Monday, February 28, 2005

Us Casulties in Iraq: the REAL number is over 50,000

Its a figure you won't hear on the evening news or the Sunday talk shows. Its a figure the pentagon doesn't want you to know. You may think you know the war's human costs but the almost 1,500 soldiers killed in Action is only the smallest tip of the iceberg. Even WIA reports don't begin to tell the story because the Military only counts those directly wounded by hostile fire

In a classic case of burying the lead USA Today stumbles across the REAL number, and its a hell of a lot higher than anyone imagined :
Of more than 5 million veterans treated at VA facilities last year, from counseling centers like this one to big hospitals, 48,733 were from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan

and its going to get worse:

Many of the most common wounds aren't seen until soldiers return home. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is an often-debilitating mental condition that can produce a range of unwanted emotional responses to the trauma of combat. It can emerge weeks, months or years later


And PTSD is only the beginning of it. Modern medicine and armor have saved the lives of many who would have otherwise died even 10 years ago. But it means the injuries of the survivors have been that much more severe. There have been twice as many amputations in this was than any war since the Civil war and severe complex neurological traumas are also way up:
in addition to amputations, many soldiers making this journey have head and neck injuries, frequently injured by improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, essentially remote-controlled bombs planted in the ground.

"The angle of the force of these IEDs is right for the neck and face. That's been devastating to folks over there," said Holt, explaining that Kevlar helmets do not protect the underside of heads and necks, where crucial nerves and blood vessels lie.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael S. Xydakis, a military surgeon, released a little-noticed study in September at a medical conference of head and neck surgeons. He found that over a 14-month period, about 1 in 5 US soldiers treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, which handles most Iraq casualties, had head or neck injuries.

These injuries, surgeons said, have long-term implications, with many involving irreversible brain damage, breathing and eating impairments, blindness, or severe disfiguration. The study prompted the military to add a full-time head and neck surgeon to a Baghdad field hospital.

"These folks are just starting to come back, and they may require care for a long, long time," said Holt.


So now we know that we not only have a huge human tragedy on our hands but that an incredible stain is looming on our ability to care for veterans. So what has the Administration's response been? Essentially like all bad News In BushWorld; they are refusing to acknowledge the existence of the crisis. Instead, almost unbelievably, Bush has proposed we cut Funding to the VA . Meanwhile on Capitol Hill his leadership cronies Whacked the republican Veteran's Affairs Committee chairman for the unpardonable crime of sticking up for wounded and homeless vets.: His replacement?:

A Republican leadership aide, who asked not to be identified, said the GOP leaders wanted someone like Buyer who could "tell the veterans groups, 'Enough is enough.'"


It’s a number the Pentagon never wanted you to know, and has played incredible shell games to avoid revealing. It’s a number the Bush administration is simply pretending doesn’t exist. It’s a number that bodes crisis for our health care system, and it’s a number that will have a profound impact on our crime and poverty statistics, as well as heavily tax our social security system. It’s a sad and tragic number representing an incredible waste of human potential. Now you know what the number is. What are you going to do about it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Jeff Gannon and the President's unbreakble Bubble

(my very first recommended diary on Kos, I'm so proud)

Score one for the MSM a great editorial in the Detroit Free Press (whose domain name, ironically enough, is asks a question that might really have some traction.
How is it that an administration that screened thousands of people for attendance at Bush campaign rallies repeatedly let a fake reporter into the sanctorum of the White House pressroom under a false name? Who was running that background check?
How could a president who declares that national security is his prime concern be so ill served for nearly two years by his own security detail?
What is the public to make of the fact that legitimate protesters are kept far away from President George W. Bush while an illegitimate "journalist" who's really working for a Republican propaganda mill is repeatedly allowed into the White House pressroom and regularly called upon by the president and the president's press secretary to ask questions?

