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September 4, 2005

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Yesterday, Condi was on the ground in Alabama kicking off the Bush/Rove PR blitz to counterspin the Katrina meltdown (and pin it on local Democrats).   

Lending an assist, the caption of the AFP photo above (taken in July, but featured on YahooNews yesterday), stated that Condi "dismissed claims black people were discriminated against in hurricane-devastated New Orleans."  (I should note: AFP is the photo agency that was also at the center of the biased "looting caption scandal" that flared last week.)

Obviously, the photo establishes her credentials as someone who can speak for the blacks of New Orleans, doesn’t it?

If you’re liberal, there are superficial ways of spinning this image to achieve a more palatable effect.  For example, you could say that Rice has been largely invisible on matters of race, or that her political instincts have been mostly "in the dark." 

However, by portraying Condi as a black icon, the photo blatantly and viscerally serves to burnish the administration’s "black identity."  As such, it subliminally aids Bush as he launches a major push to repair a major credibility gap opened up in his ongoing mission to for increase African-American support.


But back to the real world.

It’s easy to gather the cameras around on (newsmaker) Sunday and sex it up with white boys like councilman Henry Barker of Bayou La Batre, Alabama.  (Notice the big ABC logo to the left of Hank’s right arm.)  But where was Condi (who, we are now being reminded, has deep roots in the Gulf Coast) while her brothers and sisters were dying in the streets?

Oh yes, she was shoe shopping in New York and having a side-splitting time attending Spamalot. 


By the way, if you happened to miss this little item from just over a week ago, Diddy did an impersonation of Rice at the MTV
Video Music Awards. Certainly, the timing of the spoof — which
happened to coincided with Rice’s heavy handed and potentially
disastrous bungling of the Iraq constitution process –couldn’t have
been more appropriate.


I thought Diddy visually drove the point home with the white jacket and
black trim. If you pause to compare, it looks an awful lot like what
Condi had on during her last State Department Iraqi constitution

(Revised: 9/5/05 2:08 pm PST)

(image 1: AFP/File/Mladen Antonov. July
2005. Posted Sunday September 4, 2005 at YahooNews. image 2: AP/Rob
Carr. Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Sunday Sept. 4, 2005 at YahooNews. image
3: REUTERS/Mike Blake. ‘Con-Diddy-Leezza Rice’ spoof. 2005 MTV Video
Music Awards. Miami. August 28, 2005 at YahooNews. image 4: AP/Haraz N.
Ghanbari. Department of State, Washington. Aug. 15, 2005. At YahooNews.)

  • mugatea

    Not just shopping, shopping for $2,000 shoes! Must have been a very fancy dominatrix shop. I know she was on vacation but to do this in the media capital of the world while all this is going down … what does she really care about? Does she have a soul?
    Yuck, the whole administration makes me feel uncomfortable when I look at them.
    They have raped this country of it’s dignity.

  • Scott

    What I noticed before the abc logo was that she was the only black person in the shot. In fact, I challenge you to find a second black person in ANY of the shots with Rice. Something tells me that if she’s got thousand-dollar pairs of shoues, the non-billionaires, no matter how dark their skin, aren’t really “her kind of people”.

  • Molly

    Doesn’t the Bush administration understand what political gold they let slip through their fingers? Imagine the new voter base if Bush had been airlifted in Monday morning to hand out bottled water in the Superdome!
    I would love to know what Diddy had to say when he was masquerading as Condi…..

  • PTate in Mn

    Very interesting that the top photo–the profile of Condi–was taken in July but released now. The image and the timing seem significant. The profile emphasizes her African features: It looks like an icon from slave-days, the simple clothes, the kerchief. Usually she appears as a dark-skinned WASP type, with her straight hair and posh suits.
    The image isn’t meant for African Americans, but for Bush’s white supporters, the soccer moms and Nascar dads. Some of them may have had their “compassionate conservative” confidence threatened by what we have seen in New Orleans–the black poverty, appalling suffering and callous federal response. I am sure that unconscious or conscious fears of black rage and violence at white oppression have been stirred. At some level, Bush’s base is worrying that the blacks will get out of control.
    In these circumstances, it is useful to Bushco to project both that Condi is an African-American and still subservient to whites (the slave icon). Condi is controlled by her masters, don’t worry! Also notice her posture with the councilman Henry Barker–the spitting image of a Bush voter. Although he is obviously exhausted and distressed, he is dominating her. His arm is around her, she is cuddling up. (Though that tense right arm suggests she isn’t totally comfortable with this.)
    The images are intended to reinforce the base’s need to believe that Bush and the Republicans aren’t racist!

