Inspector Z slowed the vehicle to a stop, eyes straining through the gloom in the near-empty parking garage. Each pillar projected a stygian cone of shadowy threat as his headlamps swept across it. There could be anyone up here. In fact, there was supposed to be exactly one person: The Contact.
The Contact--an anonymous insider--was going to give it up--to break through the facade once and for all: to provide Z with answers: Who was the Omnivore ... what secret was he trying so hard to keep?
"Looks like a no-show," he grumbled--partially annoyed--but partially relieved: the .38 revolver covered with a recent Commentary magazine might not need to be used after all--but then--there. The figure had stepped out from behind one of the elevator banks. He was wearing a beige trench coat and a hat.
Z pulled over, leaving the car running, and cautiously emerged. He didn't approach though, leaving the bulk of the vehicle between him and The Contact ... in case he needed the cover. It was cool enough for him to see his breath.
The Contact: "Well?" (he called out) "You going to come over here? Or do we shout?"
Z looked him over. His hands were empty--but the pockets were big. Still, he'd taken chances before on this job. He still had metal flecks in his shoulder from a near miss on that 'dead end' down in Georgia. No guts, he thought, no answers. He ambled out around the vehicle mentally counting the steps he was separate from the gun.
Z: "What have you got--this better be worth it."
The Contact: "I've got ... everything. What do you want to know?"
Z: "Everything--you can back this up?"
The Contact: "I have a briefcase back there--it's everything--all the notes. Voter registration. Past history. Military background check results."
Z: "This guy pray to Allah every morning or something? Does he practice Santeria? Did he ... vote Ron Paul?"
The Contact: "None of the above."
Z nodded. "Okay, let's have it--the goods."
The Contact: "Here's everything you need to know in one picture." He drew--slowly--a manila envelope from under the coat and opened it. On one side were high quality telephoto-lens pictures of the man who was purported to be The Omnivore. The other held a single web graphic. Z felt his breath catch--his heart stop--for a moment his world was one of terrible, frozen, crystalline clarity. His mouth was dry. "I knew it," he he said, his hand shaking. "I knew it."
|RINO: Republican In Name Only|
"He is a registered Republican. He voted McCain in the 08 primary. Florida, as you know, is closed primary so ..."
Z nodded ... yes ... yes ... but?
TC: "Pro-choice in cases of rape, incest, or life of mother. Personally pro-life in other cases but feels that if the discussion boils do to whether the girl was, erm ... legitimately raped or not--that it's better to have the state be pro choice and let everyone make their own decisions."
Z: "So ... effectively pro-abortion no matter what he says?"
TC: :: shrugs :: "He's got some nuance."
Z: "Nuance is for losers."
Z: "Global Warming?"
TC: "He thinks it's real, man caused, and probably dangerous. Cites Meghan McArdle as a guiding principle looking to libertarian climate scientists as the least likely to be influenced."
Z: "Libertarians are PATHETIC."
TC: "In any event, he's all 'do the math'" He flipped to another page:
|If That's Manipulation It's Pretty Impressive|
TC: "Israel and Drones?"
Z: "Tell me."
TC: "Kind of a hawk. Supported the Iraqi invasion both for WMD but also as a chance to bring structural democracy to the region. Supports the drone war and its expansion. Supports Israel's use of violence and targeted kill but thinks pulling the settlements out and giving the Palestinians their own state which can then be ionized if they launch a real attack is the proper endgame there. He also thinks the sanctions on things like spices and comfort items are bad since they are not purely focused on security but rather inflicting suffering on the Palestinians in general. So 50-50. He approved of Iron Dome and Obama's funding of it. Approves of cyber-war."
Z: "Anything to make Obama look good, right? I'm sure he thinks Obama wrote all the cyber-code himself ... on the Internet he thinks Al Gore invented."
TC: "Uh ..."
Z: "How about water boarding?"
TC: "Absolutely against it. Caused him to vote Kerry--albeit very reluctantly--in 04. Doesn't support war-crimes prosecution but wouldn't be all that upset if it did happen. Basically thinks it's the worst black-mark to come out on America's record."
Z: "Wonder how he feels about synchronized swimming ..."
Z: "I was forced to watch that by my girl friend once. It was torture--let me tell you ..." He flipped pages.
Z: "What do we have on the debt and deficit?"