_________________ ::

To me, Rove's creation of an impenetrable bubble around the president, to shield him from ever having to listen to dissenting opinion or a different point of view is the real scandal of the past three years. This editorial shows great insight in tying the two threads together. Gannon was really nothing more than an extension of all those "ordinary citizens" Rove used to round up at "Ask President Bush" events. You may recall those fine upstanding citizens asked such penetrating questions as "Thank you for your Leadership" "Why are we safer today than ever before?" and "Does your opponent REALLY eat babies and worship the dark lord?" (okay I might have made the last one up-maybe).
Apparently, Bush Co. decided their boy also needed that kind of help in the press room. Since they couldn't get away with handing out all the press passes to local committee chairmen, they did the next best thing and brought in "Chip Rightwingenstien" to shill for them. Its a reflection of how tight and recursive the bubble has gotten, that Rove et al really believed this would work. The con men are starting to fall for their own patter.
The reason all this matters is because the The presidency is such an awesome responsibility that no president has been unchanged by its weight. Look at the differences in Bill Clinton between his first and second term, Or George HW Bush or even Ronald Regan (pre Alzheimer's). They all grew into the job, became more thoughtful, and gained gravitas. The pressure of being the president helped them to become "presidential", their politics became more practical, less dogmatic, and more in tune with the possibilities and limitations of their position. They learned from both successes and failures to be more humble and deliberate about their decision making. Most of them were physically, emotionally, and mentally drained when they left office.
But not Our Boy W. He sails along from Potemkin Village to Potemkin Village and never sees the reality hiding behind the cardboard façade. Thus he never has to question himself or his policies even when they are disastrous failures. Reports of his personal habits in the White House indicate he more concerned with his intensive daily workouts (hmm is the recovering addict seeking a replacement high with endorphins?) and maintaining his 9 pm bedtime, than he is abut the increasingly dangerous state of world affairs. He `s so constantly told everything is right, good and perfect, that he's nearly impervious to opposing points of view.
As a Washington Post Story of a few week ago reported; Even when Colin Powell's tried to burst the bubble in one of his last meetings with the president he failed.
"According to Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and head of the independent Middle East Policy Council, Mr. Bush recently asked Mr. Powell for his view on the progress of the war. 'We're losing,' Mr. Powell was quoted as saying. Mr. Freeman said Mr. Bush then asked the secretary of state to leave."

Without truth slipping under that bubble there can be no reflection, and without reflection, Mr. Bush's personal "accountability Moment" might never come

Friday, February 18, 2005

Rumsfeld can't even pretend to care anymore

it was a bad day for Congressional oversight yesterday. As The Washington post (which for fans also has an awesome picture of Rummy Displaying his tiger-style technique) so succinctly said:

With the Bush administration asking Congress this month to write checks for half a trillion dollars for the Pentagon, you might think the secretary of defense would set an accommodating posture on Capitol Hill. But, to paraphrase Rumsfeld's remark in December about the Army, you go to budget hearings with the defense secretary you have, not the defense secretary you might want or wish to have at a later time. And Donald Rumsfeld doesn't do accommodating very well.


Apparently bored of their rude attempts to actually get information from him; Donny essentially pimp-slapped the entire Senate armed services committee, and walked out of their hearing about halfway through.
Two dozen members of the House Armed Services Committee had not yet had their turn to question Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld at yesterday's hearings when he decided he had had enough. At 12:54, he announced that at 1 p.m. he would be taking a break and then going to another hearing in the Senate. "We're going to have to get out and get lunch and get over there," he said. When the questioning continued for four more minutes, Rumsfeld picked up his briefcase and began to pack up his papers.


Has this ever happened before? The Sec Def simply walks out of a budget hearing, without so much as a please and Thank you?

Committee Chairman are generally considered jealous and angry gods that you do well not to offend, if you are an administration supplicant at budget time; but that's for normal people, not Teflon Don. Apparently He believes that between taking down Colin Powell (and hijacking the state dept.) and W's re-election; he's now personally "up-armored" enough to be bullet proof.

Say this at least for Rummy, his disdain for the people's representatives, who pay his salary, was at least bipartisan and across the board. He seemed to spend the whole hearing thinking of interesting and fun ways to refuse to give a single drop of actual information to anyonne.

Here are some of the Lowlights of the session:
Did he care to voice an opinion on efforts by U.S. pilots to seek damages from their imprisonment in Iraq?

"I don't."

Could he comment on what basing agreements he might seek in Iraq?

"I can't."

How about the widely publicized cuts to programs for veterans?

"I'm not familiar with the cuts you're referring to."

How long will the war last?

"There's never been a war that was predictable as to length, casualty or cost in the history of mankind."

After a while his main tactics became clear

Claim ignorance (whether believable or not):

When Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) mentioned an estimate of the costs for increases in troops' death benefits and life insurance, Rumsfeld said: "I've never heard that number."