  • bg

    P. Diddy is very smart. I hope he will organize some big counter-ops on this whole phoney show. Seems like there are plenty of others who would join in.
    I hope the administration does not get away with the new send up of the Governor of LA as being inept as they have tried to do.
    I am promoting this link to the Red Cross for all those who have not seen “Why the Red Cross is NOT in New Orleans.” I am convinced the plan was to make sure poor and black poor people died.,1096,0_682_4524,00.html#4524

  • fotonique
  • George Myers, Jr.

    Reminds me of a few weeks ago that Dick guy (former Clinton campaign adviser) had his web site with her on one side Senator Hillary Clinton of New York on the other side, who will be President it asked, or something to that affect. She’s called for an investigation into the disaster response and for legislation to isolate FEMA from Homeland Security. No…not Condileeza, Hillary Clinton…

  • lytom

    Can’t help, the image of “aunt Jemima” comes to mind.

  • Annoying Old Guy

    Thanks for the link. If there was a plan as you say, it makes clear who was involved in it.

    The state Homeland Security Department had requested–and continues to request–that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane.
    The Red Cross shares the nation’s anguish over the worsening situation inside the city. We will continue to work under the direction of the military, state and local authorities
    The original plan was to evacuate all the residents of New Orleans to safe places outside the city. With the hurricane bearing down, the city government decided to open a shelter of last resort in the Superdome downtown.

  • Tracy

    There’s no way, AOM, that the state turned down any help. That’s in your dreams. What I see in the picture of Condi and “councilman Henry Barker of Bayou La Batre, Alabama” is a woman in a bar t 2:00 a.m. recoiling, but trying to be polite about it, from a likered-up man who, being likered up, thinks she’s been hankering for him all night. Thing is, Mr. Barker couldn’t possibly be likered up because if he were, he wouldn’t have been in the same county with her, much less within hugging distance. So I think that the man is just like the rest of the locals – exhausted and begging for help. Shame.

  • Tracy

    Tracy: Hey, Tracy, there’s a typo; “t 2:00 a.m.” should have read “at 2:00 a.m. ”
    Tracy: You’re right.
    Tracy: Who’s in charge of proof-reading?
    Tracy: No one
    Tracy: Okay, then, if No One is in charge, no one is to blame.

  • Mad

    My understanding is that Ms Rice is Secretary of State, so what is she doing on a Tour of the Devastation? Doesn’t she have plenty to do in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all of the other diplomatic hot spots created by the Bush Team?
    So– if Rice is touring the South, then isn’t she most obviously being used as a Token? Gross.
    Regarding the photo of “Hank and Condi”: gross again. Clearly Rice is not a person who willingly shares her personal space. So what gives this white guy the right to get way-to-personal? She is one of the “most powerful people in the world.” Does he allow himself to be so forward because she is a woman and black?
    And finally, Annoying Old Man was simply copying what is on the Red Cross website. He’s right- the state Homeland Security Department kept the Red Cross out. Maybe with some advice from the Incompetents in DC.

  • Annoying Old Guy

    “Annoying Old Man”, eh? Is that the kind of spiteful pettiness that passes for informed commentary around here? I hate to think what kind of reaction I’d get for going beyond just quoting the Red Cross.

  • Susan Murray
    It’s like something from Kara Walker.
    That said do people really read that much sex into images like the 2nd with Barker?
    he image isn’t meant for African Americans, but for Bush’s white supporters, the soccer moms and Nascar dads. Some of them may have had their “compassionate conservative” confidence threatened by what we have seen in New Orleans–the black poverty, appalling suffering and callous federal response. I am sure that unconscious or conscious fears of black rage and violence at white oppression have been stirred. At some level, Bush’s base is worrying that the blacks will get out of control.
    I agree 100 percent.

