The Jussie Smollett story is truly strange. But as Gray Ndiaye shares in a personal story this week, false hate crime reports are vanishingly rare. In fact, official statistics — which under-count the real number — show a three-year rise in hate crimes of all varieties.

Also this week, we focus in on Rust Belt activism that’s calling politicians of both parties to account.

In Ohio, GM worker Nanette Senters is about to lose her job after 20 years, along with nearly 15,000 other GM employees nationwide. She’s demanding that politicians stop rewarding companies that close profitable plants and send jobs elsewhere. And in New York, Alexis Pleus, who lost her son to opioid addiction, is calling on politicians to update their old school mindsets on addiction treatment and embrace harm reduction.

Meanwhile, Sam Pizzigati reflects on a surprising study linking inequality to “helicopter parenting.” Jill Richardson reports on an atrocious Arkansas bill that would deny school lunch funding to schools with struggling kids. And Jim Hightower remembers that San Antonio sent Jeff Bezos and Amazon packing a year before New York did.

Finally, Khalil Bendib imagines Bernie as a rising sun banishing Trump to the shadows.

New This Week…

Hate Crimes: One Lie, Many Truths | Gray Ndiaye
Jussie Smollett may have lied, but real hate crimes and harassment are on the rise. I’ve lived through it myself.

GM Is Closing My Plant. What Are Politicians Going to Do About It? | Nanette Senters
I gave GM 20 years of my life. In return they took my job — and the government keeps rewarding them for it.

In the Battle Against Opioids, Saving Lives Needs to Come First | Alexis Pleus
Safe injection sites and medication-assisted treatment may be controversial, but they work. We need them now.

Give America’s ‘Helicopter Parents’ a Break | Sam Pizzigati
Hovering parents don’t need lectures. They need a more equal nation.

Starving Kids Won’t Help Them Study | Jill Richardson
Instead of looking at the real reasons students struggle, one Arkansas lawmaker wants to deny them school lunch funding.

The City That Refused to Play Amazon’s Game | Jim Hightower
San Antonio told Jeff Bezos to beat it over a year before New York sent him packing.

Rising Sun | Khalil Bendib
Can Bernie send “Count Trumpula” back to the shadows?

In Case You Missed It…

Immigrants Aren’t the Emergency — Unchecked Capitalism Is | Sarah Schulz
Communities like mine, in small-town Michigan, are told to blame immigrants when greedy corporations hurt us. We don’t buy it.

We Need a New Standard for When Politicians Should Step Down | Tracey L. Rogers
If you can’t humble yourself to consider the feelings of those you’ve harmed, you can’t remain in office.

What War Films Never Show You | Mike Ferner
I treated wounded GIs from Vietnam. I saw carnage that seldom makes its way into harrowing war stories like “They Shall Not Grow Old.”

In the Arctic Refuge, a Life Force Hangs in the Balance | James Campbell
Indigenous Alaskans consider the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge sacred land. So should other Americans.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of

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