop of curly hair, as a particular role model.
Good luck with your exercise program!
@NotMax: A great line in the final Ted Lasso “If god had wanted ties he wouldn’t have created numbers’!!!
@raven: I mean that for Amir.
Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 numbers. Director-General of Health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah reports 1,576 new cases today in his media statement, for a cumulative reported total of 330,042 cases. He also reports two new deaths today, for a cumulative total of 1,225 deaths — 0.37% of the cumulative reported total, 0.39% of resolved cases.
There are currently 14,360 active and contagious cases; 151 are in ICU, 57 of them intubated. Meanwhile, 1,996 patients recovered and were discharged, for a cumulative total of 314,457 patients recovered – 95.28% of the cumulative reported total.
12 new clusters were reported today: Sungai Berumbung, Lorong Usaha Utama, Jalan Dahlia 22, and Jalan Industri Sofa in Johor; Jalan Besar Kepong, Jalan Daun, Jalan Duta immigration detention depot, and Lorong Nibong in Kuala Lumpur; Persiaran Cybersouth building site, Persiaran Hemisfera, and Bandar Baru in Selangor; and Juru immigration detention depot in Penang.
Jalan Duta immigration detention depot and Juru immigration detention depot are prison clusters. The rest are workplace clusters.
1,565 new cases today are local infections. Sarawak tops the list today, reporting 407 cases: 221 in existing clusters, 161 close-contact screenings, and 25 other screenings. Selangor reports 347 local cases: 36 in older clusters; 52 in Jalan Besar Kepong, Jalan Daun, Jalan Duta immigration detention depot, and Lorong Nibong clusters; 189 close-contact screenings; and 70 other screenings.
Penang reports 182 cases: 29 in older clusters, 89 in Juru immigration detention depot clusters, 12 close-contact screenings, and 52 other screenings. Kuala Lumpur reports 165 local cases: 62 in older clusters; 51 in Jalan Besar Kepong, Jalan Daun, Jalan Duta immigration detention depot, and Lorong Nibong clusters; 31 close-contact screenings; and 21 other screenings. Johor reports 137 cases: 19 in older clusters; 58 in Sungai Berumbung, Lorong Usaha Utama, Jalan Dahlia 22, and Jalan Industri Sofa clusters; 35 close-contact screenings; and 25 other screenings. Perak reports 100 cases: 96 in existing clusters, two close-contact screenings, and two other screenings.
Melaka reports 54 cases: 42 in existing clusters, 10 close-contact screenings, and two other screenings. Kelantan reports 52 cases: 26 in existing clusters, 21 close-contact screenings, and five other screenings. Negeri Sembilan reports 41 cases: 32 in existing clusters, six close-contact screenings, and three other screenings. Sabah reports 33 cases: six in existing clusters, 19 close-contact screenings, and eight other screenings. Kedah reports 25 cases: nine in existing clusters, six close-contact screenings, and 10 other screenings.
Phang reports 13 cases: 10 close-contact screenings, and three other screenings. Terengganu reports six cases: four in existing clusters, and two close-contact screenings. Labuan reports two cases, both found in other screening. And Putrajaya reports one case, found in other screening.
Perlis reports no new cases today.
11 new cases today are imported: 10 in Kuala Lumpur, and one in Selangor.
The deaths reported today are a 71-year-old man in Kuala Lumpur with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and chronic kidney disease; and a 55-year-old man in Sarawak with no co-morbidities listed.
Much happy news today in the OC. Only 114 new cases out of 11,000+ tests, 7 day average of new cases per 100,000 has gone down to 4, test positivity average 2.2%, health equity index 3.5%. We have been promoted to the red tier and are a hair away from the orange tier. Today the number of vaccine shots given went over 1,000,000!
That was a classic!
Apologies for posting this in the wrong thread.
@PsiFighter37: If there’s one thing 20th century American history proves, it’s that racist white Americans will support sensible policies and decent politicians as long as they feel that their racism is sufficiently appeased. If they don’t, they will lash back to the extent of tearing down their own entire society out of spite.
The problem is that liberals eventually realized that appeasement was too high a price, and it’s not a bell you can un-ring. (The “class not race” variety of leftists believe we can and should go back to appeasing them, and it’s not possible. But now some are busy turning to full-time MAGAts which suggests it’s not just a strategic calculation…)
A priest, a lawyer and an engineer were bundled into a tumbril and driven to the guillotine. The priest was first to mount the platform, and he was asked if he chose to meet his fate face down or face up. He chose the former, and was locked into the stocks.
When the release rope was pulled, the blade hurtled down – and skidded to a stop a foot above the clerical neck. After a hurried consultation, the executioners concluded that this must be a sign from the Supreme Being, and returned the padre to the tumbril for transport back to the prison.
Next up, the lawyer, who was offered the same choice and also chose to go face down. The blade was hauled back up, and the release pulled, and once again screeched to a halt a foot short. Again the committee concluded this was a sign and the lawyer joined the priest in the tumbril.
The engineer decided it would be interesting to watch his doom, and chose to be executed face up. The blade was hauled up, the release pulled, and yet again the sharp edge of steel skidded to a halt a foot short.
The committee made to release him, but the engineer said, You don’t need to do that, I can show you what the problem is…
FRY’S IS GONE??? OMGOMGOMG!!! 8^O
I used to love browsing that monstrous store with the friends I came out to FranSan to visit. :^(
Sic transit gloria electronicii…
Mary Ellen Sandahl
Late as usual, but that artwork is fab. I speak as an illustrator & sometime cartoonist.
J R in WV
You don’t need to do that — it says right in the title that this is an Open Thread! ;~)
To be Frank
what white collar crime problem?