  • Scott

    Mad: She might be *called* Secretary of State, but thats just her secret identity. See, she’s really the head of the super-secret Department of Patriotic Shoe Shopping. As National Security Advisor, she couldn’t be bothered to read the “Osama determined to attack US” report, and look at the promotion she “earned” due to her incompetence. What makes you think that she’d suddenly get the urge to actually do something useful now? What role model could she follow? The Megalomaniac In Chief has in a mere 4.5 years taken more vacation days than any other President took in 8 full years. Of course, as insane as this clown posse is, we’d be better off if they never reported back to work, but we couldn’t possibly be that lucky.

  • Ummabdulla

    I’ve read of many cases where people were trying to help, but were refused permission. Someplace in Virginia had 22 police officers ready, with a truck loaded with supplies, but couldn’t get permission. Mayor Daley of Chicago was furious because he was trying to offer all kinds of help and supplies, but it was refused. And more relevant to this thread, at least 50 countries have offered all kinds of resources, but the last I heard, the State Department was still “considering” the offers. (While Americans angrily complain that the rest of the world isn’t helping in their time of need…)

  • George Myers

    I guess we’re not a “k.o.l.k.h.o.z.” a former Russian collective farm that will accept barter, which is why the Soviets broke down according to newsman Dave Marsh(?). (3am news shows were then popular on major networks for insomniacs or nightowls) One state wouldn’t barter tobacco for cigarettes at the going rate for chickens. “A piece of the action” broke down. We had State currencies once too.
    She’s too steeped perhaps in the former “Politburo”. Professional archaeologists were asked to go to the USSR back in 1993-94. My boss went, was there during the siege of their “Whitehouse” that brought Mr. Yeltsin in. He went back again, too, leaving his company up in the air for six weeks, in the middle of EPA work (or lack of, then banks were going to be held responsible (loophole) for contamination and we couldn’t afford the insurance anymore) and came back the first time saying something about our troops involved with the bodies he saw. Well the “Kolk” was the “Collect Pond” in New Amsterdam where the “African Burial Ground” was too.

  • Sarah B.

    And now for something completely different:
    Condi’s black profile!
    What a strange contradiction!
    We have Condi’s black profile used to accompany her denial and dismissal of any suggestion that race or discrimination played a role in the inhumane ways in which African-Americans were and still are being treated in the man-made aftermath of Katrina.
    But, we might well ask: why now?
    Below is the caption that accompanied the original AFP photo — you will note that it states that the photo dates from July 2005.
    Still, the photo was published with Condi’s denials of racism on Sunday, September 4, 2005.
    Here is the caption to the Yahoo/AFP photo:
    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, pictured in silhouette, July 2005. Rice dismissed claims black people were discriminated against in hurricane-devastated New Orleans and appealed to Americans to unite and help the country ride out its biggest natural disaster crisis.(AFP/File/Mladen Antonov) Email Photo Print Photo
    Here is the link:
    Finally, if you look very closely at Condi’s black profile, you can see the fine weave and expensive cut of her dusty-rose colored linen suit with its stylish Nehru color with finely-stiched piping in a contrasting color running down the front of the jacket. Condi’s clothes convey the message of pricey refinement, good taste, and studied understatement.
    Yet, even through the contrived blackness of her profile, you can still discern a diamond stud — or is it a lustrous and pristine white pearl? — radiating from her earlobe. Even amidst the blackness, a touch of tasteful bling is still visible.
    The deeper question in this disturbingly-contrived photo is what has caused the absence of light? Condi appears as a black silhouette cast in shades many times darker than her actual skin color.
    Consequently, who or what, has turned out the light and robbed Condi of illumination? And why? Who switched off the light on this ambitious woman who so loves and cultivates the spotlight? And why was a photographer present with a camera — with a very good light meter — to capture this rarefied Condi moment?

  • ummabdulla

    Was AFP at the center of the “white finding” v. “black looting” question? They described the actions as finding, but it was the Associated Press that called the other picture looting. I live overseas, and I’m almost always impressed with AFP’s reports and photos, because they’re much more in-depth and knowledgeable than other agencies. Often, I see something from AFP in my newspaper and want to e-mail it to someone, but I can’t find it online anywhere. I guess since they’re Agence FRANCE Presse, they’re not too popular in the U.S.

  • hauksdottir

    I’d say diamond earring rather than a pearl. I’d also say a hat, probably trimmed in fur (it looks Russian), rather than a kerchief. There is NOTHING Aunt Jemima about this image. If she is indeed wearing a hat, she is probably inside a church for some solemn occasion… which would also fit the expesively quiet tones of this image.

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