Say what you will about President Donald Trump but don't discount his ability to understand the importance of historical theft.
Over the weekend, fake self-made billionaire Trump attacked self-made billionaire-in-the-making Jay-Z via Twitter, suggesting someone should inform the hip-hop entertainment mogul, critical of Trump's use of the word "shithole" to describe immigrants during a CNN interview, that the Black unemployment rate is at 6.8 percent, the lowest recorded point ever thanks to "my policies."
Trump is again patting himself on the back for something he deserves no credit for. While it's true that the unemployment rate for African Americans is the lowest its been since the Bureau of Labor and Statistics began tracking it in 1972, the 1 percent fall from the the 7.8 percent it stood at in the last month of Barack Obama's presidency is due to Obama's policies. And speaking of policies, can you name one Trump economic policy that has been in effect long enough to be of any impact?
At best, this is presidential dumb luck. It is, "Right place, right time." More directly, it is insulting political blackface.
In March of 2010, two months into Obama's first term and two years after the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the Black unemployment rate was a staggering 16.8 percent. Rushing to the aid of the country, Obama bailed out the auto industry, restored confidence in big banks, and boosted the over-all level of demand in the economy with an eight-hundred-and-forty-billion stimulus package, replete with temporary tax cuts and more federal spending.
These are policies.
The country was indeed at the cliff and Obama, despite Republicans who elevated the failure of his presidency above the well-being of the citizenry, helped walk the United States back from the cliff, and the Black unemployment rate fell along with it.
This began a trend. At 17 percent in Obama's third year, the Black unemployment rate at 7.8 in December of 2016 handed to Trump from Obama was nearly was almost 10 points lower. Under Obama, the Black unemployment rate tumbled for eight consecutive years.
None of this happens over night, which is what Trump wants you to believe. It is an arduous task that requires rolling up sleeves and then stepping back and hoping that the right measures have been taken. Trump believes that the public is as attention-span challenged as he is, that he can utter or tweet the utterly nonsensical and that problems that took years to foment will disappear in the time it takes an Alka-Seltzer tablet to dissolve in a cup of water. This is why he suggested to Jay-Z that some amorphous racialized policy of his has helped Blacks.
Alabama-born African-American female singer Willie Mae "Big Mamma' Thornton first recorded a blues version of a song called "Hound Dog" in 1952, and it barely created a ripple. Four years later, Presley released the same song, put a rock-and-roll spin on it and it turned into a mega hit, selling more than 10 million copies and launching Presley to heights he may have never achieved.
Western culture, of course, has been stealing for years, just ask the Indians if you can find any. This didn't begin with the Kardashians' artificial sculpting of their bodies or the actresses and models of European descent enduring all sorts of pain to have collagen injected into their lips, and Trump is now trying to pilfer any credit due Obama for the economy and make it his own.
That appropriation is a specialty of anyone with the last name Trump should not come as a surprise as it is clearly the way of the household. Who can forget First Lady Melania Trump's lambasting following her 2016 Republican National Convention speech that was almost word for word the same as Michelle Obama's speech to the Democratic convention in 2008?
If you're paying attention, Trump has an eye on stealing another aspect of Obama's legacy, and this is one that the pseudo Hawks in the Republican Party really want to attach to Trump, who five times side-stepped military service.
America is beating ISIS now, beating them down, something you are aware of if, during Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' briefing, you're able to ignore the ritualistic moral bankruptcy of Trump's alleged sexual romps with porn actresses, his use of words beneath the dignity of the presidency to describe people he no longer wants here as immigrants or any other concept that heretofore was never a briefing room topic before he lowered the standards.
But the tide did not begin to swing the day he took office - this is how his media machine is crafting it - not according to experts. According to U.S. Air Force data, the upper hand began to be achieved in September 2014. That's when coalition forces initiated Operation Inherent Resolve, the midpoints of Obama's second term.
The strategy called for forces to engage the enemy nearly 33,000 times between its initiation and Sept. 2017. The Air Force reports that more than 102,000 missiles, bombs and other explosives have been dropped in that time, and that more than two-third of that bombing took place before Trump took office.
So pay close attention. I promise you the roots of this lie - that Trump's policies have ISIS on the run - will be watered tonight during the State of the Union." He'll no doubt use the event to attempt to "Elvis" this one right under your nose.