Pass the buck (even though he IS the Sec Def):

Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) then complained about long-term Army expenses being included in an emergency spending package. Rumsfeld said the matter "really is beyond my pay grade." When Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) observed that there are few positions beyond Rumsfeld's pay grade, Rumsfeld retorted: "Senator, I thought Congress was Article 1 of the Constitution." _________________

Claim you know the answer, but its a secret

in his opening statement he implicitly chided Congress for "an increasingly casual regard for the protection of classified documents and information."
When the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Ike Skelton (Mo.), asked about the number of insurgents in Iraq, the secretary said, "I am not going to give you a number for it because it's not my business to do intelligent work." (He presumably meant to say "intelligence.") Ultimately, Rumsfeld admitted he had estimates at his fingertips. "I've got two in front of me," he said.
"Could you share those with us?" Skelton inquired.
Not just now, Rumsfeld said. "They're classified."


Deny any fact you find troublesome(true or not):
Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) pressed Rumsfeld on whether he had talked with an aide who was quoted last month as saying Congress had been too generous in expanding military retirement benefits. "No, I have not, nor have I seen the statement that you've quoted in the context that it might have been included," the defense secretary replied.

The One hope we as democrats have had since Nov. is that when Republicans found themselves holding all the reigns (pun intended) of power was that in their Hubris they would overstep their bounds and come crashing back to earth when they had disgusted enough of the right people. Don's Performance yesterday shows that hope is right on track.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Joe Wilson's Call to arms

This posts was made amid the noise and choas of the Daily Kos meta-Blog, by Former US amabassdor Joe Wilson > if you don;t know who he is, he's the man who had the courage to stand up and Call B.S. on Bush's State of the Union Adress claims that the Iraqi's bought uranium in Africa. He's also the man whose wife was outed as an undercover CIA operative (destroying her career, interrupting a vital covert op, and endangering her life) by the white house in retaliation for telling the truth
Here's his statement and (immodestly I suppose) my response:

I am tired of the way in which the Republicans have smeared my family and myself for no reason other than to perpetuate their lies to the American people. I did not like fascists when I fought them as a diplomat for 23 years and I don't like them now in my own country.

and later in the commentary section:
We are all in this together. It is the future of our country, indeed thefuture of the dream of democracy that has been nurtured in this country forover 200 years that is at stake. That democracy had served as a beacon ofhope for the rest of the world until this administration decided to sign itsforeign policy over to a few fringe zealots known as the neoconservatives,and to embrace an empty ideological rant called the Project for a NewAmerican Century as its policy blueprint. Now everything we stand for isunder attack and our international image is in tatters. Will we be known tohistory as the leading proponents of rule of law and individual rights, oras the perpetrators of Abu Graib. That is what this fight is about, not JoeWilson or even Valerie Wilson (nee Plame -- Novak couldn't even get her nameright). It is worth fighting.

Chills yet? no? then consider this: This isn't one more shrill blogger screaming Fascist at the drop of the hat. First he is this is a lifelong republican and a conservative appointed by Ronald Reagan, and a personal Correspondant of Geo. HW Bush, even after this affair. Not only that but he is a 20 year veteran of the US foreign service, where diplomants are trained to choose their words very carefully. When a diplomat speaks he means what he says and nothing more or less

this was my viscreal reaction to the post when I first read it. Its a bit strident but I truly believe this, I've gotten very scred about my country in the last few years:

Well that just stiffend MY spine
Ambassador Wilson just issued a call to arms, and I hope we all hear it and answer it. Until now I've looked upon the current administration with growing dismay, but its been tempered by a comfortable cynicism born of being a native Washingtonian. "This too shall pass", I've thought sooner or later Chimpy and the Boys would be out of power, and we'd simply heal the scars of his lunacy and move on. But lately I've been afflicted with a sense of growing dread, that maybe this time it really IS different and things won't all turn out okay. Ambassador Wilson, is one of the last of the great Brahmins of the earlier age of government, when service to your country meant something, and the best and brightest served for patriotism not personal gain, and partisanship took second place to doing the right thing. When a man of that caliber makes a statement like this one, it can no longer be ignored. I see it very clearly now. This is a real fight between good and evil, not just partisan bickering between honest minded people. I believe the soul of our nation itself hangs in the balance. The rule of law is under attack in courts. American citizens are being incarcerated in direct violation of Constitutional provisions and Courts are being told they have no power to review these actions. Through AG Gonzales the executive is claiming for itself the power to choose which laws to obey and which to break with impunity. Congressional leaders are attempting to destroy the deliberative process by limiting debate, forbidding amendments, and re-writing laws at will in conference committees.
I think I understand now how old Romans like Cicero and Cato felt in the last days of the Republic as they watched in horror as an Imperial Rome replaced their beloved democracy. But I, for one am not content to watch. Win or lose this is a battle that must be fought. We must be willing to devote every ounce of our strength, skill, and attention to the battle or I fear that Edmund Burke's famous analysis will once more be accurate