TC: "Hmm -- some of both. Let's see." He had a page of bullet points:
- Supported TARP: felt the financial melt down had to be stopped in its tracks before there was another (or more 'Lehman Events'). He claims some expertise as a Financial Services guy.
- Supported The Stimulus in Generalities: Believes that the most damaging part of downturn is contraction and stimulus attempts to flush liquidity into the system are key to that. Cites a "majority of economists" who feel the stimulus helped and isn't impressed by the numerical targets falling short of the projections around unemployment. Also he thinks that while there has been some miss-allocation of funds the directional placement is right.
- On continued borrowing he points out that as the US is very, very different than a "US household" the rules around borrowing are very different than as applied to a personal economy. When we can sell debt at 2% interest and practically get paid to hand out inflation-protected bonds running a deficit is a legitimate strategic decision. However, he does support vast reductions in it including reductions of the Bush Tax cuts and spending reductions in entitlements ... and somewhat the military.
|Because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus bill.|
- He's not concerned with 'fiat money' and feels the Federal Reserve is more or less a necessary part of a large national market economy. He sees a very substantial difference between printing money to pay of government debts (which the Fed does not do) and printing money to loan at interest to major banks to put it into the economy.
- He's in favor of some entitlement cuts as stated above--but has a hard time naming the one's he'd favor. He thinks that raising the Medicare age by 1 or 2 years sounds okay so long as it doesn't have old people dying in the streets or anything--but he's willing to be convinced. He's seen a list like this that will produce 360bn in savings over 10 years--which doesn't seem like nearly enough, but would be, he thinks, a good start:
TC: "Well, as you saw, he feels the Bush Tax cuts are the primary driver for the deficits. I, uh, went through his garbage: he benefits fairly substantially from them."
Z: "Is he in the 1%?"
TC: "Depends on how you define it. But he does benefit substantially from the cuts."
TC: "We'll, his position is that he doesn't want to see his taxes go up--but he's willing to see them go up some so long as there are substantial cuts elsewhere. In other words, he's amenable to some revenue if some spending evens things out on the government's end."
Z: "That'll never happen--and everyone knows it."
TC: "He makes a case that to a degree it already has happened. But regardless he thinks raising taxes on the super rich, which he is not, is a lost cause and the GOP should give up on it--it's just making them look bad at this point."
Z: "Never give up! Never compromise--not even in the face of Armageddon!"
TC: "Easy there, Rorschach."
TC: Never mind."
Z: "Second Amendment?"
TC: "He's a gun owner. Served in the Army. Fired rockets, set off claymores, fired machine guns--and silenced SMGS in a civilian capacity. He finds guns fun and useful to own. Not much of a hunter. All things being equal he wouldn't mind owning an AR 15."
Z: "But ... I'm sure there's a liberal but here ..."
TC: "Kinda. He finds the some of the tone around discussion of the guns-rights to be a bit disgusting in the face of the tragedy but, mostly, he doesn't care for new regulation. He suspects there might be some law that would make it harder to get an AR-15 in ways that might make would-be shooters have to work harder to get theirs--but he suspects that would be unconstitutional and doubts that anyone outside the gun-community could draft it. So he doesn't much know what to do. If they re-instituted the Assault Rifle ban he wouldn't scream bloody murder--he'd just pray that somewhere, somehow it helped."
Z: "Health care?"
TC: "The Omnivore thinks it needs reform. He felt pretty sure ObamaCare was unconstitutional--until it wasn't. That surprised him. However, rather than going with 'the court got it wrong' he went with 'the court decided so that's that."
Z: "What about socialism?"
TC: "The Omnivore doesn't think it's especially socialist considering that private insurance agencies are raking in the money--that said, he'd preferred, say Tort Reform be a big part of it. Something he thinks the Republicans could've put in if they weren't going all-or-nothing."
Z: "They had to take a stand on principle!"
TC: "Yes--and while they got the 2010 election out of it, as O-Care is still on the table, in terms of heath-care reform? Nothing."
Z: "Energy Policy?"
TC: "He's iffy on the XL pipeline because he doubts the big job creation numbers and thinks fracking will make it all moot anyway. He sees the president's play as tactical--a nod to his green base with no real impact to the country one way or the other."
Z: "What about green programs? Syolandra!?"