Friday, February 11, 2005

Torture memos reveal tortured Logic

Slate today is running an awesome article by Peter Brooks, UVA English and Law Professor ripping the reasoning of the Bybee Torture Memos to shred. The conclusions of the memos were abhorrent enough; but professor Brooks careful analysis of the memos shows that the arguments used to arrive at that conclusion were as intellectually dishonest as they were morally bankrupt. or as he says:
The memo , offers the OLC's interpretation of "standards of conduct under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment as implemented by Sections 2340-2340A of title 18 of the United States Code." It offers a remarkable example of textual interpretation run amok--less "lawyering as usual" than the work of some bizarre literary deconstructionist. And it's virtually impossible to read without wondering whether another casualty of this war on terror is the doctrine that words indeed mean what they say.

Diaries :: Magorn's diary ::

Brooks brilliantly highlights verbal and legal machinations that make Clinton's infamous parsing of the word is look like a model of candor by comparison:


Bybee's analysis starts from an apparent commitment to the "plain meaning" rule. "The key statutory phrase in the definition of torture is the statement that acts amount to torture if they cause 'severe physical or mental pain or suffering.' ...But, says Bybee, the statute doesn't define "severe." Absent such a definition, he continues, "we construe a statutory term in accordance with its ordinary or natural meaning." To find that ordinary and natural meaning, he turns to Webster's But this definition, however ordinary and natural, doesn't quite meet his purposes....

So Bybee searches for other possible uses of the phrase "severe pain" in the U.S. Code, and discovers, as he puts it: "Significantly, the phrase 'severe pain' appears in statutes defining an emergency medical condition." "Significantly" is Bybee's transition word here--and one might ask whether the use of "severe pain" in the context of medical emergency is in fact more "significant" than any number of other uses of severe, in statutes and in ordinary usage. But this slide into medical usage allows Bybee to come up with his interpretation of choice: that the "severe pain" that defines torture must involve damage that rises "to the level of death, organ failure, or the permanent impairment of a significant body function." He's by now got us well out of common English usage and into the emergency room.


Bybee then uses the same mental gymnastics to gut the prohibition against using drugs on interrogation victims?:
{Prof Brooks}:
The truly "deconstructive" cast of Bybee's interpretation of the torture statute comes in the next section, which takes up "Harm caused by or resulting from predicate acts." These acts include, "the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality." Since these "substances" are not further defined, Bybee sets out to make some distinctions.

Warning: this following paragraph is so twisted, it is actually sprained, and may cause dizziness nausea or vomiting on the very sensitive and or logical
{Bybee writing in the Torture memo}":
"This subparagraph, however, does not preclude any and all use of drugs. Instead, it prohibits the use of drugs that "disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality." To be sure, one could argue that this phrase applies only to "other procedures," not the application of mind-altering substances. We reject this interpretation because the terms of Section 2340 (2) expressly indicate that the qualifying phrase applies to both "other procedures" and the "application of mind-altering substances." The word "other" modifies "procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses." As an adjective, "other" indicates that the term or phrase it modifies is the remainder of several things. See Webster's....

Or put another way, "other" signals that the words to which it attaches are of the same kind, type, or class as the more specific item previously listed. Moreover, where statutes couple words or phrases together, it "denotes an intention that they should be understood in the same general sense."

Now lets let Brooks (an English and legal writing prof) grade this part of the memo:
To use the "or" of "or other procedures"--which are of course supposed to be of the same sort--to argue that "disrupt profoundly" somehow controls and limits the meaning of "mind-altering" seems to me far from commonsensical, a parsing of vocabulary and syntax that appears arbitrary and even a bit demonic.

...the way Bybee claims to find the meaning derives from an ungoverned and unscrupulous reading that uses--very selectively--dictionary definitions to produce arcane and obfuscating interpretations. It's like a parody of a deconstructive reading written by a hostile critic.

There's more, but this is enough and more than enough. The mere fact that Bybee needs to cite to a dictionary (as opposed to a statute or case law or even a LEGAL Dictionary or encyclopedia) is proof that he knows he's off the reservation. It is even more pathetic that he has to go dictionary-shopping (from a 1995 to a 1978 to a 1938 Webster's) because even that won't back him up.

Having recently graduated from law School myself I guarantee you if I'd turned in something so poorly reasoned and badly sourced in my first legal writing class, I very likely would be in a different line of work now. But in what passes for an Administration, this crap is now being used to set US policy and tarnish one of the few things we used to be able to be proud of our country for, it leadership on human rights

Friday, February 04, 2005

Conversion experience: Or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the left

I’ve ranted here a while but I haven’t posted much about me. This blog is a bit more personal. Its about my own conversion from Rock-ribbed Republican all the way over to the Leftist I am to day. These are comments made in a conversation started by This Diary Called "Confessions of a former DittoHead over at Daily Koss

First me expressing soldiarity with him because I'd made a similar journey, then some random musing about the nature of conservative true-believers and how to reach them:

Been There Too
(4.00 / 31)I was raised Catholic and a registered Republican. I marched in the March for Life. Voted for Regan, Bush, and Dole and truly sincerely hated Clinton and wanted him impeached.(i claimed to be a libertarian, but that was only because I could never quite stand the Morality police side of my party, though I supported a lot of the same causes so I'm not sure what the difference really was)
Then, I woke up. I'm not sure how else to put it. I was having a harder and harder time reconciling the reality I saw with the reality I was being asked to accept. Starting in 1999 when I went to Burning Man for the first time ( yes, you read that right, I honestly and sincerely believed myself a conservative libertarian/republican, But I also wanted to go to BM...self-delusion is a powerful thing). And continued in law school where i was asked to think critically about man of the basic verities of my economic, social and political beliefs. With my newly re-sharpened analytical skills none of those beliefs really held up, or made a whole lot of sense for that matter.
The final break for me was the 00 campaign when GW savaged McCain's war record (that tactic sound familiar?) while hiding his own. I stopped voting republican and I've never looked back.
I've reached a point where I'd call myself a full-blown liberal and each election has radicalized me a little more. I really have to wonder if I have really changed so much, and how I could have allowed myself to be deluded for so long, or if the rift between the parties is widening, and where I used to stand right of center now counts as far left......Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

then a question from another reader about racism:
Racism? by cscs
First, thanks for the post, and thanks for coming clean.
I've spent a lot of time talking to wingers, and always felt racism was driving their political positions.
They were anti-affirmative action because it threated the jobs of "qualified white people." They were anti-abortion because all these women in ghettos were using it as birth control.
And 9/11 played right into this. I was told we should just "nuke all those turban-heads."
I am curious if you ran into this in your dittohead-days?
on Tue Feb 1st, 2005 at 09:36:36 PST

and My reply:

Re: Racism? (4.00 / 14)
I honestly don't think so and I think that's one of the most dangerous assumptions the left makes about the right. and I recall from my righty days its one of the most offensive arguments made by the left and of those most guaranteed to shut your mind off to whatever follows.
Case in point, both my parents are rock-ribbed to the bone conservative republicans (Dad only reads the Washington Times and listens to Christian radio and Fox News)They are anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality, anti-premarital sex and borth control fer pity's sake. They are about as Red-State Core Voter as they come.
However, when I was growing up, our formerly almost all white city in a majority black county (Suburb of Washington DC) was undergoing court ordered busing, and racial tensions were high in the town. (partly because the white students were upper middle class and the black students were from neighborhoods well below the poverty line). My Parents taught CCD (once weekly after-school Catholic religious ed for high school kids) classes in those days and noticed an increase in racial slurs and jokes coming out of the mouths of their students)which offended the hell out of them After calling them on it several times with no result they took drastic action. The rounded up an 8mm projector (this was in the 70's pre-vcr) and all the new footage of the Selma and Montgomery marches they could find and made and without a single word made those kids watch them in all their awful brutality. I saw those film too when I became a teen because to my parents, respecting people of every race was as much my Christian duty as opposing abortion. Its a mistake to believe that all conservative republican Christians are secretly hypocrites or selective believers in Christian doctrine. Many of them are good decent people Who really do believe that they are doing the moral thing.
I've converted far more by speaking to them in the language of their morality, than by attacking it and declaring it invalid. And ya know if people actually followed the teachings of Jesus rather than the institution they call Christianity, we'd have a very tolerant and caring society, heavily invested in social welfare. Confronting them with that disconnect can often start the "conversion"