TC: "He doesn't find it much of a scandal. He figures any big green push is going to have failures. Some of it may be graft--but the bare fact of failures just means they were pushing the envelope pretty hard. He's not overly upset about that."
TC: "He doesn't seem to know or care much about coal. He liked McCain's plan to build 10 nuclear plants."
Z: "Offshore drilling?"
TC: "He's said that he's read it has about 2 years worth of oil--in other words no impact. Fracking, on the other hand seems to take care of everything. For him it's a non issue--maybe leave it up to states who share the coast-lines to vote on?"
TC: "Generally in favor of protecting natural preserves--especially with strategic resources since we might really need them later. Kind of like a piggy bank that's hard to break into."
Z: "Death Penalty?"
TC: "He's philosophically for it--if they want to execute a captured Bin Laden or whatever, he won't bat an eye. Functionally, he thinks we fuck it up a lot and therefore it's better to err on the side of caution."
TC: "So if asked to vote, he's against it--but if we keep it, he hopes it's for the truly heinous. If they want to execute the 21st 9/11 terrorist--or the Unabomber? Or that guy who shot up the movie theater? He's okay with that."
Z: "But (affects liberal voice) that guy is mentally ill."
TC: "Doesn't seem to bother him too much. If they just left him in prison for the rest of his life though, The Omnivore would be okay with that too."
Z: "How about the Tea Party?"
TC: "Almost no use for them--thinks the initial driver was fear of losing entitlements around Medicare but has sense been co-opted into a vision of what people imagine America should be like that has a lot to do with it being whiter than it generally is."
Z: "So ... racist?"
TC: "It's nuanced--he doesn't explicitly think the Tea Party and certainly not all Tea Partiers are racist--but he thinks that having Obama in the white house gives it an emotional engine we wouldn't otherwise see. He also thinks that there is a lot of racism out there and, in the GOP it's more overt in the Democrats it's more covert."
Z: "And he proves this how?"
TC: "He'd point to the minority voting trends, probably--but it's a good question."
Z. Hmmm ... Who'd he like in the Republican Primaries?
TC: "You'll love this."
TC: "Huntsman. With Pawlenty a distant maybe."
Z: "I KNEW IT!!"
TC: "Of the remaining group he thought ALL of them, save for Romney were humiliations to the party and he enjoyed it from car-crash-can't look-away point of view. He thought Cain and Trump were especially telling and humiliating to the party as a whole."
Z: "Cain!? He was my guy!"
TC: "Yeah, he's not surprised by that either."
Z: "So he didn't think Romney was humiliating? Bullshit--he had nothing good to say about Romney."
TC: "There's a huge gulf between a decent candidate and a non-humiliating one. The Romney who showed up in the first debate? THAT guy, he liked. He liked his energy, his communications, and to a degree, even his policy. If that guy had run the whole time he might've gotten a second look although--"
TC: "Right--and Romney's stance on torture from '08 sort of disqualified him out of the gate."
Z: "What about Gary Johnson?"
TC: "He actually likes him--and to a degree Ron Paul although he thinks Ron Paul's gold-standard stuff is nonsense. He finds both of them to be stand-by-your-conviction guys and while Ron Paul has those questionable news letters, he thinks that's more strategy than policy. Still, he's not giving his vote to either one."
Z: "... either one ... then who?"
TC: "You already know ..."
Z: "He didn't?!"
TC: :: nods ::
Z: "In '08?"
TC: "Then too. He was at first excited about Palin for like three days then ... horrified. Then ... well, disgusted."
Z: "For real?"
TC: "The Omnivore voted Obama in both elections."
Z: "This is ... enormous ... it'll blow the doors off--I'VE UNCOVERED EVERYTHING!!"
TC: "Yeah--he's gone to great lengths to conceal this. You could scour the internet for years and never find a trace. Most people who know this stuff? Probably dead."
Z: "I'm going public. You have proof?"
TC: "It's all in the binder. That ... and a bunch of women."
Z: ".... hot ones?"
TC: "Cain's ex'es. Pretty hot. If you're into that sort of thing."
TC: Switches off a recorder.
Z: "What's that for?"
TC: "I like to keep records--for myself."
Z: "Will the transcript ... ever show up anywhere?"
TC: :: glances around :: "Oh, you ... never know ..."