by Magorn on Tue Feb 1st, 2005 at 10:08:53 PST

Sounds like your parents are good people...
by cscs on Tue Feb 1st, 2005 at 11:01:42 PST_
)but I'm curious. The issues you mentioned are related to sex, and I understand their religious viewpoints and their positions. What about other conservative issues?
And, more generally speaking (ie, not your parents specifically), if it's not racism, what explains the right's position on so many issues which place minorities on the shit end of the stick?
Maybe it's more as Fleet says below -- they don't care who's on the bottom, as long as they're on top?
What about affirmative action? You don't think this anti-AA "white men get screwed" attitude doesn't reek of racism?
How can someone truly believe that everyone in this country already "gets a fair shot", or anyone can grow up and be President, as we're all taught in grade school? It's a load of crap.
I don't just seems like the right uses race when it's convenient for them. How many Republicans commented on Rice being African-American, or Gonzales Spanish?
But when it comes to REALLY helping people of color -- by supporting affirmative action, by supporting welfare programs, by supporting universal health care, there's nothing. They are for tax cuts, though, which go mostly to rich white guys.
There's no element of racism behind that?
(And I certainly agree with your statement re: Christian values -- yes, if only all Christians acted liked Christians, the world would be a better place).



Personal vs. Societal
by Magorn on Tue Feb 1st, 2005 at 12:51:06 PST

that's the interesting thing about them. As people they are generous, tolerant, good-hearted, they've given thousands of hours and dollars to various charities, and Mom once brought an AIDS patient/junkie home from the hospital(she's a nurse) to live with us for a while.
But politcally they support a very selfish, narrow minded intolerant agenda. They not only vote the ticket they believe in the ticket unreservedly. These are people who without seeing a contradiction voted for Both JFK and Barry Goldwater. How can you reconcile that?
This thread has made me think hard on it, and the answer I think is the dichotomy between the personal and the systemic
For a conservative everything comes down to personal motivations and personal morality. For a liberal its about societal systems, impacts rather than motivations.
Take for example, if there was a ballot measure in their hometown to close basketball courts at dusk.(there was once upon a time) Now a liberal might look at this measure, note that the city was predominately white and its basketball courts were being used predominately by slightly lower class African Americans from surrounding communities. This measure then, to them, is really an attempt to exclude blacks from the community and therefore obviously racist. (as it may well have been )
The conservative doesn't see it that way and is offended and puzzled that you do. He says "well there has been an increase in crime in the areas with all-night basketball courts and we are doing this to cut down on the crime. To him, because he is does not believe that he is supporting the measure out of racial animus, it is not, ipso facto, a racist law. Since he "knows" this is true, he considers you wrong or dishonest when you bring up the race issue, and thus you have no credibility with them
The fact that it has a racist impact is to his mind, utterly irrelevant, so long as the law itself is neutral (read a bunch of Supreme Court decisions on the Civil rights act, you'll see this self-same split among the justices). This is the problem with their world. They view, all economic and social problems though a similarly over-simplified lenses. Every problem to them boils down to a matter of personal choice and responsibility. All social ills cold be cured if people would only make the right choices.
An imbalance in wealth distribution to them is nothing more than the natural rewards to the virtuous of their hard work. Its never about a system rigged in favor of the wealthy rewarding a chosen few at the expenses of all others.
Ask them what causes poverty and you won't hear a long explanation involving a complex inter-connected set of economic factors, and the lingering effects of racism on the educational system. Instead, to them a person is poor because they lack lack of motivation or drive to be rich ("lazy welfare recipients" anyone?). Thus they object to things like welfare and SSI because it's a reward for people that make the "wrong choices"
Their world view is therefore very susceptible to anecdotal evidence. As proof of their theories on poverty, they will cite a story they read in Reader's Digest about a single mom who went from living on welfare to the CEO of their own company, and by golly, if she can do it anyone can!
On the flipside, if they every actually meet a poor person, they will make an exception for them from the general stereotype. This is where they are most susceptible to conversion. Throw them enough counter-examples, expose them to enough exceptions to the rule, and if they are at all intellectually honest they will see their previous views are insupportable.
This is greatest weakness of the extremes of both sides of the Debate. Go too far left and you deny personal power altogether as everyone is merely an automaton at the mercy of social and economic factors far beyond their control that determine most everything about them (Marxism anyone?) Go too far to the right and they give far too much credence to an illusion of unlimited personal freedom and choice, completely ignoring the effects of past injustices, imbalances in wealth, education and resources.
The cure is to refuse to let anything be reduced to easy stereotypes. Life itself is complex and full of contradictions. Force enough exposure to it and you can usually shatter any inflexible pre-made one size fits all ideology.